Re: The Game of Life

From: Fred Chen <>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 00:17:18 -0800

Marchal wrote (in response to Russell Standish):

> >This touches on a philosophical conundrum I have. Like Bruno, I too
> >attribute conciousness to some animals. eg a number of dogs I know
> >seem to be concious at an intuitive level. As the previous discussion
> >followed, conciousness appears to be reflexive in some manner, even if
> >indirectly.
> >
> >My problem is with the Anthropic principle. If conciousness is all
> >that is needed to "instantiate" an interesting universe, then why do
> >we even understand what the anthropic principle is? Presumably dogs do
> >not wonder why the universe has the form it does. Why do we?
> >
> >There has to be some good reason why the reference class must be
> >human-like, i.e. able to understand philosophical issues such as the
> >anthropic principle.
> There are no good reasons, I think, to take human-like reference
> class in 'scientific' (let us say) matter. And I do not.
> I appreciate the Anthropic Principle though. I am convinced of the
> benefit of weak Anthropic-like reasoning.
> Actually you touch my principal motivation for substituting the
> human observer by the machine observer.
> A lot of reasoning can be done with the more vague 'Self-Aware
> Substructure', (which does not need to be a machine) but as you know I
> give a special role to the SRC UTM. (SRC = Self Referentially
> Correct).
> Why animals does not wonder why the universe has the form it does?
> I think that animals are SRC in some sense (after all living animals
> did succeed the "evolution test"). But animals lack some degree
> of introspectiveness. Animals knows but does not know they know.
> When you simulate throwing a piece of wood in front of a dog, the
> dog can show some sense of astonishment though.
> But religions and fundamental sciences begin with astonishment
> in front of the banal, when you stop taking for granted the very
> nature of the apparantly obvious. This need higher introspective
> power, and higher communication means, for exemple to remember
> and talk about dreams.
> Look at Smullyan's description() of advancing stages of
> self-awareness page 89 (either in the hard or paperback edition).
> Human-like interrogations begin perhaps with the Smullyan's stage 4
> where the 'reasoner' is able to know that it knows.
> More on that modal stuff later ...
> Regards,
> Bruno
> () Raymond Smullyan : FOREVER UNDECIDED
> Hardback: 1987, Alfred A. KNOPF, New York.
> Paperback: 1988, Oxford University Press.

Animals can display signs of self-awareness and consciousness. They do not
possess all the mental faculties that humans have that we may take for
granted. For example, as mentioned by Bruno, introspection and
inquisitiveness. But the hard evidence for being human lies in written and
symbolic language and the ability to generate permanent records using this
language. Most animals are physically incapable of writing, e.g.,
quadrupeds. A substitute for written language could be a very good memory
capacity for communication by sound (oral language). The limitation of oral
language is that it is inherently one-dimensional, while written or
symbolic language is two-dimensional. Both written language and sufficient
memory capacity for oral language probably require highly evolved brains.
Written language also leads to the concept of laws.

An appreciation of the Anthropic Principle by an SAS requires the SAS
possesses, in addition to introspection and inquisitiveness, a sense of
laws governing the world. This would entail that the SAS should have
something equivalent to written language ability. With these abilities, it
would be natural for the SAS to ask why the laws are the way they are, etc.

Received on Mon Jan 10 2000 - 00:21:31 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:06 PST