Re: Dualism

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 16:13:11 +0100

At 15:38 16/01/04 -0500, Jesse Mazer wrote:

>Is Chalmers really a dualist? Although he does label his views this way at
>times, from his writings he does not seem to believe in "matter" per se,
>rather he thinks the fundamental stuff of reality is likely to be
>something like "information" which has both an objective description (a
>particular bit string, computation, whatever) and a subjective
>what-it-is-like to *be* that bit-string/computation/whatever.
>It seems to me that any formal mathematical theory of consciousness or of
>"observer-moments" must work the same way. If you want to have a
>mathematical theory that assigns measure to different observer-moments,
>for example, you need to have a mathematical framework for listing all
>possible observer-moments, perhaps something like treating each distinct
>computation (or any finite sequence of steps in a distinct computation) as
>a distinct observer-moment. And yet, even if I understand this
>mathematical framework, "from the inside" I will not be sure which of
>these formally-described observer-moments corresponds to my own current
>experience, the "qualia" that I am percieving at this moment. So just as
>in Chalmers' system, there is a difference between the "objective"
>mathematical description of an observer-moment and the subjective
>"what-it-is-like-to-be" of the observer-moment corresponding to that
>description. There's a case for calling this "dualism", but also a case
>for labelling it as a monist theory, an "eliminative spiritualism" as you
>described it (although I'd prefer the label 'eliminative idealism', since
>'spiritualism' has mystical connotations).

So we agree completely (from a personal conversation with Chalmers I am not
sure he would agree, but that is beside the point). What you say
corresponds to the 1-3 distinction. You know I tend to make precise that
distinction by the use of modal logic. (I mean the arithmetical modal
logic, i.e; those who are defined from the
Godelian self-reference).

>>But I don't think a lot in this list adhere to dualist positions, but
>>please correct me if I'm wrong).
>I think there are people on this list who *implicitly* hold dualist
>positions. There are a number of people who would use the following sort
>of procedure to find the first-person likelihood of experiencing a
>universe with a given set of properties:
>1. First, find a measure on all "universes", regardless of whether a given
>universe is capable of supporting complex observers
>2. Then use the anthropic principle to take into account the idea that
>you're more likely to experience a universe with lots of observers than
>one with few or none, assuming each universe's measure is equal
>(see, for example, Hal Finney's post at
> on how to find the
>likelihood we will find ourself in a universe with no other intelligent
>life within communicating distance)
>If this is just taken as a heuristic procedure, in lieu some more
>fundamental procedure that does not involve two separate steps, then
>perhaps it need not be labeled "dualist". But if this is really seen as
>the way the ultimate "theory of everything" would work, with no more
>fundamental theory to be found, then I think such a view is committed to a
>fundamentally dualist metaphysical view. Since I find dualism inelegant
>but I do think the anthropic principle has to be taken into account
>somehow, I prefer a TOE which only involves a measure on observer-moments
>rather than "universes", with this measure determined by a theory that
>already takes into account the anthropic principle somehow (see my posts
>on the 'Request for a glossary of acronyms' thread at
>for some speculations on what such a theory would look like).

I agree with you completely. Just replace "anthropic" by "turing-tropic",
and just accept that "observer-moment"
are dual to the sheaves of comp histories going through those (first
person) moment. In my thesis it is shown than at this stage the measure,
... well actually only the particular case of measure 1, will be extracted
from the modal logics of those first person moments. It is there that I
get a "quasi-quantum logic" (the one I called Z1*).
I am not yet sure how *you are intending* to make precise the distinction
between inside-view/outside-view, though. Perhaps I did not understood some
of your point? By itself
I am not convinced the anthropic way is enough. You can remind me other of
your post perhaps?

Received on Mon Jan 19 2004 - 10:12:57 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:09 PST