Re: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 16:23:16 +0100

Le 04-déc.-06, à 08:34, Tom Caylor wrote :
> The existence of a personal God who is not silent answers the questions
> in a way that an impersonal god or reality does not...
I certainly have a methodological problem with such an idea. This is
due to my motivation in the subject. I am searching an explanation of
what is a person, so assuming the existence of a person (any person,
godlike or not) seems to me to beg the question.
The same reason explains why I don't assume a physical reality. This is
because I'm interested in understanding where physical realities or
their appearances comes from.
As a "wanting to be a scientist in those matter" I have to be agnostic
at the start, if only methodologically.
Note also that the major critics by the neoplatonists on Aristotle,
besides their diverging opinions on the nature of matter, is the
non-person character of the big unnameable, but then for Plotinus the
"second God" (the second primary hypostase is "personal"), and indeed
G* has a personal aspect from the point of view of the machine. I agree
(comp agree) with Plotinus that the big first cannot be a person. The
second one can. To be sure Plotinus is not always completely clear on
that point (especially on his chapter on free-will).
> Numbers are impersonal.
You say so. Assuming comp we already have to accept that numbers can
have personal features. Worst, by Godel &Co. Numbers cannot not have
personal (indexical) features relatively to each others. (cf the Wi and
the Fi).
> An impersonal origin results in everything
> finally being equal.
Why? This reminds me Smullyan describing two possible reactions of a
human in front of the comp hyp:
1) The human does not trust himself and believes that machine are
stupid at the start. His reaction about comp is: "I am machine thus I
am as stupid as a machine".
2) The human trust himself: his reaction with the comp hyp is "Cute, it
means machine can be as nice as me".
> Only an infinite personal God is big enough to
> produce personality.
Even just applying Theaetetus' standard definition of the knower to the
godel-lob predicate of provability gives rise to a genuine knower which
is right in its non belief that he is a machine. (I have not said that
he believes he is not a machine, I am just saying that he does not
believe being a machine. careful because such a nuance is often
> Impersonal+complexity does not produce personal.
I would like to see a proof of that statement. The comp first person
seems to me to be a counterexample, unless you assume at the start the
negation of comp (and weaker-comp).
> This is the problem Plato had. He knew that you need absolutes in
> order to have meaning. Plato's gods weren't big enough to be the point
> of reference needed to define a person. The gods and fates were
> continuously fighting one another.
You are right, but Plato did not know about Church thesis, or
> I know you get some nice relative
> forms, G*/G and all that. But in the end it is all meaningless.
You are quite quick here. Why would machine's beliefs and hopes be
> As
> Satre pointed out, no finite point has any meaning without an infinite
> reference point.
I totally agree with Sartre's point here. Church thesis is exactly what
gives an absolute infinite reference point.
> But this is all a relative faith, which ends up being faith in faith
> in...(?) When talking about ultimate questions, a relative faith
> doesn't do. When your life is on the line, an impersonal structure
> just doesn't do.
This could be a reason for hoping, not for accepting a personal being
*as an explanation*. Cautious: wishful thinking.
> I don't want to commit my future to a machine.
Me too. But I do it when I take a plane, car, train, lift, etc.
I can imagine that tomorrow some people will accept an artificial brain
just for being able to pray their God a little longer ...
In another post you said:
> Everything that there is is there. But this is the ultimate in begging
> the question. The question remains, why is everything (I see) there?
> Why do I exist?
We have to accept something, if only because we cannot explain prime
numbers without accepting the numbers, then comp explains why numbers
talk like if they were sensible person, like if they were not numbers,
like if they believe in a physical reality and beyond.
And above all, G* explains why those beliefs are correct.
I can indeed sum up a part of the interview by: machine will correctly
discover their unnameable self and G* will correctly prove that such a
self is not a machine from the first and third person point of view.
> Relative truth is ultimately useless when it comes to the end of my
> life.
I agree with you. It is really the discovery of Church thesis, which
introduces a lot of "absoluteness" in math (Godel found this
miraculous) that I have begin to take "mathematicalism" seriously.
> I would paraphrase Brent Meeker and ask, "Why does 'blind' have to be
> the
> default?"
If "non blindness" is introduced as an hypothesis, it will prevent at
the start any possible impersonal (blind) explanation of "vision". Like
putting consciousness in the neuron for explaining consciousness in the
brain: this does not explain consciousness. Not only this does not
explain consciousness, but it makes the search of an explanation almost
> My response to Bruno addresses the assumption of
> impersonality.
I'm not convinced. The assumption of a personal God, like the
assumption of an impersonal physical universe, explains nothing. Imo.
It explains neither mind nor matter, nor ... God.
Now, I have much more evidence---empirical and theoretical--- for a
(probably impersonal and immaterial) God, than for a primitive
impersonal physical universe, which I take to be a locally useful FAPP
superstition which does not resist reflection and introspection, as I
try to illustrate with machine's introspection.
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Received on Mon Dec 04 2006 - 10:24:33 PST

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