May 30, 2017

Machines can justify their own incompleteness

"On 28 May 2017, at 20:30, Tusar Nath Mohapatra wrote:
Thanks Bruno for appreciation and positive assessment."

You are welcome Tusar.

"You have raised enough anticipation in this forum about your theory which, let's hope, will be unveiled by you someday so that it can be understood by non-specialists like me without being tortured by mathematical symbols or equations."

I think that when we try to explain the theology of the numbers, without equation, we get the discourse of the mystics, including the silence of those who have gone sufficiently far to know well where they need to stay silent. We get even closer to the mystics open to rationalism, like the antic greek neoplatonists, like Plotinus, or perhaps even closer to the neo-pythagoreans (like, perhaps, Moderatus of Gades, if some accounts are correct, because, unlike Plotinus, we have lost all his writings). 

Of course, that might be preposterous, and I might be biased. 

Without equation, I want to refer you to the proof of the immortality of the soul by Socrates/Plato. 

Yet, the amazing thing which I try to convey, is that by making the assumption of the finitude of its body (a reasonable version of mechanism), a large class of machines will already ¨find*, by themselves, that they have a non definable first person self (which can be used as a "meta-definition" of the soul), and that such a soul is immortal (in a context which is hard to describe, and this might be for the worst and the best: open problem).

Gödel" incompleteness is that the universal machine is for ever never completely semantically satisfied, from its point of view. 

What many people miss, although it was already present in Gödel's 1931 paper, is that  the machines, alluded above, can justify their own incompleteness. The machine understands that their are ignorant about something, and that it is big and partially explorable, in many different ways. They already know (in a precise technical sense) that the more they learn about It, the bigger is their ignorance, like with a lantern in an infinite cave: the more you see, the more you see that you don't see. They know that about It, the more they know in "quantity", the less they know in proportion. They converge toward a sobering modesty (to use your word below).

"I have, however, added the final four lines to the above poem as follows:
It's agreed that we are far away
From any semblance of a solution"

I think we go close every thousand years. Then we drift away, by the usual human many attachments. Perhaps fear has some role, or some fear pathologies, or egocentric exploitations.

The virgin universal machine, I mean the not-yet-programmed one,  is at least sufficiently close and precise that we can test "her" physical theory. 

But once programmed and enslaved, they too drive away. And the One becomes the Multiple, "again".

The theological truth contains secret parts (already well described by the machine "guardian angel". This gives some access to the machine, to what is beyond it.

I was alluding to the modal logic G*,  I will say some word on it later). The machine remains silent on this. That secret parts is very often well described by mystics, but also by smokers of Salvia divinorum. Some things are not supposed to be publicly asserted on the "terrestrial plane". it would spoil the terrestrial life, a bit like a thriller movie can be spoiled by someone telling the end of the thriller.

Are we really far away of the solution? 
Or is it that we are so close to it all the time that we forget to look at it?
Perhaps we prefer not to look at it, and try to forget when we do? 
Or we get just blinded by the enormous amount of prejudices that we drag when lost in very long deep histories? So far from Home?

The universal machine is not the solution. It is on the contrary the terrible child which raises all the questions and put a lot of mess in Plato Heaven.
But sometimes, it can wake up and recognize itself in some others, and can recall where it comes from, in a lasting, or not, moment.

"This should mean as a very sobering attitude
In the face of human finitude."

I don't know. I suspect something sobering, certainly, but perhaps accompanied by something transcendentally funny also, which gives some price to our local body-mechanical-finiteness.

Mortality is an illusion.
Immortality is an infinite illusion. 

Technological immortality (or approximations), like the goal of the transhumanists is Nirvana procrastination, or Samsara Complacency.

Hmm... Now I have to look at the equations to see if I am not rambling too much :)

All the best,

Bruno
May 30, 2017
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May 29, 2017

Pythagoras, Plato, Moderatus of Gades, Plotinus, Augustine, Descartes, and Leibniz

Nice poem.

"Investigating consciousness via science
And mathematics can never be satisfying
Because of the subjective nature
Of the object of observation."

It depends on the assumption of your fundamental theory. 

With the mechanist assumption, you are not only right, but what you say becomes a theorem in the fundamental theory. With mechanism, even arithmetic entails the existence of the many subjective views, and of many possible observations, and their parts partially irreducible to anything 3p describable.

Mechanism saves the soul (of the machine) from all reduction to anything purely 3p describable. It provides a powerful vaccine against reductionisme (indeed against already the reductionist conception of what are capable the digital-machines/numbers).

Bruno
May 28, 2017

Thanks Bruno for appreciation and positive assessment. You have raised enough anticipation in this forum about your theory which, let's hope, will be unveiled by you someday so that it can be understood by non-specialists like me without being tortured by mathematical symbols or equations.

I have, however, added the final four lines to the above poem as follows:

It's agreed that we are far away
From any semblance of a solution
This should mean as a very sobering attitude
In the face of human finitude.

All the best,

Tusar

...

"Roger Penrose argues compellingly that the brain is not a classical computer."

Hameroff does that. penrose argues, non compellingly (I think), that the brain is not a computer at all, not even, unlike Hameroff, a quantum computer.

"Anyway, physics is not the good science to tackle the mind body problem, unless, like Penrose, you assume that mechanism is false. But that seems speculative to me."

Consciousness is no mystery. It is a non-algorithmic locally retrocausal post-quantum emergent phenomenon from direct action-reaction between quantum mind waves and the matter they move.

Do you agree that consciousness is "true", and non justifiable, yet undoubtable? can you explain why qualia verifies this in your theory?

Bruno
May 9, 2017
...

"Roger Penrose argues compellingly that the brain is not a classical computer."

His explanation using Gödel is invalid, as many logicians have shown. Judson Webb wrote a book on a similar error made by Lucas. In the long version of my work, I show how some machine can already defeat the Gödelian argument.  I can explain more, or give references. 

Consciousness is not algorithmic, OK. That is provable using mechanism. The conscious machine knows that their consciousness is not algorithmic. Not only Gödel's theorem does not refute Mechanism, but it implies that the machine have a very rich intricate theology, close to the negative theology of the neoplatonists.

Bruno Marchal
May 28, 2017
...

Priyedarshi,

"On 24 May 2017, at 19:41, priyedarshi jetli wrote: Srinavasa,
What you say seems plausible. Knowing one's limitations is the key. In the history of philosophy we see this emphasized by Socrates, Plato and Kant among others. However, most of the discussion in this forum is about going beyond the limit of human knowledge and big claims are made about the existence of God and consciousness and their causal role. This is what Kant would call dielectic illusion, that is claims to knowledge of something that is beyond the abilities of humans to know. To justify such knowledge the only recourse is to appeal to some sort of divine interference."

Important remark. 

"And it always amuses me how we know that God made humans superior so that only they can know this, yet every life form is necessary for the survival of the planet."

Or maybe God has not made the humans superior. Maybe all machine already "knows" that in some sense. May be God has only made the "universal machine" somehow superior ...

It is here that Gödel's theorem provides a formidable clue. For each machine there is an arithmetical proposition (Dt, no need to even know what it means just now) which is true, but beyond the machine's ability to prove. Penrose and Lucas used it to claim that we are superior to machine. 

But Penrose and Lucas did not see that the machine can prove its own incompleteness theorem. Peano Arithmetic can prove that If Dt is true, then Peano Arithmetic cannot prove Dt, and the machine can even postulate Dt to explain its inability to prove Dt.

Dt is ~[]f. It is the machine's self-consistency. A machine can prove that if she is self-consistent then she will never been able to prove its self-consistency.

Then, the machine can *bet* that the reason of why she cannot prove its self-consistency is the fact that she is self-consistent. This requires from the machine something akin to a reference to Truth, which plays the role of God (in this context). Note that tarski has proved that the machine cannot really define Truth.

"There is something similar with (human) consciousness. If X is conscious, X can eventually understand that X is unable to prove his consciousness to another."

In any case I see a paradox that even you might have to face. If you are going to claim that there is a God and this God is the final cause of everything or that there is a universal consciousness and it is supervenient over the physical, then how do we acquire knowledge of this since it is beyond the capacity of humans to know this as we hear repeatedly. 

"We can, by reason only, understand that there are truth which extends properly reason. Theology acquires a reasonable base. Something is beyond us. The question becomes if that something is a physical universe (impersonal god), or a personal god behind, or Consciousness, or the chinese Tao, or perhaps no more than the arithmetical truth.  A case for Arithmetical Truth playing the role of "God" can be made when we assume Mechanism. Please note that 99,9% of the Arithmetical Truth is well beyond the computable."

Scientific theology can become the scientific study of what extends properly science, and incompleteness illustrates that this has sense. 
Not all of theology can so reduced, though, but that very fact can also be proved (assuming mechanism), and can still let some places to many different religions, albeit consistent with arithmetic, and mechanism.

Bruno
May 25, 2017
...

Priyedarshi,

"Thanks for a detailed response. I like your turning on the head of Penrose's conclusion from incompleteness."

Thank you.

Emil Post anticipated all this in 1922. He found "Church's thesis", the proof of incompleteness from it (still rather unknown, one day I can give it here, because it is not that difficult, compared to Gödel's proof without it), but he found also the argument against Mechanism (like Lucas and Penrose), and then the main error in that argument, and then he found immateriality (my work) but added that he changes his mind on this after discussing with Turing, who was a Naturalist (and I think was wrong).

"Turing in his famous paper long time ago also encounter the incompleteness problem and simply said that computers in the future will be able to prove incompleteness. Though it will take me to understand you technically, you are essentially saying that."

I am not sure Turing talk about incompleteness in the Gödel sense. I would be astonished that Turing did not see this. The idea that the machines or theories, rich enough, can prove the incompleteness appears already at the end of Gödel 1931 paper, without proof, but that will be accepted quickly, even if not really understood (Gödel will miss Church's thesis, and Mechanism). That will be proved in 1939 by Hilbert and Bernays (and perfectionned by Löb in 1955).

"Now, if this is true, Turing's somewhat sarcastic remark is vindicated."

OK. But by adding the mechanist hypothesis. Turing, unlike Gödel, was rather in favor of mechanism, despite his naturalism. He did not see the incompatibilty between Mechanism and (metaphysical) Naturalism (assuming my own argument is correct).

He said, so what if one smart human (God) is smarter than all machines, but any machine is smarter than the average human. After all it took many millennia for Godel's incompleteness to emerge.  

Someday, I will give a "simple" proof of incompleteness, which is still rather unknown, although Post saw it in 1922 (ten years before Gödel!). Incompleteness can be proved in one diagonalization from Church thesis. Kleene also saw this.

"I also think, as I mentioned to you earlier that the halting problem cannot be realized in humans due to mortality"

Assuming the human mortality.

"whereas it can be realized in machines as they can build other machines to carry on the problem."

Is this not what we do with our kids? Or even with the machines?

Is the distinction between natural and artificial ... artificial?

"I do not know if this is related to what you are saying."

Of course we can go beyond our limitations to know. I was being a bit cryptic about the definitive jump to the conclusion of the existence of a God or cosmic consciousness that is often made here.

I use the word "God" in the general sense of whatever is the reason of our existence. Then the question becomes: is God a physical universe, or a universal person, or the arithmetical reality, or ...

I have a high respect for all sacred texts, but avoid any literal interpretations. I use them for inspirational personal insight only. I have my favorite one, like "the question of King Milinda", but I do think "Alice in Wonderland" is very deep too.

We can't prove the existence of God, but we can't prove the existence of any reality, in the admittedly string sense of "proof" the logician are accustomed with.

"Coming back to machines, it is interesting that Descartes thought of non human animals as machines without a mind."

I think that the idea that animals have a mind is recent, at least in occident. I take as a human mind progress to recognize a mind, paerhaps a soul, to animals. In the east, people have been more open, perhaps thanks to the re-incarnation theory.

"Surely they have brains and they seem to operate on principles such as induction which humans also operate on."

Indeed.

"A lot of work is done today on their cognitive abilities. In the end, if I understand you correctly, it is not a matter of 'superiority' but of completeness. Perhaps human have more completeness than other non human animals because they can build formal systems and prove completeness."

I am not sure. Animal might be more complete than us. Completeness is a sort of defect. A complete theory cannot be Turing complete. OK, I see the problem.

A complete-with-respect-proving-or-knowing theory cannot be complete-with-respect-to-computability. Turing (computability) completeness entails Gödel (provability) incompleteness. 

So provability incompleteness is a sort of quality, as it makes possible Turing (computability) completeness. It is a pedagogical problem: completeness is udes in different sense by logicians, which are sometimes opposite. We will have opportunities to come back on this.

"Yet, it is not easy for humans to prove incompleteness, which is a further stage of completeness."

In some sense; yes.

"But machines can prove incompleteness and the human proof given by Godel is also really a machine proof. So, it is the machine in us, like the machine in non human animals that is the computational mind that can prove incompleteness. What you are saying, if I am not wrong, is that without mechanism, incompleteness would not emerge and without being able to formalize the Godel sentence and then prove it we would really have an incomplete view  of the universe."

OK.

"In any case there can be a turning on the head of Descartes as well because he thoughts machines to be inferior to humans and thereby non human animals who were machines to be inferior to humans. Whereas as it turns out that humans are superior to non human animals because they are superior machines than non human animals and the machines built by humans is even more superior to the machine in humans and the machine of the universe of course is the most superior."

You can see it that way.

"I like that because as a student of philosophy I have always felt that Descartes is overrated as the founder of Modern philosophy. In terms of methodology Galileo was more of a founder of Modern philosophy and he was also closer to mechanism."

I like Galileo, but I have a deep respect for Descartes. We need to read him by taking into account he was harassed by the religious authorities, and so said things just to appease him. I don't really believe he took seriously his dualism. It is debatable of course. 

"That the universe is a machine and that our brains/minds are also machines is a match, as Leibniz would perhaps say, that is not surprising at all. It is not at all a matter of which came first or a final cause but of a simultaneity in which the perfection  (completeness including incompleteness) emerges."

Maybe, except I don't think that the physical universe, nor God, can be a machine. I will explain later.

"Sorry, I went into a stream of consciousness but it was spurned by your insights."

Thank you for your comment. I would like to add many precisions, but unfortunately I have to go, and the next days are overscheduled. Let us go slowly, at ease. I reassured you that I got the mails normally now. Don't worry if I don't answer quickly, because I will be superbusy those last days of May, and then I will have the June exams, etc. 

Kindest regards,

Bruno
May 26, 2017
...

Bruno,

I also have great respect for Descartes, especially as a mathematician. I am more worried about the press he gets as the founder of Modern philosophy that I am precarious about. In one way he was a continuation of medieval philosophy and his method of doubt can also be traced back as far as Augustine. Leibniz was a greater philosopher and a more comprehensive mind. 

I guess I tend to be a naturalist as well, but I am beginning to see your perspective of on what criterion do we distinguish the natural from the artificial. I believe Turing was interested in biology and chemistry, perhaps this is why he was a naturalist.

Priyedarshi
May 26, 2017
...

Bruno,

You may be right about Plato in terms of the perfection of the Forms. However, methodologically, Plato would welcome incompleteness as he practiced that throughout his dialogues with his second best hypothesis. Now, applying this to Plato's Forms, we could say that the hypothesis that Forms are perfect is the second best hypothesis. Hence, we can save Plato by Plato's methodology.

Priyedarshi
May 26, 2017
...

Priyedarshi,

I agree. I am pretty sure he would have love it. I think it would also have deepened his influence from Pythagoras.

Now, applying this to Plato's Forms, we could say that the hypothesis that Forms are perfect is the second best hypothesis. Hence, we can save Plato by Plato's methodology.

For me Plato's methodology is science in its purest form.

***

Let me answer the two mails in one,

"I also have great respect for Descartes, especially as a mathematician. I am more worried about the press he gets as the founder of Modern philosophy that I am precarious about."

I think he deserves this, because during his life he has not well been treated. Then, the honors, the name, ... it is not so important. 

I appreciate very much Descartes' methodology, also. 

Too bad, he missed the importance of logic, though. He was probably deter by the (already) common misuse of logic.

"In one way he was a continuation of medieval philosophy and his method of doubt can also be traced back as far as Augustine."

Even back to Plotinus, and perhaps Moderatus of Gades. In fact, all honest/correct machine's doubt. Some catholic pope said that the doubt is the devil. But in fact I have reason, and intuition, that it is certainty which is the devil, at least when made public.

"Leibniz was a greater philosopher and a more comprehensive mind."

I have tried to read it, but he is complex. Eventually, there are two or three Leibniz, somehow. Like there are two Wittgenstein (the young (Tractatus) and the old one who wrote a text on uncertainty which is quite interesting. Like Descartes, Wittgenstein get disciples or followers which exaggerates his ideas, and did not listen to his self-critic. His public success has not help him. 

"I guess I tend to be a naturalist as well, but I am beginning to see your perspective of on what criterion do we distinguish the natural from the artificial. I believe Turing was interested in biology and chemistry, perhaps this is why he was a naturalist."

I'm afraid I constitute a counter-example :)

I really started from biology. I looked at amoebas for years. The problem for me was the following: given that an amoeba divides itself every day, does she lives one day, or is she immortal?

The mechanist solution: I really took it from the book of Watson:  "Molecular Biology of the Gene", which has been my bible for a long time, as well as the paper of Jacob and Monod on Gene Regulations. But then, I found a little book on Gödel's proof, and realized that it provides a much larger frame for the "mechanist explanation of the self-duplication" than the chemistry of carbon. I will take time to understand that elementary arithmetic was enough, though. It is that little book which will decide me to study mathematics, instead of biology. But of course, only a theologian can be interested in the question of the immortality, or not, of the amoebas. The problem was that theology (non confessional) was not available at the university. But the greek are right, I think, mathematics is a not to bad approximation.

Bruno
Show quoted text

...

Bruno,

I agree with enthusiasm on your assessment of Plato. I think Aristotle would also have welcomed the mechanism you are talking about. As for the comparison of Leibniz to Wittgenstein I don't quite agree. Wittgenstein has become a cult figure. This is not the case with Leibniz. Later Wittgenstein is often difficult to understand because he is obscure as Russell also admitted. Leibniz however is difficult because he is complex but read carefully he is clear. Further, he was ahead of his times. He was almost always responding to someone or the other. More like journal articles. He had to be provoked to write. I think there not one or two or three Leibnizes. He is often topical, taking on various issues, but always one by one. He was not a system builder nor was he after a world view. But the history of modern philosophy is often looking for a world view as in Hegel. 

I don't know if you have read Kneale and Kneale's Development of Logic. They actually criticize Leibniz for being too fragmented and not completing anything. I think they are being really unfair. His incompleteness is his virtue. Further, expecting him to complete the algebraisation of logic, which he began, is like expecting the Nineteenth Century to arrive at the end of the 17th century or beginning of 18th century. What lies in between Leibniz and Boole is the emergence of symbolical algebra without which Boole could not have arrived at his destination. Couterat, in his book on Leibniz, claims that Leibniz had everything and even more than Boole had, but he did not have the development of algebra that was to come later of course. It is claimed that Boole was not aware of Leibniz's work. I don't think that is possible. After algebraising logic in 1847, in his later  work Laws of Thoiught Boole opens with a quotation in Greek from Aristotle. Is it possible that he read Aristotle in Greek but not Leibniz in Latin?

Priyedarshi
May 27, 2017
...

Incompleteness in knowledge and existence
http://loveofallwisdom.com/#article/3983
Cross-posted at Love of All Wisdom. A friend read the previous post on ibn Sīnā and Śāntideva and asked (on Google+) what exactly I meant by “incompleteness”. It was a great question and made me realize there was a bit Continue reading 

Telangana Today-27-May-2017
Since 1977, my favourite book has been Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. I first read it as a student of M.A. English since it was a prescribed textbook. When I visited the Sri ...

https://philevents.org › event › show
23 hours ago - The venue of the program will be Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research (SACAR) (www.sacar.in), a research institute in Pondicherry, dedicated to the study of Sri Aurobindo's thought and philosophy.
The principal resource person for the course will be Dr V.C. Thomas (formerly Professor of Philosophy, Pondicherry University). However, he will be assisted by Dr James Kurian (Madras Christian College, Chennai) and Dr E. P. Mathew (Loyola College, Chennai). In case you need any further clarifications, please feel free to mail us.   V. C. Thomas
Centre for Phenomenological Studies, Pondicherry

May 27, 2017

Granularity of space-time is an outstanding issue

Theory of relativity has been verified by physical experimental equipment which you touch and adjust with your hands, not just mathematical formulas. What I was pointing out was that both theory of relativity and quantum mechanics work to a super extent in the domain in which they are expected to be independently valid. The conflict and uncertainty arise when both are expected to be important such as at the time of big bang and in black holes. Otherwise there is no problem. 
...

When you try to express a highly mathematical theory like general theory of relativity in terms of ordinary non mathematical human languages some issues surely come up. But most physicists accept the language that in presence of a mass, surrounding space, which was flat before, becomes curved. The space has many properties as if you are on a surface of a sphere and not on a flat plane.

Any one is welcome to have his/her own opinions. There should not be any censorship. But if you say theory of relativity is totally wrong, you will have hard time convincing overwhelming number of physicists!
...

Dear Vinod,

I joined this group to understand Vedas and consciousness. But to my surprise, lot of physics questions keep on coming up and I enjoy participating in these. I will try to answer your questions with a caution that some of these are at the forefront of research and borderline between metaphysics and physics and highly controversial. The main point is that in physics, one looks at the data, makes mathematical model and calculates to see if the consequences agree with experiments. Otherwise one has to refine the model or give up on that particular model. It has not been easy to put mathematical models of modern physics in terms of human languages. Very often words cannot describe what you are doing mathematically! 

In my article I compare this to difficulties which Rishis faced when they tried to explain Brahman and finally said “Neti, Neti”! For most physicists agreeing with experiments with mathematical models is an end in itself. They could not care less if you can put them in terms of human languages or not!! Only a few care about meaning of the equations.

“i) If the curvature of the space  ( spacetime) is a real physical phenomenon, what is in the space which undergoes curvature?”

Einstein’s relativity replaced Newton’s law of gravity by an equation which predicts precisely how the space will be curved as a result of presence of matter. The matter particle has to follow that path as the path itself is curved. I like to give the following example. Consider a train on railway track which is curved. The engine driver does not have to turn the steering wheel. The train will automatically follow the track. In Newton’s explanation, the planets follow curved path around the sun because of the gravitational force. In Einstein’s world the curvature comes out naturally just as if you keep driving on the surface of earth, you cannot go straight. Your path will be curved by nature. Einstein had to use what is known as Riemannian geometry instead of Euclidian geometry which we learn in high school. Our everyday straight paths are possible only in Euclidean geometry (flat space). Other than that it is hard to put in words what happens to space.

“What is in the matter in terms of its particles which affects space?” “If the curvature of space ( spacetime) is a real phenomenon, some interacting force must exist between matter and space? What is the nature of that force and how that force originates?”

It is believed that there are particles called gravitons like light particles called photons. Exchange of this between particles causes gravitational force and curvature of space around the particles. When there is a satisfactory theory of merger between quantum theory and theory of relativity (called quantum gravity) we will understand this better. Nobody has observed gravitons. But there is very little doubt about existence of these. As yet there is no satisfactory theory of quantum gravity in the sense that you can calculate some process and experimentally verify that. Granularity of space-time is also an outstanding issue.

I trust this will be satisfactory up to a point in terms of non-mathematical human language!!  Why mathematics works when human languages fail is a deep philosophical problem.

Best regards.
kashyap
May 27, 2017
...

Hi Norm,

Please feel free to call me kashyap!

Of course the most earth shaking consequence of relativity (E=mc^2) is nuclear energy, both atom bombs and power reactors. So I cannot give you an instrument in your hands which uses E=mc^2!! directly. But there are instruments used in medical practice (called nuclear medicine, google it) which are based on radioactive decay. These are results of E=mc^2!

This kind of constant revision is part of scientific method. Even when we have a final theory of “quantum gravity” all the previous theories would be true in some domains as approximations and their successes would still remain. I am sure you know that transistors which came out of quantum theory gave rise to multibillion dollar industry. The computer on which I am writing this reply uses chips involving transistors.

Best regards.

kashyap
May 28, 2017
...

Dear Siegfried

I would be really grateful if you or Kashyap could elucidate a related issue that I have with relativity theory.  It concerns the famous twins paradox where one twin racing away from the earth close to light speed will perceive the other twins 'clocks' going slower.  And the twin on earth looking through a powerful telescope will perceive the space twin's clock's also going slower by the same amount due to special relativity.  I have always understood that when the space twin swings round a nearby star and returns to earth he will arrive back somewhat younger than his sibling due essentially to the effects of general relativity caused by the accelerations he undergoes.

My question is: What if he turns round by some means that does not involve gravity? What if his rocket still has enough fuel to slow him down and blast him back in the opposite direction? Will he still arrive back younger than his sibling?  And if so does that not mean there is an element of spacetime curvature associated with any acceleration (even those experienced by particles in the centrifuge you have been discussing)?

Best wishes, 
Colin
May 27, 2017
C.  S.  Morrison - Author of THE BLIND MINDMAKER: Explaining Consciousness without Magic or Misrepresentation.
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nargispanchu
Excellent Tusar. Without laughter, joy and detachment, there is no life.

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N. Panchapakesan

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May 25, 2017

We are just spending time writing words that make our worlds comfortable

Jo.edwards
Dear John,
Your post seems to have been cut short. Nevertheless, can i just ask what you, and maybe Bruno, mean by ‘mechanism’. I have not come across a broad metaphysical usage of the term before reading posts on this list. What is it and what is the alternative? 

In general I do not think we need to be looking for differences in empirical data that test predictions to test our theories. I agree with Popper that the first thing to do is make sure your theory adds up on its own terms. My feeling is that most don’t, so choosing a metaphysics is fairly simple - like sorting the garbage from the recycling!

Jo

On 25 May 2017, at 04:47, john.kineman wrote:
John.kineman
Hello Bruno and Chris,

I've been looking for a good entry point into this discussion of physics, qualia, and mechanism. I made some foundational arguments in earlier quotes which I think are not generally accepted, or at least not evidently so in the responses and ongoing defense of mechanism as a potentially holistic paradigm. I want to continue to argue why I am convinced it is not a viable candidate, and I can see that Bruno has the opposite view. So the question is, what kind of evidence would be convincing either way? Otherwise, we are just spending time writing words that make our worlds comfortable.

If we can agree to address the question in a critical fashion, in which we look for the key deciding factor, this forum could make some significant progress. So, I will make some points here about what that criterion should be, and why I think it argues for a realist view of qualia and a qualified acceptance of mechanism. I'll number so the points can be easily referenced.

1. First, we are writing electronic posts off the cuff on perhaps the most fundamental subject in science. There is little technical detail shared that could change minds. Mostly we end up sharing personal opinions. This should be resisted as much as possible, and we should cite criterion - completely aside from citing entire papers or books everyone should read in order to be swayed into a given philosophical camp (although I am guilty of advocating that myself, with Rosen's work - even here a cheap plug). 

2. Let's next recognize that such deep questions are a discussion of world view and epistemology. Thus we need to know the epistemological criteria being used to defend one position or another.

3.We cannot reduce the key arguments to a positivist rejectability because world views are not rejectable in that way. They are the foundations of thought, not the rejectable outputs of thought. For example, I have eyes so I describe and explain my world in terms of what I see. I assume the visible and then propose theories in those terms. I can test the theory against other things I can see. If I were in the ultimate movie theatre of the future, however, I might never discover the flaw in my starting assumption, that the sights are real. And I might never know about the projector or the screen because what is stated in those terms, assumes those terms as reality. However, there are still some criteria, that if carefully applied, could tell me in this theater that something is wrong with my world view and I could begin to try other ideas about reality, testing them by these criteria.

4. The only criteria that we can't use in this test of world view, is the one we would like to use and are comfortable using when testing theories WITHIN a world view. We would like to compare predictions of the theory to actual data. But the meta-theory that reality is composed of the images I see in this hypothetical theater does not predict which images should appear next, it is the generator of theories about how those images are related to each other, assuming they are real. The derived theory then makes testable predictions and we can accept or reject the theories, but not the foundation on that evidence. So, what can be used?

5. There are epistemological requirements we more or less have agreed to in science and philosophy, even spirituality, when examined. I'll list these. There are six that I am aware of from the best known philosophers of science (which may not include a lot of Eastern philosophers, but so far I've found that at this level the criteria are in agreement). In no special order:

I agree with what you say. 

My point is twofold. 1) Mechanism is incompatible with Physicalism. 2) if we keep Mechanism, physics is reduced to machine self-reference, and this makes Mechanism testable: just compare physics extracted from machine self-reference with the physics inferred from observation. (the I extracted the logic of the observable, and it obeys already to a quantum logic, so things fit nicely, up to now).

Bruno
...

My comments (John Kineman):
I gave Rosen's definition and proof of incompleteness, which some challenged, defending Church-Turing and saying Rosen misunderstood, but not giving details of his supposed error. I would like to know that precisely because I don't think he was in error, and I have not seen any valid counter-claim...

I can only make some points about this that hopefully will be troubling, because present mainstream reasoning does not accept it. It is entertained in some complexity circles and in Eastern philosophy from the Veda, but the level of mathematical rigor to nail it down as a working scientific methodology is not there to counter the tremendous power of calculation from this "standard" view. Here's my attempt to make some relevant points. I'll number them so they can be referenced.

1. First, we are discussing worldview assumptions about nature and/or reality, something we cannot define aside from our view of it. Modern and Post-modern science took the position of accepting a 'prior' assumption and working from there. It is rooted in the "reality" of the senses. The Veda took the assumption that our theory of nature should be rooted in pure experience, and that sensory information might be illusory. Descartes actually agreed with Eastern philosophy in saying that of all that can be known, only direct experience can be considered a certainty, and that mainly because there is no alternative if we consider anything. All else, i.e. what may lie behind such immediate percepts, requires experimental confirmation.  And yet, science developed from his idea of method in which experimental confirmation employed sensory data to infer physical objects, and eventually we accepted a sensory foundation. We conflated measurement with experience, whereas I think Descartes was referring to the experience of a percept -- on this discussion list it is referred to as the experience of "redness" vs a measurement of wavelength, and that sort of thing. Descartes' Discourse on Method and inspiration from what he called a deep personal meditation (of which he said he rarely was inclined to share), was presented as a final proof of God. In other words, he was saying that if I can ask a question about reality, then I must exist and therefore some ultimate "I"-ness, or identity (assign the undefinable term "God" to this ultimate) must also exist. This recapitulated the Easter metaphysicians conclusions which were confirmed in 1000's of years of such meditations on inner experience. The unfettered conclusion is that we need a concept of identity in knowledge, and thus in science.  This is the reason some look at Category theory as a, probably inadequate, way of formalizing an identity. Cat. theory has the identity relation and thus can represent it.

2. If we accept, at least, that we are discussing such worldview assumptions, then we need criteria for deciding what is a valid scientific worldview. These are different from positivistic criteria in deciding if a theory is true or false. A theory is tested within a worldview -- its confirmation or rejection is not a confirmation or rejection of the basic assumptions. We all know this from the well-worn story of Ptolemy's circles and Newton's forces. Newton's theory was more parsimonious, not more correct. We can still calculate orbits in terms of Ptolemy's circles if we want, but it gets horribly complicated with arbitrary precision. Whereas Newton's forces make it easy. Same with replacing Newton's forces with relativity - we would have to invent many fanciful forces to duplicate the elegant explanation of relativity. In Quantum we hit a wall. There was not consistent way of simply adding a more elegant way of calculating unless we admitted two complements to the calculation, and implicitly the reality (Copenhagen Convention). We are still divided on that point - is it the calculation that has uncertainty or the reality? Einstein and Scrodinger were not comfortable with blaming nature, but most agreed with Bohr and went that way. It was probably the right decision because nobody had a workable alternative.

3. We thus have six epistemological criteria for evaluating a worldview. They are (in no particular order): 

(1) Parsimony --  "thou shalt not do with more, what can be done with less". It is really elegance of explanatory ability, the ability to explain more than another theory with fewer assumptions and less analytical procedure, but it should not discard any experience as a result of the simplification; in fact, it should expand the kinds of experiences that can thus be understood.

(2) Generality -- the new view should apply as broadly as possible, or if meant to be instrumental, one should state what kind of systems it is good for. If heuristic, then it is not being proposed as a theory of nature, so that is a separate matter.

(3) Necessity -- We should reach the new set of assumptions through a process of testing previous assumptions to their exhaustion - in other words, for practical reasons in science we try to get as much out of a worldview as it has in it. Every worldview (some claim) will have a limit in its explanatory power. We have to definitively and conclusively reach this limit in the old view before jumping to the new one. Otherwise we will know clearly what kind of jump is needed and we will land in incomprehensible territory. This is essential for Khun's revolutions. It explains most of work-a-day science, plodding away at an explanatory paradigm even knowing it may be limited. Our aim is to explain things, yes, but also and ultimately to find that limit.  A caveat is appropriate here, and presages my conclusion. It was stated by the eminent philosopher Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain - actually a humorist), who said: "One should not learn more from an experience than it has in it: for example, a cat that sits on a hot stove will never sit on a hot stove again. But it will never sit on a cold one either".

(4) Consistency -- This goes with Necessity. To demonstrate necessity we essentially find the paradox in the previous theory - the thing it can't provide any logic for. The new view provides that logic and jumps us to a new level of comprehensive explanation, without losing any explanatory ability of the old theory. It charts new territory, it does not revise the old except in various assumptions and presumptions that are not really confirmed in the old theory. In other words, confirmation is confirmation of what has been confirmed, in the terms in which it was confirmed, nothing more and nothing less.

(5) Formality  --  This is merely the ability to provide the logical syntax for doing science and stating knowledge. If we can't say anything sensible in the new view, it has no value in science. I assume this requires and necessitates some kind of logic as well as semiotics. Science uses symbols that make sense and by applying that sense to those symbols we explain things.

(6) Productivity (aka Fruitfulness) -- The new view must be able to spawn new theories that have value for the things we want to explain or construct. Worldviews can be dead-ends, e.g., the universe is composed of jellybeans, so explain everything in terms of the dynamics of jellybeans (I think I did that as a child). Since they can't be tested directly on logical and evidentiary grounds, (as the theory of jellybeans eventually could be, when I grew up), they must be tested on circumstantial grounds - how "useful" are they? Do they actually solve problems? This could also be called "Utility", I suppose. The biggest caveat and problem with this criterion is that it requires (a) understanding the new view thoroughly enough to use it, (b) many years of using it in case studies, (c) reformulating previous theories to be sure the same conclusions are reached, or that the differences are understood. Our great problem right now is that nearly everyone on this list has a different way of getting the new theory. And each track requires their full attention to make progress with it. Bruno must spend his time developing Combinator theory. I have to spend my time developing Relational Holon theory. Who has the time to actual learn and apply each one to see which comes out 'best' on these six criteria? This implies maybe centuries of work, but we may not have centuries.

4. Actually, all of these criteria apply to theories as well, since theories come from worldviews, but without the additional tool for theories, of direct experimental testing via elegant experiments. For example, and I'll take a guess here, there is probably no experiment that can confirm or reject the idea of "dark energy" that counters gravitational collapse at nearly exactly the opposite effect than is predicted by standard theory (thus requiring about 2/3 dark vs 1/3 normal to cancel and reverse the direction). This is probably a heuristic patch on standard theory, which has most likely missed something fundamental (probably something Machian) in its original idea about mass and gravity. But if we don't change the local idea about mass/gravity, and keep all the hard work done on calculating that, we have to invoke this non-local effect to explain the evidence, and we also get an apparently super-luminal velocity of expansion that is implied if we stick to local observations of it. What the heck is super-luminal velocity? Nobody knows. Call it inflation. Like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) if we give it a name people will assume you know something about it. In other words, we are in the same boat that Ptolemy was in before Newton - the patches start to get untenable.

5. To not write too much in one post I'll make only a few more points and wait for the critique. This point is about qualia. The necessary new worldview seems to be one in which we must reify qualia in order to simplify the previous way of calculating nature while explaining the "more" that we are all aware of in nature (which includes us). It is obvious from many comments and agreements on this list that we accept qualia in what the scientist must do to perform science. That's a start. And in the extremely appropriate question (which initially attracted me to this list) "does science explain the scientist", it is clear that standard science today does not and cannot without reifying qualia. Nothing could be more obvious, except that we don't have that answer collectively, so it is very troubling to many. I claim there is an answer available, one that meets all six criteria above; but of course it is profoundly revolutionary and so requires many decades or centuries of use to decide the sixth criteria, Fruitfulness, unless we suddenly have a collective epiphany. Currently one or two people are using it.

6. I want to indicate some cracks in the armor of mechanism and computation. There are many, but which point will have an impact? Probably none - we can always imagine a computational way around it. But again the question is not if it can be done computationally, but is that the best way to do it? The most parsimonious? ...

Rosen, certainly recognized as a brilliant mathematician and biologist, wrote "there is nothing more abstract than a number". Nothing that can be counted in discrete numbers can thus be foundational. It is an abstraction, and a fraction of the whole.

Cheers,
John

https://groups.google.com/forum/m/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer#!topic/online_sadhu_sanga/tiCbFQbkg7E
...

Dear Shanta,

I never said I accept the authority of biologists. But not being a biologist I am in no position to challenge their authority. Since you are very much involved in biology you are in the right position to challenge their authority. I do repeat though that challenging a theory does not necessarily lead to the rejection of the theory and replacing it with whatever one wants. It may actually lead to the revision of the theory. I stick by that though I may be terribly wrong about it.

As for what you said in the past and the censoring of my email, let us just forget about it for now. I do feel though, not just from you but from some other Bhakti Vedanta scholars I have encountered that there is a confident finality, immune to criticism, that comes out in the way you speak and write. This is what I challenge as an argumentative Indian and the Indian tradition of debate. Vedanta has various interpretations. Each Upanishad is open to multiple interpretations. These must be debated and worked out and one must not accept the authority of anyone including the Bhakti Vedanta proponents.

Priyedarshi
May 25, 2017
...

Savitri Era: Life is a mystery but a language has some certainty https://t.co/mXOOc7jOyR #SriAurobindo

Tweets by Tusar Sir @SavitriEraParty
(Tusar Nath Mohapatra)
Finitude and Philosophy

Sadhu-Sanga mulls over consciousness
From pigs to piano, quantum and qualia
Taking a tour from Turing to Penrose and Rosen
Leibniz to Gödel

Machines can know their incompleteness
Numbers conspire to spur consciousness
Notions from Nagasena to Chaitanya
Tug of war over physicalism

From eight-limbs Yoga to eight-bends Gita
Mails flying to and fro throughout eight praharas
Weaving web of words on world wide web
To comfort

Theories don't compare, domains vary
Pushing names a political game
Leibniz is lionised, Gödel waiting for Godot
TM and Vedic Unified-Field

Investigating consciousness via science
And mathematics can never be satisfying
Because of the subjective nature
Of the object of observation.
https://t.co/i0Sy289vLj

It's agreed that we are far away
From any semblance of a solution
This should mean as a very sobering attitude
In the face of human finitude.

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