Re: Dreams and Machines

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 17:55:25 +0200

On 17 Jul 2009, at 09:08, Rex Allen wrote:

> 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.

I am OK with all this. It has to be like this if we take the comp hyp
(this is not trivial).
It remains to explain the relative stability of that illusion. How and
why some dreams glue, in a way sufficiently precise for making
predictions about them. Computer science provides hints.


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Received on Sat Jul 18 2009 - 17:55:25 PDT

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