Re: a description of you + a description of billiard ball can bruise you?

From: John M <>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 15:18:45 -0400

Russell wrote:
"Pulling up the door you're standing on is known in the computer
industry as "bootstrapping", which comes from the expression "to pull
yourself up by your bootstraps".

Of course, over time, this has been shortened to "boot", as in
"booting your computer".

Initially, to boot a computer, one had to enter a small loader program
inot the computer by flicking switches. Run the program, and this
would a larger program from a disk or tape, which in turn would read
in an operating system (or whatever and start it running). These
days, this initial program is burned into a nonvolatile silicon chip,
which loads and runs the first sector of the hard disk, and so on, so
the tedious stage of entering the first program by hand is

Can a conscious mind be understood completely by a conscious mind?
This can be cast in terms of Cantor's diagonalisation
argument. Goedel's 2nd theorem effectively says that arithmetic "cannot
understand itself". However, the set of recursive functions is closed
to diagonalisation, namely recursive functions exist that can emulate
any other.

Coming back to the original question - Bruno Marchal would probably answer
yes, with repsect to the assumption of COMP. Robert Rosen (to pick a
somewhat extreme opposing example) would probably argue no - that
consciousness lies in a class of systems outside the computable set.

----------------------------------end quote------------
If my memory serves well, I heard that explanation of "bootstrapping" some
decades ago, (cosmological Q-theories) I suppose, before it was applied to
computers. Thanks, Russell, for the computer class, however I would not
equate 'booting' with 'bootstrapping', especially based on your info about
the 'special' initiating programs you have to provide to 'strapp'. It may
well be that the usage of the word originated from such poor understanding
of the metaphor.

I wanted to stress the ignorance of that "bootstrapper" (to use your
preferred word) about the way she was acting. She did not want to lift
herself up. She thought she is lifting a trapdoor (to go down the stairs).
Exactly the goal we are pursuing in trying to understand the 'world' we
belong to as part of it - together with its 'sense' of which we use a small
part to think with. Maybe Cantor and Goedel were smarter, yet I doubt if
they could encompass the totality in its interactions up and down to draw
wholistic conclusions upon the world they also were a small part of only.
They might have known more than us. That's all.

If one considers an infinite set for comp, (imaginary that is) unlimited and
encompassing all (knowable and coming) ramifications into its computations,
that is a different ballgame. I try to stay within our applicable limits and
accept the limitations of our mental capabilities. Not only mine, those of
other humans as well. I have no computer working with unlimited sets of
data, unlimited ways of comp, unlimited options to consider and the
unlimited choice to apply for results, I envy all who have that.

Without trying to defend Robert Rosen, his (unlimited) natural systems
(maximum models = the THING itself, not a model) are (in his words) "not
Turing -computable", I think that is different from Bruno's unlimited

Excuse me for falling through a trap-door into a reply about things I am no
expert in. I may have the wrong bootstraps.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Russell Standish" <>
To: "John M" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 12:20 AM
Subject: Re: a description of you + a description of billiard ball can
bruise you?
Received on Thu May 19 2005 - 15:41:18 PDT

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