I believe that you are unfair to Jeffery Gray. As I have mentioned, his conclusion was that the modern science (here as accepted by a majority of scientists) cannot explain conscious phenomena. Hence, in a way he was ready to reconsider the accepted scientific framework.

I can appreciate that. Nagel and others come frequently to that idea, but few seems even aware that the Aristotelian conception of reality might be flawed.

The difference with your point is that according to him, mind, knowledge, and self is not related to conscious experience that he has considered. Well, you go other way around from math, he presumably would not agree with you. In this respect, you might be right.

My point is just that mechanism and materialism are incompatible. I do relate consciousness with mind, knowledge and many notion of selves, which is rather normal in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. But I don't identify them, and I fail to understand what could be a theory of consciousness if it does not explain the feeling of those relations. Consciousness is usually thought to be lived by a subject, which is a knower, has a notion of self, etc.

Your statement

> But consciousness is a 100% first person "phenomenon", so it is doubtful
> that we will ever found it in the lab, where we can find only third
> person (or first person plural) describable phenomena.

in my view, contradicts to empirical science.

Not necessarily. A theory of consciousness can have indirect consequences on matter or other 3-person phenomena. I am an empiricist, even if comp implies that the "real laws of physics" are deducible from reason alone. This means only that we can test comp empirically, by comparing what we observe and what we should observe with comp.

I believe that I understand what you mean, I think I understand your logic. Yet, I am not sure I understand what a research program on consciousness you offer.

Computer science, with the taking into consideration of the different possible person points of view.

Computer science minus computer's computer science gives the non provable part, which might explain the gap that we feel between consciousness per se, and the many possible content of consciousness, most being non provable.

What is the role of experimentalists in your research program?

To verify the consequence of our theories. Mainly, to refute them. When we are lucky enough.

On a related note. Prof Hoenen in his lectures of on Voraussetzung und Vorurteil (Prerequisite and Prejudice) talks quite awhile about Collingwood's An Essay on Metaphysics. According to Collingwood, your statements above seems to be an absolute presupposition, that is, a statement that we can take as it is but we cannot prove if it true or false.

Hmm... I am not sure. It is close to Descartes' argument, with a slight amendment:

"I doubt thus I think; I think thus I am ... conscious".

Thomas Slezak has defended that argument, by comparing it to the diagonal used in the Gödel's proof of incompleteness, where self- consistency appears as a fixed point of doubt. It means that self- consistency (Dt, ~Bf), is a solution to "x <-> ~provable x". The solution says about itself that it is not provable, making it true and not provable. This means that as far as you are correct (which you cannot know) you can bet (but bet only) on your self-consistency. This leads to a computational advantage (speed-up theorem), and it ends up to a (correct) belief that you can access an incommunicable truth, which seems to fit nicely with the notion of consciousness.

I am not sure I can make sense of a theory of consciousness not relying strongly on the first person notion, or on subjectivity. But I was probably exaggerating in saying purely first person, as the math experience is typically a subjective experience with a big third person sharable part.

It is worthy noting that during his historical analysis of absolute presuppositions, Collingwood came to the conclusion that monotheism was crucial for the success of the modern science. I have not read his book by myself, my knowledge is just from lectures, but this is a quote that I have found in Internet

“The very possibility of applied mathematics is an expression . . . of the Christian belief that nature is the creation of an omnipotent God.”

I think Christian took this from the Platonists. I think monotheism is only an anthropomorphic conception of monism. The idea that reality is one, consistent, true, and (partially) intelligible. Oh! I see you have a quote (by MJ O'Neill) going in that direction:

“I say “monotheistic science” following Collingwood’s contention that monotheism (Platonic or Christian), in contrast to Paganism, brings with it the idea that the universe is one, rationally ordered, and intelligible. See Essay on Metaphysics, Chapter XX.“

Some more what I have found to this end


The last paper on this page "Matter, Mathematics, and God" shows quite nicely a peculiar role of mathematics in science. If physicists accept that Nature obeys to the laws written by mathematical equations, then actually your position looks quite natural.

Yes. Comp explains easily why math can be applied, although it is only 99,999 % mathematicalist, due to the "blind spot" of the first person (notably), which makes the inside person reality even bigger than mathematics.

I might have been unclear. I was not saying that we cannot learn many things about consciousness in the lab, but only that the "hard riddle" part of it, might need a change in our way to look at reality. And mechanism, once assumed, illustrates this by refuting materialism (even the weak form of materialism, i.e. the doctrine of ontological, or primitive, matter).

We can learn a lot on consciousness also by listening to "conscious people", and even more to those suffering from consciousness pathologies or having lived altered state consciousness experience (by accident or purposefully). Dreams, and most state acquired in sleep are quite informative too.

I appreciate the other quotes on your page. Of course I disagree with Collingwood when he noted that pure Platonism hold no hope for applied mathematics, and with the idea that Christians have corrected that Platonist error of Aristotle. He describes correctly Aristotle's error, I would say, but I'm afraid that the Christians have aggravated it, except for a platonists resistance we can find in the Augustinians, and in many "christians" mystic terms. It is hard to really know, especially when a religion mixes spiritual research and temporal terrestrial power, and burns those who ask questions. At the time of Hypatia (+400), it was clear that most christians were engaged in fruitful dialog on the Plato/Aristotle question, but after +500, and the politization of christianism, that very question has remained a strong taboo (even more with the atheists).


On 06.04.2012 10:52 Bruno Marchal said the following:

On 05 Apr 2012, at 22:53, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:


When Gray considers would be explanations, he mentions dualism and
panpsychism (for example quantum consciousness). Yet, he does not give
an answer. His statement is that we do not have a theory of

However, the phenomenon is there and he has shown how to research it
in the lab.

But consciousness is a 100% first person "phenomenon", so it is doubtful
that we will ever found it in the lab, where we can find only third
person (or first person plural) describable phenomena.

So a theory of consciousness, or *about* consciousness can only be a
theory acknowledging some principle or axioms about the first person
view. This makes sense, if only because such axioms can be found for a
notion deeply related to consciousness, and which is knowledge. Most
research in the cognitive science , sufficiently theoretical, accept the
following axioms for knowledge, with Kp interpreted as "I know p":

Kp -> p
Kp -> KKp
K(p->q) -> (Kp -> Kq)

and with modus ponens and necessitation as inference rule (from p and
(p->q) you can derive q, and from p you can derive Kp).

This is the modal logic S4. Gödel already knew that in any "rich"
theory, provability cannot obey those S4 axioms, and later Kaplan and
Montague have shown that there is just no way we can define such notion
of knowledge, in any third person way, capable of playing that role,
confirming that S4 bears on a pure first person notion.
Yet, as seen by many philsopher (from Theatetus to the old
Wittgenstein), we can "simulate", at the meta-level such a knowledge by
taking any theory of belief, and defining knowledge by a belief which
happens to be true, so that we get the first axiom above. By a result of Tarski, we know already that truth ---about a theory/machine--- cannot be
defined---by the machine or in the theory. Accepting the knowledge
account of consciousness (as the knowldedge of one truth, may be a
tautology or just the constant boolean "t") explains then completely why consciousness exist (like a true belief), and why we will never find it in the lab. Now, if the belief notion can be finitely defined in a third
person way, this entails the comp hypothesis, and this does not solve
completely the mind-body problem. Indeed we might say that such a theory
does solve the hard consciousness problem, but as the UDA shows, it
introduces a new problem: we have to justify the stability of the lab
itself from that theory of consciousness. That is nice because it leads
to the first explanation of why there is a physical universe, and it
makes physics a branch of psychology or theology. Then the constraints
of computer science gives sense to this, because provability obeys to
believability axioms.
Put in another, perhaps provocative way, with comp, consciousness is not
that much difficult, it is a consequence of computer science and
mathematical logic, but we have yet to "find the lab in consciousness".
UDA shows why and how.
Gray is stuck by its aristotelian conception of reality.



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