Consciousness theory

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 14:31:22 +0100

Hi Tommy,

Thanks for assessing that attempt on "defining" consciousness.
The main idea goes back to Helmholtz' approach toward
a definition of perception as unconscious inference.
In logic, consistency is a syntactical concept: a system is consistent
if it does not prove a falsity. For a lot of systems, it is possible to
show (to (meta)prove) that a system is consistent if and only if the
system has a model (in the logician sense where a model is
a mathematical structure *satisfying" the theorem of the system).
By Godel's second incompleteness theorem, a consistent system
cannot prove its own consistency, but nothing prevent it to abductively
infer it, and from above, it means the system build implicitly
a model of itself or a "view of the (a) world". From this, consciousness
will be linked to a uncommunicable yet knowable truth, which
is typically the case for qualia, like pain, pleasure, feelings, ...
My french thesis is down-loadable from my url:
I begin to think putting my belgian thesis on my web page too which
provides much (very much) more details (800 pages) on
that consciousness theory (instead on just applying it to the
mind body problem, or to the problem of the origin of the (belief in)
the physical law which is the subject of the french thesis).
You will see links to some paper also, including reference to
some everything mailing list posts.
A very relevant book in logic is the Boolos 93 book, or the one
by Smorinsky 1985. A recreative book bearing in the logic of
self-consistency is the one by Smullyan 1987 (ref in my thesis).

Best regards,


At 14:19 13/01/04 +0000, Tommy Beavitt wrote:
>Hi Bruno,
>At 3:21 pm +0100 12/1/04, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >consciousness is the result of unconscious (automatic,
> >instinctive) inference of self-consistency
>Your precis of your theory of consciousness is very close to the one
>I had in mind. My French isn't great but I would like to have a bash
>at reading it. Perhaps some Francophone list contributors would also
>be interested. Can you post a link?
>Best regards
> >At 16:02 10/01/04 +0000, egg plant wrote:
> >>Tommy Beavitt <> Wrote:
> >>
> >> >we need a theory of consciousness.
> >>
> >>It's easy to come up with theories about consciousness (but not
> >>intelligence!), you can come up with lots and lots of theories on that
> >>subject and you can't prove or disprove any of them because there are no
> >>facts they need explain. It would be nice if we had a UNIQUE theory of
> >>consciousness but I don't see how we ever will.
> >
> >Why? You will find a "unique" theory of consciousness in my (french)
> >thesis. Unique once we make some hypothesis in the cognitive science.
> >Shortly put: consciousness is the result of unconscious (automatic,
> >instinctive)
> >inference of self-consistency. This is enough to explain most of the
> >unpalatableness of the word (the fact that we cannot define it
> precisely) its
> >relation with time, its relation with moral conscience, its double edge
> >relation
> >with intelligence. The theory even provides a role to consciousness which is
> >to speed up the self computation relatively to universal environments.
> >More startling, by applying it to the mind body problem, it has been shown
> >that the physical laws should emerge from consciousness, and physics from
> >consciousness theory, making that theory entirely Popper falsifiable (by
> >extracting the physics from that theory and then comparing it with
> >empirical physics (needless to say that this is true only in
> principle---it is
> >beyond the rich of actual mathematics).
> >
> >Bruno
> >
> >
Received on Wed Jan 14 2004 - 08:34:32 PST

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