Re: Dreams and Machines

From: Rex Allen <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 03:08:35 -0400

On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 8:38 PM, David Nyman<> wrote:
> In COMP, the 'mechanism and language of dreams' is
> posited to be those elements of the number realm and its operators
> that are deemed necessary to instantiate a 'universal TM' (i.e. one
> that - assuming CT to be true - is capable of computing any computable
> function).

So it occurs to me to ask: do abstract concepts other than numbers
also exist in a platonic sense?

What about "red", for example? Does the concept of red exist in a way
that is similar to the concept of "3"?

So if I write a computer program that deals with colors, red might be
represented by the hex number 0xff000000. The hex number itself is
represented in memory by a sequence of 32 bits. Each bit is
physically represented by some electrons and atoms in a microchip
being in some specific state.

But ultimately what is being represented is the idea of "red". So in
this particular example, does this not make "red" a more fundamental
concept than the number that is used to represent it in the computer
program? Is not "red" the MOST fundamental concept in this scenario?

So the typical materialist view is that we are in some way made from
atoms, though they don't usually go so far as to say that we ARE those
atoms. Rather we are the information that is stored by virtue of the
atoms being in a particular configuration. The "actually existing"
atoms of our body form a vessel for our information, and thus for our
consciousness. But in their view, we exist only because the atoms
exist. When the vessel is destroyed, so are we. The atoms are
fundamental, our consciousness is derivative.

But taking a more platonic view, abstract concepts also exist. And if
this is so, could we not just as well say that our conscious
subjective experience is formed from particular configurations of
these platonically existing abstract concepts?

In this view, these abstract concepts stand in specific relations to
one another, like symbols on a map, representing the layout (the
landscape) of a particular moment of consciousness.

And such subjective conscious experiences would include (but are not
limited to) those that lead us to mistakenly infer the actual
existence of an external world whose fundamental constituents are
electrons and atoms and photons and all the rest.

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Received on Fri Jul 17 2009 - 03:08:35 PDT

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