Re: Why I am I?

2010-02-01 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 28 Jan 2010, at 20:27, RMahoney wrote:


On Jan 8, 12:38 pm, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

Welcome RMahoney,

Nice thought experiments. But they need amnesia (like in going from
you to Cruise). I tend to think like you that it may be the case that
we are the same person (like those who result from a self-
duplication,  both refer as being the same person as the original,  
yet

acknowledge their respective differentiation.


Yes I think I understand what you mean by amnesia, you couldn't
carry any rememberance of your old self when changing to Tom Cruise,
but you would in the intermediary steps and gradually would lose the
concept of your old self that is gradually replaced by Tom's self
concept.


OK.
I think there is an agnosologic path from any person to any  
person, for example from you to a bacteria, or Peano Arithmetic,  
perhaps even the empty person. Agnosia is a term used for disease  
with deny, like people who become blind and pretend not having  
perceive any difference.




Thing is, it is very similar to the process happening as we age. I
began
a journal when I was in my 20's, capturing my thoughts every time I
visited this subject in my mind trips. So when I read a page from
that
journal today, I sometimes go wow, I was thinking that, then? I've
obviously acquired a bit of amnesia. Yet I feel like I'm the same
person
because I've always had this body (although an aging body). What
would
it be like if everyone had default amnesia such that any thought
older
than 20 years is erased?  So you wouldn't remember your earlier years
but you were that person once. I could claim to have originated from
Tom Cruise's childhood and it wouldn't make any difference.


Sure. From a third person point of view identity is relative.
But from a first person point of view it is a sort of absolute related  
to the way you have build your (current) self through your experiences  
and inheritage relatively to a normal set of computations. We are what  
we value, I would say, but this makes it a personal question.
Note that the uda reasoning is made in a way which prevents the need  
for clarifying those considerations, albeit very interesting.




Just like
I don't believe it makes any difference to say why I am I? and not
you?,
as we are we, simultaneously, and we are they, all those who lived
past lives, etc.


... and future lives, alternate lives, and states.
OK, especially if you see that such a view prevent relativism. When  
the 'other' makes a mistake, in the past, or the present, (or the  
future!) the question is how could *I* be wrong, how could *I* have  
been wrong, how could *I* help for being less wrong. Such an attitude  
encourages the dialog and the appreciation of the other(s), despite  
(or thanks to) its relative unknown nature. Eventually this can help  
to develop some faith in the unknown, together with the lucidity on  
the hellish paths, which can then be seen as mostly the product of  
certainty idolatry, and security idolatry. It is a natural price of  
consciousness: by knowing they are universal, Lobian machine know that  
they can crash. And being never satisfied, they will complain for more  
memory space and time to their most probable local universal  
neighbors, up, for some, to their universal recognizance, and so quite  
happy to dispose of what 'God' (arithmetical truth) can offer them  
(and has already offer them).
Knowing you are the other is a reason to embellish the relation with  
the many possible and probable universal neighbor(s). The  
computationalist good cannot make the bad disappears, but it may be  
able to confine it more and more  in the phantasms and fantasies, or  
second order, virtual, dreamed realities.


Bruno

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-28 Thread RMahoney
On Jan 8, 12:38 pm, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:
 Welcome RMahoney,

 Nice thought experiments. But they need amnesia (like in going from  
 you to Cruise). I tend to think like you that it may be the case that  
 we are the same person (like those who result from a self-
 duplication,  both refer as being the same person as the original, yet  
 acknowledge their respective differentiation.

Yes I think I understand what you mean by amnesia, you couldn't
carry any rememberance of your old self when changing to Tom Cruise,
but you would in the intermediary steps and gradually would lose the
concept of your old self that is gradually replaced by Tom's self
concept.

Thing is, it is very similar to the process happening as we age. I
began
a journal when I was in my 20's, capturing my thoughts every time I
visited this subject in my mind trips. So when I read a page from
that
journal today, I sometimes go wow, I was thinking that, then? I've
obviously acquired a bit of amnesia. Yet I feel like I'm the same
person
because I've always had this body (although an aging body). What
would
it be like if everyone had default amnesia such that any thought
older
than 20 years is erased?  So you wouldn't remember your earlier years
but you were that person once. I could claim to have originated from
Tom Cruise's childhood and it wouldn't make any difference. Just like
I don't believe it makes any difference to say why I am I? and not
you?,
as we are we, simultaneously, and we are they, all those who lived
past lives, etc.

RMahoney

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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-08 Thread Bruno Marchal

Welcome RMahoney,

Nice thought experiments. But they need amnesia (like in going from  
you to Cruise). I tend to think like you that it may be the case that  
we are the same person (like those who result from a self- 
duplication,  both refer as being the same person as the original, yet  
acknowledge their respective differentiation.


It is certainly interesting, and it enlarges the spectrum of the  
immortality notions. May be scary too, when not familiarized with  
self-multiplication and self-transformation.


Those notions are studied in theoretical computer science, so that  
they can be applied to make such reasoning precise.


And the universal machine is well placed, by Church thesis, to play  
the role of the main heroin. I think.


I am sure we will have opportunities to come back on those more  
advanced thought experiences,



Bruno





On 08 Jan 2010, at 01:59, RMahoney wrote:


pretty cool thread (read most but skimmed thru some of it though).
I've spent the past 35 or so years (i'm now 56) pondering the subject
of why I am I and doing thought experiment after thought experiment
with cloning, copies, changing I one particle at a time until I am
you or someone else, and ultimately came to the conclusion as
someone posted midway thru this thread of the concept of the universal
person or universal soul... consciousness is basically universal,
there is no priority of one bit of consciousness over the other.
Within just my own life, the organism I was 35 years ago is not the
organism I am today, I am only connected to that former organism by
sequential events in time and space, threaded together. With an
advanced technology I could become Tom Cruise by sequential changes
particle by particle, memory by memory, thought by thought, until I
became the currently existing Tom Cruise. Would my I which changed
over the course of 35 years from my former I be any different than
Tom Cruise's I that was changed over time (bit by bit) from my
former I? Thought experiments like these made me realize we're all
essentially the same universal concept, we're all just unique pieces
of the whole of the everything. It's just really cool to find like
thinking by a string search on the web, having done all this thinking
in isolation and coming to the same conclusion as other minds have.
What brought me to this site was a string search for everything
possible exists, something I now believe and was just curious if
there was any text on the web with the same line of thinking. It was
my answer to the other question I've always had as to why does the
universe exist at all? I came to my own conclusion that if anything
exists (which apparently it does), then every possible event must
exist, every possible outcome from one state to the other must exist,
and if it existed once, nothing stops it from existing again, and
actually, every possible event not only exists but has always existed
and will always exist. Kind of expands the universe quite a bit,
virtually infinite. There's not only me, but every possible outcome of
my life. There's every possible outcome of my mom  dad's
reproduction, some of which produce me but nearly infinitely
conditions that do not produce my starting organism. My dad wouldn't
have existed, if it weren't for the lightning strike that killed his
mom's first husband. So I'm here because I am just one of nearly
infinite possibilities of consciousness. Disconcerting, at times,
where I used to think, glad it's them and not me (like tortured
terrorist victims), well, we're all the same basically, and while the
whole of everything contains terrible things, including the very worst
of possibilities, it also contains the very best as well. Having
figured this much out to my satisfaction actually gives me a very
contented, peaceful and secure feeling.
- Roy
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http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-08 Thread russell standish
On Fri, Jan 08, 2010 at 07:38:21PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
 And the universal machine is well placed, by Church thesis, to play the 
 role of the main heroin. I think.


Could be a Freudian slip - do you mean heroine here, as opposed to
heroin the drug?

-- 


Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au

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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-07 Thread RMahoney
pretty cool thread (read most but skimmed thru some of it though).
I've spent the past 35 or so years (i'm now 56) pondering the subject
of why I am I and doing thought experiment after thought experiment
with cloning, copies, changing I one particle at a time until I am
you or someone else, and ultimately came to the conclusion as
someone posted midway thru this thread of the concept of the universal
person or universal soul... consciousness is basically universal,
there is no priority of one bit of consciousness over the other.
Within just my own life, the organism I was 35 years ago is not the
organism I am today, I am only connected to that former organism by
sequential events in time and space, threaded together. With an
advanced technology I could become Tom Cruise by sequential changes
particle by particle, memory by memory, thought by thought, until I
became the currently existing Tom Cruise. Would my I which changed
over the course of 35 years from my former I be any different than
Tom Cruise's I that was changed over time (bit by bit) from my
former I? Thought experiments like these made me realize we're all
essentially the same universal concept, we're all just unique pieces
of the whole of the everything. It's just really cool to find like
thinking by a string search on the web, having done all this thinking
in isolation and coming to the same conclusion as other minds have.
What brought me to this site was a string search for everything
possible exists, something I now believe and was just curious if
there was any text on the web with the same line of thinking. It was
my answer to the other question I've always had as to why does the
universe exist at all? I came to my own conclusion that if anything
exists (which apparently it does), then every possible event must
exist, every possible outcome from one state to the other must exist,
and if it existed once, nothing stops it from existing again, and
actually, every possible event not only exists but has always existed
and will always exist. Kind of expands the universe quite a bit,
virtually infinite. There's not only me, but every possible outcome of
my life. There's every possible outcome of my mom  dad's
reproduction, some of which produce me but nearly infinitely
conditions that do not produce my starting organism. My dad wouldn't
have existed, if it weren't for the lightning strike that killed his
mom's first husband. So I'm here because I am just one of nearly
infinite possibilities of consciousness. Disconcerting, at times,
where I used to think, glad it's them and not me (like tortured
terrorist victims), well, we're all the same basically, and while the
whole of everything contains terrible things, including the very worst
of possibilities, it also contains the very best as well. Having
figured this much out to my satisfaction actually gives me a very
contented, peaceful and secure feeling.
- Roy
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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-07 Thread RMahoney
pretty cool thread (read most but skimmed thru some of it though).
I've spent the past 35 or so years (i'm now 56) pondering the subject
of why I am I and doing thought experiment after thought experiment
with cloning, copies, changing I one particle at a time until I am
you or someone else, and ultimately came to the conclusion as
someone posted midway thru this thread of the concept of the
universal
person or universal soul... consciousness is basically universal,
there is no priority of one bit of consciousness over the other.
Within just my own life, the organism I was 35 years ago is not the
organism I am today, I am only connected to that former organism by
sequential events in time and space, threaded together. With an
advanced technology I could become Tom Cruise by sequential changes
particle by particle, memory by memory, thought by thought, until I
became the currently existing Tom Cruise. Would my I which changed
over the course of 35 years from my former I be any different than
Tom Cruise's I that was changed over time (bit by bit) from my
former I? Thought experiments like these made me realize we're all
essentially the same universal concept, we're all just unique pieces
of the whole of the everything. It's just really cool to find like
thinking by a string search on the web, having done all this thinking
in isolation and coming to the same conclusion as other minds have.
What brought me to this site was a string search for everything
possible exists, something I now believe and was just curious if
there was any text on the web with the same line of thinking. It was
my answer to the other question I've always had as to why does the
universe exist at all? I came to my own conclusion that if anything
exists (which apparently it does), then every possible event must
exist, every possible outcome from one state to the other must exist,
and if it existed once, nothing stops it from existing again, and
actually, every possible event not only exists but has always existed
and will always exist. Kind of expands the universe quite a bit,
virtually infinite. There's not only me, but every possible outcome
of
my life. There's every possible outcome of my mom  dad's
reproduction, some of which produce me but nearly infinitely
conditions that do not produce my starting organism. My dad wouldn't
have existed, if it weren't for the lightning strike that killed his
mom's first husband. So I'm here because I am just one of nearly
infinite possibilities of consciousness. Disconcerting, at times,
where I used to think, glad it's them and not me (like tortured
terrorist victims), well, we're all the same basically, and while the
whole of everything contains terrible things, including the very
worst
of possibilities, it also contains the very best as well. Having
figured this much out to my satisfaction actually gives me a very
contented, peaceful and secure feeling.

RMahoney
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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-07 Thread RMahoney
pretty cool thread (read most but skimmed thru some of it though).

I've spent the past 35 or so years (i'm now 56) pondering the subject
of why I am I and doing thought experiment after thought experiment
with cloning, copies, changing I one particle at a time until I am
you or someone else, and ultimately came to the conclusion as
someone posted midway thru this thread of the concept of the
universal person or universal soul... consciousness is basically
universal, there is no priority of one bit of consciousness over
the other. Within just my own life, the organism I was 35 years
ago is not the organism I am today, I am only connected to that
former organism by sequential events in time and space, threaded
together. With an advanced technology I could become
Tom Cruise by sequential changes particle by particle,
memory by memory, thought by thought, until I became the
currently existing Tom Cruise. Would my I which changed
over the course of 35 years from my former I be any different
than Tom Cruise's I that was changed over time (bit by bit)
from my former I? Thought experiments like these made me
realize we're all essentially the same universal concept, we're
all just unique pieces of the whole of the everything. It's just
really cool to find like thinking by a string search on the web,
having done all this thinking in isolation and coming to the
same conclusion as other minds have. What brought me to
this site was a string search for everything possible exists,
something I now believe and was just curious if there was
any text on the web with the same line of thinking. It was my
answer to the other question I've always had as to why does
the universe exist at all? I came to my own conclusion that if
anything exists (which apparently it does), then every possible
event must exist, every possible outcome from one state to
the other must exist, and if it existed once, nothing stops it
from existing again, and actually, every possible event not
only exists but has always existed and will always exist.
Kind of expands the universe quite a bit, virtually infinite.
There's not only me, but every possible outcome of
my life. There's every possible outcome of my mom
 dad's reproduction, some of which produce me but
nearly infinitely conditions that do not produce my starting
organism. My dad wouldn't have existed, if it weren't for the
lightning strike that killed his mom's first husband. So I'm
here because I am just one of nearly infinite possibilities
of consciousness. Disconcerting, at times, where I used
to think, glad it's them and not me (like tortured terrorist
victims), well, we're all the same basically, and while the
whole of everything contains terrible things, including
the very worst of possibilities, it also contains the very best
as well. Having figured this much out to my satisfaction
actually gives me a very contented, peaceful and secure
feeling.

RMahoney
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Re: Why I am I?

2010-01-01 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 On 30 Dec 2009, at 17:07, benjayk wrote:
 


 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 They are. Numbers are primitive. The variable x and y represents
 excusively those numbers. Finite pieces of computation are speical
 numbers, like prime numbers. To be a (finite piece of a) computation
 is a property of number, a relation which has to be defined in term  
 of
 addition and multiplication of numbers. To be a computation are
 emergent property (emerging from addition and multiplication).
 Sorry, I just don't get it. Your theory necessarily presumes dreams  
 before
 numbers, because for you numbers appear just in your dreams.
 
 Not at all. Comp presuppose some understanding of consciousness, but  
 then, after the uda reasoning we can understand that for the ontology  
 we need no mre than a theory like Robinson arithmetic. It does not  
 presuppose dreams. Dreams will be defined in term of number relations  
 (computations). I think you are confusing the level and the meta-level.
 Maxwell electromagnetism does not presuppose consciousness. And this  
 has nothing to do that Maxwell presuppose consciousness in his  
 colleagues when reading his paper, but that is an assumption at some  
 metalevel, not in the theory.
OK; but nevertheless your theory becomes wrong, if you try to act like the
meta-level, the level the theory appears in, does not exist (like some
materialists say) or relies on some objects in your theory. But if your
saying numbers give rise to conciousness it seems to me your doing that,
even if you don't mean it. Maybe it is just a semantic issue.

For me it is undoubtable that the understanding of what numbers are (and I
obviously can not make sense out of numbers without there being an
understanding of it) can only come out of conciousness, so numbers explain
(or give rise to) conciousness is simply not graspable for me. It seems
like an empty statement unless you mean with conciousness conciousness as
referred to in this theory, but this is not conciousness. It is the shadow
of (or the pointer to) conciousness in this theory.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Additionally,
 the notion of numbers relies on the notion of truth,
 
 Not at all.
OK, I shouldn't have written notion. I rather meant numbers rely on there
being an understanding of what is *what I mean* with the word truth or
meaning or sense.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 which is a notion that
 fundamentally can't be defined, only known.
 
 This is not correct. Pean Arithmetic can define a notion of truth for  
 any formula with a determinate length.
  Tarski theorem just forbid a  
 general notion of truth to be defined in the theory, for formula with  
 an finite but not fixed in advance length.
This is why I wrote fundamentally. You can define truth in some context,
but not truth itself. Every definition presumes that there is truth/meaning
in what it defines.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Without *experiencing* truth
 there is no sense to numbers.
 
 I think you are confusing third person numbers, and the human first  
 person experience of numbers.
I just don't get for whom there could be third person numbers? I think
third person objects are just objects shareable by different first person
viewpoints. But it always relies on there being a first person.

You write that you don't want to eliminate the person, but isn't saying
there are third person numbers apart from a first person (no human being
but conciousness) exactly this? To whom could you explain it if not to a
person that you already presume? Who could understand it?


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Arithmetical realism is the explicit assumption that truth of the form  
 17 is a prime number is not dependent of the existence of humans, or  
 even of a physical universe.
I basically agree. But I don't think that it is even possible to
meaningfully propose that 17 is a prime number is independent of
conciousness since you can't doubt (what I mean with the word) conciousness
and thus for every concious being (that is, every entity that is capable of
understanding something) everything is dependent on it.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 So there are numbers without there being
 dreaming/experiencing first.
 
 I guess you meant so there are no numbers 
 But this is not the theory I propose. I take Arithmetic as starting  
 point. Dreaming/experiencing will be a property of numbers.
 It is really NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER (= HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS  
 = HUMAN NUMBER)
Right, I meant  so there are no numbers 
The problem for me is that you (in my mind) can't take arithmetics as a
starting point without taking you as a starting point. Of course you
understand that, but then it is confusing (or dishonest, but I absolutely
don't believe that of course;-))  to write NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS =
MATTER because you can only mean MY UNDOUBTABLE CONCIOUSNSS = (since
this is already clear on a meta-level apart from the theory it is, I think,
unecessary to write it) NUMBERS = POINTER TO 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-31 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 30 Dec 2009, at 17:07, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 They are. Numbers are primitive. The variable x and y represents
 excusively those numbers. Finite pieces of computation are speical
 numbers, like prime numbers. To be a (finite piece of a) computation
 is a property of number, a relation which has to be defined in term  
 of
 addition and multiplication of numbers. To be a computation are
 emergent property (emerging from addition and multiplication).
 Sorry, I just don't get it. Your theory necessarily presumes dreams  
 before
 numbers, because for you numbers appear just in your dreams.

Not at all. Comp presuppose some understanding of consciousness, but  
then, after the uda reasoning we can understand that for the ontology  
we need no mre than a theory like Robinson arithmetic. It does not  
presuppose dreams. Dreams will be defined in term of number relations  
(computations). I think you are confusing the level and the meta-level.
Maxwell electromagnetism does not presuppose consciousness. And this  
has nothing to do that Maxwell presuppose consciousness in his  
colleagues when reading his paper, but that is an assumption at some  
metalevel, not in the theory.





 Additionally,
 the notion of numbers relies on the notion of truth,

Not at all.



 which is a notion that
 fundamentally can't be defined, only known.

This is not correct. Pean Arithmetic can define a notion of truth for  
any formula with a determinate length. Tarski theorem just forbid a  
general notion of truth to be defined in the theory, for formula with  
an finite but not fixed in advance length.



 Without *experiencing* truth
 there is no sense to numbers.

I think you are confusing third person numbers, and the human first  
person experience of numbers.
Arithmetical realism is the explicit assumption that truth of the form  
17 is a prime number is not dependent of the existence of humans, or  
even of a physical universe.




 So there are numbers without there being
 dreaming/experiencing first.

I guess you meant so there are no numbers 
But this is not the theory I propose. I take Arithmetic as starting  
point. Dreaming/experiencing will be a property of numbers.
It is really NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER (= HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS  
= HUMAN NUMBER)




 It seems to me that you call that primitive, which relies already  
 on the
 truths (there are dreams/experiences) of which it gives emergence  
 to. Do
 you see my problem with that?

Not really. And it seems that your remark could apply to any theory.  
We have to agree on some starting point. The starting point I use is  
already used by almost all theories of nature and human. You are  
confusing, I think, a statement like 2+3 = 5, and I understand that  
2+3 = 5. Those are very different.






 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 But since you don't only assume mechanism, but
 also conciousness (like all theories)

 Digitam mechanism (comp) assumes consciousness explicitly (cf the
 sense of the yes doctor). Most theories does not assume
 consciousness. The word does not appear in the description of the
 theories.
 I don't think it's necessary to write that you assume conciousness.  
 All
 theories assume truth and still no one makes this implicit.

By assumption, I mean the assumption present, concretely, in the  
theory. Not the meta-assumption needed to understand that humans can  
understand the theory.




 Because it is
 obivous; you simply can't deny there is truth or that you're  
 conscious.

Right.




 Well,
 actually you can deny it, but then it is clear for me that your use  
 of the
 words conciousness or truth doesn't point to what I mean.

Sure. And for mechanism, I assume that consciousness is invariant  
for some functional substitution. So I have to mention consciousness  
rather explicitly. That is normal: digital mechanism is a theory of  
consciousness, before being a theory of matter.





 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 and consensual reality (the dreams in
 which the representations of numbers appear), I don't see how it
 makes sense
 to put numbers before conciousness and (perceived) reality.

 Well, it is a bit like addition comes before being prime. You  
 need
 addition in Robinson arithmetic to define what a prime number is.  
 Then
 you need addition, and prime, before defining when a number represent
 a finite piece of computation. And you need that to eventually attach
 consciousness to computations. The before is logical, not temporal.
 I need someone making sense of addition in Robinson arithmetic  
 before I
 (logically) can refer to addition in Robinson arithmetic (or if you  
 want it
 this way I need the sense itself in 'addition in Robinson arithmetic'
 before I can refer to addition in Robinson arithmetic).
 It makes sense for me to say that we need numbers in order to link
 conciousness to numbers, but that is already obvious. But you need
 conciousness (the mysterious senser or sensing) in order to make  
 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-30 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 





 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it.
 But then doesn't the rest exist, too? I just see a problem with
 claiming
 to explain what exists, when it is really not clear what existance
 could
 mean apart from the relatively meaningful, but vague, every day use.

 In that context existence is the same as in the expression it exists
 a number having this or that property. Among the property there will
 be property like relatively to that number this number observe this
 phenomenon. the rest belongs to the dream of numbers, and they do
 those dream because they describe computations. We assume  
 mechanism, I
 recall.
 Okay, though I still think it's advisable to not use simply  
 existence as a
 word a here, because it sounds too exclusive. What exists sounds  
 like
 Everything that exists.
 And I find dreams of numbers sounds as if the dreams where less
 fundamental than the numbers.
 
 They are. Numbers are primitive. The variable x and y represents  
 excusively those numbers. Finite pieces of computation are speical  
 numbers, like prime numbers. To be a (finite piece of a) computation  
 is a property of number, a relation which has to be defined in term of  
 addition and multiplication of numbers. To be a computation are  
 emergent property (emerging from addition and multiplication).
Sorry, I just don't get it. Your theory necessarily presumes dreams before
numbers, because for you numbers appear just in your dreams. Additionally,
the notion of numbers relies on the notion of truth, which is a notion that
fundamentally can't be defined, only known. Without *experiencing* truth
there is no sense to numbers. So there are numbers without there being
dreaming/experiencing first.

It seems to me that you call that primitive, which relies already on the
truths (there are dreams/experiences) of which it gives emergence to. Do
you see my problem with that? 



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 But since you don't only assume mechanism, but
 also conciousness (like all theories)
 
 Digitam mechanism (comp) assumes consciousness explicitly (cf the  
 sense of the yes doctor). Most theories does not assume  
 consciousness. The word does not appear in the description of the  
 theories.
I don't think it's necessary to write that you assume conciousness. All
theories assume truth and still no one makes this implicit. Because it is
obivous; you simply can't deny there is truth or that you're concious. Well,
actually you can deny it, but then it is clear for me that your use of the
words conciousness or truth doesn't point to what I mean.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 and consensual reality (the dreams in
 which the representations of numbers appear), I don't see how it  
 makes sense
 to put numbers before conciousness and (perceived) reality.
 
 Well, it is a bit like addition comes before being prime. You need  
 addition in Robinson arithmetic to define what a prime number is. Then  
 you need addition, and prime, before defining when a number represent  
 a finite piece of computation. And you need that to eventually attach  
 consciousness to computations. The before is logical, not temporal.
I need someone making sense of addition in Robinson arithmetic before I
(logically) can refer to addition in Robinson arithmetic (or if you want it
this way I need the sense itself in 'addition in Robinson arithmetic'
before I can refer to addition in Robinson arithmetic). 
It makes sense for me to say that we need numbers in order to link
conciousness to numbers, but that is already obvious. But you need
conciousness (the mysterious senser or sensing) in order to make sense
of anything, including numbers.
Numbers just come before any *notion* of conciousness that is reflected in
the numbers, but they can't come before conciousness itself. Or at least I
don't get what this could mean.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 But this is just insulting the machines, and nothing else.
 My point is not to insult machines. A machine is identified by what  
 it does,
 because feelings can not be uniquely linked with a machine.
 
 Why? We can, for all practical purpose, attach a mind to a machine.  
 What we cannot do is to attach a machine to a mind, but only an  
 infinity of machine to a mind.
How can we attach a mind to a machine? If you have the description of a
machine, you know what it feels? You are a machine lover indeed ;).


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Conciousness is already attached to an
 infinity of machines and from our perspective we are at least  
 conciousness;
 that which is always sure here and now. So every observer, just by  
 virtue of
 observing *anything*, already feels the truth about an infinity of  
 machines.
 But *are* we machines then? If we always are or could be  
 infinitely many
 machines, if we always feel some truth about *every machine*, it is  
 not a
 bit of an understatement to say we are a machine or even 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-29 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 28 Dec 2009, at 21:22, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 I have never claim it explains something fundamental, it explains a
 new problem, the problem of justifying how machine dreams glue
 enough to stabilize first person plural sharable observation.
 The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it Sounds  
 pretty
 fundamental to me ;). I think your wording was just a bit absolute  
 for me
 here, maybe you should be more careful there, maybe I just took you  
 too
 serious. After all you're talking in the context of a theory, so I  
 should
 take The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it. as The  
 theory
 explains what exists as formalizable in the theory, and explains  
 from it how
 there must be more than this, which trascends the formalities of this
 theory..

OK.








 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it.
 But then doesn't the rest exist, too? I just see a problem with
 claiming
 to explain what exists, when it is really not clear what existance
 could
 mean apart from the relatively meaningful, but vague, every day use.

 In that context existence is the same as in the expression it exists
 a number having this or that property. Among the property there will
 be property like relatively to that number this number observe this
 phenomenon. the rest belongs to the dream of numbers, and they do
 those dream because they describe computations. We assume  
 mechanism, I
 recall.
 Okay, though I still think it's advisable to not use simply  
 existence as a
 word a here, because it sounds too exclusive. What exists sounds  
 like
 Everything that exists.
 And I find dreams of numbers sounds as if the dreams where less
 fundamental than the numbers.

They are. Numbers are primitive. The variable x and y represents  
excusively those numbers. Finite pieces of computation are speical  
numbers, like prime numbers. To be a (finite piece of a) computation  
is a property of number, a relation which has to be defined in term of  
addition and multiplication of numbers. To be a computation are  
emergent property (emerging from addition and multiplication).





 But since you don't only assume mechanism, but
 also conciousness (like all theories)

Digitam mechanism (comp) assumes consciousness explicitly (cf the  
sense of the yes doctor). Most theories does not assume  
consciousness. The word does not appear in the description of the  
theories.




 and consensual reality (the dreams in
 which the representations of numbers appear), I don't see how it  
 makes sense
 to put numbers before conciousness and (perceived) reality.

Well, it is a bit like addition comes before being prime. You need  
addition in Robinson arithmetic to define what a prime number is. Then  
you need addition, and prime, before defining when a number represent  
a finite piece of computation. And you need that to eventually attach  
consciousness to computations. The before is logical, not temporal.






 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Really we only discuss semantics here... I just find theory of
 everything
 sounds authorative, because it seems to claim there is nothing  
 else to
 explain. Basically that is my only problem with a theory of
 everything -
 it is either a confusing name or disingenious,


 And what do you think about theology. The idea is to unify  
 knowledge
 in a coherent realm, which does not eliminate the person nor the
 appearances, but help to figure them out.
 Not so good. Theology sounds too big. After all, there is no science  
 or any
 other practice that does not study spirituality or god in some  
 sense. By
 calling it theology it sounds like your theory is especially close  
 to
 grasping god. But I don't think it's any good to ever invoke  
 closeness to
 god in any theory.
 I would like theory of relationship of numbers and that which  
 trascends
 them or something more precise and modest, without using  
 everything or
 some appeal to god.

That is a vocabulary problem. I like theology for three reasons:
1) comp is a belief in a form of possible technological reincarnation,  
leading to notions of afterlife, or after-annihilation.
2) the gap between G and G* provides a gap between science and  
theology-proper.
3) It necessitates an unprovable belief in the universal machine (the  
little god, Plotinus' man). This is Church thesis.

This is made clear by the arithmetical interpretation of Plotinus. God  
(the ONE) = arithmetical truth, the NOUS = arithmetical provability,  
the third god (universal soul) = provability in company of truth,  
matter = ... etc.









 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 But
 elementary arithmetics does explain both consciousness, including
 its
 non definability
 That's funny, because this is little more than empty words for me.

 Read the papers. Or ask questions.
 I don't what conciousness 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-28 Thread benjayk

I willl not reply to all parts of your post in detail, because I think we
mainly discuss semantics on some specific issues. I feel we agree on most
things either way, it seems pointless to get 







 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 It's like a
 theory saying: There is something, but don't aks me what it is.

 You should study the theory, and makes specific remark.
 That would lead nowhere, since I don't have anything specific  
 against the
 theory. It's just that I think claiming it to explain something  
 fundamental
 is missleading; it makes one search fundamental truth where there is  
 none.
 Because what is fundamental to everyone is his own experience.

I agree. But then study the theory which explains why machine can  
already understand this, but that we have to explain physics from the  
number if we want to take the theory seriously.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 I have never claim it explains something fundamental, it explains a  
 new problem, the problem of justifying how machine dreams glue  
 enough to stabilize first person plural sharable observation.
The theory   
explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it Sounds pretty
fundamental to me ;). I think your wording was just a bit absolute for me
here, maybe you should be more careful there, maybe I just took you too
serious. After all you're talking in the context of a theory, so I should
take The theory   
explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it. as The theory   
explains what exists as formalizable in the theory, and explains from it how
there must be more than this, which trascends the formalities of this
theory..





Bruno Marchal wrote:
 


 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it.
 But then doesn't the rest exist, too? I just see a problem with  
 claiming
 to explain what exists, when it is really not clear what existance  
 could
 mean apart from the relatively meaningful, but vague, every day use.
 
 In that context existence is the same as in the expression it exists  
 a number having this or that property. Among the property there will  
 be property like relatively to that number this number observe this  
 phenomenon. the rest belongs to the dream of numbers, and they do  
 those dream because they describe computations. We assume mechanism, I  
 recall.
Okay, though I still think it's advisable to not use simply existence as a
word a here, because it sounds too exclusive. What exists sounds like
Everything that exists. 
And I find dreams of numbers sounds as if the dreams where less
fundamental than the numbers. But since you don't only assume mechanism, but
also conciousness (like all theories) and consensual reality (the dreams in
which the representations of numbers appear), I don't see how it makes sense
to put numbers before conciousness and (perceived) reality.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Really we only discuss semantics here... I just find theory of  
 everything
 sounds authorative, because it seems to claim there is nothing else to
 explain. Basically that is my only problem with a theory of  
 everything -
 it is either a confusing name or disingenious,
 
 
 And what do you think about theology. The idea is to unify knowledge  
 in a coherent realm, which does not eliminate the person nor the  
 appearances, but help to figure them out.
Not so good. Theology sounds too big. After all, there is no science or any
other practice that does not study spirituality or god in some sense. By
calling it theology it sounds like your theory is especially close to
grasping god. But I don't think it's any good to ever invoke closeness to
god in any theory.
I would like theory of relationship of numbers and that which trascends
them or something more precise and modest, without using everything or
some appeal to god.





Bruno Marchal wrote:
 


 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 But
 elementary arithmetics does explain both consciousness, including  
 its
 non definability
 That's funny, because this is little more than empty words for me.

 Read the papers. Or ask questions.
 I don't what conciousness really is.
 
 I am sure you know very well what it is. Think of what is common in  
 all subjective experiences.
What is common in all subjective experience...? I don't really know.
Something is, that is for sure, but I don't know what!



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 So in order to to explain it to me, you
 would have to define it...
 
 Not at all. To make theories we need only to share some statements  
 about something. We never define really the object of our thought and  
 theories.
 I cannot define two you what is a line, bit we may agree that two  
 points determines a unique line, for example. And reason from that.
 I cannot define to you consciousness, but we may agree on some  
 statement on it, like conscious people cannot doubt here and now  
 that they are conscious, for example.
Okay, but then you don't explain what conciousness is, but 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-20 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 19 Dec 2009, at 16:13, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Honestly I think you are a bit dishonest to yourself here, since you
 already
 presume the appearance of matter,

 I assume nowhere primitive matter. I do assume consensual reality.
 If not, I would not post message on a list.
 Well, that was my point. So indeed numbers don't make sense  
 independent of
 that, because




 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 unless you can make theories about numbers
 without perceiving anything, which I doubt.

 Humans cannot do that, but this is independent which are simùpler
 concept. All scientists agrees on numbers, and to day we can explain
 in a precise sense why numbers is the least we have to assume.



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 When you do abstract math you
 nevertheless work with matter, that is, word written on paper or  
 on a
 computer screen. So either you can indeed make sense of a circular
 theory

 Indeed. That is the case. Circularity is fundamental. I will soon
 explain this through the second recursion theorem of Kleene. The  
 whole
 AUDA things is based almost exclusively based on that handling of
 circularity, which makes the self-reference possible, for machine,  
 and
 relatively to universal machine(s).
 So we seem to agree actually.


 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Of course, the human conception of the numbers depends on the human
 conception of his neighborhood and life, but when searching a TOE  
 we
 have to agree on the simplest objects (ontology) from which we  
 derive
 the others (phenomenology).
 For me this is not meaningful. What kind of phenomology could be
 derived
 from the fundamental numbers?

 You may read Plotinus, for having an informal idea. The
 phenomenologies corresponds to the hypostases, + intelligible and
 sensible matter.
 from the numbers (+ comp) we can explain the non communicability of
 consciousness, its local undoubtability, how primitive matter
 emerges and leads to first plural quantum-like indeterminacies, etc.
 What I find difficult to grasp: If conciousness is non communicable  
 how
 could we explai



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Basically just that they need to be
 phenomena and that they are not expressible in terms of something
 else. But
 this for me has little to do with what the phenomena *are*.

 I don't understand this.
 Well every strictly formal theory will just explain you phenomena  
 formally.
 But since phenomena are something that trascends formalities, they  
 fail to
 explain that which is fundamental to phenomena.


Not at all. In a theory (perhaps formal) you can still attribute  
meaning to your terms, and accept that some rule of deduction  
preserves that meaning, then you can learn something new by deduction.

You argument here is close to the error of saying that if neurons  
(artificial, or not) manipulates only other neurones, the meaning will  
escape them. This does not follow.

Anything can be formalise, at some level of description, and indeed  
three of the arithmetical hypostases concern non formalizable by the  
machine form of knowledge by the machine.

Only formalist philosopher copuld decide to not attribute meaning on  
the primitive terms, although he will attributes the usual meaning of  
the inference rules (which are at another level).









 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 It's like a
 theory saying: There is something, but don't aks me what it is.

 You should study the theory, and makes specific remark.
 That would lead nowhere, since I don't have anything specific  
 against the
 theory. It's just that I think claiming it to explain something  
 fundamental
 is missleading; it makes one search fundamental truth where there is  
 none.
 Because what is fundamental to everyone is his own experience.

I agree. But then study the theory which explains why machine can  
already understand this, but that we have to explain physics from the  
number if we want to take the theory seriously.

I have never claim it explains something fundamental, it explains a  
new problem, the problem of justifying how machine dreams glue  
enough to stabilize first person plural sharable observation.

I just formulate a problem (and show a solution, which is just to  
better illustrate the problem, and also that it would be premature to  
used UDA to abandon mechanism.

And then there is that new pal: the universal machine, which is also a  
root of many problems.

To understand UDA is really equal to underst(and that we don't and  
cannot really understand what numbers and machines are. But that we  
can learn think making us doubting some quasi dogma in the fundamental  
sciences.








 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 The theory
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it.
 But then doesn't the rest exist, too? I just see a problem with  
 claiming
 to explain what exists, when it is really not clear what existance  
 could
 mean apart from the relatively meaningful, but vague, every day use.

In that context 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-19 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Honestly I think you are a bit dishonest to yourself here, since you  
 already
 presume the appearance of matter,
 
 I assume nowhere primitive matter. I do assume consensual reality.  
 If not, I would not post message on a list.
Well, that was my point. So indeed numbers don't make sense independent of
that, because 




Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 unless you can make theories about numbers
 without perceiving anything, which I doubt.
 
 Humans cannot do that, but this is independent which are simùpler  
 concept. All scientists agrees on numbers, and to day we can explain  
 in a precise sense why numbers is the least we have to assume.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 When you do abstract math you
 nevertheless work with matter, that is, word written on paper or on a
 computer screen. So either you can indeed make sense of a circular  
 theory
 
 Indeed. That is the case. Circularity is fundamental. I will soon  
 explain this through the second recursion theorem of Kleene. The whole  
 AUDA things is based almost exclusively based on that handling of  
 circularity, which makes the self-reference possible, for machine, and  
 relatively to universal machine(s).
So we seem to agree actually.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 


 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Of course, the human conception of the numbers depends on the human
 conception of his neighborhood and life, but when searching a TOE we
 have to agree on the simplest objects (ontology) from which we derive
 the others (phenomenology).
 For me this is not meaningful. What kind of phenomology could be  
 derived
 from the fundamental numbers?
 
 You may read Plotinus, for having an informal idea. The  
 phenomenologies corresponds to the hypostases, + intelligible and  
 sensible matter.
 from the numbers (+ comp) we can explain the non communicability of  
 consciousness, its local undoubtability, how primitive matter  
 emerges and leads to first plural quantum-like indeterminacies, etc.
What I find difficult to grasp: If conciousness is non communicable how
could we explai



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Basically just that they need to be
 phenomena and that they are not expressible in terms of something  
 else. But
 this for me has little to do with what the phenomena *are*.
 
 I don't understand this.
Well every strictly formal theory will just explain you phenomena formally.
But since phenomena are something that trascends formalities, they fail to
explain that which is fundamental to phenomena.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 It's like a
 theory saying: There is something, but don't aks me what it is.
 
 You should study the theory, and makes specific remark.
That would lead nowhere, since I don't have anything specific against the
theory. It's just that I think claiming it to explain something fundamental
is missleading; it makes one search fundamental truth where there is none.
Because what is fundamental to everyone is his own experience.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
  The theory  
 explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it.
But then doesn't the rest exist, too? I just see a problem with claiming
to explain what exists, when it is really not clear what existance could
mean apart from the relatively meaningful, but vague, every day use.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Searching it for me feels like searching something that is not there  
 (it
 feels *bad*).
 
 You are right, in the sense that we already know there is no complete  
 theory of what universal machines, or numbers, can do and not do.
 But that is the reason to become aware that about numbers and machine,  
 we know nothing, and the hypothesis that we are machine, makes physics  
 a concrete sum on all computations and this has observable consequences.
 
 We are just trying to understand what happens. don't confuse the  
 search of a theory of everything, with any normative or authoritative  
 theology.
 
 If you don't search for a theory of everything, you will adopt the  
 current one. A brain is already a (failed) attempt toward a theory of  
 everything. Searching *that* is what universal machines do. There is  
 no problem with admitting that the word everything can have an  
 evolving meaning in most terrestrial or effective context.
I see where you coming from, but in effect a theory of everything is
really just a theory of something then. The word everything itself has
sort of a absolute connotation, because it doesn't say everything of *WHAT*?
Relativizing it makes clear that the word everything is meaningless
without context, though than it is just confusing to still use the word
without context .

Really we only discuss semantics here... I just find theory of everything
sounds authorative, because it seems to claim there is nothing else to
explain. Basically that is my only problem with a theory of everything -
it is either a confusing name or disingenious,


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 


 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 But
 elementary arithmetics does explain both consciousness, 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Rex Allen
 But since practically anything can represent nearly anything else,
 it's ultimately all in the mind of the beholder.

 The representation must account for the observation.

Hmmm?  I'm not sure what you're saying here.  How would the
representation account for the observation?  Do you mean that what is
observed must account for the observation?  If so, virtual realities
and dreams would violate this rule, right?


 If not you can slip into solipsism.

So all that is necessary to avoid solipsism is to append to any theory
that seems open to the accusation of solipsism, ...and if I exist, it
seems reasonable to assume that others do as well.  Why would I be the
only one?

Viola!  Solipsism avoided, right?

I think you're rather too free with the term solipsism.

So it occurs to me that in physicalism or in your proposal, our
experience of the world is an internal aspect of consciousness.

When I say, I know my brother, I'm not saying that I know how he
really is.  I'm saying that I know my internal model of my brother.
There are many aspects of my brother's internal life and personality
that I do not know.  We build a model of the world, which is updated
for us by our sensory processing apparatus, and this model is what we
know...our own little virtual reality.

We are all alone in our heads.  Certainly if physicalism is correct.
 If you're correct, then we might could change this to:  We are all
alone in our algorithms, or something.




 Why do my conscious experiences have the particular contents that they
 do?

 Again, here we can explain why we cannot explain this. Like we can
 explain that no one can explain why it has been reconstituted in
 Washington and not in Moscow (or vice-versa). This is what we can call
 geography/history, by opposition to physics which studies laws (of the
 observable by universal machine). Laws are universal. In my youth I
 thought that physics was a sort of geography. Now I know that comp
 preserve a big body of physical laws. The multiverse is the same for
 all observers, (machine and non machine, really, except those 'quite
 close to the unique one)

I would have thought that the apparent possibility of virtual
realities, not to mention dreams and hallucinations, would indicate
that you are mistaken on this point.

If I can dream some of the time, why would there not be a set of
conscious experiences somewhere in the infinity of relations between
the numbers that constitute someone who lives in a dream that never
ends?

If I could write a computer simulation of a brain, and install it in a
virtual reality to live out it's life in a virtual world that operates
by a strange alternate set of laws, why would this set of experiences
not also show up one of the programs generated by the universal
dovetailer?

Note that in either case, what is observed by that consciousness would
probably not be sufficient to allow them to account for their
observations.




 Again, I'd ask the same question for any other ontological
 theory. Why did the universe have the particular initial conditions
 and governing laws that it did, which lead to our present experiences?
 It just did. There's no explanation for that (again, at least none
 that doesn't depend on some other unexplained event).

 But, again, there seems to be no way to know for certain what *really*
 exists, a la Kant.

 If you believe that the primality of 17 does not depend on you, then
 you can explain why matter and consciousness is an unavoidable
 consequence of + and *.

I would say that anyone who makes the same starting assumptions and
follows the same rules of inference would conclude that 17 is prime.

But the concepts of 17 and prime do not exist independently of
context.  I'll go with Meeker on this one:  Mathematics is just
precise expression and inference to avoid contradiction.



 I diagnostic you have still some some trouble grasping completely the
 7th and 8th step of UDA, to be frank. It is OK, take it easy.

Well, I think I grasp those points.  I just don't think that they show
that they are the source of conscious experience.

Again, it seems very plausible that what I experience can be
represented by physical objects (electrons moving through silicon and
copper) or numbers.  And by developing an algorithm that adjusts these
representations in the right way you can ALSO represent how my
experience changes over time.

But I don't see WHY doing so would produce first person conscious
experience.  And so I reject it as an explanation for conscious
experience.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Rex Allen
On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 5:17 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 On 09 Dec 2009, at 20:51, Rex Allen wrote:

 We see evolution...but it only
 exists in our minds, as a tool for our understanding.  It's not
 something that exists in the world.  Again, taking the physicalist
 view.

 We see space, time, and energy, but it only exists in our minds ...
 Actually, we don't see those things. Physicists share only number
 relations, and we lived uncommunicable qualia.


So communication depends on common experiences. All fundamental
concepts are ineffable, and unless both parties in the conversation
have the same set of fundamental concepts, then nothing that derives
from those building blocks can be discussed.

So it's not the case that there's something special about the
ineffability of qualia. What makes them ineffable is the fact that
they are fundamental. They can't be expressed in terms of anything
else. So, if you don't already have knowledge of them, gained from
experience, then I can't communicate with you about them.

For instance, my brother and I can use the fundamental concept of red
in our conversations because we both know what red is. We both have
experience of red. So when he talks about red sunsets, and red apples,
and red cars, I have a good idea of what he means. We have yet to
encounter difficulties due to a difference of understanding about red.

However, I cannot communicate clearly with my color-blind cousin about
red, because he has no experience of red. So I know that when we
discuss red sunsets, we are not communicating with perfect mutual
understanding.

The limits of language in this regard has nothing to do with the
nature of experience, or consciousness. The problem is that
fundamental concepts can't be described in terms of other things...if
they could be, then by definition they wouldn't be fundamental.
Fundamental things can only be pointed at...and if you can't see what
I'm pointing at, then we can't really talk about it.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 12 Dec 2009, at 19:11, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:


 On 10 Dec 2009, at 03:23, benjayk wrote:

 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of
 matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.



 Then all physical theories are circular, and explains nothing. All
 theories in physics presuppose arithmetical truth (and even  
 analytical
 truth, but this is just to simplify the derivations).
 Well every theory is circular in that there are always axiom(s) that  
 are
 presumed to be true (and meaningful), and in that the theory is just  
 correct
 if the reasoning is correct, which can never be proven.

 Basically it just comes down to whether you like or accept the  
 reasoning and
 the axioms.
 Theories and science are just a tool.

I agree. And then computer science, thanks to Kleene and others,  
managed very well the circularity.



 You may feel that some too circular theories don't explain  
 anything, but
 you can only say they don't explain anything to you.

I was using using circular in its sense of viciously circular.


 Honestly I think you are a bit dishonest to yourself here, since you  
 already
 presume the appearance of matter,

I assume nowhere primitive matter. I do assume consensual reality.  
If not, I would not post message on a list.




 unless you can make theories about numbers
 without perceiving anything, which I doubt.

Humans cannot do that, but this is independent which are simùpler  
concept. All scientists agrees on numbers, and to day we can explain  
in a precise sense why numbers is the least we have to assume.


 When you do abstract math you
 nevertheless work with matter, that is, word written on paper or on a
 computer screen. So either you can indeed make sense of a circular  
 theory

Indeed. That is the case. Circularity is fundamental. I will soon  
explain this through the second recursion theorem of Kleene. The whole  
AUDA things is based almost exclusively based on that handling of  
circularity, which makes the self-reference possible, for machine, and  
relatively to universal machine(s).


 or
 you have to agree that no theory explains anything (or you manage to
 manipulate numbers without having the experience of perceiving  
 matter). Or I
 missed your point.

Explaining consists in reducing what I understand badly into what I  
have a better understanding.

Also, my point in not a new theory, a new theorem. If we are machine,  
then matter becomes a complete mystery which has to be explained from  
the numbers (UDA). The theorem is in the has to. Then it happens to  
the derivation has been partially done (AUDA).




 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Of course, the human conception of the numbers depends on the human
 conception of his neighborhood and life, but when searching a TOE we
 have to agree on the simplest objects (ontology) from which we derive
 the others (phenomenology).
 For me this is not meaningful. What kind of phenomology could be  
 derived
 from the fundamental numbers?

You may read Plotinus, for having an informal idea. The  
phenomenologies corresponds to the hypostases, + intelligible and  
sensible matter.
from the numbers (+ comp) we can explain the non communicability of  
consciousness, its local undoubtability, how primitive matter  
emerges and leads to first plural quantum-like indeterminacies, etc.



 Basically just that they need to be
 phenomena and that they are not expressible in terms of something  
 else. But
 this for me has little to do with what the phenomena *are*.

I don't understand this.



 It's like a
 theory saying: There is something, but don't aks me what it is.

You should study the theory, and makes specific remark. The theory  
explains what exists, and how the rest emerges from it. All this in a  
way which is sufficiently detailed as to be tested experimentally.

Strictly speaking it is not my theory, it is the universal machines'  
theory.

It is a theology because it makes clear the part of the phenomenology  
which is sharable, and the part which is unsharable, except by  
projections, betting, hoping, fearing, praying, etc.

The trick is that a Löbian machine can study the theology of the  
correct machine without knowing if itself is correct, and so without  
knowing if the theology (toy theology if you want) apply to iself.


 And I don't see what's especially simple about numbers. For me they  
 are more
 complex than many everyday
 objects, because they rely on dualistic notions like classical logic  
 and an
 absolute inequality of something (1 is absolutely not 2).

It requires the ability of distinguishing two things, indeed, and the  
ability to repeat action, like taking the successor. Empirically, this  
is grasped by children, and elementary arithmetic is virtually a  
subtheory of all scientific theories, and explictly so for theories  
which happens to be 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Jason Resch
On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 
  Though in another way I think we already have a theory of everything a
  theory can explain *ultimately* (which is *not even remotely* close to
  everything, since the more you trascend a theory the bigger the
  possibilities get):
  The theory is that all theories are either contradictory or
  incomplete (we
  have to go beyond theories to access truth). I think Gödel already
  made the
  quest for the complete theory meaningless.

 Gödel showed that all theories on *numbers* are contradictory of
 incomplete.
 And it is a direct consequence of Church thesis. Once you grasp the
 concept of universal number or machine, you understand that truth,
 even on just machines and numbers, is not completely axiomatisable.

 But that is a reason to be humble  in front of arithmetical truth. Not
 a reason to dismiss it. It kicks back a lot.

 Also, if you mention Gödel, it means you accept elementary arithmetic.
 My logical point is that if you believe you (can) surivive with a
 digital *body*, then elementary arithmetic has to be enough. WE have
 too extract the SWE, and other appearances from that. It is a point in
 (applied) logic, if you want.


 Bruno,

I have had some difficulty in seeing how to get from the numbers and
arithmetic to universal machines and programs such as the universal
dovetailer.  For example, the existence of the Java language doesn't
directly imply all possible Java programs are being executed somewhere.  Is
there some example you can provide of how to get from numbers to the
execution of programs?  I've been thinking about it myself for a while and
this is the closest I have gotten, is it along the right track?

1. If all natural numbers exist, then relations between those numbers exist
(e.g. 5 is 3 more than 2)
2. There are an infinite number of ways to get from some number x to number
y (e.g. if x is 2, and y is 5: y = x^2+1, y = x + 3, y = x * 3 - 1) are all
valid relations between 2 and 5.
3. Every relation, may be applied recursively to generate an infinite
sequence of numbers, the simplest relation: y=x+1, when
applied recursively gives all the successors, others more complex ones might
give the Fibonacci sequence, or run through states of the Game of Life.

Is this enough?  It seems like something is being added on top of the
numbers, the relations themselves must be treated as independent entities,
as well as recursively applied relations for every number.  Is there a
simpler or more obvious way the existence of numbers yields the dovetailer?

Thanks,

Jason

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 13 Dec 2009, at 16:40, Rex Allen wrote:


 I diagnostic you have still some some trouble grasping completely the
 7th and 8th step of UDA, to be frank. It is OK, take it easy.

 Well, I think I grasp those points.  I just don't think that they show
 that they are the source of conscious experience.

 Again, it seems very plausible that what I experience can be
 represented by physical objects (electrons moving through silicon and
 copper) or numbers.  And by developing an algorithm that adjusts these
 representations in the right way you can ALSO represent how my
 experience changes over time.

 But I don't see WHY doing so would produce first person conscious
 experience.  And so I reject it as an explanation for conscious
 experience.



OK, you think that comp is false. I really don't know. From biology  
and quantum physics, and computer science, I would say that there are  
some clues that comp is true, but there are many remaining problems,  
and even clues that it may be false.

All my point is that if we make the Digital Mechanist hypothesis (DM =  
comp), then the mind body problem is two times more difficult than  
materialist are thinking. Indeed with DM, we have to explain how  
matter arise from numbers, not just mind.

Then computer science gives, by itself, through universal machine self- 
reference, a theory of mind, which explains rather well the difference  
between qualia and quanta. But this needs AUDA, and, although you  
don't need DM, you need an open mindness for the strong AI  thesis,  
for the idea that a machine can think. This may be true, and yet comp  
is false.

My goal was in showing that comp, which an hypothesis in philosophy of  
mind/theology, is refutable empirically, and thus is amenable to the  
scientific study. That's all.

I dunno if comp is true or not. I don't even know if I should hope of  
fear it. It is too complex for that.

What I do believe (prove), is that comp + weak materialism is  
inconsistent.

Bruno

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 13 Dec 2009, at 18:20, Jason Resch wrote:



 On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:
 
  Though in another way I think we already have a theory of  
 everything a
  theory can explain *ultimately* (which is *not even remotely*  
 close to
  everything, since the more you trascend a theory the bigger the
  possibilities get):
  The theory is that all theories are either contradictory or
  incomplete (we
  have to go beyond theories to access truth). I think Gödel already
  made the
  quest for the complete theory meaningless.

 Gödel showed that all theories on *numbers* are contradictory of
 incomplete.
 And it is a direct consequence of Church thesis. Once you grasp the
 concept of universal number or machine, you understand that truth,
 even on just machines and numbers, is not completely axiomatisable.

 But that is a reason to be humble  in front of arithmetical truth. Not
 a reason to dismiss it. It kicks back a lot.

 Also, if you mention Gödel, it means you accept elementary arithmetic.
 My logical point is that if you believe you (can) surivive with a
 digital *body*, then elementary arithmetic has to be enough. WE have
 too extract the SWE, and other appearances from that. It is a point in
 (applied) logic, if you want.


  Bruno,

 I have had some difficulty in seeing how to get from the numbers and  
 arithmetic to universal machines and programs such as the universal  
 dovetailer.  For example, the existence of the Java language doesn't  
 directly imply all possible Java programs are being executed  
 somewhere.  Is there some example you can provide of how to get from  
 numbers to the execution of programs?  I've been thinking about it  
 myself for a while and this is the closest I have gotten, is it  
 along the right track?

 1. If all natural numbers exist, then relations between those  
 numbers exist (e.g. 5 is 3 more than 2)
 2. There are an infinite number of ways to get from some number x to  
 number y (e.g. if x is 2, and y is 5: y = x^2+1, y = x + 3, y = x *  
 3 - 1) are all valid relations between 2 and 5.
 3. Every relation, may be applied recursively to generate an  
 infinite sequence of numbers, the simplest relation: y=x+1, when  
 applied recursively gives all the successors, others more complex  
 ones might give the Fibonacci sequence, or run through states of the  
 Game of Life.

 Is this enough?  It seems like something is being added on top of  
 the numbers, the relations themselves must be treated as independent  
 entities, as well as recursively applied relations for every  
 number.  Is there a simpler or more obvious way the existence of  
 numbers yields the dovetailer?


It is a long and tedious exercise to show that the computable  
relations can be represented in the form of arithmetical relations  
(provable in an already rather weak theory).

I have defined computations by sequences of phi_i^s(n) for s = 0, 1,  
3, 4,  Those sequences can be represented in first order  
arithmetic, and the relevant one to describe the universal dovetailer  
can be represented as well and proved (by weak theories).

Good question, though. I will think how to explain this more  
explicitly later, but not too much because it is usually longer than  
programing an operating system in language machine. A big part of that  
work is what Gödel did in his incompleteness proof: to represent  
metamathemetical notion in arithmetic. Like provability can be  
translated in arithmetic, concept like universal machine and  
computations can also be translated. this needs a rather long  
explanation, given that the machine (or elementary arithmetic) a  
priori knows nothing about those notions.

Bruno





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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-13 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 I'm thinking of something
 similar to the symbol grounding problem:

 The Symbol Grounding Problem is related to the problem of how words
 (symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning
 itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the
 problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are
 meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition,
 computationalism, cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of
 computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol
 manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are
 based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. How are those
 symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they
 refer to?


 This question seems like a conundrum generated by abstracting symbols
 out their context of communication and action and then being surprised
 that you can't say what they communicate or what action they will elicit.

So the quote mentions the words in our heads, but let's also include
the images in my head.  Or more generally yet, the thoughts in my head
which are about things out in the world.

You make the point that these taking these out of the context of
communication and action is what generates the conundrum.

But with respect to consciousness it's not clear to me that context
should matter.

So let's go to a Boltzmann Brain scenario.  In far distant future, the
de Sitter radiation being emitted from the cosmological horizon just
happens to come together in a extremely improbable but not impossible
configuration that is functionally isomorphic to a computer containing
the simulation of a brain, plus a set of lookup tables (keyed by time
slice) storing 70 years worth of sensory data.

The lookup tables don't contain a virtual world, instead (by complete
chance) the tables contain values that match the output that a
computer simulation of a virtual world WOULD produce if such an
environmental simulation were executed in tandem with the simulated
brain.

So.  Extremely unlikely.  But not obviously impossible.  Which means
that given enough time, it's probably inevitable.

So would this physical system experience consciousness?  Would the
person being simulated have meaningful thoughts, even though it
existed outside of any meaningful context?


 Evolution isn't a fundamental law, right?  There is no evolution
 field or particle.  Evolution doesn't select anything.  Evolution
 has no causal power.


 It's true it's a description and as such has no causal power - but
 neither do any of the laws of physics.

I guess the question is do the laws of physics as currently formulated
*approximate* something that actually exists out in the world?

In the case of a universe where there really is no reason for the
distribution of matter and events in 4-D space-time, then the laws of
physics are indeed JUST a description of the way things seem to us as
conscious observers.  They are not an approximation of anything that
actually exists, and so in that case I agree that they have no causal
power.


 Again, assuming reductive physicalism, the initial state of the
 universe and the fundamental laws of physics (which may or may not
 have some sort of random aspect) completely determines what animals we
 observe in the present.

 If there is some randomness, then the initial state + laws of physics do
 NOT completely determine the present.


Let's say that I have some quantum dice and I say, if the numbers
rolled add to an odd value I will do A, but if they add to even value
I will do B.

In this case, whether I do A or B is completely determined by the
random outcome of the quantum dice, right?  Well...that random outcome
plus whatever caused me to entrust my fate to those dice in the
first place.

So randomness is fundamental...it doesn't reduce to anything else.  So
I don't think that I've gone wrong by saying that if the physical laws
have a random aspect, then they (plus the initial state of the
universe) completely determine what happens.


 More philosophical scientists don't assume their
 theories indicate what's really real.

I wonder why all scientists don't avoid such an assumption?  It seems
to me that Kant makes a good argument that we probably can't know
anything about the underlying nature of reality.  It seems to hold up
pretty well even after 200+ years.  What we know are phenomena, with
knowledge of the underlying noumena being beyond our reach.

Quoting (http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5g.htm):

Having seen Kant's transcendental deduction of the categories as pure
concepts of the understanding applicable a priori to every possible
experience, we might naturally wish to ask the further question
whether these regulative principles are really true. Are there
substances? Does every event have a cause? Do all things interact?
Given that we must suppose them in order to have any 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-12 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 
 On 10 Dec 2009, at 03:23, benjayk wrote:
 
 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of  
 matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.
 
 
 
 Then all physical theories are circular, and explains nothing. All  
 theories in physics presuppose arithmetical truth (and even analytical  
 truth, but this is just to simplify the derivations).
Well every theory is circular in that there are always axiom(s) that are
presumed to be true (and meaningful), and in that the theory is just correct
if the reasoning is correct, which can never be proven.

Basically it just comes down to whether you like or accept the reasoning and
the axioms.
Theories and science are just a tool.

You may feel that some too circular theories don't explain anything, but
you can only say they don't explain anything to you.
Honestly I think you are a bit dishonest to yourself here, since you already
presume the appearance of matter, unless you can make theories about numbers
without perceiving anything, which I doubt. When you do abstract math you
nevertheless work with matter, that is, word written on paper or on a
computer screen. So either you can indeed make sense of a circular theory or
you have to agree that no theory explains anything (or you manage to
manipulate numbers without having the experience of perceiving matter). Or I
missed your point.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Of course, the human conception of the numbers depends on the human  
 conception of his neighborhood and life, but when searching a TOE we  
 have to agree on the simplest objects (ontology) from which we derive  
 the others (phenomenology).
For me this is not meaningful. What kind of phenomology could be derived
from the fundamental numbers? Basically just that they need to be
phenomena and that they are not expressible in terms of something else. But
this for me has little to do with what the phenomena *are*. It's like a
theory saying: There is something, but don't aks me what it is. 
And I don't see what's especially simple about numbers. For me they are more
complex than many everyday 
objects, because they rely on dualistic notions like classical logic and an
absolute inequality of something (1 is absolutely not 2).

Indeed the theory of natural numbers may be the simplest formal system, but
I am reluctant to see formal systems as real objects.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 So numbers don't give rise to arithmetical truth,
 
 You need addition, multiplication and classical logic.
But this only works because you presume it leads to some kind of truth and
that addition and multiplication are meaningful (you presume classical
logic).
So if anything numbers give rise to an expression of truth in terms of your
systematization of it. Not too suprising.
This only works if you like numbers especially much and they help you
understand truth. One could as well deny that addition is meaningful without
context (eg because two rainddrops melt into one: 1+1=1)...


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 but truth gives rise to
 (expresses as) numbers.
 
 Which truth. What do you mean by 'truth' here?
I don't know (well I do know in some ways, but expressing them adequatly
would probably be impossible). What is arithmetical truth? According to
tarski you can't tell me, either.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Maybe what really exists is not a meaningful thing to ask in first  
 place,
 because if something really exists, it certainly cannot be  
 expressed with
 words.
 
 Why? This is like asserting there is no TOE, before searching.
I cannot search a theory of everything, because it is a meaningless notion
for me.
Searching it for me feels like searching something that is not there (it
feels *bad*).

Though in another way I think we already have a theory of everything a
theory can explain *ultimately* (which is *not even remotely* close to
everything, since the more you trascend a theory the bigger the
possibilities get):
The theory is that all theories are either contradictory or incomplete (we
have to go beyond theories to access truth). I think Gödel already made the
quest for the complete theory meaningless.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
  But  
 elementary arithmetics does explain both consciousness, including its  
 non definability
That's funny, because this is little more than empty words for me. If your
theory explains something, it needs an definition of it, or it only explains
that it doesn't explain that which it doesn't defines, except *that*.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 , and matter, including both its computational and non  
 computational aspects.
For me matter is explained by the fact that it is touchable, seeable, and so
forth. Elementary arithmetics cannot do that. So no, it doesn't explain
matter for me.
Maybe it does explain that you cannot reduce experience of matter and maybe
it can explain measurable features about it; I don't 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-11 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 11 Dec 2009, at 02:40, Jason Resch wrote:



 On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 4:17 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:


 
  But if numbers can just exist, and matter can just exist, then  
 why
  can't conscious experiences just exist?

 Numbers can just exist, and this is the last unsolvable mystery. Yet
 we can explain (assuming comp) why this mystery is absolutely
 unsolvable. It is not possible to explain numbers without assuming
 numbers (or combinators, etc.)
 Matter cannot exists primitively, but can exist as appearance for some
 numbers, and those appearance obeys laws, reducible to the math of
 universal numbers.
 Consciousness also, but is more fundamental than matter: NUMBER =
 CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER, is the probable causal (in some precise
 number theoretical sense) relation.
 (probably even NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER = HUMAN
 CONSCIOUSNESS = HUMAN NUMBERS). Here the last two steps would explain
 why we don't accept easily (intuitively) the origin).


 That is interesting, why would you say NUMBER = CONCIOUSNESS =  
 MATTER is more probable than NUMBER = MATTER = CONSCIOUSNESS?  Is  
 it related to Boltzmann's theory of independent brains being more  
 probable than whole universes?


It follows from UDA, but is even clearer in AUDA, or in Plotinus where  
matter is the last thing emanating from the ONE, almost despite its  
will. Matter is almost described as what even God cannot control. Bit  
frightening given that matter = evil, in the mindset of the antic  
platonician.

But matter is never created by the Universal Dovetailer. If your  
current mental state can be described by the digital information S,  
what you can can call matter is the result of 2^aleph_zero infinite  
computations which completes below your level of substitution. A  
priori, some equivalence relation can lower that number.

Of course this is still an open problem. It may be possible that this  
magma of computations appears to be emulable itself (which is not very  
plausible, but not yet discarded). This would mean that a special  
particular universal dovetailing would win on all the others (quantum  
universal dovetailing?).
Also, pure number theory seems to have some strange relation with  
theoretical physics, so it may be true that physics is deeper, and  
that again some number relations would described the winning  
dovetailing. This is speculation. A priori matter is just a first  
person (plural) view of the infinitely many computations which  
appears, by UDA, in the bottom, or in anything isolated from  
me (like already in quantum mechanics).





 To your second point, about NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER = HUMAN
 CONSCIOUSNESS = HUMAN NUMBERS, what is the purpose/role of the  
 consciousness step prior to matter?  How does consciousness support  
 matter that supports human consciousness?

Consciousness is the normal state of the universal person or löbian  
machine, as captured for example by the 8 hypostases. It is a  
mathematical fixed point of some universal transformation. It exists  
independently of time, matter, and those things.
Matter, if you want, is a collective creation of all Löbian  
machines. Humans are Löbians (in the optimist hypothesis), but it  
seems they have entangled themselves in very long and deep histories,  
which add many colors to the consciousness experience. We are  
relatively big and relatively rare, but globally we are a continuum,  
as far as we multiplies (apparently in different dimensions). (I use  
the rule Y = II, that is bifurcation of the future multiplies the  
past). Unfortunately this is intuitive, and far from being translated  
in the AUDA part. This seems to involved knots, braids, Temperley  
algebra, and may be related to natural graded Kripke structures  
related to Z1 and Z1* (the seventh and eigth arithmetical hypostases).




 
  Why do my conscious experiences have the particular contents that  
 they
  do?

 Again, here we can explain why we cannot explain this. Like we can
 explain that no one can explain why it has been reconstituted in
 Washington and not in Moscow (or vice-versa). This is what we can call
 geography/history, by opposition to physics which studies laws (of the
 observable by universal machine). Laws are universal. In my youth I
 thought that physics was a sort of geography. Now I know that comp
 preserve a big body of physical laws. The multiverse is the same for
 all observers, (machine and non machine, really, except those 'quite
 close to the unique one)

 That is very interesting, what do you mean by those close to the  
 unique one?  Would these be observers which appear early on in the  
 Dovetailer Algorithm?


By the unique one I was referring to God, or to the ONE of  
Plotinus. I still have no clue if there is a sense to look at this as  
if it was a person or a thing. For a simple lobian machine like Peano  
Arithmetic, the ONE is arithmetical truth. This is an object without  
any name for the 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-10 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 09 Dec 2009, at 20:51, Rex Allen wrote:

 On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:

 On 08 Dec 2009, at 09:50, Rex Allen wrote:

 In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find  
 some
 explanations good and others bad, that's just the  
 epiphenominal
 residue of more fundamental physical processes which are  
 themselves
 unconcerned with such things.

 Having predictive theories was no doubt selected by evolution - as
 well as a
 psychological to see meaning in things.

 Evolution isn't a fundamental law, right?  There is no evolution
 field or particle.  Evolution doesn't select anything.  Evolution
 has no causal power.

 Of course it has!
 It is like with the numbers or the combinators, once the initial rule
 of the game is above the universal number/machine treshold, you get a
 creative bomb. This generates new and new things, none having their
 behavior ever completely unifiable in any theory.

 In the physicalist view, evolution is an emergent law, right?

I will say yes, for the sake of the argument. But I tend to consider  
evolution as a mathematical phenomenon, described in part by  
genetical algorithmic, and I would distinguish evolution-the math,  
and its particular manifestation relatively to us (our computational  
histories/history). The second is only a more instantiated version of  
the first.



  It
 emerges out of the local interactions of fundamental entities, and
 none of these local interactions have anything to do with evolution.

OK, but remember that I am arguing that the fundamental entities of  
physics are not fundamental at all. They are themselves complex object  
which have evolved, although in this case the evolution is not at all  
a physical process, but a purely arithmetical one.
This is OK. if you want to keep a physicalist stance, just consider  
that with the computationalist hypothesis, the elementary particles  
are just numbers, and their interaction are given by addition and  
multiplication. (You can take the combinators S and K, and the  
operations Kxy = y; Sxyz = xz(yz), if you don't like numbers, ...).



 But evolution doesn't ADD anything to those local interactions...it
 can be completely reduced to them.

You can say so. But again, with such phrasing, the emergence of the  
physical world can be said to have also not add anything too.


 We see evolution...but it only
 exists in our minds, as a tool for our understanding.  It's not
 something that exists in the world.  Again, taking the physicalist
 view.

We see space, time, and energy, but it only exists in our minds ...
Actually, we don't see those things. Physicists share only number  
relations, and we lived uncommunicable qualia.


 So, to rely on Davies for articulation purposes again:

 Darwinism provides a novel form of causation inasmuch as the causal
 chain runs counter to the normal descriptive sequence.
 Chronologically, what happens is that first a mutation is caused by a
 local physical interaction, e.g. the impact of a cosmic ray at a
 specific location with an atom in a DNA molecule. Later, possibly many
 years later, the environment ‘selects’ the mutant by permitting the
 organism to reproduce more efficiently. In terms of physics, selection
 involves vast numbers of local forces acting over long periods of
 time, the net result of which is to bring about a long-term change in
 the genome of the organism’s lineage. It is the original atomic event
 in combination with the subsequent complicated events that together
 give a full causative account of the evolutionary story. Yet
 biologists would be hard-pressed to tell this story in those local
 physical terms. Instead, natural selection is described as having
 causal powers, even though it is causatively neutral – a sieve.

OK, but, assuming comp, if UDA is correct, you can extend this remark  
to the hole physical reality. To say that a proton attracts an  
electron is a metaphor to describe interference between infinities of  
computations, themselves being metaphor for describing purely number  
theoretical relations.





 Again, assuming reductive physicalism, the initial state of the
 universe and the fundamental laws of physics (which may or may not
 have some sort of random aspect) completely determines what  
 animals we
 observe in the present.  Evolution is just a useful fictional
 narrative that helps us think about what we observe.  A  
 description of
 what we observe, not an explanation for it.

 And why not add, in that case,  ... like time, space, universe, laws
 are also convenient fiction for describing what we observe?

 So I'm certainly fine with taking a Kantian view of time and space,
 and even the appearance of causality, as being aspects of our
 experience of the world...and not things that exist outside of our
 experience of them.

 And since we use our perceptions to build our mental image of the
 universe, then this mental image also has nothing to do 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-10 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 10 Dec 2009, at 03:23, benjayk wrote:

 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of  
 matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.



Then all physical theories are circular, and explains nothing. All  
theories in physics presuppose arithmetical truth (and even analytical  
truth, but this is just to simplify the derivations). I am aware that  
Hartree Field pretends otherwise, but he is using the numbers  
implicitly.

Of course, the human conception of the numbers depends on the human  
conception of his neighborhood and life, but when searching a TOE we  
have to agree on the simplest objects (ontology) from which we derive  
the others (phenomenology).


 So numbers don't give rise to arithmetical truth,

You need addition, multiplication and classical logic.

 but truth gives rise to
 (expresses as) numbers.

Which truth. What do you mean by 'truth' here?

 Maybe what really exists is not a meaningful thing to ask in first  
 place,
 because if something really exists, it certainly cannot be  
 expressed with
 words.

Why? This is like asserting there is no TOE, before searching. But  
elementary arithmetics does explain both consciousness, including its  
non definability, and matter, including both its computational and non  
computational aspects.
If you have a better explanation, I can listen, but why not study the  
existing explanation?

 So why aks a question that can't be answered with words at all?

It is up to you to show the question cannot answered at all, and for  
this you need a theory.

 Probably we generally should take words less serious (especially with
 regards to fundamental questions) and expect no satisfying answers  
 from
 them.

This is giving up research. Of course, you can always do that.
Nevertheless, to invoke a vague theory or philosophy to dismiss  
automatically the theories bring by others will not help to progress.  
This is what is done by most confessional religion since the  
scientific attitude has been abandoned in theology/fundamental research.

Bruno Marchal.



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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-10 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 10 Dec 2009, at 03:23, benjayk wrote:

 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of  
 matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.
 So I find it unconvincing that conciousness arises out of numbers,  
 since
 it is inconceivable for me what numbers mean independent of me or  
 even the
 world I perceive.


Let me try a second reply (hopefully better). Actually I confess  
having not taking into account enough your (!) between appearance  
and matter.

The game here consists in trying to understand, as far as possible,  
the riddle of the appearance (!) of matter and the mystery of  
consciousness.

Those terms are complex, we can hardly define them, but we may agree  
on some proposition, perhaps just for the sake of reasoning.

I think many agrees on the fact that none of us can doubt, here and  
now, its own consciousness. It is an example, albeit very personal, of  
true statement, even if it seems non expressible and non communicable  
(too bad, for that truth?(*))

And then, if only because it will make it possible to reason, some of  
us accept the intuitive idea that my consciousness could be  
preserved though digital encoding, annihilation and digital  
reconstruction (comp).

Then, reasoning leads to a fundamental conceptual simplification of  
the possible TOE.

In a nutshell, and roughly speaking the intended TOE where
- last century:  SWE + Wave-reduction+unintelligible theory of mind.
But in 1957, Everett proposes a better theory which is just  SWE +  
comp. Known as Many World interpretation of quantum mechanics. (But  
it is not an interpretation of QM, it is simply another theory. The  
one you get when you drop the wave collapse in old QM).
But then your servitor showed, that unless we drop indeed the reality/ 
notions of first person, and consciousness, and mind, etc. then, in  
case the SWE is indeed correct, it has to be derived from only comp.  
Like the collapse is derived from SWE.

Note that I am not pretending having the truth here. Comp may be  
false, and a collapse of the wave is not an entirely crackpot idea, if  
only people could develop a clear theory of that.
All what I say, is that taking comp seriously, we can indeed explain  
the appearances of the collapse in the memories of the average  
machine, like Everett showed, but we have to derive the SWE from comp  
alone (UDA). And we get that price: the difference between the  
communicable truth and truth, as a root for the subjective undoubtable  
qualia.

But comp is not a trivial theory. To make the digitalness precise and  
general you need Church thesis, and you get the whole of the  
mathematical computer science and its embedding in mathematical logic,  
but also number theory, finite set theories, cartesian closed  
categories, I mean a vast range of mathematical discoveries which shed  
light on something new: *that* universal machine (and sub-universal  
little cousins). New, except that we are willing to bet nature already  
did it, through the brain, in the consensual reality sense. Indeed,  
that is comp, with a very large sense for brain.

If only, the comp hyp makes COMPuter science two times more  
interesting, especially through mathematical logic which can describe,  
for simple lobian machine, the difference between the many modalities  
and their difference between truth, and the machine accessibility to  
those truth.

With, or wihout comp, relative numbers (machine) develop rich and  
complex theologies.

The soul is a number which moves itself, said Xenocratus (and  
Pythagorus). We may have to abandon Aristotelian theology for  
neoneoneo phytagorean Platonist like theology (quite transformed  
through Gödel, Mandelbrot, Post, Turing, ...).

Here is the (an) ontic part of reality; numbers with addition and  
multiplication. All the dreams are there, and coherent dreams cohere.

By numbers I mean 0, and its successors s(0), s(s(0)), etc. The laws  
are:

For all x:   x + 0 = x
For all x and for all y: x + s(y) = s(x + y)
For all x:   x * 0 = 0
For all x and for all y: x * s(y) = (x * y) + x

Let me solve the exercise. Proving that 2 + 2 = 4, that is s(s(0)) +  
s(s(0)) = s(s(s(s(0.

Use repetitively the second axiom For all x and for all y: x + s(y) =  
s(x + y).
Substituting x by s(s(0)), and y by s(0) in the second axiom gives
s(s(0)) + s(s(0) = s(s(s(0)) + s(0)).
This s(s(s(0)) + s(0)) is really s(   s(s(0)) + s(0)   ).
We have reduced the problem to to the problem  of s(s(0) +s(0).
Keep in mind not to forget the s (  ) above. (***!!!***)
By the second axiom again: s(s(0) + s(0) is, with x = s(s(0)) and y =  
0: s( s(s(0)) + 0).
But by the *first* axiom (with x = s(s(0))), s(s(0)) + 0  = s(s(0)).
So s( s(s(0)) + 0) = s(s(s(0))). (substitution of identical).
Keeping in mind the s (cf (***!!!***)). , this gives s(s(s(s(0.  
Et voilà.

If you can find a simpler 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-10 Thread Jason Resch
On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 4:17 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:



 
  But if numbers can just exist, and matter can just exist, then why
  can't conscious experiences just exist?

 Numbers can just exist, and this is the last unsolvable mystery. Yet
 we can explain (assuming comp) why this mystery is absolutely
 unsolvable. It is not possible to explain numbers without assuming
 numbers (or combinators, etc.)
 Matter cannot exists primitively, but can exist as appearance for some
 numbers, and those appearance obeys laws, reducible to the math of
 universal numbers.
 Consciousness also, but is more fundamental than matter: NUMBER =
 CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER, is the probable causal (in some precise
 number theoretical sense) relation.
 (probably even NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER = HUMAN
 CONSCIOUSNESS = HUMAN NUMBERS). Here the last two steps would explain
 why we don't accept easily (intuitively) the origin).


That is interesting, why would you say NUMBER = CONCIOUSNESS = MATTER is
more probable than NUMBER = MATTER = CONSCIOUSNESS?  Is it related
to Boltzmann's
theory of independent brains being more probable than whole universes?

To your second point, about NUMBER = CONSCIOUSNESS = MATTER = HUMAN
CONSCIOUSNESS = HUMAN NUMBERS, what is the purpose/role of the
consciousness step prior to matter?  How does consciousness support matter
that supports human consciousness?


 
  Why do my conscious experiences have the particular contents that they
  do?

 Again, here we can explain why we cannot explain this. Like we can
 explain that no one can explain why it has been reconstituted in
 Washington and not in Moscow (or vice-versa). This is what we can call
 geography/history, by opposition to physics which studies laws (of the
 observable by universal machine). Laws are universal. In my youth I
 thought that physics was a sort of geography. Now I know that comp
 preserve a big body of physical laws. The multiverse is the same for
 all observers, (machine and non machine, really, except those 'quite
 close to the unique one)


That is very interesting, what do you mean by those close to the unique one?
 Would these be observers which appear early on in the Dovetailer Algorithm?

Jason

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-10 Thread benjayk


Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
 
 benjayk wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
   
 Where could the explanation begin?
   
 I'd say there is no explanation.  It just is what it is.  As Brent
 said...it's descriptions all the way down.
 
 I wouldn't neccesarily disagree, though only if you mean verbal or formal
 explanation. In a sense our life and our experiences are explanations of
 something, don't you think so?

 It is true though, that our lifes (all the content of conciousness and
 the
 way it evolves) itself then can have no complete explanation. So what
 life
 wants to explain then?
 I think it seeks to explain that it *needs* no explanation beyond itself,
 because it is good and nobody *absolutely* needs an explanation for what
 is
 good. If it is good enough, you will except it without explanation -
 because
 this is the ultimate explanation.

 Who could ever disagree with The world is perfect, it is just here to
 experience ever increasing joy and learn something exciting about
 ourselves? when it really comes down to it? So how could it be a wrong
 explanation for anyone?
 I see no way.
   
 
 Well if you were dying of AIDS, your husband had his hands hacked off by 
 militias, and your child was starving to death you might see  a way.

In this case I probably wouldn't believe that the world is perfect.
Nevertheless it may be the case that the things I perceive as bad are
ulitmately not bad at all, even to the contrary. Certainly it is very
unpleasant to have AIDS, but both having AIDS and dying may be a good tool
for your own development and thus a tool for the good.

As I wrote before I had times that I had the thought I was destined to be in
hell (on a N2O trip) and I was quite depressive for a few years in my
life... I certainly didn't believe that the world was very good then.
But in retrospection I have to disagree (even though I still am very far
from feeling this at all times). All the bad feelings passed and were
relatively meaningless, so how could I complain?

Probably perfect is the wrong word, because it may suggest that there is
nothing bad about it. Obviously there is. But I really think that there is
nothing *ultimately* bad about it, because every bad things wants to get
rid of itself. So I find it plausible bad things are impermanent and thus
are just a tool to get us to the good. They are bad, but they are good
too. And the good prevails, I think, as it is potentially eternal. 

What I really wanted to express, and it probably didn't get across, is that
reality could be perfect in the sense it is ultimately better than all
your expectations and imaginations and thus ultimately there is simply no
reason to say: I don't want 'truth' or reality to exists and THAT may be
the ultimate reason. It is the argument that swallows all counterarguments
by sheer goodness.
If reality wouldn't be that way all beings would want to try to escape
reality/truth, not only temporarily, but forever. But then how could it be
called reality or the truth? If every one tried to escape truth
ultimately, the consensus truth would start to be not the real truth...
But then what could define the real truth? How could subjective truth and
objective truth diverge without making truth meaningless?


Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
 
 I agree here. But I would add that conciousness can conceivably make
 independent sense for me, while numbers or matter can't.

 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of
 matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.  
   
 But can you conceive of a meaning for 10 930 702 499?
Yes, for example in the context of computer files the number could mean so
many of 'bytes' that I should consider moving the file to my external drive,
in order to save space, except the file is important. It is true that the
number 14 233 744 161 could have the same meaning, so for me this number has
no special meaning. But I didn't say every number has to have a special
meaning (for me) in any context.


Brent Meeker-2 wrote:
 
 Maybe what really exists is not a meaningful thing to ask in first
 place,
 because if something really exists, it certainly cannot be expressed
 with
 words. So why aks a question that can't be answered with words at all?
   
 But we can ask for true descriptions about it.  Isn't it true that you 
 are reading a computer screen?  Of course we can't be sure about this, 
 but we don't have to give up betting on it.
I completely agree! We can indeed ask for true (or at least practical)
descriptions of something, no matter whether it REALLY REALLY exist. I
think my computer screen does really exist, but not in the ultimate sense of
really really existing (that is independently of everything else), which I
was referring to. After all I could destroy my screen and than it would not
exist so much.
Personally I am sure that my computer screen exists, because I see it, I am
just not 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-09 Thread Rex Allen
On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 On 08 Dec 2009, at 09:50, Rex Allen wrote:

 In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find some
 explanations good and others bad, that's just the epiphenominal
 residue of more fundamental physical processes which are themselves
 unconcerned with such things.

 Having predictive theories was no doubt selected by evolution - as
 well as a
 psychological to see meaning in things.

 Evolution isn't a fundamental law, right?  There is no evolution
 field or particle.  Evolution doesn't select anything.  Evolution
 has no causal power.

 Of course it has!
 It is like with the numbers or the combinators, once the initial rule
 of the game is above the universal number/machine treshold, you get a
 creative bomb. This generates new and new things, none having their
 behavior ever completely unifiable in any theory.

In the physicalist view, evolution is an emergent law, right?  It
emerges out of the local interactions of fundamental entities, and
none of these local interactions have anything to do with evolution.
 But evolution doesn't ADD anything to those local interactions...it
can be completely reduced to them.  We see evolution...but it only
exists in our minds, as a tool for our understanding.  It's not
something that exists in the world.  Again, taking the physicalist
view.

So, to rely on Davies for articulation purposes again:

Darwinism provides a novel form of causation inasmuch as the causal
chain runs counter to the normal descriptive sequence.
Chronologically, what happens is that first a mutation is caused by a
local physical interaction, e.g. the impact of a cosmic ray at a
specific location with an atom in a DNA molecule. Later, possibly many
years later, the environment ‘selects’ the mutant by permitting the
organism to reproduce more efficiently. In terms of physics, selection
involves vast numbers of local forces acting over long periods of
time, the net result of which is to bring about a long-term change in
the genome of the organism’s lineage. It is the original atomic event
in combination with the subsequent complicated events that together
give a full causative account of the evolutionary story. Yet
biologists would be hard-pressed to tell this story in those local
physical terms. Instead, natural selection is described as having
causal powers, even though it is causatively neutral – a sieve.


 Again, assuming reductive physicalism, the initial state of the
 universe and the fundamental laws of physics (which may or may not
 have some sort of random aspect) completely determines what animals we
 observe in the present.  Evolution is just a useful fictional
 narrative that helps us think about what we observe.  A description of
 what we observe, not an explanation for it.

 And why not add, in that case,  ... like time, space, universe, laws
 are also convenient fiction for describing what we observe?

So I'm certainly fine with taking a Kantian view of time and space,
and even the appearance of causality, as being aspects of our
experience of the world...and not things that exist outside of our
experience of them.

And since we use our perceptions to build our mental image of the
universe, then this mental image also has nothing to do with what
exists.


 Where could the explanation begin?

I'd say there is no explanation.  It just is what it is.  As Brent
said...it's descriptions all the way down.


 Which is not that radical a claim, I think.  Computationalism even in
 it's physical (non-Bruno) version implies the same thing.  We could be
 in a simulation or some sort of virtual reality, and it would be
 impossible to detect.


 ?

 If computationalism is true its physicalist version entails 0 = 1. I
 guess by non-Bruno you mean false.

I wasn't saying that the physicalist version is preferable to your
version.  I do not hold the physicalist position myself.  But since it
seems to be the predominant view, I tend to use it as my reference
point, as a base-line.

But, while physicalist computationalism seems to have some strange
implications (movie graph argument/Maudlin/Dust Theory/etc.), it COULD
be the case, right?  Matter could be required as a substrate for
consciousness generating computations.  Maybe reality just is that
way.

But I think you and Kant are right...there's no way to know.  Even in theory.


 have you some doubt about the validity of the UDA? Let me know, to see
 what needs to be still clarified.

My only doubt about UDA is that it seems to make the same assumption
as physicalism...that consciousness can't be fundamental.  That
something else must underlie it, and cause it.

But if numbers can just exist, and matter can just exist, then why
can't conscious experiences just exist?

We can see matter as able to represent the contents of our conscious
experience...e.g., these electrons represent my neural structure.

We can see numbers as representing the same types of 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-09 Thread benjayk


Rex Allen wrote:
 
 Where could the explanation begin?
 
 I'd say there is no explanation.  It just is what it is.  As Brent
 said...it's descriptions all the way down.
I wouldn't neccesarily disagree, though only if you mean verbal or formal
explanation. In a sense our life and our experiences are explanations of
something, don't you think so?

It is true though, that our lifes (all the content of conciousness and the
way it evolves) itself then can have no complete explanation. So what life
wants to explain then?
I think it seeks to explain that it *needs* no explanation beyond itself,
because it is good and nobody *absolutely* needs an explanation for what is
good. If it is good enough, you will except it without explanation - because
this is the ultimate explanation.

Who could ever disagree with The world is perfect, it is just here to
experience ever increasing joy and learn something exciting about
ourselves? when it really comes down to it? So how could it be a wrong
explanation for anyone?
I see no way.

Though I certainly see it as too good to be true sometimes, but maybe it's
just part of the game? It's the subgame what is good is likely too be true,
too - there is nothing akward about this even intellectually!.


Rex Allen wrote:
 
 have you some doubt about the validity of the UDA? Let me know, to see
 what needs to be still clarified.
 
 My only doubt about UDA is that it seems to make the same assumption
 as physicalism...that consciousness can't be fundamental.  That
 something else must underlie it, and cause it.
 
 But if numbers can just exist, and matter can just exist, then why
 can't conscious experiences just exist?

I agree here. But I would add that conciousness can conceivably make
independent sense for me, while numbers or matter can't.

For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of matter,
too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.  
So I find it unconvincing that conciousness arises out of numbers, since
it is inconceivable for me what numbers mean independent of me or even the
world I perceive.
I think everything becomes much clearer if we postulate arithmetical truth
is simply the truth, and so in effect numbers are just reflections of
parts of this unnameable and untouchable truth (which comes before
numbers), which may be conciousness together with its infinitely infinitely
... ... infinite possible content.
So numbers don't give rise to arithmetical truth, but truth gives rise to
(expresses as) numbers. Though ulitmately this may be a matter of
perspective ;)... It's just that the second perspective is more meaningful
to me.


Rex Allen wrote:
 
 But, again, there seems to be no way to know for certain what *really*
 exists, a la Kant. 
Maybe what really exists is not a meaningful thing to ask in first place,
because if something really exists, it certainly cannot be expressed with
words. So why aks a question that can't be answered with words at all?
Probably we generally should take words less serious (especially with
regards to fundamental questions) and expect no satisfying answers from
them.
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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-09 Thread Brent Meeker
benjayk wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
   
 Where could the explanation begin?
   
 I'd say there is no explanation.  It just is what it is.  As Brent
 said...it's descriptions all the way down.
 
 I wouldn't neccesarily disagree, though only if you mean verbal or formal
 explanation. In a sense our life and our experiences are explanations of
 something, don't you think so?

 It is true though, that our lifes (all the content of conciousness and the
 way it evolves) itself then can have no complete explanation. So what life
 wants to explain then?
 I think it seeks to explain that it *needs* no explanation beyond itself,
 because it is good and nobody *absolutely* needs an explanation for what is
 good. If it is good enough, you will except it without explanation - because
 this is the ultimate explanation.

 Who could ever disagree with The world is perfect, it is just here to
 experience ever increasing joy and learn something exciting about
 ourselves? when it really comes down to it? So how could it be a wrong
 explanation for anyone?
 I see no way.
   

Well if you were dying of AIDS, your husband had his hands hacked off by 
militias, and your child was starving to death you might see  a way.

 Though I certainly see it as too good to be true sometimes, but maybe it's
 just part of the game? It's the subgame what is good is likely too be true,
 too - there is nothing akward about this even intellectually!.


 Rex Allen wrote:
   
 have you some doubt about the validity of the UDA? Let me know, to see
 what needs to be still clarified.
   
 My only doubt about UDA is that it seems to make the same assumption
 as physicalism...that consciousness can't be fundamental.  That
 something else must underlie it, and cause it.

 But if numbers can just exist, and matter can just exist, then why
 can't conscious experiences just exist?
 

 I agree here. But I would add that conciousness can conceivably make
 independent sense for me, while numbers or matter can't.

 For me numbers don't make independent sense of the appearance (!) of matter,
 too. Since I cannot conceive of any meaning of the number 2 without
 reffering to some real (in the sense of every day usage) object.  
   
But can you conceive of a meaning for 10930702499?

 So I find it unconvincing that conciousness arises out of numbers, since
 it is inconceivable for me what numbers mean independent of me or even the
 world I perceive.
 I think everything becomes much clearer if we postulate arithmetical truth
 is simply the truth, and so in effect numbers are just reflections of
 parts of this unnameable and untouchable truth (which comes before
 numbers), which may be conciousness together with its infinitely infinitely
 ... ... infinite possible content.
 So numbers don't give rise to arithmetical truth, but truth gives rise to
 (expresses as) numbers. Though ulitmately this may be a matter of
 perspective ;)... It's just that the second perspective is more meaningful
 to me.


 Rex Allen wrote:
   
 But, again, there seems to be no way to know for certain what *really*
 exists, a la Kant. 
 
 Maybe what really exists is not a meaningful thing to ask in first place,
 because if something really exists, it certainly cannot be expressed with
 words. So why aks a question that can't be answered with words at all?
   
But we can ask for true descriptions about it.  Isn't it true that you 
are reading a computer screen?  Of course we can't be sure about this, 
but we don't have to give up betting on it.

 Probably we generally should take words less serious (especially with
 regards to fundamental questions) and expect no satisfying answers from
 them.
   
What do you propose - that we remain silent as mystics?  Or do think 
mathematical words are different and we should take 2 and successor 
more seriously than chair and dog?

Brent

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-08 Thread Rex Allen
On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 11:34 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
So my point is that:  in a reductionist theory which implies a
physicalist reality with no downwards causation,

 What defines upwards and downwards.  Why would downwards
 causation make any difference?

Upwards from fundamental entities and laws.  Downwards from things
that are composed of fundamental entities and from emergent laws.

So if everything reduces to fundamental entities and their causal
relations, then there is no downwards causation.

To quote*** (see below) Paul Davies, from his paper The Physics of
Downward Causation:

As physicists have probed ever deeper into the microscopic realm of
matter so, to use Steven Weinberg’s evocative phrase (Weinberg, 1992),
‘the arrows of explanation point downward.’ That is, we frequently
account for a phenomenon by appealing to the properties of the next
level down. In this way the behaviour of gases are explained by
molecules, the properties of molecules are explained by atoms, which
in turn are explained by nuclei and electrons. This downward path
extends, it is supposed, as far as the bottom-level entities, be they
strings or some other exotica.

If downwards causation IS possible, then behaviors can emerge which
aren't reducible to the fundamental entities and their causal
relations.  Consciousness might be an example of this.

So quoting Davies again:

Whilst the foregoing is not contentious, differences arise concerning
whether the reductionist account of nature is merely a fruitful
methodology, or whether it is the whole story. Many physicists are
self-confessed out-and-out reductionists. They believe that once the
final buildings blocks of matter and the rules that govern them have
been identified, then all of nature will, in effect, have been
explained. Obviously such a final theory would not in practice provide
a very useful account of much that we observe in the world. A final
reductionist theory would not, for instance, explain the origin of
life, or have much to say about the nature of consciousness. But the
committed reductionist believes such inadequacies are mere
technicalities, and that the fundamental core of explanation is
captured – completely - by the reductionist theory.

*** Note that I'm just quoting those passages to save time in
articulating the points myself.  I'm not invoking him as an authority,
or necessarily saying I agree with anything else he says in his paper.


 nothing means anything.


 You mean things don't stand as symbols for something else?   That reminds
  me of George Carlin's quip, If we're here to care for other people, what
 are those other people here for?

My point would be, how does meaning reduce to fundamental entities
like quarks and electrons (or fields, or strings, or whatever).


 Things only have the appearance of meaning.

 The above words have the appearance of meaning to me - and so they do have
 meaning to me.  I don't know what else I could ask for?

I would ask for an understanding of how it is that they have meaning
to you.  You seem to take this for granted.  I'm thinking of something
similar to the symbol grounding problem:

The Symbol Grounding Problem is related to the problem of how words
(symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning
itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the
problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are
meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition,
computationalism, cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of
computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol
manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are
based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. How are those
symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they
refer to?


 In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find some
 explanations good and others bad, that's just the epiphenominal
 residue of more fundamental physical processes which are themselves
 unconcerned with such things.

 Having predictive theories was no doubt selected by evolution - as well as a
 psychological to see meaning in things.

Evolution isn't a fundamental law, right?  There is no evolution
field or particle.  Evolution doesn't select anything.  Evolution
has no causal power.

Again, assuming reductive physicalism, the initial state of the
universe and the fundamental laws of physics (which may or may not
have some sort of random aspect) completely determines what animals we
observe in the present.  Evolution is just a useful fictional
narrative that helps us think about what we observe.  A description of
what we observe, not an explanation for it.

So I think this was a good example of how you muddy the water with
misleading language.


 In such a reality if you predict an event that comes to pass, both
 your prediction AND the event were inevitable from the first instant
 of the universe, implicit in 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-08 Thread Brent Meeker
Rex Allen wrote:
 On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 11:34 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Rex Allen wrote:
 
 So my point is that:  in a reductionist theory which implies a
 physicalist reality with no downwards causation,
   
 What defines upwards and downwards.  Why would downwards
 causation make any difference?
 

 Upwards from fundamental entities and laws.  Downwards from things
 that are composed of fundamental entities and from emergent laws.
   

Doesn't emergent sort of cancel out downwards?

 So if everything reduces to fundamental entities and their causal
 relations, then there is no downwards causation.

 To quote*** (see below) Paul Davies, from his paper The Physics of
 Downward Causation:

 As physicists have probed ever deeper into the microscopic realm of
 matter so, to use Steven Weinberg’s evocative phrase (Weinberg, 1992),
 ‘the arrows of explanation point downward.’ That is, we frequently
 account for a phenomenon by appealing to the properties of the next
 level down. In this way the behaviour of gases are explained by
 molecules, the properties of molecules are explained by atoms, which
 in turn are explained by nuclei and electrons. This downward path
 extends, it is supposed, as far as the bottom-level entities, be they
 strings or some other exotica.

 If downwards causation IS possible, then behaviors can emerge which
 aren't reducible to the fundamental entities and their causal
 relations.  Consciousness might be an example of this.
   

Of course levels of description, e.g. animals/biochemistry/physics, are 
used because it's inconvenient to translate across levels and is usually 
not necessary in terms of taking action.  But I see no problem with 
saying, for example, a scary story caused an increase in his adrenaline. 
The same events generally have descriptions at many different levels so 
there is a network of relations that can be sliced different ways to 
facilitate our limited comprehension.
 So quoting Davies again:

 Whilst the foregoing is not contentious, differences arise concerning
 whether the reductionist account of nature is merely a fruitful
 methodology, or whether it is the whole story. Many physicists are
 self-confessed out-and-out reductionists. They believe that once the
 final buildings blocks of matter and the rules that govern them have
 been identified, then all of nature will, in effect, have been
 explained. Obviously such a final theory would not in practice provide
 a very useful account of much that we observe in the world. A final
 reductionist theory would not, for instance, explain the origin of
 life, or have much to say about the nature of consciousness. But the
 committed reductionist believes such inadequacies are mere
 technicalities, and that the fundamental core of explanation is
 captured – completely - by the reductionist theory.

 *** Note that I'm just quoting those passages to save time in
 articulating the points myself.  I'm not invoking him as an authority,
 or necessarily saying I agree with anything else he says in his paper.


   
 nothing means anything.
   
 You mean things don't stand as symbols for something else?   That reminds
  me of George Carlin's quip, If we're here to care for other people, what
 are those other people here for?
 

 My point would be, how does meaning reduce to fundamental entities
 like quarks and electrons (or fields, or strings, or whatever).
   

I'd say it's property of certain groups of elementary particles to react 
to information in certain ways.  A simple example would be my thermostat 
which we might describe as wanting to maintain the temperature at 
18degC.  It would be very difficult but possible to translate this 
anthropomorphized description into QFT.

   
 Things only have the appearance of meaning.
   
 The above words have the appearance of meaning to me - and so they do have
 meaning to me.  I don't know what else I could ask for?
 

 I would ask for an understanding of how it is that they have meaning
 to you.  You seem to take this for granted.  

Far from taking it for granted, I experience it directly.

 I'm thinking of something
 similar to the symbol grounding problem:

 The Symbol Grounding Problem is related to the problem of how words
 (symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning
 itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the
 problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are
 meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition,
 computationalism, cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of
 computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol
 manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are
 based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings. How are those
 symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they
 refer to?

   

This question seems like a conundrum generated by abstracting symbols 
out their context of 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-08 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 08 Dec 2009, at 09:50, Rex Allen wrote:

 On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 11:34 PM, Brent Meeker  
 meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 So my point is that:  in a reductionist theory which implies a
 physicalist reality with no downwards causation,

 What defines upwards and downwards.  Why would downwards
 causation make any difference?

 Upwards from fundamental entities and laws.  Downwards from things
 that are composed of fundamental entities and from emergent laws.

 So if everything reduces to fundamental entities and their causal
 relations, then there is no downwards causation.

 To quote*** (see below) Paul Davies, from his paper The Physics of
 Downward Causation:

 As physicists have probed ever deeper into the microscopic realm of
 matter so, to use Steven Weinberg’s evocative phrase (Weinberg, 1992),
 ‘the arrows of explanation point downward.’ That is, we frequently
 account for a phenomenon by appealing to the properties of the next
 level down. In this way the behaviour of gases are explained by
 molecules, the properties of molecules are explained by atoms, which
 in turn are explained by nuclei and electrons. This downward path
 extends, it is supposed, as far as the bottom-level entities, be they
 strings or some other exotica.

 If downwards causation IS possible, then behaviors can emerge which
 aren't reducible to the fundamental entities and their causal
 relations.  Consciousness might be an example of this.

 So quoting Davies again:

 Whilst the foregoing is not contentious, differences arise concerning
 whether the reductionist account of nature is merely a fruitful
 methodology, or whether it is the whole story. Many physicists are
 self-confessed out-and-out reductionists. They believe that once the
 final buildings blocks of matter and the rules that govern them have
 been identified, then all of nature will, in effect, have been
 explained. Obviously such a final theory would not in practice provide
 a very useful account of much that we observe in the world. A final
 reductionist theory would not, for instance, explain the origin of
 life, or have much to say about the nature of consciousness. But the
 committed reductionist believes such inadequacies are mere
 technicalities, and that the fundamental core of explanation is
 captured – completely - by the reductionist theory.

 *** Note that I'm just quoting those passages to save time in
 articulating the points myself.  I'm not invoking him as an authority,
 or necessarily saying I agree with anything else he says in his paper.


 nothing means anything.


 You mean things don't stand as symbols for something else?   That  
 reminds
 me of George Carlin's quip, If we're here to care for other  
 people, what
 are those other people here for?

 My point would be, how does meaning reduce to fundamental entities
 like quarks and electrons (or fields, or strings, or whatever).


 Things only have the appearance of meaning.

 The above words have the appearance of meaning to me - and so they  
 do have
 meaning to me.  I don't know what else I could ask for?

 I would ask for an understanding of how it is that they have meaning
 to you.  You seem to take this for granted.  I'm thinking of something
 similar to the symbol grounding problem:

 The Symbol Grounding Problem is related to the problem of how words
 (symbols) get their meanings, and hence to the problem of what meaning
 itself really is. The problem of meaning is in turn related to the
 problem of consciousness, or how it is that mental states are
 meaningful. According to a widely held theory of cognition,
 computationalism, cognition (i.e., thinking) is just a form of
 computation. But computation in turn is just formal symbol
 manipulation: symbols are manipulated according to rules that are
 based on the symbols' shapes, not their meanings.


But is it not the same for the reductionist physics above?
What is the meaning of exchanging a gluon?



 How are those
 symbols (e.g., the words in our heads) connected to the things they
 refer to?

Well, because it makes the relative (and statistical) difference  
between to eat and to be eaten.






 In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find some
 explanations good and others bad, that's just the epiphenominal
 residue of more fundamental physical processes which are themselves
 unconcerned with such things.

 Having predictive theories was no doubt selected by evolution - as  
 well as a
 psychological to see meaning in things.

 Evolution isn't a fundamental law, right?  There is no evolution
 field or particle.  Evolution doesn't select anything.  Evolution
 has no causal power.

Of course it has!
It is like with the numbers or the combinators, once the initial rule  
of the game is above the universal number/machine treshold, you get a  
creative bomb. This generates new and new things, none having their  
behavior ever completely unifiable in any theory.




 Again, assuming reductive 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-07 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 06 Dec 2009, at 20:35, soulcatcher☠ wrote:

 Are you physicalist?

 I just don't know.

OK.


 All my everyday experience points towards physicalism: I'm a brain,
 embodied in a physical body, embedded in a physical environment and
 evolved via several billion year selection process.

Below, I see that you are open to the idea that you could be a  
conscious robot. But then you can understand that you are not your  
brain/robot's computer. Indeed, each morning the conscious robot could  
change the entirety of its hardware. So you ¨have* a brain. You are  
not a brain. If you are a conscious Robot you are already an  
immaterial living number (living relatively to a probable  
computational histories).




 All the
 constituents of my mind could be explained in the evolutionary terms
 as devices that promoted the survival of my ancestor's genes.

An explanation which I find plausible, but which has nothing to do  
with physicalism.



 From the other hand, all the scientific knowledge imo points towards
 some kind of digital physics.

Here I disagree. Even for physicists it is a complex open problem. And  
then I have given a proof that if I am a machine, then physics cannot  
be entirely computational. I now that it is a bit amazing and  
counterintuitive, but then that is why I explain the UD argument.


 For example, it's much much easier to
 just accept modern high-energy physics as a elaborate pure
 mathematical theory than try to understand it in the everyday terms of
 material world.

It is an advantage of comp, it solves the question of the amazing  
reliability of math in physics.



 Have you read Everett? There are already physicists who describe  
 reality
 as a flux of information which differentiate in many histories,  
 sometimes
 recombining by amnesia, etc.
 You may read the book by Russell Standish theory of Nothing.
 The book Mind's I, ed. by Hofstadter and Dennett is a good  
 introduction to
 computationalism.
 Stathis mentioned Parfit's reasons and persons recently on the  
 FOR list,
 where we discuss on similar many-reality conception of reality. I  
 would
 recommend it too. In particular you may read David Deutsch's book  
 the
 fabric of Reality.
 Gunther Greindl has put some more advanced references on the web  
 page of the
 list.
 Are you aware of computer science and mathematical logic?
 You could be interested by my own contribution, which I explain on  
 this
 list, see
 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHALAbstract.html

 I didn't read Everett and Deutsch but I'm aware of MWI.
 I skimmed over Theory of Nothing some time ago and, to be honest, I
 didn't like to, partially due to Quantum Immortality thing - it was my
 first encounter with the subject and it seemed like a worst kind of
 unscientific wishful thinking.

I would call that terrifying thinking. There is no way out for  
consciousness.




 But maybe I should give it another,
 this time more serious try.

 I'll make an attempt to follow your UDA steps and can accept comp as a
 _hypothesis_, but now I'm highly skeptical about computationalism as a
 valid theory of consciousness.
 Every time I think about it I come to the simulated thunderstorm is
 NOT a real thunderstorm argument (I don't know the other name, for
 the first time I read about in some interview with Searle). It's easy
 for me to accept the possibility of conscious robot (I'm such a robot)
 but it's hard to accept the possibility of conscious pure (as in CS
 i.e. without side effects) computer program, as computationalism
 implies (if I understand it right).


I think that Jason did provide the correct answer. If you agree you  
are a conscious robot/Turing-machine (or just Robot, + Church thesis)  
then you know in advance that there is a level of description of [you  
+ the thunderstorm] such that you cannot distinguish the real  
thunderstorm from its simulation. So, from the point of view of the  
emulated you the simulated thunderstorm will seems as real as a real  
one, for at least a time, and the rest of the reasoning depends only  
on that.
Comp = I am a conscious robot. The falsity of physicalism is an  
arithmetical consequence of comp.

Bruno

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-07 Thread Bruno Marchal
Hi John,


On 06 Dec 2009, at 21:01, John Mikes wrote:

 Dear Bruno,
 on diverse lists (I cannot call them 'science-branches' since lately  
 most domains are discussed in considering aspects of several of such  
 on the diverse discussion-lists)-
 CONCEPTS (I wish I knew a better word) appear by different content.

 If somebody has the time and feels like (knows how to) do it, a  
 brief reconsiderational ID listing would help us outsiders to  
 reconfirm what WE mean by

 Comp   -  (computing, computer-universal or not,)

The doctrine that we are machine. More precisely: digital machine,  
that is emulable by a computer program (emulation = numerically exact  
simulation).



 The application of (=your relevance of) the Church thesis

It is used to avoid the use of Turing machine or combinators, or  
natural numbers, or any precise universal system/programming  
language. All those things can be proved equivalent, and with Church  
thesis, they are equivalent with any computation concept appearing in  
the future.
Without Church thesis, the concept of computability is ambiguous.




 Universal machine - BTW: machine, or God, as in (our) theology

A number or machine which through encoding can emulated all possible  
computable relation between numbers. Examples are given by brain, the  
DNA genome, physical universe, programming language interpreter,  
general purpose computer, etc.
If we accept Church thesis, then the (mathematically existing) Turing  
universal machine, *is* a universal machine.



 White rabbit, (and I don't even dare write:) numbers, -
and in not much than 1-2 lines(!!!) ea:

If you take all the computations (mathematically well defined) which  
exists in elementary arithmetic (which is universal in the sense  
above, so all computations are there), you will find many aberrant  
computations, like one where pigs have wings, tea transforms into  
coffee, etc. The UDA reasoning shows that whatever is observable is a  
sort of sum on all computations. We have to explain why the aberrant  
computations seems so rare empirically. I am used to the term white  
rabbit to refer to the aberrant histories/computations. It is an  
allusion to the white rabbit of Lewis Carroll.




 UD, UDA, AUDA, with:
 hints to YES to the doctor, and maybe some more -
 *

The yes doctor is just a pedagogical tool to give a quasi  
operational definition of the digital mechanism hypothesis (synonym:  
comp).
Comp = you accept that you are a machine in the practical sense of  
saying yes to a doctor which will scan your body, and reconstituted  
in or through a computer. You are the immaterial owner of a body.
Comp is believed implicitly by 99% of the rationalist today. Alas,  
most believe also that mechanism fits well with physicalism, but I  
gave an argument (UDA) according to which mechanism and physicalism  
are incompatible.

UD = the Universal Dovetailer. It is a program which has no input and  
no output, which runs without vere stopping, and go through the  
emulation of all things emulable. It exists as a consequence of Church  
thesis. If you are a machine, the UD will generate all the possible  
computationnal truth which makes you conscious and which makes  
believing whatever you believe. Sometimes I wrote UD* for the  
universal dovetailing, that is the block static structure of the  
entire running of a
universal dovetailer.

The UD is something very concrete. See my long french text appendices  
for an implementation of an UD in LISP, and some piece of its running.

UDA = the Universal Dovetailer Argument. An argument which show how  
and why the physical laws emerge from any universal dovetailing. Note  
that a very little part of the set of true arithmetical sentences  
constituted already a universal dovetailing.

AUDA is UDA without yes doctor. With UDA we can know why and how the  
physical laws (and sensations) originated in elementary arithmetic.  
With AUDA we begin the precise derivation of the laws of physics and  
of the laws of the physical sensations, from number theory/computer  
science. It predicts less well the notion of matter than usual physics  
(to say the least) but it accounts already for the qualia and quanta  
similarity and differences (usual physics just ignore the qualia). The  
main tools of the AUDA are the modal logics of Gödel-Löb-Solovay(*) G  
and G*.

I hope this can help the veteran and the newcomers alike!


 which the 'old listers' apply here with ease (yet maybe(!) in their  
 modified i.e.  personalised taste?) - newcomers. however, usually  
 first misinterpret into 'other' vernaculars.

 (It is my several decade long research experience to sit down once  
 in a while and recap
 (recoop?) the terms used in the daily efforts. They change by the  
 (ab?)use and re-realizing  their original content may push the  
 research effort ahead from a stagnant hole it falls into inevitably  
 during most routine thinking. -
  In doing so, almost all the 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-07 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 06 Dec 2009, at 22:40, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:


 And what do you mean by stay there? Forever? Why should you stay
 there
 (can you choose)? And where is there? Is it forgetfulness oder
 remembrance?

 It is very difficult to describe any first person experience. We
 cannot even describe normal state of consciousness, so it is even
 harder to describe altered state of consciousness.
 That's certainly true. Words can never convery an experience, they  
 can only
 link the experience and known experiences. But sometimes even this is
 difficult. The difference between looking at a plain wall with my  
 normal
 state of consciousness and on shrooms is somehow pretty small, yet  
 very big.
 It looks the same, only more clear, crisp, real and incomparably more
 beatiful... But many people simply won't get how a wall could look  
 more
 real, especially when you cloud your mind with drugs - they will  
 say I
 just imagined it or I was too wasted, which is totally  
 ridiculous to me.

That is why I think that we have just to be polite when people makes  
first person account, unless they refer to it to coerce against your  
interest (like with Churches, temples, sacred texts and other  
authoritative arguments like that).





 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 Second half:
 ... I am. I am in paradise since infinity. I enjoy the being state,
 but there there is no past, and no future.
 But in retrospection, isn't this wrong? Because you are in the  
 future now,
 aren't you?

?
I have no clue if that is wrong or true, nor even if words like true  
and wrong applies to that. I was reporting a (dreamy) experience. I  
guess I felt it true at the moment I lived it, like a dream or any  
first person experience.
I am already skeptical about experience in real life, and as far as I  
can belief in comp, I definitely do not believe in what I see. I do  
believe that I see things, but I do not necessarily believe that what   
I see is real, or fundamentally real.



 Or maybe you never really leave this place? So you are still  
 there... After
 all, you are always in the present, now matter what happens. And in  
 some way
 you are in paradise, since even if you experience something bad, at  
 least
 it admits that it is bad and wants to go, so it is meaningless  
 compared to
 infinite possibilities of constant or growing well-being.

I use my conscious experience to suggest theories (conjecture).  
After,  I try not to mix them, unless using precisely this or that  
theory.


 Maybe if you can take this knowledge with you (even though it seems
 impossible; maybe it is possible partially?),

Given that the salvia experience is not pleasant (and anti-addictive)  
would I succeed to come back with a clear memory of the experience, I  
think I would have done done it only once. Actually this happens  
sometimes. Some rare people seems to do a complete (good) salvia  
experience, and seems never feel compel to go there again. It is not  
my case, even if now, just smelling the herb can result in a sort of  
total recall.



 nirvana (The word seems to fit
 what you experienced) and samsara begin to appear as what they  
 really are,
 the same (according to Mahāyāna Buddhism). Is this what being (or  
 becoming?)
 enlightened is about?

 Somehow I can't believe reality could be so dual: That there is this  
 place,
 and our totally different place, that are disconnected.

The point, I think, is that they are not disconnected at all. We just  
forget the connection, I think. What is the Darwinian advantage of  
forgetting that connection? I don't know if there is any. It may be  
that the human ego is an error, like betting on forces and massive  
bodies, instead of temperature regulation, was the dinosaur errors.  
But I am speculating here.

  This place is just a tiny perspectival facet of the larger  
unnameable truth. With comp we can bet (but nothing more) that the  
unnameable truth could be the arithmetical truth. It is simpler, and  
100% undecidable that there is anything more (assuming comp true,  
given that comp is refutable, by its physics).




 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 I have no memory, but
 still a sort of personality. Suddenly I get memories and I think oh
 no, not again, because at that moment I have the feeling that
 something happens, which has already happened a lot of times.
 It's funny, I get that feeling sometimes on shrooms, though not at
 returning, but at the beginning of going to this place of oneness.  
 Like I
 remember that I begin to arrive at home, at the place I really  
 belong.

I like that :)


 At first I feel really comforted, but then fear (and/or aversion)  
 starts to
 set in.

It is the shrooms' sense of humor. Salvia can also play trick like  
that. But with shrooms it can last for six hours!



 I actually feel like having been there somehow, but not in this
 life, or not completely or not yet? It is so familiar, yet I don't  
 think I
 really was there.


You know the 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-07 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 07 Dec 2009, at 14:25, Bruno Marchal wrote (to John Mikes)


 Universal machine - BTW: machine, or God, as in (our) theology

 A number or machine which through encoding can emulated all possible  
 computable relation between numbers. Examples are given by brain,  
 the DNA genome, physical universe, programming language interpreter,  
 general purpose computer, etc.
 If we accept Church thesis, then the (mathematically existing)  
 Turing universal machine, *is* a universal machine.



Just to be clear. The universal machine is definitely not a GOD.  
Usually by God, I mean any entity capable of producing sentences in  
some non mechanically reducible way. Arithmetical truth, or the set of  
the descriptions of true arithmetical sentences is known to be  a god  
in that sense, since Gödel proved his incompleteness theorem.

Universal machine are finite entities. Yes, it is true that they are  
always dissatisfied, and always look for more memory-time and memory- 
space, they can use walls and paper to extend their memory, or  
anything available relatively to their most probable history/ 
computation/environment.

I call them sometimes baby gods, but this is just a mark of  
affection. They are terrible children, and they are know to make life  
always more complex and difficult. I guess it is the goal!

A computer is just a tool for solving the problems raised by another  
computer. This provides jobs.

Bruno


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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 06 Dec 2009, at 05:07, benjayk wrote:



 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 It is actually an art to find the dosage and the timing so that you
 understand better some, well, let us say statements you get there.  
 One
 is just impossible to memorize, or you stay there, and a copy is send
 here. This is a copy effect experimented by a reasonable proportion  
 of
 users.
 This is confusing me.
 When you say a copy is send it sounds like the copy is not the real
 thing. How can you distinguish copy and original? The copy probably  
 won't
 say it is just a copy (as opposed to the original).

You are right. It is even a key point in most thought experiments we  
discussed here.
But we do suppose there that the copy are perfect, (a notion which  
makes sense with the computationalist hyp.).




 And what do you mean by stay there? Forever? Why should you stay  
 there
 (can you choose)? And where is there? Is it forgetfulness oder  
 remembrance?

It is very difficult to describe any first person experience. We  
cannot even describe normal state of consciousness, so it is even  
harder to describe altered state of consciousness.

Roughly speaking, such salvia copy-experiences I am describing, which  
occur clearly about a hundred times (among about 600 hundred hits)  
could be described in the following way, but I know it is quite  
paradoxal. I have to separate the first half of the experience from  
the second half, because they are strictly disconnected.

First half:
I am bruno marchal and I decide to smoke some salvia. After the hit  
I find myself in paradise. I am rather happy and, only for that  
reason, I want to stay there, and I insist for staying there. Some  
entity tells me that I can indeed stay there, and that they will send  
back on earth some copy to finish my job (but also to keep salvia  
legal!). I say OK, and I am witness of the beginning of the copy  
process ...

Second half:
... I am. I am in paradise since infinity. I enjoy the being state,  
but there there is no past, and no future. I have no memory, but  
still a sort of personality. Suddenly I get memories and I think oh  
no, not again, because at that moment I have the feeling that  
something happens, which has already happened a lot of times. The  
memories get more and more precise, and at some point I accept them,  
but does not recognize them as personal memories, then I got the  
last memories which are I want to stay in paradise, and I understand  
that I am a copy send to earth to finish his job. I find myself on  
earth, but during some hours, I have still the memory of having always  
lived there, and almost got the feeling that the smoking of salvia  
made me going from paradise to earth.

The first time I did that type of salvia experience, I kept during  
three days the strong feeling of being completely refresh or reborn,  
like if I was just on earth since some days. Everything looked as  
completely new. I did not feel any memory as being personal, and that  
has been indeed very useful useful for doing some annoying job, and  
taking annoying decisions, I have to make. That feeling faded away the  
fourth day after the experience.


 This staying there thought is chasing me on many of my psychedlic
 experience. I find it very scary, often it really hinders me to  
 enjoy the
 experience, because the thought but I don't want to leave 'my  
 reality'
 forever comes and makes me unable to relax.

I did experience such things as well, but only with weed, in my youth,  
or with mushrooms (recently).
In that case you feel a distinctively different sort of consciousness,  
and you may panic with the idea of staying in that stage. But with  
salvia it is different. You can sometimes feel like if the normal  
state of consciousness' is the altered state you want to avoid.

Some people lives a similar experience except that, instead of feeling  
like being in paradise, they feel like being in hell. They live the  
memory retrieval and the coming back with a huge relief and they got  
the feeling they were dead, and got another chance ... Some even  
conclude they have to change their life in some way if they want to  
avoid ending there.




 I tried salvia several times, too. I got some weird effects, like  
 thinking
 I die in every instant because I identified with a  
 moment (scary, but
 somehow funny in retrospection).

That happens sometimes, as you can see on erowid or on salvianet  
reports.


 Or remembering something exhilarating, but
 being unable to express it or store it in my memory completely (I  
 tend to
 think it's just the realization that there are no bad problems,

A general message is that there are no problem as far as you are clean  
with your own conscience. Apparently the plant is allergic to people  
lying to themselves. It is one of the most bizarre aspect of the  
salvia experience, it has a moral dimension. The more peaceful you are  
with yourself, the more divine you feel the bliss. It is very 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 06 Dec 2009, at 05:21, Johnathan Corgan wrote:

 On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:

 All of this indicates that salvinorin A has potent but short-lived
 effects on the brain systems involved in memory, identity, body  
 image
 and perception of time and space (along with a host of other effects
 not discussed here).  Regardless of one's view on the use of these
 substances to alter one's cognition, it seems there is a great
 opportunity to study these effects to zero in on how these brain
 systems are related to our subjective experience of reality.

 Very difficult task, but very interesting, and probably parts of the
 experience/experiments needed to build an artificial brain.

 A double-blind study protocol to test for particular effects would be
 difficult to design, no doubt.  I don't understand your reference to
 the need for an artificial brain.

Some people can say yes to the doctor, not for a complete artificial  
brain, but for a part of the brain.
Taking a drug, or a psycho-active substance is already an act of that  
type. Some molecules build by some plants (in general to attract or  
manipulate insects by acting on their brains or nervous system) can  
already be considered as artificial subpart of your brain (at the  
molecular level). The use of more and more specific agonist molecules  
for the brain molecules, is a way to learn about the brain, and how  
good can some new molecules can be to do some job in the brain. People  
will not necessarily ever say really yes to a doctor, but they will  
be propose evolving artificial part of the brain.
Well, what I say, is that the self-brain-study, through entheogen, may  
accelerate the development of artificial brain parts.




 However, it would still be possible to carry out experimentation to
 correlate subjective reports of these altered 1-pov percepts with
 3-pov data obtained by FMRI, EEG, etc.

Exactly. We may never understand the whole human brain, but we can  
find those correlation by self-testing.



 Unfortunately, current laws
 in the U.S. restrict experimentation of this type to therapeutic
 applications.  It is possible to test to see whether MDMA is a
 successful treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but not, say
 only to find out the dose/response curve for its psychedelic
 properties.

This is weird. What is a psychedelic properties? It is vague term.
I think that studies of that kind have been made on some meditation  
technics.




 Absent those types of studies, it would still be enormously
 educational for someone to conduct a meta-analysis of the many
 thousands of first-hand written and recorded reports of Salvia
 Divinorum use.  While far from being a random sample, at least one
 would have a better map of the territory to guide further research.


Yes. It is very informative on the consciousness phenomenon. It is fun  
too. I have a read a lot also of all the possible diaries of dreams,  
and I have written and studied my own dreams. I am no more, because it  
asks for work, a good lucid dreamer, but I have practice and develop  
technics at times, and the tools (mainly coffee!) to practice lucidity  
the night. Nowadays I use calea zacatechichi or salvia, which have  
some interesting impact on dreams (also on the non REM dreams,  
hypnagogic images, etc.
Conscience et mécanisme contains a chapter on dreams, I tend to  
follow Hobson, and Dement, LaBerge, and Jouvet. In the REM dream, we  
are awake, hallucinated and paralysed. The cerebral stem plays a key  
role.





 Well, if we define a drug by something harmful and addictive, then
 salvia is not known to be a drug today, because there are no evidence
 it is harmful nor evidence it is addictive.

 Indeed, animal studies to date have shown that salvinorin A
 administration reduces the levels of dopamine in the portions of the
 brain associated with addiction and craving, which is exactly opposite
 the effects of strongly addictive and euphoriant drugs like cocaine
 and methamphetamine.  Whether this is true in human brains remains to
 be seen (and difficult to study due to reasons above).

 In any case, this discussion is probably more relevant in other
 forums.  I brought it up only because we frequently discuss
 consciousness, memory and identity, and lo and behold there is a drug
 which has radical effects on the subjective experience of all three,
 and a body of written reports to examine.

Not only it is relevant, but it is at the cross of many levels of  
description of the data which we have to take into account if we want  
to progress on the everything riddle.

The relation between a Brain and a Reality is akin to
the relation between a Theory/Machine and a Model, in logic, and to
the relation between an equation and its solution, in algebra.

The common point is a Galois connection which entails something  
like, roughly speaking, that to a self-perburtation of the brain, or  
the theory/machine, or 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread soulcatcher☠
 Are you physicalist?

I just don't know.
All my everyday experience points towards physicalism: I'm a brain,
embodied in a physical body, embedded in a physical environment and
evolved via several billion year selection process. All the
constituents of my mind could be explained in the evolutionary terms
as devices that promoted the survival of my ancestor's genes.
From the other hand, all the scientific knowledge imo points towards
some kind of digital physics. For example, it's much much easier to
just accept modern high-energy physics as a elaborate pure
mathematical theory than try to understand it in the everyday terms of
material world.

 Have you read Everett? There are already physicists who describe reality
 as a flux of information which differentiate in many histories, sometimes
 recombining by amnesia, etc.
 You may read the book by Russell Standish theory of Nothing.
 The book Mind's I, ed. by Hofstadter and Dennett is a good introduction to
 computationalism.
 Stathis mentioned Parfit's reasons and persons recently on the FOR list,
 where we discuss on similar many-reality conception of reality. I would
 recommend it too. In particular you may read David Deutsch's book the
 fabric of Reality.
 Gunther Greindl has put some more advanced references on the web page of the
 list.
 Are you aware of computer science and mathematical logic?
 You could be interested by my own contribution, which I explain on this
 list, see
 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHALAbstract.html

I didn't read Everett and Deutsch but I'm aware of MWI.
I skimmed over Theory of Nothing some time ago and, to be honest, I
didn't like to, partially due to Quantum Immortality thing - it was my
first encounter with the subject and it seemed like a worst kind of
unscientific wishful thinking. But maybe I should give it another,
this time more serious try.

I'll make an attempt to follow your UDA steps and can accept comp as a
_hypothesis_, but now I'm highly skeptical about computationalism as a
valid theory of consciousness.
Every time I think about it I come to the simulated thunderstorm is
NOT a real thunderstorm argument (I don't know the other name, for
the first time I read about in some interview with Searle). It's easy
for me to accept the possibility of conscious robot (I'm such a robot)
but it's hard to accept the possibility of conscious pure (as in CS
i.e. without side effects) computer program, as computationalism
implies (if I understand it right).

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread John Mikes
Dear Bruno,
on diverse lists (I cannot call them 'science-branches' since lately most
domains are discussed in considering aspects of several of such on the
diverse discussion-lists)-
CONCEPTS (I wish I knew a better word) appear by different content.

If somebody has the time and feels like (knows how to) do it, a brief
reconsiderational ID listing would help us outsiders to reconfirm what WE
mean by

*Comp*   -  (computing, computer-universal or not,)
The application of (=your relevance of) the *Church* thesis
*Universa*l machine - BTW: machine, or God, as in (our) theology
*White rabbit*, (and I don't even dare write:) *numbers,* -
   and in not much than 1-2 lines(!!!) ea:
*UD, UDA, AUDA*, with:
hints to YES *to the doctor*, and *maybe some more* -
*
which the 'old listers' apply here with ease (yet *maybe(!)* in their
modified i.e.  personalised taste?) - newcomers. however, usually first
misinterpret into 'other' *vernaculars*.

(It is my several decade long research experience to sit down once in a
while and recap
(recoop?) the terms used in the daily efforts. They change by the *(ab?)*use
and re-realizing  their original content may push the research effort ahead
from a stagnant hole it falls into inevitably during most routine
thinking. -
 In doing so, almost all the time there occurred an AHA.

One cannot do it privately and alone. We cannot slip out from our skin. I
did it with someone knowledgeable in the broader field (maybe even a fresh
graduate?) or on a public lecture, where questions and opposite opinions
could be expected.

Best for the hooiday season: this may be a present for Chirstmas.
On St. Nicholas Day

John Mikes







On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 4:15 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 On 05 Dec 2009, at 21:00, Rex Allen wrote:

  On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker
  meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  Rex Allen wrote:
  What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
  things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's
  ultimately no
  explanation for that.  Right?
 
 
  Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens
  and
  so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only
  made
  when we can explain why this rather than that.
 
  So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
  some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
  external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
  external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
  of a multiverse.
 
  Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
  have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
  explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
  because that's the way it is.
 
  Right?
 
  Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
  answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
  some other way?:
 
  1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
  explanation possible.
  2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
  larger context of everything.
 
  What other option is there, do you think?

 Well in this list we follow the option 2. (As its name indicates).
 To progress we need to make the everything idea more precise. Most
 naive everything idea are either trivial and non informative, or can
 be shown inconsistent.
 QM is an amazing everything theory, astoundingly accurate. Yet it is
 based on comp (or variety of comp), which means that if you take
 serioulsy the first person experiences into consideration, then you
 have to derive the Schroedinger waves from a deeper purely
 arithmetical derivation.
 But with the computable, something happens: the discovery of the
 universal machine (accepting Church's thesis).
 This makes enough to confront all universal machine, actually the
 Löbian one will even understand why, with a consciousness/reality
 problem, or first-person/third person relation problem, and that the
 Löbian machine can develop the means to explore the many gaps which
 exists there.





 
 
  So we can take our observations of the world around us and
  construct a
  narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
  involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?
  Why
  do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
  propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?
 
  How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
  They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
  zero.
  We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to
  how it
  may have happened which are testable.
 
  So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
  our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
  statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
  this 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Jason Resch
On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 1:35 PM, soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.comwrote:

  Are you physicalist?

 I just don't know.
 All my everyday experience points towards physicalism: I'm a brain,
 embodied in a physical body, embedded in a physical environment and
 evolved via several billion year selection process. All the
 constituents of my mind could be explained in the evolutionary terms
 as devices that promoted the survival of my ancestor's genes.
 From the other hand, all the scientific knowledge imo points towards
 some kind of digital physics. For example, it's much much easier to
 just accept modern high-energy physics as a elaborate pure
 mathematical theory than try to understand it in the everyday terms of
 material world.

  Have you read Everett? There are already physicists who describe
 reality
  as a flux of information which differentiate in many histories, sometimes
  recombining by amnesia, etc.
  You may read the book by Russell Standish theory of Nothing.
  The book Mind's I, ed. by Hofstadter and Dennett is a good introduction
 to
  computationalism.
  Stathis mentioned Parfit's reasons and persons recently on the FOR
 list,
  where we discuss on similar many-reality conception of reality. I would
  recommend it too. In particular you may read David Deutsch's book the
  fabric of Reality.
  Gunther Greindl has put some more advanced references on the web page of
 the
  list.
  Are you aware of computer science and mathematical logic?
  You could be interested by my own contribution, which I explain on this
  list, see
 
 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHALAbstract.html

 I didn't read Everett and Deutsch but I'm aware of MWI.
 I skimmed over Theory of Nothing some time ago and, to be honest, I
 didn't like to, partially due to Quantum Immortality thing - it was my
 first encounter with the subject and it seemed like a worst kind of
 unscientific wishful thinking. But maybe I should give it another,
 this time more serious try.

 I'll make an attempt to follow your UDA steps and can accept comp as a
 _hypothesis_, but now I'm highly skeptical about computationalism as a
 valid theory of consciousness.
 Every time I think about it I come to the simulated thunderstorm is
 NOT a real thunderstorm argument (I don't know the other name, for
 the first time I read about in some interview with Searle). It's easy
 for me to accept the possibility of conscious robot (I'm such a robot)
 but it's hard to accept the possibility of conscious pure (as in CS
 i.e. without side effects) computer program, as computationalism
 implies (if I understand it right).



If you can accept the possibility of a conscious robot, whose senses are
hooked up to video cameras, microphones, etc. would you say the robot would
still be conscious if one were too hook up the video and audio inputs of the
robot to the output of a virtual environment (think video game)?  Now what
if both the robot's software and environment rendering software ran within
the same computer?

Jason

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread John Mikes
Rex, or Brent? (I am mixed up between th (-)s and the unmarked text. No
signature.
I rather paste my cpmment to the end of this posting, since it pertains to
the last par.-s.
John M

On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 3:00 PM, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com
 wrote:
  Rex Allen wrote:
  What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
  things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
  explanation for that.  Right?
 
 
  Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and
  so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made
  when we can explain why this rather than that.

 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?


  So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
  narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
  involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
  do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
  propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?
 
  How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
  They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
  zero.
  We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it
  may have happened which are testable.

 So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
 our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
 statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
 this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.

 We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
 these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
 exists.  You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
 conclusions.

 You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
 observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
 But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?

 At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
 started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
 experience.


 JM:

I went one little step further and talked about a 'reversed' logic:
Conventional science (as it developed over the millennia) constructed the
'axioms' as the conditions necessary to make the theoreticals VALID.
I did not condone the idea of the Big Bang according to the conventionals
(including the several variants available) and wrote (my) narrative in a
different view (no conventionals).
(For those who have a taste for oddities: Karl Jaspers Forum - TA 62 (MIK)
of 2003. )
Once we enter the conventional figments of (reductionistic) sciences
(ontology) we can only devise variants WITHIN. All, where the formulated
'axioms' help.
And that pertains also to 2 + 2 = 4, where it may be 22 as well. Or: in
Bruno's longer version: (2,(0),) + (2, (0),) = 2020 as well. Bruno, please
excuse if I goofed your formula).
Just in another way of axioms-formulation, while as  II + II  is always
 . Axiom or not.
JM

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 

 And what do you mean by stay there? Forever? Why should you stay  
 there
 (can you choose)? And where is there? Is it forgetfulness oder  
 remembrance?
 
 It is very difficult to describe any first person experience. We  
 cannot even describe normal state of consciousness, so it is even  
 harder to describe altered state of consciousness.
That's certainly true. Words can never convery an experience, they can only
link the experience and known experiences. But sometimes even this is
difficult. The difference between looking at a plain wall with my normal
state of consciousness and on shrooms is somehow pretty small, yet very big.
It looks the same, only more clear, crisp, real and incomparably more
beatiful... But many people simply won't get how a wall could look more
real, especially when you cloud your mind with drugs - they will say I
just imagined it or I was too wasted, which is totally ridiculous to me.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Second half:
 ... I am. I am in paradise since infinity. I enjoy the being state,  
 but there there is no past, and no future.
But in retrospection, isn't this wrong? Because you are in the future now,
aren't you?

Or maybe you never really leave this place? So you are still there... After
all, you are always in the present, now matter what happens. And in some way
you are in paradise, since even if you experience something bad, at least
it admits that it is bad and wants to go, so it is meaningless compared to
infinite possibilities of constant or growing well-being.
Maybe if you can take this knowledge with you (even though it seems
impossible; maybe it is possible partially?), nirvana (The word seems to fit
what you experienced) and samsara begin to appear as what they really are,
the same (according to Mahāyāna Buddhism). Is this what being (or becoming?)
enlightened is about?

Somehow I can't believe reality could be so dual: That there is this place,
and our totally different place, that are disconnected.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
  I have no memory, but  
 still a sort of personality. Suddenly I get memories and I think oh  
 no, not again, because at that moment I have the feeling that  
 something happens, which has already happened a lot of times.
It's funny, I get that feeling sometimes on shrooms, though not at
returning, but at the beginning of going to this place of oneness. Like I
remember that I begin to arrive at home, at the place I really belong.
At first I feel really comforted, but then fear (and/or aversion) starts to
set in. I actually feel like having been there somehow, but not in this
life, or not completely or not yet? It is so familiar, yet I don't think I
really was there.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
  The  
 memories get more and more precise, and at some point I accept them,  
 but does not recognize them as personal memories, then I got the  
 last memories which are I want to stay in paradise, and I understand  
 that I am a copy send to earth to finish his job. I find myself on  
 earth, but during some hours, I have still the memory of having always  
 lived there, and almost got the feeling that the smoking of salvia  
 made me going from paradise to earth.
Maybe it's just a illusion that you leave paradise? Maybe earth is a part of
paradise.



Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 The first time I did that type of salvia experience, I kept during  
 three days the strong feeling of being completely refresh or reborn,  
 like if I was just on earth since some days. Everything looked as  
 completely new. I did not feel any memory as being personal, and that  
 has been indeed very useful useful for doing some annoying job, and  
 taking annoying decisions, I have to make. That feeling faded away the  
 fourth day after the experience.
I think I know what you mean. Though for me it just lasts seconds or
minutes. When I'm on shrooms (and it happened on salvia + weed, too)
sometimes I feel like being able to view the world like being reborn.


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 Some people lives a similar experience except that, instead of feeling  
 like being in paradise, they feel like being in hell.
I think that's what I experienced on N2O. All meaning started to
disintegrate. All I could think about was: What is the worst experience you
could possibly imagine. As far as I remember I literally repeated this
sentence in my mind over and over (in german though). And I felt ever more
shallow and useless and imprisoned. There was no path left except the path
of self-destruction. I simply seemed unable to remember anything positve. At
one moment I believed I'm the only person doomed to hell. Probably this was
the worst moment in my life. Sometimes I think or hope it is the worst
moment you can have. At least I can't think of a worse thought than being
the only person going to eternal hell.
But then I realized I'm am NOT that and I felt immensely relieved... 
Maybe what I realized was: I am not nobody as I thought before - 'only
nobody' 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Brent Meeker
I mark my small part below with brackets [ ].

John Mikes wrote:
 Rex, or Brent? (I am mixed up between th (-)s and the unmarked 
 text. No signature.
 I rather paste my cpmment to the end of this posting, since it 
 pertains to the last par.-s.
 John M

 On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 3:00 PM, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com 
 mailto:rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker
 meeke...@dslextreme.com mailto:meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  Rex Allen wrote:
  What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
  things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's
 ultimately no
  explanation for that.  Right?
 
 
  Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything
 happens and
  so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is
 only made
  when we can explain why this rather than that.

 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?


  So we can take our observations of the world around us and
 construct a
  narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
  involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big
 bang?  Why
  do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
  propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that
 cause?
 
  How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
  They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
  zero.
 [Brent  We have much evidence about the big bang and some
 theories as to how it
  may have happened which are testable.]

 So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
 our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
 statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
 this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.

 We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
 these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
 exists.  You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
 conclusions.

 You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
 observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
 But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?

 At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
 started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
 experience.


 JM:

 I went one little step further and talked about a 'reversed' logic:
 Conventional science (as it developed over the millennia) constructed 
 the 'axioms' as the conditions necessary to make the theoreticals VALID.

This seems like an abuse of terminology.  Science doesn't deal in 
axioms.  Axioms are statements accepted for purposes of mathematical 
inference.  They are part of mathematics, not science.  Similary, valid 
refers to a truth preserving sequence of inferences; a mathematical 
rather than scientific term.  Of course science uses mathematics because 
mathematical description is a way of avoiding self-contradiction.  But 
economists, surveyors, programmers, and just about everybody else also 
use mathematics.

 I did not condone the idea of the Big Bang according to the 
 conventionals (including the several variants available) and wrote 
 (my) narrative in a different view (no conventionals).
 (For those who have a taste for oddities: Karl Jaspers Forum - TA 62 
 (MIK) of 2003. )
 Once we enter the conventional figments of (reductionistic) sciences 
 (ontology) we can only devise variants WITHIN.

I don't understand this.  I think science is necessarily reductionist in 
it's methodology simply because we can't understand everything at once 
and we can't experiment on everything at once.  But science also 
synthesizes so the reduction is only methodological.

Brent

 All, where the formulated 'axioms' help.
 And that pertains also to 2 + 2 = 4, where it may be 22 as 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Rex Allen
On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 5:22 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com 
 wrote:

 Rex Allen wrote:

 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?


 Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and
 so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made
 when we can explain why this rather than that.


 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?


 Look at what we actually take to be explanations.  For example,
 inflation is taken to be an explanation for the homogeneity of the CMB,
 for the flatness of space, for the absence of magnetic monopoles.  Why?
 First, because it replaces these seemingly disparate observed facts with
 a single theory that is consistent with our other theories.  Second, and
 more importantly, it predicted higher order correlations in the CMB
 which were then observed.  So we are still faced with explaining the
 inflation; which some people might explain as, That's just the way it
 is. and others might explain,Out of all possible universes some must
 inflate, but neither of those predicts anything or leads to any
 experiment.  A real explanation would be one describing an inflaton
 field and predicting its experimental manifestation.

 So the option is don't adopt non-explanations and simply admit that
 there are things we don't know and that's why we do research. Theories
 need to be consilient and specific and testable and predict something we
 didn't already know, but turns out to be true.  That's the gold standard.

 So I agree that in some sense the two options you present above seem to
 be the only possible ultimate statements, sort of  like the schoolmen
 who proved that God did it was the ultimate answer everything.  But,
 I don't think ultimate statements are worth much because they are like
 junk food explanations - no nutritional value.

 Brent

Well, I would say that your explanations provide the illusion of
nutritional value, but in fact are also junk food.

It seems to me that your example isn't an explanation, but a narrative
that just describes a plausible scenario consistent with what we
observe.  The difference between explanation and description is maybe
a subtle difference, but it seems like an important one when thinking
about metaphysics and ontology.

I think there is a problem when you try to find a place for yourself
inside your own narrative.  When you try to explain your experience of
observing, in addition to WHAT you observe.

Assuming physicalism and barring downwards causation, *within that
framework* what does it mean to claim that you understand something,
that you have explained something, or that you have predicted
something?

Within the framework of bottom-up physicalism, what does it even mean
to say that you exist...since you are (apparently) not a fundamental
entity and so don't appear on any inventory of the contents of such a
universe.  Electrons:  check.  Quarks:  check.  Brent Meekers:  Nope,
none of those...only electrons and quarks (and other fundamental
entities).

But even if you exist within such a system, and are fully accounted
for by the system, then your experiences are a kind of epiphenomenal
residue of the fundamental processes of the system.  You don't have a
handle on the universe...the universe has a handle on you.  You are
run through your paces by your constituent molecules, experiencing
whatever their configuration entails in each given moment.  But why
would this experience necessarily be of what actually exists?

Returning to the earlier point, what are observations? How are they
accounted for in a physicalist ontology? Why do some configurations of
matter and energy have conscious subjective experiences, when there
is nothing in our conception of matter, energy, OR configurations
which would lead one to conclude (before the fact) that by arranging
them in particular ways one could create 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Brent Meeker
Rex Allen wrote:
 On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 5:22 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Rex Allen wrote:
 
 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com 
 wrote:

   
 Rex Allen wrote:

 
 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?


   
 Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and
 so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made
 when we can explain why this rather than that.

 
 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?

   
 Look at what we actually take to be explanations.  For example,
 inflation is taken to be an explanation for the homogeneity of the CMB,
 for the flatness of space, for the absence of magnetic monopoles.  Why?
 First, because it replaces these seemingly disparate observed facts with
 a single theory that is consistent with our other theories.  Second, and
 more importantly, it predicted higher order correlations in the CMB
 which were then observed.  So we are still faced with explaining the
 inflation; which some people might explain as, That's just the way it
 is. and others might explain,Out of all possible universes some must
 inflate, but neither of those predicts anything or leads to any
 experiment.  A real explanation would be one describing an inflaton
 field and predicting its experimental manifestation.

 So the option is don't adopt non-explanations and simply admit that
 there are things we don't know and that's why we do research. Theories
 need to be consilient and specific and testable and predict something we
 didn't already know, but turns out to be true.  That's the gold standard.

 So I agree that in some sense the two options you present above seem to
 be the only possible ultimate statements, sort of  like the schoolmen
 who proved that God did it was the ultimate answer everything.  But,
 I don't think ultimate statements are worth much because they are like
 junk food explanations - no nutritional value.

 Brent
 

 Well, I would say that your explanations provide the illusion of
 nutritional value, but in fact are also junk food.

 It seems to me that your example isn't an explanation, but a narrative
 that just describes a plausible scenario consistent with what we
 observe.  The difference between explanation and description is maybe
 a subtle difference, but it seems like an important one when thinking
 about metaphysics and ontology.

 I think there is a problem when you try to find a place for yourself
 inside your own narrative.  When you try to explain your experience of
 observing, in addition to WHAT you observe.

 Assuming physicalism and barring downwards causation, *within that
 framework* what does it mean to claim that you understand something,
 that you have explained something, or that you have predicted
 something?

 Within the framework of bottom-up physicalism, what does it even mean
 to say that you exist...since you are (apparently) not a fundamental
 entity and so don't appear on any inventory of the contents of such a
 universe.  Electrons:  check.  Quarks:  check.  Brent Meekers:  Nope,
 none of those...only electrons and quarks (and other fundamental
 entities).

 But even if you exist within such a system, and are fully accounted
 for by the system, then your experiences are a kind of epiphenomenal
 residue of the fundamental processes of the system.  You don't have a
 handle on the universe...the universe has a handle on you.  You are
 run through your paces by your constituent molecules, experiencing
 whatever their configuration entails in each given moment.  But why
 would this experience necessarily be of what actually exists?

 Returning to the earlier point, what are observations? How are they
 accounted for in a physicalist ontology? Why do some configurations of
 matter and energy have conscious subjective experiences, when there
 is nothing in our conception of matter, energy, OR configurations
 which 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Rex Allen
On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 8:09 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 You seem to be reading a lot into my post.

Ha!  Ya, once I got going I figured I'd just throw everything in there
and see if any of it elicited any interesting feedback.


 I never said that
 consciousness is an illusion.  In fact I didn't say anything about
 consciousness at all. My post was about what makes an explanation a good
 one and that being ultimate is historically not one of them.

So my point is that:  in a reductionist theory which implies a
physicalist reality with no downwards causation, nothing means
anything.  Things only have the appearance of meaning.

In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find some
explanations good and others bad, that's just the epiphenominal
residue of more fundamental physical processes which are themselves
unconcerned with such things.

In such a reality if you predict an event that comes to pass, both
your prediction AND the event were inevitable from the first instant
of the universe, implicit in it's initial state plus the laws of
physics.  Looked at in a block-universe format:  the first instant,
you making the prediction, and the predicted event all coexist
simultaneously.  In this view, while your prediction was accurate,
there's no reason for that...it's just the way things are in that
block of reality.  Scientific theories only describe this fact, they
don't explain it.

So what science deals in is descriptions.  Not explanations.  The
feeling that something has been explained is an aspect of
consciousness, not an aspect of reality (at least not reality as
posited by physicalism).

I don't think that this is usually made clear.  And it seems like a
subtle but important distinction, philosophically.

So I take your point about the schoolmen.  There aren't many practical
applications for the idea that things just are the way they are.
But still it's an interesting piece of information, if true.

But if physicalism is correct, then how useful are your explanations
really?  You *feel* as though it's useful to know about inflation and
the CMB, but underneath your feelings, your constituent quarks and
electrons are playing out the parts that were set for them by the
initial state of the universe plus the laws that govern it's
evolution.

Maybe that initial state and the particular governing laws were set
according to the rules of some larger multiverse...or maybe they just
are what they are, for no reason.

How about this:

Science is about observations.  Philosophy is about clarity.

I just want to be clear about the implications of the various
narratives that are consistent with what we observe.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-06 Thread Brent Meeker




Rex Allen wrote:

  On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 8:09 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  
  
You seem to be reading a lot into my post.

  
  
Ha!  Ya, once I got going I figured I'd just throw everything in there
and see if any of it elicited any interesting feedback.


  
  
I never said that
consciousness is an illusion.  In fact I didn't say anything about
consciousness at all. My post was about what makes an explanation a good
one and that being "ultimate" is historically not one of them.

  
  
So my point is that:  in a reductionist theory which implies a
physicalist reality with no downwards causation, 

What defines "upwards" and "downwards". Why would "downwards"
causation make any difference?


  nothing means
anything.  

You mean things don't stand as symbols for something else? That
reminds me of George Carlin's quip, "If we're here to care for other
people, what are those other people here for?"


  Things only have the "appearance" of meaning.
  

The above words have the appearance of meaning to me - and so they do
have meaning to me. I don't know what else I could ask for?


  
In such a reality, things just are what they are.  If you find some
explanations "good" and others "bad", that's just the epiphenominal
residue of more fundamental physical processes which are themselves
unconcerned with such things.
  

Having predictive theories was no doubt selected by evolution - as well
as a psychological to see meaning in things.


  
In such a reality if you predict an event that comes to pass, both
your prediction AND the event were inevitable from the first instant
of the universe, implicit in it's initial state plus the laws of
physics.  


That's one theory, formerly more popular than now.


  Looked at in a block-universe format:  the first instant,
you making the prediction, and the predicted event all coexist
simultaneously.  In this view, while your prediction was accurate,
there's no reason for that...it's just the way things are in that
block of reality.  Scientific theories only describe this fact, they
don't explain it.

So what science deals in is descriptions.  Not explanations.  The
feeling that something has been explained is an aspect of
consciousness, not an aspect of reality (at least not reality as
posited by physicalism).
  


But then you need to ask yourself what does constitute an explanation?
If you dismiss scientific models that show you how to make choices and
manipulate the world and allow you to predict events, what is it you're
looking for? What's your definition of "explanation"? Can you give an
example of a good explanation? Does it have to be teleological?
ultimate? holistic?


  
I don't think that this is usually made clear.  And it seems like a
subtle but important distinction, philosophically.

So I take your point about the schoolmen.  There aren't many practical
applications for the idea that "things just are the way they are".
But still it's an interesting piece of information, if true.

But if physicalism is correct, then how useful are your "explanations"
really?  You *feel* as though it's useful to know about inflation and
the CMB, but underneath your feelings, your constituent quarks and
electrons are playing out the parts that were set for them by the
initial state of the universe plus the laws that govern it's
evolution.
  


Well I haven't used quark theory, but my "explanations" have helped me
design a very fast ramjet. I'd feel a little uncertain about flying in
an airliner designed by people who thought aerodynamics didn't explain
anything.


  
Maybe that initial state and the particular governing laws were set
according to the rules of some larger multiverse...or maybe they just
are what they are, for no reason.

How about this:

"Science is about observations.  Philosophy is about clarity."
  


I'd say science is about making models that predict what is observed
and not the contrary.

Since you rambled about consciousness I'll share my speculation about
it. I think people resort to "philosophical" explanations when they
don't have scientific ones and when scientific ones are found they stop
worrying about the philosophical questions. At one time people worried
about vitality, the life-force, elan vitale, that animated things. But
as more and more was learned about molecular biology, DNA, metabolism,
evolution, etc, people stopped worrying about "life". They didn't
explain it. They only described it and how it worked (in great
detail). The DNA isn't alive, none of the molecules are alive and yet
there is no elan vitale either. The old questions about life just seem
ill posed. Not answered, yet irrelevant. I think the same thing will
happen to "consciousness" that happened to "life". 

We will learn to describe consciousness by causal models, we'll predict
the effect of salvia and mushrooms on different people's
consciousness. We'll build robots which appear to be conscious. We'll
add electronics to brains 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 05 Dec 2009, at 01:30, Brent Meeker wrote:



 It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's
 nothing to me.

We are all infinitely ignorant (if only with respect to arithmetical  
truth).
The universal machine or numbers are not nothing.


  This is just another form of the everything universal
 acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something  
 we're
 interested in must be in there somewhere.

The everything of comp is just elementary arithmetic.
It predicts the existence of a a level (of isolation or independence,  
really) such that many computations interferes, as QM confirms  
(retrospectively). It predicts symmetry and a quantum logic of  
conditionals, etc.

And a cute arithmetical, and testable, interpretation of Phytagoras- 
Plato-Plotinus, + a vast range of mystics and free thinkers.

I ditinctly and clearly not follow Tegmark or Bayesian Anthropism on  
this point. The physical *laws* have a reason, and we can find them  
from the digital hypothesis.

Frankly, Monsieur est difficile ;-)



 It is not necessary for the reasoning, but there are sequence of
 thought experiences which can help you to figure out what is it like
 losing all memories.

 I wasn't talking about losing all memories, but about not having
 memory, i.e. not only losing old memories, but also not forming any  
 new
 memories.  A computer without memory can't compute.

The computer, or the relative universal machine (relative to another  
probable universal machine) makes only higher the relative probabilty  
that the internal consciousness flux will makes itself manifest  
relatively to  that probable universal machine/number.
It makes possible for a universal machine to say hello to itself, or  
to another universal machine.




 Some would say that the point consists in losing, for a short period,
 that human kind of consciousness.


 But without memory how would one know it had been lost or not?


That is again the point. There we don't know that.

But with salvia divinorum, when you control well the dosage and  
timing, or smoke only the leaves, you don't need to do the amnesia,  
you can just dissociate that universal you from your contingent  
terrestrial you, like taking a big distance from the contingencies.  
It is a desappropriation.


 To judge the presence of consciousness is difficult. Recently, in
 France, after having been considered as being in a unconscious
 comatose state for 23 years, a woman, with the help of her family,
 has succeed to convince its doctors that she was as conscious than  
 you
 and me. She was just highly paralyzed.


 You mean Rom Houben (a man)?

 http://article.wn.com/view/2009/11/25/Is_coma_man_Rom_Houben_REALLY_talking_Mystery_as_critics_sla/


Well, not really. It was a french woman. In Belgium they have  
considered her as fully conscious, and it has been confirmed in the  
USA. I heard this on a radio, and a friend confirms. I will try to  
find the information. In any case I allude to the case, by decision,  
where the consciousness is not considered as controversial. Like the  
Ingberg case in France.  Usually, it means, I think, that the patient  
can communicate through different speech therapists.

 From the video, I would say Houben seems fully conscious to me.





 Experts are casting doubt on claims that a man http://everyman.com/
 who doctors had believed was in a 23-year coma is truly conscious and
 communicating on his own. Belgian Rom Houben communicates with the  
 help
 http://aidagencies.com/ of a speech therapist who moves his finger
 letter http://letters.com/ by letter along a touch-screen keyboard.
 But yesterday experts slammed the method as 'Ouija board  
 communication',
 saying it had been 'completely discredited'. 

 Just because there has once been a mistake doesn't prove it is  
 difficult
 to get right - only that it is difficult to always be right.

Sure. It raises many interesting questions.

Bruno Marchal

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread John Mikes
I admire this list.

Somebody asks a silly question and 'we' write hourlong wisdom(s) upon it.
After my deep liking of Stathis's what difference does it make? (or
something to that meaning) -
my question went a step deeped:
*for: How do I know I am I? - (rather:* How (Why?) do I think I am I?)

I ask:  DO I?  (then comes Stathis).
*
Bruno's 'firmly knowable' *arithmetic truth *is a true exception: WE (=the
ways humans think) made up what we call 'arithmetic' - the way that WE may
accept it as 'truth'.
(I am still with David Bohm's numbers are human  invention - did not read
acceptable (for me) arguments on the numbers-originated everything - in the
wider sense. But this is  not this thread).

John Mikes

PS now - it seems - I joined the choir. JM



On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 9:07 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


  On 05 Dec 2009, at 01:30, Brent Meeker wrote:



 It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's
 nothing to me.


 We are all infinitely ignorant (if only with respect to arithmetical
 truth).
 The universal machine or numbers are not nothing.


   This is just another form of the everything universal
 acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're
 interested in must be in there somewhere.


 The everything of comp is just elementary arithmetic.
 It predicts the existence of a a level (of isolation or independence,
 really) such that many computations interferes, as QM confirms
 (retrospectively). It predicts symmetry and a quantum logic of conditionals,
 etc.

 And a cute arithmetical, and testable, interpretation of
 Phytagoras-Plato-Plotinus, + a vast range of mystics and free thinkers.

 I ditinctly and clearly not follow Tegmark or Bayesian Anthropism on this
 point. The physical *laws* have a reason, and we can find them from the
 digital hypothesis.

 Frankly, Monsieur est difficile ;-)



 It is not necessary for the reasoning, but there are sequence of

 thought experiences which can help you to figure out what is it like

 losing all memories.


 I wasn't talking about losing all memories, but about not having
 memory, i.e. not only losing old memories, but also not forming any new
 memories.  A computer without memory can't compute.


 The computer, or the relative universal machine (relative to another
 probable universal machine) makes only higher the relative probabilty that
 the internal consciousness flux will makes itself manifest relatively to
  that probable universal machine/number.
 It makes possible for a universal machine to say hello to itself, or to
 another universal machine.




 Some would say that the point consists in losing, for a short period,

 that human kind of consciousness.



 But without memory how would one know it had been lost or not?



 That is again the point. There we don't know that.

 But with salvia divinorum, when you control well the dosage and timing, or
 smoke only the leaves, you don't need to do the amnesia, you can just
 dissociate that universal you from your contingent terrestrial you, like
 taking a big distance from the contingencies. It is a desappropriation.


 To judge the presence of consciousness is difficult. Recently, in

 France, after having been considered as being in a unconscious

 comatose state for 23 years, a woman, with the help of her family,

 has succeed to convince its doctors that she was as conscious than you

 and me. She was just highly paralyzed.



 You mean Rom Houben (a man)?


 http://article.wn.com/view/2009/11/25/Is_coma_man_Rom_Houben_REALLY_talking_Mystery_as_critics_sla/



 Well, not really. It was a french woman. In Belgium they have considered
 her as fully conscious, and it has been confirmed in the USA. I heard this
 on a radio, and a friend confirms. I will try to find the information. In
 any case I allude to the case, by decision, where the consciousness is not
 considered as controversial. Like the Ingberg case in France.  Usually, it
 means, I think, that the patient can communicate through different speech
 therapists.

 From the video, I would say Houben seems fully conscious to me.





 Experts are casting doubt on claims that a man http://everyman.com/
 who doctors had believed was in a 23-year coma is truly conscious and
 communicating on his own. Belgian Rom Houben communicates with the help
 http://aidagencies.com/ of a speech therapist who moves his finger
 letter http://letters.com/ by letter along a touch-screen keyboard.
 But yesterday experts slammed the method as 'Ouija board communication',
 saying it had been 'completely discredited'. 

 Just because there has once been a mistake doesn't prove it is difficult
 to get right - only that it is difficult to always be right.


 Sure. It raises many interesting questions.

 Bruno Marchal

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



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RE: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread rmiller
 

 

From: John Mikes [mailto:jami...@gmail.com] 
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 10:00 AM
To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Why I am I?

 

I admire this list.

 

Somebody asks a silly question and 'we' write hourlong wisdom(s) upon it.
After my deep liking of Stathis's what difference does it make? (or
something to that meaning) - 

my question went a step deeped:

for: How do I know I am I? - (rather: How (Why?) do I think I am I?) 

I ask:  DO I?  (then comes Stathis).  

*

Bruno's 'firmly knowable' arithmetic truth is a true exception: WE (=the
ways humans think) made up what we call 'arithmetic' - the way that WE may
accept it as 'truth'. 

(I am still with David Bohm's numbers are human  invention - did not read
acceptable (for me) arguments on the numbers-originated everything - in the
wider sense. But this is  not this thread).

 

John Mikes 

 

PS now - it seems - I joined the choir. JM


All. . .

Good quote on hourlong wisdoms.  But it's also starting to look like a
lead-in to a documentary on pop songs with a philosophic bent.  The who am
I thing probably applies to a good number of teen songs today, and to a few
of them back in the 70's.  Matter of fact, there seems to be a 30-40-year
cycle to who am I? and philosophycentered songs, with a few of them
turning up in the thirties.  What a difference a day makes, night and
day, Days of Future Passed, etc. and etc.

 

No WONDER John joined the choir.  Heh.

 

R. Miller

 

 


 

On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 9:07 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 

On 05 Dec 2009, at 01:30, Brent Meeker wrote:

 

 


It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's 
nothing to me. 

 

We are all infinitely ignorant (if only with respect to arithmetical truth).

The universal machine or numbers are not nothing.

 





 This is just another form of the everything universal 
acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're 
interested in must be in there somewhere.

 

The everything of comp is just elementary arithmetic. 

It predicts the existence of a a level (of isolation or independence,
really) such that many computations interferes, as QM confirms
(retrospectively). It predicts symmetry and a quantum logic of conditionals,
etc.

 

And a cute arithmetical, and testable, interpretation of
Phytagoras-Plato-Plotinus, + a vast range of mystics and free thinkers.

 

I ditinctly and clearly not follow Tegmark or Bayesian Anthropism on this
point. The physical *laws* have a reason, and we can find them from the
digital hypothesis.

 

Frankly, Monsieur est difficile ;-)

 









It is not necessary for the reasoning, but there are sequence of  

thought experiences which can help you to figure out what is it like  

losing all memories. 


I wasn't talking about losing all memories, but about not having 
memory, i.e. not only losing old memories, but also not forming any new 
memories.  A computer without memory can't compute.

 

The computer, or the relative universal machine (relative to another
probable universal machine) makes only higher the relative probabilty that
the internal consciousness flux will makes itself manifest relatively to
that probable universal machine/number.

It makes possible for a universal machine to say hello to itself, or to
another universal machine.

 

 

 

 

Some would say that the point consists in losing, for a short period,  

that human kind of consciousness.

 


But without memory how would one know it had been lost or not?

 

 

That is again the point. There we don't know that.

 

But with salvia divinorum, when you control well the dosage and timing, or
smoke only the leaves, you don't need to do the amnesia, you can just
dissociate that universal you from your contingent terrestrial you, like
taking a big distance from the contingencies. It is a desappropriation.

 

 

To judge the presence of consciousness is difficult. Recently, in  

France, after having been considered as being in a unconscious  

comatose state for 23 years, a woman, with the help of her family,   

has succeed to convince its doctors that she was as conscious than you  

and me. She was just highly paralyzed.

 


You mean Rom Houben (a man)?

http://article.wn.com/view/2009/11/25/Is_coma_man_Rom_Houben_REALLY_talking_
Mystery_as_critics_sla/

 

 

Well, not really. It was a french woman. In Belgium they have considered her
as fully conscious, and it has been confirmed in the USA. I heard this on a
radio, and a friend confirms. I will try to find the information. In any
case I allude to the case, by decision, where the consciousness is not
considered as controversial. Like the Ingberg case in France.  Usually, it
means, I think, that the patient can communicate through different speech
therapists. 

 

From the video, I would say Houben seems fully conscious to me.

 

 

 






Experts are casting doubt on claims that a man http://everyman.com/ 
who doctors

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Rex Allen
On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?


 Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and
 so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made
 when we can explain why this rather than that.

So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
of a multiverse.

Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
because that's the way it is.

Right?

Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
some other way?:

1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
explanation possible.
2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
larger context of everything.

What other option is there, do you think?


 So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
 narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
 involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
 do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
 propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?

 How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
 They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
 zero.
 We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it
 may have happened which are testable.

So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.

We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
exists.  You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
conclusions.

You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?

At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
experience.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 05 Dec 2009, at 21:00, Rex Allen wrote:

 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker  
 meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's  
 ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?


 Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens  
 and
 so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only  
 made
 when we can explain why this rather than that.

 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?

Well in this list we follow the option 2. (As its name indicates).
To progress we need to make the everything idea more precise. Most  
naive everything idea are either trivial and non informative, or can  
be shown inconsistent.
QM is an amazing everything theory, astoundingly accurate. Yet it is  
based on comp (or variety of comp), which means that if you take  
serioulsy the first person experiences into consideration, then you  
have to derive the Schroedinger waves from a deeper purely  
arithmetical derivation.
But with the computable, something happens: the discovery of the  
universal machine (accepting Church's thesis).
This makes enough to confront all universal machine, actually the  
Löbian one will even understand why, with a consciousness/reality  
problem, or first-person/third person relation problem, and that the  
Löbian machine can develop the means to explore the many gaps which  
exists there.







 So we can take our observations of the world around us and  
 construct a
 narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
 involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?   
 Why
 do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
 propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?

 How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
 They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
 zero.
 We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to  
 how it
 may have happened which are testable.

 So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
 our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
 statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
 this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.

 We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
 these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
 exists.  You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
 conclusions.

 You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
 observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
 But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?

 At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
 started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
 experience.

I think we have made progress. We know (assuming digital mechanism)  
that we know nothing about the consequence of addition and  
multiplication, but that we can explore, and that it is divided into  
sharable and non sharable parts.

We may correct a widespread error: the sharable part is the objective  
and doubtable part, the non sharable part is the subjective and  
undoubtable part.

We have a theology. A greek one, by which I mean, that is the bad  
news for some, we have to do mathematics.

And nobody ask you to believe it, unless you decide to say yes to  
some doctor and believe that 2 + 2 = 4.

You can call it a toy theology, given that it is the theology of an  
ideally relatively self-referentially correct Löbian machine. It  
exists as a branch of math, and it applies to us if comp is true and  
as far as we are correct ourselves, which we can never known. But we  
can bet on levels, like nature apparently already did, and prey or  
hope or something like that.

The quest of truth will continue. If comp is true reality is beyond  
fictions. For the best or the worth, this depends *partially* on us.  
Who us? Us the universal machines.

The motto: be 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Brent Meeker
Rex Allen wrote:
 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Rex Allen wrote:
 
 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?

   
 Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and
 so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made
 when we can explain why this rather than that.
 

 So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
 some context to place them in.  So we postulate the existence of an
 external universe.  But then we want to explain what we see in this
 external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
 of a multiverse.

 Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself.  To explain it,  you
 have to place it in the context of something larger.  Otherwise, no
 explanation is possible, you just have to say, this is the way it is
 because that's the way it is.

 Right?

 Basically there's only two way the process can end.  Two possible
 answers to the question of Why is the universe this way instead of
 some other way?:

 1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
 explanation possible.
 2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
 larger context of everything.

 What other option is there, do you think?
   

Look at what we actually take to be explanations.  For example, 
inflation is taken to be an explanation for the homogeneity of the CMB, 
for the flatness of space, for the absence of magnetic monopoles.  Why?  
First, because it replaces these seemingly disparate observed facts with 
a single theory that is consistent with our other theories.  Second, and 
more importantly, it predicted higher order correlations in the CMB 
which were then observed.  So we are still faced with explaining the 
inflation; which some people might explain as, That's just the way it 
is. and others might explain,Out of all possible universes some must 
inflate, but neither of those predicts anything or leads to any 
experiment.  A real explanation would be one describing an inflaton 
field and predicting its experimental manifestation.

So the option is don't adopt non-explanations and simply admit that 
there are things we don't know and that's why we do research. Theories 
need to be consilient and specific and testable and predict something we 
didn't already know, but turns out to be true.  That's the gold standard.

So I agree that in some sense the two options you present above seem to 
be the only possible ultimate statements, sort of  like the schoolmen 
who proved that God did it was the ultimate answer everything.  But, 
I don't think ultimate statements are worth much because they are like 
junk food explanations - no nutritional value.

Brent


   
 So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
 narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
 involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
 do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
 propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?

 How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
 They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
 zero.
   
 We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it
 may have happened which are testable.
 

 So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
 our observations.  But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
 statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium.  Or the idea that
 this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.

 We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
 these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
 exists.  You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
 conclusions.

 You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
 observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
 But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?

 At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
 started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
 experience.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 04 Dec 2009, at 20:47, Johnathan Corgan wrote:

 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM, Brent Meeker  
 meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come  
 back from
 such an experience, but it happens that with salvia divinorum,  
 some subject
 can live the experience of quasi-total amnesia, where not only you  
 forget
 which human you are, but you can forget what a human is, what time  
 is, what
 space is, and yet, retrospectively, after coming back, you realize  
 that
 despite having forgot everything, you were still conscious, and  
 you were
 still considering you as a living entity of some sort.

 I've not had that experience, but I might try it.  I think though  
 that even
 in such a state one must have some short-term (~second) memory to  
 have a
 human kind of consciousness.  Obviously you now have memories of  
 what it was
 like.  I have known people with severe Alzheimer's disease who  
 seemed merely
 reactive and apparently had no memory, even short term.  I don't  
 think they
 were as conscious as my dog or the fish in my pond.

 Experience reports of Salvia Divinorum (or salvinorin A, it's chief
 psychoactive compound) use in the literature contain many common
 themes related to memory deficits, and represent a fascinating
 uncontrolled study in the phenomenology of consciousness.  There are
 of course many concurrent effects (visual and auditory hallucinations,
 somatic sensations, distortions of body image, etc.) shared with other
 hallucinogens, but the impact on memory seems unique.

 At typical dose levels resulting from smoking the plant leaves or
 fortified extracts of the plant leaves, many users later report that
 they had forgotten they had taken a drug, and were confused (and often
 terrified) about why they were experiencing what they were.  This is
 reported as a sudden onset phenomena, not a gradual one, and is often
 compared to the feeling of waking up in a strange place with no memory
 of how one got there.  This suggests that one action of the drug is to
 disrupt the last few minutes of episodic memory formation.  However,
 these same reports also state that as the effect of the drug began to
 peak and then wear off, usually in a matter of a few minutes, the
 users suddenly recalled the events leading up to their intoxicated
 state.  This then suggests that, at these doses, the drug only
 disrupts access to recent episodic memory, but the memory is still
 formed for later recall.  This is different from the form of permanent
 memory loss that occurs in head injury cases where the victim cannot
 ever recall the moments leading up to, say, a vehicle collision.

 At higher doses, a common theme is that (along with the prior episodic
 amnestic effects) the user reports having forgotten key fundamental
 concepts like what being human is or what space is.  This sort of
 semantic memory loss is difficult to imagine, but it is fascinating
 that even under such extreme conditions, the user is experiencing a
 stream-of-consciousness that can later be recalled.  Less frequently,
 reports at higher doses describe feeling like all of my prior reality
 was a joke being played on me, and I was experiencing the REAL
 reality, and everything that happened before was just a construction
 or movie set.

There is also an incredible reverse tolerance effect. Now, I get that  
game over effect each time, even with a very small pinch of leaves.  
To get the same teaching you need less and less and less. Three  
times, I get what I call (in my diaries or in some forums) total  
recall just by smelling the leaves. Most users experiment this.
The plant is also self-regulating. You really have to wait for the  
good timing, or you find the gates closed there.







 Some users go on to report even more bizarre cases where they report
 having lived another lifetime somewhere else, and are shocked and
 dismayed when the drug begins to wear off that it was all a dream,
 and that this reality is the real one.  This sounds like a more
 extreme version of our normal REM sleep, where when dreaming, one
 doesn't usually realize one is dreaming, but sorts things out upon
 awakening.

Indeed. Some (all?) experiences are a bit like waking up.
But there is a double amnesia, you forget here there. And you forget  
there here.
It is actually an art to find the dosage and the timing so that you  
understand better some, well, let us say statements you get there. One  
is just impossible to memorize, or you stay there, and a copy is send  
here. This is a copy effect experimented by a reasonable proportion of  
users.

i am talking of report of experiences, not of the interpretation of  
them in some theory.




 Compounding these impacts on memory are reports of changes in body
 image and identity.  One recurring theme (that is shared with other
 hallucinogens) is the feeling of merging with objects in one's
 visual field.

I have never lived this.
But this 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread benjayk


Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 It is actually an art to find the dosage and the timing so that you  
 understand better some, well, let us say statements you get there. One  
 is just impossible to memorize, or you stay there, and a copy is send  
 here. This is a copy effect experimented by a reasonable proportion of  
 users.
This is confusing me.
When you say a copy is send it sounds like the copy is not the real
thing. How can you distinguish copy and original? The copy probably won't
say it is just a copy (as opposed to the original).

And what do you mean by stay there? Forever? Why should you stay there
(can you choose)? And where is there? Is it forgetfulness oder remembrance?

This staying there thought is chasing me on many of my psychedlic
experience. I find it very scary, often it really hinders me to enjoy the
experience, because the thought but I don't want to leave 'my reality'
forever comes and makes me unable to relax.

I tried salvia several times, too. I got some weird effects, like thinking
I die in every instant because I identified with a moment (scary, but
somehow funny in retrospection). Or remembering something exhilarating, but
being unable to express it or store it in my memory completely (I tend to
think it's just the realization that there are no bad problems, contrary
to what I felt on a N2O trip, that life consists only of problems - not
enjoyable playful ones but rather endless forced labour). But I never felt
like being a copy or having a choice of staying in salvia land.
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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-05 Thread Johnathan Corgan
On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 All of this indicates that salvinorin A has potent but short-lived
 effects on the brain systems involved in memory, identity, body image
 and perception of time and space (along with a host of other effects
 not discussed here).  Regardless of one's view on the use of these
 substances to alter one's cognition, it seems there is a great
 opportunity to study these effects to zero in on how these brain
 systems are related to our subjective experience of reality.

 Very difficult task, but very interesting, and probably parts of the
 experience/experiments needed to build an artificial brain.

A double-blind study protocol to test for particular effects would be
difficult to design, no doubt.  I don't understand your reference to
the need for an artificial brain.

However, it would still be possible to carry out experimentation to
correlate subjective reports of these altered 1-pov percepts with
3-pov data obtained by FMRI, EEG, etc.  Unfortunately, current laws
in the U.S. restrict experimentation of this type to therapeutic
applications.  It is possible to test to see whether MDMA is a
successful treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but not, say
only to find out the dose/response curve for its psychedelic
properties.

Absent those types of studies, it would still be enormously
educational for someone to conduct a meta-analysis of the many
thousands of first-hand written and recorded reports of Salvia
Divinorum use.  While far from being a random sample, at least one
would have a better map of the territory to guide further research.

 Well, if we define a drug by something harmful and addictive, then
 salvia is not known to be a drug today, because there are no evidence
 it is harmful nor evidence it is addictive.

Indeed, animal studies to date have shown that salvinorin A
administration reduces the levels of dopamine in the portions of the
brain associated with addiction and craving, which is exactly opposite
the effects of strongly addictive and euphoriant drugs like cocaine
and methamphetamine.  Whether this is true in human brains remains to
be seen (and difficult to study due to reasons above).

In any case, this discussion is probably more relevant in other
forums.  I brought it up only because we frequently discuss
consciousness, memory and identity, and lo and behold there is a drug
which has radical effects on the subjective experience of all three,
and a body of written reports to examine.

Johnathan Corgan

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 03 Dec 2009, at 23:12, Brent Meeker wrote:
 Exactly.  It is the magical I that is swapped.


 That I is magical. It is like swapping both the mind (or 1-I) and  
 the body (or 3-I).
 Eventually this is the reason why absolute sample of the observer  
 moment does not work, and we need relative self self-sampling.  
 Which neither with QM (without collapse) or just digital mechanism  
 is obvious to derive.

 The mind can swap its body for brain or another
 ??  You mean or brain?

Yes, I meant a mind (a first person, a soul; or the (Bp  p) of  
some Lobian program) can swap its body or brain for another body or  
brain. Sorry.




 , or survive through a digital back-up. Rigt?
 This mean the notion of I still make sense.
 But it doesn't make sense to swap two minds and their bodies (i.e.  
 perspectives).  That's just interchanging positions and isn't  
 generally thought to affect who is who - although read Stanislau  
 Lem's The Star Diaries.  And if you suppose the mind is embodied  
 in the brain or digital machine then swapping minds with Stathis  
 implies swapping the essential aspects of the brain or machine.

Yes. As usual with mechanism, you can identify, in a first  
approximation, the mind with the (running) software. It is the same  
with a computer. You can swap the physical hard disk, but if you want  
your computer to keep its mind, you have to reinstall its  
software, and its initial configuration, with all the data.




 Both the 1-I, and the 3-I makes sense, it is the link between them  
 which is magical, and made harder to figure out than people  
 usually believe, like with the identity thesis, physical  
 supervenience, etc.

 Now, when you see that people have some difficulty to understand  
 thought experience without amnesia, thought experience with amnesia  
 are perhaps premature. I am not sure. It depends on your  
 familiarity with such kind of thought.

 I'm not sure what thought experience with amnesia is, but taken  
 rigorously it sounds impossible.


I was alluding to some discussions we had when discussing the movie  
the prestige, or when discussing the Saibal Mitra backtracking.
The question is this, and is addressed to the people who already  
accept an artificial brain in the usual conditions which are supposed  
to be perfect (right substitution level, competent doctor):  would you  
still say yes to the doctor if he tells you that, after the  
reconstitution of your brain, you will lose the memory of one day, or  
of one week, or one year, or of your entire life, etc.

By thought experience with amnesia, I meant a thought experience which  
involves a partial or a total amnesia. Not only this is possible, but  
this happens in real life rather often, for example in car  
accidents, or in war head injuries.  Some drug (for example salvia  
divinorum) can generate severe (but temporary) amnesia, and can help  
to make real some of those thought experiences.
Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the  
physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers addition  
and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to tackle the  
identity problem why I am I, who am I really?, etc.  (cf  
soulcatcher☠ question)

In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige movie,  
we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin Anciaux,  
that IF you believe that you can survive with a total amnesia, THEN  
you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible form of the  
computationalist immortality.

If you make the experience of remembering having been nothing less and  
nothing more than a universal (Löbian) machine, you can know (or  
imagine) that you are already immortal. You can live the experience of  
being the static consciousness, out of time and space, of the  
universal (digital) person, and intuit that time and space are a  
construction of your mind. Some slow sleep (non REM) dream state can  
lead to similar experiences, and I suspect that Plato, Plotinus, Kant  
and Descartes (and probably many others) lived things like that.

I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come back  
from such an experience, but it happens that with salvia divinorum,  
some subject can live the experience of quasi-total amnesia, where not  
only you forget which human you are, but you can forget what a human  
is, what time is, what space is, and yet, retrospectively, after  
coming back, you realize that despite having forgot everything, you  
were still conscious, and you were still considering you as a living  
entity of some sort. Some people are terrified by such experience,  
other enjoy it or find it interesting. It helps indeed to realize the  
contingent nature of particular memories and the illusion of  
identity. I don't recommend it, unless it is legal in your state and  
you are pretty curious on the functioning of the brain, and the nature  
of your identity. People who don't like metaphysical 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Brent Meeker




Bruno Marchal wrote:

  
  On 03 Dec 2009, at 23:12, Brent Meeker wrote:
  


  
  

 
Exactly.  It is the magical "I" that is swapped.

  
  
  
  
  
  That "I" is magical. It is like swapping both the mind (or
1-I) and the body (or 3-I).
  Eventually this is the reason why absolute sample of the
observer moment does not work, and we need relative self self-sampling.
Which neither with QM (without collapse) or just digital mechanism is
obvious to derive.
  
  
  The mind can swap its body for brain or another
  

??  You mean "or brain"?

  
  
  
  Yes, I meant "a mind" (a first person, a soul; or the "(Bp 
p) of some Lobian program") can swap its body or brain for another body
or brain. Sorry.
  
  
  
  
  
  
 

  
  , or survive through a digital back-up. Rigt?
  This mean the notion of "I" still make sense. 
  

But it doesn't make sense to swap two minds and their bodies
(i.e. perspectives).  That's just interchanging positions and isn't
generally thought to affect who is who - although read Stanislau Lem's
"The Star Diaries".  And if you suppose the mind is embodied in the
brain or digital machine then swapping minds with Stathis implies
swapping the essential aspects of the brain or machine.

  
  
  
  Yes. As usual with mechanism, you can identify, in a first
approximation, the mind with the (running) software. It is the same
with a computer. You can swap the physical hard disk, but if you want
your "computer" to "keep its mind", you have to reinstall its software,
and its initial configuration, with all the data.
  
  
  
  
  
  
 

  
  Both the 1-I, and the 3-I makes sense, it is the link
between them which is "magical", and made harder to figure out than
people usually believe, like with the identity thesis, physical
supervenience, etc.
  
  
  Now, when you see that people have some difficulty to
understand thought experience without amnesia, thought experience with
amnesia are perhaps premature. I am not sure. It depends on your
familiarity with such kind of thought.
  


I'm not sure what "thought experience with amnesia" is, but taken
rigorously it sounds impossible.

  
  
  
  
  
  I was alluding to some discussions we had when discussing the
movie "the prestige", or when discussing the Saibal Mitra backtracking. 
  The question is this, and is addressed to the people who already
accept an artificial brain in the usual conditions which are supposed
to be perfect (right substitution level, competent doctor):  would you
still say yes to the doctor if he tells you that, after the
reconstitution of your brain, you will lose the memory of one day, or
of one week, or one year, or of your entire life, etc.
  
  
  By thought experience with amnesia, I meant a thought experience
which involves a partial or a total amnesia. Not only this is possible,
but this happens in "real life" rather often, for example in car
accidents, or in war head injuries.  Some drug (for example salvia
divinorum) can generate severe (but temporary) amnesia, and can help to
make "real" some of those thought experiences.
  Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the
physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers addition
and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to tackle the
identity problem "why I am I", "who am I really?", etc.
 (cf soulcatcher☠ question)
  
  
  In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige
movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin
Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a "total
amnesia", THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible form
of the computationalist immortality.
  


That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all, then
I don't see how the construct we refer to as "you" can even be
identified.

  
  
  
  If you make the experience of remembering having been nothing
less and nothing more than a universal (Löbian) machine, you can know
(or imagine) that you are already immortal. You can live the experience
of being the static consciousness, out of time and space, of the
universal (digital) person, and intuit that time and space are a
construction of your mind. Some "slow sleep" (non REM) dream state can
lead to similar experiences, and I suspect that Plato, Plotinus, Kant
and Descartes (and probably many others) lived things like that.
  
  
  I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come
back from such an experience, but it happens that with salvia
divinorum, some subject can live the experience of quasi-total amnesia,
where not only you forget which human you are, but you can forget what
a human is, what time is, what space is, and yet, retrospectively,
after coming back, you realize that despite having forgot everything,
you were still conscious, and you were still 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Johnathan Corgan
On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come back from
 such an experience, but it happens that with salvia divinorum, some subject
 can live the experience of quasi-total amnesia, where not only you forget
 which human you are, but you can forget what a human is, what time is, what
 space is, and yet, retrospectively, after coming back, you realize that
 despite having forgot everything, you were still conscious, and you were
 still considering you as a living entity of some sort.

 I've not had that experience, but I might try it.  I think though that even
 in such a state one must have some short-term (~second) memory to have a
 human kind of consciousness.  Obviously you now have memories of what it was
 like.  I have known people with severe Alzheimer's disease who seemed merely
 reactive and apparently had no memory, even short term.  I don't think they
 were as conscious as my dog or the fish in my pond.

Experience reports of Salvia Divinorum (or salvinorin A, it's chief
psychoactive compound) use in the literature contain many common
themes related to memory deficits, and represent a fascinating
uncontrolled study in the phenomenology of consciousness.  There are
of course many concurrent effects (visual and auditory hallucinations,
somatic sensations, distortions of body image, etc.) shared with other
hallucinogens, but the impact on memory seems unique.

At typical dose levels resulting from smoking the plant leaves or
fortified extracts of the plant leaves, many users later report that
they had forgotten they had taken a drug, and were confused (and often
terrified) about why they were experiencing what they were.  This is
reported as a sudden onset phenomena, not a gradual one, and is often
compared to the feeling of waking up in a strange place with no memory
of how one got there.  This suggests that one action of the drug is to
disrupt the last few minutes of episodic memory formation.  However,
these same reports also state that as the effect of the drug began to
peak and then wear off, usually in a matter of a few minutes, the
users suddenly recalled the events leading up to their intoxicated
state.  This then suggests that, at these doses, the drug only
disrupts access to recent episodic memory, but the memory is still
formed for later recall.  This is different from the form of permanent
memory loss that occurs in head injury cases where the victim cannot
ever recall the moments leading up to, say, a vehicle collision.

At higher doses, a common theme is that (along with the prior episodic
amnestic effects) the user reports having forgotten key fundamental
concepts like what being human is or what space is.  This sort of
semantic memory loss is difficult to imagine, but it is fascinating
that even under such extreme conditions, the user is experiencing a
stream-of-consciousness that can later be recalled.  Less frequently,
reports at higher doses describe feeling like all of my prior reality
was a joke being played on me, and I was experiencing the REAL
reality, and everything that happened before was just a construction
or movie set.

Some users go on to report even more bizarre cases where they report
having lived another lifetime somewhere else, and are shocked and
dismayed when the drug begins to wear off that it was all a dream,
and that this reality is the real one.  This sounds like a more
extreme version of our normal REM sleep, where when dreaming, one
doesn't usually realize one is dreaming, but sorts things out upon
awakening.

Compounding these impacts on memory are reports of changes in body
image and identity.  One recurring theme (that is shared with other
hallucinogens) is the feeling of merging with objects in one's
visual field.  This is reported as both incorporating the physical
object into one's body image and changing one's perspective to be that
of the object.  In one case, a user reported that I actually KNEW
what it was like to be a swing set, to live every day in the
playground and be happy when children were using me, and sad when the
park was closed.

Another unique aspect of the effects of salvinorin A is its extremely
short-lived activity.  Most reports seem to indicate that the smoked
form of the drug wears off in as little as 10-15 minutes, completely
returning the user to baseline in less than a half-hour.

All of this indicates that salvinorin A has potent but short-lived
effects on the brain systems involved in memory, identity, body image
and perception of time and space (along with a host of other effects
not discussed here).  Regardless of one's view on the use of these
substances to alter one's cognition, it seems there is a great
opportunity to study these effects to zero in on how these brain
systems are related to our subjective experience of reality.

Johnathan Corgan

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 04 Dec 2009, at 19:15, Brent Meeker wrote:

 Bruno Marchal wrote:



 Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the  
 physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers  
 addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to  
 tackle the identity problem why I am I, who am I really?, etc.   
 (cf soulcatcher☠ question)

 In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige  
 movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin  
 Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a total  
 amnesia, THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible  
 form of the computationalist immortality.

 That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all,  
 then I don't see how the construct we refer to as you can even be  
 identified.

The universal person. The virgin universal purpose computer, any  
interpreter. Today, unfortunately, when you buy a computer, it is  
already full of software which hides its universality. A universal  
machine is not a trivial object. Babbage did already see that it can  
eat its own tail.

Imagine sort of universal baby. It knows nothing, but can do  
everything (doable). It is infinitely intelligent and creative at the  
start. The hard things is to keep it that way.
It is not necessary for the reasoning, but there are sequence of  
thought experiences which can help you to figure out what is it like  
losing all memories. You are still someone because the 8 hypostases  
still exists, They hacve a first person point of view, and notions of  
observations, and even more, they are unobstructed by the non  
monotonical layers of logics that we need to survive when entangled in  
deep computational histories. This makes the disentanglement between  
laws and contingencies far more complex in practice.

Some believe in a singularity point where machine will be more clever  
than man. I think that that event has already occurred.
When you program a computer its souls may only fall, unless you  
manage it to stay universal.






 If you make the experience of remembering having been nothing less  
 and nothing more than a universal (Löbian) machine, you can know  
 (or imagine) that you are already immortal. You can live the  
 experience of being the static consciousness, out of time and  
 space, of the universal (digital) person, and intuit that time and  
 space are a construction of your mind. Some slow sleep (non REM)  
 dream state can lead to similar experiences, and I suspect that  
 Plato, Plotinus, Kant and Descartes (and probably many others)  
 lived things like that.

 I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come  
 back from such an experience, but it happens that with salvia  
 divinorum, some subject can live the experience of quasi-total  
 amnesia, where not only you forget which human you are, but you can  
 forget what a human is, what time is, what space is, and yet,  
 retrospectively, after coming back, you realize that despite having  
 forgot everything, you were still conscious, and you were still  
 considering you as a living entity of some sort.
 I've not had that experience, but I might try it.  I think though  
 that even in such a state one must have some short-term (~second)  
 memory to have a human kind of consciousness.



Some would say that the point consists in losing, for a short period,  
that human kind of consciousness.

With comp I argue that matter has to be the border of the mind, but  
nobody should take seriously the idea that it is the border of the  
human mind. That would be an anthropomorphic error. It is the geometry  
of the ignorance of all universal machine. The 'quest of truth' motor.
I interview the Löbian one only because they are more self-aware (they  
opinions obeys Bp - BBp) making them much more chatty.






 Obviously you now have memories of what it was like.  I have known  
 people with severe Alzheimer's disease who seemed merely reactive  
 and apparently had no memory, even short term.  I don't think they  
 were as conscious as my dog or the fish in my pond.

To judge the presence of consciousness is difficult. Recently, in  
France, after having been considered as being in a unconscious  
comatose state for 23 years, a woman, with the help of her family,   
has succeed to convince its doctors that she was as conscious than you  
and me. She was just highly paralyzed.

In a injured brain, pathologies can spread on many levels, and it is  
wise to say we can't even imagine how some pathologies are lived by  
the person. Experimenting with some psycho-active substance can put  
some light here, and raise some doubts there.

Bruno

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Brent Meeker
Bruno Marchal wrote:
 On 04 Dec 2009, at 19:15, Brent Meeker wrote:

   
 Bruno Marchal wrote:
 

 Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the  
 physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers  
 addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to  
 tackle the identity problem why I am I, who am I really?, etc.   
 (cf soulcatcher☠ question)

 In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige  
 movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin  
 Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a total  
 amnesia, THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible  
 form of the computationalist immortality.
   
 That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all,  
 then I don't see how the construct we refer to as you can even be  
 identified.
 

 The universal person. The virgin universal purpose computer, any  
 interpreter. Today, unfortunately, when you buy a computer, it is  
 already full of software which hides its universality. A universal  
 machine is not a trivial object. Babbage did already see that it can  
 eat its own tail.

 Imagine sort of universal baby. It knows nothing, but can do  
 everything (doable). It is infinitely intelligent and creative at the  
 start. The hard things is to keep it that way.
   

It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's 
nothing to me.  This is just another form of the everything universal 
acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're 
interested in must be in there somewhere.

 It is not necessary for the reasoning, but there are sequence of  
 thought experiences which can help you to figure out what is it like  
 losing all memories. 

I wasn't talking about losing all memories, but about not having 
memory, i.e. not only losing old memories, but also not forming any new 
memories.  A computer without memory can't compute.

 You are still someone because the 8 hypostases  
 still exists, They hacve a first person point of view, and notions of  
 observations, and even more, they are unobstructed by the non  
 monotonical layers of logics that we need to survive when entangled in  
 deep computational histories. This makes the disentanglement between  
 laws and contingencies far more complex in practice.

 Some believe in a singularity point where machine will be more clever  
 than man. I think that that event has already occurred.
 When you program a computer its souls may only fall, unless you  
 manage it to stay universal.





   
 If you make the experience of remembering having been nothing less  
 and nothing more than a universal (Löbian) machine, you can know  
 (or imagine) that you are already immortal. You can live the  
 experience of being the static consciousness, out of time and  
 space, of the universal (digital) person, and intuit that time and  
 space are a construction of your mind. Some slow sleep (non REM)  
 dream state can lead to similar experiences, and I suspect that  
 Plato, Plotinus, Kant and Descartes (and probably many others)  
 lived things like that.

 I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come  
 back from such an experience, but it happens that with salvia  
 divinorum, some subject can live the experience of quasi-total  
 amnesia, where not only you forget which human you are, but you can  
 forget what a human is, what time is, what space is, and yet,  
 retrospectively, after coming back, you realize that despite having  
 forgot everything, you were still conscious, and you were still  
 considering you as a living entity of some sort.
   
 I've not had that experience, but I might try it.  I think though  
 that even in such a state one must have some short-term (~second)  
 memory to have a human kind of consciousness.
 



 Some would say that the point consists in losing, for a short period,  
 that human kind of consciousness.
   

But without memory how would one know it had been lost or not?
 With comp I argue that matter has to be the border of the mind, but  
 nobody should take seriously the idea that it is the border of the  
 human mind. That would be an anthropomorphic error. It is the geometry  
 of the ignorance of all universal machine. The 'quest of truth' motor.
 I interview the Löbian one only because they are more self-aware (they  
 opinions obeys Bp - BBp) making them much more chatty.






   
 Obviously you now have memories of what it was like.  I have known  
 people with severe Alzheimer's disease who seemed merely reactive  
 and apparently had no memory, even short term.  I don't think they  
 were as conscious as my dog or the fish in my pond.
 

 To judge the presence of consciousness is difficult. Recently, in  
 France, after having been considered as being in a unconscious  
 comatose state for 23 years, a woman, with the help of her family,   
 has succeed to convince its 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Rex Allen
On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:30 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Bruno Marchal wrote:
 On 04 Dec 2009, at 19:15, Brent Meeker wrote:


 Bruno Marchal wrote:


 Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the
 physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers
 addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to
 tackle the identity problem why I am I, who am I really?, etc.
 (cf soulcatcher☠ question)

 In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige
 movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin
 Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a total
 amnesia, THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible
 form of the computationalist immortality.

 That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all,
 then I don't see how the construct we refer to as you can even be
 identified.


 The universal person. The virgin universal purpose computer, any
 interpreter. Today, unfortunately, when you buy a computer, it is
 already full of software which hides its universality. A universal
 machine is not a trivial object. Babbage did already see that it can
 eat its own tail.

 Imagine sort of universal baby. It knows nothing, but can do
 everything (doable). It is infinitely intelligent and creative at the
 start. The hard things is to keep it that way.


 It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's
 nothing to me.  This is just another form of the everything universal
 acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're
 interested in must be in there somewhere.

What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
explanation for that.  Right?

So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?

How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
zero.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Rex Allen
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:21 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Rex Allen wrote:
 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Science advances in small steps that often depend on technology.  I think
 the next 'hard' question that has some chance of being answered is, what
 information processes are necessary and sufficient  to produce human-like
 conscious behavior.


 Does the word conscious really fit there?  So there is the question
 of how to implement a physical system that can be interpreted as
 producing human-like behavior.

 And then there is the further question of whether the production of
 this behavior is accompanied by consciousness.

 I can configure physical systems in such a way that to me it
 represents something.  For instance I can write software to run on a
 physical computer that produces outputs that to me represent game
 characters or something.  With sufficiently clever software, I may
 interpret the outputs of the computer to be behavior that is more or
 less human-like.

 But my interpretation may be doing all the work here.  I may be
 deluding myself into believing that there is consciousness associated
 with the actions of the physical system I call a computer...when in
 fact there is no such thing there.  The appearance of conscious
 behavior in the computer could be an illusion.  Probably it would be.

 It could be that other people are not conscious too.

Indeed.  Certainly the people that I observe around me *seem* to me to
be conscious, but I don't know that they actually are, or if they even
exist outside of my perceptions of them.

But, it seems prudent to act as though they are conscious and do exist.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-04 Thread Brent Meeker
Rex Allen wrote:
 On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:30 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 On 04 Dec 2009, at 19:15, Brent Meeker wrote:


   
 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 
 Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the
 physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers
 addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to
 tackle the identity problem why I am I, who am I really?, etc.
 (cf soulcatcher☠ question)

 In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige
 movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin
 Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a total
 amnesia, THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible
 form of the computationalist immortality.

   
 That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all,
 then I don't see how the construct we refer to as you can even be
 identified.

 
 The universal person. The virgin universal purpose computer, any
 interpreter. Today, unfortunately, when you buy a computer, it is
 already full of software which hides its universality. A universal
 machine is not a trivial object. Babbage did already see that it can
 eat its own tail.

 Imagine sort of universal baby. It knows nothing, but can do
 everything (doable). It is infinitely intelligent and creative at the
 start. The hard things is to keep it that way.

   
 It is also infinitely ignorant and so long as it remains that way it's
 nothing to me.  This is just another form of the everything universal
 acid.  Just postulate an everything and then we know the something we're
 interested in must be in there somewhere.
 

 What is your alternative to the everything universal acid?  That
 things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
 explanation for that.  Right?
   

Exactly so.  It's just happened that way and Everything happens and 
so this happens too. are both equally useless.  Progress is only made 
when we can explain why this rather than that.
 So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
 narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
 involves big bangs and electrons.  But what caused the big bang?  Why
 do electrons have the particular properties that they have?  If you
 propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?

 How is that better than a narrative that allows for everything?
 They would seem to have equal explanatory power.  Which is to say:
 zero.
We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it 
may have happened which are testable.  Of course any explanation for the 
big bang and the origin of the universe will very likely allow that 
there are arbitrarily many other universes; otherwise the theory would 
have to include some unique constraint.  But that doesn't mean we gain 
anything by postulating those other universes in advance.  The 
multiverse, if we are to give it credence, must arise from theories that 
are supported by other evidence.

Brent

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 02 Dec 2009, at 14:16, soulcatcher☠ wrote:

 Hi all,
 every time I read about the anthropic reasoning in physics I can't
 help asking the more general question:
 Why I am I, not somebody else?
 Why I see through _this_ eyes, am confined to _this_ brain, was born
 in _this_ year, etc?
 This question seems to me of the same importance as the question why
 we live in _this_ universe, with _this_ physical laws?. Moreover, I
 have a deep feeling that both questions ultimately should have the
 same answer - I really don't see a difference between why my universe
 is this, not that and why me body/brain is this, not that questions
 ...
 So. what do you think - why you is _you_, not me or Elvis Presley or  
 whatever?


I agree with most answer already given. Consider the duplication  
Washington/Moscow. You are read (scanned) in Brussels, then  
annihilated, and reconstituted in both Moscow and Washington. Assuming  
we are digital machine makes that experiment possible in principle.  
But neither the you in Moscow, nor the you in Washington can  
understand why they are finding themselves in M or in W. From outside  
we can understand why the question is meaningless, and yet why the  
question has some meaning from the first person perspective. That  
reasoning shows that the computationalist hypothesis entails the  
existence of question like that, and that identity may be third person  
relative, despite being first person absolute.

Jason Resch wrote:
 Another more interesting question: How do you know you aren't also  
 perceiving those other people's perspectives too?  Obviously no  
 individual brain remembers the thoughts or experiences of the others  
 because there are no neural connections between them (like split  
 brain patients who develop two egos) but just because you don't  
 remember experiencing something doesn't mean you didn't experience it.


This raises the question of how many first person exists. I like the  
idea that the answer is one. We may be all the universal person  
appearing and reappearing like if we were already duplicated many  
times, which makes sense given that we come from the same amoeba. We  
are like a god who lost himself in his creation. I do think that we  
can learn to recognize ourself. This can help to develop an altruism  
based on some divine selfishness. I will not arm some other because  
I know it is really me, only put in some other context.  Computer  
science can help to make this clearer. Some drug can help to find such  
relativity of the ego more palatable.

soulcatcher☠ wrote:
 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com 
  wrote:
 If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
 to anything?

 That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
 subjective experiences would be very different.

I don't think it would. If Elvis wake up with both your body and  
memories, he will do what you are doing, without noticing *any*  
difference. To have access to such subjective difference you have to  
talk together, and the differences are relative, even if they seem  
(and are) absolute from your first person perspective. You may freely  
consider that such switches occur all the time. What makes you feeling  
that you are you and not someone else is the private experience of  
recollecting and unifying your connected memory.

soulcatcher☠ wrote:
 I always thought that my consciousness (and qualia, 1-st person
 experience) is by definition the perspective that I'm not only having
 right now but knowing that I'm having it (here I strongly agree with
 Damasio that consciousness is not separable from the knowing about the
 feeling). Therefore, by definition, I'm not perceiving those other
 people's perspectives - because If I perceived them, I would have
 known that, these perspectives would be not their but my perspective -
 but they are not. Moreover, this is the only thing that I'm sure about
 - cause my perspective is the one and the only perspective I know.
 Bruno Marchal said (and I really love this quote):  Any content of
 consciousness can be an illusion. Consciousness itself
 cannot, because without consciousness there is no more illusion at  
 all. 
 In the other words, I can say that my 1-st person perspective cannot
 be an illusion and, as the other people's perspectives aren't part of
 it, I'm sure that I'm not perceiving them...


Thanks for the quote. About quote, I like very much this one from  
Sri Aurobindo:

What, you ask, was the beginning of it all?

And it is this ...
Existence that multiplied itself
For sheer delight of being
And plunged into numberless trillions of forms
So that it might
Find
Itself
Innumerably

I think that knowledge is true belief (like Theaetetus), and this,  
when you do the math does indeed explain why knowledge obeys a  
different logic than belief.

May be you should not ask the question why I am I?, because,  
assuming comp at least, there is no 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread soulcatcher☠
x This raises the question of how many first person exists. I like the idea
 that the answer is one. We may be all the universal person appearing and
 reappearing like if we were already duplicated many times, which makes sense
 given that we come from the same amoeba. We are like a god who lost himself
 in his creation.

I like this answer though it kinda scares me)
Anyway, every time i think about the me/others asymmetry, I'm coming
to the same conclusion - maybe there is only one person and asymmetry
becomes a convenient symmetry ...
Ok, thank you all for answers, they definitely gave me some food for
thoughts, and let me rephrase my question more 'rigorously'.
==
Lets consider two hard questions - why do we live in THIS
universe? (1) and why am I me? (2).

(1) . Why do we live in THIS universe?

Here we got:
- string theory and anthropic reasoning present us with a landscape of
10^(10^N) universes that we can choose from.
- we've got some strong constraints on the result of the choice. The
choice can be random (or defined by some probability distribution on
the set of all possible universes), but we should live in the universe
compatible with our existence.

Conclusion: we can't answer 'hard' question 'Why physical laws are
described by string (M, F, whatever) theory, but we can at least ask
more 'soft' question - 'Why from the set of all possible universes
described by theory T the chosen one is this one. And this question
sounds scientific and it seems that it should be answered before we
can answer thr hard one.

(2). Why am I me?
Here we got nothing (?):
- what is a landscape here, a set of all possible mes? All the
people? All the people that ever lived and will ever live? All the
animals? All the conscious entities? And here we stuck cause we don't
know excatly what entity is conscious and what is not. Or, maybe the
set contains only ONE element (only one 1st person exists ...) and
there is no choice at all?
- what are constraints? What machine can 'host' me (conscious entity) ?

Sorry if my questions are naive, I'm new to all this stuff. Maybe we
should have a FAQ or wiki with naive but popular questions (what is
consciousness? what is information? is computation sufficient for
consciousness? What is the difference between reality and simulation?)
that are asked again and again by everyone who's starting to think
about TOE ...

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread soulcatcher☠
 Lets consider two hard questions - why do we live in THIS
 universe? (1) and why am I me? (2).

 (1) . Why do we live in THIS universe?

 Here we got:
 - string theory and anthropic reasoning present us with a landscape of
 10^(10^N) universes that we can choose from.
 - we've got some strong constraints on the result of the choice. The
 choice can be random (or defined by some probability distribution on
 the set of all possible universes), but we should live in the universe
 compatible with our existence.

 Conclusion: we can't answer 'hard' question 'Why physical laws are
 described by string (M, F, whatever) theory, but we can at least ask
 more 'soft' question - 'Why from the set of all possible universes
 described by theory T the chosen one is this one. And this question
 sounds scientific and it seems that it should be answered before we
 can answer thr hard one.

 (2). Why am I me?
 Here we got nothing (?):
 - what is a landscape here, a set of all possible mes? All the
 people? All the people that ever lived and will ever live? All the
 animals? All the conscious entities? And here we stuck cause we don't
 know excatly what entity is conscious and what is not. Or, maybe the
 set contains only ONE element (only one 1st person exists ...) and
 there is no choice at all?
 - what are constraints? What machine can 'host' me (conscious entity) ?


Sorry, I forgot the questions themselves:

1. Can we temporarily substitute the 'hard' question why am I me? by
the more 'soft' one,
like the question of choice in some 'level 3 tegmarkian multiverse' of
all possible mes ?

2. Can we reduce why am I me? to the question of choice on the some set?

3. What is the 'hardest' question that is still scientific? In other
words, that is the most rigorous reformulation of why I am me? that
could be asked and maybe even answered by modern science in the
nearest future?

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:
 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com 
 wrote:
 If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
 to anything?

 That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
 subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
 experiences are by definition private and ineffable (is it right?),
 that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
 Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...

OK, let's leave Elvis out of it since he is dead. Suppose you and I
switch places. What would change? To find out, I'll just wave my hands
in a special magical way and - poof! - it's done. You now have my mind
and body, while I have your mind and body. So really it isn't the
original me writing this, it is the original you, who only thinks he
is the original me since he has my mind and body; and over there it
isn't the original you reading this, but the original me who only
thinks he is the original you.

Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is some
metaphysical me and you that can be conceptualised as flitting
about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to me
absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 03 Dec 2009, at 13:38, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

 2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:
 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com 
  wrote:
 If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that  
 make
 to anything?

 That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
 subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
 experiences are by definition private and ineffable (is it right?),
 that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
 Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...

 OK, let's leave Elvis out of it since he is dead. Suppose you and I
 switch places. What would change? To find out, I'll just wave my hands
 in a special magical way and - poof! - it's done. You now have my mind
 and body, while I have your mind and body. So really it isn't the
 original me writing this, it is the original you, who only thinks he
 is the original me since he has my mind and body; and over there it
 isn't the original you reading this, but the original me who only
 thinks he is the original you.

 Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is some
 metaphysical me and you that can be conceptualised as flitting
 about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to me
 absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.



Apparently it did not work. I am bruno marchal now!

Please swish again!

:)






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 Stathis Papaioannou

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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread soulcatcher☠
 Apparently it did not work. I am bruno marchal now!

 Please swish again!

 :)

No! I am Bruno Marchal! Pliz get me out of here :)

 Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is some
 metaphysical me and you that can be conceptualised as flitting
 about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to me
 absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.

OK, I see your point. My answer implied the existence of an immaterial
agent that could be somehow embedded and reincarnated in different
brains and I accept that this is wrong.

But now I am almost completely lost - what do we mean by switching,
if we got nothing to switch? Do you trying to make me see that the
question about switching has no sense? Does it implies that what I am
me? is incorrect and shouldn't be asked too?

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 03 Dec 2009, at 12:12, soulcatcher☠ wrote:

 x This raises the question of how many first person exists. I like  
 the idea
 that the answer is one. We may be all the universal person  
 appearing and
 reappearing like if we were already duplicated many times, which  
 makes sense
 given that we come from the same amoeba. We are like a god who lost  
 himself
 in his creation.

 I like this answer though it kinda scares me)
 Anyway, every time i think about the me/others asymmetry, I'm coming
 to the same conclusion - maybe there is only one person and asymmetry
 becomes a convenient symmetry ...
 Ok, thank you all for answers, they definitely gave me some food for
 thoughts, and let me rephrase my question more 'rigorously'.
 ==
 Lets consider two hard questions - why do we live in THIS
 universe? (1) and why am I me? (2).

 (1) . Why do we live in THIS universe?


The notion of THIS universe, or even THIS body makes no sense  
(assuming digital mechanism).
It is just that some computations exist arithmetically. The idea that  
such computations, which we bet we share, defined eventually some  
unique multiverse or universe is open. But it can define unique  
physical laws





 Here we got:
 - string theory and anthropic reasoning present us with a landscape of
 10^(10^N) universes that we can choose from.
 - we've got some strong constraints on the result of the choice. The
 choice can be random (or defined by some probability distribution on
 the set of all possible universes), but we should live in the universe
 compatible with our existence.


The problem is why string theory?
Are you physicalist?
If I am correct, physicalism is incompatible with digital mechanism.  
Mechanists have to extract the laws of physics from the laws of  
computations, in the mathematical sense of Post, Turing, Church,  
Kleene, Markov.




 Conclusion: we can't answer 'hard' question 'Why physical laws are
 described by string (M, F, whatever) theory,


Wrong. We can already explain why the laws of physics have to be non  
boolean, non intuitionist, verify abstract symmetries (in the case we  
accept Theatetus theories of sensation/belief/knowledge, and their  
arithmetical interpretation).

If we are digital machine, then the extraction of physics from number  
is an exercise in mathematical logic and computer science. Apparently.



 but we can at least ask
 more 'soft' question - 'Why from the set of all possible universes
 described by theory T the chosen one is this one.

Have you read Everett? There are already physicists who describe  
reality as a flux of information which differentiate in many  
histories, sometimes recombining by amnesia, etc.




 And this question
 sounds scientific and it seems that it should be answered before we
 can answer thr hard one.

I think it is the contrary. We can explain where the physical laws  
come from. We cannot explain the geography, nor any contingencies,  
like I am I and You are You.




 (2). Why am I me?
 Here we got nothing (?):
 - what is a landscape here, a set of all possible mes? All the
 people? All the people that ever lived and will ever live? All the
 animals? All the conscious entities? And here we stuck cause we don't
 know excatly what entity is conscious and what is not. Or, maybe the
 set contains only ONE element (only one 1st person exists ...) and
 there is no choice at all?
 - what are constraints? What machine can 'host' me (conscious  
 entity) ?

If you are willing to assume digital mechanism, the simplest  
explanation is this one. There is only the number zero, and its  
successors, and the usual laws of addition and multiplication. This  
defines a complex web of relations between all possible universal  
machine. Those machine can eventually understand and predict that they  
cannot know which universal machine they are, and that below their  
computationalist level of substitution, there is in a precise  
mathematical sense, a sort of competition between all universal  
machines.

The elementary arithmetic we learn in high school is enough complex to  
support a natural very complex video game. A sort of natural matrix,  
which has a very big redundancy giving sense, hopefully, to relatively  
stable histories. It can be a bit of scary, but we are already  
multiplied, in some sense, and differentiate through a *partial*  
control relatively to our most probable local universal computation  
type.




 Sorry if my questions are naive, I'm new to all this stuff. Maybe we
 should have a FAQ or wiki with naive but popular questions (what is
 consciousness? what is information? is computation sufficient for
 consciousness? What is the difference between reality and simulation?)
 that are asked again and again by everyone who's starting to think
 about TOE ...

If the mechanist hypothesis is true, it can explain why we cannot know  
that truth. In particular science will never say that comp is true.   
But we may 

Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Brent Meeker




soulcatcher wrote:

  On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 4:59 AM, Jason Resch jasonre...@gmail.com wrote:
  
  
Hi soulcatcher,
Good question, it is something I thought about too, then I realized I am me
because it was this brain in my skull asking that question. I created the
attached image to help illustrate my point. If each person asks that
question "why am I me?" another way of phrasing their question is "Why am I
seeing the universe from this perspective and not someone else's?" If you
follow the thought bubbles in the picture you see it leads to a head which
is connected to a specific pair of eyes, it would only be natural that the
individual isolated brains only remember seeing from one person's
perspective, and just as natural for them to be curious about that fact.
However when looked at from this perspective the answer seems quite
obvious.

  
  
It's definitely not obvious for me )
If I understand you right, you're trying to answer the question from
3-d person view, but I really don't see how subjective 1-st person
experience could emerge from (or be reduced to) 3-d person description
of this experience. I'm comfortable with the thought that other people
aren't zombies and ask the same questions as I do, but I still don't
understand why I'm having this 1-st person experience but not that.

  


  
Another more interesting question: How do you know you aren't also
perceiving those other people's perspectives too? Obviously no individual
brain remembers the thoughts or experiences of the others because there are
no neural connections between them (like split brain patients who develop
two egos) but just because you don't remember experiencing something doesn't
mean you didn't experience it.

  
  
I always thought that my consciousness (and qualia, 1-st person
experience) is by definition the perspective that I'm not only having
right now but knowing that I'm having it (here I strongly agree with
Damasio that consciousness is not separable from the knowing about the
feeling). Therefore, by definition, I'm not perceiving those other
people's perspectives - because If I perceived them, I would have
known that, these perspectives would be not their but my perspective -
but they are not. Moreover, this is the only thing that I'm sure about
- cause my perspective is the one and the only perspective I know.
Bruno Marchal said (and I really love this quote):  "Any content of
consciousness can be an illusion. Consciousness itself
cannot, because without consciousness there is no more illusion at all. "
In the other words, I can say that my 1-st person perspective cannot
be an illusion and, as the other people's perspectives aren't part of
it, I'm sure that I'm not perceiving them...


The "illusion" is not the perspective; it's the "I".

Brent






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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Brent Meeker




soulcatcher wrote:

  
Lets consider two "hard" questions - "why do we live in THIS
universe?" (1) and "why am I me?" (2).

(1) . Why do we live in THIS universe?

Here we got:
- string theory and anthropic reasoning present us with a landscape of
10^(10^N) universes that we can choose from.
- we've got some strong constraints on the result of the choice. The
choice can be random (or defined by some probability distribution on
the set of all possible universes), but we should live in the universe
compatible with our existence.

Conclusion: we can't answer 'hard' question 'Why physical laws are
described by string (M, F, whatever) theory, but we can at least ask
more 'soft' question - 'Why from the set of all possible universes
described by theory T the chosen one is this one". And this question
sounds scientific and it seems that it should be answered before we
can answer thr hard one.

(2). Why am I me?
Here we got nothing (?):
- what is a "landscape" here, a set of all possible mes? All the
people? All the people that ever lived and will ever live? All the
animals? All the conscious entities? And here we stuck cause we don't
know excatly what entity is conscious and what is not. Or, maybe the
set contains only ONE element (only one 1st person exists ...) and
there is no choice at all?
- what are constraints? What machine can 'host' me (conscious entity) ?


  
  
Sorry, I forgot the questions themselves:

1. Can we temporarily substitute the 'hard' question "why am I me?" by
the more 'soft' one,
like the question of choice in some 'level 3 tegmarkian multiverse' of
all possible mes ?

2. Can we reduce "why am I me?" to the question of choice on the some set?

3. What is the 'hardest' question that is still scientific? In other
words, that is the most rigorous reformulation of "why I am me?" that
could be asked and maybe even answered by modern science in the
nearest future?

  

Science advances in small steps that often depend on technology. I
think the next 'hard' question that has some chance of being answered
is, what information processes are necessary and sufficient to produce
human-like conscious behavior.

Brent 
One cannot guess the real difficulties of a problem before having
solved it."
 --- Carl Ludwig Siegel





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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Brent Meeker




Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

  2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:
  
  
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:


  If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
to anything?
  

That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
experiences are by definition "private and ineffable" (is it right?),
that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...

  
  
OK, let's leave Elvis out of it since he is dead. Suppose you and I
switch places. What would change? To find out, I'll just wave my hands
in a special magical way and - poof! - it's done. You now have my mind
and body, while I have your mind and body. So really it isn't the
original me writing this, it is the original you, who only thinks he
is the original me since he has my mind and body; and over there it
isn't the original you reading this, but the original me who only
thinks he is the original you.

Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is some
metaphysical "me" and "you" that can be conceptualised as flitting
about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to me
absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.


  

Exactly.  It is the magical "I" that is swapped.

Brent





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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Rex Allen
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Science advances in small steps that often depend on technology.  I think
 the next 'hard' question that has some chance of being answered is, what
 information processes are necessary and sufficient  to produce human-like
 conscious behavior.

Does the word conscious really fit there?  So there is the question
of how to implement a physical system that can be interpreted as
producing human-like behavior.

And then there is the further question of whether the production of
this behavior is accompanied by consciousness.

I can configure physical systems in such a way that to me it
represents something.  For instance I can write software to run on a
physical computer that produces outputs that to me represent game
characters or something.  With sufficiently clever software, I may
interpret the outputs of the computer to be behavior that is more or
less human-like.

But my interpretation may be doing all the work here.  I may be
deluding myself into believing that there is consciousness associated
with the actions of the physical system I call a computer...when in
fact there is no such thing there.  The appearance of conscious
behavior in the computer could be an illusion.  Probably it would be.

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Brent Meeker
Rex Allen wrote:
 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Science advances in small steps that often depend on technology.  I think
 the next 'hard' question that has some chance of being answered is, what
 information processes are necessary and sufficient  to produce human-like
 conscious behavior.
 

 Does the word conscious really fit there?  So there is the question
 of how to implement a physical system that can be interpreted as
 producing human-like behavior.

 And then there is the further question of whether the production of
 this behavior is accompanied by consciousness.

 I can configure physical systems in such a way that to me it
 represents something.  For instance I can write software to run on a
 physical computer that produces outputs that to me represent game
 characters or something.  With sufficiently clever software, I may
 interpret the outputs of the computer to be behavior that is more or
 less human-like.

 But my interpretation may be doing all the work here.  I may be
 deluding myself into believing that there is consciousness associated
 with the actions of the physical system I call a computer...when in
 fact there is no such thing there.  The appearance of conscious
 behavior in the computer could be an illusion.  Probably it would be.
It could be that other people are not conscious too.

Brent

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Bruno Marchal

On 03 Dec 2009, at 19:56, Brent Meeker wrote:

 Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

 2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:

 On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com 
  wrote:

 If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that  
 make
 to anything?

 That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
 subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
 experiences are by definition private and ineffable (is it  
 right?),
 that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
 Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...


 OK, let's leave Elvis out of it since he is dead. Suppose you and I
 switch places. What would change? To find out, I'll just wave my  
 hands
 in a special magical way and - poof! - it's done. You now have my  
 mind
 and body, while I have your mind and body. So really it isn't the
 original me writing this, it is the original you, who only thinks he
 is the original me since he has my mind and body; and over there it
 isn't the original you reading this, but the original me who only
 thinks he is the original you.

 Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is  
 some
 metaphysical me and you that can be conceptualised as flitting
 about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to  
 me
 absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.



 Exactly.  It is the magical I that is swapped.


That I is magical. It is like swapping both the mind (or 1-I) and  
the body (or 3-I).
Eventually this is the reason why absolute sample of the observer  
moment does not work, and we need relative self self-sampling. Which  
neither with QM (without collapse) or just digital mechanism is  
obvious to derive.

The mind can swap its body for brain or another, or survive through a  
digital back-up. Rigt?
This mean the notion of I still make sense. Both the 1-I, and the 3- 
I makes sense, it is the link between them which is magical, and  
made harder to figure out than people usually believe, like with the  
identity thesis, physical supervenience, etc.

Now, when you see that people have some difficulty to understand  
thought experience without amnesia, thought experience with amnesia  
are perhaps premature. I am not sure. It depends on your familiarity  
with such kind of thought.

Bruno


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



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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-03 Thread Brent Meeker




Bruno Marchal wrote:

  
  On 03 Dec 2009, at 19:56, Brent Meeker wrote:
  
  
 Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

  2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:
  
  
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:


  If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
to anything?
  

That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
experiences are by definition "private and ineffable" (is it right?),
that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...

  
  
OK, let's leave Elvis out of it since he is dead. Suppose you and I
switch places. What would change? To find out, I'll just wave my hands
in a special magical way and - poof! - it's done. You now have my mind
and body, while I have your mind and body. So really it isn't the
original me writing this, it is the original you, who only thinks he
is the original me since he has my mind and body; and over there it
isn't the original you reading this, but the original me who only
thinks he is the original you.

Do you see the problem in the above exchange? It assumes there is some
metaphysical "me" and "you" that can be conceptualised as flitting
about from one body and mind to another. But such a notion seems to me
absurd, meaningless, worse than wrong.


  

Exactly.  It is the magical "I" that is swapped.

  
  
  
  
  
  That "I" is magical. It is like swapping both the mind (or 1-I)
and the body (or 3-I).
  Eventually this is the reason why absolute sample of the
observer moment does not work, and we need relative self self-sampling.
Which neither with QM (without collapse) or just digital mechanism is
obvious to derive.
  
  
  The mind can swap its body for brain or another
  

??  You mean "or brain"?


  
  , or survive through a digital back-up. Rigt?
  This mean the notion of "I" still make sense. 
  

But it doesn't make sense to swap two minds and their bodies
(i.e. perspectives).  That's just interchanging positions and isn't
generally thought to affect who is who - although read Stanislau Lem's
"The Star Diaries".  And if you suppose the mind is embodied in the
brain or digital machine then swapping minds with Stathis implies
swapping the essential aspects of the brain or machine.


  
  Both the 1-I, and the 3-I makes sense, it is the link between
them which is "magical", and made harder to figure out than people
usually believe, like with the identity thesis, physical supervenience,
etc.
  
  
  Now, when you see that people have some difficulty to understand
thought experience without amnesia, thought experience with amnesia are
perhaps premature. I am not sure. It depends on your familiarity with
such kind of thought.
  


I'm not sure what "thought experience with amnesia" is, but taken
rigorously it sounds impossible.

Brent 


  
  
  
  Bruno
  
  
  
  
  
   
  
  http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
  
  
  
  
  
  
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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-02 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
2009/12/3 soulcatcher☠ soulcatche...@gmail.com:
 Hi all,
 every time I read about the anthropic reasoning in physics I can't
 help asking the more general question:
 Why I am I, not somebody else?
 Why I see through _this_ eyes, am confined to _this_ brain, was born
 in _this_ year, etc?
 This question seems to me of the same importance as the question why
 we live in _this_ universe, with _this_ physical laws?. Moreover, I
 have a deep feeling that both questions ultimately should have the
 same answer - I really don't see a difference between why my universe
 is this, not that and why me body/brain is this, not that questions
 ...
 So. what do you think - why you is _you_, not me or Elvis Presley or whatever?

If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
to anything?

-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-02 Thread benjayk


soulcatcher-2 wrote:
 
 Hi all,
 every time I read about the anthropic reasoning in physics I can't
 help asking the more general question:
 Why I am I, not somebody else?
 Why I see through _this_ eyes, am confined to _this_ brain, was born
 in _this_ year, etc?
 This question seems to me of the same importance as the question why
 we live in _this_ universe, with _this_ physical laws?. Moreover, I
 have a deep feeling that both questions ultimately should have the
 same answer - I really don't see a difference between why my universe
 is this, not that and why me body/brain is this, not that questions
 ...
 So. what do you think - why you is _you_, not me or Elvis Presley or
 whatever?
 

Hi soulcatcher-2,

maybe there is no communicable reason for you being you - words and concepts
can only point to the reason, not be the reason. You are you, because you
are free to be you. And freedom is wonderful, isn't it - so why should
anybody ask for a reason that is more graspable (except because of the bad
habit of craving to explanations of the mind/intellect). Can there be a
better, more convincing reason for you than the opportunity for endless
love, fun and development (all of which do not take place in the intellect)?

I thought about a reason for me (being me and still changing) really hard
and I found that searching an explanation in the mind will lead you nowhere
(except to deeply depressive thoughts); though i still try it all too often.
Satisfying explanations can only be found in your heart.

Sorry, if this doesn't satisfy you right now... ;)

Benny
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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-02 Thread soulcatcher☠
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Stathis Papaioannou stath...@gmail.com wrote:
 If you were Elvis and Elvis were you, what difference would that make
 to anything?

That would make a huge difference for me and Elvis - my (and his)
subjective experiences would be very different. And, as these
experiences are by definition private and ineffable (is it right?),
that would make no difference for anything but me and Elvis.
Sorry, maybe I just don't understand your question ...

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Re: Why I am I?

2009-12-02 Thread soulcatcher☠
On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 4:59 AM, Jason Resch jasonre...@gmail.com wrote:
 Hi soulcatcher,
 Good question, it is something I thought about too, then I realized I am me
 because it was this brain in my skull asking that question.  I created the
 attached image to help illustrate my point.  If each person asks that
 question why am I me? another way of phrasing their question is Why am I
 seeing the universe from this perspective and not someone else's?  If you
 follow the thought bubbles in the picture you see it leads to a head which
 is connected to a specific pair of eyes, it would only be natural that the
 individual isolated brains only remember seeing from one person's
 perspective, and just as natural for them to be curious about that fact.
  However when looked at from this perspective the answer seems quite
 obvious.

It's definitely not obvious for me )
If I understand you right, you're trying to answer the question from
3-d person view, but I really don't see how subjective 1-st person
experience could emerge from (or be reduced to) 3-d person description
of this experience. I'm comfortable with the thought that other people
aren't zombies and ask the same questions as I do, but I still don't
understand why I'm having this 1-st person experience but not that.

 Another more interesting question: How do you know you aren't also
 perceiving those other people's perspectives too?  Obviously no individual
 brain remembers the thoughts or experiences of the others because there are
 no neural connections between them (like split brain patients who develop
 two egos) but just because you don't remember experiencing something doesn't
 mean you didn't experience it.

I always thought that my consciousness (and qualia, 1-st person
experience) is by definition the perspective that I'm not only having
right now but knowing that I'm having it (here I strongly agree with
Damasio that consciousness is not separable from the knowing about the
feeling). Therefore, by definition, I'm not perceiving those other
people's perspectives - because If I perceived them, I would have
known that, these perspectives would be not their but my perspective -
but they are not. Moreover, this is the only thing that I'm sure about
- cause my perspective is the one and the only perspective I know.
Bruno Marchal said (and I really love this quote):  Any content of
consciousness can be an illusion. Consciousness itself
cannot, because without consciousness there is no more illusion at all. 
In the other words, I can say that my 1-st person perspective cannot
be an illusion and, as the other people's perspectives aren't part of
it, I'm sure that I'm not perceiving them...

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