On 29 Nov 2011, at 18:44, benjayk wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

I only say that I do not have a perspective of being a computer.

If you can add and multiply, or if you can play the Conway game of
life, then you can understand that you are at least a computer.
So, then I am computer or something more capable than a computer? I have no
doubt that this is true.

OK. And comp assumes that we are not more than a computer, concerning our abilities to think, etc. This is what is captured in a quasi operational way by the "yes doctor" thought experiment. Most people understand that they can survive with an artificial heart, for example, and with comp, the brain is not a privileged organ with respect to such a possible substitution.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

When I look
at myself, I see (in the center of my attention) a biological being,
not a

Biological being are computers. If you feel to be more than a
computer, then tell me what.
Biological beings are not computers. Obviously a biological being it is not
a computer in the sense of physical computer.

I don't understand this. A bacteria is a physical being (in the sense that it has a physical body) and is a computer in the sense that its genetic regulatory system can emulate a universal machine.

It is also not an abstract
digital computer (even according to COMP it isn't) since a biological being
is physical and "spiritual" (meaning related to subjective conscious
experience beyond physicality and computability).

But all universal machine have a link with something beyond physicality and computability. Truth about computability is beyond the computable. So your point is not valid.

Neither physicality nor spirituality can be reduced to computations.

Indeed. But that is a theorem in the comp theory. So any argument in favor of this, and not being based on comp, is a confirmation of comp, not a critics. I give a complete axiomatisation of all what appears, from the machine's pov, beyond computations and proof. So I agree a lot with your point here. Well, I don't know the truth, and I am just saying that what you say here is a consequence of comp, often not well understood by people having a reductionist conception of machine and numbers.

can they be derived from it.

Physicality can be derived. And has to be derived (by UDA). Both quanta and qualia. Only the "geography" cannot be derived, but the physical laws can. You might elaborate why you think they can't. Spirituality is a very large world, so it might depend on what you put in there. Arithmetical truth cannot be derived from comp nor from *any* effective theory, and in that or similar sense, I agree with you.

Your reasoning doesn't work (due to the reasons
I already gave and clarify below).

I have not yet seen those reasons. Please, I present an argument in 8 steps, surely you can say which step you disagree on. Up to now I see only a critic of step "zero" (the definition of comp).

And no, there is no need for any evidence for some non-turing emulable
infinity in the brain. We just need non-turing emulable finite stuff in the
brain, and that's already there.

I thought you were immaterialist. What is that finite stuff which is non Turing emulable? I really try to understand. Sometimes it seems you argue against comp, and sometimes it seems you argue against the proof that comp entails the Platonist reversal (to be short).

No one yet succeeded to emulate the brain,

This is not relevant for the reasoning (or show me where and why), in case you argue against the reasoning.

and we can just assume something can be substituted by an emulation if we
show that it can be.

This is not true. We might doubt it to be true and make a Pascal like sort of bet. Many proposition can be true without us being able to prove them. That's why we have constructive or intuitionist logic, when we want to avoid the classical ignorance, and the non constructive proofs, which are hardly avoidable in fundamental studies.

That seems quite unlikely, since already very simple objects like a stone
can't be emulated.

The notion of stone is no more well defined in the comp theory. Either you mean the "stuff" of the stone. Then comp makes it non Turing emulable, because that "apparent stuff" is emerging from an infinity of computations. So you are right. Or you mean by stone what we can do with a stone (a functional stone), and this will depend on the functionality that you ascribe to the stone.

If we simulate a stone, we just simulate our description
of it, we can't actually touch it and use it.

So you were talking about the functional stone. In this case we can simulate the couple "you + the stone" in a way such that you will not see the difference (assuming comp).

BTW, I am not saying this non-turing emulable stuff is some mysterious
primitive matter that actually no one can show the existence of.

OK. I guessed that.

It is
consciousness, and you can see for yourself that it exists.

It exists. I agree. Not sure it is a finite thing, and, assuming comp, a machine can manifest it relatively to another machine, and only this is needed to understand the reasoning. So here you don't criticize the reasoning but comp itself. I respect that opinion, but I am personally agnostic about it. As a scientist I try to show only that comp is refutable, by showing that it has precise and testable consequences.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

It's harder to dinstinguish
yourself from other simulated selfes than from other biological
because of the natural biological barriers that we have, that

I can see that I am physically/biologically seperate from you,

You cannot see that.
Of course I can see that. We don't share the same brain and body, relatively

Probably, but this is something we have to bet on. We really don't know, and with comp we are both an internal product of number relations. We share the initial universal system (be it arithmetic, combinator, etc).

Of course we can't be seperate in any ultimate way (even just
according to QM), but I don't say that.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

while we
could be both simulated on one computer, without any clear physical

All my point is that once we assume comp, the word "physical" can no
more be taken as granted.
No, that's not your only point as presented by you. You say that assuming
COMP experience is related only to a measure on the computations.
You can't just assume there is only computational immaterialism and

I assume computationalism. And I prove that it leads to ontological immaterialism. I explain matter by machine's epistemology. In a precise way so that computationalism is shown to be refutable.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

You seem to *presuppose* a primary physical universe (Aristotle). I do
I don't either. Frankly I wonder why you think that, given that I have taken
a very obvious non-material standpoint in our discussions thus far.

Well, I didn't realize that the stuff you mentioned, was consciousness, which is rarely described in term of stuff. You were using more and more terms like "physical, biological" etc. Like if those word could be taken for granted.

It somehow seems like you pretend that all opinions except your own and the ones of your favorite opponents (the ones you can easily refute) do not

I don't make my opinion public, and I am mainly agnostic. Then I have worked on a proof, and people studying it understand it, sometimes quickly, sometimes it takes a longer time. The step 8 is usually more difficult for many people, but it is just a question of doing the work (that's why we do proof). I don't pretend it to be perfect, and thanks to the discussions the MGA is clearer and clearer. I still don't know if I have to put the "323 principle" explicitly in the comp definition of not.

Honestly I am quite stupid to discuss with someone that just chooses to plainly ignore everything that doesn't fit into his own preconceived notions
of what someone that's criticizing is saying.

Just tell me where in the proof you have a problem. All you need is to assume comp 'for the sake of the reasoning". You just seems acting like "knowing that comp is false". That might be possible. If comp is false, it is not excluded that some (infinite) entity can know that. In that case, it is up to you to explain why you believe or know that comp is false, and I might change my mind (stopping being agnostic). If the physics was proved to be Newtonian, I would probably consider UDA as a refutation of comp, given that comp forbids physics to be newtonian. Comp *is* highly counter-intuitive. Without Gödel's proof and quantum mechanics, I would be very much more skeptical on comp.

It is quite strange to say over and over again that I haven't studied your arguments (I have, though obviously I can't understand all the details,
given how complicated they are),

UDA is rather simple to understand. I have never met people who does not understand UDA1-7 among the scientific academical. Some academics pretends it is wrong, but they have never accepted a public or even private discussion. And then they are "literary" continental philosophers with a tradition of disliking science. Above all, they do not present any arguments.

while you don't even bother to remember the
most fundamental premise of my argumentation (non-materialism). It is like I
was saying to you: "Oh it seems to me you just presuppose that we are
material computers, that's why your argument works".
Your argument may work against materialism (I am not sure, I don't take
materialism seriously anyway - frankly materialism is a joke, since
materialist are not even capable to say what matter is supposed to be), but you don't take into account any of the alternatives that can be taken more
seriously (any sort of non-materialism).

On the contrary, I have always insisted that we agree on that immaterialism. My point is only that "mechanism implies immaterialism", and in a constructive way so that by looking on the way matter behaves in our neighborhood we might refute mechanism. I don't understand why you dislike the idea that some theory implies an idea that you appreciate.

It seems very much you presuppose a purely material or computational

I don't understand this. I show that both consciousness and matter are partially non-computational, once we bet that we are Turing emulable.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

We can only say YES if we assume there is no self-referential loop
my instantiation and my environment (my instantiation influences
what world
I am in, the world I am in influences my instantiation, etc...).

Why? Such loops obviously exist (statistically), and the relative
proportion statistics remains unchanged, when doing the substitution
at the right level. If such loop plays a role in consciousness, you
have to enlarge the digital "generalized" brain. Or comp is wrong,
I think it is self-refuting if we not already take the conclusion for
granted (saying YES only based on the faith we are already purely
Imagine substituting our whole generalized brain (let's say the
milky way).
Then you cannot have access to the fact that the whole milky way was

In the reasoning we use the fact that you are told in advance. That
you cannot see the difference is the comp assumption.
Ah, OK. If you can't notice you are being substituted the very statement
that you are being substituted is meaningless.

Why? I can say yes to the doctor, and tell him that it seems that the artificial brain is 100% OK, because I don't notice the difference, and then he can show me a scan of my skull, and I can see the evidences for the artificial brain. So I can believe that I have perfectly survived with that digital brain.

If I can't know or believe
(based on any kind of evidence) that I am being substituted, what do we base the statement that we are being substituted on? It is as abitrary as saying
that I am the pink unicorn.

It is the same for the artificial heart, that we are already using.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

because otherwise the whole milky way would have to appear to
be a computer running a simulation of the milky way, making our
drastically different (which is not possible, given that our
should remain invariant). But if we don't have access to the fact/
the way
that we are being substituted, it makes no sense to say YES, because
can't even say whether are being substituted. If a substitution is not
taking place subjectively, the question of saying YES becomes
(making COMP meaningless).

Of course not. You talk like a doctor who would provides artificial
brain without asking the permission of the patient. Then comp entails
that, if the doctor is choosing the right subst level, the patient
will not see the difference. But that's part of the point.
If the patient can't see the difference, the doctor is of no help, since he
will be the same after the operation as before.

I just answered this above.

If his brain was damaged,
the doctor will make the computer simulate a damaged brain, what a big

Then take a non damaged brain. The damaged brain is used only for providing a motivation for the substitution in the definition of comp. In that case it is implied that the brain disease will not be copied. It might be a disease appearing at a lower level than the substitution level, so the artificial brain will not inherit this. This is non relevant for the reasoning. In step 1 I use teleportation, and this could have been used for the definition. Your critic sticks on details which are not used in the course of the reasoning.

So the only option that is remotely rational is to say NO (since if he says YES he has nothing to gain but much to lose), that's why saying YES is close
to meaningless.

As I said, you might say yes just for using classical digital teleportation to accept a job on Mars.

It is as meaningful as saying yes to a magician that
transforms you into a pink unicorn that will experience the same way as you

If we still say YES, we just have faith that nothing will happen, even
though it is pretty clear that something will happen.

That will be clear when you see the doctor's bill, the pictures, etc.

If we have that faith,
we believe in abitrary mysterious occurences.

We believe just that the brain is a sort of machine, and that we can substitute for a functionnally equivalent machine. This cannot be proved and so it asks for some faith. But it might not need to be blind faith. You can read books on brain, neuro-histology, and make your own opinion, including about the subst level. The reasoning uses only the possibility of this in theory. It is theoretical reasoning in a theoretical frame.

You can't derive anything from
that. Especially you can't derive that we surived due to the instantiation
of the right computations.

I cannot derive that.
Indeed, I can derive that we can never derive from any theory that we can survive a substitution or not. But science is not truth, it is "reasonable belief". To refute comp, you have to show that it leads to a contradiction (not to counter-intuitive facts).

Bruno Marchal wrote:

The only way we could know we are being substituted is if there is
other than the milky way to communicate with (which can see we are

Yes. Like the doctor.
But we have no basis whatsoever to believe the statement of the doctor that substituted you, unless he gives you evidence that you actually DID change, and in this case your experience can't remain invariant (because you become
aware that your brain has changed).

By looking at the scan. By looking at the bill. I can have indirect evidences. All evidences are always indirect. Most people believe in comp. The problem is only that most of them believe also in materialism, or physicalism, and I show them wrong. You seem to want the consequence (immaterialism) but not some premise (mechanism).

When the doctor says he substituted you, he either lies,

That can happen. That is why I often add the default hypothesis: the doctor is skillful, he has bet on the right level (or below), no asteroid strikes the hospital, etc. In the step seven you need only to assume a universe with a UD running in it (and at step 8, you need only arithmetic, and of course the idea that "you" (in any third person sense) are digitally emulable, even if your generalized brain is as big as the physical universe).

or believes that

? (then he is inconsistent).

or he just asserts that he substituted the
way he interfaces with you (or simulates you) - in which case we ourselves
remain unsubstituted.

That is not what he/she is supposed to do.

If you say we take the doctor on faith, than fine, you base your whole
argument on absolute blind faith.

Why? I might on the contrary consult many doctors, and follow the one who give me the best argument. That some faith is at play is a theorem of the theory. Comp is not provable: it *is* a theological assumption. I am just honest by making that clear. Now, you need some faith for *any* operation in any hospital.

Unfortunately then we could as well base
the argument on "1+1=3" or "there are pink unicorn in my room even though I
don't notice them", so it's worthless.

This does not follow. We do have biological evidence that the brain is a Turing emulable entity. It is deducible from other independent hypothesis (like the idea that QM is (even just approximately) correct, for example). You don't seem to realize, a bit like Craig, that to define a non-comp object, you need to do some hard work.

Note, I agree it is not meaningless
to say YES or NO to a substitution, just in the particular way you need it
in order for your argument.

At which step does the argument becomes invalid?

Bruno Marchal wrote:

But then we have no reason to suspect that this other will
remain invariant, because from its perspective we have shifted from
the milky way to being a computer running a simulation of a milky
way, which
is such a big difference that it will inevitably totally change its
(to the point of not being the same other / the same relative world
- a a totally different interaction s taking place).

You beg the question. Assuming comp he will say "thanks doctor,  I
feel better now".
No, he can't say that, since, as you just wrote youself, *he can't notice
the difference*.

This is not relevant. In that case we can suppose that he copied the brain minus the disease. The disease might occur at a lower level than the subst. level. Also brain disease are non sensitive.

It is stupid to say thanks for a doctor that didn't change

I might feel exactly the same, and the difference is just that I have a longer life time expectation.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Or we just *believe* we are being substituted (for whatever reason)
and say
YES to that, without any evidence we actually are being substituted,
then we are not saying YES to an actual substitution but to the
(I am just a digital machine that is already equal to the

Please just study the proof and tell me what you don't understand. I
don't see the relevance of the paragraph above, nor can I see what you
are arguing about.
I studied your proof. Of course your proof works if you assume the
conclusion at the start

In that case the proof does not work, of course. I don't put the conclusion in the hypothesis, or show me where. Show me the precise line which makes you feeling so.

or assume something nonsensical (like saying YES to
a substitution that doesn't subjectively happen).

The whole point of comp, is that we survive without any subjective change to such a substitution, done by other people (so that witness can attest it).

My point is that either
you are just proving your assumption (we say YES due to a belief in our digital, that is, we say YES because we already are digitally substituted),

Assumption: the brain is a machine
Conclusion: Aristotle metaphysics is wrong, and Plato-Pythagorus is correct (physics become a branch of number theory).

or your proof doesn't work (because actually the patient will notice he has been substituted, that is, he didn't survive a substitution, but a change of
himself - if he survives).

He might notice it for reason which are non relevant in the reasoning. He might notice it because he got a disk with a software making him able to uploading himself on the net, or doing classical teleportation, or living 1000 years, etc.

I guess I will abandon the discussion, if in the next post you also don't
bother to respond to anything essential I said.

Let us try to agree on what is it that we disagree on. I see only that you are skeptical on comp, which is not a problem, (I am too). Indeed the whole point of the reasoning consists in showing that comp is refutable. My goal is to show that we can reason in that fundamental domain.

Apparently you are
dogmatically insisting that everyone that criticizes your argument doesn't understand it and is wrong, and therefore you don't actually have to inspect
what they are saying.

On the contrary, I answer all objection of all kind. I do not impose any view. But if the proof is not valid, you have to say at which line it becomes invalid. All what I see is that you believe that comp is false, but strictly speaking, this means you have another theory, and you are free to expose it. Don't talk like if my work is problematical. It is not, except for dogmatic people insisting on keeping mechanism and materialism (and I have not met any such person in the academic scientists, with once recent exception who wrote a text full with many errors in elementary propositional calculus).
I might still be wrong, but then help us to find the invalidity.

If this is the case a discussion is quite futile. Up
to know I just had the faith that you know better than that and will sooner
or later give an actual response, but now I am not so sure anymore.

You are the one saying that a reasoning is wrong. Could you please be specific about where the reasoning seems wrong to you. I am doing it on the FOR list (with variable interruption, but this progress steadily), and on the EDOT (now ENET forum), where I will send a summary soon.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Either way, our experience doesn't remain invariant, or we have no
way to
state we are being substituted (making COMP meaningless).

This point is not valid. We can say "yes" for a substitution in
advance. Then, in that case, just surviving a fatal brain illness will
make the difference.
But you just said that this can't happen, because he himself will
subjectively remain unchanged.

What is the relevance of this for the reasoning. The illness might not be sensible. So the difference is just that the person will live a longer time, and that difference is not relevant for the reasoning.

His fatal brain illness will still be there,
because we have to include it in the substitution.

This is not valid. Counter-example: the illness appears below the substitution level.

Otherwise you are not
substituting, you are changing him.

The substitution is done at some level. So the body undergoes some change. Surviving means that the person keep his memories, personality, relative consciousness, etc. Like with any artificial objects, there might be side-effects, which are not relevant with the reasoning. At the step seven, there is no more any substitution. The doctor and the teleportation are used only as pedagogical tools to explain the first person indeterminacy, the non locality, the invariance for the physical or virtual reconstitution, etc. All those tools are no more needed when the concrete UD is introduced (and then itself eliminated at the step 8).

And in this case he will "survive" as
what he changed into (even if this is just a collection of misfiring
transistors). But then we obviously don't know whether he really survives in
any sense of the word,

We never know that. We can only collect evidence and reason in a theory. I cannot prove that I survive when I drink orange juice either. You are correct but again I miss the relevance concerning the validity of the reasoning.

and if, in what sense he did survive (since this
depends in which way we changed him).

He survives in the usual clinical sense. Comp is well illustrated in this movie "father and son game"


Bruno Marchal wrote:

How is that not a reductio ad absurdum?
The only situtation where COMP may be reasonable is if the
substitute is
very similar in a way beyond computational similarity - which we can
confirm due to digital implants working.

The apparent success of digital implants confirms that we don't need
to go beyond computational similarity.
It doesn't, because the surrounding neurons may make additional connections
to interpret the computations that are happening.

In that case.
I can understand that you cannot follow the reasoning if you cannot give sense to the comp hypothesis. But here you are pleading again for the falsity or the senselessness of comp.

This just works as long as
the neurons can make enough new connections to fill the similarity gap.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

This would make COMP work in a quite special case scenario, but
wrong in

It is hard to follow you.
I am not saying anything very complicated.

You seem to oscillate between "comp is nonsense" and "there is something wrong with the reasoning". You need to be able to conceive that comp might be true to just follow the reasoning.

It is only hard to follow because
your are insisting on some theoretical situtation which is non- sensical in

Reality? This is something we are searching a theory for, not something we know, except for consciousness.

If you do insists that we say YES in the way you would like us to, we either
say YES to your conclusion,

That's the point of a logical reasoning.

or we just say YES to something that doesn't
happen (which doesn't allow any conclusion to be drawn).

What does that mean? We reason from a starting assumption. Those are propositions, and the truth or falsity of it has no relevance at all for the reasoning. That is the point of logic and math: we reason in a way independent of truth and interpretations. Like the french scientist, you confuse the notion of truth and the notion of validity.



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