RE: Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Jef Allbright <>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 09:19:57 -0800

Thanks Bruno. Much of your terminology at this point escapes me.

I do see that a small part of our differences below are simply due to the imprecision of language (and my somewhat sloppy writing.)

I also sense that at the core of much of this discussion is the idea that, although we are subjective agents, we do create objective effects within any practical context. If I intend to swat a fly, my sensing of the fly's position is incomplete and contingent and my motor control is subject to error, but I act, and the fly is "objectively" dead, within any reasonable degree of certainty. I find that the concept of "context" is essential at all levels and extends in the Godelian sense that we are fundamentally limited to operating within a limited but expanding context.

Perhaps your terminology states this more elegantly, I can't tell.

Time for me to go do some reading from your site.

- Jef

Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Hi Jef,
> Please, don't hesitate to skip the remarks you could find a
> bit too technical, but which could help others who know
> perhaps a bit more on G and G*, which are theories which I
> use to tackle many questions in this list. You can come back
> on those remarks if ever you got time and motivation to do so.
> Le 28-déc.-06, à 21:14, Jef Allbright a écrit :
> >
> > Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >
> >>> Although we all share the illusion of a direct and
> immediate sense
> >>> of consciousness, on what basis can you claim that it actually is
> >>> real?
> >> Because we cannot doubt it. It is the real message, imo, of
> >> Descartes "diagonal argument": it is the fixed point of
> doubt. If we
> >> decide to doubt everything, we will find ourselves, at some stage,
> >> doubting we doubt of everything. The same for relativization: we
> >> cannot relativize everything without an absolute base on
> which that
> >> relativization is effective.
> >
> > Here is a subtle, and non-traditional thought:
> >
> > Classical philosophy always put the Reasoner at the center of the
> > structure of reasoning. But with our more developed awareness of
> > evolution, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, it
> is becoming
> > clearer that this pure "Copernican" view of reasoning is
> invalid. We
> > now can see that every Reasoner is embedded within some a priori
> > framework such that there is an intrinsic bias or offset to any
> > subjective construct. When we are aware that there is fundamental
> > bias, it is clear that one can not validly reason to the point of
> > doubting everything.
> All this makes sense to me. I can interpret your terms in the
> (post-godelian) mechanist theory of mind/matter. The "bias"
> is given by our "body" itself, or our "godel number" or any
> "correct" 3-person description of ourselves (like the
> artificial digital body proposed by the digital
> computationalist doctor).
> > When all that is in doubt is removed, we don't arrive at zero as is
> > classically thought,
> ... before Godel & Co. Classical philosophy is different
> before and after Turing, Post, Church, Godel, Markov,
> Uspenski, Kolmogorov, etc.
> > but at some indistinct offset determined
> > by our very nature as a reasoner embedded in a real environment.
> Here there is a technical problem because there is just no "real
> environment"; but it could be easily resolved by replacing "real
> environment" by "relatively most probable computational histories".
> This is more coherent with both the comp hyp and quantum mechanics.
> > Understanding this eliminates the pressure to deal with conceptual
> > identities leading to meaningless absolutes.
> I am not sure which "meaningless absolutes" you refer too. In
> the comp
> theory many simple truth can be considered as absolute and indeed
> communicably so (like arithmetical truth, piece of set theoretical
> truth, ...). Also the first person (which admit some precise
> definition) is related to some absolutes.
> >
> > This understanding also helps resolve other philosophical
> "paradoxes"
> > such as solipsism, meaning of life, free-will and others
> hinging on the
> > idea of a subjective center.
> Hmmm here I think you are a bit quick. But I have no problem
> with many
> philosophical paradoxes, although the theory solves them with
> different
> degree of quality. "Free-will" is due in part to the
> availability, for
> enough rich universal machine, of its "ignorance space". Somehow I am
> free to choose going to the movie or to the theater because
> ... I don't
> know what I want .... Once I know what I want, I remain free in the
> sense of being self-determinate about my (future) action.
> For the modalist: The 3-description of that difference space is given
> by G* (truth about the self-referential ability of the machine) and G
> (what the machine can prove about its self-referential
> ability). But G*
> minus G admit modal variants, so that the ignorance space, like the
> whole of arithmetical truth differentiates with the change of
> point of
> view. This indeed shed light on many paradoxes (and, BTW, can also be
> used to show invalid many reasonings in cognitive computer science).
> >
> >> If you want (like David
> >> and George) consciousness is our criteria of "absolute
> >> (but not 3-communicable) truth". I don't think we can
> >> genuinely doubt we are conscious, although we can doubt
> >> on any content of that consciousness, but that is different.
> >> We can doubt having been conscious in some past, but we
> cannot doubt
> >> being conscious here and now, whatever that means.
> > <...>
> >> The "truth" here bears on the existence of the experience,
> and has
> >> nothing to do with anything which could be reported by the
> >> experiencer.
> >
> > On this basis I understand your point, and as long as we are very
> > careful about conveying which particular meaning of "knowing",
> > "certainty", and "truth" we are referring to, then there
> will be little
> > confusion.
> OK.
> > But such dual usage leaves us at risk of our thinking
> > repeatedly falling into the singularity of the self, from
> which there's
> > no objective (and thus workable) basis for any claim.
> Here I disagree. The only risk I see, is the confusion between the
> 3-self (grosso modo my body or body description) and the
> 1-self (which
> *from his view* has no body at all, nor any description).
> This is a difficult point. G* proves that the 1-self and the
> 3-self are
> the same (extensionally: they have the same 3-behavior, same body,
> etc.). But G* proves also that G does not prove that equivalence so
> that from the first person view of the machine, those views are quite
> distinct and in particular they obey different logic. Simplifying a
> bit: the 3-view = classical logic, the 1-view = intuitionistic logic,
> the 1-plural view = quantum logic).
> > My personal experience is that there's no paradox at all if one is
> > willing to fully accept that within any framework of
> description there
> > is absolutely no difference at all between a person and a zombie,
> Should we send our children in jail when they torture their
> dolls? I am
> afraid you are using your own G* as it was a G, making the confusion
> described above. Sorry for analysing your comment in my "theoretical
> terms". I am NOT pretending the theory is correct, but in the worst
> case it can help as a sort of etalon for classifying other approaches.
> > but
> > even the most philosophically cognizant, being evolved
> human organisms,
> > will snap back to defending the existence of a 1st person
> point of view
> > even though it isn't detectable or measurable and has absolutely no
> > effect on the physical world.
> Of course (for the long-time reader of the list, albeit soundly
> skeptical) I believe (assuming comp) the contrary: what we call
> "physical world" should eventually be explained in term of sheaf of
> cohering machine dreams. the "cohering" factor makes possible to glue
> together those dreams making us believe in a local physical reality,
> but that reality emerge from *all* machine dreams
> (1-plural-computations).
> > It is virtually impossible for many people to see that even
> IF the 1st
> > person experience actually exists, it can't be described,
> even by that
> > person,
> Good intuition (with respect to the comp hyp.) This is even
> provable by
> the machine itself (in the form: If I am consistent then the first
> person cannot be described in any third person way by myself).
> > except from a third person perspective.
> Only trough a guess, I insist.
> > That voice in your own
> > mind, those images in your imagination, none can be said to be
> > experienced without being interpreted.
> OK.
> > The idea of direct experience is
> > incoherent.
> Well, some inputs needs less internal processing than others. Some
> experiences are "more direct" than others. In any case, conscious
> experience most probably needs some non trivial self-reflecting
> processing and are not "direct". There are many "universal
> machine" in
> a brain, dynamically mirroring each others.
> > It always carries the implication that there's some other
> > process there to have the experience. It's turtles all the
> way down.
> It is here that theoretical computer science can provide
> fixed points,
> i.e. definite solution for infinite regress. The key idea for
> self-reference can be technically approached through diagonalization
> procedure. As illustration you get self-reproduction by applying a
> duplicator on itself: if for all x, Dx gives xx, then DD gives DD.
> >
> > The essence of Buddhist training is to accept this non-existence of
> > Self
> > at a deep level. It is very rare, but not impossible to
> achieve such
> > an
> > understanding, and while still experiencing the illusion,
> to see it as
> > an illusion, with no actual boundary to distinguish an imagined self
> > from the rest of nature. I think that a machine intelligence, while
> > requiring a model of self, would have no need of this
> illusion which is
> > a result of our evolutionary development.
> I am not sure about that. Once the machine has a "model" of itself,
> there is part of itself which will be interpreted correctly as
> "perceptive fields" in the company of measurable but incommunicable
> intensities, and this can provide natural candidates for qualia.
> Some "local self" can be illusory, but some enlarged global
> self could
> be "correct illusion", i.e. stable and consistent lawful "illusion"
> with respect to its most probable (set of) computational histories.
> I don't think this is "completely programmable", but it is partially
> programmable by some formula like "help yourself", and so I
> could agree
> this necessitate "evolutionary development". Those developments could
> be necessary long (thus deep in Bennett sense for those who have read
> Bennett). Again, in that sense, I agree with you. But such long
> computation generates our "bio-physics". Physics is "secondary" with
> respect to the set of all possible computations (cf Church thesis).
> Bruno
> >

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Received on Fri Dec 29 2006 - 12:20:08 PST

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