On Dec 13, 12:44 pm, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On 13 Dec 2011, at 16:47, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> > On Dec 13, 8:53 am, smi...@zonnet.nl wrote:
> >> I explained my argument on this here:
> >> Saibal
> > As with Bruno's argument, the problem I have is not with the
> > reasoning, it's with the beginning assumptions. You say
> > "According to the computationalist theory of the mind, conscious
> > experiences are
> > identified with computational states of algorithms [1, 2]. This view
> > is the logical
> > conclusion one arrives at if one assumes that physics applies to
> > everything, including
> > us."
> > I disagree completely.
> Me too. It assumes physics is computational, which it is most
> plausibly not, in case "we" are machine (and thus described by a
> digital truncation of some physical processes).
> This entails that we cannot even assume a physical theory, but have to
> derive it from computer science.
> Observation becomes a modality of (relative) self-reference.
I'm not sure I get it. I thought your position is that physics is a
> > There is nothing logical about identifying
> > conscious experiences with computational states.
> Here I disagree with you.
> Although there is nothing sure from which we could deduce such a
> relationship, we might still *infer* or *believe* that the brain is a
> "natural" computer, (that is the truncation of you at the digital
> level is a universal machine (in the Post, Church, Turing sense)).
I think that the brain is a biocomputer, but it also hosts
consciousness. Consciousness uses the computing capacity of the brain,
but awareness itself is not a disembodied computational state. It's
living cells. Their awareness scales up to our awareness. It is driven
by their first person agendas as well as ours, which cannot be
> We can believe the brain is a computer like most of us would believe
> that the hart is a pump.
I understand, and I agree, the brain functions like a computer. It
also functions like a pump, a radio, a coral reef, a pharmacy, a
library, a synaptic suburb, etc. Generally the brain is compared to
the most advanced technology of whatever era is considering it.
> We do have evidence that whatever the level we choose to look on, when
> we observe an heart or a brain, nothing seems to violate finite local
> deterministic rules (machine).
But when we observe our own interiority, nothing seems to follow
finite local determistic rules. We appear to be able to conjure an
infinite universal indeterminacy at will. We don't know what a heart
can imagine, but it doesn't seem to do exactly what a brain does, and
neither does anything else. A brain really cannot be compared to
anything else until we can get outside of a brain.
> > Pain is not a number.
> > Blue is not a an algorithm which can be exported to non-visual
> > mechanism.
> You assume non-comp. The fact that the experience of blueness is not a
> number does not make it impossible that "blueness" is "lived" through
> an arithmetical phenomenon involving self-reference of a machine with
> respect to infinities of machines and computations.
But the specificity of it would be unnecessary. Why and how would
blueness be invoked just to set a self-referential equivalence? No
matter how powerful a computer we build, we're never going to need to
invent blue to perform some arithmetic operation, and no arithmetic
operation is ever going to have blue as a solution.
> > It's false.
> You don't know that. You assume non-comp. You have not produce a
> refutation of comp, as far as I know.
I am a refutation of comp. That's how I know it. I can care about
things and have preferences, computation cannot. Computation has
instructions and parameters, variables, and functions, but no
opinions, no point of view.
> > A hopelessly unrecoverable category error which
> > is nonetheless quite intellectually seductive.
> > I agree that physics applies to everything, including us, which is why
> > the logical conclusion is:
> We can enlarge the sense of the word physics, but currently, in the
> Aristotelian physicalist tradition, this is a form of reductionism.
> Physics assumes special universal machine, where the digital mechanist
> assumption force to take them all in consideration, and extract the
> one, or the cluster of "one" justifying the local possible
> truncations. But like in Mitra, and in Everett, "we" are always "in"
> an infinity of one. (And that's indeed the natural place where the
> counterfactuals can get some meaning and role, without attributing a
> physical activity to a physically inactive piece of primitive matter.
Hmm. I lost you in there with the cluster or infinity of one. I get
that physics at this time is limited to external objects, and my first
premise in Multisense Realism is that this limitation is not rooted in
science. Its invaluable for engineering of course, but it's an
insurmountable obstacle I think in understanding consciousness.
> > 1. What and who we are, our feelings and perceptions, apply to (at
> > least parts of) physics.
> That's coherent with your non-comp assumption.
Even if it were comp. if a certain color or texture has an arithmetic
function associated with it, then doesn't that mean that function also
has at least the possibility of that color or texture within it?
> > It goes both ways. The universe feels. We are
> > the evidence of that.
> Which universe? All the universal being can feel.
> But the big whole, from inside, is just so big that it is not
> unnameable, so I will not dare to address the question of "its"
I was meaning more that the possibility of feeling exists within the
universe. Feeling is one of the things that the universe knows how to
> > 2. Feeling is not a computation,
> Right. But this does not mean that it cannot related to self-
> referential truth about a universal machine relatively to other
> universal machines and infinities of computations, random noise
> oracle, etc.
I agree, it could be related to different arithmetic consequences but
that is still not sufficient to explain the experience of feeling
itself. It's like saying that typing is related to language and
communication so therefore a keyboard must understand what you are
typing on it - that keystrokes inherently produce whatever meaning is
present in words.
> > otherwise it would be unexplainable
> > and redundant.
> Yes. An epiphenomena.
I think an epiphenomena just has to be non causally efficacious. I run
my car engine and the heat and exhaust are epiphenomena. Feeling makes
no sense as a possible exhaust of computation. The whole point of
computation is it's normalized, parsimonious integrity. Where does a
picture of a nonexistent palm tree come from in the f(x)?
> It is the same error of formalism and
> reductionism trying to eliminate truth in favor of forms. This can
> only exist by a misunderstanding of Gödel and Tarski theorem. Even in
> math we cannot eliminate truth and intuition, and assuming comp, and
> *some amount* of self-consistency, we can "know" why.
I like this whole direction of mathematics, and even though my mind
isn't well suited to it, I do respect the importance of the
contribution. Turing too. I think the whole self-referential
revelation is the functional skeleton of the most literal, objective
sense of the cosmos. There is intelligence and wisdom there,
unquestionably. I just think that it's only *almost* the secret of the
universe. To get the whole secret, we have to bring ourselves all the
way into the the laboratory. Everything that arithmetic is, the
universe also is not. Figurative, semantic, poetic, intuitive,
sensorimotive, sentient, etc. These aspects of our realism cannot be
meaningfully reduced to arithmetic, nor can arithmetic be understood
by wishes and fiction. What they can be reduced to is the sense of
order and symmetry which unites and divides them.
> > If physics were merely the enactment of automatic
> > algorithms, then we would not be having this conversation.
> OK. But I dare to insist that if we assume mechanism, physics is
> everything but an enactement of an algorithm. Comp makes digital
> physics wrong, a priori. I think that the DU even diagonalizes
> 'naturally" against all possible computable physics. But if that is
> not the case, comp still force to extract the special physical
> universal machine from the first person experience measure problem.
Hard for me to follow. Why doesn't physics include enactment? I
thought comp makes physics digital?
> > Nothing
> > would be having any conversation. What would be the point? Why would a
> > computation 'feel' like something?
> Well, a computation does not feel, like a brain does not feel. But a
> person (a Löbian self-referential being) can, and thanks to relatively
> stable computations emulating the self relatively to other machine,
> that person can manifest herself through computations. Then that
> person can be aware of the impossibility to communicate that feeling
> to any probable universal neighbors in case it is unwilling to do that.
How do you know that a Löbian being isn't just a simulation of a self-
referential being? It's only our sense of self projecting it's own
image onto a generic arithmetic process, like a cartoon. Does acting
like a self automatically make it a self? What if you intentionally
want to make a Löbian being that only seems like it is self-
referential but actually is not?
> > 3. Physics is feeling as well as computation.
It relates to phenomena in the universe which is ultimately tangible
or has tangible consequences. It's not just computation for the sake
> > We know that we can tell
> > the difference between voluntary control of our mind and body and
> > involuntary processes.
> Partially, yes.
> > My feeling and intention can drive
> > physiological changes in my body and physiological changes in my body
> > can drive feelings, thoughts etc. If it were just computation, there
> > would be no difference, no subjective participation.
> But comp does not say that we are computation. It says only that we
> are only *relatively* dependent on some universal computation going on
> relatively to some probable computations. The subjective machine will
> speed up, because it bets on its consistency, on the existence of
> itself relatively to the possible other machines. Memories become a
> scenario with a hero (you).
I'm not opposed to the idea of us being relatively dependent on some
universal computation, but not in a strictly epiphenomenal way. The
universal computations are also influenced by us directly, our sense
and motive on the macro-person level.
> > 4. Computation is not primitive.
> You get computation quickly. Universality is cheap. Assuming
> elementary arithmetic (like everyone does in high school, notably)
> makes it already there.
Quickly, yes. Universal, sure, at least as far as objects go.
> Its immunity for diagonalization makes it the most transcendental
> mathematical reality, and yet still effective.
I believe it. There is almost certainly no more powerful tool to
manipulate our environment. It's just that the thing that wants to
exercise power and manipulate the environment in the first place has
to precede the tool, if we are talking about a Theory of Everything.
If it were a Theory of Engineering, I would bet on computation every
> > It is a higher order sensorimotive
> > experience which intellectually abstracts lower order sensorimotive
> > qualities of repetition, novelty, symmetry, and sequence. When we
> > project arithmetic on the cosmos, we tokenize functional aspects of it
> > and arbitrarily privilege specific human perception channels.
> You lost me. I guess it makes sense with some non-comp theory.
In a material metaphor, I'm saying that plastic is a higher order
phenomenon of synthetic organic chemistry, not a molecular primitive.
Even though it's utility and flexibility in simulating almost any kind
of material to our eyes, it's actually the deeper qualities underlying
the plastic which gives it it's pseudo-universality. When we mistake
plastic for the root of all matter, we focus on it's plasticity as it
serves us (rather than questioning the underlying chemistry which
gives plastic it's qualities).
> > 5. Awareness is not primitive.
> I agree.
> > Awareness does not exist absent a
> > material sensor.
> That's locally true. It might be necessary, but that's an open problem.
> > Some might argue for ghosts or out of body/near death
> > experiences, but even those are reported or interpreted by living
> > human subjects. There is no example of a disembodied consciousness
> > haunting a particular ip address or area of space.
> How do you know that? I guess you are right today, but "human made"
> machines, programs and bugs are still very young, yet they grows
> explosively on the net.
They still have to have a material net to grow on though. You can't
catch a programming bug from your computer. It seems like comp would
have a hard time explaining why that is - harder than it is for a six
year old to observe that it obviously can't happen.
> > 6. Sense is primitive.
> Not with comp. Sense are primitive only form the first person
> perspective, but not in "gods eyes" (The unnameable arithmetical truth
> talk to the machines).
What is arithmetical truth if it doesn't make sense?
> > Everything that can be said to be real in any
> > sense has to make sense.
> Ah! In that sense? Then I am OK.
> 0=1 is fase independently of me or anything.
Yes! Well yes in the literal sense that you intend. It could be said
that the 'knowledge of the nothingness of death' = the 'singularly
human experience' or something like that...1=0 in the sense 'each
thing begins from no thing'.
> > The universe has to make sense before we can
> > make sense of it.
> Probable with "we" = "humans".
> false with "we" = "the universal beings", and universe meaning
> physical universe.
How can sense arise from a universe which doesn't make sense? The
possibility of sense is itself sense.
> > The capacity for being and experiencing inherently
> > derives from a distinction between what something is and everything
> > that is it isn't. The subject object relation is primary - well
> > beneath computation. Subjectivity is self-evident. It needs no
> > definition statement and no definition statement can be sufficient
> > without the meaning of the word 'I' already understood.
> Here you make a subtle error. You are correct (telling truth), but
> incorrect to assume that we cannot explains those truth (self-
> evidence, no possible definition) when doing some assumption (like
> mechanism, and the non expressible self-referential correctness on the
> part of the machine).
It's not that I assume that we cannot explain those truths in other
ways, just that I don't assume that those other explanations can
dilute or negate the naive subjective orientation. Just because the
map is not the territory doesn't mean that map is not a phenomenon in
it's own right. It doesn't mean that map-making is an emergent
property of the territory.
> > If something
> > cannot understand 'I', it cannot ever be a subject.
> Self-reference is the jewel of computer science. machine can easily
> understand the third person I, and experience the first person I. And
> the first is finitely describable, and the second is only a door to
> the unknown.
How can you tell the difference between a machine reflecting our sense
of I and a first person experience of I? What gives us reason to think
a digital I is genuine?
> > I cannot be
> > simulated, digitized,
> Relatively? That's your non-comp assumption.
The simulation would have to turn me into someone else and still be
me. A simulation could act like me in every way, but the I that I am
now would not be extended into that simulation. Only I am I (how could
I not 'be'? Everywhere I go, there I am...)
> > decohered, or reduced to an 'identification with
> > computation'.
> Well, as paradoxical it might soon, you are provably right when we
> assume comp. If you are a machine, then no one can reduce you to any
> particular knowable machine, and no one can do any thinking at your
> place (but you can delegate thinking by yourself).
my only problem with being a machine is that since we are as close as
you can get to being the opposite of a machine, so that the term loses
all meaning if it encompasses everything. If a machine can make
choices based on preference rather than instructions as we can, what
does it serve to use the term machine?
> > I may be computation in part, but then computation is
> > also me. Arithmetic must have all the possibilities of odor and sound.
> > Numbers must get dizzy and fall down.
> Not numbers, but the hero appearing in the numbers' dreams.
What are those dreams made of?
> > 7. Mistaking consciousness for computation has catastrophic
> > consequences. It is necessary to use computation to understand the
> > 'back end' of consciousness through neurology, but building a
> > worldview on unrealism and applying it literally to ourselves is
> > dissociative psychosis.
> Not only you will not give a steak to my son in law, but I see you
> will try to send his doctor in the asylum.
> Well, thanks for the warning.
What would be the difference between an asylum and anywhere else?
Can't numbers dream just as well in an asylum?
> > Even as a semi-literal folk ontology, the
> > notion of automatism as the authoritative essence of identity has ugly
> > consequences.
> Automata are below universality.
Are they below identity?
> > Wal Mart. Wall Street. The triumph of quanitative
> > analysis over qualitative aesthetics is emptying our culture of all
> > significance, leaving only a digital residue - the essence of generic
> > interchangeability - like money itself, a universal placeholder for
> > the power of nothingness to impersonate anything and everything.
> I am as much sad about that than you, but your reductionist view on
> machine will not help.
Are you sure? What is economics but socially enforced
> > Just
> > as alchemists and mystics once gazed into mere matter and coincidence
> > looking for higher wisdom of a spiritual nature, physics and
> > mathematics now gazes into consciousness looking for a foregone
> > conclusion of objective certainty.
> No. The point is that we cannot do that even with machine.
Certainty of uncertainty.
> > It's a fools errand. Without us,
> > the brain is a useless organ.
> You can say that.
> > All of it's computations add up to
> > nothing more or less than a pile of dead fish rotting in the sun.
> Without us? Sure.
> But who us?
Us natural persons. Human beings extending psychologically into
autobiographical experience with historical context and corporeal
bodies with cells and molecules inside and cities, planets, and
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