Re: A calculus of personal identity

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 15:11:34 +0200

Le 24-juin-06, à 07:19, Colin Hales a écrit :

> Hi,
> [ALL]
> Lee, I seem to have miss-attributed the source of my guffaw that lead
> to my
> little outburst to Bruno. Apologies to all as appropriate... :-)

That's what I call a "scientific attitude". Doing errors, discovering
them, admitting them, correcting them, so as to augment the chance of
finding the next errors ... :-)

> [John Mikes]
>> Brent, Colin and Bruno:
>> I had my decade-long struggle on 3-4 discussion lists (~psych and
>> ~Physx)
>> about "objective reality" being really "subjective virtuality" - and I
>> finally won.
>> Assuming (!) an existing 'reality' (=not being solipsist) also assumes
> [Colin Hales] Isn't this old sophist chestnut getting a bit tired? I
> am so happy to
> _applaud_ your assumption.

Me too.

> More than that I would add to the discussion a
> demand from anyone who thought that arguing that issue justify how it
> can
> possibly lead to anything useful other than the endless swapping of
> lexical
> tokens chasing metaphor rainbows (double whammy metaphor
> there....sorry!)
> followed by silence and no progress... for this is the empirically
> available, supportable outcome of all such discussion, time and time
> again.
> Time to just dump the whole thread as fun, intriguing, instructive,
> useful
> training for 1st year philosophy and campfire rah-rah.... but not a
> contribution useful to any scientific endeavor.

Sure. Besides, a correct solipsist will never defend "solipsism" (to
He/she/it is always either mute or faking. Except for autism I don't
believe in any solipsistic *doctrine*. Later I will show that the
"first person" *is* somehow solipsistic but not in a doctrinal way. And
the overal talk about that first person is necessarily realist.


I think I agree with all you say except for two things: when you say
"natural laws", I would say "numbers laws", and when you say "universe"
I would say "current, local internal (but partially sharable!)
collection of historie(s)". The plural is justified by the fact that
the numbers laws make those histories multiple. Actually this (should)
provide(s) (assuming comp for the sake of the argument) the
"comp-correct" internal probabilistic interferences (making comp
Then you describe (I guess non purposefully) rather well what I have
done, the way to tackle the notions of person. If you follow the
diagonalization posts soon or later you could see it by yourself.
So physics is reductible (not entirely in a computable way) to number
theory/computer science: there is a computationalist physics, and it is
not reductionist in the sense that this physics cannot be entirely

And if we find only an empirically incomplete but correct comp-physics,
then we can weaken comp until we get the (current) physical *law* so as
to make our degree of non-comp empirically and relatively measurable.

Roughly speaking comp makes Aristotle wrong when he reifies his
"Primary Matter" in his otherly enough platonist and almost
comp-correct theory of matter (matter being there mainly indecomposable


> [Colin Hales]: ]The practical effect of a belief in an objective view
> is the surgical
> excision of the scientist from the process. Some clarity can be added
> here
> by reversing ( a surgical resection?) that process and treating the
> scientist (as scientists do all the time for absolutely everything but
> themselves!) as a situated agent inside the scientists natural
> environment -
> the universe.
> I ask the list to simply draw this situation. Draw a scientifically
> studied
> 'thing'. Then add next to it the scientist doing the studying. Then
> box them
> both inside a universe.
> When you do this you have applied the science of situated agency to the
> scientist. The clarity that emerges is startling. Take a look at the
> picture.. you will see that the John's "the real thing" is Kant's
> "Ding an
> Sich" and that whatever it is, the scientist and the object of
> scientific
> study are BOTH made of it. More than that, the universe containing
> them is
> _also_ made of it.
> Then take another look at "percept of reality"... inside the cranium
> of the
> scientist in your diagram is "mind", which delivers a view of the
> studied
> object in the "first person" to the scientist. Using this idea we
> cansee
> immediately that we can indeed get at the 'noumenon' - the 'ding an
> sich' -
> because we have conclusive proof that whatever "it" is, it delivered
> subjective experience into the head of the scientist AND presents the
> information accurately enough for the scientist to make really useful
> predictions (via behaving objectively) via the descriptions provided
> by the
> contents of the experience of the scientist...
> The existence of the subjective experience in and of itself is surely
> definitive proof that we can scientifically investigate structural
> schemes
> of 'ding an sich' that simulataneously provide the subjective
> experiences
> that behave as per the empirical descriptions we then derive from its
> contents. This is a massive simultaneous equation set and results in
> two
> intimately related set so of natural about "ding an sich"
> and the
> other, what we already call 'laws of physics'. Subjective experience
> can act
> as an evidence base for BOTH, because the two sets of descriptions are
> not
> in the same domain of knowledge.
> So I would definitely _disagree_ with Kant's assertion that the
> noumenon is
> unassailable. There is one subtlety here... logically you can only get
> at a
> science of the noumenon by forcing the science thus enabled to make
> predictions of brain material. It is only in brain material where
> empirical
> science is utterly voiceless.... (we have 2500 years of voicelessness
> here!
> QED) in predicting structures and conceptual bases for the delivery of
> mind
> consistent with empirically derived laws based on the usage of that
> mind.
>> To Colin's experiment a question: are blind people not capable of
>> thinking
>> straight? "scientific" is an odd word and could be 'subject' to
>> debate:
>> IMO all sciences (conventional that is) are based on some model-view,
>> at
>> least are topically limited and observed within such limitations.
>> The new ways of 'free thinking' what we try to exercise on this one
>> and
>> some other lists lately, try to think broader, if not quite without
>> boundary-limitations (it would wash away whatever one could state
>> into a
>> wholeness of ambiguity). Paradoxes, (unexpected) i.e. emerging
>> novelties,
>> axioms, givens etc. are products of model-limitations. The visual is
>> not
>> the only restriction we suffer from, simply the most studied one.
> Blind people can think straight, yes, but isolate them as situated
> agent-scientists.... they have no means of apprehension or 'grounding'
> in
> any causal way with that which is studied (at least in the visual
> sense).
> Braille science of some sort could occur...I would argue the science
> impoverished, not impossible. You can extend the argument by mentally
> 'closing the eyelids' on all subjective modalities...In that state the
> cognitive agent-scientists would not be able to agree there was even
> something there to study, let alone observe it...
> Subjective experiences are thus _literally_ the causal ancestors of
> empirical laws... not in a information flow sense... I mean LITERALLY
> as
> hard physics - the noumenon dance -... a tortuous causal train that
> may be,
> without it we would have no science and without it thus we would have
> no
> novel technology. Just as Lucy is our causal ancestor in hard physics,
> subjective experiences are thus _proven_ causal ancestors of all
> technology!
> When the cognitive agent-scientist acting 'as if' the empirical law was
> literally driving the natural world, the cognitive agent can configure
> initial conditions which include a desired target inside the causal
> trajectory thus reified. That is what technology is.
> This physics of the "ding an sich" I'd actually call "ENTROPY
> calculus which naturally bestows upon a suitably configured
> meta-mathematics
> (here-after called the cognitive-agent-as-scientist) the physics of
> 'mind'
> which would then include "a personal identity".... a nifty idea, eh?
> Once
> configuration of the entropy calulus makes atoms and scientists, where
> the
> atoms inside a scientists head behave in such a way as to instantiate
> those
> things resulting in experience.....One 'dig-an-sich' dance does it all!
> In this system we scientist are merely the metamathematics of an
> instantated
> entropy calculus! No other mathematics ever gets instantated, except as
> cognitive artefacts - abstractions - by the scientist... :-)
>> I thank Colin for the wise par about the 'objective'.
> :-)
> ...I seem to have gone on a bit! Sorry....I'll address other posts
> later...
> Cheers
> Colin of the ding-an-sich

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Received on Sat Jun 24 2006 - 09:12:42 PDT

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