Re: The Anthropic Principle Boundary Conditions

From: <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 00:40:23 EDT

In a message dated 06/05/2000 7:18:47 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

> >Saying that consciousness is emergent from computationalism
> > is a third person statement. (Use the Turing Test for example as an
> >experimental check for human-like behavior)
> Well ... Right, but I'm not sure the turing test will help, here.
> >
> >Saying that (physical) computationalism is (anthropically) emergent from
> >consciousness is a first person statement. I am referring here to the
> >that the world is rational -- seems to be simulatable on a computer.
> I'm not sure at all. (I'm not sure this is sufficiently precise to
> explain why I feel like disagreeing ...).

Yes, you are right, I am not precise... read on below, I'll try to explain

> George Levy wrote:
> >First the name itself "observer-moment" presupposes the concept of time.
> >implies a infinitesimally thin slice of space-time with dt-> 0. (i.e.,
> >moment). I find it difficult to believe that such an entity could be the
> >"atom" of cognition. I rather work out with a slice in logical space than
> >slice in space-time. By slice in logical space, I mean a slice involving
> >single elementary logical process. In this respect I am leaning toward
> >approach advanced by Bruno, that physics should be a branch of psychology.
> So the problem here is to define what is a "single elementary logical
> process"
> without using space-time like concept.
> You should perhaps mention that the "psychology" aspect will come from
> the fact that the "slices" in logical space are different according to the
> point of view of the observer (1 or 3 or 1-plural point of views ...).
> Bruno

I agree to a very large extent with you Bruno. We are almost on the same
wavelength. I just want to push a little further the concept of first and
third person because I believe that every observer DOES NOT have the same

Psychology (the self) filters our perspective of the plenitude and give rise
to Physics. This is a restatement or corollary of the Anthropic Principle.
In this case, the boundary condition for the causal chain is Psychology, and
the end results is Physics. This is clearly a first person perspective. In my
terminology I use frame of reference because as I said above, I do no assume
that all first persons have the same "psychology."

Perhaps your use of 1st person plural is the lumping together of several
observers, assuming their psychology to be identical, in an attempt to
salvage objective reality. So according to my terminology they would have the
same frame of reference, and they could then talk about a SEMBLANCE of
objectivity since their observations would coincide. In general this is not
necessarily the case.

On the other hand, maybe I do not understand your 1st person plural.

Using a different boundary condition we could also say that Physics is the
foundation of Psychology. In this case we use a conventional forward causal
chain as is well know in science, according to which the boundary condition
is the "objective" physical processes and the end point is psychology. This
is the third person perspective.

Note the vicious circle. Starting with Psychology (first person) we derive
Physics (Third person). Then moving our frame of reference to Physics (third
person), we derive Psychology (First Person). And so on. This maybe one of
the things that James was frustrated about.

The question is which perspective is more fundamental? A lot of the
discussion in this group has centered around this issue.

If we start with a third person point of view, we are faced with the
mind-body problem. How does consciousness arise out of inanimate matter (and
computations). We are forced to make two assumptions:
1) There is an objective world
2) Consciousness does arise from processes occurring in this objective world.
(I think this is the Computationalism assumption)
This is kind of the reverse cartesian deduction ( [the world is, therefore] I
am therefore I think) Physics -> Psychology

If we start with the first person point of view, we tackle the mind-body from
the beginning as an observation/assumption: "I think." We then follow through
with the forward cartesian deduction: (I think therefore, I am, [therefore
the world is..]) Psychology -> Physics. This approach is simpler than the
previous one because it does not make any assumption about the physical world.

Received on Mon Jun 05 2000 - 21:42:55 PDT

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