RE: Decision theory

From: Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 01:32:04 -0800

Hi James,

>I do not find 'mind' as objectionable as 'spirit' but that is simply
> because
>I am prejudiced. When it comes down to it, I am not a dualist - I do not
>admit that there are two kinds of thing - mind and non-mind. Mind is a
>label we give to matter when it behaves in a certain way.

I don't want insist about that, I guess it would be premature.
But if you agree that consciousness is a mind feature, it will be a
nonsense to say it is a label for "behaving matter".
I do prefer seeing matter, or appearance of matter, as a label given by a
mind (a self-referentially correct program relatively to his more
probable computationnal histories).

You are saying somewhere that you like OCCAM's razor. I think you are
using it in a very shy way ! More on this later.
When you say :

>Our feeling of free will is just that - a feeling. It need not be based on

I agree the feeling of free will is a feeling, but I think it is based on
something objective. For exemple, by the fact that consistent machines
can infer that they cannot known which machines they are. See also below.
The feeling there is an objective universe is also a feeling.
I don't understand why a feeling should not be based on something.

> You (Jacques Bailhache) say:
> About predetermination, can we consider that everything is written
>like in a
>book ? This book should be infinite, but could we still call it a book ?
>What we call it is up to us. You can call it an infinite book. I call it

... and there is no problem with the feeling of free will, because if we
look in the book for our futur, then we discover a lot (all) descriptions
of possible futurs.

>How can 'measure' possibly have any meaning in an infinite universe. What
>is 50% of infinity? Exactly.

Measure theory has been invented for infinite sets. In most cases it is
defined via an integral (Riemann or Lebegue). Look at any continuous
observable is quantum mechanics. See again the (indeed very nice) book by
Li and Vitanyi. Note that you have the same problem with the measuring of
the quantity of milk in some volume.

>Could you refer me to Schmidhuber ?

I have find it in the quant-ph. See the attach postscript document. I
discover Schmidhuber recently in this very discussion ! (Sorry for those
who have it, just put it in the trash).

>If you would like the english version of your thesis proof-read at some
>stage, I would be happy to do so.

Thank you very much. I am not sure I will find the time to translate my
thesis. I will first try to write a new english paper. I will send it to
Actually I would be pleased to find someone for the translation of my
thesis. If you have suggestion ...


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Received on Mon Jan 18 1999 - 01:32:05 PST

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