Re: Bruno's argument

From: John M <>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 20:52:42 -0400

the entire discussion is too much for me, I pick some remarks of yours and
ask only about them. I am glad to see that others are also struggling to
find better and more fitting words...
(I search for better fitting concepts as well to be expressed by those
better fitting wods).
You wrote:
>... *the rest of the universe that is not 'us' behave in a way with respect
>to us that we label 'physical'...<
Do I sense a separation "us" versus the 'rest of the universe'?
I figure it is not a relation between "them" (the rest of the universe) and
"us" (what is this? God's children?) especially after your preceding
> *whatever the universe is we are part of it, made of it, not separably 'in
> it'.<
I am looking for distinctive features which help us 'feel' as ourselves in
the total and universal interconnectedness. The "closeness" (interrelation?)
vs a more remote connectivity.
The 'self', which I do not expropriate for us.
I have no idea about 'physical', it reflects our age-old ways of observing
whatever was observable with that poor epistemic cognitive inventory our
ancestors used reducing mindset, observation and explanation to their models
(level of the era).

Then again is the 'as - if' really a computation as in our today's
vocabulary? Or, if you insist (and Bruno as well, that it IS) is it
conceivable as our digital process, that embryonic first approach, or we
may hope to understand later on a higher level (I have no better word for
it): the analog computation of qualia and meaning? Certainly not the Turing
or Church ways and not on Intel etc. processors.

John M

----- Original Message -----
From: "Colin Geoffrey Hales" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: Bruno's argument

>> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>> Well, I think I have a better understanding now of the ideas leading me
> to start this thread - thanks to Bruno, Quentin and the other
>>> contributors. Moreover, I am leaning towards fundamentally changing my
> views on the implementation problem: if computationalism is true, then
> it doesn't seem to make much sense to say that computations are
> implemented as a result of physical processes, even if a separate
> physical reality did exist. It may yet be the case that consciousness
> is
>>> only the result of special physical processes, perhaps brains and
> digital computers but not rocks or the mere existence of computations
> as
>>> mathematical objects, but then this would entail giving up
>>> computationalism. Putting constraints on which computations contribute
> to the measure of consciousness, as I understood Jesse Mazer's
>>> suggestion to be, may also be true, but it is debatable whether this
> preserves computationalism either.
>>> Stathis Papaioannou
>> There is a very impoertant difference between "computations do
>> not require a physical basis" and "computations do not
>> require any *particular* physical basis" (ie computations can be physical
>> implemented by a wide variety of systems)
> The distractions of language in this are so subtle. The word 'physical' is
> so laden with preconceived notions. I wish I could think of a better word
> but I can't. Perhaps a better way of couching it would help:
> *whatever the universe is we are part of it, made of it, not separably 'in
> it'.
> *the rest of the universe that is not 'us' behave in a way with respect to
> us that we label 'physical'
> *the entire thing could be called a computational domain but based on
> computing done with 'objects' that are nothing like the idea of number we
> are used to. A particular 'number' in our universe could be
> colin.brain.cell.molecule.atom.proton.quark.a.s.d.f........etc. There need
> be no 'next' or 'previous' number in the sense we are used to - that comes
> from our thinking. The number is actually an organisational hierarchy
> only.
> Pick up a pencil, hold it. Say to yourself "The universe has computed a
> pencil".
> These numbers interact with each other according to whatever is
> computationally adjacent (this has nothing to do with space or what we
> would call physically can be what it looks like when you
> are in it).. for example 'adding' three of these (above) numbers involves
> creating the right context of adjacency and voila... a 'proton' (plus some
> remainder rubbish which can go away and do something else...) Basically
> the gigantic cellular automata.
> The computations done with these 'numbers' is what we are. For the sake of
> a name call the numbers 'entropy numbers'.
> What we can do is arrange this 'intrinsic computation with entropy
> numbers' to behave 'as-if' idealised numbers existed and obey rules
> according to the idealised domain of those numbers, if it actually existed
> (presumably in the legendary platonia). Nowhere in any of this 'as-if'
> computation does any of the structural 'entropy numbers' have any clue as
> to what it is doing. The manipuluated 'symbols' are just patterns in the
> adjacency of the numbers.
> Imagine this huge cellular automata - a computation performed by simple
> adjacency of entities in an organisational hierarchy - the numbers in it
> that represent the organisation of me and you is what we call matter. As
> computation it is actually derived from an axiomatic initial conditions
> and a set of logical rules, forming a massively parallel calculus.
> if 'number a' (a cell in the CA) is matter it is a proof in this calculus
> if 'number b' (a cell in the CA) is matter it is a proof in this calculus
> then what is the status within the CA the 'difference' between two cells
> in the CA? The difference has been computed just as exquisitely
> accurately, but no computational proof exists in the sense that a and b
> were proven. It is 'as if' the computation was performed...but it was not
> actually performed. Therefore if a is matter, b is matter, then (a_to_b)
> is 'as-if' matter - virtual matter.
> You can see this in any of the CAs Stephen Wolfram's book. Each cell is
> actually computed. The _difference_ between any two cells is not computed
> explicity but is as perfectly proven. These are godellian unproven truths
> in their squintillions.
> Now ask yourself the one question Stephen Wolfram didn'k himself:
> Q. "Under what conditions can it be like something to 'be' an object in a
> CA?"
> A. When the object in the CA behaves 'as-if' it is interacting with some
> other part of the CA.
> Under these circumstances the unproven truths - the virtual matter
> riddling the CA can be used to paint a computational picture of any other
> part of the CA. The trick is that the numbers in the CA have to do it...
> no act as-if'.
> But the machine that does the 'as-if' symbolic computation throws away all
> the virtual matter in the process of manipulating symbols only meaningful
> to a third person...
> does this smake any sense? It seems really obvious to me!
> Colin Hales
> >
> --
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Received on Thu Jul 27 2006 - 20:54:54 PDT

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