On 16 Oct 2012, at 10:02, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

On Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 1:38 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

A possible answer is that all
possible universes exist and we find ourselves in one of those that
has the kind of physical laws leading to observers.

I'm familiar with the Anthropic principle, but what program does it run on and where did the language that that program was written in come from?

The universe is algorithmic insofar as a small number of physical rules gives rise to everything that we see around us. There is of course the idea that the universe is actually a simulation but that is more controversial.

What is a universe. Is there a universe? If we are Turing emulable machine, then there is no primitive universe, and the appearance of a universe is an emergent property of the (finite pieces of) computations (which exist in arithmetic, by the Church Thesis component of comp).

Given that we have empirical reason to disbelieve in solipism, we do share normal (gaussian) computations, making us having a common substitution level, and predicting that below such a level, we have indirect access to the "parallel computations", a startling fact confirmed by QM-without-collapse.

If a collection of spring-loaded dominoes becomes so complex that you
can't understand it or predict what it's going to do next, you will
have to be careful what you say to it.

No, you won't. The limitations of our own intellectual capacity to keep track of complex quantities is no excuse to turn water into wine. Complexity in itself is meaningless without something to make sense of that complexity,
to sum it up, in some qualitative presentation which is completely
orthogonal to quantity.

A particular type of complexity is able to make sense of itself. That is the defining feature of a mind.

OK. It is the universal level, although the LĂ´bian one is the one sharable and the one the machine can talk about.

Which is why it appears that consciousness is epiphenomenal; if it
were not then we would be zombies.

You don't need zombies when you have puppets. Zombies gives an inanimate
object way too much credit.

I'm not sure why you prefer "puppet" to "zombie" but if they mean the
same thing, OK.

The difference is that a zombie is charged with an expectation of life which is absent. We have no such expectation of life in a puppet, so we correctly identify it as a fictional presentation in our minds of a natural object
rather than a supernatural being who lacks personal presence.

A philosophical zombie is not charged with an expectation of anything mental, that is one of its defining characteristics.

Absolutely. We could add that a p-zombie is not a puppet, as a puppet is supposed to be controlled by its owner. But a p-zombie has *all* the appearance of controlling itself, and in that sense, does indeed controlled itself, just that he has non consciousness, no qualia, etc.


By epiphenomenal I mean a necessary side-effect of the type of
intelligent behaviour putatively conscious organisms display.

It's a contradiction to expect that a universe can be based entirely in
necessity and then to imagine that there could be some kind of side
which is in some way pseudo-experiential. It is sawing off the branch
are sitting on. Your argument is an epiphenomenon - a necessary side
effect...of what?

When you place three spheres together so that they are touching you
create a triangle.

Not if you can only see the two closest spheres. Not if the spheres are black in a dark room. Not if the spheres are made of smoke. Etc. Formation is not an independent property. It is contingent upon interpretative senses. If I place three spheres together, what do they sound like? Limiting our consideration of the universe to geometric forms and algebraic functions is useful precisely because it is the most meaningless way to approach the universe. It is the absolute most aloof and detached perspective from which we can imagine ourselves a dimensionless voyeur. It's a conceit which is
incredibly useful but ultimately the very worst possible approach to
understanding subjectivity, and one of the worst approaches to understanding the cosmos as a whole (even though it is one of the best in a different sense, as the meaningless truths are by definition the most universal, since
meaning is about private experiences of significance.)

The triangle is a necessary side-effect of putting
the spheres together in that way.

Only if you are a thing who can see triangles and the spheres are made of the kind of thing which we can see in a consistent and unambiguously clear

The point is that the supervenient triangular property, whatever by whomever and under whatever circumstances it may be so called, cannot be separated from the three spheres touching. It may or may not be the case for brain and mind but I give this as an example to at least make it clear what I mean.

When you create a system that perceives, responds, perceives its own
response, adjusts its response, etc. you have a system that is

This is begging the question. The only way that we know how to do this is to reproduce biologically. Otherwise you are saying that if I have a cartoon of
Bugs Bunny which children see as a system where Bugs Bunny perceives,
responds, perceives his own response, adjusts its response, etc, then Bugs
Bunny is conscious.

It's "begging the question" if I make the assumption in the premises of an argument that purports to prove it. But I propose it as a theory: if Bugs Bunny does do this in an interactive way, such as a real rabbit would, then Bugs Bunny is indeed as conscious as a real rabbit.

The consciousness is a necessary side-effect of such a

Why should it be? How could it happen? Just a disembodied metaphysical magic that appears whenever a system which we have designed to seem to act in a
way that reminds us of ourselves?

What we observe is that when certain physical processes happen, consciousness happens. This is a minimal theory. It's like observing the inverse square law for gravitational attraction. As a minimal theory, it is enough until new facts come along requiring further explanation.

Now, you don't like this idea but what's wrong with it apart from
that? It's a minimal explanation and it's consistent with all the

I like the idea fine, it's just that I understand why it doesn't work. I see
the gaping hole in it, because it is the same hole that I came though

So what fact is explained by your theory that is not equally well explained by the theory that consciousness supervenes on intelligence?

Stathis Papaioannou

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