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 mathematical sense).

> 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 mechanism.

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 random.

> 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 quanta.

> 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 explanation

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 relative numbers. 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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