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
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
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
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 <mailto:mbur...@math.ucla.edu>> wrote:
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
*_THEN_* “physical” has to be defined entirely in
arithmetical term, i.e. “physical” becomes a mathematical
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
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
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
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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