On 02 Oct 2012, at 12:30, Roger Clough wrote:

Hi Bruno Marchal

I agree that conscious selection is a posteriori,
but the selector and his possible biases or personal
baggage are a priori. He has or is a self.

It is the "a priori" part that I am referring to
when I insist that the selector must be
able to make autonomous choices. The choice
must be based mostly on the "inside" = the
selector's mind.  In other words,

autonomous = a priori

OK, so we agree on this too. To put it simply, choice depends on who you are, and who you are depends on who you have been.

Selection is used only in the QM or comp context, and has nothing to do with choice and autonomy. Its role in comp and QM is in the singularization and partial relative selection of the local "material" conditions (your most probable universal neighborhood).

My understanding of personal or subjective or 1p filtering
has little to do with where the person is (Washington or Moscow).
it has to do (if I might say it this way) with where the person has been.

Hmm, this defines the person. But in the duplication experience, the problem is that the "have been" is duplicated identically, and put in different places. This entails a first person indeterminacy: before the duplication, and knowing the protocol of the duplication, the person is indetermined about its immediate, post-duplication, future. This is almost another topics, and I have mentioned it only to recall that with comp, matter is not a primary stuff. You might read my paper sane04 if interested.

Yes, complete autonomy of the mind may not be possible, I agree,
but we seem to survive this problem.

Not sure. Anne Frank was an autonomous agent, until its neighborhood fight badly back: she did not survive the concentration camps. She might have survived in some alternate reality, but we can't access it now. Survival also is relative, but the death of others are "absolute relatively to the branch of reality you can be here and now".



My objection that sufficent computer autonomy may not be possible
to emulate life is still a  doubt in my mind.

Good. Doubting is a symptom of mind sanity and of soul honesty.




In both of these cases, the ultimate limitation might be language,
meaning words or the symbols of calculation. Peirce said that we
think in symbols. But symbols are Thirdness, the raw stuff
filtered (or distorted) from a particular point of view. Words
are known to be cultural products.  Symbols of computation
depend on what a computation can do and how we define
the symbols, which I suppose goes back to the limitations
and distortions of words.

Let me try this:

1) Computer programs use selected symbols and program designs.

Hmmm... OK (but this admits different interpretations, I choose the one which seems most coherent with the present discussion, and with comp).




2) These symbols and designs are man-made and hence sometimes
distorted and imperfect. I admit that simple calculations can be perfect.

Only locally so. Humans can believe that they have "invented" the computer, but computer have appeared in nature all the time since the beginning, and eventually with comp, nature itself is a "video game" selected by the infinitely many computers existing in arithmetic independently of time and space.




3) So computer programs are quite possibly reflections of whoever made the program,
   and of the distortions of computer language, not life itself.

I can guess the nuances, but it is a form of anthropomorphism. Life, for a computationalist is almost captured by a very simple program: "help yourself".



In essence what I am saying here is that only a perfect being can create life.

OK. Arithmetical truth can be considered perfect, somehow, and it creates life and lives.



But maybe I am being too hard on the possibilities or impossibilities.
A golem would still be interesting.


There is no worry. God recognizes his creatures, in heaven.
But it is nice also when the creatures recognizes themselves on earth, but that can take time.
It is nice as it makes suffering less necessary. It is harm reductive.
But women get the votes only recently herby, and machines, which are made into slaves at the start, are not yet asking.

Bruno

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



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