On 08 Jan 2012, at 06:06, John Clark wrote:
On Sat, Jan 7, 2012 Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> You confuse naturalism (nature exists
I hope we don't have to debate if nature exists or not.
Of course, nature exists (very plausibly).
But naturalism want to explain things by reducing it to nature or
natural law, and consider that such laws are the explanations.
Computationalism asks for an explanation for the natural laws, or for
the beliefs in them, without using them. And it explains them from
computation and self-reference (with "computation" used in the
> and is fundamental/primitive)
Correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to dislike naturalism
Not at all. I just think that naturalism is simply incompatible with
so you think there is no such thing as a
fundamental/primitive so it is always meaningful to ask "what is
that made of?". You could be right, or maybe not, nobody knows
We know (or should know) that metaphysical naturalism is refutable,
and the evidences are for mechanism, against naturalism.
This does not mean it is always meaningful to ask "what is that made
of?". There are no thing made of something. The idea of things being
made of something is still Aristotelian. If mechanism is true, there
are only true number *relations*. Some represent machine's dreams, and
the physical reality supervene on infinities of dreams, as seen from
some point of view.
> and rationalism (things works by and for a reason).
I don't demand that, things can be random.
I was just using your definition. Now, I am not sure things can be
random, nor what that would mean. But a measurement result, like self-
localization after a self-duplication (à-la Washington/Moscow) can be
> if you are willing to believe that your consciousness would remain
unchanged for a digital functional substitution of your parts made
at some description level of your body,
I do think that is true.
OK. That's my main working hypothesis.
> then physics can no more be the fundamental science of reality
We already knew that because we can at least so far sill explain
physics, thus obviously we haven't gotten to the fundamental level
yet, assuming there is a fundamental level, and you could be right
and there might not be one.
If mechanism is correct, physics becomes independent of the choice of
the fundamental level, and any first order logical specification of a
universal system (in Turing sense) can be chosen as being the
primitive level. I use numbers+addition+multiplication as universal
system because it is the simplest and best known one.
> and the physical universe has to be explained in term of cohesive
digital machine dreams/computation.
If you want a explanation then you can't believe that's the
fundamental level either and a way must be found to explain
that ,and there is no end to the matter.
Except that for the numbers (or the first order specification of a
universal system) I can prove we cannot derive it from something
simpler. Thus we have to postulate it. We cannot explain anything from
an empty theory. Now, actual QM (à-la Everett/Deutsch) assumes
computationalism and the SWE. But computationalism has to explain the
SWE. Physics becomes derivable from non physical concepts (like
Everett explains the appearance of the collapse of the wave, comp
explains the appearance of the wave itself). So it provides a deeper
explanations, and comp explains also the difference between qualia and
> to believe that nature and matter is primitive gives a sort of
supernatural conception of matter, of the kind "don't ask for more
explanation". I am not satisfied by that type of quasi-magical
If you're right then reality is like a enormous onion with a
infinite number of layers and no first level, no fundamental level
because you can always find a level even more fundamental.
Not really. I can't find something more fundamental than the natural
numbers (or combinators, fortran programs, etc.).
basically, digital mechanism (comp) makes elementary arithmetic the
theory of everything. Physics becomes a branch of elementary arithmetic.
On the other hand the universe could be constructed in such a way
that you will forever be unsatisfied and there is a first/
fundamental level and when we reach it we come to the end of the
philosophy game, and there is nothing more to be said.
But with mechanism the question of the existence of the universe is an
open problem. There are only partial numbers dreams, and we still
don't know if those dreams are sharable enough to provide a well
defined notion of physical reality. Anyway, the whole mind-body
problem is transformed into a purely arithmetical problem, in the
shape of numbers' or digital machine's theology. This announce the
end of the Aristotelian theology (used by atheists and christians) and
the coming back to Plato's type of conception of reality. God created
the natural numbers, all the rest are (sharable) dreams by and among
I am not saying that this is true, but that it follows from the belief
that consciousness is invariant for digital functional substitution
made at some self-description level. The interest is that it makes
physics a theorem in machine's theology, and it makes such a theology
testable, in a way smoother than just dying (or smoking salvia, which
is about the same).
By "theology of a machine" I just mean the truth *about* that machine
(including its possible points of view), as opposed to what the
machine can rationally justify about herself. By incompleteness there
is a big gap between truth and proof, and ideally sound machines can
be proved to be able to handle a part of it. They have a rich and non
trivial self-reference theory.
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