Free will/consciousness/ineffability

From: Marchal <>
Date: Fri Sep 21 07:48:55 2001

Here are comments overlapping
the two parallel lists.

Neil Lion wrote (in the FOR list thread "free-will"):

>Then this is what I am talking about. Simply, a computer can have no
>infallible 'inner perception' of memory.


>This seems to be a fundamental
>asset of conscious entities, which can have no classical explanation (and
>computers are entirely classical).

No classical explanation? Why? (Is it a dogma?).

>I think any fundamental theory of the
>world in which we live, is going to have to address this;

See my URL for a systematic attempt to address that very question with
the hypothesis that we are computer-emulable.

>how can I be so
>certain of things, which simply 'don't exist' any more? (if we accept that
>memory must be more than just a collection of bits). What is the nature of
>this apparent 'link to the past'? If memory is simply a collection of
>bits, how can I be so sure that this /representation/ of what I have
>experienced, is accurate?

Perhaps we just cannot be sure of that link. This has nothing to do
with infallibility of inner experiences. It is the link between first
person experience and third person "reality" which can be fallible.

>A big hurdle in this, is that although I may be
>convinced that I was there to have perceived such-and-such, there is no
>way I can convince the outside world of this fact, as all I can ever do is
>describe that experience, and they
>would have to take my word for the fact that I had actually experienced it.

I agree. You are almost giving the axiomatic definition of consciousness
I am using. See below.


John Mikes wrote (in the everything-list thread "immortality"):

>Bruno wrote:
>>About mystic experiences I tend to believe awareness or consciousness
>> is sort of degree 1 mystic experiences, and I would not be astonished
>>that the psychology of machine entails a vast number of variate possible
>>"mystical" experiences, but all belongs to G* minus G and would be
>>uncommunicable/unprovable (like consciousness).<
>Since consciousness is an undefined quagmire in which everybody includes
>whatever one's digestive tract dictates, I deny the use of such in serious

No scientist can a priori deny the use of any word. If you don't
understand the word "consciousness" just ask for explanation. If you
do have some understanding of "consciousness" then you can try to say
something about it. Actually you say something interesting about it.
You say we should not talk about consciousness. See below for a
similar idea leading to a partial axiomatisation of consciousness.

>[...] Neither am I
>impressed by the marvels of the "psychology of the machine", especially if
>it may include mystical fantasies (OOOPS: experiences).

I think that a psychology which does not take discourses about
experiences into account cannot be a "psychology" at all.

>Somewhere I seek a
>line between things to be taken seriously and the fantasy-fables.
>So, not wanting to open the door to the Brothers Grimm or to Andersen,
>"I rest my case". Sorry, rwas, about your experiences.

Look. Here is a logical equation for consciousness or consciousness-like
phenomenon. It is a logical equation: this means the variable refers
for propositions or sentences. The equation just say that consciousness,
when true for an entity cannot be proved by the entity. With []
"proves", and "-" for not, you can write the equation under the following

        x -> -[]x (or equivalently : []x -> -x)

Now, if [] is taken for provability by a consistent universal machine,
it is possible to find the set of all possible solutions of that equation.
That set is given by the substraction of two decidable formal systems,
that set = G* minus G. With f = the constant false and t the constant
exemples of solutions are -[]f (f = false), -[]-[]f, and many others.
-[]f is the self-consistency assertion so that self-consistency seems to
the simplest true proposition solution of the equation.
I think the line between things to be taken seriously and the
(or possible consistent inference) can be captured by the
difference between G and G*.


Robert W (rwas) wrote (in the everything-list, same thread):

> At least that is my take on this opinion. I'd have to say that
>this appears to be a defense of a personal religion than the defense
>of an investigative method that discounts data for which has direct
>bearing on the subject investigated. I'm appauled that one could
>allow himself to attempt to develop a serious theory of consciouness
>while apparently having no respect for the only source of information
>and data on the phenomenon, which is the people that claim to posses

Yes. That's a fundamental point.

Received on Fri Sep 21 2001 - 07:48:55 PDT

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