Dear Arturo,

> On 10 May 2018, at 15:23, wrote:
> Dear Bruno, 
> You state: 
> "IF indexical digital mechanism is correct in the cognitive science,
> THEN “physical” has to be defined entirely in arithmetical term, i.e. 
> “physical” becomes a mathematical notion.
> ...Indexical digital mechanism is the hypothesis that there is a level of 
> description of the brain/body such that I would survive, or “not feel any 
> change” if my brain/body is replaced by a digital machine emulating the 
> brain/body at that level of description".
> The problem of your account is the following:
> You say "IF" and "indexical digital mechanism is the HYPOTHESIS”.
Yes, indeed. It is my working hypothesis. The idea came when asking myself how 
an amoeba can build an amoeba. Then I discovered the solution provided by 
molecular genetics, and eventually I found a conceptually isomorphic 
explanation in arithmetic. Note that by making explicit the use of the level of 
description, my hypothesis is much weaker than most form of computationalism 
you can see in the literature. My reasoning would remain valid even if my body 
is the entire universe, described by quantum string theory with 10^(10^100) 
exact decimals.

> Therefore, you are talking of an HYPOTHESIS: it is not empirically tested and 
> it is not empirically testable. 
I start from an hypothesis and show, on the contrary that it is testable. I 
predicted well before I knew anything on quantum mechanics that Mechanism 
entails that if we look at nature below our substitution level, we should find 
the trace of infinitely many computations, and only later did I discover that 
quantum mechanics, without the wave collapse, entails something very similar. 
But Mechanism leads also to a complete formalism for both quanta and qualia, 
and here too, the theory/hypothesis match with facts. As it predicts a richer 
formalism, some crucial tests remain to be done. 

> You are starting with a sort of postulate: I, and other people, do not agree 
> with it. 
I prefer to not say my opinion. I am not defending Mechanism. I show it 
testable. My goal consists in showing that we can do metaphysics with the 
scientific method, where we never claim that something is true, just that the 
evidences makes it plausible.

The negation of the digital mechanist theory is usually considered as more 
“extra-ordinary”, as it implies either actual infinities, or some sort of 
magic. If you think that a brain is not Turing emulable, you might be the one 
to whom people can ask: what is your evidence? You might need to refer to 
something non computable in Nature and not recoverable through the first person 
indeterminacy. Note that mechanism entails that physics is NOT emulable by a 
Turing machine, and that consciousness is NOT emulable by a machine), so you 
need special sort of infinities. In fact, non-computationalism can only benefit 
from the study of computationalism, as it shows what is need for a theory to be 
a non-computationalist theory of mind. 

> The current neuroscience does not state that our brain/body is (or can be 
> replaced by) a digital machine.
At which level?

Except for the famous but controversial “reduction of the wave packet” we still 
don’t have find in Nature a non computable process. That might exist, as we can 
“mathematically” find non computable solution to the Schroedinger equation, but 
those are not of the type we observe anywhere.

> In other words, your "IF" stands for something that possibly does not exist 
> in our real world.  Here your entire building falls down.  


It falls down because you are making the contrary hypothesis, the hypothesis 
that something is not Turing emulable in nature, nor recoverable by the first 
person indeterminacy. That might be possible, but that has not been proved, nor 
even really defined. Your own hypothesis falls down by a similar argument than 
yours, but your own hypothesis is not as well clear as mine, unless you invoke 
the wave collapse? In that case, I will ask your evidence for the wave collapse.

You cannot use the word “real”. That is the same mistake than using the word 
God. What is real is what we search. We cannot start from the answer.

My feeling is that you confuse the universal machine, which is only partially 
computable, and confronted to a lot of non computable truth in arithmetic with 
the pre-Godelian conception of the machine, closer to to the notion now called 
automata. I guess I will have opportunity to make this clear.

I would like to insist (and detailed perhaps later) that Mechanism is the less 
reductionist theory we can imagine. Indeed, a universal machine can refute all 
complete theories about itself. It is a sort of universal dissident. More 
intuitively, it does not qualify as zombie a man or woman who would have 
survived with some brain prosthesis. The moral question will eventually be this 
one: “do you accept that your son or daughter marry someone having got an 
artificial hippocampus prosthesis? 


> --
> Inviato da Libero Mail per Android
> giovedì, 10 maggio 2018, 02:46PM +02:00 da Bruno Marchal 
> <>:
> (This mail has been sent previously , but without success. I resend it, with 
> minor changes). Problems due to different accounts. It was my first comment 
> to Mark Burgin new thread “Is information physical?”.
> Dear Mark, Dear Colleagues,
> Apology for not answering the mails in the chronological orders, as my new 
> computer classifies them in some mysterious way!
> This is my first post of the week. I might answer comment, if any, at the end 
> of the week.
>> On 25 Apr 2018, at 03:47, Burgin, Mark < 
>> <>> wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> I would like to suggest the new topic for discussion
>>                                       Is information physical?
> That is an important topic indeed, very close to what I am working on. 
> My result here is that 
> IF indexical digital mechanism is correct in the cognitive science, 
> THEN  “physical” has to be defined entirely in arithmetical term, i.e. 
> “physical” becomes a mathematical notion.
> The proof is constructive. It shows exactly how to derive physics from 
> Arithmetic (the reality, not the theory. I use “reality” instead of “model" 
> (logician’s term, because physicists use “model" for “theory").
> Indexical digital mechanism is the hypothesis that there is a level of 
> description of the brain/body such that I would survive, or “not feel any 
> change” if my brain/body is replaced by a digital machine emulating the 
> brain/body at that level of description.
> Not only information is not physical, but matter, time, space, and all 
> physical objects become part of the universal machine phenomenology. Physics 
> is reduced to arithmetic, or, equivalently, to any Turing-complete machinery. 
> Amazingly Arithmetic (even the tiny semi-computable part of arithmetic) is 
> Turing complete (Turing Universal).
> The basic idea is that:
> 1) no universal machine can distinguish if she is executed by an arithmetical 
> reality or by a physical reality. And,
> 2) all universal machines are executed in arithmetic, and they are 
> necessarily undetermined on the set of of all its continuations emulated in 
> arithmetic. 
> That reduces physics to a statistics on all computations relative to my 
> actual state, and see from some first person points of view (something I can 
> describe more precisely in some future post perhaps).
> Put in that way, the proof is not constructive, as, if we are machine, we 
> cannot know which machine we are. But Gödel’s incompleteness can be used to 
> recover this constructively for a simpler machine than us, like Peano 
> arithmetic. This way of proceeding enforces the distinction between first and 
> third person views (and six others!).
> I have derived already many feature of quantum mechanics from this (including 
> the possibility of quantum computer) a long time ago.  I was about sure this 
> would refute Mechanism, until I learned about quantum mechanics, which 
> verifies all the most startling predictions of Indexical Mechanism, unless we 
> add the controversial wave collapse reduction principle.
> The curious “many-worlds” becomes the obvious (in arithmetic) many 
> computations (up to some equivalence quotient). The weird indeterminacy 
> becomes the simpler amoeba like duplication. The non-cloning of matter 
> becomes obvious: as any piece of matter is the result of the first person 
> indeterminacy (the first person view of the amoeba undergoing a duplication, 
> …) on infinitely many computations. This entails also that neither matter 
> appearance nor consciousness are Turing emulable per se, as the whole 
> arithmetical reality—which is a highly non computable notion as we know since 
> Gödel—plays a key role. Note this makes Digital Physics leaning to 
> inconsistency, as it implies indexical computationalism which implies the 
> negation of Digital Physics (unless my “body” is the entire physical 
> universe, which I rather doubt).
>> My opinion is presented below:
>>    Why some people erroneously think that information is physical
>>    The main reason to think that information is physical is the strong 
>> belief of many people, especially, scientists that there is only physical 
>> reality, which is studied by science. At the same time, people encounter 
>> something that they call information.
>>    When people receive a letter, they comprehend that it is information 
>> because with the letter they receive information. The letter is physical, 
>> i.e., a physical object. As a result, people start thinking that information 
>> is physical. When people receive an e-mail, they comprehend that it is 
>> information because with the e-mail they receive information. The e-mail 
>> comes to the computer in the form of electromagnetic waves, which are 
>> physical. As a result, people start thinking even more that information is 
>> physical.
>>    However, letters, electromagnetic waves and actually all physical objects 
>> are only carriers or containers of information.
>>    To understand this better, let us consider a textbook. Is possible to say 
>> that this book is knowledge? Any reasonable person will tell that the 
>> textbook contains knowledge but is not knowledge itself. In the same way, 
>> the textbook contains information but is not information itself. The same is 
>> true for letters, e-mails, electromagnetic waves and other physical objects 
>> because all of them only contain information but are not information. For 
>> instance, as we know, different letters can contain the same information. 
>> Even if we make an identical copy of a letter or any other text, then the 
>> letter and its copy will be different physical objects (physical things) but 
>> they will contain the same information.
>>    Information belongs to a different (non-physical) world of knowledge, 
>> data and similar essences. In spite of this, information can act on physical 
>> objects (physical bodies) and this action also misleads people who think 
>> that information is physical.
> OK. The reason is that we can hardly imagine how immaterial or non physical 
> objects can alter the physical realm. It is the usual problem faced by 
> dualist ontologies. With Indexical computationalism we recover many 
> dualities, but they belong to the phenomenologies.
>>    One more misleading property of information is that people can measure 
>> it. This brings an erroneous assumption that it is possible to measure only 
>> physical essences. Naturally, this brings people to the erroneous conclusion 
>> that information is physical. However, measuring information is essentially 
>> different than measuring physical quantities, i.e., weight. There are no 
>> “scales” that measure information. Only human intellect can do this.
> OK. I think all intellect can do that, not just he human one.
> Now, the reason why people believe in the physical is always a form of the 
> “knocking table” argument. They knocks on the table and say “you will not 
> tell me that this table is unreal”.
> I have got so many people giving me that argument, that I have made dreams in 
> which I made that argument, or even where I was convinced by that argument … 
> until I wake up.
> When we do metaphysics with the scientific method, this “dream argument” 
> illustrates that seeing, measuring, … cannot prove anything ontological. A 
> subjective experience proves only the phenomenological existence of 
> consciousness, and nothing more. It shows that although there are plenty of 
> strong evidences for a material reality, there are no evidences (yet) for a 
> primitive or primary matter (and that is why, I think, Aristotle assumes it 
> quasi explicitly, against Plato, and plausibly against Pythagorus).
> Mechanism forces a coming back to Plato, where the worlds of ideas is the 
> world of programs, or information, or even just numbers, since very 
> elementary arithmetic (PA without induction, + the predecessor axiom) is 
> already Turing complete (it contains what I have named a Universal 
> Dovetailer: a program which generates *and* executes all programs).
> So I agree with you: information is not physical. I claim that if we assume 
> Mechanism (Indexical computationalism) matter itself is also not *primarily* 
> physical: it is all in the “head of the universal machine/number” (so to 
> speak).
> And this provides a test for primary matter: it is enough to find if there is 
> a discrepancy between the physics that we infer from the observation, and the 
> physics that we extract from “the head” of the machine. This took me more 
> than 30 years of work, but the results obtained up to now is that there is no 
> discrepancies. I have compared the quantum logic imposed by incompleteness 
> (formally) on the semi-computable (partial recursive, sigma_1) propositions, 
> with most quantum logics given by physicists, and it fits rather well.
> Best regards,
> Bruno
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