Re: Free will/consciousness/ineffability

From: Marchal <>
Date: Mon Oct 1 07:59:39 2001

Neil Lion wrote:

>Because the state of a computer exists at a level at which it can be
>perfectly known, copied or changed.

Yes but the computer itself can not find this level in a provable way.
This is not obvious (search for benacerraf in the archive).

>Without a physical implemenation,
>computation exists purely in the platonic realm.

Please Neil, I quite respect the belief in the physical world, but
I argue since the begining that such a belief is inconsistent
with comp. Physics supervene on the sharable experience of immaterial
machines existing in the Platonia.

>Consistancy (in the way I
>understand that you to mean it) seems to be something we map onto the
>external world, rather than something that is inherant in physical nature.
>Why does matter need to exist at all?

I don't believe in matter (personal opinion)
Comp is incompatible (in some sense) with existing matter (my thesis).

>Although I may not be able to convince anyone else of my perceptions, I
>can admit to myself that I am sure of them. A computer however, would have
>to admit, even to itself, that it was not sure that it had actually
>experienced what its memory dictates that it had experienced.

Neither are we. I can be sure I feel pain here and now, but not that
I had experience it. See previous discussions on both lists.

>There is no
>way it [the computer] can be certain whatsoever. Why would a computer ever
>have an infallible 'inner perception'?

Why not.

>Let's say we take a snapshot of a consistant conscious computer that's
>been evolved to a certain point. It's possible for me to have created an
>identical computer from nothing, without having the need to evolve it. Now
>the first evolved computer, is consistant and may even have an accurate
>set of memories, reflecting where it is now, and where is has been, etc...
>However, the second created machine, which is in *exactly* the same state
>as the first, has a set of false memories, that we know that it has never
>actually experienced. Its only resort, on the basis of its 'infallibility'
>is that it did in fact experience them, but in the platonic (timeless)
>world and not in our own. The consistancy of the computer has not been
>contravened, as perhaps it would have been (as you have said previously)
>if I had simply changed its memory; yet its inner certainty of memory is

I agree and that is why I believe that IF we are machine THEN we are
immaterial machine. We have never leave Plato heaven if you want.
Now I don't believe "copy of material universe" exists in Platonia.
Appearance of physical universes emerges on the computational histories.
To explain appearnance of lawfulness we need to take into account
*ALL* computational histories.

You are quite consistent, Neil. You are saying COMP entails we can
always be 3-person fallible, and I say the same. In my thesis I get
the 1-person non fallibility simply by defining knowledge by the
true (by definition) justifiable assertion. The nuance between true
and provable comes from incompleteness phenomena.

No doubt comp looks weird, especially for the "religious believer" in

>From where exactly do we get our sense of infallible perception? Are we
>going to stop short of trying to explain it? I must admit that if there is
>a wholly classical explanation of my 'inner certainty', then I have none!

Plato propose one in his Thaetetus, which can be translate in arithmetic
through Godel, and which explain at least why consistent machine can
learn to distinguish 1 and 3 person point of view. Actually it explains
why it is quasi-impossible for a consistent machine to believe that
is a consistent machine.

>>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.
>I agree that there is a problem translating from first person experiene to
>third person reality. However, I believe that memory is a first-person
>experience, as opposed to something that is 'out-there', in the
>'third-person', that has a physical explanation/theory that is more
>fundamental than the actuality of the experience.

This confirms what I say, you reason quite correctly. Now comp is
my working hypothesis (I don't care at all if comp is true or false).
What I say is that IF comp is true then the apparently 3-person
physical phenomena are in reality the result of interference and
partial sharing of many number theoretical machine anticipations.

But so we agree. If there is a physical universe then comp is false.
Equivalently if comp is true there is no physical universe.

Now you could ask me how I can still keep comp because "is it not
obvious there is a physical universe?" It is not, especially when
you realise that the incompleteness phenomena is enough rich
for justifying the appearance of the belief in a universe, without
any universe. Some quantum weirdness get rather nice explanation,
even if they are probably very counter-intuitive.

Received on Mon Oct 01 2001 - 07:59:39 PDT

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