On 26 Sep 2013, at 12:34, David Nyman wrote:

On 26 September 2013 08:14, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

You argue, I think, that
computationalism escapes this by showing how computation and logic
emerge naturally from arithmetic.

And how this explains the appearance of discourse on consciousness and
matter

Yes, ISTM that this is where identity theories break down finally; the
explanation of the self-referential discourses is perhaps the most
persuasive aspect of comp. I was reflecting recently on "panpsychist
matter" theories such as those proposed by Galen Strawson (or Chalmers
in certain moods). ISTM that ideas like these run foul of the problem
of how to attribute consciousness to some "intrinsic" aspect of matter
whilst simultaneously justifying our ability to discourse about it.
Since the discourse part is rather obviously relational in nature it
is rather difficult to see how this could refer to any supposedly
"intrinsic" aspect of the relata. Any such aspect, even if it existed,
would be inaccessible to the relational level. After all, we don't
expect the characters in TV dramas to start discussing the intrinsic
qualities of the TV screen on which they are displayed!

Then I think there is a genuine concern due to the opposition between life and afterlife. may be theology is not for everybody, a bit like salvia: it asks for a genuine curiosity, and it can have some morbid aspect. I try to
understand why some machines indeed want to hold a contradictory
metaphysics, even up to the point of hiding obvious fact, like personal
consciousness.

Yes, ISTM that there's also often a kind of reflexive self-abnegation,
or a shrinking back from any idea that consciousness could have a role
to play in the story, let alone a central one. This is perhaps
understandable in the light of historically mistaken attempts to place
humanity at the centre of the cosmos. Science is therefore seen as
having finally defeated religion and superstition by taking the human
perspective entirely out of the equation. But ironically, taken to
extremes, such a one-eyed (or no-eyed) perspective may have the effect
of leaving us even more blind to our true nature than we ever were
before.

Very well said.


I think that this is due in part to the fact that many humans want to control other humans. It is simpler to do that with fairy tales and associative tricks (propaganda, the confusion between p->q and q->p) than with logic and common sense. The controller minded person fear the inconceivable freedom of the rigorous, honest, self-observing machine.

But fear sellers invest in ignorance, and certainties are only wall solidifying the ignorance, even from generations to generations.

Institutionalized religions make, often, the root of science, doubt, into the devil, making inquiry impossible. Another typical (and frightful) example is the NDAA 2012 bill, which is formulated in such a way that if you doubt the consistency of that very bill, makes you suspect of terrorism, and thus in risk to be detained indefinitely without trial. It is equivalent logically with "you cannot doubt me", it is about of the type [] <>t, it entails, [] f, whose fuzzy type is "promised catastrophes".

Some laws make inquiries about the very law impossible. The making of cannabis into schedule one is an example, as it forbids research on cannabis. The NDAA is another one. I think only bandits does that. I discovered that the founders of the American constitution were aware of such possibility and tried to prevent such laws, but apparently they failed. I heard that the supreme court judged the NDAA unconstitutional, but apparently the unnerving ambiguity remained in the NDAA 2013.

The NDAA bill is equivalent with "If you fear me, I will put you indefinitely in jail". It is bit like "if you don't love me, I will send you to hell for eternity". That's powerful self-replicating memes, which prevents thinking, and make other people controlling you by fears. To make this into a law is a mistake or a tyranny trick.

Bruno



David


On 25 Sep 2013, at 20:51, David Nyman wrote:

On 25 September 2013 15:01, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

I agree. It is in that sense that we can say that modern biophysics makes
vitalism irrelevant.

(I am actually arguing that computationalism makes materialism irrelevant
in that same sense).


Yes, I see that.

Of course the standard riposte to this riposte is indeed simply to
deny that there are "really" any such further first-person facts at
all


Which is or should be seen as contradictory by any non-zombie entity.


True, but nevertheless they don't always admit to it. I'm trying to
put my finger on just what it is that is so question-begging about
such a position.

(a position that Dennett has characterised as third person
absolutism).


Despite this, and because it takes Matter for granted, he still slips
himself into it, alas.


It's worse than that, alas; he seems to regard such absolutism as a
badge of hard-nosed scientific rigour.


It is common with Aristotelian theologian, doubly so when they are not aware
of doing theology.





My point here is to undermine
such a position by pointing out that, in simultaneously appropriating
what it denies, it is in fact radically self-contradictory.


Yes. In fine it is like saying "I am a zombie, everyone are zombie, and let
me compute without annoying me with persons, and consciousness".




In a fit
of hyperbole I once called this "metaphysical grand larceny".


... I think it explains why human sciences are so sick, and I think this is exploited by politics at many levels, from religious institution, health
politics, 9/11 and the imaginary enemies. It is total obscurantism.





it is central to reductionism that such
emergent levels play no independent role in the fundamental machinery.


OK. Of course it can play a role in our discovering of that fundamental
reality.


Sure, but then we must give an account of the emergent levels that has
an explicit motivation and justification in terms of our theory.


OK.




My
point is that there is no such explicit motivation or justification in
materialism, in which a maximally-reduced substrate has been
hypothesised at the start to do all the work.


To be frank, I think it can be done by lowering the substitution level so much that we can ecover some identity thesis. But doing that would prevent
the comp explanation, and reintroduce a mysterious "matter", and make
consciousness unexplainable. It introduces a "matter of the gap", so to
speak.





You argue, I think, that
computationalism escapes this by showing how computation and logic
emerge naturally from arithmetic.


And how this explains the appearance of discourse on consciousness and matter, OK. Logic itself is a tool, and is basically assumed in the theory.



Insofar as this is the case, ISTM
that your theory necessarily concedes (and of course tries to justify
from internal considerations) a quite different order of reality to
these derivatives of the fundamental arithmetical base.


Yes. there are only numbers (or combinators, programs), and all the rest
comes from an internal statistics on dreams made by them, and their
relations, or lack of relations, with arithmetical truth.






Reductive materialism has no business conceding any such ontological
novelty to "composite entities", even though precisely such a
concession is usually, and illicitly, assumed in order to conceal
internal contradiction (aka "sweeping the first-person under the
rug"). But in computationalism it cannot merely be a case of a
third-personal arithmetical substrate "doing all the work" on its own. Not only has each emergent "level" an explicit constructive role but,
in the final analysis, "reality" itself can only be recovered from a
first-personal perspective (i.e as  filtered through a myriad
self-referential points-of-view).


Yes.




Nature, as we might say, seems to compute exclusively from the bottom
up.


OK, and with comp the "bottom" is given by 0, its successor and + and *,
or
anything else Turing-Universal.


OK. But as I argue above, we cannot merely propose the existence of a "bottom" and leave it at that; this is the often-overlooked Achilles'
heel of reductive materialism. ISTM that comp's explicitly
constructive approach to each of its theoretical entities is a
distinctive advantage in this regard.


I can only agree.




If the foregoing point is fully taken on board, it should be apparent that our fundamental motivation for ascribing any truly independent
"reality" to derivative or emergent phenomena is actually their
appearance in some first-personal narrative.


Yes, but also our irresistible feeling that such narrative make sense,
and
that our words do indeed refer to something.


A crucial point.

Hence the primary
"first-person fact" that demands something beyond a strictly reductive
explanation is the peculiarly "non-derivative" status of a
point-of-view


I would say, "non justifiable entirely" by the machine, unless she bet on
comp explicitly.
I mean, the first person points of view are derived, in comp (+
Theaetetus)
by the machine inability to see that the points of view are ontologically equivalent. In modal logic, it comes from the fact that the following
equivalence:

Bp <-> Bp & p <-> Bp & Dt <-> Bp & Dt & p

although provable by G* (and thus arithmetically true), are not provable
by
the machine, and indeed obeys quite different logics.


This seems to me to be an extraordinarily subtle point (or perhaps I
have simply been very slow in grasping it).


It is subtle, no doubt. It exploits incompleteness in a place where most
people collapse the different points of view.



When you say above that
"the points of view are ontologically equivalent" you are justifying
this in terms of arithmetical truth itself. If so, the ontology on
which comp is based is not merely that of some simple arithmetical
substrate tout court, but crucially that of all truths derivable from
it, whether provable by any particular machine or not.


Yes.
(I would avoid the experession "arithmetical substrate", as some people can
believe that matter will be made of numbers, when there is only
psychological appearance of matter, supported by infinities of arithmetical
relations).
It is like in Mermin's Ithaca interpretation of QM: only relata, no real
objects per se.)




The
first-personal nuances then seem to depend on the particular
distinctions between what is true and what is provable from the
point-of-view of some particular machine.


Yes. + what is simply consistent (can be false).




"What is true" from the
point-of-view of a machine seems to be true in virtue of its
constitution, as opposed to its operational (or logical) capabilities;
i.e. first-personal truths are constitutive not demonstrative.


Well, the machine is platonist, that is believes that P is true, or NOT P is true, so truth will become a sort of unnameable "God" for her, or unnameable
transcendant realm, independent of any of her beliefs.





We could write:
"That this may appear less than obvious to us is a consequence of
machine's

inability even to frame the question, without the machine's assuming comp
and accepting the traditional account of knowledge (Bp & p, & Al.)"


Indeed. But some machines seem curiously capable of holding to a
reductively materialistic metaphysics without noticing how it cuts the
very ground from under them.



May be it is a fear of death in disguise, or a fear of the unknown, or a
difficulty to acknowledge ignorance, I don't know.
We have used authoritative arguments for so long in that field, that people
want to keep a sort of statu quo.
Then I think there is a genuine concern due to the opposition between life and afterlife. may be theology is not for everybody, a bit like salvia: it asks for a genuine curiosity, and it can have some morbid aspect. I try to
understand why some machines indeed want to hold a contradictory
metaphysics, even up to the point of hiding obvious fact, like personal
consciousness.

Bruno




David



On 25 Sep 2013, at 13:40, David Nyman wrote:

On 25 September 2013 05:03, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

We will have learned what emotions and feelings
are at the level of sensors and computation and action. And when we
have
done that 'the hard problem' will be seen to have been an idle question
-
like "What is life." proved to be in the 20th century.



David Chalmers has a good riposte to this, I think. He points out
that, properly framed, the question "What is Life?" was always going to
be answerable in terms of lower-level elements and processes of
systems we regard as alive.



I agree. It is in that sense that we can say that modern biophysics makes
vitalism irrelevant.

(I am actually arguing that computationalism makes materialism irrelevant
in that same sense).





Consequently, once these had been fully
elucidated (no matter how difficult this might turn out to be in
practice) we simply would have no motivation to look for further kinds of explanation. There never really was any reason to anticipate there
being some "hard problem" of Life. OTOH, he argues, even if we
possessed a fully adequate account of the brain in terms of its
relevant physical elements and processes, the question of why any
fully adequate third-person characterisation might imply any further
first-person facts would still remain.



Exactly. That is why there *is* a mind-body problem at the start.






Of course the standard riposte to this riposte is indeed simply to
deny that there are "really" any such further first-person facts at
all



Which is or should be seen as contradictory by any non-zombie entity.




(a position that Dennett has characterised as third person
absolutism).



Despite this, and because it takes Matter for granted, he still slips
himself into it, alas.





I wonder, however, whether this denial really makes any
sense in its own terms. After all, if one takes the reductive
enterprise as seriously as one ought, anything above the level of
fundamental constituents and their relations is understood as being derivative or emergent. IOW, in a sense (and a strong sense for our present purposes) such derivative levels are not independently "real".
It is easy to miss this point because of their explanatory
indispensability (e.g. Deutsch's example of the alternative histories
of the copper atom) but it is central to reductionism that such
emergent levels play no independent role in the fundamental machinery.



OK. Of course it can play a role in our discovering of that fundamental
reality.



Nature, as we might say, seems to compute exclusively from the bottom
up.



OK, and with comp the "bottom" is given by 0, its successor and + and *,
or
anything else Turing-Universal.






If the foregoing point is fully taken on board, it should be apparent that our fundamental motivation for ascribing any truly independent
"reality" to derivative or emergent phenomena is actually their
appearance in some first-personal narrative.



Yes, but also our irresistible feeling that such narrative make sense,
and
that our words do indeed refer to something.




IOW, it makes no
difference to Nature, conceived reductively, whether we choose to
explain the current location of a copper atom in terms of nations and wars, or the evolution of the wave-function of the universe, or the
structure of the Programmatic Library of Babel for that matter,
because the presumed-to-be-fundamental reality is understood to
subsist independently whatever the case. According to standard
reductionist principles, nations and wars - and indeed atoms and
molecules - are simply higher-order derivatives of more fundamental
entities and their relations. Indeed, more accurately, they simply
*are* those entities and their relations, without addition, in exactly the sense that football teams or societies simply *are* human beings
in relation, without addition.



OK.





My point here is that these derivatives, in the end, are point- of-view
dependent.



Indeed, with comp they will be redefined by the logically possible points
of
view of the relative "numbers" (program, Turing machines, whatever).






This is not to say, of course, that they are thereby simple
or arbitrary; quite the contrary.



Good to insist on that. For the ideally correct machines, they are
described
by precise infinities of number theoretical relations.





But there would be no need to appeal
to them at all were it not for the putative existence of
points-of-view in the first place. Nature, conceived purely as a
primary reality of fundamental entities and their relations,



of course with comp, what you call "nature" here is just the arithmetic
of
the *natural* number (coincidentally).





has no
truck with explaining the history of any particular copper atom in
terms of nations and wars or, for that matter, with distinguishing a
"copper atom" as worthy of explanation. Hence the primary
"first-person fact" that demands something beyond a strictly reductive
explanation is the peculiarly "non-derivative" status of a
point-of-view



I would say, "non justifiable entirely" by the machine, unless she bet on
comp explicitly.
I mean, the first person points of view are derived, in comp (+
Theaetetus)
by the machine inability to see that the points of view are ontologically equivalent. In modal logic, it comes from the fact that the following
equivalence:

Bp <-> Bp & p <-> Bp & Dt <-> Bp & Dt & p

although provable by G* (and thus arithmetically true), are not provable
by
the machine, and indeed obeys quite different logics.




and the "emergent" entities in which it apparently
deals. That this may appear less than obvious to us is a consequence of our seeming inability even to frame the question without assuming
the answer.



yes, and I think the math shows indeed this being true with "our"
referring
to all universal (Löbian) machines, indeed.
We could write:
"That this may appear less than obvious to us is a consequence of
machine's

inability even to frame the question, without the machine's assuming comp
and accepting the traditional account of knowledge (Bp & p, & Al.)"

Bruno





David


On 9/24/2013 8:44 PM, LizR wrote:

On 25 September 2013 15:41, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:



On 9/24/2013 6:32 PM, LizR wrote:

On 25 September 2013 13:38, Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au >
wrote:



This is also true of materialism. Whether you think this is a problem or not depends on whether you think the "hard problem" is a problem
or
not.




Indeed. I was about to say something similar (to the effect that it's
hard
to imagine how "mere atoms" can have sights, sounds, smells etc
either).


As a rule, if you want to explain X you need to start from something
without X.

Absolutely.

If you know of such an explanation, or even the outlines of one, I'd be interested to hear it. As Russell said, this is the so-called "hard
problem"
so any light (or sound, touch etc) on it would be welcome.


My 'solution' to the hard problem is to prognosticate that when we have
built intelligent robots we will have learned the significance of
having
an
internal narrative memory. We will have learned what emotions and
feelings
are at the level of sensors and computation and action. And when we
have
done that 'the hard problem' will be seen to have been an idle question
-
like "What is life." proved to be in the 20th century.

Brent

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