- ... What is a good argument for basic rights? JordanMessage 1 of 85 , Apr 3, 2010View SourceOn 2010-03-15, at 10:00 PM, Elliot Temple wrote:
> for example, most libertarians believe in the idea of rights, but cannot give a philosophicalWhat is a good argument for basic rights?
> defense of rights. when basic rights themselves are questioned then they are somewhat at
> a loss.
- Hi Marc, Sorry for this late comment. ... Because moral value are of the type of self-consistency, in the theory I am working on. To assert them leads to theMessage 85 of 85 , May 17, 2010View SourceHi Marc,
Sorry for this late comment.
On 14 Apr 2010, at 17:05, marc wrote:
> On 2010-04-13 20:42, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> > On 12 Apr 2010, at 20:11, marc wrote:
> >>> If mechanism is true, then an universal moral rule is "there are
> >>> moral rules'.
> >> That is unintelligible to me.
> > Sorry I should have written the last "rules" in italic. The idea is
> > that, although we can reason and build theory of moral,
> as we do
> >we cannot use them to practice or teach the practice of moral.
> if the 'them' are moral theories I don' see why not? if the
> 'them' is something else, what?
Because moral value are of the type of self-consistency, in the theory
I am working on. To assert them leads to the contrary of those value.
It is the fatal trap of (authoritative) religion. By trying to force
non communicable truth, they erode the value of those truth.
> > It is the contrary that happens: it is by practicing moral value
> that they can be taught
> > from examples only.
> Teaching by example is one way, not the only way.
I think that it is the case for moral value. If you are a good man,
you just cannot say "I am a good ma, in a public argument. Only thief
and bandit can say "I am honest".
> > Like some meme patterns in neural nets, or like fractal structure.
> Possibly, or possibly not.
> > Gödel's theorem gives another example of that phenomena: proving
> > consistency implies self-inconsistency. Self-consistency behaves
> > already like a virtue!
> Godel applies within a rigorously defined axiomatic
> formalism of a certain minimal complexity manifesting
> objective verification when applied to the empirical world.
> However it frequently gets trotted out as alleged proof for
> content of all manner of conceptualized domains comprised of
> nothing but the arbitrary abstractions of assertions or
> assumptions without objective verification in the empirical
You are right. Gödel's theorem is sometimes misused. I have not that
problem, because I use it in a precise theoretical framework.
> > >> If one believes in some version of a personal morality
> >> imposed by some version of a personal deity then we are no
> >> longer in the realm of rational discourse about the world.
> > If we believe in anything *imposed* then we are no longer in the
> > realm of rational discourse about the world.
> Agreed if imposed refers to some external agency. Otherwise
> the world imposes itself upon us and we are forced to
> investigate it accordingly within that constraint. That is
> why arbitrary conjectures, speculation, philosophical
> musings, abstract constructions devoid of support from the
> world have no status other than opinion.
Hmm... All theories are opinions, or beliefs. Sometimes it works
locally, and, by taking those beliefs seriously enough, we make higher
the probability to refute them, and learn something.
> > That is exactly the reason why I think it is time for non
> > theology to come back in the academy, and to be approached by the
> > scientific methode (that is mainly the modest proposal of
> > theories, and the experimentation for testing them. Computer science
> > + digital mechanism makes Plotinus/Aristotle difference testable.
> Anything idea amenable to scrutiny by the scientific method
> is fair game. Just a matter of defining the theory and then
> establishing quantifiable predictive empirical tests for it
> and you are in business.
This is what I do. I show that the digital mechanist hypothesis has
consequence in the physical world. The biggest one are retrospectively
verified (the MWI, the non-cloning of matter, many indeterminacies,
etc.). Actually the logic of "probability" 1, on observation is
entirely given by a modal variant of self-reference.
> How would propose to test a Plotinus view of reality as One
> (in effect an anthropocentric if not anthropomorphised
> version of god) vs empirical multiplicity?
> >>> Morality is close to truth, and cannot be defined from inside.
> >> Truth is nothing but a human invented abstraction that
> >> inevitably generates confusion and nonsense in equal
> >> measures as your statement above demonstrates.
> > Is that true?
> In light of my view, I don't (can't!) claim it is to be true
> but only my considered opinion (as is everything I've been
> saying). I can accept a notion of truth as denoting the
> fundamental nature of the reality that preceded our arrival
> and in which we find ourselves embedded.
> We don't know what that is and indeed have no assurance we
> will ever know but the search goes on.
If we are digitalizable machine, then any first order logical theory
enough rich to define the natural numbers will do. The simplest one is
probably "arithmetical truth", which I take as being independent of
anything physical. Indeed the physical worlds is arithmetical truth as
seen from some internal perspective, once we bet we are digitalizable
> However people have deep psychological needs wanting to
> understand the nature of the world in which we exist and our
> place in it. Inventing the concept of truth provides a
> comforting means for sating these needs by enabling people
> to believe they can find or have found truth. Inventing
> personal deities that care about humans enables people to
> satisfy deep psychological needs for security and
Bad reason can lead to some truth. I mean that to find a falsity in a
reasoning is not per se a reason to believe that the conclusion of the
reasoning is wrong.
> Our ability to create abstract ideas is the platform that
> enables both objective understanding of the world and
> mythological inventions about it. Science has so far has
> proved the best method developed to discriminate between the
I agree. That is why I suggest coming back to the scientific attitude
when talking on deities.
> > Marc, I listen only to those who seems sincere to me in their search
> > of the truth.
> I am sure many (most?) people believe there is the truth and
> many sincerely seek to discover it. You may listen only to
> those who you deem to be sincere by your 'sincere' criteria
> just as others may only listen to those they deem sincere by
> their 'sincere' criteria. That is the inherent problem with
> truth (and all other human abstractions) - unless there is
> some way to objectively discriminate between competing
> concepts there is nothing but a menu of competing concepts
> none of which have claim to be correct, authoritative or
I agree. My point is indeed that the mechanist hypothesis has
> > I am skeptical on all who pretend to have find it.
> You can imagine my view about anyone claiming to have
> discovered truth!
> > To believe that truth is invented by the humans is a form of
> > It lead to conventianalism in math, which is false: math kicks back,
> > even some time in some non mathematical way (but I need mathematical
> > logic to explain that).
> Nonsense. Accepting truth is a human invention is a mature
> recognition of the nature, origin and limitations of the
> conceptualizing functionality of our minds enabling us to
> objectively investigate the world without the shackles of
> anthropocentric and psychological blinkers.
Not the absolute fundamental truth we are searching. Human existence
is more relative than "2+2=4". To believe the contrary is a form of
> Regardless of the fact that the fundamental nature of
> mathematics and its ontological status and relationship to
> our environmental reality are unknown
But that relationship can be tackled by the scientific method.
> it delivers and hence
> is not affected by whatever arbitrary abstract labels we
> invent to describe it or corral it.
> >> Truth can be
> >> a handy label to denote empirical correspondence,
> >> conformance with axiomatic formalisms or definitions.
> > Tarski has found indeed a non controversial notion of truth, which
> > works rather well for first order theories, effective higher order
> > theories, that is most of mathematics (but not *all* mathematics).
> There may be concepts of truth that are consistent within
> some arbitrarily defined domain of axiomatization but that
> is not productive for validating understanding about
> empirical world as truth.
Except that in the Digital Mechanism theory (hypothesis/belief/
opinion), we need no more than the rather well accepted notion of
arithmetical truth (of the first order arithmetical sentences).
> > He found also like Gödel the fact that no machine/theory
> > "believing" (proving, asserting) enough elementary arithmetic
> > propositions cannot define a notion of truth encompassing all
> > propositions in their language. Ii is one of the reason why I follow
> > Plato in identifying, at least in a first approximation, God with
> > a non nameable (by the self-observing machine) notion of truth.
> I think such reasoning is backwards. It is an artificially
> created abstraction reflecting innate desire and assumption
> to define reality such that it intuitively resonates with
> our conceptualization about it.
I don't see why arithmetical truth is a created concept, beyond the
fact that humans certainly recreate it partially in their brain to be
able to scrutinize it. But it exists independently of us, a bit like
far away galaxies existed before Hubble let us discover them.
> It seems to me that quantum
> theory and general/special relativity demonstrate that
> however reality is fundamentally constituted it does not
> accord with our intuitive conceptualizations derived from
> our innate thought structures and processes since we have
> evolved in an environment where we have never experienced
> nature's fundamental edifice(s), or only experienced them in
> a very limited and unrepresentative way.
That is why we build theories. Nobody pretend they are true.
> > We have also discussed on this list the idea that consciousness is
> > true, even undoubtable, by conscious person, as opposed to all
> > contents of that consciousness, except that fixed point itself.
> I am sure a great many things have been discussed here and
> other places but discussion absent objectively verifiable
> evidence is just discussion. I don't know what is meant by
> 'consciousness is true' other than a bit semantic confusion
> or sophistic irrelevance. Or maybe some Cartesian doubt.
Yes. Mainly Cartesian doubt. But the point is that with the DM
assumption, that cartesian doubt, recasted in the self-reference
logics, is amenable to empirical analysis. If DM concludes that the
electron weights one kilogram on earth, it will be time to revised the
> >> Morality, as it is subjective, is not transformed into
> >> anything - it is simply invented from various starting
> >> positions. Because there are different starting positions,
> >> there are different ideas about what is and isn't moral.
> >> This is inevitably the case with human opinion.
> > Do you think that the existence of the moon is a truth, or is a
> > opinion?
> > Do you think the past existence of Einstein is a truth, or a human
> > opinion?
> > Do you think that II concatenated with II gives IIII is a truth,
> or a
> > human opinion?
> Essentially, all are human opinion. However as I stated
> previously I don't have a problem with using truth as a
> label for (presumed) empirical correspondence (1st two) or
> conformance with defined axiomatic formalisms (last one).
> There is general collective opinion that the empirically
> verified reflects an external reality beyond the minds
> holding the opinion about it.
I agree completely.
> > I think you confuse the arbitrary choice of the symbols and
> > with the partially sharable propositional content of those
> As above I don't have a problem with the shared implied
> content of symbolic expression within the symbolism's
> appropriate domain but I do have problem with gratuitous
> extrapolation of symbolism beyond its domain. Symbolism
> whose content can be amenable to objective verification is
> justified but symbolism whose content cannot is not.
This is the spirit of my approach. DM is the only theory which is
capable of explaining both consciousness and matter, and it has
verifiable or falsifiable empirical consequences.
> >> Morality can be taught by various means although example is
> >> probably the most effective.
> > In the math of the ideally self-referentially correct machine all
> > "virtue" can *only* be taught by examples, and betrayed by attempt
> > make them proved, obligatory, normative, etc. The virtues x obeys
> > modal law Bx -> ~x, or [ ]x -> ~x. Read B by Box. See my url for the
> > proof (in that ideal case).
> Restrictions or characteristics of mathematics or
> mathematically axiomatized formalisms are wholly and utterly
> irrelevant to human morality. It is a fundamental mistake
> believing that human morality (or anything other behavioural
> matters) conforms to or is dictated by the outputs derived
> from any concocted abstract mathematical or logical
Why? Are you saying we cannot reason on moral issues? I think we can,
despite we cannot use them to practice or teach moral value. But we
can theorize, as far as we make clear our assumptions.
> That's the kind of simplistic naive nonsense
> underpinning Marxism.
Because Marxism fell in the "religious trap" I described above. An
interesting "theory" has been taken as granted, and applied forcefully.
> >> Animals are not naturally moral - it is anthropomorphizing
> >> them to call them moral.
> > It is anthropomorphizing not to attribute them some moral, even if ,
> > by lack of reflexivity, or lack of Löbianity, they have only a small
> > parcel, probably, or the human or Löbian possible immorality,
> The essence of human morality is its subjectivity in that
> people are free to choose (or invent) any morality they wish
I doubt this. I agree human morality is subjective, but it stems on
the fact that nature has programmed to react in some way to anything
threatening us. Human Morality is a product of many years of
evolution, and it reflects our embedding in a long story. It has a
human purpose, in a non human reality.
> whereas animal behaviour is biologically wired (and probably
> pack enforced). Hence conformance to behavioural codes does
> not constitute morality, at least not in any way
> meaningfully comparable to humans making decisions about it.
I am OK with this. I do think that higher animals have some embryo of
And I do believe Löbian entity have a moral which extends greatly the
> >>> Sadism and immorality need big brains.
> >> I guess that depends how you define big. It would require a
> >> brain big, competent or sophisticated enough to make moral
> >> judgments by normal standards.
> > I think it requires Löbianity (= universality + the knowing of its
> > universality) together with a long (deep) history. Deep in Bennett
> > sense.
> I would just put it down to psychological disorder for which
> there are many root or contributing factors.
Yes. Including a big brain to handle those psychological disorders.
> >> I wouldn't bother defining 'human' as that just leads to
> >> confusion, although not nearly as much confusion as truth.
> > No one ever said we have to define those notions. On the contrary;
> > their axiomatic definition, they are partially captured by the fact
> > that they are not definable indeed. We do agree. We are just not
> > talking on the same level. Axiom for virtue: Bx -> ~x.
> Notwithstanding what I said above, I wouldn't have a problem
> with a working definition of human in generally conforming
> with behaviour predicated on common psychological drivers
> broadly definable in consistency of empirical observation.
> Variation of specific behavioural expression, though,
> reflects the influence of how the prevailing culture at a
> particular time has institutionalized its behavioural norms
> and beliefs.
> >>> Humans are apes capable of torturing their fellows for
> >>> personal experiences conflicts, independently of economic, or
> >> foraging
> >>> or survival reasons.
> >> Sadly that is all too true. What is even more depressing is
> >> that humans are capable of inflicting suffering because of
> >> insane belief in the preposterous. It's what happens when
> >> the capacity to create abstractions outstrips the ability to
> >> distinguish abstractions with external correlates and those
> >> that exist only in the mind. Reified make-believe can be
> >> frightening.
> > I agree with you. Probably I go farer. Only natural numbers exist,
> > the rest are relative number's reification.
> What do you mean by exist here and what is it about the
> nature of this existence that precludes all other numbers?
> How do you know natural numbers are not just a reified
Well, it depends of the theory you choose. If the brain functions like
a digital machine at some level, then I can explain why the physical
universe is such a (unconscious) reified abstraction. It is a product
of the mind of the Löbian numbers. It is counter-intuitive because we
are programmed since a long time to believe strongly in our
environment, and to extrapolate from it.
> > But some are as seen for the person inside self-referentially true
> relatively to the numbers
> > most probable history/computations. The laws of physics emerges from
> > that. I think.
> I can't make too much sense of that but it seems to me you
> are approaching understanding backwards - top down starting
> with some arbitrary abstractions and then trying to
> force-fit reality into your starting position, mostly it
> seems by analogy.
You are right about my approach being top-down. That is why I am a
theoretician. And I do try to "force-fit reality in my frame" indeed,
but this is with the goal of confirming or refuting the theory. The
current theories positing at the start (implicitly or explicitly) a
material reality eliminate (implicitly or explicitly) persons and
consciousness, and this is just wrong, imo.
> The laws of physics emerge from empirical
> investigation and their encapsulation seems to require going
> beyond natural numbers.
That is hardly provable. After Gödel we know we know nothing about
what the natural numbers are capable of.
> >>> It is the price of our Löbian capacity of self- reflexion.
> >> If you say so. Have we been overcharged?
May be. In a sense Dinosaurs have been "overcharged". I think this
question depends on the ability of humans to find peace with
themselves. Open question!
> > No, it is very natural. If you believe in the "induction axioms",
> > is, all formula with the shape:
> > IF 0 has property P, and if for all n it is the case that P(n)
> > implies P(n+1) THEN for all n it is the case that P(n).
> > Then, just believing in addition and multiplication makes you
> > It may be overcharged in a "coward" sense: A universal Turing
> > when becoming Löbian, may develop questions on the length of its
> > available rubber.
> Whatever anyone's beliefs and however justified or explained
> they have no claim to describe the nature of reality absent
> objective verification.
I insist that I do follow you on this.
> So I may or may not be Lobian
> (haven't quite got my head around that other than some vague
> ideas about self-reference or self-awareness, or something
> else) and I may or may not believe I am Lobian but each is
> just a matter of opinion depending on what I arbitrarily
> choose to believe.
I don't think so. If you are correct and Löbian you obey to the laws
of correct Löbian entities.
This occurs for the same reason that two physicists having mass m and
M attracts themselves with Newton gravitation law (kMm/r^2). We have
not choice than to obey the mathematics and physics which support us.
> >>> The results are laws and religion, which cannot solve the moral
> >>> problem, but can help locally.
> >> Sometimes. Religion probably causes more problems than it
> >> solves.
> > You are right, somehow. I forget to add that laws and religion, when
> > done in a worong way, considerably aggravates the things.
> > In a sense, those problems confirmed mechanism, which predicts many
> > things like: give a name to god and shit happens, ...
> If the god in question is believed to have given humans
> prescriptions about how to behave or what to do, then
> physical suffering, psychological disorder and intellectual
> idiocy soon follow.
God is not that stupid, and he knows we are Löbian, so he cannot give
humans moral prescription at all. Only fake pseudo religion, which
have been invented to manipulate the children and the people can do
> > A laws can be wrong (based on a confusion between p -> a and a -> p,
> > like the laws making cannabis or salvia divinorum illegal, etc.).
> Laws can be considered wrong by all manner of conflicting
> criteria which is always the case for anything founded in
> human subjectivity, just like morality.
> > I believe in truth, justice, goodness.
> See above re truth. I believe it is highly desirable that
> society reflect my version of justice and goodness but since
> all versions are subjective, there are many competing
> versions of what constitutes justice and goodness. I guess
> we all live in hope that the world will progressively
> converge towards our version but the evidence is not
> encouraging. Maybe we will eventually get to a significant
> global consensus about what constitutes justice and goodness
> but that may require outgrowing psychological enslavement to
> culturally entrenched ancient mythologies.
Sure. Again, this is a reason for encouraging theoretical reasoning in
those fields. Personally I would already be satisfied if all adults
agree that a child when thirsty should be able to drink, and many
elementary things like that. This is unfortunately not even at our
> > But 'discussing with Peano
> > Arithmetic (a Löbian machine), I have no doubt that any attempt to
> > normalize or define once and for all truth, justice and goodness can
> > only lead to falsities, arbitrariness and pain.
> The requirement is for human consensus about human values
> and that does not need any abstract formalisms.
My goal is not practical. I am just doing research on the fundamental
questions, and I illustrate we can do that with the scientific, even
Popperian, method. It is just that I believe more in numbers, games,
persons and consciousness than in primitive matter, space, time. And
this is confirmed in the digital mechanist theory, despite most
materialist use it to explain the person problem away (in a non valid
way, because they are unaware of the first person indeterminism that
DM forces us to consider).
> >> Laws are more interesting and complicated because they are
> >> human based (except I guess if you defer to Sharia) and
> >> hence have more flexibility to adapt and change.
> > They are more palpable. It is like if you told me that pizza are
> > interesting than bosons.
> It is not a matter of being more interesting but a matter of
> being inherently changeable by mechanisms grounded in
> collective consent. Since religious laws are claimed to be
> founded in absolute authority (and truth!) they are not
> subject to change. Bosons vs pizza is a matter of taste.
This is the (pseudo)-Aristotelian and Christian (including atheists)
Religious belief comes from pure personal grounds. To mix them with
authority is the blasphemy by excellence.
God is by essence the most personal matter which can ever exist.
Anyone genuinely religious has to be anticlerical.
That is why authoritative pseudo-religions have always persecuted both
the rationalist sand the mystics.
You have to kill all the buddhas, say the buddhists.
> > If you approach human science in the scientific way (something still
> > taboo), you get the result that most human problem can only be
> > by listening to the humans first, ...
> Human problems will have to be solved by humans deciding
> values and priorities. It is not a matter of human science
> because there isn't any stable objective reference point,
In which theory?
> only variable collective subjective opinion.
Noooo.... It stems form the fact that bad feels bad and good feels
good. It is the same for all creatures, once they are sufficiently
self-referentially correct with respect to their most probable
computational histories. At least in the theory I am working on.
> >But you can put undegfinable things like mind, consciousness,
> truth, under the rug.
> Certainly put truth there, but mind and consciousness are
> areas desperately in need of more research and investigation.
There has been tremendous progress, but few are aware of this due to
the complex interdisciplinary relations, and the fact that it touches
> >That exists. If
> > your child says to you in the morning that he has a terrible
> > you may act very differently according to what you may believe to be
> > true or false. You can say "don't play that comedy again" or "go in
> > hurry at the hospital". You may also be genuinely ignorant ... of
> > truth.
> > Here we have a reductive theory (like all theory, actually) which
> > prevents its object (the subject!) against a reductionist
> > interpretation of that reduction.
> Here we have an empirical matter that can be resolved by
> empirical means. Describing the situation by casting it into
> some arbitrary abstract framework only exemplifies how easy
> (and facile) it is to construct abstract theories about
> anything and everything.
Remember that my theory is just digital mechanism. Most believe
(sometimes unconsciously) in that theory, but few are willing to take
seriously enough the consequences, which are devastating for the
aristotelian theology embraced by almost everybody today (christians
and atheists alike).
> >> I think I shall just step outside now to see if I am still on
> planet earth.
> > Good idea,
> LOL and touche - I suspect that won you the popular vote.
Not quite sure of that :)
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