On 18 Oct 2011, at 13:00, Peter Kinnon wrote:
While the comments made here make interesting and amusing reading the
underlying rationale of COMP as an attempt to resolve the mind-body
problem which worried earlier philosophers is, in my view fatally
flawed. Here are some of the main reasons:
1. There is no longer a "mind-body problem". Objective current
understandings of physics, chemistry and biology easily dispel the
mystical notions previously associated with consciousness.
The problem is already here. I suggest you read my paper here:
It shows that mechanism is incompatible with weak form of materialism
and physicalism. It provides a new precise reformulation of the mind-
body problem in the form of a pure body problem in arithmetic (or in
any first order logical specification of a universal machine).
In a nutshell, universal machine cannot distinguish physical reality
(if that makes sense) from virtual reality nor, it is the key point,
from arithmetical reality. Their subjective continuations has to be
given by an average of some sort on *all* computations foing through
their actual state, and existing in the additive and multiplicative
structure of the numbers.
So, even if locally, you could dispel the mind-body problem with
current physics, you cannot do that to solve the problem before you
justify the physical laws from that relative measure on the
Then computer science and mathematical logic can already provide
quickly the propositional logic of the observable events, and up to
now, QM confirms comp, so that comp seems to be confirmed in its
weirdest consequences (which is that we are multiplied into infinities
of computations 'all the time'). The propositional logic of the
observable extracted from comp already justify statistical
interference of the computations, and a linear symmetrical bottom for
Better than that, the splitting of those logics into a provable and
true part (by and on the machine respectively) gives a solid hint on
how we can distinguish the quanta (sharable by universal machines) and
the qualia (irreducibly NON sharable and private).
As long as
we take care to avoid the trap of introspection with its attendant
self-referential recursive loops we can now see that this feature,
which happens to be greatly hypertrophied in our species,
If you avoid introspection, you avoid the very nature of consciousness
an extension and enhancement of the navigational facility seen in most
I am OK with this.
The degree of sophistication being a result natural
selection to permit optimal interaction of the organism with its
Which in our case, of course is extraordinarily high.
That does not explain the nature of the qualia. A priori such
explanations explain only complex third person describable phenomena,
not the inner qualia. yet, the logic above does explains the qualia,
gives them a role, and give a role to consciousness (self-speeding up
relatively to other universal machines).
2. The language of mathematics has evolved to handle more efficiently
the relatively simple situations not requiring the high levels of
abstraction found in the natural languages. The latter are, for the
most part, more appropriate for complex disciplines such as chemistry
and particularly biology. A tree, for instance, or a cell, defies
mathematical description. Only for the simpler aspects of these
disciplines does mathematics play a minor (but nevertheless valuable
part) as an adjunct.
For this reason, mathematics would not be a good contender for the
solution of the "mind-body problem" even if it still had any
I insist, if a mechanist explanation can work, then the price of the
mind-body solution is an explanation of physics, from the non
physical. No need of magical soul, programs and numbers are enough,
but we have to explain the origin of the appearance of the physical
laws from this.
3. Even in those areas where mathematics is most valuable we must bear
in mind that, like all languages, it is capable of generating
You confuse the arithmetical reality, with the theories exploring it,
and you confuse the theories with the languages which can be used to
express those theories.
To say that math is language is conventionalism, and this has been
abandoned, because it is refuted by facts, notably that arithmetical
truth is beyond the reach of any possible theory.
Mechanism is often use in a reductionist way by materialist, but when
you look at the detail mechanism defeats all possible reductionism of
our conception of number and machine.
Most importantly, of the multitudinous mathematical models
that can be envisaged, only a small subset correspond to empirical
Sure. Note that what you call "models" is called "theories" by
For example, any number of dimensions can be handled within
mathematics yet only the three of space and one of time have, as yet,
been observed. Science has found no straight lines or points in our
You assume that there is a *primary* universe. But with mechanism, we
have to abandon this Aristotelian conception of reality, and go back
to Plato-like conceptions. The physical universe is no more a primary
reality. It is, to put it shortly, only the border of a universal mind
looking at itself.
It is the failure to recognize these inherent limitations which, to
me, appear to inspire much of the contention in the above discussions
of this topic.
A treatment of consciousness and related issues is provided within the
context of a broad evolutionary model which extends beyond biology in:
"The Goldilocks Effect: What Has Serendipity Ever Done For Us?" (free
download in e-book formats from the "Unusual Perspectives" website)
Those theories cannot work unless they abandon mechanism, or the hard
part of the mind-body problem. If they don't abandon that hard problem
they need to justify the presence in bodies of some very complex and
special infinities, and on their relevance for the mind, i.e. they
have to build a truly non mechanist theory of mind. But I suspect them
to hide the real problem instead.
I let you read the sane04 paper which explains all this, and if you
have any problem or objection, you can ask any question.
-- Bruno Marchal
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