Re: Goldilocks world

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 12:28:12 +0100

Hi John,

Le 22-nov.-05, à 22:45, John M a écrit :

> Bruno:
> Why does Jesse - with your aproval - deny from the
> omniscient the knowledge of falls info - maybe WITH
> the notion that it is falls? I am not omniscient -
> believe it or not - but even I know a lot of falls
> info.

By (standard) definition, I would say, no entities (being Gods,
machines, humans, pebbles or extraterrestrials) can know something
false. You can believe something false, but you cannot know something
false. You can know that something is false, but in that case you know
something true. For example you can know that "1+1 = 3" is false, but
in that case you know the *truth* of the proposition " "1+1=3" is
This is reflected in the fact that you will never hear someone saying
"I knew that George Bush was the president of the french republic, but
then I discovered that he was really the president of the USA". Instead
you will hear: "I believed that George Bush was the president of the
french republic, but then I discovered that he was really the president
of the USA". Nobody has ever said "I knew earth is flat but I was
false". The correct sentence is "I believed earth is flat but I was
Indeed this is what has led people from India and China and then Plato
to defined "knowing p" by "believing p and p is true" like the
Theaetetus' first attempt to define knowledge.
Then, the incompleteness phenomena makes those theaetetical nuances
unexpectedly available for the sound machines.

> And 'is' a rock stupid and ignorant indeed?

Who ever said that? Remember my old post (2001):
You can deduce from it that rocks and pebbles are most probably clever
or "intelligent" according to my oldest theory of intelligence: where
by definition a machine M is intelligent if and only if M is not
stupid, and M is stupid if and only if M believes M is intelligent or M
believes M is stupid. We have good reason to believe that pebbles have
no such beliefs, and this is making them intelligent. You can take this
as a weakness of such a theory, but the cleverness of pebbles here is
just a reflection of the fact that nobody has ever heard a pebbles
communicating some stupidity! I do believe that pebbles are wise and
clever at least in that very general sense. For being stupid, there is
a need of an already non trivial amount of "neural cells".

> Maybe in
> OUR (humanly logical? terms and topics: yes.

You are the one linking "OUR" with humans. I take my "humanity" as a
contingent, accidental, local, and not so interesting fact. More
relevant for the fundamental questions is that I (and we) are most
plausibly descendant of self-duplicating entities.

> Do we
> list all unstupidity and knowledgability in the
> totality?

This is already provably impossible for arithmetical truth.

> Has anybody ever talked to a rock in rockese?
> They wrote big volumes about a (so called) H-atom. Is
> it really perfectly stupid? Holy Anthropocentrism!

Look John, we are perhaps the first having the humility to ask machines
about the fundamental questions and to insist listening to their
answers. Is it possible to be less anthropocentric than that?

Received on Wed Nov 23 2005 - 06:29:59 PST

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