Re: The role of logic, & planning ...

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 09:59:56 +1000 (EST)

Ah! You mean the problem of consciousness (or more exactly, the problem
of having a theory of conscsiousness). Yes - I'm well aware of this
problem, and unlike some, I don't believe it is a non-problem.

In Occam's razor, I don't just ignore this problem, I sweep it under
the rug. At some stage I have said "Theories of Consciousness have
bogged down in a quagmire". I think I must have just said it, as I
cannot find it written in any publications. Perhaps I want to distance
myself somewhat from the mud-slinging going on.

The approach in Occam is an axiomatic one (actually that's a little
formal for I actually do). Without providing a theory, or even a
definition of what consciousness is, in the paper I assume 3
propositions to be true about consciousness:

i) It is capable of universal computation (in order to interpret)
ii) It experiences time (in order to compute)
iii) It "projects" out actual events from the set of potential events.

To support the last point, I rely on the Kolmogorov axioms of
probability, which further require (some) results from set theory.

Now those are my explicit assumptions. One can criticse my work on 3

i) My conclusions do not follow logically from this basis
ii) That there are additional hidden assumptions needed, that I've not made
clear or precise
iii) That one or more of the above assumptions are false

So far all criticisms of my work of been of category iii) - i.e. James
Higgo and Jacques Mallah, and then principally on the time
assumption. I've find these criticisms to be ineffective, since it
seems to me as a member of homo sapiens, observationally these
propositions are true of our species.

I'm am therefore, far more interested in errors of logic or
omission. It would seem that you would develop a criticism along the
lines of ii) - hidden assumptions, however I've yet to see these spelt
out (or perhaps they have, just I haven't understood it because of
language barriers).

Incidently, there is one development of the theory - I believe the
arguments in "Occam" still work if one weakens proposition 1) to
"equivalence classing" (as expounded in "On Complexity and
Emergence). The resulting prior measure, and complexity measure differ
from the universal computing case, but not in any important detail.

The reason I say this is that while homo sapiens is capable of
universal computation, it is not its primary modus operandi, hence I
would be surprised if the prior distribution of descriptions was given
by a universal computer.


Marchal wrote:
> Russell Standish wrote:
> >> I still believe my general remarks apply to your "why Occam's razor".
> >> (I reprint it and I will reread it once I have more time).
> >> You put to much for me in the hypothesis. Like all physicists you seem
> >> not to be aware of the mind body problem.
> >
> >You are right! What is the mind-body problem?
> I appreciate your frankness!
> Note that I consider sometimes the UDA as a mean to explain that the
> mind-body problem is NOT solved automaticaly by COMP (as most materialist
> believes).
> The formulation of the mind body problem is dependent of the philosophy
> you believe in.
> Well, if you believe in a "causal material world", and if you believe
> in mental sensations and volitions, then the mind-body problem is just
> the search for an explanation of the link between that causal material
> world and these mental (subjective, first person) sensations and
> volitions.
> A neurophysiologist poetical version is "how can grey matter produces
> feeling of color". Another one is "how can just firing of neurons produces
> feeling of joy or of pain". Etc.
> An idealist (immaterialist) philosopher must explain the belief in matter.
> A materialist must explain the belief in beliefs.
> A cartesian dualist must explain the link between matter and belief (or
> feeling of belief).
> Some scientist dismiss it as a non scientific problem. It is easy to
> show that this dismiss is itself not scientific.
> Our culture is used to put the mind-body problem in religious matter.
> You can consider the UDA as a reduction of the mind body problem into
> the problem of the origin of (the belief in) physical laws.
> And you can see my UTM interview as a solution of the mind body problem
> (!).
> The qualia (internal immediate feelings) appears naturaly thanks to
> incompleteness, or, more precisely, thanks to the difference between
> Z1 and Z1* (which itself is inherited from the gap between G and G*).
> More on this latter.
> Bruno

Dr. Russell Standish Director
High Performance Computing Support Unit, Phone 9385 6967
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 Fax 9385 6965
Room 2075, Red Centre
Received on Thu May 03 2001 - 17:05:56 PDT

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