Re: Emotions (was: Indeterminism

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 12:37:18 +0200

Le 27-juil.-06, à 03:21, David Nyman a écrit :

>> Mmmmhh.... This sounds a little bit too much idealist for me. Numbers
>> exist with some logic-mathematical priority, and then self-intimacy
>> should emerge from many complex relations among numbers. Also, the
>> many
>> universes (both with comp and/or the quantum) contains some complex
>> giant universes without any self-awareness in it (like a "parallele
>> world with different constant so that the complexity of histories are
>> bounded.
> As is regrettably normal in this area, we are having (as you
> suspected) terminological difficulties.

Thanks for you kind attempt to be clearer. I'm afraid we are not just
having terminological difficulties, but then this what make a
conversation or a discussion interesting. I cc it to the everything
list because your theory is close to the one advocated sometimes by
George Levy, who seems to like the idea that "reality" is ultimately
first person, which does not really work once we assume comp.

> I don't think I'm helping the
> situation by using different formulations to try to convey the same
> meaning, since none of them are altogether satisfactory (as you will
> see from the dialogue with Peter Jones). I think I will abandon
> 'self-intimacy' in this context and substitute 'first person', with
> the following restricted sense:
> 1. I claim, motivated by conceptual economy, that 'first person' is
> the fundamental ontological situation. That is: the context or field
> of everything that exists is inherently a first person context or
> field.

Even if that was the case, do you agree that the "scientific discourse"
has to be a third person discourse?
 From this some scientist infer that we cannot even talk on the first
person issue in a scientific manner: they are just making a common
category error. Nothing prevent us of choosing some definition of first
person, and then communicating about it in a first person way.
Now, of course two scientists wanting to communicate have to agree on
some common third person describable base.
With respect to this my "axioms" are
1) There exists a level of description of myself (whatever really
describes me) such that I can survive--or "experience no
changes"---when a digital functional substitution is made at that
level. I sum up this by "yes doctor". The "comp practitioners" says
"yes" to his/her doctor when this one proposes an artificial digital
2) Church thesis (all universal machine compute the same functions from
N to N). I need it just to make the expression "digital" clear enough.
3) Arithmetical realism: it means that proposition like "5 is divisible
by 4" is true or false independently of me. Of course 5 is a name for
the number of vertical stroke in "|||||", and 4 is a name for the
number of stroke in "||||".

perhaps we will agree, because the first person (and the first person
plural) plays a major role in the building of the physical world. But
numbers are more fundamental. I will (try to) explain you in this post
or in another one, how the first person (with her qualia, feeling,
suffering, joy, and all that) emerges necessarily and unavoidably from
number theoretical relations once we take the comp hyp sufficiently

> 2. I have referred to first person as 'a global feature of reality',
> but IMO it's not logically coherent to describe it as a 'property', as
> it isn't something superadded to an already existing situation.

I totally agree. this is a key point. And this is what is cute with the
comp hyp (and some of my results there): although I give a completely
transparent third person definition of the notion of first person, it
will appear that machines cannot even give a name to "its" first
person. The reason is a generalization of Tarski theorem which shows
that no correct machine can even name its own "truth predicate".
Strictly speaking "truth" is not even a predicate for the machine, nor
is the "first person" attached to the machine nameable by the machine.

> It's
> really an equivalence to 'existence'. That is: whatever exists, is
> already potentially 'somebody'. Reality is inherently first personal.
> That's why find ourselves here (or anywhere else in MW of course).

This does not really make sense for me. Nevertheless, if you are
patient enough to follow some reasoning I propose (see my url), it
should even be clear why first persons can believe what you say, but
comp makes it wrong at some level.

> 3. Structure arises through whatever processes within the first person
> field (this is the subject matter of QM, MW and comp, not to speak of
> chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, etc.). Some of this
> structure differentiates 'mini first persons', bounded within
> 'perceiver/ perception dyads'. This is what putatively gives rise to
> 'phenomenal consciousness' - structures with the 'efficacy' to
> differentiate the experiential field into a characteristicly dense
> informational coherence. The structure within the 'perceiver'
> component of such dyadic structures is not directly perceptible to the
> perceiver. What is outside this component is perceptible in terms of
> a model that is energetically/ informationally connected to, and
> co-varies with, 'external' structure.

I agree. the situation is like this. You seem to think that
"3-realities" are build by first persons. I believe in the 3-reality of
numbers, and the persons emerges from that. To sum it up a little bit
poetically: God creates the natural numbers, and then God cannot
prevent the dreaming of natural numbers, and realities (including
physics as first person plural realities).

> 4. All such structure has 'third person' status for the perceiver
> (i.e. 'not self', though apparently paradoxically, as the perceiver's
> 'model of the world', it exists within his personal experiential
> field), but this is a function of point-of-view. You are third person
> from my point-of-view, and vice versa, but such mutual relativity
> clearly shouldn't alter our fundamental first person status, or that
> of everything else. This is a bit like Kant's 'ding an sich', I
> suppose. I'm saying that the 'ding' is personal, and the 'big ding'
> is differentiated into many 'mini-dings'. 'Third person' is the view
> from a 'mini ding'. But, when contemplating the whole, there is no
> place else to stand. The whole is wholly first personal.

Which whole? The apparently material one? Then OK. But not the deepest
one, which is just given by arithmetic, with comp.
At first sight you could make this move: postulate that numbers
themselves are construction of some first person. But with comp numbers
have to be primitive if only to define the notion of (mathematical)
machine which are needed to define the notions of person point of view.

>> All right. It is a common point between Plato, Plotinus and comp: the
>> "ultimate reality/ONE" is distinct from the realities which exist
>> relatively to the observers' possible states. It exist but cannot be
>> even just named or described from inside. Aristotelian are forced to
>> give it a name. That is a fatal error assuming comp.
>>> However I consider this an egregiously
>>> unecessary hypothesis that therefore must succumb to Occam.
>> You will be lead to dualism, which has some trouble with Occam too.
>> (Or
>> I miss something ...)
> It is precisely dualism that I'm rejecting. What I'm saying is that
> if we accept what is manifest - that we find ourselves here as first
> persons, 'intimate' with ourselves - the most economical hypothesis is
> that the context within which we arise is intrinsically personal.

Not necessarily and comp provides a counter-example. It leads (but does
not assume) to a form of Pythagorism: all there is are numbers together
with their additive and multiplicative structure. This is very
economical in the sense that if you don't postulate this, it can be
shown you cannot recover it (cf the failure of Hilbertian logicism).
Then the many persons and their many worlds arise from those number
theoretical relations from internal consistent views. (and this in a
testable and partially tested way).
You see my position the comp axioms leads to a form of what
philosophers of mind call "neutral monism".

<snip: I largely agree modulo the proviso above>

> I must make a clearer distinction between a cyborg and a zombie. A
> zombie, in the terms I have always understood it, is stipulated to
> be an exact duplicate of a human which, notwithstanding this, is
> 'unconscious'. The zombie was dreamed up to illustrate the 'problem
> of other minds' or 'how do I know you are conscious?' Chalmers uses
> him to illustrate the 'hard problem' - because I can 'conceive' of the
> zombie having the exact same physical/ mental architecture as me, but
> nevertheless it not being 'like anything' to be the zombie, ...

All right ...

> this ergo
> shows that consciousness is 'something extra' - a dualistic 'spirit'
> haunting the 'zombie' world.

Not necessarily. But as monist we have to justify the appearance of

> I claim that consciousness' isn't 'something extra'. Everything
> exists within a first person context, and hence no zombie can survive
> instantiation in reality.
> If he has the same structure as we do, he
> has the same experience.

OK. (Same structure at the correct substitution level or below is
enough with comp).

> The 'conceivability' of the zombie IMO
> arises from the all-too-easy conceptual error of forgetting that, to
> 'exist' a third-person description must refer to a structure
> instantiated in the universal first person context - i.e. be
> 'grounded' in personal reality.
> So, hopefully, now it is clearer that the cyborg as a real 'physical'
> structure is as inherently first person as we are, ready and waiting
> to be a 'somebody'. But the next question is - what is the content of
> his first person field? What I have claimed is that if his 'mind' is
> a virtual computational one, executed by a syntactical process, then
> the structures this gives rise to do not display the constructive
> invariances necessary for phenomenal consciousness - any more than
> ours do when deeply asleep or dead.

This I don't understand. You seem again to privilege a physical level
which makes no sense ... at this stage.

>> OK (as far as you are not taking 'comfort' as a 'truth criterium').
> As if!

Careful with wishful thinking.


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Received on Fri Jul 28 2006 - 06:39:24 PDT

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