[Fis] FW: Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"

Bruno Marchal marchal at ulb.ac.be
Wed Nov 28 12:44:25 CET 2018


Dear Joseph,




> On 26 Nov 2018, at 17:59, Joseph Brenner <joe.brenner en bluewin.ch> wrote:
> 
>> Thank you, Bruno, for this interesting response. May I please make a few comments/questions in its context, with apologies if I have asked them before?
>>  
>> What is mechanism and are you a mechanist?

Mechanism is the doctrine that there is a level of description of my body or brain (or generalisation) such that my consciousness, or first person subjective experience, is unchanged if my body/brain is substituted by Turing emulable artefacts at that level. It does not matter if the level is high (neuronal level, say) or low (the Heisenberg quantum matrix of the quantum field of the whole cluster of galaxies with 10^100 decimal exact, for example. It can be shown that no machine can know-for-sure its level of substitution.


Am I a mechanist? Well that is a private question. To be honest, I don’t know. My main contribution has consisted in showing that this Digital Mechanism is incompatible with Weak materialism or with Physicalism. Physics is no more fundamental, and is “reducible” to a statistics on first person experience due to ourselves being distributed in infinitely many computations. Note that this entails that “digital physics” is false. If I am a machine, neither the fundamental reality, nor the physical reality, can be Turing emulated.

I don’t know if Mechanism is true, but I have derived large part of Quantum Mechanics from it, before I realised that the physicists were already there. This took some time, because I thought that there were evidence for the reduction of the wave packet. The reading of Everett made me realised that quantum mechanics was much more a confirmation of Mechanism, than a threat. In science we can never be sure, but we can count the evidences, and I find much more evidence for Mechanism, than for a non-mechanistic theory, which are usually too much fuzzy, or even mechanistic without saying.

I think that non-mechanist people usually confuse total computable and partial computable, or between the conception of machine before and after Gödel, Turing… Before we thought that a theory of (digital) machine would be simple and complete, after Gödel, we know that we know nothing about the machines, and that the universal machines can refute already any complete (reductionist) theory about them. 





>> I do assume a physical reality, which is obviously (to me) constituted by quantum entities/fields.

I can assume only the natural numbers, and the laws of addition and multiplication, or anything Turing equivalent (besides Mechanism). Induction axioms, infinity axioms are produced by the natural numbers to understand themselves. This leads to a quantum reality, and perhaps to quantum field.

I cannot assume anything in physics, because empirical physics is used to refute or confirm mechanism. The physical reality is in the head of the universal number, so we can test mechanism by comparing that physics and the observation. It fits well … up to now.

>> With this assumption, is it still premature to identify this physical reality with material reality?

No. I think that it is a good idea to identify the physical reality with the material reality, although some philosophers, in some context, could add some nuances. The main point is that the physical *theories* cannot be fundamental, and must be explained/recovered by the “theological” or “psychological” reality of the numbers/digital machines. Matter (space, time, energy, …) becomes an emerging pattern, partially sharable among some collections of relatively stable (digital) machines/organisms.

Many people think that mechanism and materialism go well together, but my first contribution is that the contrary is true: Materialism (even weak materialism, the belief in some ontological or irreducible matter) is at the antipode of Digital Mechanism.

Mechanism appears also to be a sort of vaccine against reductionism, and indeed against the reductionist (pre-Gödelian) conception of numbers and machines.


>> I do not make any assumptions about a possible sub-stratum for this material reality,

I don’t think you did, and what you say seems to me coherent with Mechanism.


>> whose nature remains to be understood,

The nature of matter is like the nature of the apparent matter in a dream, but number’s dream obeys precise laws (based on theoretical computer science, self-reference, etc.), and matter appears as a kind of sharable dreams by (infinities) of machines.


>> since I suggest it has no implications for the world-as-we-know-it. Would you agree?


I disagree in the sense that Mechanism predicts that if we observe ourselves below our substitution level, we should see the traces of the parallel computations accessing to our actual state. That is confirmed by quantum mechanics (even with the wave packet reduction, although such reduction does not make much sense).

The main advantage of this approach is that it explains the quanta, but also the non-sharable qualia. It explains consciousness, if you agree that for you “I am conscious” is true, but not provable, yet knowable, even indubitable, and yet non definable. All universal machine are confronted with propositions having that description, when looking inward. I can say more on this.

It seems to me that the information science could benefits from computer science, as it should when we assume, if only for the sake of simplicity, the digital mechanist hypothesis in the cognitive science. Theoretical computer science distinguish well the first person mode from the third person mode, which is very important in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and eventually even in physics.

I hope I have clarified a bit. Thanks for the question. 

Best regards,

Bruno



>>  
>> Best regards,
>>  
>> Joseph
>>  
>> From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es <mailto:bounces en listas.unizar.es>] On Behalf Of Bruno Marchal
>> Sent: vendredi, 23 novembre 2018 12:13
>> To: Joseph Brenner
>> Cc: fis
>> Subject: Re: [Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"
>>  
>> Hi Joseph,
>>  
>>  
>>> On 21 Nov 2018, at 09:31, Joseph Brenner <joe.brenner en bluewin.ch <mailto:joe.brenner en bluewin.ch>> wrote:
>>>  
>>> Dear Colleagues,
>>>  
>>> Pedro’s approach, solidly anchored in biology, allows for progress in understanding. Two comments on his ‘logic’: 1) I would not call the ‘concoction’ within which we live imaginary. It is rather a set of real, dynamic mental processes, with actual and potential, effectively causal components. 2) ‘Complex life’ instantiates potential (and kinetic) energy not only in a ‘book keeping role’. Complex life is constituted by actual and potential energy evolving in cycles and stages. Some myths (Epimetheus and Prometheus) correctly express this duality and its evolution.
>>>  
>>> Unfortunately, there is another myth that I believe correctly models part of Jerry’s proposals. It is that of Procrustes, an innkeeper who stretched or cut the legs of his guests to make them fit the only available beds, until taken care of by Heracles. You write:   A lot more needs to be said about the intimate nature of relations among scientific narratives before one can bind the logic of the perplex number system to the grammars associated with mathematically structured anticipatory systems.
>>>  
>>> This sentence needs to be parsed, given the concatenation of terms: in my opinion, the purpose of understanding the relations among scientific narratives is to understand real anticipatory systems, whether or not mathematically structured. Perplex numbers are artificial numerological constructions with a corresponding logic that may or may not apply to other artificial constructions, such as abstract anticipatory systems, without dynamics. Narratives about real science could be applied in principle to such questions, but the implication must be avoided that such application would tell us anything about reality. 
>>  
>> Which reality?
>>  
>> I cannot accept any manipulation of numbers as being more than a posteriori. This applies also to Karl’s approach. 
>>  
>> It applies to all Mechanist theory of mind. If Mechanism is true, physics cannot be the fundamental science, and is recovered by the anticipation-calculus (Plotinusand Plato’s bastard calculus) on all possible computations going through my brain state. 
>>  
>> Also, the concept of an ‘in-formed’ number is an oxymoron, although I understand the attempt to ascribe ‘value-by-association’, so to speak. Numbers cannot accept ‘form’, or its meaning; they exist, eternally, outside the world of form and change.  
>>  
>> Like a Block universe in general relativity. Time is an indexical: it is a construction of the mind of the relative numbers. 
>>  
>> I thus stress the importance of Pedro’s statement:  processes do not go smoothly upwards from the quantum level. As one proceeds to higher levels of reality, there are discontinuities and different laws apply. 
>>  
>> OK. But that is the case in arithmetic when seen from inside.
>>  
>> One only notes the presence of some isomorphisms, such as the failure of some macroscopic process equations to commute or distribute. Finally, I, at least, will resist any attempts to let in, through the back door, anti-scientific concepts of quantum processes in mind and cognition.
>>  
>> I follow you on this. With mechanism, we explain the quantum from the mathematics of what a machine can say about the computations going through her state. The quantum aspect of nature is explained by elementary arithmetic, with definitions which can be motivated through thought experience, or taken from Plato (they are quite standard one).
>>  
>> I guess you assume non-mechanism, which makes then coherent to invoke some ontological “physical reality”. But as this is what I want to explain, I prefer to avoid any ontological commitment, as we have to do when doing metaphysics/theology with the scientific attitude. For the application, that is a different matter, but I take the quantum and the physical in general as something that we have to explain (as this follows from the mechanist assumption). It is testable and tested, and up to now, this works well, so to invoke a material reality is at the least premature, I think.
>>  
>> All the best,
>>  
>> Bruno
>>  
>>  
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  
>> Best wishes,
>>  
>> Joseph
>> From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es <mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es>] On Behalf Of Pedro C. Marijuan
>> Sent: mardi, 20 novembre 2018 21:15
>> To: fis
>> Cc: Jerry LR Chandler
>> Subject: Re: [Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"
>>  
>> Dear Jerry and FIS colleagues,
>> 
>> I wonder how big or how clever your Chemostat apparatus should be. There are thousands of metabolic intermediates in an organism, and there are another thousands of diversified signals. And we have in the order of 30 billion cells (trillions in the US system). Plus around 100 trillion of bacterial cells in the microbiome. "We" are the emergence all of that molecular diversity. It does not mean that life exactly "controls" all the details of the mega-information of this whole system... How that control is organized, the principles of biological information, so to speak, become another great question, but probably very different from the idea of mass control in a chemostat. In any case, the way you have argued it, seemingly smoothly going upwards from the quantum level, is beyond of what I consider feasible. Scientific overstretching of a reasonable paradigm perhaps.
>> 
>> Socially, indeed, we do not try to communicate around by following a colossal strategy of reducing happenstances to their quantum description; neither to the kind of meta-languages you mention. In general, social communication revolves around narratives. They are not free-wheeling constructions (at least referring to the "great stories" of all epochs) but optimized tools to guide individuals in the advancement of their lives, in the achievement of their "potential". Looking at the historical evolution of those great stories, they are teaching us about which were the cardinal aspects of common life to be specifically grasped by the child, by the adolescent, by the maiden, the artisan, the warrior, the priest... And in this social communication endeavors, life cycles do not appear as homogeneous linearly "timed". Human lives are continuously looking ahead, anticipating ("Prometheus" style) but simultaneously looking at the past and pondering on it ("Epimetheus" style). Although "presentists", we live within an imaginary concoction built of mosaic pasts and futures, "multi-timed" so to speak. The way to harmonize past, present, and future (vital information) is one of the leit motifs of those great stories.
>> 
>> And about cycles, so many of them can be found. At the scale of the organism:  cellular & tissular cycles, metabolic cycles, behavioral cycles, ultradian cycles, circadian cycles, seasonal cycles, yearly cycles, secular cycles, and many others related to social mores. Some of them can be arranged in a sort of hierarchy or inclusivity, but there is a fundamental diversity. That most of this orchestration of cycles does not require a conscious effort does not mean that we should ignore them concerning the roots of social communication. The cycles and stages (and "passages") within a life cycle have an ominous presence. As i was saying, the "potential" of each young life in ascend requires the reception of wisdom (via social communication narratives) to integrate the own individual path within the social matrix of the time.
>> 
>> Thinking twice about the "potential" of life, it might be something important to consider regarding any form or manifestation of life. Perhaps better than the Principle of Conatus from Spinoza I was referring days ago (the effort to self-maintain and flourish). Complex life has "potential" to advance along some multi-time, multi-cycle developmental path in the most complex of all environments: the social matrix. Is there some deep similarity of this potential with the role that "potential" energy plays in our book-keeping of energy conservation?
>> 
>> Thanking the comments,
>> Best--Pedro
>> 
>>  
>> El 19/11/2018 a las 1:55, Jerry LR Chandler escribió:
>>> Pedro, List: 
>>>  
>>> To put this in context, see  my extensive post of Oct 27, which is re-posted below. 
>>>> On Oct 31, 2018, at 3:53 PM, Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es <mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es>> wrote:
>>>>  
>>>> Also I would like to be able to respond to other demands from Jerry, but here is my counter-demand: could you adventure tools to formally capture such a multi-time, multi-rhythm being as a life-cycle in progress?
>>>  
>>> Here I merely respond to Pedro’s counter demand.
>>>  
>>> The formal capture of such “multi-time, multi-rhythm being as a life cycle in process” is captured by time sequences of measurements on specific compositions of the specific species of life.  The wide-spread experimentation with Chemostats is one such example. The Chemostat apparatus establishes and maintains a steady state rate of reproduction with constant input flows of nutrients and constant outflow of cells and waste and unused nutrients. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemostat <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemostat>
>>> A chemostat allows unbounded number of measurements of time series of unbounded number of cellular components by merely changing flow rates and other constraining parameters.
>>>  
>>> (I really do not understand the distinction between the terms "multi-time" and "multi-rhythm" since multi-rhythm infers multi-time.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to speak of the multiplicity of biochemical cycles that are necessary for the chemical system to reproduce itself in the sense that one cell begets two cells in uni-cellular organisms or, similarly, in higher organisms with orgasms, two individuals reproduce by generating a third individual with directly comparable cycles.)
>>>  
>>> More directly to the issues of numbers and information theory, the remaining challenges are not a consequence of “errors” of thinking in the basic physics of matter.  Rather, a central unsolved problem is closely associated with time and material cycles, cycles within material cycles, cycles within cycles within material cycles.   Quantum theory (QED) provides the basic mathematics to initiate cycles within cycles (nuclear spin surrounded by electron spin).  The challenge is to generate  from QED mathematics, the mathematics of cycles within cycles with cycles describing molecules, and higher cycles of natural sorts and kinds. 
>>>  
>>>  This can be deictic with a partition of the complete lexis of all possible narratives. The formal status  should relate to Tarski’s “meta-languages”.  see “The Primary Logic” by Michel Malatesta for a detailed description of the relationships between the lexus of individual disciplines. 
>>>  
>>> The following quote from Cerruti (Foundations of Chemistry · August 2017) seems to illuminate certain aspects of the problem:
>>> In a sense, the very same title of the foundational work by Rudolf Carnap (Der logische Aufbau der
>>>  
>>> <image002.gif>
>>> Welt, 1928) expresses very clearly the cognitive purposes of the proponents of this viewpoint. The semantic view shifts the philosopher’s attention from the logical analysis of theories towards an investigation based on mathematical models. A relevant supporter of this standpoint is the Dutch philosopher Bas van Fraassen (mentioned by Fortin and coauthors). In his 1980 essential work, van Fraassen clearly speaks of ‘‘failure of the syntactic approach’’ and strongly claims that: ‘‘the notions of truth and model belong to semantics’’ (van Fraassen 1980, pp. 43 and 53). According to the Dutch philosopher ‘‘Any structure which satisfies the axioms of a theory [...] is called a model of that theory’’, and ‘‘The models occupy centre stage’’. Van Fraassen’s models are to be intended in the strictly mathematical sense of the theory of models. For example, talking about the Bohr’s atomic model, he distances himself from this use of the term: ‘‘in the scientists’ use, ‘model’ denotes what I would call a model-type’’ (van Fraassen 1980, p. 44). In synthesis: ‘‘For the Syntactic View, what is not (or cannot be) reconstructed axiomatically is not theoretical, while for the Semantic View, what is not (or cannot be) modeled mathematically is not theoretical’’. Based on this sharp contrast, it is not surprising that the supporters of the syntactic versus semantic views have often chosen a ‘‘strategy of combat’’ within the philosophical debate (Winther 2015). 
>>> 
>>> I’ll stop here for now.  A lot more needs to be said about the intimate nature of relations among scientific narrative before one can bind the logic of the perplex number system to the grammars associated with mathematically structured anticipatory systems.
>>>  
>>> Cheers
>>>  
>>> jerry
>>>  
>>>  
>>>  
>>>  
>>>  
>>>> On Oct 21, 2018, at 1:58 PM, Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es <mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es>> wrote:
>>>>  
>>>> Dear FIS Collegues,
>>>> 
>>>> To Jerry: Thanks for the appreciation. I cannot object the logico-formal path you propose, but is it feasible?
>>>  
>>> Since it already operates in nature, does this make these paths mathematically infeasible?
>>>  
>>> It seems that nature does what nature does, without questioning it’s feasibility!
>>>  
>>> Several disciplines already have made the logic-formal path of molecular biology the critical basis of practice - the leading practitioners of personalized medicine, for example.  The readers of this list have the opportunity to learn the foundation of modern biomedical information theory, rather than simply deny its existence!  Meanwhile, the high school students of today are learning the intricacies of the several coding systems necessary to represent natural information transfer.
>>>  
>>>> I really doubt that a new way of thinking could emerge by logically bridging those different disciplines; the magnitude is more than enormous.
>>>  
>>> Your strange fears are unwarranted, in my opinion.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> My argument is that the most pressing problems in the informational arena (susceptible of being "bridged") refer to cell-cycle logics of signaling, and human life advancement and social communication strategies.
>>> Hmmmm…
>>> It seems to me that your analysis could be stronger if you separate the grounding of information transmission in various narrative categories.  Pragmatic information transportation is grounded in composed organizations.  Naturally composed organizations are not merely  mathematical metaphysics, they are real functional identities. 
>>> At the root of organized systems are the codes of representations. Quantum theory forms the dynamics. The informed numbers of nature form the transmission agents for information transfer and information re-formations (reactive compositions that change the scale of being).  Organisms reproduce information, not merely send information from point A to point B.  
>>> The informed numbers of living systems are not merely inert symbols of meta-physical mathematics (phenomenology?), but informed numbers have attributes.  The attributes of informed numbers are expressible in several codes (symbol systems), including the electrical symbols of quantum theory.
>>>  
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Narratives are not the sceintific subject per se, but only in their tight relationship with the advancement of our own individual lives. Tales, comedies, tragedies, operas, novels, lullabies, media, today propaganda ... are natural units with different calibers that are useful for different life situations. In all cases the universal reference is the advancement of the life course.
>>>  
>>> Very interesting sentences.
>>> But, without a definition of what is meant by “natural units”, it is unclear to me what the logical content is.  
>>> For example, what are the "natural units” of psychology? 
>>>  
>>> In other words, if I may ask, is the intent to assert some sort of universal extension?
>>> If this conjecture is true, I would appreciate a hint or two about the logical base of the extension. Are you seeking to imply Tarski’s meta-languages?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Stories provide us with a unique mirror to the inner dynamics of human nature. 
>>>  
>>> Is this sentence ambiguous? 
>>> The the term “mirror” merely a metaphor to remove reality from the dynamics of the human?
>>> Or, is it the same sort of “mirror” used in Quantum theory to distinguish the asymmetry of optical isomers that are essential for generating human dynamics?
>>> 
>>> While I appreciate the attempts to create a useful descriptive language for biological information theory, it seems to me that a foundation for scientific information theory must be a quantitive theory with logical terms that represent mathematical terms.  The concept of informed numbers provide such a basis. Elsewhere, I have used the term “organic mathematics” to represent the relation logics of informed numbers.
>>>  
>>> Cheers
>>>  
>>> Jerry
>>>  
>>  
>> -- 
>> -------------------------------------------------
>> Pedro C. Marijuán
>> Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
>>  
>> pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es <mailto:pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es>
>> http://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/ <http://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/>
>> ------------------------------------------------- 
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