On Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:26:07 PM UTC-4, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> On 20 Sep 2012, at 17:02, Craig Weinberg wrote: 
> > Here's another reductio ad absurdum illustration of comp. 
> > 
> > If the version of comp we are discussing here is independent of   
> > physics, then shouldn't it be possible for us to program universal   
> > machines using only empty space? 
> You are quite quick here, but have a good insight, as comp makes space   
> non clonable, indeterministic in the details, and plausibly Turing   
> universal, as QM confirms. The 0-body problem (the quantum vacuum) is   
> already Turing universal (I think). For classical physics you need   
> three bodies at least). 
What about an ideal vacuum? Just lengths multiplying and adding enumerated 
bundles of lengths. No quantum. 

> > Length can be quantified, so why can't we just use millimeters or   
> > Planck lengths as the basis for our enumeration, addition, and   
> > multiplication and directly program from our mind to space? 
> Who we? In the universe nearby it costs a lot of energy/money/time to   
> handle matter already gigantic compared to the Planck length.  

> Or are you suggesting we are already simulated by the quantum vacuum.   
> Very plausible, but comp asks for justifying this in arithmetic. 

I'm saying that whatever program we access when we choose what we think 
about should be able to run just as easily in space as it does through the 
brain. I should be able to pick an area of my house and leave a bunch of 
memories there and then come back to them later just be occupying the same 
space. That's if we define space as relative to my house and not the 
rotating planet, revolving sun, etc.

So it sounds like you are not opposed to this idea of computation with no 
resources whatsoever besides space, provided that it could be justified 
arithmetically (which I don't understand why it wouldn't be. how does comp 
know if it's running on matter or space?)

> > 
> > Of course, it would be hard to know where it was because we would be   
> > constantly flying away from a space that was anchored to an absolute   
> > position independent of Earth, the solar system, Milky Way, etc, but   
> > that shouldn't matter anyhow since whatever method we use to   
> > directly program in empty space with our minds should also give us   
> > access to the results of the computations. 
> ? 

I mean if I could stand completely still then the planet would fly off from 
under my feet and I would be left standing exactly where I was with the 
Earth revolving past me at 107,000 km/hr. I would occupy the same space 
while the Earth, Sun, and galaxy sweep away from me.

If instead of me, it was memories I had stashed away in space, then my body 
would be soon separated from the absolute position that I had placed them. 
It shouldn't matter though, since by the same method of thinking numbers 
into space, I should be able to retrieve them too, regardless of the 
distance between my body and the numbers.

> > 
> > What do you think? Just as wafers of silicon glass could in theory   
> > be functionally identical to a living brain, wouldn't it be equally   
> > prejudiced to say that empty space isn't good enough to host the   
> > computations of silicon? 
> Empty space, in any turing universal theory, is equivalent with   
> universal dovetailing. It is a trivial theory, as when we assume comp,   
> the space and belief in spaces have to be justified through number   
> "dreams" statistics. 

So you are saying yes to the space doctor?

> The advantage of comp is that we can use math and more easily reason   
> clearly. We can formulate key parts of the mind body problem   
> mathematically. 

I don't question that, and I think that it may ultimately be the only way 
of engineering mind body solutions - but I still think that if we really 
want to know the truth about mind body, we can only find that in the 
un-numbered, un-named meta-juxtapostions of experienced sense.

> And computationalists are cool as they don't think twice before giving   
> the restaurant menu to the puppet who asks politely. They don't judge   
> people from their religion, skin color, clothes, or if made of wood,   
> or metal or flesh, as long as they behave respectfully of course. 

I can behave respectfully to a puppet too, but I feel hypocritical because 
I wouldn't change places with them for any reason. 

> Bruno 
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/ 

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