Re: Can mind be a computation if physics is fundamental?

From: Colin Hales <>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 10:42:48 +1000

Quentin Anciaux wrote:
> 2009/8/12 Colin Hales <>:
>> My motivation to kill COMP is purely aimed at bring a halt to the delusion
>> of the AGI community that Turing-computing will ever create a mind. They are
>> throwing away $millions based on a false belief. Their expectations need to
>> be scientifically defined for a change. I have no particular interest in
>> disturbing any belief systems here except insofar as they contribute to the
>> delusion that COMP is true.
>> 'nuff said. This is another minor battle in an ongoing campaign. :-)
>> Colin
> You want so much COMP to be false that you've forget in the way that
> your argument is flawed from the start... You start with, AI can't do
> science to conclude that... tada... AI can't do science. It's absurd.
> Quentin
It is a 'reductio ad absudum' argument.

My argument /does not start with AI can't do science/.

It starts with the simple posit that if /COMP is true/ then all
differences between a COMP world (AC) and the natural world (NC) should
be zero under all circumstances and the AC/NC distinction would be
false. That is the natural result of unconditional universality of COMP yes?


This posit is /not/ an assumption that AC cannot be a scientist.

The rationale is that if I can find one and only one circumstance
consistent/sustaining that difference, then the posit of the universal
truth of COMP is falsified. The AC/NC distinction is upheld:
I looked and found one place where the difference is viable, a
difference that only goes away if you project a human viewpoint into the
'artificial scientist' ( i.e. valid only by additional
assumptions).....that position is that the NC artificial scientist
cannot ever debate COMP as an option. _Not because it can't construct
the statements of debate, but because it will never be able to detect a
world in which COMP is false, because in that world the informal systems
involved can fake all evidence_ and lead the COMP scientist by the nose
anywhere they want. If the real world is a place where informal systems
exist, those informal systems can subvert/fake all COMP statements, no
matter what they are and the COMP scientist will never know. It can be
100% right, think it's right and actually not be connected to the actual
reality of it. A world in which COMP is false can never verify that it
is. Do not confuse this 'ability to be fooled' with an inability to
formulate statements which deal with inconsistency.

The place where we get an informal system is in the human brain, which
can 'symbolically cohere and explore' any/all formal systems. I
specifically chose the human brain of a scientist, the workings of which
were used to generate the 'law of nature' running the artificial (COMP)
scientist (who must also be convinced COMP is true in order to bother at
all!). I can see how, as a human, I could 100% fake the apparent world
that the COMP entity examines COMP-ly and it will never know. (The same
way that a brilliant virtual reality could 100% fool a human and we'd
never know. A virtual reality that fools us humans is not necessarily
made of computation either. )

I am not saying humans are magical. I am saying that humans do /not/
operate formally like COMP.... and that '/formally handling
inconsistency/' is not the same thing as '/delivering inconsistency by
being an informal/ /system/'. BTW I mean informal in the Godellian
sense...simultaneous inconsistency and incompleteness.

This is a highly self referential situation. Resist the temptation to
assume that a COMP/NC scientist construction of statements capturing
inconsistency is equivalent to dealing the intrinsic inconsistency of
the human brain kind. Also reject the notion that the brain is computing
of the COMP (Turing) type. This is not the case.

You might also be interested in
*Bringsjord, S. 1999. The Zombie Attack on the Computational Conception
of Mind. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research LIX:41-69.*
....He ends with....."/In the end, then, the zombie attack proves
lethal: computationalism is dead./"

It's a formal modal logic argument to the same end as mine.... in the
end, they are actually the same argument. It's just not obvious. I like
mine better because it has the Godellian approach. The informality issue
has some elaboration here:
*Cabanero, L. L. and Small, C. G. 2009. Intentionality and
Computationalism: A Diagonal Argument. Mind and Matter 7:81-90.*
Also here:
*Fetzer, J. H. 2001. Computers and Cognition: Why Minds are Not Machines
Kluwer Academic Publishers.*

I am hoping that between these and a few others, the issue is sealed. I
know it'll take a while for the true believers to come around. It's not
such a big deal ... except when $$$ + wasted time promulgates bad
science and magical thinking in the form of a kind a 'fashion
preference' based on presumptions that the natural world is obliged to
operate according to human-constructed 'isms.

If I look at the natural world and it tells me COMP is true then I will
use that stance scientifically.
If I look at the natural world and it tells me COMP is false then I will
use that stance scientifically.

I have no desire for one or the other. I desire merely truth, as best I
can assemble it, scientifically.

I hope this sorts it out. I am done for now. Stuff to do. If anyone
wants the cited papers email me offlist.


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Received on Thu Aug 13 2009 - 10:42:48 PDT

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