There were some reports in clinical psychology, about 30 years ago,
that relate to the question whether a machine can pretend to be a
therapist. That was the time as computers could newly be used in an
interactive fashion, and the Rogers techniques were a current discovery.
(Rogers developed a dialogue method where one does not address the
contents of what the patient says, but rather the emotional aspects of
the message, assumed to be at work in the patient.)
They then said, that in some cases it was indistinguishable, whether a
human or a machine provides the answer to a patient's elucidations.
Progress since then has surely made possible to create machines that
are indistinguishable in interaction to humans. Indeed, what is called
"expert systems ", are widely used in many fields. If the interaction
is rational, that is: formally equivalent to a logical discussion
modi Wittgenstein, the difference in: "who arrived at this answer,
machinery or a human", becomes irrelevant.
Artistry, intuition, creativity are presently seen as not possible to
translate into Wittgenstein sentences. Maybe the inner instincts are
not yet well understood. But!: there are some who are busily
undermining the current fundamentals of rational thinking. So there is
hope that we shall live to experience the ultimate disillusionment,
namely that humans are a combinatorial tautology.
Accordingly, may I respectfully express opposing views to what you
state: that machines and humans are of incompatible builds. There are
hints that as far as rational capabilities go, the same principles
apply. There is a rest, you say, which is not of this kind. The
counter argument says that irrational processes do not take place in
organisms, therefore what you refer to belongs to the main process,
maybe like waste belongs to the organism's principle. This view draws
a picture of a functional biotope, in which the waste of one kind of
organism is raw material for a different kind.
<tozziart...@libero.it <mailto:tozziart...@libero.it>> schrieb am Do.,
10. Mai 2018 15:24:
"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".
Therefore, you are talking of an HYPOTHESIS: it is not empirically
tested and it is not empirically testable. You are starting with a
sort of postulate: I, and other people, do not agree with it. The
current neuroscience does not state that our brain/body is (or can
be replaced by) a digital machine.
In other words, your "IF" stands for something that possibly does
not exist in our real world. Here your entire building falls down.
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 <mbur...@math.ucla.edu
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
My result here is that
*_IF_* indexical digital mechanism is correct in the cognitive
*_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
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
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
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
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.
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