A Dialog comparing Comp with Leibniz's metaphysics


The principal conclusion of this discussion is that there is a striking 
similarity between comp and the metaphysics of Leibniz, 
for example that the natural numbers of comp are indeed monads, 
but a critical difference is that not all monads are natural numbers. 
And not all substances are monads. For students of comp, 
this should be of no practical importance as long as the 
computational field is confined to natural numbers. 
Which is the basic method of comp. However, if one goes 
outside of that field, a reassessment of the 
additional mathematical forms in terms of substances 
would have to be made. 

ROGER (a Leibnizian): Hi Bruno Marchal 

Perhaps I am misguided, but I thought that comp was moreorless 
a mechanical model of brain and man activity. 

BRUNO (a comp advocate): Not really. Comp is the hypothesis that there is a 
level of description of my brain or body such that I can be 
emulated by a computer simulating my brain (or body) at that level of 

ROGER: Very good. "At that level of description" is exactly the point of view I 
have adopted regarding Leibniz's metaphysics,
discussed below.

This is wholly my own version, since a possible problem arises in understanding 
what a Leibnizian substance is. 
The reason is that Leibniz describes a substance as potentially any "whole" 
entity, that being either extended body 
or inextended mind. But because extended bodies (despite L's familiarty with 
atomism)* can always be divided into 
smaller inextended bodies, extended bodies cannot be substances in L's 
metaphysics. Hence L substances are 
the inextended representations of extended bodies. 

*[In my view, the issue that fundamental particles cannot be subdivided, can be 
by the the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle, which in effect allows one to 
consider corporeal 
bodies as inifinitely divisible in the sense that one cannot arrive at final 
separate pieces without 
uncertainty. So one cannot come to a final state, holding up L's argument that 
corporeal bodies 
cannot be sustances. There's nothing left that one can point to. ] 

Natural numbers qualify as Leibnizian substances, since they are inextended 
and not divisible. They also do not have parts, so in L's terms, they are 
simple substances, 
which is another name for monads. Natural numbers are thus (Platonic) monads, 
not all monads are natural numbers. A man-- me, for example-- is not a natural 
even in the Platonic realm, but yet is a monad, separates comp from L's 
In addition, not all substances are monads. Those with more than one part, 
for example. This critical difference also separates comp from L metaphysics. 
At the same time, I am only looking at the difference 

Since time and space are in extended form, they are similarly infinitely 
divisible and hence 
are not substance and cannot be monads. The monadic world must then be entirely 

We now turn to the "at that level of description" issue, since although 
bodies are not substances, they can have physical parts. 
But a simple substance or monad is a mental substance without parts, so 
that we can only speak of a man as a whole thus as a monad. 
And that is precisely how Leibniz treats a man-- as a monad which is also a 
homunculus. With the traditional tripartite division into intellect, feeling, 
and body. 
With no barriers between, since they are all mental representations. Thus 
there is no logical problem with having body act on intellect and feeling, 
vice versa, or in any combination. 
Leibniz goes further to treat all monads as homunculi-- but with levels 
of intellect, feeling and body both appropriate to the substance 
and individual. Thus men have all three divisions, some with greater 
intellect than others, and so forth. 
Animals do not have (any significant) intellect, only feeling and body. 
Rocks only have body as a suignificant component. 
He does not rank vegetables but I personally would assign them 
to the animal category. 

BRUNO:-- either the idealistic or mental or inextended form of an extended 
corporeal body as a whole -- or the extended 
body itself (which may at the same time have some variations in composition and 
many types of substance). 
ROGER: No problem. 

BRUNO: Comp is neutral on this level [of the properties of an extended body]. 

It might be a very low level like if we needed to simulate the entire solar 
system at the level of string theory, 
or very high, like if we were the result of the information processing done by 
the neurons in our skull. Comp entails 
that NO machine can ever be sure about its substitution level (the level where 
we survive through the digital 
emulation), and so comp cannot be used normatively: if we are machine, we 
cannot know which machine we are, 
and thus "saying yes" to the digitalist doctor for an artificial brain demands 
some act of faith. 
It is a theological sort of belief in reincarnation, even if technological. It 
is theotechnology, if you want. 
No one can imposes this to some other. 

Then I show that comp leads to Plato, and refute Aristotle metaphysics. 
There are no ontological physical universe. 

the physical universe emerges from a gluing property of machines or number's 
The physical universe appears to be a tiny facet of reality. The proof is 
constructive and show how to derive physics from machine's dream theory (itself 
belonging to arithmetic); but of course this leads to open problems in 
arithmetic. What has been solved so far explains already most of the quantum 
aspect of reality, qualitatively and quantitatively. The approach explains also 
why from the number's points of view, quanta and qualia differentiate. The work 
is mainly a complete translation of a part of the 'mind-body problem' into a 
'belief in matter problem' in pure arithmetic. 

ROGER: I will pass on most of this for now as for one thing I do not understand 
what normalization is. 

The only issue that sticks out is Aristotle. My point of view
is that when in Leibnizland one whould think and do as Leibniz did.

And when in Aristotleland  one should do as Aristotle said and did.

ROGER: I obviously need to peruse your main idea . 
Do you have a link ? 

BRUNO: The more simple to read in english is probably the sane04: 

Abstract: I will first present a non constructive argument showing that the 
mechanist hypothesis in cognitive science gives enough 
constraints to decide what a "physical reality" can possibly consist in. Then I 
will explain how computer science, together with logic, 
makes it possible to extract a constructive version of the argument by 
interviewing a Modest or L?ian Universal Machine. 

Reversing von Neumann probabilistic interpretation of quantum logic on those 
provided by the L?ian Machine gives a testable 
explanation of how both communicable physical laws and incommunicable physical 
knowledge, i.e. sensations, arise from number theoretical relations. 



Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net 
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him 

Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net 
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him 
so that everything could function."

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to