Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-04-20 Thread David Nyman
On 21 March 2010 19:50, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

Bruno, I've been continuing to pummel my brain, on and off, about the
issues in this thread, and also reading and thinking about different
perspectives on the knowledge paradox (such as Gregg Rosenberg's).
If I may, let me put some thoughts to you in a slightly different way
than heretofore.

The apparent paradox, as we've discussed, seems to stem from the fact
that - whether we derive this insight from comp, or even from
mathematical physics - we seem as persons to be restricted to using
formal processes in respect of what we are able to represent, think or
communicate.  Nevertheless we are justifiably convinced, beyond this,
that we have first-person access to further non-formal properties of
our situation, despite the fact that these seem to be utterly
inexpressible, either to ourselves or to others (Wovon man nicht
sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.).  This seems to pose at
least the following questions:

1. How can the existence (though not the intrinsic nature) of putative
non-formal properties be recognisable - indeed representable - in some
way to otherwise purely formal reasoning mechanisms, and form the
basis of our apparent references to them?  This is a critical matter
that - in terms of comp - you appear to address with respect to the
characteristics of particular logical systems, an aspect that BTW
doesn't seem to be widely appreciated in the philosophical literature
in this connection.

2. How are we to regard the status of such privileged non-formal
properties, given that they don't appear directly to motivate our
apparent judgements about them (which presumably are actually about
their formal analogues)?  Is first-person consciousness of such
properties to be regarded as an aspect of epistemology (i.e. as
somehow adding to the knowledge, though apparently not the behavioural
repertoire, of the person); or is it more properly a fact of ontology
(i.e. reflecting in some way the existential commitment of the
person)?  Or does it somehow partake of both aspects?

3. Finally, are we to understand the totality of our experience as in
some way the convergence of the formal and non-formal aspects of our
situation in a mutually dependent relation?  That is, in the sense
that the formal aspect arises ultimately out of - or in terms of - a
non-formalisable background, which in turn only achieves
differentiation and personalisation when caught in the net of the
formal.

The above thoughts seem to me to go some way to resolving, at least in
my own mind, the knowledge paradox, in a non-paradoxical way.  I'm
least clear, however, on the details of what is implied in point 1
above: i.e. the crucial aspect of how the non-formal gets caught in
the net of the formal).  It must be frustrating for you if you feel
you have already explained this on numerous occasions - but I suspect
there are very specific aspects of the logics you have mentioned
heretofore which must be absorbed in close detail to drive this point
home intuitively (as I say, there seems to be little appreciation of
this in the literature).  I feel this is the final step I need in
order to achieve a logically compelling solution to this nagging
problem.

David


 On 20 Mar 2010, at 21:34, David Nyman wrote:

 On 20 March 2010 18:22, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 Well, if by 3-p Chalmers you mean some 'body', such a body *is* a zombie.
 The 1-p Chalmers is Chalmers, the person. Its body does not think, but
 makes
 higher the probability that the 1-p thoughts refers to the most probable
 computations you are sharing with him.

 Well, if its body does not think (which of course Chalmers assumes
 that it does, even though he says from his epiphenomenalist-dualist
 standpoint that this does not logically entail consciousness), just
 how does it increase the probabilities in the way you say above?


 That is what uda is all about. It shows that your current next 1-state is
 determined by all the universal UD-computations, which are going through the
 infinitely many 3-states corresponding (by comp) to that 1-state;
 equivalently, by an infinite set of number theoretical relations, which
 happen to be true.




  IOW,
 what is the systematic correlation supposed to be between the
 physical events in its brain and the 1-p thoughts of 1-p Chalmers?

 The 1-p thoughts are associated to the infinitely many computations (in UD*)
 leading to the 3-p states.
 The next 1-p thought depends on the most probable type of computations.
 Probably there is a special role for deep and linear computation, to make
 duplication contagious from individual to population of individuals. But
 this has to be confirmed from a reasonable definition of knowledge,
 observation, ... , like the Theaetetical variants of G and G*.



 This, after all, is a major aspect of  the mind--body problem, and
 it's one thing for the explanation to be counter-intuitive, but right
 now I'm not sure I could claim 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-03-21 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 20 Mar 2010, at 21:34, David Nyman wrote:


On 20 March 2010 18:22, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

Well, if by 3-p Chalmers you mean some 'body', such a body *is* a  
zombie.
The 1-p Chalmers is Chalmers, the person. Its body does not think,  
but makes
higher the probability that the 1-p thoughts refers to the most  
probable

computations you are sharing with him.


Well, if its body does not think (which of course Chalmers assumes
that it does, even though he says from his epiphenomenalist-dualist
standpoint that this does not logically entail consciousness), just
how does it increase the probabilities in the way you say above?



That is what uda is all about. It shows that your current next 1-state  
is determined by all the universal UD-computations, which are going  
through the infinitely many 3-states corresponding (by comp) to that 1- 
state; equivalently, by an infinite set of number theoretical  
relations, which happen to be true.






 IOW,
what is the systematic correlation supposed to be between the
physical events in its brain and the 1-p thoughts of 1-p Chalmers?


The 1-p thoughts are associated to the infinitely many computations  
(in UD*) leading to the 3-p states.
The next 1-p thought depends on the most probable type of  
computations. Probably there is a special role for deep and linear  
computation, to make duplication contagious from individual to  
population of individuals. But this has to be confirmed from a  
reasonable definition of knowledge, observation, ... , like the  
Theaetetical variants of G and G*.





This, after all, is a major aspect of  the mind--body problem, and
it's one thing for the explanation to be counter-intuitive, but right
now I'm not sure I could claim any firm intuition about it at all.



I am not sure at all what you still feel missing. Once you get the  
local 1-indeterminacy, steps 8 and 7, entails a global and constant  
1-indeterminacy on all the UD states, or on all sigma_1 true sentences  
weighted by their proofs. Those states and computations are there,  
like the little Mandebrot sets exists in the Mandelbrot set. It is a  
shock like DeWitt said that Everett is a shock. matter here and  
now, as perceived, is determined by a limit on UD's work.






Let me try to tease this out, giving your words, as you say, their
most favourable interpretation - for me, that is.  By the
computations you are sharing with him I assume you to refer to the
1-p-plural computations (as you reserve 3-p for the arithmetical
reality).


One 1-plural computation is a  computation containing many  
interacting lobian machines. An emulation of heisenberg matrix or the  
universal wave provides examples. Note that the UD generates among its  
computations such quantum rational evolution, but the limit one we are  
confronted with may be define on the reals or complex numbers. The  
question becomes why does quantum computation or topology wins with  
respect to the observable world(s).





 IOW the UD generates (amongst everything else) the
1-p-plural appearances that constitute all possible perceptions of our
shared environment in all its possible extensions.


I would not say that. The UD generates none experience, for the  
experiences are statistically defined from inside, and bears on the  
whole actual UD* (or the Sigma_1 arithmetical truth with their  
proofs).






Included in
these, of course, are our bodies,



or many relative state-bodies. But our 1-perception of those bodies  
are sum on all computations in UD*.







and we expect - pace white rabbits -
our bodily activities (including, naturally, our brains) to be
consistent with our thoughts and with the behaviour of the rest of the
environment.


We hope to rely on some stable probable universal system.
Comp makes it independent of the base phi_i (and thus independent of  
the choice quantum/classical). To choose the quantum one is treachery,  
as far as we are interested in the consciousnesss/reality problem.






Nonetheless, presumably it is the case that there are white rabbit
extensions in which my response to the pain of being burned is to do
something pathological such as thrust my hand further into the flame.
But the effect in experience of even a high measure of divergent
pathological extensions is hypothesised as being damped by the
convergence of normal behavioural extensions (maybe corresponding to
some version of the least action principle, a la Feynman - and perhaps
illuminating also the unreasonable a posteriori effectiveness of
Occam).


Yes, Feynman solved the white rabbit quantum problem. But with comp  
it remains to be solve. Does the S4Grz1, Z1* and X1* logic impose some  
Gleason theorem and unicity of measure? Open problems (only  
encouraging results in that direction).





So the effect is to make it very much more likely that my
actions will be consistent with my thoughts, including the actions of
my brain.


Basically this is why we have to 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-03-20 Thread David Nyman
On 24 February 2010 17:57, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 Please, keep in mind I may miss your point, even if I prefer to say that you
 are missing something, for being shorter and keeping to the point. You
 really put your finger right on the hardest part of the mind-body problem.

Bruno, I've been continuing to think, and meditate, about our recent
discussions, and have been re-reading (insofar as I can follow it)
your on-line paper Computation, Consciousness and the Quantum.  I
feel I have more of a sense of how the aspects I've been questioning
you about fit together in the comp view, but if I may, I would like to
press you on a couple of points.

My original post on non-computability was motivated by re-reading
Chalmers and struggling again with his assertion that a zombie (e.g.
including the 3-p Chalmers that wrote The Conscious Mind!) could
nonetheless refer to consciousness and hence be behaviourally
indistinguishable from a conscious entity.  I realise, by the way,
that when considering thought experiments, including your own, one
should not treat them in a naively realistic way, but rather focus on
their logical implications.  The problem with Chalmers' logic seems to
me to be that he has to assume that his zombie will have formal access
to what AFAICS are non-formalisable states.  Now, in CCQ, and in
discussion, you appear to say that Lobian machines can in fact refer
formally to what is non-formalisable.  This could at first glance seem
to support Chalmers' argument (which I assume is not your intention)
unless you also mean that the formal consequences (extensions) of
such non-formalisable references would somehow be characteristically
different in the absence of the non-formal aspect (i.e. zombie-land
would in fact look very different).  IOW, consciousness should give
the appearance of exerting a causal influence on the physical, in
(naive) everyday terms.

In CCQ you point out that we must not forget that the extensions
must not only be consistent, but must also be accessible by the
universal dovetailer.  Hence, which extensions are accessible by a
conscious (non-formalisable) decision-maker would appear nonetheless
to be formalisable.  Again, my question is: how would the range of
accessible extensions for a zombie (purely formal) decision-maker be
characteristically different?  For example, you cite the
self-speeding-up effect of consciousness with respect to the
organism's relation to its neighbourhood as a pragmatic argument for
the selective utility of consciousness.  I assume this implies that a
conscious decision-maker would be likely to find itself in
characteristically different extensions to its environment as
compared with a non-conscious decision-maker, but some clarification
on this would be very helpful.

David


 On 23 Feb 2010, at 22:05, David Nyman wrote:

 Bruno, I want to thank you for such a complete commentary on my recent
 posts - I will need to spend quite a bit of time thinking carefully
 about everything you have said before I respond at length.

 Thanks for your attention, David.
 Please, keep in mind I may miss your point, even if I prefer to say that you
 are missing something, for being shorter and keeping to the point. You
 really put your finger right on the hardest part of the mind-body problem.


  I'm sure
 that I'm quite capable of becoming confused between a theory and its
 subject, though I am of course alive to the distinction.  In the
 meantime, I wonder if you could respond to a supplementary question in
 grandmother mode, or at least translate for grandma, into a more
 every-day way of speaking, the parts of your commentary that are most
 relevant to her interest in this topic.

 I am a bit panicking, because you may be asking for something impossible.
 How to explain in *intuitive every-day terms* (cf grandmother) what is
 provably counter-intuitive for any ideally perfect Löbian entity?
 Bohr said that to say we understand quantum mechanics, means that we don't
 understand.
 Comp says this with a revenge: it proves that there is necessarily an
 unbridgeable gap. You will not believe it, not understand it, nor know it to
 be true, without losing consistency and soundness. But you may understand
 completely while assuming comp it has to be like that.
 But I will try to help grandma.

 Let us suppose that, to use the example I have already cited, that
 grandma puts her hand in a flame, feels the unbearable agony of
 burning, and is unable to prevent herself from withdrawing her hand
 with a shriek of pain.

 OK.


  Let us further suppose (though of course this
 may well be ambiguous in the current state of neurological theory)
 that a complete and sufficient 3-p description of this (partial)
 history of events is also possible in terms of nerve firings,
 cognitive and motor processing, etc. (the details are not so important
 as the belief that such a complete history could be given).

 OK. (for the moment)




 From the
 point of view of 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-03-20 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 20 Mar 2010, at 16:56, David Nyman wrote:


On 24 February 2010 17:57, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

Please, keep in mind I may miss your point, even if I prefer to say  
that you
are missing something, for being shorter and keeping to the point.  
You
really put your finger right on the hardest part of the mind-body  
problem.


Bruno, I've been continuing to think, and meditate, about our recent
discussions, and have been re-reading (insofar as I can follow it)
your on-line paper Computation, Consciousness and the Quantum.  I
feel I have more of a sense of how the aspects I've been questioning
you about fit together in the comp view, but if I may, I would like to
press you on a couple of points.

My original post on non-computability was motivated by re-reading
Chalmers and struggling again with his assertion that a zombie (e.g.
including the 3-p Chalmers that wrote The Conscious Mind!) could
nonetheless refer to consciousness and hence be behaviourally
indistinguishable from a conscious entity.


So you talk here on the philosophical zombie which is counterfactually  
correct.
Well, if by 3-p Chalmers you mean some 'body', such a body *is* a  
zombie.
The 1-p Chalmers is Chalmers, the person. Its body does not think, but  
makes higher the probability that the 1-p thoughts refers to the most  
probable computations you are sharing with him.






 I realise, by the way,
that when considering thought experiments, including your own, one
should not treat them in a naively realistic way, but rather focus on
their logical implications.


Indeed! Absolutely so. I thought this was obvious (it should be for  
deductive philosophers).





The problem with Chalmers' logic seems to
me to be that he has to assume that his zombie will have formal access
to what AFAICS are non-formalisable states.


Well, assuming comp, if the zombie has the right computer in its  
skull, it has access to the non formalisable propositions, notions, 1- 
states etc. (the 3-states are always formal).
But if the zombie skull is empty, then its counterfactual correctness  
is just magical, and it makes no sense to say it accesses some states  
or not. There are no 1-person state (because it is a zombie), nor 3- 
person state, because there is no digital machine in its (local) body.





 Now, in CCQ, and in
discussion, you appear to say that Lobian machines can in fact refer
formally to what is non-formalisable.  This could at first glance seem
to support Chalmers' argument (which I assume is not your intention)
unless you also mean that the formal consequences (extensions) of
such non-formalisable references would somehow be characteristically
different in the absence of the non-formal aspect (i.e. zombie-land
would in fact look very different).  IOW, consciousness should give
the appearance of exerting a causal influence on the physical, in
(naive) everyday terms.


Yes indeed. Except that appearance applies on the physical. The  
causal is the real thing, here, and it is incarnated, or implemented  
with infinite redundancy (like the M set) in elementary arithmetic.







In CCQ you point out that we must not forget that the extensions
must not only be consistent, but must also be accessible by the
universal dovetailer.  Hence, which extensions are accessible by a
conscious (non-formalisable) decision-maker would appear nonetheless
to be formalisable.


Indeed, by the UD, or by that tiny (but sigma_1 complete) fragment of  
arithmetic, like Robinson arithmetic. It does not need to be Löbian.  
The UD is NOT a Löbian entity. It is much logically poorer.





Again, my question is: how would the range of
accessible extensions for a zombie (purely formal) decision-maker be
characteristically different?  For example, you cite the
self-speeding-up effect of consciousness with respect to the
organism's relation to its neighbourhood as a pragmatic argument for
the selective utility of consciousness.  I assume this implies that a
conscious decision-maker would be likely to find itself in
characteristically different extensions to its environment as
compared with a non-conscious decision-maker, but some clarification
on this would be very helpful.


This is not entirely clear for me. For a non-conscious decision-maker,  
there is just no sense at all to say that he could find itself (in the  
first person sense) in some particular environment.
There is a sense in which it can find itself in the third person  
sense, in some particular environment, but consciousness is a first  
person notion, and it makes sense only when you ascribe it to the  
(genuine) abstract computational states occurring infinitely often in  
the UD*. It makes sense for a first person to find itself in an  
infinite ensemble of computations/continuations.


Empirically we share a lot of very similar computations, and this  
makes us believe that physics describes some local 3-reality, but comp  
makes it describe only a sharable infinite set of 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-03-20 Thread David Nyman
On 20 March 2010 18:22, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 Well, if by 3-p Chalmers you mean some 'body', such a body *is* a zombie.
 The 1-p Chalmers is Chalmers, the person. Its body does not think, but makes
 higher the probability that the 1-p thoughts refers to the most probable
 computations you are sharing with him.

Well, if its body does not think (which of course Chalmers assumes
that it does, even though he says from his epiphenomenalist-dualist
standpoint that this does not logically entail consciousness), just
how does it increase the probabilities in the way you say above?  IOW,
what is the systematic correlation supposed to be between the
physical events in its brain and the 1-p thoughts of 1-p Chalmers?
This, after all, is a major aspect of  the mind--body problem, and
it's one thing for the explanation to be counter-intuitive, but right
now I'm not sure I could claim any firm intuition about it at all.

Let me try to tease this out, giving your words, as you say, their
most favourable interpretation - for me, that is.  By the
computations you are sharing with him I assume you to refer to the
1-p-plural computations (as you reserve 3-p for the arithmetical
reality).  IOW the UD generates (amongst everything else) the
1-p-plural appearances that constitute all possible perceptions of our
shared environment in all its possible extensions.  Included in
these, of course, are our bodies, and we expect - pace white rabbits -
our bodily activities (including, naturally, our brains) to be
consistent with our thoughts and with the behaviour of the rest of the
environment.

Nonetheless, presumably it is the case that there are white rabbit
extensions in which my response to the pain of being burned is to do
something pathological such as thrust my hand further into the flame.
But the effect in experience of even a high measure of divergent
pathological extensions is hypothesised as being damped by the
convergence of normal behavioural extensions (maybe corresponding to
some version of the least action principle, a la Feynman - and perhaps
illuminating also the unreasonable a posteriori effectiveness of
Occam).  So the effect is to make it very much more likely that my
actions will be consistent with my thoughts, including the actions of
my brain.  Does this mean that there may be white rabbit extensions
in which the behaviour of my brain is grossly inconsistent with my
thoughts?  I suppose so.

In this view, the concept of causation, if it is valid at all, must be
reserved for the 3-p arithmetical operators - for the internal
computational relations themselves.  The higher-order relations
between computations are rather correlative, and the appearance of
causation in the correlative domain that we inhabit is that of
consistency with expectation - normal, or non-pathological behaviour,
IOW.  So it isn't a case of the brain causing thoughts, or thoughts
causing the brain, but rather a question of which thoughts emerge as
being consistent with which brains.  The remarkable thing then would
be that we seem to find ourselves only in situations where most
(perhaps all) brains are consistent with most (perhaps all) thoughts.
The dreams of the machines, finally, seem to have converged on shared
physical universes of staggering complexity and consistency.

Is this anything like what you were trying to convey (interpreted
favourably, of course)?

David


 On 20 Mar 2010, at 16:56, David Nyman wrote:

 On 24 February 2010 17:57, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 Please, keep in mind I may miss your point, even if I prefer to say that
 you
 are missing something, for being shorter and keeping to the point. You
 really put your finger right on the hardest part of the mind-body
 problem.

 Bruno, I've been continuing to think, and meditate, about our recent
 discussions, and have been re-reading (insofar as I can follow it)
 your on-line paper Computation, Consciousness and the Quantum.  I
 feel I have more of a sense of how the aspects I've been questioning
 you about fit together in the comp view, but if I may, I would like to
 press you on a couple of points.

 My original post on non-computability was motivated by re-reading
 Chalmers and struggling again with his assertion that a zombie (e.g.
 including the 3-p Chalmers that wrote The Conscious Mind!) could
 nonetheless refer to consciousness and hence be behaviourally
 indistinguishable from a conscious entity.

 So you talk here on the philosophical zombie which is counterfactually
 correct.
 Well, if by 3-p Chalmers you mean some 'body', such a body *is* a zombie.
 The 1-p Chalmers is Chalmers, the person. Its body does not think, but makes
 higher the probability that the 1-p thoughts refers to the most probable
 computations you are sharing with him.




  I realise, by the way,
 that when considering thought experiments, including your own, one
 should not treat them in a naively realistic way, but rather focus on
 their logical 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-26 Thread Bruno Marchal

Hi Marty,

On 25 Feb 2010, at 15:03, m.a. wrote:


Bruno:
 Does the following relate at all to your theory of Comp?


I am not so sure, or I don't see how. I don't address the question of  
individual life. What I show is true for all machines (enough rich  
(Löbian) and ideally correct, and with an unlimited amount of space  
and time).


All I say is that if we are machine then matter is a secondary notion  
appearing from a first person plural point of view. This makes the  
computationalist hypothesis a testable hypothesis, and I show that  
currently it explains most (but not yet all) weird aspects of physics  
(many interfering histories).


I show that all universal machine can discover that by introspection.  
For contingent reasons, actual machines can take more time than  
others. They will discover more than that. Matter is just one  
hypostases among eight: the primary one: God, the intelligible and  
the universal soul, and the secondary one (intelligible matter, and  
sensible matter).


To explain all this without math gives something in between Plato and  
Plotinus. I would suggest you to read the introductory book to  
Plotinus by Brian Hines: Return to the One---Plotinus' guide to God- 
Realization,  Bloomington, Indiana, 2004.


In you term, comp is more the discovery that the solutions of the  
equation are written on the other side of life.


Many other things can be said, but it may be a bit dangerous,  
because most of them are sort of secret (belongs to G* minus G). We  
cannot even take them as axiom in a theory without becoming  
inconsistent. We can only discover them by personal work and self- 
reflexion, like


- intelligence is a question of an instant, when peace is made between  
your heart and your mind.


- competence and talent has a negative feedback on intelligence.

- happiness is the strangest of all virtue. It is not related to life  
circumstances, but to the way your self react to the circumstances.  
Eventually happiness is a moral duty of those who survive with respect  
to the memory who those who don't. It does not mean you have to be  
happy, but it means you have to do what you can do to be more happy,  
unless it destroy the possibility for others to be happy, ...


-  in our incarnate state, we are never fulfilled. We are forever  
unsatisfied, and if we search fulfillment here, we may have to live  
and live again up to understanding that the solution is ... not here.


- persons are masks, or window behind which or through which some  
unnameable thing observe itself.


- etc.





Each life is an equation. Each person is given parts of the equation  
with many variables on both sides of the equals sign.


Most equations have only one solution which, however, can be solved  
in different ways: simple or complex. The solutions might allow for  
many variations: e.g. algebra, geometry, logic, psychology, language  
etc. The number of possible methods and steps might represent  
degrees of freedom. But freedom doesn't necessarily bring happiness.  
Any method can result in emotional experiences placed along a  
continuum between bliss and misery.


Some lives (like some equations) have two or more solutions. A  
person may devote his life to solving one or he may attempt to solve  
several or all. In any case the degrees of freedom are increased  
accordingly, but the chances of experiencing happiness or misery in  
the solving are the same as for the previous group.


A few lives (like some equations) have an infinite number of  
solutions. Infinite degrees of freedom offer vast creativity, but  
equal chances of pain or pleasure.


Some people never arrive at even one solution and their lives, even  
if pleasant, seem to them pointless and unfulfilled.


Some do find solutions but such as indicate that those lives had  
been trivial or meaningless. No sense of fulfillment here.


The luckiest both enjoy the quest and also arrive at solutions that  
prove their lives to have been meaningful and important. These  
people feel fulfilled no matter which group they come from.




marty a.







- Original Message - From: Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness



On 24 Feb 2010, at 08:22, Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be   
wrote:


On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:


It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard
problem.

1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

OR

2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that  
introducing  the
idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I   
vote

for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-26 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 23 Feb 2010, at 15:38, Diego Caleiro wrote:

I'm not reading the whole discussion here, but the reason I  
recommended those readings is that I sensed a mix between accounting  
for phenomenal consciousness and access conciousness in the  
discussion.Both were used as 1p and 3p, depending on what was  
being talked about.

This is the reason for reading 
http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Abridged%20BBS.htm



Ned Block is not too bad, but is not aware that materialism and the  
identity thesis are epistemologically incompatible. In our talk  
consciousness always mean phenomenal consciousness. Notion like  
access consciousness are treated through self-reference logics and  
their many variants (what I call arithmetical hypostases).


But many people still confuse the 3-p and the 1-p-p (the first person  
plural). Assuming comp I argue that physicalness is purely 1-p or 1-p- 
p. It looks 3-p because it is locally sharable, but it is really  
first person plural (as Everett QM confirms retrospectively).


You may take a look at this

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHALAbstract.html

for the precise definitions of the person points of view based on  
comp,  teleportation, and self-multiplication.





The reason for reading Yablo, on the other hand: 
http://www.mit.edu/~yablo/mc.pdf


The PDF is incomplete. It is a bit frustrating because he talked on  
Malcolm's conceivability of Mechanism. An entire chapter of  
conscience et Mécanisme is consecrated to dream and Malcolm's  
argument. Yablo is refreshing, but we dig a bit deeper in most of our  
conversation here :)





Is because he gives the only satisfactory account of the  
overdetermination, double causation problem (stronger than Kim's for  
instance). it seems that was befuzzling you..


Reason to read Rorty is he will try to convince you that all this  
discussion is just historic accident and that it relies in  
forgetting Kant on the one hand, and the mith of the given, by  
sellars, on the other.


I mentioned Rorty in my earlier work, but eventually he disappointed  
me in being far too much relativist. He seems to hide real technical  
difficulties by linguistic hand waving, in my opinion.


Bruno Marchal




Bye Bye


Diego Caleiro

Phil of Mind.








On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com  
wrote:

On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing  
the
 idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I  
vote

 for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than  
the

 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
and 3-p aspects.

Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
such an attitude is premature.

David

 On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman  
david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
 However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
 weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms  
of
 3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic,  
fundamental,

 and needing no explanation.

 You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only  
because
 it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed  
in the
 general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of  
the

 consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
 not acknowledged.

 So let's assume that an independently existing material world exists
 and fully explains what we observe and also THAT we observe.

 If this reality is deterministic, then what we experience is  
strictly

 a 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-26 Thread m.a.

Bruno,
Thanks for this deeply profound reply.

   marty a.





- Original Message - 
From: Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be

To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 6:08 AM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness


Hi Marty,

On 25 Feb 2010, at 15:03, m.a. wrote:


Bruno:
 Does the following relate at all to your theory of Comp?


I am not so sure, or I don't see how. I don't address the question of
individual life. What I show is true for all machines (enough rich
(Löbian) and ideally correct, and with an unlimited amount of space
and time).

All I say is that if we are machine then matter is a secondary notion
appearing from a first person plural point of view. This makes the
computationalist hypothesis a testable hypothesis, and I show that
currently it explains most (but not yet all) weird aspects of physics
(many interfering histories).

I show that all universal machine can discover that by introspection.
For contingent reasons, actual machines can take more time than
others. They will discover more than that. Matter is just one
hypostases among eight: the primary one: God, the intelligible and
the universal soul, and the secondary one (intelligible matter, and
sensible matter).

To explain all this without math gives something in between Plato and
Plotinus. I would suggest you to read the introductory book to
Plotinus by Brian Hines: Return to the One---Plotinus' guide to God-
Realization,  Bloomington, Indiana, 2004.

In you term, comp is more the discovery that the solutions of the
equation are written on the other side of life.

Many other things can be said, but it may be a bit dangerous,
because most of them are sort of secret (belongs to G* minus G). We
cannot even take them as axiom in a theory without becoming
inconsistent. We can only discover them by personal work and self-
reflexion, like

- intelligence is a question of an instant, when peace is made between
your heart and your mind.

- competence and talent has a negative feedback on intelligence.

- happiness is the strangest of all virtue. It is not related to life
circumstances, but to the way your self react to the circumstances.
Eventually happiness is a moral duty of those who survive with respect
to the memory who those who don't. It does not mean you have to be
happy, but it means you have to do what you can do to be more happy,
unless it destroy the possibility for others to be happy, ...

-  in our incarnate state, we are never fulfilled. We are forever
unsatisfied, and if we search fulfillment here, we may have to live
and live again up to understanding that the solution is ... not here.

- persons are masks, or window behind which or through which some
unnameable thing observe itself.

- etc.





Each life is an equation. Each person is given parts of the equation  with 
many variables on both sides of the equals sign.


Most equations have only one solution which, however, can be solved  in 
different ways: simple or complex. The solutions might allow for  many 
variations: e.g. algebra, geometry, logic, psychology, language  etc. The 
number of possible methods and steps might represent  degrees of freedom. 
But freedom doesn't necessarily bring happiness.  Any method can result in 
emotional experiences placed along a  continuum between bliss and misery.


Some lives (like some equations) have two or more solutions. A  person may 
devote his life to solving one or he may attempt to solve  several or all. 
In any case the degrees of freedom are increased  accordingly, but the 
chances of experiencing happiness or misery in  the solving are the same 
as for the previous group.


A few lives (like some equations) have an infinite number of  solutions. 
Infinite degrees of freedom offer vast creativity, but  equal chances of 
pain or pleasure.


Some people never arrive at even one solution and their lives, even  if 
pleasant, seem to them pointless and unfulfilled.


Some do find solutions but such as indicate that those lives had  been 
trivial or meaningless. No sense of fulfillment here.


The luckiest both enjoy the quest and also arrive at solutions that  prove 
their lives to have been meaningful and important. These  people feel 
fulfilled no matter which group they come from.




marty a.







- Original Message - From: Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness



On 24 Feb 2010, at 08:22, Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be 
wrote:


On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:


It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard
problem.

1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

OR

2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread m.a.

Bruno:
  Does the following relate at all to your theory of Comp?

Each life is an equation. Each person is given parts of the equation with 
many variables on both sides of the equals sign.


Most equations have only one solution which, however, can be solved in 
different ways: simple or complex. The solutions might allow for many 
variations: e.g. algebra, geometry, logic, psychology, language etc. The 
number of possible methods and steps might represent degrees of freedom. But 
freedom doesn't necessarily bring happiness. Any method can result in 
emotional experiences placed along a continuum between bliss and misery.


Some lives (like some equations) have two or more solutions. A person may 
devote his life to solving one or he may attempt to solve several or all. In 
any case the degrees of freedom are increased accordingly, but the chances 
of experiencing happiness or misery in the solving are the same as for the 
previous group.


A few lives (like some equations) have an infinite number of solutions. 
Infinite degrees of freedom offer vast creativity, but equal chances of pain 
or pleasure.


Some people never arrive at even one solution and their lives, even if 
pleasant, seem to them pointless and unfulfilled.


Some do find solutions but such as indicate that those lives had been 
trivial or meaningless. No sense of fulfillment here.


The luckiest both enjoy the quest and also arrive at solutions that prove 
their lives to have been meaningful and important. These people feel 
fulfilled no matter which group they come from.




marty a.







- Original Message - 
From: Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be

To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness



On 24 Feb 2010, at 08:22, Rex Allen wrote:


On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  wrote:


On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:


It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard
problem.

1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

OR

2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing  the
idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I  vote
for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than  the
idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?


You forget 3)

3) get rid of physical-3-p, but keep mathematical (arithmetical) 3- p. 
That

is objective idealism.

And this you need in any account ... if only as 'calculational  device'.
 Then computer science solves the hard part of the mind problem,  with 
the
price of having to derive the physical laws from the belief that  the 
numbers

develop naturally from self-introspection. And it is not so amazing  we
(re)find the type of theory developed by the greeks among those who  were
both mystic and rationalist. They did introspect themselves very  deeply,
apparently.

Wait my next post to David for how comp does solve the hard problem  of
consciousness.

Bruno Marchal



H.  Well, I think that your proposal suffers from the same
explanatory gap as physicalism.


No. Physicist have not yet addressed really the problem of
consciousness.
With computationalism we can formulate the question.
And yes, there is also a gap.
But the gap is made precise, justified, and has a mathematical geometry.





So numbers and their relations and machines and whatnot exist
platonically.  Okay.  So far so good.

BUT I don't see why these things in any combination or standing in any
relation to each other should give rise to conscious experience - any
more than quarks and electrons stacked in certain arrangements should
do so.


You can do it with quark and electron, but if it works because those
quark and electron compute the releant digital number relation, then,
if you say yes to the doctor, I have to derive the observability of
quark and electrons from the number relations, of the combinator
relations (uda).





I believe you that there is some mathematical description or
representation of my experiences...


But I have never said that, although I am aware it may look
superficially like that. I will say belief for your representation
(and indeed beliefs are represented, it is roughly speaking the 'body'
of the person).

Then

experiments appear when beliefs cross consistency,
and experience appears when beliefs cross truth.

And I have no proof of consistency to offer, nor real name or
definition of truth. Except for more simpler (than us) Löbian machines.






but I don't see why the existence
of such a representation, platonic OR physically embodied, would

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread Rex Allen
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 24 February 2010 07:03, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 With this in mind, I'm not sure what you mean by two undeniably
 manifest perpectives.  Only ONE seems undeniable to me, and that's
 1-p.

 My proposal is that seeming is all there is to reality.  It's all
 surface, no depth.  However, using reason to build models with
 ontologies that are consistent with our observations provides the
 illusion of depth.

 The danger here is that we get distracted from real questions by
 linguistic ones.  What I'm saying is manifest is that there are two
 distinguishable analyses available to us, one in terms of our direct
 perceptual experiences, the other in terms of what those experiences
 encourage us to infer about our environment, and our own place in it.
 We can accept that these two accounts exist without committing
 ourselves, prematurely, to questions of primacy, or ultimate
 explanation or ontology.  My recent questions and remarks have focused
 on the puzzles inherent in the seeming existence of the two
 accounts

Seeming is only an aspect of one of the two accounts.  1-p.  There
is no seeming in 3-p, which is of course the problem.

But our knowledge of 3-p is strictly limited to what we infer from
1-p.  So the two accounts are not on equal footing.  We can doubt the
reality of what we observe, but not *that* we observe.


 and the variety of ways in which their possible relations
 can be understood and reconciled.  Of course, if the possibility of
 intelligibility is dismissed in advance as illusion, then not much
 of interest will be found in the enterprise.  But I would say that
 such a view is premature.

When would it not be premature?

The tendency to pursue 'ultimate explanations' is inherent in the
mathematical and experimental method in yet another way (and another
sense).  Whenever the scientist faces a challenging problem, the
scientific method requires him to never give up, never seek an
explanation outside the method.  If we agree - at least on a working
basis - to designate as the universe everything that is accessible to
the mathematical and experimental method, then this methodological
principle assumes the form of a postulate which in fact requires that
the universe be explained by the universe itself.  In this sense
scientific explanations are 'ultimate,' since they do not admit of any
other explanations except ones which are within the confines of the
method.

However, we must emphasise that this postulate and the sense of
'ultimacy' it implies have a purely methodological meaning, in other
words they oblige the scientist to adopt an approach in his research
as if other explanations were neither existent nor needed.  - Michael
Heller, The Totalitarianism of the Method.

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RE: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread Stephen P. King
Hi,

-Original Message-
From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-l...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Rex Allen
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:31 PM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness

On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 24 February 2010 07:03, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 With this in mind, I'm not sure what you mean by two undeniably 
 manifest perpectives.  Only ONE seems undeniable to me, and that's 
 1-p.

 My proposal is that seeming is all there is to reality.  It's all 
 surface, no depth.  However, using reason to build models with 
 ontologies that are consistent with our observations provides the 
 illusion of depth.

 The danger here is that we get distracted from real questions by 
 linguistic ones.  What I'm saying is manifest is that there are two 
 distinguishable analyses available to us, one in terms of our direct 
 perceptual experiences, the other in terms of what those experiences 
 encourage us to infer about our environment, and our own place in it.
 We can accept that these two accounts exist without committing 
 ourselves, prematurely, to questions of primacy, or ultimate 
 explanation or ontology.  My recent questions and remarks have focused 
 on the puzzles inherent in the seeming existence of the two accounts

Seeming is only an aspect of one of the two accounts.  1-p.  There is no
seeming in 3-p, which is of course the problem.

But our knowledge of 3-p is strictly limited to what we infer from 1-p.  So
the two accounts are not on equal footing.  We can doubt the reality of what
we observe, but not *that* we observe.

snip

I take this as supporting the argument that 3-p is a construction,
in the sense of its properties, of an intersection of many 1-p's. All that
we can know of 3-p is that it could exist, but can say nothing about its
properties.

Onward!

Stephen P. King




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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread Rex Allen
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 7:28 AM, Stephen P. King stephe...@charter.net wrote:
 Hi Rex and Members,

        There is a very compelling body of work in logic that allows for
 circularity. Please take a look at:
 http://www.springerlink.com/content/m06t7w0163945350/
 and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonwellfounded-set-theory/
        It could make some progress toward the why this and not some other
 question.

        Is there a definitive book or article on the 1-p and 3-p aspect?

None that I know of, unfortunately!

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread Rex Allen
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 Is hard determinism as bad an outcome as solipsism?  If not, why not?


 I don't know about good or bad - but since you post on the internet I infer
 that you are not a solipist.

Since posting on the internet produces interesting responses, I
would do it even if I were a solipsist.

Maybe I have no choice but to post on the internet...deterministic solipsism?


 But, regardless, if you mean solipsism in the sense that only I exist,
 then that's not entailed by my position.

 Why not?  You (I assume) have experiences which you regard as only yours.
  You don't have any other experiences.  If for some reason, or on mere
 faith, you suppose there are other people then you may on the same bases
 suppose there is an external world.

The external world could very well exist, and be the cause my experience.

But as I've said, this just changes my questions from why do my
experiences exist? to why does the external world exist, and why
does it cause my experiences?  SO...the external world hypothesis
doesn't provide a satisfactory answer, and it introduces new
questions.

If I have to eventually say, the external world exists uncaused and
for no reason, then I could just as easily have said that about my
conscious experience...it exists uncaused and for no reason.  So what
have I gained by introducing this whole external world thing?

Saying that I am willing to believe that conscious experiences other
than mine exist doesn't really introduce any new questions.  By
allowing the possibility of their existence I'm not introducing any
new *kinds* of things, and thus no new questions.

Ya?


 So
 there are still laws that govern the transitions from 1-p to 3-p and
 back, right?  I think the same argument applies.

 Why this particular virtuous circle with it's particular causal laws
 and not some other virtuous cirlce?

 Not necessarily causal laws - I think the laws of science we infer are
 descriptions.  So if we can find explanations of 1-p experiences in terms of
 3-p events and our experience of 3-p events in terms of 1-p experiences and
 we don't have to introduce any other stuff besides 1-p experiences and 3-p
 events I'd say we have a virtuous circle of explanation.

Well.  Maybe.  IF such explanations exist.   See the Heller quote in
my response to David.


 And why not no circles at all?

 You were the one that said there must be either an infinite regress or a
 first cause.  Why not neither?

It seems like the circular explanation is just a special case of
infinite regress.  In that you can follow the circular chain around
an infinite number of times...which would seem to be the same thing as
following an infinite chain with a repeating pattern.

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-25 Thread Rex Allen
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 1:59 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:
 No representation is conscious. Nor any body (which are relative
 representations).
 Consciousness or knowledge, like truth, but unlike consistency, has no
 finite representation whatsoever.
 It is more the platonic and non representable person who is conscious.
 Representations are only maps to prevent being completely lost when
 entangled with other universal entities and histories. They guide the soul,
 or channel the consciousness, in the normal coherent histories. The soul
 intersects truth and representation, and may intersect consistency too (and
 other variants). (and many other concept of computer science can help to
 elaborate this approach).

 When be bet on a substitution level, we bet on a coding, not on a
 representation, and hopefully the coding level is at a lower level than the
 level needed for the possible local representations in play, relatively to
 our most probable histories.

 The 3-self has a (local) name: it is your body, or a digital copy (with
 comp), a relative Gödel number.
 The 1-self has no name. It inherits this feature from truth (which has no
 name too, for the machine).

 But comp and mathematical logic makes it possible to prove theorems *about*
 those non nameable entities (associated to ideally correct machines).

 Comp prevents the possibility to give you publicly a name, or to solve
 publicly the koan Who am I?. It allows you to refute any normative theory
 about you. As I said often, it is a vaccine against person representation,
 categorization, etc.


To quote your earlier response to David:  By interpreting favorably
all your terms, it makes sense, yes.

Ha!

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread David Nyman
On 24 February 2010 07:03, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 With this in mind, I'm not sure what you mean by two undeniably
 manifest perpectives.  Only ONE seems undeniable to me, and that's
 1-p.

 My proposal is that seeming is all there is to reality.  It's all
 surface, no depth.  However, using reason to build models with
 ontologies that are consistent with our observations provides the
 illusion of depth.

The danger here is that we get distracted from real questions by
linguistic ones.  What I'm saying is manifest is that there are two
distinguishable analyses available to us, one in terms of our direct
perceptual experiences, the other in terms of what those experiences
encourage us to infer about our environment, and our own place in it.
We can accept that these two accounts exist without committing
ourselves, prematurely, to questions of primacy, or ultimate
explanation or ontology.  My recent questions and remarks have focused
on the puzzles inherent in the seeming existence of the two
accounts, and the variety of ways in which their possible relations
can be understood and reconciled.  Of course, if the possibility of
intelligibility is dismissed in advance as illusion, then not much
of interest will be found in the enterprise.  But I would say that
such a view is premature.

 There are two follow up questions to that answer:

 1)  Why would quarks and electrons interacting that way result in my
 conscious experience?  (the explanatory gap)

 2)  What causes quarks and electrons (and the universe that contains
 them)?  And what causes them to interact in the way they do rather
 than some other way (plus the rest of the laws of physics)?

 You seem to have focused primarily on the first follow up question.
 However, I think the second follow up question is actually more
 interesting with respect to consciousness.

In fact both questions are bound up together, and must be reconciled
before we can make sense of any answers.  My intention in posing the
question from the point of view of the quarks and electrons was to
draw attention to the paradoxes provoked by the apparent irrelevance
of qualitative states to causality in this analysis, and to criticise
attempts to resolve this through identity assumptions, which IMO
only wave away the issues.  But this then inevitably takes us into a
wider territory, which for example Bruno has been addressing from the
comp perspective.

David

 On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 7:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

 The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
 it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
 relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
 seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
 seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
 solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
 these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
 these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
 seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
 and 3-p aspects.

 So we can have the experience of an external world without actually
 having an external world.  Dreams and hallucinations prove this.

 Therefore, our experience of an external world does not prove that the
 external world which is experienced actually exists.

 With this in mind, I'm not sure what you mean by two undeniably
 manifest perpectives.  Only ONE seems undeniable to me, and that's
 1-p.

 My proposal is that seeming is all there is to reality.  It's all
 surface, no depth.  However, using reason to build models with
 ontologies that are consistent with our observations provides the
 illusion of depth.


 Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
 reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
 permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
 simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
 more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
 such an attitude is premature.

 Hmmm.  Well, I think you've missed my point.

 So the question is, what causes consciousness.  The typical answer is
 something along the lines of neurons, which are made of quarks and
 electrons, which interact in ways approximately described by the laws
 of physics.

 There are two follow up questions to that answer:

 1)  Why would quarks and electrons interacting that way result in my
 conscious experience?  (the explanatory 

RE: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread Stephen P. King
Hi Rex and Members,

There is a very compelling body of work in logic that allows for
circularity. Please take a look at:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/m06t7w0163945350/ 
and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonwellfounded-set-theory/ 
It could make some progress toward the why this and not some other
question.

Is there a definitive book or article on the 1-p and 3-p aspect? 

Onward!

Stephen P. King



-Original Message-
From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-l...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Rex Allen
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 2:48 AM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: On the computability of consciousness

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com
wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused 
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than 
 the idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused 
 and gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as 
 everyone accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

 The material world didn't lead to solipism.

Is hard determinism as bad an outcome as solipsism?  If not, why not?
It would seem to me to be about the same.

And further, how would quantum indeterminism improve things?

But, regardless, if you mean solipsism in the sense that only I exist, then
that's not entailed by my position.


 And it proved to have a lot of predictive power.

If deterministic physicalism is true, then your experience of having made a
successful prediction is entirely a result of the universe's initial
conditions plus the causal laws that govern it's change over time (if there
are any such laws).  The only significant part is that you have an
experience of it.  Not the prediction itself.

If the universe is completely indeterministic, then the success of your
prediction is pure luck.

If the universe is has probabilistic laws, then the success of your
prediction is due entirely to the interplay of luck, initial conditions, and
the particular nature of the probabilistic laws that we have.  Like the card
game example.  In poker, whether you are dealt rags or a Royal flush is due
to luck.  BUT, there's no chance of you getting 5 Aces of the same suit,
because the rules of the game don't allow for that.

You can say you still have a choice in how you play your hand, but that's is
putting yourself outside the game.  Which is not an option with the
universe.  Inside the game there are no choices...there is only luck and the
rules.

Right?

So.  There's no significance to predictive success.  It just *seems* that
way to you.


 However, let me put in a modest word for a third possibility - instead 
 of a first cause, and instead of an infinite regress, let me recommend 
 the circular explanation; in this case:  1-p = 3-p = 1-p =...  I 
 realize these are in disfavor and are given the name vicious circle,  
 but I'd like to suggest that when the circle is so large as to 
 encompass all the explandums it integrates them into a kind of cyclic 
 monism and is no longer vicious, but virtuous.

Well.  I don't find this possibility very compelling.  So there
are still laws that govern the transitions from 1-p to 3-p and back,
right?  I think the same argument applies.

Why this particular virtuous circle with it's particular causal laws and not
some other virtuous cirlce?  If you find a law that explains it, why does
that law hold and not some other?

And why not no circles at all?

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread John Mikes
David,
please, do not put me down as a Schopenhauerist. My mini-solipsist views
stem from Colin Hayes' earlier Everything-list posts about perceived
reality as we MAY know it.
I condone the existence (?!) of the world I am part of, just restrict
whatever I CAN know to the content (and function, whatever that may be) of
my own 1p, that interprets, adjusts ALL information (=knowledge about
relations) reaching 'me'.
Realisticly existing 3p-world is knowable in everybody's 1p framework. Some
features can be adjusted and equalized, but '3p' is a personal and
individual '1p' mental image to everyone.

Schopenhauerists many times deny the 'existence' of an outside (wrong!)
world and believe only the 1p mental construct, as you rightly explained.
(I was brainwashed and impeded by my youthful college stupefaction in
natural sciences into a naive belief of an 'existing' *world*, of which I am
part of (not *outside!).* This eliminates the *Schopenhauerist* position in
my 1p-belief system.) BTW: Schopenhauer has writings (I could not quote, did
not study him in detail) that show that even he is smarter than being JUST a
Schopenhauerist..

'Power' or 'force' I don't understand. I try to keep away from the figments
conventional science presumed to 'explain' within its proper system the
poorly understood observations over the millennia of gradual enrichment of
the epistemic cognitive inventory .

Your part about 'will' is beyond me. I still speculate how to categorize
(un)/conscious, in my term of 'responding to information' - maybe invoking
reflective momenta (???) while I consider a decisionmaking (halfway to
will?) more complex than usually assumed: beside our genetic buildup (our
mental-tool: brain) and the sum of our (stored?) personal experience input
(within reflective (conscious?) awareness, or not) it includes factors
having effect on us even if not part of our working knowledge-base (?)
information (still in the unknown??).

The many question-marks represent the inadequacy of our vocabularies
(plural) illustrated on this list by many what do you mean by...
questions.

Thanks for looking into my agnosticism and help me resolve some *I dunno-*s.


John


On 2/23/10, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 22 February 2010 21:03, John Mikes jami...@gmail.com wrote:

  I think the hard problem is not just 'hard to solve': it requires
 knowledge
  of necessary ingredients (steps in the 'process') still unknown - but
  cleverly spoken about in the sciences, within the framework of those
  portions we already (think) we know. The German proverb says:
  des Menschen's Wille ist ein Himmelreich (a man's will is a 'heavenly'
  extension) and so is his mentality. IMO we know only a fraction of it so
  far. That, too, in a 1p interpreted abridgement.

 John, what you say above of course immediately puts me in mind of
 Schopenhauer's ideas in Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.  I
 sometimes have a sense of Schopenhauer's will - he really intended
 something more like power or force, I think - of the world (the
 One, the Unnameable) as reflecting back via conscious states towards
 the objective development of 3-p processes.  In this view, conscious
 states would subsist in integrated 1-p world-states - i.e. subjects
 - as distinct from the particular, differentiated 3-p events and
 components that function to delimit and structure such states.  The
 will, in the sense that Schopenhauer conceived it, would then
 achieve expression both in the form of the micro-level physical laws
 we hypothesise from observing those 3-p events and processes, and also
 as more general orchestrations of that same law-like behaviour,
 correlated with overall experiential states-of-the-system.

 In this view, the world as a whole would encompass both unconscious
 (differentiated, analytical) and conscious (integrated, global)
 correlations of such primitive will with objective reality, thus
 presenting both options for exploitation and selection by evolutionary
 processes.  This in turn should mean that there is the possibility of
 elucidating criteria to distinguish whatever has become capable of
 generating conscious states and causal narratives (i.e.
 subjectively-structured overall states of the system) from whatever is
 still limited to the exploitation of purely unconscious physical
 processes.  Whether this can make any sense in terms of either physics
 or comp I have no idea, but personally I sometimes find this intuition
 helpful.

 David


  David:
 
  how about: we have our 1p and THINK about a 3p - only as adjusted
  (interpreted) by our 1p AS an imagined realistic 3p world? Nobody walks
 the
  shoes of another person (mentally, I mean).
  Even reading books or learning from lectures does not impart the message
 of
  the 'author', only the 1p-adjusted meaning acceptable for our 1p
 mentality
  (which is just as personal and quite individual as an immune system, a
 DNA
  or (maybe) a fingerprint, as resulting from the genetic 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread David Nyman
2010/2/23 Diego Caleiro diegocale...@gmail.com:

Thanks for this.  I have to say, though, that Yablo's approach strikes
me again as waving-away, or defining-out-of-existence, a real issue
that doesn't deserve such treatment.  The motive for this seems to be
that academic philosophy has become embarrassed by this question in
the face of the apparently decisive colonisation of the territory by
science - i.e. the so-called over-determination issue.  Of course,
such an approach may turn out to be valid, and we would perforce have
to settle for remaining puzzled.  But I still believe that there is
reason to take persons seriously in the causal narrative - i.e.
something like our sense of real personal causation is possible
without resorting, for example, to such infertile territory as
substance dualism.  Comp, as I understand it, is one theory that has
something like this implication.

Another possibility (which may be in some sense compatible with comp,
I can't yet tell) is to look towards the duality of whole and part -
i.e. that the differentiation of the world-system into persons and
their generalised impersonal environment gives scope both for
unconscious (3-p -- 3-p) and conscious (1-p -- 3-p) causal
sequences.  ISTM that this is not ruled out by current physical
theory, and indeed is empirically testable, given a sufficiently
sophisticated state-of-the-art.  We would seek unambiguous evidence
that, in the absence of specific subjective 1-p qualitative states,
certain subsequent 3-p events would be unaccountable without the
hypothesis of 1-p -- 3-p causal influence.  Alternatively, such
detailed observation might entirely convince us that, in fact, the
whole objective narrative could always be accounted for without
reference to 1-p subjective states, and without stepping outside
exclusively 3-p -- 3-p causal sequences (i.e. the current default
assumption).

David

 I'm not reading the whole discussion here, but the reason I recommended those 
 readings is that I sensed a mix between accounting for phenomenal 
 consciousness and access conciousness in the discussion.    Both were used as 
 1p and 3p, depending on what was being talked about.
 This is the reason for reading 
 http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Abridged%20BBS.htm

 The reason for reading Yablo, on the other hand: 
 http://www.mit.edu/~yablo/mc.pdf

 Is because he gives the only satisfactory account of the overdetermination, 
 double causation problem (stronger than Kim's for instance). it seems that 
 was befuzzling you..

 Reason to read Rorty is he will try to convince you that all this discussion 
 is just historic accident and that it relies in forgetting Kant on the one 
 hand, and the mith of the given, by sellars, on the other.

 Bye Bye


 Diego Caleiro

 Phil of Mind.








 On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
  idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
  for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.
 
  The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
  while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
  idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
  gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
  accepts happens in dreams).
 
  What is the problem with this solution?

 The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
 it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
 relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
 seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
 seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
 solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
 these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
 these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
 seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
 and 3-p aspects.

 Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
 reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
 permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
 simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
 more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
 such an attitude is premature.

 David

  On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
  On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 
  So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
  However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
  weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
  3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
  and needing no 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  

Rex Allen wrote:


The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?

  

The material world didn't lead to solipism.



Is hard determinism as bad an outcome as solipsism?  If not, why not?
  


I don't know about good or bad - but since you post on the internet I 
infer that you are not a solipist.



It would seem to me to be about the same.

And further, how would quantum indeterminism improve things?

But, regardless, if you mean solipsism in the sense that only I exist,
then that's not entailed by my position.
  


Why not?  You (I assume) have experiences which you regard as only 
yours.  You don't have any other experiences.  If for some reason, or on 
mere faith, you suppose there are other people then you may on the same 
bases suppose there is an external world.


  

And it proved to have a lot of predictive power.



If deterministic physicalism is true, then your experience of having
made a successful prediction is entirely a result of the universe's
initial conditions plus the causal laws that govern it's change over
time (if there are any such laws).  The only significant part is that
you have an experience of it.  Not the prediction itself.

If the universe is completely indeterministic, then the success of
your prediction is pure luck.

If the universe is has probabilistic laws, then the success of your
prediction is due entirely to the interplay of luck, initial
conditions, and the particular nature of the probabilistic laws that
we have.  Like the card game example.  In poker, whether you are dealt
rags or a Royal flush is due to luck.  BUT, there's no chance of you
getting 5 Aces of the same suit, because the rules of the game don't
allow for that.

You can say you still have a choice in how you play your hand, but
that's is putting yourself outside the game.  Which is not an option
with the universe.  Inside the game there are no choices...there is
only luck and the rules.

Right?

So.  There's no significance to predictive success.  It just *seems*
that way to you.
  


Having significance to me and *seeming* to have significance to me are 
the same thing - even under your theory.




  

However, let me put in a modest word for a third possibility - instead of a
first cause, and instead of an infinite regress, let me recommend the
circular explanation; in this case:  1-p = 3-p = 1-p =...  I realize
these are in disfavor and are given the name vicious circle,  but I'd like
to suggest that when the circle is so large as to encompass all the
explandums it integrates them into a kind of cyclic monism and is no longer
vicious, but virtuous.



Well.  I don't find this possibility very compelling.  


But you didn't find a first cause or an infinite regress compelling either.


So
there are still laws that govern the transitions from 1-p to 3-p and
back, right?  I think the same argument applies.

Why this particular virtuous circle with it's particular causal laws
and not some other virtuous cirlce?  


Not necessarily causal laws - I think the laws of science we infer are 
descriptions.  So if we can find explanations of 1-p experiences in 
terms of 3-p events and our experience of 3-p events in terms of 1-p 
experiences and we don't have to introduce any other stuff besides 1-p 
experiences and 3-p events I'd say we have a virtuous circle of explanation.



If you find a law that explains
it, why does that law hold and not some other?
  


Because a law is a description.  Your question is like asking why is 
orange the color of an orange.

And why not no circles at all?

  
You were the one that said there must be either an infinite regress or a 
first cause.  Why not neither?


Brent

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 24 Feb 2010, at 08:22, Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:


On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:


It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard
problem.

1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

OR

2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing  
the
idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I  
vote

for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than  
the

idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?


You forget 3)

3) get rid of physical-3-p, but keep mathematical (arithmetical) 3- 
p. That

is objective idealism.

And this you need in any account ... if only as 'calculational  
device'.
 Then computer science solves the hard part of the mind problem,  
with the
price of having to derive the physical laws from the belief that  
the numbers
develop naturally from self-introspection. And it is not so amazing  
we
(re)find the type of theory developed by the greeks among those who  
were
both mystic and rationalist. They did introspect themselves very  
deeply,

apparently.

Wait my next post to David for how comp does solve the hard problem  
of

consciousness.

Bruno Marchal



H.  Well, I think that your proposal suffers from the same
explanatory gap as physicalism.


No. Physicist have not yet addressed really the problem of  
consciousness.

With computationalism we can formulate the question.
And yes, there is also a gap.
But the gap is made precise, justified, and has a mathematical geometry.





So numbers and their relations and machines and whatnot exist
platonically.  Okay.  So far so good.

BUT I don't see why these things in any combination or standing in any
relation to each other should give rise to conscious experience - any
more than quarks and electrons stacked in certain arrangements should
do so.


You can do it with quark and electron, but if it works because those  
quark and electron compute the releant digital number relation, then,  
if you say yes to the doctor, I have to derive the observability of  
quark and electrons from the number relations, of the combinator  
relations (uda).






I believe you that there is some mathematical description or
representation of my experiences...


But I have never said that, although I am aware it may look  
superficially like that. I will say belief for your representation  
(and indeed beliefs are represented, it is roughly speaking the 'body'  
of the person).


Then

experiments appear when beliefs cross consistency,
and experience appears when beliefs cross truth.

And I have no proof of consistency to offer, nor real name or  
definition of truth. Except for more simpler (than us) Löbian machines.







but I don't see why the existence
of such a representation, platonic OR physically embodied, would
result in conscious experience...?



Conscious experience is an oxymoron. I think.

No representation is conscious. Nor any body (which are relative  
representations).
Consciousness or knowledge, like truth, but unlike consistency, has no  
finite representation whatsoever.
It is more the platonic and non representable person who is conscious.  
Representations are only maps to prevent being completely lost when  
entangled with other universal entities and histories. They guide the  
soul, or channel the consciousness, in the normal coherent histories.  
The soul intersects truth and representation, and may intersect  
consistency too (and other variants). (and many other concept of  
computer science can help to elaborate this approach).


When be bet on a substitution level, we bet on a coding, not on a  
representation, and hopefully the coding level is at a lower level  
than the level needed for the possible local representations in play,  
relatively to our most probable histories.


The 3-self has a (local) name: it is your body, or a digital copy  
(with comp), a relative Gödel number.
The 1-self has no name. It inherits this feature from truth (which has  
no name too, for the machine).


But comp and mathematical logic makes it possible to prove theorems  
*about* those non nameable entities (associated to ideally correct  
machines).


Comp prevents the possibility to give you publicly a name, or to solve  
publicly the koan Who am I?. It allows you to refute any normative  
theory about you. As I said often, it is a vaccine against person  
representation, categorization, etc.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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To 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-24 Thread David Nyman
On 24 Feb, 16:09, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 We would seek unambiguous evidence
 that, in the absence of specific subjective 1-p qualitative states,
 certain subsequent 3-p events would be unaccountable without the
 hypothesis of 1-p -- 3-p causal influence.

In the unlikely event that anyone else has endeavoured to penetrate
this far into what I wrote above, I see that what I meant to say was:

We would seek unambiguous evidence that, in the absence of specific
subjective 1-p qualitative states, certain subsequent 3-p events would
be unaccountable, thus necessitating the hypothesis of 1-p -- 3-p
causal influence.

Hope this helps ;-)

David
 2010/2/23 Diego Caleiro diegocale...@gmail.com:

 Thanks for this.  I have to say, though, that Yablo's approach strikes
 me again as waving-away, or defining-out-of-existence, a real issue
 that doesn't deserve such treatment.  The motive for this seems to be
 that academic philosophy has become embarrassed by this question in
 the face of the apparently decisive colonisation of the territory by
 science - i.e. the so-called over-determination issue.  Of course,
 such an approach may turn out to be valid, and we would perforce have
 to settle for remaining puzzled.  But I still believe that there is
 reason to take persons seriously in the causal narrative - i.e.
 something like our sense of real personal causation is possible
 without resorting, for example, to such infertile territory as
 substance dualism.  Comp, as I understand it, is one theory that has
 something like this implication.

 Another possibility (which may be in some sense compatible with comp,
 I can't yet tell) is to look towards the duality of whole and part -
 i.e. that the differentiation of the world-system into persons and
 their generalised impersonal environment gives scope both for
 unconscious (3-p -- 3-p) and conscious (1-p -- 3-p) causal
 sequences.  ISTM that this is not ruled out by current physical
 theory, and indeed is empirically testable, given a sufficiently
 sophisticated state-of-the-art.  We would seek unambiguous evidence
 that, in the absence of specific subjective 1-p qualitative states,
 certain subsequent 3-p events would be unaccountable without the
 hypothesis of 1-p -- 3-p causal influence.  Alternatively, such
 detailed observation might entirely convince us that, in fact, the
 whole objective narrative could always be accounted for without
 reference to 1-p subjective states, and without stepping outside
 exclusively 3-p -- 3-p causal sequences (i.e. the current default
 assumption).

 David

  I'm not reading the whole discussion here, but the reason I recommended 
  those readings is that I sensed a mix between accounting for phenomenal 
  consciousness and access conciousness in the discussion.    Both were used 
  as 1p and 3p, depending on what was being talked about.
  This is the reason for 
  readinghttp://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Abridged%20BB...

  The reason for reading Yablo, on the other 
  hand:http://www.mit.edu/~yablo/mc.pdf

  Is because he gives the only satisfactory account of the overdetermination, 
  double causation problem (stronger than Kim's for instance). it seems that 
  was befuzzling you..

  Reason to read Rorty is he will try to convince you that all this 
  discussion is just historic accident and that it relies in forgetting Kant 
  on the one hand, and the mith of the given, by sellars, on the other.

  Bye Bye

  Diego Caleiro

  Phil of Mind.

  On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

  On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

   For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
   idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
   for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

   The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
   while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
   idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
   gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
   accepts happens in dreams).

   What is the problem with this solution?

  The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
  it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
  relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
  seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
  seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
  solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
  these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
  these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
  seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
  and 3-p aspects.

  Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
  reject this issue as unworthy of discussion 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread David Nyman
On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
 idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
 for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
and 3-p aspects.

Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
such an attitude is premature.

David

 On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
 However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
 weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
 3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
 and needing no explanation.

 You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
 it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
 general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
 consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
 not acknowledged.

 So let's assume that an independently existing material world exists
 and fully explains what we observe and also THAT we observe.

 If this reality is deterministic, then what we experience is strictly
 a result of the world's initial conditions and the laws that govern
 it's change over time.  Which means that what we can know about
 reality is also strictly a result of the initial conditions and causal
 laws, since we only learn about the world through our experiences.

 What would explain the all-important initial conditions and causal
 laws?  Nothing, right?  They just would be whatever they were, for no
 reason.  If they had a reason, that reason would be part of the
 material world, not something separate from and preceding it.

 In this case there would be no reason to believe that what we
 experienced revealed anything about the *true* underlying causal
 structure.  It could be like a dream or The Matrix, where what is
 experienced is completely different than the cause of the experience.

 Even if what we experienced did reflect the true underlying nature of
 what caused the experience...what would the significance of this be,
 really?  The future is set, all we do is wait for it to be revealed to
 our experience.

 An indeterministic physical world is no more helpful.  Here, we would
 seem to have a range of scenarios.

 At one end is pure indeterminism...where there is absolutely no
 connection between one instant and the next.  Things just happen,
 randomly, for no reason.  No events are causally connected in any way.
  If transitions between particular arrangements of matter is what
 gives rise to conscious experience, then given enough random events
 every possible experience would eventually seem to be generated.
 However, if any of these experiences revealed anything about the true
 nature of reality, this would be purely coincidental.

 At the other end of the range is a nearly deterministic system where
 only on very rare occasions or in specific circumstances would the
 orderly sequence of cause and effect give way to some sort of tightly
 constrained but completely unpredictable indeterministic state
 change...which would then alter in an orderly way the subsequent
 deterministic behavior of the physical world as the consequences of
 this random event spread out in a ripple of cause-and-effect.

 So our experiences would be completely determined by the initial
 state of the world, plus the causal laws with their tolerance for
 occasional randomness, PLUS the history of actual random state
 changes.

 This doesn't seem to provide any improvement over the purely
 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Diego Caleiro
I'm not reading the whole discussion here, but the reason I recommended
those readings is that I sensed a mix between accounting for phenomenal
consciousness and access conciousness in the discussion.Both were used
as 1p and 3p, depending on what was being talked about.
This is the reason for reading
http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/Abridged%20BBS.htm

The reason for reading Yablo, on the other hand:
http://www.mit.edu/~yablo/mc.pdf

Is because he gives the only satisfactory account of the overdetermination,
double causation problem (stronger than Kim's for instance). it seems that
was befuzzling you..

Reason to read Rorty is he will try to convince you that all this discussion
is just historic accident and that it relies in forgetting Kant on the one
hand, and the mith of the given, by sellars, on the other.

Bye Bye


Diego Caleiro

Phil of Mind.








On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 9:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
  idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
  for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.
 
  The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
  while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
  idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
  gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
  accepts happens in dreams).
 
  What is the problem with this solution?

 The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
 it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
 relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
 seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
 seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
 solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
 these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
 these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
 seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
 and 3-p aspects.

 Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
 reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
 permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
 simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
 more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
 such an attitude is premature.

 David

  On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com
 wrote:
  On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 
  So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
  However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
  weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
  3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
  and needing no explanation.
 
  You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
  it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
  general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
  consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
  not acknowledged.
 
  So let's assume that an independently existing material world exists
  and fully explains what we observe and also THAT we observe.
 
  If this reality is deterministic, then what we experience is strictly
  a result of the world's initial conditions and the laws that govern
  it's change over time.  Which means that what we can know about
  reality is also strictly a result of the initial conditions and causal
  laws, since we only learn about the world through our experiences.
 
  What would explain the all-important initial conditions and causal
  laws?  Nothing, right?  They just would be whatever they were, for no
  reason.  If they had a reason, that reason would be part of the
  material world, not something separate from and preceding it.
 
  In this case there would be no reason to believe that what we
  experienced revealed anything about the *true* underlying causal
  structure.  It could be like a dream or The Matrix, where what is
  experienced is completely different than the cause of the experience.
 
  Even if what we experienced did reflect the true underlying nature of
  what caused the experience...what would the significance of this be,
  really?  The future is set, all we do is wait for it to be revealed to
  our experience.
 
  An indeterministic physical world is no more helpful.  Here, we would
  seem to have a range of scenarios.
 
  At one end is pure indeterminism...where there is absolutely no
  connection between one instant and the next.  Things just happen,
  randomly, for no reason.  No events are causally connected in any way.
   If transitions 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:

It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard  
problem.


1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

OR

2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
accepts happens in dreams).

What is the problem with this solution?


You forget 3)

3) get rid of physical-3-p, but keep mathematical (arithmetical) 3-p.  
That is objective idealism.


And this you need in any account ... if only as 'calculational  
device'.  Then computer science solves the hard part of the mind  
problem, with the price of having to derive the physical laws from the  
belief that the numbers develop naturally from self-introspection. And  
it is not so amazing we (re)find the type of theory developed by the  
greeks among those who were both mystic and rationalist. They did  
introspect themselves very deeply, apparently.


Wait my next post to David for how comp does solve the hard problem of  
consciousness.


Bruno Marchal


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Bruno Marchal

David,

First of all, as I have already said, you seem to be well aware of the  
hardest part of the hard problem of consciousness. And this gives me  
the opportunity to try to explain what you are missing. Indeed, in  
this post, I will try to explain how comp does solve completely the  
conceptual hard problem of consciousness. (With the usual price that  
physics  becomes a branch of machine's theology).



On 22 Feb 2010, at 15:00, David Nyman wrote:


On 22 February 2010 07:37, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


What do you mean by implicit here? What is implicit is that the
subjectivity (1-p), to make sense, has to be referentially correct
relatively to the most probable histories/consistent extensions.


What I mean by implicit is already accounted for, at least according
to the assumptions of the closed 3-p hypothesis, which of course is
what I'm questioning.

Then the incommunicable and private aspect of those knowledge and  
qualia is
provided by the theory of knowledge and the quale logic, provided  
by the
respective intensional variant of G and G*. The difference between  
G and G*

(provable and true) is reflected in those intensional variant.


Yes, but G and G*, and indeed all formally expressible logics, are
themselves closed 3-p (i.e. objective) notions - i.e. they would exist
and possess the same explanatory power in the absence of any
accompanying *qualitative* component.



I am not sure what you mean exactly by closed 3-p or even objective.  
But it is OK (I see it is a minor question of vocabulary).


G and G* are formal modal logics, and it happens that they describe  
completely (at some level) the self-referential discourse of ideally  
self-referentially correct machines.


We have no interest in those formal theories per se, if it were not  
for their semantics, including their interpretations in arithmetic,  
and their intensional variants.

I come back on this below.






 This is just another way of
gesturing towards the Really Hard Problem - that the qualitative
component, per se, is seemingly redundant to the account if we assume
we already have a closed, or sufficient, non-qualitative explanation.
Consequently these logics AFAICS lead to the same paradoxical
conclusions as the closed 3-p physical hypothesis - i.e. that the
references to qualitative experiences - even those references we
ourselves produce - would occur even in the absence of any such
experiences.  This would leave us in the position of doubting the
basis even of our own statements that we are conscious!



And this would be very paradoxical indeed. But you are wrong in saying  
that those logics lead to those paradoxes. Probably because you are  
wrong in saying that those logics are closed.  Those logic are tools  
or systems talking about *something*, provably in some correct sense.  
More below. I prefer to read first your whole post, so that I can  
avoid confusing repetitions.






I want to seriously discuss the proposition that certain behaviours
are actually contingent on qualitative experience, as distinguished
from any accompanying 3-p phenomena.  That is, for example, that my
withdrawing my hand from the fire because it hurts indispensably
requires the qualitative *experience* of pain to mediate between 1-p
and 3-p narratives.  This would of course mean in turn that the
explanatory arc from stimulus, through cognitive processing, to
response would be, without the qualitative component, in some way
demonstrably incomplete as an explanation.



Indeed. May be it would help to remember that with comp, we already  
know that the physical world is a 1-p construct; It is not 3-p (as  
amazing as this could seem for a materialist). The only 3-p is given  
by arithmetic/logic/computer science.






 ISTM that this would make
it impossible to ignore the implication that the context in which we
conceive 3-p processes to be situated (whether we are talking in terms
of their physical or mathematical-logical expression) would itself be
capable of taking on personal characteristics in apparent
interaction with such processes.

Something related to this, ISTM, is already implied in the background
to 1-p indeterminacy, observer moments, the solipsism of the One
etc, because all these notions implicitly contain the idea of some
general context capable of embodying and individuating personal
qualitative experience - given relevant 3-p-describable structure and
function.  But in order for that personhood not to be vacuous - i.e.
redundant to the supposedly primary 3-p narrative - such personal
qualitative states must be conceived as having consequences, otherwise
inexplicable, in the 3-p domain, and not merely vice-versa.  How to
incorporate such consequences in the overall account is indeed a
puzzle.



A puzzle? No more ... (see below).






Not only can't we prove it, but we couldn't, from a 3-p pov, even
predict or in any way characterise such 1-p notions, if we didn't  
know
from a 1-p perspective 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread David Nyman
Bruno, I want to thank you for such a complete commentary on my recent
posts - I will need to spend quite a bit of time thinking carefully
about everything you have said before I respond at length.  I'm sure
that I'm quite capable of becoming confused between a theory and its
subject, though I am of course alive to the distinction.  In the
meantime, I wonder if you could respond to a supplementary question in
grandmother mode, or at least translate for grandma, into a more
every-day way of speaking, the parts of your commentary that are most
relevant to her interest in this topic.

Let us suppose that, to use the example I have already cited, that
grandma puts her hand in a flame, feels the unbearable agony of
burning, and is unable to prevent herself from withdrawing her hand
with a shriek of pain.  Let us further suppose (though of course this
may well be ambiguous in the current state of neurological theory)
that a complete and sufficient 3-p description of this (partial)
history of events is also possible in terms of nerve firings,
cognitive and motor processing, etc. (the details are not so important
as the belief that such a complete history could be given).  From the
point of view of the reversal of the relation between 1-p and 3-p in
comp, is there some way to help grandma how to understand the
*necessary relation* (i.e. what she would conventionally understand as
causal relation) between her 1-p *experience* of the pain (as
distinct from our observation of her reaction) and whatever 3-p events
are posterior to this in the history?  For example, what would be
distinctively missing from the causal sequence had she been
unconscious and had merely withdrawn her hand reflexively?

I suppose this amounts to a repetition of the question - how is the
*painful experience* itself causally indispensable to the 3-p events
we associate with it?  I seem to see that in a sense, given the comp
reversal of the relation between physics and consciousness, the 3-p
events do indeed emerge out of the pain.  But this still seems to
beg the question: how do the 3-p events depend on the brute fact of
the *painfulness* of the pain, as opposed to the objective *existence*
of an infinity of computations?  I realise that this is a very strange
question, and it may indeed stem from some confusion of theory and
topic as you suggest.  Could you possibly mean - perhaps this is
implied in the term objective idealism - that the indescribable
background of the infinity of computations ultimately has no
independently objective existence - i.e. that it is fundamentally
the very same kind of existent that ultimately emerges in the
qualitative experience of subjects?  And then that the 3-p histories
are the quasi-objective component of this subjectivity (with the
crucial caveat that access to such objectivity can't in itself ever
give any subject complete *knowledge* of their situation)?

David

On 23 February 2010 14:18, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:
 David,

 First of all, as I have already said, you seem to be well aware of the
 hardest part of the hard problem of consciousness. And this gives me the
 opportunity to try to explain what you are missing. Indeed, in this post, I
 will try to explain how comp does solve completely the conceptual hard
 problem of consciousness. (With the usual price that physics  becomes a
 branch of machine's theology).


 On 22 Feb 2010, at 15:00, David Nyman wrote:

 On 22 February 2010 07:37, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 What do you mean by implicit here? What is implicit is that the
 subjectivity (1-p), to make sense, has to be referentially correct
 relatively to the most probable histories/consistent extensions.

 What I mean by implicit is already accounted for, at least according
 to the assumptions of the closed 3-p hypothesis, which of course is
 what I'm questioning.

 Then the incommunicable and private aspect of those knowledge and qualia
 is
 provided by the theory of knowledge and the quale logic, provided by the
 respective intensional variant of G and G*. The difference between G and
 G*
 (provable and true) is reflected in those intensional variant.

 Yes, but G and G*, and indeed all formally expressible logics, are
 themselves closed 3-p (i.e. objective) notions - i.e. they would exist
 and possess the same explanatory power in the absence of any
 accompanying *qualitative* component.


 I am not sure what you mean exactly by closed 3-p or even objective. But it
 is OK (I see it is a minor question of vocabulary).

 G and G* are formal modal logics, and it happens that they describe
 completely (at some level) the self-referential discourse of ideally
 self-referentially correct machines.

 We have no interest in those formal theories per se, if it were not for
 their semantics, including their interpretations in arithmetic, and their
 intensional variants.
 I come back on this below.





  This is just another way of
 gesturing towards the Really Hard Problem - 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread David Nyman
On 22 February 2010 21:03, John Mikes jami...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think the hard problem is not just 'hard to solve': it requires knowledge
 of necessary ingredients (steps in the 'process') still unknown - but
 cleverly spoken about in the sciences, within the framework of those
 portions we already (think) we know. The German proverb says:
 des Menschen's Wille ist ein Himmelreich (a man's will is a 'heavenly'
 extension) and so is his mentality. IMO we know only a fraction of it so
 far. That, too, in a 1p interpreted abridgement.

John, what you say above of course immediately puts me in mind of
Schopenhauer's ideas in Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.  I
sometimes have a sense of Schopenhauer's will - he really intended
something more like power or force, I think - of the world (the
One, the Unnameable) as reflecting back via conscious states towards
the objective development of 3-p processes.  In this view, conscious
states would subsist in integrated 1-p world-states - i.e. subjects
- as distinct from the particular, differentiated 3-p events and
components that function to delimit and structure such states.  The
will, in the sense that Schopenhauer conceived it, would then
achieve expression both in the form of the micro-level physical laws
we hypothesise from observing those 3-p events and processes, and also
as more general orchestrations of that same law-like behaviour,
correlated with overall experiential states-of-the-system.

In this view, the world as a whole would encompass both unconscious
(differentiated, analytical) and conscious (integrated, global)
correlations of such primitive will with objective reality, thus
presenting both options for exploitation and selection by evolutionary
processes.  This in turn should mean that there is the possibility of
elucidating criteria to distinguish whatever has become capable of
generating conscious states and causal narratives (i.e.
subjectively-structured overall states of the system) from whatever is
still limited to the exploitation of purely unconscious physical
processes.  Whether this can make any sense in terms of either physics
or comp I have no idea, but personally I sometimes find this intuition
helpful.

David


 David:

 how about: we have our 1p and THINK about a 3p - only as adjusted
 (interpreted) by our 1p AS an imagined realistic 3p world? Nobody walks the
 shoes of another person (mentally, I mean).
 Even reading books or learning from lectures does not impart the message of
 the 'author', only the 1p-adjusted meaning acceptable for our 1p mentality
 (which is just as personal and quite individual as an immune system, a DNA
 or (maybe) a fingerprint, as resulting from the genetic built of the tool
 (brain) modified with past (personal) experience -  AND who knows today,
 what else?)

 I think the hard problem is not just 'hard to solve': it requires knowledge
 of necessary ingredients (steps in the 'process') still unknown - but
 cleverly spoken about in the sciences, within the framework of those
 portions we already (think) we know. The German proverb says:
 des Menschen's Wille ist ein Himmelreich (a man's will is a 'heavenly'
 extension) and so is his mentality. IMO we know only a fraction of it so
 far. That, too, in a 1p interpreted abridgement.

 John Mikes



 On 2/21/10, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
  However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
  weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
  3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
  and needing no explanation.

 You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
 it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
 general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
 consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
 not acknowledged.  Principal amongst these is the fact that the
 existence of 1-p is not in any way computable - accessible, arrivable
 at - from the closed assumptions of 3-p.  But worse than that, if we
 take this default position of assuming the 3-p mode to be both
 complete and closed, we are thereby also committed to the position
 that all our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours - not excluding those
 apparently relating to the experiential states themselves - must be
 solely a consequence of the 3-p account of things, and indeed would
 proceed identically even in the complete absence of any such states!

 This, ISTM, is a paradoxical, or at the very least an extremely
 puzzling, state of affairs, and it was to promote discussion of these
 specific problems that I started the thread.  Whether one starts from
 the assumption of primacy of 1-p or 3-p (or neither) the principal
 difficulty is making any sense of their relation - i.e. the Hard
 Problem - and ISTM 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 7:18 AM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 23 February 2010 05:45, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

 The problem with it, with reference to the situation as I've stated
 it, is that it doesn't take us one step nearer elucidating the
 relation between 1-p and 3-p.  In Dennett's formulation, there only
 seems to be 1-p in a uniquely 3-p world; in yours, there only
 seems to be 3-p in a fundamentally 1-p world.  But what neither
 solution addresses, or even acknowledges - but rather obscures with
 these linguistic devices - is what any fundamental relation between
 these two undeniably manifest perspectives could possibly be.  What we
 seek is a penetrating analysis of seeming that encompasses both 1-p
 and 3-p aspects.

So we can have the experience of an external world without actually
having an external world.  Dreams and hallucinations prove this.

Therefore, our experience of an external world does not prove that the
external world which is experienced actually exists.

With this in mind, I'm not sure what you mean by two undeniably
manifest perpectives.  Only ONE seems undeniable to me, and that's
1-p.

My proposal is that seeming is all there is to reality.  It's all
surface, no depth.  However, using reason to build models with
ontologies that are consistent with our observations provides the
illusion of depth.


 Now of course it's open to you, as you consistently reiterate, to
 reject this issue as unworthy of discussion on the grounds that it is
 permanently inexplicable. You may be right, but in effect this would
 simply exclude you from the community of those who'd like to know
 more, even if they're destined never to be enlightened.  In my view,
 such an attitude is premature.

Hmmm.  Well, I think you've missed my point.

So the question is, what causes consciousness.  The typical answer is
something along the lines of neurons, which are made of quarks and
electrons, which interact in ways approximately described by the laws
of physics.

There are two follow up questions to that answer:

1)  Why would quarks and electrons interacting that way result in my
conscious experience?  (the explanatory gap)

2)  What causes quarks and electrons (and the universe that contains
them)?  And what causes them to interact in the way they do rather
than some other way (plus the rest of the laws of physics)?

You seem to have focused primarily on the first follow up question.
However, I think the second follow up question is actually more
interesting with respect to consciousness.

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 On 23 Feb 2010, at 06:45, Rex Allen wrote:

 It seems to me that there are two easy ways to get rid of the hard
 problem.

 1)  Get rid of 1-p.  (A la Dennettian eliminative materialism)

 OR

 2)  Get rid of 3-p.  (subjective idealism)

 For the reasons I've touched on above I don't see that introducing the
 idea of a material world explains anything at all.  Therefore, I vote
 for getting rid of 3-p, except as a calculational device.

 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

 You forget 3)

 3) get rid of physical-3-p, but keep mathematical (arithmetical) 3-p. That
 is objective idealism.

 And this you need in any account ... if only as 'calculational device'.
  Then computer science solves the hard part of the mind problem, with the
 price of having to derive the physical laws from the belief that the numbers
 develop naturally from self-introspection. And it is not so amazing we
 (re)find the type of theory developed by the greeks among those who were
 both mystic and rationalist. They did introspect themselves very deeply,
 apparently.

 Wait my next post to David for how comp does solve the hard problem of
 consciousness.

 Bruno Marchal


H.  Well, I think that your proposal suffers from the same
explanatory gap as physicalism.

So numbers and their relations and machines and whatnot exist
platonically.  Okay.  So far so good.

BUT I don't see why these things in any combination or standing in any
relation to each other should give rise to conscious experience - any
more than quarks and electrons stacked in certain arrangements should
do so.

I believe you that there is some mathematical description or
representation of my experiences...but I don't see why the existence
of such a representation, platonic OR physically embodied, would
result in conscious experience...?

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-23 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 The idea of a material world that exists fundamentally and uncaused
 while giving rise to conscious experience is no more coherent than the
 idea that conscious experience exists fundamentally and uncaused and
 gives rise to the mere perception of a material world (as everyone
 accepts happens in dreams).

 What is the problem with this solution?

 The material world didn't lead to solipism.

Is hard determinism as bad an outcome as solipsism?  If not, why not?
It would seem to me to be about the same.

And further, how would quantum indeterminism improve things?

But, regardless, if you mean solipsism in the sense that only I exist,
then that's not entailed by my position.


 And it proved to have a lot of predictive power.

If deterministic physicalism is true, then your experience of having
made a successful prediction is entirely a result of the universe's
initial conditions plus the causal laws that govern it's change over
time (if there are any such laws).  The only significant part is that
you have an experience of it.  Not the prediction itself.

If the universe is completely indeterministic, then the success of
your prediction is pure luck.

If the universe is has probabilistic laws, then the success of your
prediction is due entirely to the interplay of luck, initial
conditions, and the particular nature of the probabilistic laws that
we have.  Like the card game example.  In poker, whether you are dealt
rags or a Royal flush is due to luck.  BUT, there's no chance of you
getting 5 Aces of the same suit, because the rules of the game don't
allow for that.

You can say you still have a choice in how you play your hand, but
that's is putting yourself outside the game.  Which is not an option
with the universe.  Inside the game there are no choices...there is
only luck and the rules.

Right?

So.  There's no significance to predictive success.  It just *seems*
that way to you.


 However, let me put in a modest word for a third possibility - instead of a
 first cause, and instead of an infinite regress, let me recommend the
 circular explanation; in this case:  1-p = 3-p = 1-p =...  I realize
 these are in disfavor and are given the name vicious circle,  but I'd like
 to suggest that when the circle is so large as to encompass all the
 explandums it integrates them into a kind of cyclic monism and is no longer
 vicious, but virtuous.

Well.  I don't find this possibility very compelling.  So
there are still laws that govern the transitions from 1-p to 3-p and
back, right?  I think the same argument applies.

Why this particular virtuous circle with it's particular causal laws
and not some other virtuous cirlce?  If you find a law that explains
it, why does that law hold and not some other?

And why not no circles at all?

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread David Nyman
On 22 February 2010 07:37, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 What do you mean by implicit here? What is implicit is that the
 subjectivity (1-p), to make sense, has to be referentially correct
 relatively to the most probable histories/consistent extensions.

What I mean by implicit is already accounted for, at least according
to the assumptions of the closed 3-p hypothesis, which of course is
what I'm questioning.

 Then the incommunicable and private aspect of those knowledge and qualia is
 provided by the theory of knowledge and the quale logic, provided by the
 respective intensional variant of G and G*. The difference between G and G*
 (provable and true) is reflected in those intensional variant.

Yes, but G and G*, and indeed all formally expressible logics, are
themselves closed 3-p (i.e. objective) notions - i.e. they would exist
and possess the same explanatory power in the absence of any
accompanying *qualitative* component.  This is just another way of
gesturing towards the Really Hard Problem - that the qualitative
component, per se, is seemingly redundant to the account if we assume
we already have a closed, or sufficient, non-qualitative explanation.
Consequently these logics AFAICS lead to the same paradoxical
conclusions as the closed 3-p physical hypothesis - i.e. that the
references to qualitative experiences - even those references we
ourselves produce - would occur even in the absence of any such
experiences.  This would leave us in the position of doubting the
basis even of our own statements that we are conscious!

I want to seriously discuss the proposition that certain behaviours
are actually contingent on qualitative experience, as distinguished
from any accompanying 3-p phenomena.  That is, for example, that my
withdrawing my hand from the fire because it hurts indispensably
requires the qualitative *experience* of pain to mediate between 1-p
and 3-p narratives.  This would of course mean in turn that the
explanatory arc from stimulus, through cognitive processing, to
response would be, without the qualitative component, in some way
demonstrably incomplete as an explanation.  ISTM that this would make
it impossible to ignore the implication that the context in which we
conceive 3-p processes to be situated (whether we are talking in terms
of their physical or mathematical-logical expression) would itself be
capable of taking on personal characteristics in apparent
interaction with such processes.

Something related to this, ISTM, is already implied in the background
to 1-p indeterminacy, observer moments, the solipsism of the One
etc, because all these notions implicitly contain the idea of some
general context capable of embodying and individuating personal
qualitative experience - given relevant 3-p-describable structure and
function.  But in order for that personhood not to be vacuous - i.e.
redundant to the supposedly primary 3-p narrative - such personal
qualitative states must be conceived as having consequences, otherwise
inexplicable, in the 3-p domain, and not merely vice-versa.  How to
incorporate such consequences in the overall account is indeed a
puzzle.

 Not only can't we prove it, but we couldn't, from a 3-p pov, even
 predict or in any way characterise such 1-p notions, if we didn't know
 from a 1-p perspective that they exist (or seem to know that they seem
 to exist).

 This is not true I think. Already with the uda duplication experience, you
 can see predict the difference, for example, the apparition of first person
 indeterminacy despite the determinacy in the 3d description. This is
 captured by the difference between (Bp and p) and Bp, and that difference is
 a consequence of incompleteness, when self-observing occurs.

I don't deny what you're saying per se, but I'm commenting on this
because it brings out, I hope, the distinction between purely formal
descriptions of 1-p notions, and actual first-personal acquaintance
with qualitative experience.  It's the latter that I'm claiming is
non-computable from any formal premise (which, as I think we'd both
agree, is the essence of the HP).  It's one thing to say that
self-observing occurs, and quite another to actually experience
self-observing.  But beyond this, ISTM that we must also believe that
the *experience* of self-observing entails consequences that the mere
*description* of self-observing would not, to avoid the paradoxes
contingent on the idea that qualitative experiences are somehow
redundant or merely epiphenomenal.

 One of the
 places it leads (which ISTM some are anxious not to acknowledge)) is
 the kind of brute paradox I've referred to.  So what I'm asking you is
 how is this different from a comp perspective?  Can our 3-p references
 to 1-p phenomena escape paradox in the comp analysis?

 Yes, because we do accept the truth of elementary arithmetic. We can study
 the theology of simple (and thus *intuitively* correct) Löbian machine. We
 *know* in that setting that the machine will 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread John Mikes
David:

how about: we have our 1p and THINK about a 3p - only as adjusted
(interpreted) by our 1p AS an imagined realistic 3p world? Nobody walks the
shoes of another person (mentally, I mean).
Even reading books or learning from lectures does not impart the message of
the 'author', only the 1p-adjusted meaning acceptable for our 1p mentality
(which is just as personal and quite individual as an immune system, a DNA
or (maybe) a fingerprint, as resulting from the genetic built of the tool
(brain) modified with past (personal) experience -  AND who knows today,
what else?)

I think the hard problem is not just 'hard to solve': it requires knowledge
of necessary ingredients (steps in the 'process') still unknown - but
cleverly spoken about in the sciences, within the framework of those
portions we already (think) we know. The German proverb says:
des Menschen's Wille ist ein Himmelreich (a man's will is a 'heavenly'
extension) and so is his mentality. IMO we know only a fraction of it so
far. That, too, in a 1p interpreted abridgement.

John Mikes




On 2/21/10, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
  However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
  weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
  3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
  and needing no explanation.

 You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
 it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
 general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
 consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
 not acknowledged.  Principal amongst these is the fact that the
 existence of 1-p is not in any way computable - accessible, arrivable
 at - from the closed assumptions of 3-p.  But worse than that, if we
 take this default position of assuming the 3-p mode to be both
 complete and closed, we are thereby also committed to the position
 that all our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours - not excluding those
 apparently relating to the experiential states themselves - must be
 solely a consequence of the 3-p account of things, and indeed would
 proceed identically even in the complete absence of any such states!

 This, ISTM, is a paradoxical, or at the very least an extremely
 puzzling, state of affairs, and it was to promote discussion of these
 specific problems that I started the thread.  Whether one starts from
 the assumption of primacy of 1-p or 3-p (or neither) the principal
 difficulty is making any sense of their relation - i.e. the Hard
 Problem - and ISTM not only that it is Hard to solve, but even to
 state in a way that doesn't mask its truly paradoxical nature.  For
 example, as I've mentioned, it's often waved away by some reference to
 identity, in the face of the manifest objection that the states of
 affairs referred to could hardly, on the face of it, be less
 identical, and in the total absence of any approach to reconciling
 their radical differences, or their intelligible relations.  Despite
 the difficulty of the subject, I do cherish the hope that progress can
 be made if we give up explaining-away from entrenched positions,
 accept the seriousness of the challenge to our preconceptions, and
 re-examine the real issues with an open mind.

 David

  On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com
 wrote:
  The only rationale for adducing the additional
  existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
  possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
  existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
  3-p grounds.
 
 
  It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
  experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
  individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
  existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
  experience.
 
  So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
  However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
  weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
  3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
  and needing no explanation.  But why is that?  The physical world
  doesn't explain it's own existence and nature, does it?  So what
  caused it?  What explains it's initial state?  Why does it have it's
  current state?  Why does it change in time the way that it does?
 
  If we're taking the existence and nature of things as a given, why
  can't we instead say that 1-p is fundamental?  What is lost?  What
  makes this an unpalatable option?  It seems to me that it should
  certainly be the default position.
 
  I like Philip Goff's idea of Ghosts as an alternative to Chalmers'
  Zombies:
 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread Rex Allen
On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
 However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
 weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
 3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
 and needing no explanation.

 You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
 it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
 general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
 consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
 not acknowledged.

So let's assume that an independently existing material world exists
and fully explains what we observe and also THAT we observe.

If this reality is deterministic, then what we experience is strictly
a result of the world's initial conditions and the laws that govern
it's change over time.  Which means that what we can know about
reality is also strictly a result of the initial conditions and causal
laws, since we only learn about the world through our experiences.

What would explain the all-important initial conditions and causal
laws?  Nothing, right?  They just would be whatever they were, for no
reason.  If they had a reason, that reason would be part of the
material world, not something separate from and preceding it.

In this case there would be no reason to believe that what we
experienced revealed anything about the *true* underlying causal
structure.  It could be like a dream or The Matrix, where what is
experienced is completely different than the cause of the experience.

Even if what we experienced did reflect the true underlying nature of
what caused the experience...what would the significance of this be,
really?  The future is set, all we do is wait for it to be revealed to
our experience.

An indeterministic physical world is no more helpful.  Here, we would
seem to have a range of scenarios.

At one end is pure indeterminism...where there is absolutely no
connection between one instant and the next.  Things just happen,
randomly, for no reason.  No events are causally connected in any way.
 If transitions between particular arrangements of matter is what
gives rise to conscious experience, then given enough random events
every possible experience would eventually seem to be generated.
However, if any of these experiences revealed anything about the true
nature of reality, this would be purely coincidental.

At the other end of the range is a nearly deterministic system where
only on very rare occasions or in specific circumstances would the
orderly sequence of cause and effect give way to some sort of tightly
constrained but completely unpredictable indeterministic state
change...which would then alter in an orderly way the subsequent
deterministic behavior of the physical world as the consequences of
this random event spread out in a ripple of cause-and-effect.

So our experiences would be completely determined by the initial
state of the world, plus the causal laws with their tolerance for
occasional randomness, PLUS the history of actual random state
changes.

This doesn't seem to provide any improvement over the purely
deterministic option.  Each random occurrence is just another brute
fact, like the initial state or the particular causal laws that govern
the evolution of the system (allowing for occasional random events).
The random occurrences don't add anything, and actually could be just
taken as special cases of the causal laws.


 This, ISTM, is a paradoxical, or at the very least an extremely
 puzzling, state of affairs, and it was to promote discussion of these
 specific problems that I started the thread.

Is it a paradox, or a reductio ad absurdum against the idea that our
perceptions are caused by an independently existing external reality?

What does introducing an independently existing physical world buy us?

So we have our orderly conscious experiences and we want to explain
them. To do this, we need some context to place these experiences in.
So we postulate the existence of an orderly external universe that
“causes” our experiences. But then we have to explain what caused this
orderly external universe, and also the particular initial conditions
and causal laws that result in what we observe.

So this is basically Kant's first antinomy of pure reason. Either
there is a first cause, which itself is uncaused, OR there is an
infinite chain of prior causes stretching infinitely far into the
past. But why this particular infinite chain as opposed to some other?
In fact, why our particular infinite chain of prior causes or first
cause instead of Nothing existing at all?

It seems that either way (infinite chain or first cause), at the end
you are left with only one reasonable conclusion: There is no reason
that things are this way. They 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread Rex Allen
On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 9:52 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:

 On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com
 wrote:


 The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
 3-p grounds.



 It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
 experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
 individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
 existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
 experience.


 I think it's fruitless to argue about which is fundamental.

How are you defining fruitless?  What sort of fruit are you after?  And why?

I agree that the discussion isn't likely to lead to better ramjets, or
cures for terrible diseases, BUT...those aren't my goals.  Why would
they be?

To paraphrase Hume, reason is the slave of the passions.  But what
explains the passions?


 Obviously we
 have direct 1-p experience; but also that there are differences between
 persons.

So I only know my own experiences.  I infer the existence of
experiences which aren't mine.

I have the experience of interacting with others who seem conscious,
but this happens in my dreams as well, where presumably those
dream-people have no experiences of their own.

However, my experiences certainly exist.  And even if they are
fundamental and uncaused, why would they be the only ones?


 So if we concentrate on the intersubjective agreement between
 different 1-p reports we find that we can make some successful predictive
 models of that 3-p world.

What does the experience of making and verifying predictions mean in a
deterministic world?  What does it mean in a random world?  (see my
previous email to David)

Why would the world be the kind of place where we have the ability to
build predictive models, and where these models would actually be
successful?


 At one time there was an assumption that the 3-p
 world could be modeled as a lot of agents, i.e. beings with 1-p experiences.
 But that turned out be an impediment and it worked better to model the 3-p
 world as impersonal and mathematical.  So naturally one attractive strategy
 is to keep pushing what has worked in the past.

Regardless of the true nature of reality, taking what has seemed to
worked in the past as a guide seems like as good a strategy as any
other.


 There's no reason not to
 try taking 1-p experiences as the basis of your ontology, the positivists
 tried to put physics on that basis, but so far it seems the way to make
 progress has been to treat 1-p as basic but fallible and quickly move to an
 external reality that is more consistent.

I certainly agree that using 3-p as a calculational device seems to be
the way to proceed when having experiences of designing ramjets or
trying to start uncooperative cars.

BUT.  SO.  HOWEVER...

Either conscious experience is caused, or it's not.

If it's caused, then either determinism is true, or it's not.

It seems possible to grasp the implications of all 3 resulting
scenarios...and to me they all lead to the same ultimate conclusion.
There is no reason for the way things are.  They just are this way.

You can describe the way things are (or seem to be) within the world,
and you can use these descriptions to construct plausible narratives
about how things within the world seem to be related to to each other.
 But there is no explanation for the world's (apparent) existence or
why it is the way it is.

Which to me actually seems like the answer.  The answer is:  there is no answer.

BUT...no one else seems to agree, so maybe I'm missing something.

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
  

On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:



So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
and needing no explanation.
  

You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
not acknowledged.



So let's assume that an independently existing material world exists
and fully explains what we observe and also THAT we observe.

If this reality is deterministic, then what we experience is strictly
a result of the world's initial conditions and the laws that govern
it's change over time.  Which means that what we can know about
reality is also strictly a result of the initial conditions and causal
laws, since we only learn about the world through our experiences.

What would explain the all-important initial conditions and causal
laws?  Nothing, right?  They just would be whatever they were, for no
reason.  If they had a reason, that reason would be part of the
material world, not something separate from and preceding it.

In this case there would be no reason to believe that what we
experienced revealed anything about the *true* underlying causal
structure.  It could be like a dream or The Matrix, where what is
experienced is completely different than the cause of the experience.

Even if what we experienced did reflect the true underlying nature of
what caused the experience...what would the significance of this be,
really?  The future is set, all we do is wait for it to be revealed to
our experience.

An indeterministic physical world is no more helpful.  Here, we would
seem to have a range of scenarios.

At one end is pure indeterminism...where there is absolutely no
connection between one instant and the next.  Things just happen,
randomly, for no reason.  No events are causally connected in any way.
 If transitions between particular arrangements of matter is what
gives rise to conscious experience, then given enough random events
every possible experience would eventually seem to be generated.
However, if any of these experiences revealed anything about the true
nature of reality, this would be purely coincidental.

At the other end of the range is a nearly deterministic system where
only on very rare occasions or in specific circumstances would the
orderly sequence of cause and effect give way to some sort of tightly
constrained but completely unpredictable indeterministic state
change...which would then alter in an orderly way the subsequent
deterministic behavior of the physical world as the consequences of
this random event spread out in a ripple of cause-and-effect.

So our experiences would be completely determined by the initial
state of the world, plus the causal laws with their tolerance for
occasional randomness, PLUS the history of actual random state
changes.

This doesn't seem to provide any improvement over the purely
deterministic option.  Each random occurrence is just another brute
fact, like the initial state or the particular causal laws that govern
the evolution of the system (allowing for occasional random events).
The random occurrences don't add anything, and actually could be just
taken as special cases of the causal laws.


  

This, ISTM, is a paradoxical, or at the very least an extremely
puzzling, state of affairs, and it was to promote discussion of these
specific problems that I started the thread.



Is it a paradox, or a reductio ad absurdum against the idea that our
perceptions are caused by an independently existing external reality?

What does introducing an independently existing physical world buy us?

So we have our orderly conscious experiences and we want to explain
them. To do this, we need some context to place these experiences in.
So we postulate the existence of an orderly external universe that
“causes” our experiences. But then we have to explain what caused this
orderly external universe, and also the particular initial conditions
and causal laws that result in what we observe.

So this is basically Kant's first antinomy of pure reason. Either
there is a first cause, which itself is uncaused, OR there is an
infinite chain of prior causes stretching infinitely far into the
past. But why this particular infinite chain as opposed to some other?
In fact, why our particular infinite chain of prior causes or first
cause instead of Nothing existing at all?

It seems that either way (infinite chain or first cause), at the end
you are left with only one reasonable conclusion: There is no 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-22 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 9:52 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  

Rex Allen wrote:


On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com
wrote:

  

The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.



It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
experience.

  

I think it's fruitless to argue about which is fundamental.



How are you defining fruitless?  What sort of fruit are you after?  And why?

I agree that the discussion isn't likely to lead to better ramjets, or
cures for terrible diseases, BUT...those aren't my goals.  Why would
they be?

To paraphrase Hume, reason is the slave of the passions.  But what
explains the passions?
  


Evolution.


  

Obviously we
have direct 1-p experience; but also that there are differences between
persons.



So I only know my own experiences.  I infer the existence of
experiences which aren't mine.

I have the experience of interacting with others who seem conscious,
but this happens in my dreams as well, where presumably those
dream-people have no experiences of their own.

However, my experiences certainly exist.  And even if they are
fundamental and uncaused, why would they be the only ones?


  

So if we concentrate on the intersubjective agreement between
different 1-p reports we find that we can make some successful predictive
models of that 3-p world.



What does the experience of making and verifying predictions mean in a
deterministic world?  What does it mean in a random world?  (see my
previous email to David)

Why would the world be the kind of place where we have the ability to
build predictive models, and where these models would actually be
successful?


  

At one time there was an assumption that the 3-p
world could be modeled as a lot of agents, i.e. beings with 1-p experiences.
But that turned out be an impediment and it worked better to model the 3-p
world as impersonal and mathematical.  So naturally one attractive strategy
is to keep pushing what has worked in the past.



Regardless of the true nature of reality, taking what has seemed to
worked in the past as a guide seems like as good a strategy as any
other.


  

There's no reason not to
try taking 1-p experiences as the basis of your ontology, the positivists
tried to put physics on that basis, but so far it seems the way to make
progress has been to treat 1-p as basic but fallible and quickly move to an
external reality that is more consistent.



I certainly agree that using 3-p as a calculational device seems to be
the way to proceed when having experiences of designing ramjets or
trying to start uncooperative cars.

BUT.  SO.  HOWEVER...

Either conscious experience is caused, or it's not.

If it's caused, then either determinism is true, or it's not.
  


What does caused mean?  One of Aristotles four causes?  all of them?


It seems possible to grasp the implications of all 3 resulting
scenarios...and to me they all lead to the same ultimate conclusion.
There is no reason for the way things are.  They just are this way.

You can describe the way things are (or seem to be) within the world,
and you can use these descriptions to construct plausible narratives
about how things within the world seem to be related to to each other.
 But there is no explanation for the world's (apparent) existence or
why it is the way it is.
  


You don't know that there's no explanation - only that we don't have one 
(at least one that satisfies you).

Which to me actually seems like the answer.  The answer is:  there is no answer.

BUT...no one else seems to agree, so maybe I'm missing something.

  
That there may be unanswerable questions (which seems almost certain) 
doesn't imply that there are no more answerable questions.  If we 
discover that string theory provides an integrated model of QM and GR we 
will have answered an interesting question, even if it's not the answer 
to everything. 

I might again point to the virtues of circular explanations - if they 
are wide enough to take everything in.



Brent

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-21 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 18:08, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 You may already understand (by uda) that the first person notions are
 related to infinite sum of computations (and this is not obviously
 computable, not even partially).

Yes, I do understand that.  What I'm particularly interested in, with
respect to comp is what is the relation between the 1-p notions  and
the 3-p ones, from the point of view of causality (which you can put
in scare quotes if you prefer).  IOW, any 1-p notion, such as pain, is
not only non-computable (as opposed to inferrable by analogy) from any
3-p perspective, but is seemingly irrelevant to the unfolding of the
3-p account with which it is (somehow) associated.  What scope is
there, in the unfolding of the infinity of computations by the UD, for
1-p experience to be viewed as having any consequences beyond those
already implicit in the 3-p describable nature of the computations
themselves?  Does this question make any sense from a comp
perspective?

 I guess you mean that we cannot prove the existence of the 1-p from the
 3-p grounds. That's correct (both intuitively with UDA, and it is a theorem
 of machine's theology (AUDA).

Not only can't we prove it, but we couldn't, from a 3-p pov, even
predict or in any way characterise such 1-p notions, if we didn't know
from a 1-p perspective that they exist (or seem to know that they seem
to exist).

 But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
 refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
 behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
 p perspective?

 Good point. But you are lead to this because you still believe that matter
 is a primitive 3-p notion.

No, I don't believe it, but I'm able to entertain it (as an
alternative to comp) to see where this hypothesis leads.  One of the
places it leads (which ISTM some are anxious not to acknowledge)) is
the kind of brute paradox I've referred to.  So what I'm asking you is
how is this different from a comp perspective?  Can our 3-p references
to 1-p phenomena escape paradox in the comp analysis?

 But the physical 3-p notions are just NOT closed for explanation. It
 collapses all the points of view. It explains consciousness away!

I understand that you take this view from a comp perspective, but what
about from a primitive-materialist pov in its own terms?  Do you
believe that such a closed explanation is fundamentally unable to
account seriously for consciousness for the reasons I've cited?  Is
there any way to re-open it outside of comp?

(In reply to Stathis):

 Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
 computation, you have the experience.


 I think you have the correct intuition, but the phrasing is really
 misleading. I am not a computation, I am a person.

If this is the correct intuition, then the computations already
contain every possibility from the 3-p perspective, and the additional
existence, nature and possible consequences of 1-p notions are as
inaccessible as they are from a primitive-materialist pov, AFAICS.

David


 On 16 Feb 2010, at 19:07, David Nyman wrote:

  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
 person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
 person perspective?

 There is an ambiguity in you phrasing. I will proceed like I always do, by
 interpreting your term favorably, relatively to computationalism and its
 (drastic) consequences.

 The first person notion, and consciousness, are not clearly notion to which
 the label computable can be applied. The fact is that, no machine can even
 define what is the first person, or what is consciousness.

 You may already understand (by uda) that the first person notions are
 related to infinite sum of computations (and this is not obviously
 computable, not even partially).

 But auda makes this utterly clear. Third person self-reference is entirely
 described by the provability predicate, the one that I write with the letter
 B. Bp is  *I* prove p, Beweisbar ('p'), for p some arithmetical
 proposition.
 The corresponding first person notion is Bp  Tp, with Tp = True('p'). By a
 theorem of Tarski true cannot be define (even just define!) by the
 machine, and the logic of BpTp (= Bp  p) is quite different from Bp, from
 the point of view of the machine. That result on truth has been extended
 by Kaplan  Montague for knowledge.

 Let Bp = I prove p
 Let Kp = Bp  Tp = Bp  p = I know p

 Then, what happens is that

 G* proves Bp - Kp
 NOT(G proves Bp - Kp)

  G does not prove the equivalence of Bp and Kp, for correct machine. It is
 false that G proves Bp - Kp, and the machine cannot have access to the
 truth of that equivalence (or indirectly by postulating comp).






  The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-21 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
 3-p grounds.


It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
experience.

So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
and needing no explanation.  But why is that?  The physical world
doesn't explain it's own existence and nature, does it?  So what
caused it?  What explains it's initial state?  Why does it have it's
current state?  Why does it change in time the way that it does?

If we're taking the existence and nature of things as a given, why
can't we instead say that 1-p is fundamental?  What is lost?  What
makes this an unpalatable option?  It seems to me that it should
certainly be the default position.

I like Philip Goff's idea of Ghosts as an alternative to Chalmers'
Zombies:  
http://consciousnessonline.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/philip-goff-paper.pdf

First, from the introduction:

Zombies are bodies without minds: creatures that are physically
identical to actual human beings, but which have no conscious
experience. Much of the consciousness literature concerns how
threatening philosophical reflection on such creatures is to
physicalism.  There is not much attention given to the converse
possibility, the possibility of minds without bodies, that is,
creatures who are conscious but whose nature is exhausted by their
being conscious. We can call such a ‘purely conscious’ creature a
ghost.

Then on page 7:

The way into imagining your ghost twin is to go through the familiar
Cartesian process of doubting everything that it is possible to doubt.
For all you know for sure, the physical world around you might be a
delusion, placed in you by an incredibly powerful evil demon. The arms
and legs you seem to see in front of you, the heart you seem to feel
beating beneath your breast, your body that feels solid and warm to
the touch, all may be figments of a particularly powerful delusion.
You might not even have a brain.

The only state of affairs you know for certain to obtain is that you
exist as a thing such that there is something that it is like to be
that thing. You know for certain that you are a thing that has an
experience as of having arms and legs, a beating heart, a warm, solid
body. You know that you are a subject of experience. But you may not
be a creature that exists in space, or has physical parts. It is by
engaging in the process of Cartesian doubting that one arrives at a
conception of one’s ghost twin.

I am not suggesting that the process of Cartesian doubting
demonstrates the possibility of ghosts, but I am suggesting that it
goes a good way to demonstrating their conceivability.  To entertain
the possibility that I am the only thing that exists, and that I exist
as a thing with no properties other than my conscious experience, just
is to conceive of my ghost twin. Any philosopher who agrees with
Descartes up to and including the Cogito has a strong prima facie
obligation to accept the conceivability of ghosts.

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-21 Thread David Nyman
On 21 February 2010 23:25, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
 However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
 weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
 3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
 and needing no explanation.

You're right that I'm starting from this assumption, but only because
it is indeed the default assumption in the sciences, and indeed in the
general consciousness, and my intention was to illustrate some of the
consequences of this assumption that are often waved away or simply
not acknowledged.  Principal amongst these is the fact that the
existence of 1-p is not in any way computable - accessible, arrivable
at - from the closed assumptions of 3-p.  But worse than that, if we
take this default position of assuming the 3-p mode to be both
complete and closed, we are thereby also committed to the position
that all our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours - not excluding those
apparently relating to the experiential states themselves - must be
solely a consequence of the 3-p account of things, and indeed would
proceed identically even in the complete absence of any such states!

This, ISTM, is a paradoxical, or at the very least an extremely
puzzling, state of affairs, and it was to promote discussion of these
specific problems that I started the thread.  Whether one starts from
the assumption of primacy of 1-p or 3-p (or neither) the principal
difficulty is making any sense of their relation - i.e. the Hard
Problem - and ISTM not only that it is Hard to solve, but even to
state in a way that doesn't mask its truly paradoxical nature.  For
example, as I've mentioned, it's often waved away by some reference to
identity, in the face of the manifest objection that the states of
affairs referred to could hardly, on the face of it, be less
identical, and in the total absence of any approach to reconciling
their radical differences, or their intelligible relations.  Despite
the difficulty of the subject, I do cherish the hope that progress can
be made if we give up explaining-away from entrenched positions,
accept the seriousness of the challenge to our preconceptions, and
re-examine the real issues with an open mind.

David

 On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
 3-p grounds.


 It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
 experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
 individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
 existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
 experience.

 So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
 However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
 weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
 3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
 and needing no explanation.  But why is that?  The physical world
 doesn't explain it's own existence and nature, does it?  So what
 caused it?  What explains it's initial state?  Why does it have it's
 current state?  Why does it change in time the way that it does?

 If we're taking the existence and nature of things as a given, why
 can't we instead say that 1-p is fundamental?  What is lost?  What
 makes this an unpalatable option?  It seems to me that it should
 certainly be the default position.

 I like Philip Goff's idea of Ghosts as an alternative to Chalmers'
 Zombies:  
 http://consciousnessonline.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/philip-goff-paper.pdf

 First, from the introduction:

 Zombies are bodies without minds: creatures that are physically
 identical to actual human beings, but which have no conscious
 experience. Much of the consciousness literature concerns how
 threatening philosophical reflection on such creatures is to
 physicalism.  There is not much attention given to the converse
 possibility, the possibility of minds without bodies, that is,
 creatures who are conscious but whose nature is exhausted by their
 being conscious. We can call such a ‘purely conscious’ creature a
 ghost.

 Then on page 7:

 The way into imagining your ghost twin is to go through the familiar
 Cartesian process of doubting everything that it is possible to doubt.
 For all you know for sure, the physical world around you might be a
 delusion, placed in you by an incredibly powerful evil demon. The arms
 and legs you seem to see in front of you, the heart you seem to feel
 beating beneath your breast, your body that feels solid and warm to
 the touch, all may be figments of a particularly powerful delusion.
 You might not even have a brain.

 The only 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-21 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:

On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
  

The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.




It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
experience.

So we know 1-p directly, while we only infer the existence of 3-p.
However, you seem to start from the assumption that 1-p is in the
weaker subordinate position of needing to be explained in terms of
3-p, while 3-p is implicitly taken to be unproblematic, fundamental,
and needing no explanation.  But why is that?  The physical world
doesn't explain it's own existence and nature, does it?  So what
caused it?  What explains it's initial state?  Why does it have it's
current state?  Why does it change in time the way that it does?

If we're taking the existence and nature of things as a given, why
can't we instead say that 1-p is fundamental?  What is lost?  What
makes this an unpalatable option?  It seems to me that it should
certainly be the default position.
  


I think it's fruitless to argue about which is fundamental.  Obviously 
we have direct 1-p experience; but also that there are differences 
between persons.  So if we concentrate on the intersubjective agreement 
between different 1-p reports we find that we can make some successful 
predictive models of that 3-p world.  At one time there was an 
assumption that the 3-p world could be modeled as a lot of agents, i.e. 
beings with 1-p experiences.  But that turned out be an impediment and 
it worked better to model the 3-p world as impersonal and mathematical.  
So naturally one attractive strategy is to keep pushing what has worked 
in the past.  There's no reason not to try taking 1-p experiences as the 
basis of your ontology, the positivists tried to put physics on that 
basis, but so far it seems the way to make progress has been to treat 
1-p as basic but fallible and quickly move to an external reality that 
is more consistent.


Brent


I like Philip Goff's idea of Ghosts as an alternative to Chalmers'
Zombies:  
http://consciousnessonline.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/philip-goff-paper.pdf

First, from the introduction:

Zombies are bodies without minds: creatures that are physically
identical to actual human beings, but which have no conscious
experience. Much of the consciousness literature concerns how
threatening philosophical reflection on such creatures is to
physicalism.  There is not much attention given to the converse
possibility, the possibility of minds without bodies, that is,
creatures who are conscious but whose nature is exhausted by their
being conscious. We can call such a ‘purely conscious’ creature a
ghost.

Then on page 7:

The way into imagining your ghost twin is to go through the familiar
Cartesian process of doubting everything that it is possible to doubt.
For all you know for sure, the physical world around you might be a
delusion, placed in you by an incredibly powerful evil demon. The arms
and legs you seem to see in front of you, the heart you seem to feel
beating beneath your breast, your body that feels solid and warm to
the touch, all may be figments of a particularly powerful delusion.
You might not even have a brain.

The only state of affairs you know for certain to obtain is that you
exist as a thing such that there is something that it is like to be
that thing. You know for certain that you are a thing that has an
experience as of having arms and legs, a beating heart, a warm, solid
body. You know that you are a subject of experience. But you may not
be a creature that exists in space, or has physical parts. It is by
engaging in the process of Cartesian doubting that one arrives at a
conception of one’s ghost twin.

I am not suggesting that the process of Cartesian doubting
demonstrates the possibility of ghosts, but I am suggesting that it
goes a good way to demonstrating their conceivability.  To entertain
the possibility that I am the only thing that exists, and that I exist
as a thing with no properties other than my conscious experience, just
is to conceive of my ghost twin. Any philosopher who agrees with
Descartes up to and including the Cogito has a strong prima facie
obligation to accept the conceivability of ghosts.

  


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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-21 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 21 Feb 2010, at 17:31, David Nyman wrote:


On 17 February 2010 18:08, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


You may already understand (by uda) that the first person notions are
related to infinite sum of computations (and this is not obviously
computable, not even partially).


Yes, I do understand that.  What I'm particularly interested in, with
respect to comp is what is the relation between the 1-p notions  and
the 3-p ones, from the point of view of causality (which you can put
in scare quotes if you prefer).  IOW, any 1-p notion, such as pain, is
not only non-computable (as opposed to inferrable by analogy) from any
3-p perspective, but is seemingly irrelevant to the unfolding of the
3-p account with which it is (somehow) associated.  What scope is
there, in the unfolding of the infinity of computations by the UD, for
1-p experience to be viewed as having any consequences beyond those
already implicit in the 3-p describable nature of the computations
themselves?  Does this question make any sense from a comp
perspective?


What do you mean by implicit here? What is implicit is that the  
subjectivity (1-p), to make sense, has to be referentially correct  
relatively to the most probable histories/consistent extensions.
This make possible to associate a knower (Bp  p) to a  
believer (Bp), and a feeler (Bp  Dp  p) to an observer (Bp   
Dp). This makes it not just possible, but necessary, to attach a first  
person (who will have a logic of first person associate to him/she in  
a third person describable way) to a 3-person body (except that the  
price to pay is that such a body is an immaterial collection of number  
relations).
Then the incommunicable and private aspect of those knowledge and  
qualia is provided by the theory of knowledge and the quale logic,  
provided by the respective intensional variant of G and G*. The  
difference between G and G* (provable and true) is reflected in those  
intensional variant.







I guess you mean that we cannot prove the existence of the 1-p  
from the
3-p grounds. That's correct (both intuitively with UDA, and it is a  
theorem

of machine's theology (AUDA).


Not only can't we prove it, but we couldn't, from a 3-p pov, even
predict or in any way characterise such 1-p notions, if we didn't know
from a 1-p perspective that they exist (or seem to know that they seem
to exist).


This is not true I think. Already with the uda duplication experience,  
you can see predict the difference, for example, the apparition of  
first person indeterminacy despite the determinacy in the 3d  
description. This is captured by the difference between (Bp and p) and  
Bp, and that difference is a consequence of incompleteness, when self- 
observing occurs.







But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from  
the 3-

p perspective?


Good point. But you are lead to this because you still believe that  
matter

is a primitive 3-p notion.


No, I don't believe it, but I'm able to entertain it (as an
alternative to comp) to see where this hypothesis leads.


It leads to non comp. Notably. And to the current insolubility of the  
mind-body problem.





One of the
places it leads (which ISTM some are anxious not to acknowledge)) is
the kind of brute paradox I've referred to.  So what I'm asking you is
how is this different from a comp perspective?  Can our 3-p references
to 1-p phenomena escape paradox in the comp analysis?


Yes, because we do accept the truth of elementary arithmetic. We can  
study the theology of simple (and thus *intuitively* correct) Löbian  
machine. We *know* in that setting that the machine will be aware of  
an explanation gap, etc.
Again, the price is that we have to recover physics without  
introducing a 3-p physical world.






But the physical 3-p notions are just NOT closed for explanation. It
collapses all the points of view. It explains consciousness away!


I understand that you take this view from a comp perspective, but what
about from a primitive-materialist pov in its own terms?


You will have to introduce infinities in the 3-p description of  
whatever the consciousness supervene on. And then it is an open  
problem to see if this provide any help to solve the mind body  
problem. Infinity and ad hoc imposed indeterminacy looks like red  
herring. It blocks the comp hyp, but does not seem to give new clue in  
the mind-body problem, other than the one extract from lobianity  
(infinite machine are mostly lobian too, when self-referentially  
correct).




Do you
believe that such a closed explanation is fundamentally unable to
account seriously for consciousness for the reasons I've cited?  Is
there any way to re-open it outside of comp?


Not in a way which is not already provided by comp. But unless you  
weaken comp so much as becoming God, weakening comp does not 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-17 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 02:08, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 I'm not sure in what sense you mean gratuitous.  In a sense it is
 gratuitous to describe anything - hence the new catch-phrase, It is what it
 is.  If one is just a different description of the other then they have the
 same consequences - in different terms.

What I mean is that it is superfluous to what we presume is already a
complete account (i.e. the 3-p one) of all the relevant events and
their consequences.  We would have no reason to suspect (nor could we
characterise) the existence of 1-p experience if we only had access to
the 3-p account.  Furthermore, if we believe the 3-p account to be
complete and causally closed, we are committed to accepting that all
thoughts, beliefs, statements or behaviour apparently relating to 1-p
experience are in fact entirely motivated by the 3-p account.  This
leads to the paradox of the existence of 3-p references to 1-p
experiences which simply cannot be extrapolated from the 3-p account
(i.e. they are non-computable).

 More problematic still,
 neither the existence nor the experiential characteristics of 1-p
 experience is computable from the confines of the 3-p narrative.

 How do you know that?   In my computation of what's happening in your brain
 I might well say, And *there's* where David is feeling confused.

Yes, of course.  But you can only analogise with some feeling of
confusion to which you have (or seem to have) personal privileged
access (this is the really hard bit to keep in mind).  Had you no
access to such 1-p experience (e.g. you were one of Chalmers'
affect-less zombies) you would have no basis from which to extrapolate
from the 3-p account to 1-p experience, or even to suspect such a
possibility or what its nature could be (hence non-computable).
Nonetheless, belief in the causal completeness and closure of the 3-p
account simultaneously commits us to believing that all your beliefs,
statements and behaviour with respect to 1-p would be unaltered!
This is the paradox.

The standard move, which is implicit in your proposal, is to try to
wave all this away by asserting the identity of 3-p and 1-p.  I'm
trying to say two things about this: first, it's meaningless to say
that two different things are identical without showing how their
apparent differences are to be reconciled; second, if we accept this
it leaves us in the position of continuing to exhibit every one of our
thoughts, beliefs, statements and behaviours with respect to 1-p
experience, even though the existence and nature of such phenomena
can't be computed from the basis of 3-p, and even in the case that the
phenomena didn't exist at all!  This doesn't strike me as a
satisfactory resolution.

David


 David Nyman wrote:

 On 17 February 2010 00:06, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:



 I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
 thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no hint of
 what caused them.


 The problem is that if one believes that the 3-p narrative is causally
 sufficient, then the thoughts that pop into your head - and their
 consequences -  are entirely explicable in terms of some specific 3-p
 rendition.  If you also seem to have the 1-p experience of the
 sound of a voice in your head, this is entirely gratuitous to the
 3-p thought-process and its consequences.

 I'm not sure in what sense you mean gratuitous.  In a sense it is
 gratuitous to describe anything - hence the new catch-phrase, It is what it
 is.  If one is just a different description of the other then they have the
 same consequences - in different terms.


 More problematic still,
 neither the existence nor the experiential characteristics of 1-p
 experience is computable from the confines of the 3-p narrative.

 How do you know that?   In my computation of what's happening in your brain
 I might well say, And *there's* where David is feeling confused.

 Brent

  So
 how can it be possible for any such narrative to *refer* to the
 experiential quality of a thought?

 David




 David Nyman wrote:


  Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
 combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
 trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?



 I suspect there's a problem either way.  AFAICS the issue is that, in
 3-p and 1-p, there exist two irreducibly different renditions of a
 given state of affairs (hence not identical in any
 non-question-begging sense of the term). It then follows that, in
 order to fully account for a given set of events involving both
 renditions, you have to choose between some sort of non-interacting
 parallelism, or the conundrum of how one causally closed account
 becomes informed about the other, or the frank denial of one or the
 other rendition.  None of these options seems satisfactory.



 I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
 thoughts pop into my head all the time with no 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-17 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 07:28, Diego Caleiro diegocale...@gmail.com wrote:

 You guys should Read Chalmers: Philosophy of Mind, Classical and
 contemporary Readings
 and

 Philosophy and the mirror of nature.  Richard Rorty

 In particular The Concepts of Counsciousness By Ned Block and Mental
 Causation by stephen Yablo will get you nearer to where you are trying to
 get.

Thanks.  I've already read quite a bit of Chalmers, Rorty, Block, etc,
and before committing to a comprehensive re-perusal I would appreciate
your view on the specific nature of the corrective to be gained.  What
I guess I'm trying to suggest here is that I think we may have
retreated too hastily from an interactionist relation between 1-p
and 3-p because of its association with an apparently outmoded
dualism.  The problem is that current identity assumptions leave us
stuck with a causally-closed 3-p world in which the very nature of our
apparent access to 1-p phenomena is opaque, leave alone its (lack of)
causal relevance.  I'm hesitant to commit too strongly here to what a
deeper and genuinely illuminating resolution to the identity issue
might look like, partly because I have only a vague intuition, and
because it would probably jump-start one of the endless circular
debates on the topic.  Perhaps I'm trying to tempt others away from
current standard positions to re-consider what would have to be the
case for it to really make a difference in the world that we
*experience* (say) pain, rather than merely observing that its 3-p
correlates mediate our behaviour.

David



 You guys should Read Chalmers: Philosophy of Mind, Classical and
 contemporary Readings
 and

 Philosophy and the mirror of nature.  Richard Rorty

 In particular The Concepts of Counsciousness By Ned Block and Mental
 Causation by stephen Yablo will get you nearer to where you are trying to
 get.

 Best wish for all

 Diego Caleiro

 Philosopher of Mind
 University of São Paulo.



 On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 12:39 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com
 wrote:

 David Nyman wrote:

 On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:



 But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain
 so
 that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an
 fMRI,
 except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's
 now
 thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
 remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then
 wouldn't
 you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of
 description, as
 when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture
 and
 the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.


 In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
 go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
 have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
 unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
 existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
 (as opposed to seemings, whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
 not a level of description - i.e. something accessed *within*
 consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.

 I think accessed creates the wrong image - as though there is some you
 outside of this process that is accessing it.  But I'm not sure that
 vitiates your point.


 The trouble
 comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
 the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
 account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
 3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

 But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level,

 How can you know that?

 so
 how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
 other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
 what further function would be served by such 1-p references?

 Function in the sense of purpose?  Why should it have one?

 Now, if
 we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
 this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
 not identical, nor are they equivalently levels of description in
 any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
 reality without any adequate explanation.

 However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
 very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
 actual future theory and observation to elucidate interaction
 between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
 in terms of facile identity assertions.  For example, that I
 withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
 turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
 terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
 seem to lead to an even more problematic 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-17 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 02:39, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 My intuition is that once we have a really good 3-p theory, 1-p will seem
 like a kind of shorthand way of speaking about brain processes.  That
 doesn't mean you questions will be answered.  It will be like Bertrand
 Russell's neutral monoids.  There are events and they can be arranged in 3-p
 relations or in 1-p relations.  Explanations will ultimately be circular -
 but not viciously so.

Yes, I've been sympathetic to this intuition myself.  It's just that
I've been troubled recently by the apparent impossibility of
reconciling the two accounts - i.e. what I'm calling (justifiably
AFAICS) the non-computability of 1-p from 3-p, leading directly to the
apparent causal irrelevance of (and mystery of our references to) 1-p
phenomena.  So I've started to wonder again if we've given up too soon
on the possibility of an interactionist approach - one that doesn't
fall back on two substance dualism with all its hopeless defects.
We certainly don't know that it's ruled out - i.e. that it is indeed
the case that all experiential phenomena map directly to neurological
phenomena in a straightforward 3-p way; this is currently merely an
assumption.  If it could be demonstrated robustly this would dismiss
my doubts, though not my puzzlement.  But the intriguing empirical
possibility exists that, for example, consciously seeing (1-p) and
visually detecting (3-p) may act on the world by partially different
paths (i.e. that there is an additional possibility - beyond mechanism
- in the deep structure of things that, moreover, has not been missed
by evolution).

David

 David Nyman wrote:

 On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:



 But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
 that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an
 fMRI,
 except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's
 now
 thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
 remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then
 wouldn't
 you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description,
 as
 when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture and
 the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.


 In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
 go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
 have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
 unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
 existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
 (as opposed to seemings, whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
 not a level of description - i.e. something accessed *within*
 consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.

 I think accessed creates the wrong image - as though there is some you
 outside of this process that is accessing it.  But I'm not sure that
 vitiates your point.


 The trouble
 comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
 the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
 account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
 3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

 But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level,

 How can you know that?

 so
 how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
 other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
 what further function would be served by such 1-p references?

 Function in the sense of purpose?  Why should it have one?

 Now, if
 we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
 this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
 not identical, nor are they equivalently levels of description in
 any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
 reality without any adequate explanation.

 However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
 very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
 actual future theory and observation to elucidate interaction
 between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
 in terms of facile identity assertions.  For example, that I
 withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
 turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
 terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
 seem to lead to an even more problematic interactive dualism, but my
 suspicion is that there is scope for some genuinely revelatory
 reconciliation at a more fundamental level - i.e. a truly explanatory
 identity theory.  But we won't get to that by ignoring the problem.


 My intuition is that once we have a really good 3-p theory, 1-p will seem
 like a kind of shorthand way of speaking about brain processes.  That
 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-17 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 16 Feb 2010, at 19:07, David Nyman wrote:


 Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
person perspective?


There is an ambiguity in you phrasing. I will proceed like I always  
do, by interpreting your term favorably, relatively to  
computationalism and its (drastic) consequences.


The first person notion, and consciousness, are not clearly notion to  
which the label computable can be applied. The fact is that, no  
machine can even define what is the first person, or what is  
consciousness.


You may already understand (by uda) that the first person notions are  
related to infinite sum of computations (and this is not obviously  
computable, not even partially).


But auda makes this utterly clear. Third person self-reference is  
entirely described by the provability predicate, the one that I write  
with the letter B. Bp is  *I* prove p, Beweisbar ('p'), for p some  
arithmetical proposition.
The corresponding first person notion is Bp  Tp, with Tp = True('p').  
By a theorem of Tarski true cannot be define (even just define!) by  
the machine, and the logic of BpTp (= Bp  p) is quite different from  
Bp, from the point of view of the machine. That result on truth has  
been extended by Kaplan  Montague for knowledge.


Let Bp = I prove p
Let Kp = Bp  Tp = Bp  p = I know p

Then, what happens is that

G* proves Bp - Kp
NOT(G proves Bp - Kp)

 G does not prove the equivalence of Bp and Kp, for correct machine.  
It is false that G proves Bp - Kp, and the machine cannot have  
access to the truth of that equivalence (or indirectly by postulating  
comp).








 The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.


I guess you mean that we cannot prove the existence of the 1-p from  
the 3-p grounds. That's correct (both intuitively with UDA, and it is  
a theorem of machine's theology (AUDA).




Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw feels of sight, sound,
pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
happening, including our every thought and action.



That is why a materialist who want to keep the mechanist hypothesis  
have no other choice than to abandon consciousness as an illusion or  
matter as an illusion. In this list most people, including you (if I  
remember well) accept that it is just impossible to dismiss  
consciousness, so ... Ah, I see you are OK with this in some replies  
today.


Note that the movie graph shows directly that the notion of primitive  
(3-p- matter makes no sense, and shows the way how to recover the  
appearance of matter from the logic of the first person plural point  
of view (somewhere in between Bp  Dp and Bp  Dp  p where Dp is ~B~p).




But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
p perspective?


Good point. But you are lead to this because you still believe that  
matter is a primitive 3-p notion.




Citing identity doesn't seem to help here - the
issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
perspective.


But the physical 3-p notions are just NOT closed for explanation. It  
collapses all the points of view. It explains consciousness away!





Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
because C-fibres are firing?  But how?



Because it concerns knowledge, which, by definition, relate your  
beliefs to the truth. But that relation belongs itself to the corona  
G* minus G, and is unavailable by the machine itself.


Nice and clear and important questions. You explain well the mind-body  
problem. You put your fingers where it hurts!


I will comment some answers hereby:



On 16 Feb 2010, at 19:19, Stephen P. King wrote:



Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we  
keep

trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?



This is a reasonable question. But with comp it is both 1-p and  
physical-3-p which are derived from arithmetical 3-p, yet it forces us  
to attribute personhood for machine (but this is comp, after all, and  
the logic of self-refrence justifies such an idea).


It leads to a form of neutral 

RE: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Stephen P. King
Hi,

Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?

Onward!

Stephen


-Original Message-
From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
[mailto:everything-l...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of David Nyman
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:08 PM
To: Everything List
Subject: On the computability of consciousness

This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every morning
for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first- person
experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third- person
perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional existence of
any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we possess it (or
seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the existence of any 1-p
experiential component of a 3-p process on purely 3-p grounds.  Further, if
we believe that 3-p process is a closed and sufficient explanation for all
events, this of course leads to the uncomfortable conclusion (referred to,
for example, by Chalmers in TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw
feels of sight, sound, pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant
to what's happening, including our every thought and action.

But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to refer to
these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our behaviour - i.e.
they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3- p perspective?  Citing
identity doesn't seem to help here - the issue is how 1-p phenomena could
ever emerge as features of our shared behavioural world (including, of
course, talking about them) if they are forever inaccessible from a causally
closed and sufficient 3-p perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the
conclusion that the 3-p world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience,
and that I really do withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and
not just because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

David


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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Brent Meeker

David Nyman wrote:

This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every
morning for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
person perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.  Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw feels of sight, sound,
pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
happening, including our every thought and action.

But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
p perspective?  Citing identity doesn't seem to help here - the
issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

David
  
I think one idea is that consciousness is connected to language (c.f. 
Julian Jaynes) which was originally just another perception - as animals 
give and hear warning cries - but with the evolution of culture it 
became a way of passing more detailed information, and then of storing 
(memory) information and this led to have an internal narrative as a way 
of remembering what was important (what you paid *attention* to).  Some 
evidence for this theory is that when thinking about something, the same 
parts of the brain are activated as when perceiving it.


Not very complete, but it's a hint.

Brent

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On 17 February 2010 05:07, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every
 morning for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
 person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
 person perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
 3-p grounds.  Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
 sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
 uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
 TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw feels of sight, sound,
 pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
 happening, including our every thought and action.

 But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
 refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
 behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
 p perspective?  Citing identity doesn't seem to help here - the
 issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
 behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
 are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
 perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
 world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
 withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
 because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
computation, you have the experience.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread David Nyman
  Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
 combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
 trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?

I suspect there's a problem either way.  AFAICS the issue is that, in
3-p and 1-p, there exist two irreducibly different renditions of a
given state of affairs (hence not identical in any
non-question-begging sense of the term). It then follows that, in
order to fully account for a given set of events involving both
renditions, you have to choose between some sort of non-interacting
parallelism, or the conundrum of how one causally closed account
becomes informed about the other, or the frank denial of one or the
other rendition.  None of these options seems satisfactory.

The way out would be if both 3-p and 1-p were reconcilable in terms of
a more fundamental level, in terms of which the special relevance of
each partial narrative was linked to its proper range of outcomes.  In
point of fact, of course, this is the folk psychological position,
and it seems all too easy simply to dismiss this as terminating in
naive dualism.  However, my early-morning musings include a glimmering
of how this might be made to work - without doing terminal violence to
either rendition - but unfortunately there is insufficient space in
the margin of this post to write it down (as yet).

David

On 16 February 2010 18:19, Stephen P. King stephe...@charter.net wrote:
 Hi,

        Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
 combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
 trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?

 Onward!

 Stephen


 -Original Message-
 From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
 [mailto:everything-l...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of David Nyman
 Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:08 PM
 To: Everything List
 Subject: On the computability of consciousness

 This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every morning
 for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first- person
 experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third- person
 perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional existence of
 any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we possess it (or
 seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the existence of any 1-p
 experiential component of a 3-p process on purely 3-p grounds.  Further, if
 we believe that 3-p process is a closed and sufficient explanation for all
 events, this of course leads to the uncomfortable conclusion (referred to,
 for example, by Chalmers in TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw
 feels of sight, sound, pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant
 to what's happening, including our every thought and action.

 But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to refer to
 these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our behaviour - i.e.
 they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3- p perspective?  Citing
 identity doesn't seem to help here - the issue is how 1-p phenomena could
 ever emerge as features of our shared behavioural world (including, of
 course, talking about them) if they are forever inaccessible from a causally
 closed and sufficient 3-p perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the
 conclusion that the 3-p world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience,
 and that I really do withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and
 not just because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

 David


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 Everything List group.
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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread David Nyman
On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:

 Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
 computation, you have the experience.

Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
that 1-p experience only seems to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
to 3-my conscious experience this is merely a 3-p reference to some
equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
for all the resultant 3-p phenomena.  The 1-p seeming is then
supposed to be, in some under-defined sense, identical to this
computation.

But for two manifestly distinct levels of description to have any
prospect of being seen as identical, they must  be capable of being
discarded individually, in order to be jointly reconciled in terms of
a single more fundamental level clearly compatible with both - this is
the only manoeuvre that could validate any non-question-begging
ascription of identity.  ISTM that the Dennettian approach is merely
to *assert* - given the undeniable seeming of conscious experience -
that this *must* be the case, whilst offering no glimmer of what the
nature of such a transcendent level of reconciliation could possibly
be.

David


 On 17 February 2010 05:07, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every
 morning for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
 person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
 person perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional
 existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
 possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
 existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
 3-p grounds.  Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
 sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
 uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
 TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw feels of sight, sound,
 pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
 happening, including our every thought and action.

 But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
 refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
 behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
 p perspective?  Citing identity doesn't seem to help here - the
 issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
 behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
 are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
 perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
 world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
 withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
 because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

 Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
 computation, you have the experience.


 --
 Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Brent Meeker

David Nyman wrote:

 Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?



I suspect there's a problem either way.  AFAICS the issue is that, in
3-p and 1-p, there exist two irreducibly different renditions of a
given state of affairs (hence not identical in any
non-question-begging sense of the term). It then follows that, in
order to fully account for a given set of events involving both
renditions, you have to choose between some sort of non-interacting
parallelism, or the conundrum of how one causally closed account
becomes informed about the other, or the frank denial of one or the
other rendition.  None of these options seems satisfactory.
  


I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In 
fact, thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no 
hint of what caused them.


Brent


The way out would be if both 3-p and 1-p were reconcilable in terms of
a more fundamental level, in terms of which the special relevance of
each partial narrative was linked to its proper range of outcomes.  In
point of fact, of course, this is the folk psychological position,
and it seems all too easy simply to dismiss this as terminating in
naive dualism.  However, my early-morning musings include a glimmering
of how this might be made to work - without doing terminal violence to
either rendition - but unfortunately there is insufficient space in
the margin of this post to write it down (as yet).

David


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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Brent Meeker

David Nyman wrote:

On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:

  

Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
computation, you have the experience.



Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
that 1-p experience only seems to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
to 3-my conscious experience this is merely a 3-p reference to some
equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
for all the resultant 3-p phenomena.  The 1-p seeming is then
supposed to be, in some under-defined sense, identical to this
computation.

But for two manifestly distinct levels of description to have any
prospect of being seen as identical, they must  be capable of being
discarded individually, in order to be jointly reconciled in terms of
a single more fundamental level clearly compatible with both - this is
the only manoeuvre that could validate any non-question-begging
ascription of identity.  


But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain 
so that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an 
fMRI, except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that 
David's now thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  
And then he'll remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  
And...   Then wouldn't you start to regard the 1-p account as just 
another level of description, as when you start you car on a cold day it 
wants a richer fuel mixture and the ECU remembers to keep the idle 
speed up until it's warm.


Brent


ISTM that the Dennettian approach is merely
to *assert* - given the undeniable seeming of conscious experience -
that this *must* be the case, whilst offering no glimmer of what the
nature of such a transcendent level of reconciliation could possibly
be.

David


  

On 17 February 2010 05:07, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:


This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every
morning for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
person perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or seem to, according to some).  We can't compute the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.  Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the raw feels of sight, sound,
pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
happening, including our every thought and action.

But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
p perspective?  Citing identity doesn't seem to help here - the
issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
because C-fibres are firing?  But how?
  

Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
computation, you have the experience.


--
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 00:06, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
 thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no hint of
 what caused them.

The problem is that if one believes that the 3-p narrative is causally
sufficient, then the thoughts that pop into your head - and their
consequences -  are entirely explicable in terms of some specific 3-p
rendition.  If you also seem to have the 1-p experience of the
sound of a voice in your head, this is entirely gratuitous to the
3-p thought-process and its consequences.  More problematic still,
neither the existence nor the experiential characteristics of 1-p
experience is computable from the confines of the 3-p narrative.  So
how can it be possible for any such narrative to *refer* to the
experiential quality of a thought?

David


 David Nyman wrote:

  Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
 combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
 trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?


 I suspect there's a problem either way.  AFAICS the issue is that, in
 3-p and 1-p, there exist two irreducibly different renditions of a
 given state of affairs (hence not identical in any
 non-question-begging sense of the term). It then follows that, in
 order to fully account for a given set of events involving both
 renditions, you have to choose between some sort of non-interacting
 parallelism, or the conundrum of how one causally closed account
 becomes informed about the other, or the frank denial of one or the
 other rendition.  None of these options seems satisfactory.


 I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
 thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no hint of
 what caused them.

 Brent

 The way out would be if both 3-p and 1-p were reconcilable in terms of
 a more fundamental level, in terms of which the special relevance of
 each partial narrative was linked to its proper range of outcomes.  In
 point of fact, of course, this is the folk psychological position,
 and it seems all too easy simply to dismiss this as terminating in
 naive dualism.  However, my early-morning musings include a glimmering
 of how this might be made to work - without doing terminal violence to
 either rendition - but unfortunately there is insufficient space in
 the margin of this post to write it down (as yet).

 David

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread David Nyman
On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
 that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an fMRI,
 except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's now
 thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
 remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then wouldn't
 you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description, as
 when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture and
 the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.

In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
(as opposed to seemings, whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
not a level of description - i.e. something accessed *within*
consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.  The trouble
comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level, so
how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
what further function would be served by such 1-p references?  Now, if
we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
not identical, nor are they equivalently levels of description in
any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
reality without any adequate explanation.

However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
actual future theory and observation to elucidate interaction
between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
in terms of facile identity assertions.  For example, that I
withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
seem to lead to an even more problematic interactive dualism, but my
suspicion is that there is scope for some genuinely revelatory
reconciliation at a more fundamental level - i.e. a truly explanatory
identity theory.  But we won't get to that by ignoring the problem.

David

 David Nyman wrote:

 On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:



 Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
 computation, you have the experience.


 Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
 the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
 specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
 and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
 terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
 component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
 Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
 that 1-p experience only seems to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
 to 3-my conscious experience this is merely a 3-p reference to some
 equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
 for all the resultant 3-p phenomena.  The 1-p seeming is then
 supposed to be, in some under-defined sense, identical to this
 computation.

 But for two manifestly distinct levels of description to have any
 prospect of being seen as identical, they must  be capable of being
 discarded individually, in order to be jointly reconciled in terms of
 a single more fundamental level clearly compatible with both - this is
 the only manoeuvre that could validate any non-question-begging
 ascription of identity.

 But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
 that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an fMRI,
 except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's now
 thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
 remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then wouldn't
 you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description, as
 when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture and
 the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.

 Brent

 ISTM that the Dennettian approach is merely
 to *assert* - given the undeniable seeming of conscious 

Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Brent Meeker

David Nyman wrote:

On 17 February 2010 00:06, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

  

I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no hint of
what caused them.



The problem is that if one believes that the 3-p narrative is causally
sufficient, then the thoughts that pop into your head - and their
consequences -  are entirely explicable in terms of some specific 3-p
rendition.  If you also seem to have the 1-p experience of the
sound of a voice in your head, this is entirely gratuitous to the
3-p thought-process and its consequences.  
I'm not sure in what sense you mean gratuitous.  In a sense it is 
gratuitous to describe anything - hence the new catch-phrase, It is 
what it is.  If one is just a different description of the other then 
they have the same consequences - in different terms.




More problematic still,
neither the existence nor the experiential characteristics of 1-p
experience is computable from the confines of the 3-p narrative. 


How do you know that?   In my computation of what's happening in your 
brain I might well say, And *there's* where David is feeling confused.


Brent


 So
how can it be possible for any such narrative to *refer* to the
experiential quality of a thought?

David


  

David Nyman wrote:


 Is there a problem with the idea that 3-p can be derived from some
combinatorics of many interacting 1-p's? Is there a reason why we keep
trying to derive 1-p from 3-p?



I suspect there's a problem either way.  AFAICS the issue is that, in
3-p and 1-p, there exist two irreducibly different renditions of a
given state of affairs (hence not identical in any
non-question-begging sense of the term). It then follows that, in
order to fully account for a given set of events involving both
renditions, you have to choose between some sort of non-interacting
parallelism, or the conundrum of how one causally closed account
becomes informed about the other, or the frank denial of one or the
other rendition.  None of these options seems satisfactory.

  

I don't see that my 1-p experience is at all causally closed.  In fact,
thoughts pop into my head all the time with no provenance and no hint of
what caused them.

Brent



The way out would be if both 3-p and 1-p were reconcilable in terms of
a more fundamental level, in terms of which the special relevance of
each partial narrative was linked to its proper range of outcomes.  In
point of fact, of course, this is the folk psychological position,
and it seems all too easy simply to dismiss this as terminating in
naive dualism.  However, my early-morning musings include a glimmering
of how this might be made to work - without doing terminal violence to
either rendition - but unfortunately there is insufficient space in
the margin of this post to write it down (as yet).

David
  

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Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Brent Meeker

David Nyman wrote:

On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

  

But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an fMRI,
except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's now
thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then wouldn't
you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description, as
when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture and
the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.



In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
(as opposed to seemings, whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
not a level of description - i.e. something accessed *within*
consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.  
I think accessed creates the wrong image - as though there is some 
you outside of this process that is accessing it.  But I'm not sure 
that vitiates your point.




The trouble
comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level, 


How can you know that?


so
how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
what further function would be served by such 1-p references?  


Function in the sense of purpose?  Why should it have one? 


Now, if
we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
not identical, nor are they equivalently levels of description in
any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
reality without any adequate explanation.

However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
actual future theory and observation to elucidate interaction
between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
in terms of facile identity assertions.  For example, that I
withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
seem to lead to an even more problematic interactive dualism, but my
suspicion is that there is scope for some genuinely revelatory
reconciliation at a more fundamental level - i.e. a truly explanatory
identity theory.  But we won't get to that by ignoring the problem.
  


My intuition is that once we have a really good 3-p theory, 1-p will 
seem like a kind of shorthand way of speaking about brain processes.  
That doesn't mean you questions will be answered.  It will be like 
Bertrand Russell's neutral monoids.  There are events and they can be 
arranged in 3-p relations or in 1-p relations.  Explanations will 
ultimately be circular - but not viciously so.


Brent


David

  

David Nyman wrote:


On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:


  

Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
computation, you have the experience.



Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
that 1-p experience only seems to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
to 3-my conscious experience this is merely a 3-p reference to some
equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
for all the resultant 3-p phenomena.  The 1-p seeming is then
supposed to be, in some under-defined sense, identical to this
computation.

But for two manifestly distinct levels of description to have any
prospect of being seen as identical, they must  be capable of being
discarded individually, in order to be jointly reconciled in terms of
a single more fundamental level clearly compatible with both - this is
the only manoeuvre that could validate any non-question-begging
ascription of identity.
  


Re: On the computability of consciousness

2010-02-16 Thread Diego Caleiro
You guys should Read Chalmers: Philosophy of Mind, Classical and
contemporary Readings
and

Philosophy and the mirror of nature.  Richard Rorty

In particular The Concepts of Counsciousness By Ned Block and Mental
Causation by stephen Yablo will get you nearer to where you are trying to
get.

Best wish for all

Diego Caleiro

Philosopher of Mind
University of São Paulo.



On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 12:39 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.comwrote:

 David Nyman wrote:

 On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:



 But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
 that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an
 fMRI,
 except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that David's
 now
 thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
 remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And...   Then
 wouldn't
 you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description,
 as
 when you start you car on a cold day it wants a richer fuel mixture and
 the ECU remembers to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.



 In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
 go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
 have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
 unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
 existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
 (as opposed to seemings, whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
 not a level of description - i.e. something accessed *within*
 consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.

 I think accessed creates the wrong image - as though there is some you
 outside of this process that is accessing it.  But I'm not sure that
 vitiates your point.



  The trouble
 comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
 the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
 account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
 3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

 But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level,


 How can you know that?


  so
 how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
 other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
 what further function would be served by such 1-p references?


 Function in the sense of purpose?  Why should it have one?

 Now, if
 we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
 this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
 not identical, nor are they equivalently levels of description in
 any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
 reality without any adequate explanation.

 However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
 very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
 actual future theory and observation to elucidate interaction
 between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
 in terms of facile identity assertions.  For example, that I
 withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
 turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
 terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
 seem to lead to an even more problematic interactive dualism, but my
 suspicion is that there is scope for some genuinely revelatory
 reconciliation at a more fundamental level - i.e. a truly explanatory
 identity theory.  But we won't get to that by ignoring the problem.



 My intuition is that once we have a really good 3-p theory, 1-p will seem
 like a kind of shorthand way of speaking about brain processes.  That
 doesn't mean you questions will be answered.  It will be like Bertrand
 Russell's neutral monoids.  There are events and they can be arranged in 3-p
 relations or in 1-p relations.  Explanations will ultimately be circular -
 but not viciously so.

 Brent


  David



 David Nyman wrote:


 On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com
 wrote:




 Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
 computation, you have the experience.



 Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
 the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
 specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
 and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
 terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
 component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
 Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
 that 1-p experience only seems to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
 to 3-my conscious experience this is merely a 3-p reference to some
 equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
 for all the