Prelude to Multism


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Prelude to Multism

Postby erayo » Sat, 20 Dec 2003 18:32:31 GMT


In application of digital philosophy approach to philosophy of mind, I have 
more or less been able to describe an extension of monism (and *not* 
dualism!) which I call "multism". One of the strange consequences of this 
approach is that it seems to put subjective experience back in the realm of 
scientific inquiry and unlike the naive behaviorism of Quine/Skinner or the 
machine functionalism of Putnam it allows us to deal with subjective states 
in a lively fashion.

I will not attempt to summarize Multism here, instead I will indicate that it 
is compatible with the basic philosophy of Ed Frenkin and directly deal with 
a certain consequence.

If the underlying nature of the universe is a digital computer, then my 
promotion line of multism which I didn't publicly announce before:
  "The mind is a universe of ideas"
carries a literal meaning beyond its metaphorical import in that the mind is 
an actual universe with mass and energy. A better term would be "multiverse" 
of course.

Note that multism is perfectly defendable against naive functionalism or the 
obsolete doctrine of behaviorism without the above crackpottish claim about 
it being an actual physical pocket universe of some sort. On the other hand, 
viewing the mind as such has a number of philosophical benefits. For 
instance, it allows us to analyze the "structure" of subjectivity as opposed 
to the trajectory of a dynamical system a la Churchland. What is more, the 
mind is *at* *least* a Turing-complete developmental system, much like the 
CAs proposed by digital physics.

Under the physical interpretation of multism, the ontological commitments are 
simplified considerably leading me to take this train of thought seriously.

I expect your orbital comments :)


Eray Ozkural (exa)
Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara  KDE Project:  http://www.**--****.com/ 
www:  http://www.**--****.com/ ~erayo  Malfunction:
GPG public key fingerprint: 360C 852F 88B0 A745 F31B  EA0F 7C07 AE16 874D 539C

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby Fred Mailhot » Sun, 21 Dec 2003 03:14:09 GMT

Hi Eray...

I'm not sure I get what you're going for'd need to elaborate on
this for me to understand it...what's "a universe" (as opposed to, say, "The
Universe") ?? Any object has mass and energy, so what makes the mind a
"universe" rather than simply an object in The Universe ?? And what's "an
idea" ?? Does it also have mass-energy ??

Is The Universe just someone's mind at work ?? i.e. is your relation
symmetric (mind <=> universe) ??

Call me dumb...the above statement is not "of course" to me at all...

Hmm...this is not clear to me at all,'s not clear to me that
your thesis, which is strongly physicalist, has anything to say about The
Hard Problem...or at least if it does, you'd have to lay it out for me...

Also, it's still possible to analyze this digital (by which I'm assuming you
mean discrete) system as a dynamical system and analyze its trajectories
anyway...cellular automata and the like are simply discrete dynamical

Have you read Marco Giunti's book "Computation, Dynamics and Cognition" ??
It's a good one...some interesting stuff on Turing machines as (discrete)
dynamical systems and the information that gives you about the class of
machines for which the Halting Problem is (un)solvable. Highly

Is this supposed to be a conclusion from what you said above, or an
additional claim ??  If so, how do you know ??

The idea of Universe As Really Big Computer is certainly appealing on
several accords well with my own views about determinism, among
other things. Of course, the discrete nature of the universe (were it true)
would not guarantee anything about the knowability of its workings, nor
about the workings of the mind, so we're still stuck here trying to figure
stuff out...



Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby dan » Sun, 21 Dec 2003 06:35:22 GMT

"... orbital ...", huh ;-).

Hi Eray, this is apparently following up on your post a couple of
months ago about Ed Fredkin's site:


As I commented then, these ideas are somewhat too "cosmological" for
those of us who are fairly {*filter*} materialists. When you have a
brain with 100B neurons and 100,000B synapses, there is little reason
to believe that anything else but it's own internal workings are
responsible for its control and outputs.

Also, the very last thing that I personally believe is that the
universe is a big digital computer. If you check back in history,
you'll see that people's theories about brain and universe often tend
to reflect interdisciplinary ideas extant in their cultures at the
time. Three ideas that follow this course are the brain is a computer,
the hologram theory of the brain, and the microtubule idea of quantum

It's good to have and postulate new ideas, but the society of science
is still very conservative when it comes to adopting them. You need to
produce a theory, and then hypothesize possible ways to test it
objectively. The scientific method. Otherwise, it's just another idea.

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 06:30:40 GMT

That is an insane assumption Turk. The mind is where the self lives (brain). 
There is nothing stupider than pointing at everything that a person is made
of, and labeling it with a word. I even propose that arguing this is stupid.

As for prelude to multism I just composed a diarrhea cramp symphony.


Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 07:40:31 GMT

If dualism is: a "walrus spit":

   //       \\
  //         \\
 //           \\

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 07:45:09 GMT

And a walrus spit is a Bush symptom (howdee, lifting cowboy hat, split spit):

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 07:56:58 GMT

Then nothing else makes sense any more. Split spit, polishing cowboy shoes.

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 19:38:17 GMT

So to make better sense of things, we need good objective reference frames like 
"Bush symptom" and split spit (V spit, walrus spit, dualism, which one is it? Maybe
it was multism from the start).

Multism revised:

  //       \\
 //         \\
//           \\

Hmm, you make me think real man.


Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 19:42:11 GMT

I quit AI.

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 20:14:29 GMT

yuri wrote:

Oh wait, Passing C++ objects by reference. No problem.

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby gyuri » Mon, 22 Dec 2003 20:16:18 GMT

yuri wrote:

C++ saves the world! C++ is Jesus.

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby localfolk » Wed, 24 Dec 2003 03:00:47 GMT


...And fugue!

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby erayo » Thu, 25 Dec 2003 01:32:33 GMT

Wait, will save the world!

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby erayo » Tue, 30 Dec 2003 11:51:20 GMT

ello Fred,

As always you are raising a lot of valid points that are hard to
reply. That's why it took so long, I didn't have the courage to reply

Fred Mailhot < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote in message news:<BC087FF1.C776% XXXX@XXXXX.COM >...

First, the main hypothesis of digital philosophy is that "The
Universe" is a digital computer. Basically a cellular automaton which
also happens to be a universal turing machine. Let's try to go with
that assumption for a while, insane as it sounds.

The point of multism is that the mind shows the basic characteristics
of the entire universe being a universal turing machine. In order to
make things simple, let's also accept that this universe is
essentially a simulation like in the argument of Nick Bostrom. [*]

Now, the "metaphysical glue" is that computation gives rise to
existence. Then, it follows that these little computers are universes
on their own. Their matter as can be observed from the outside world
is the *underlying* reality of these nested existences. For all
practical purposes, these are pocket universes if we go with this

This is as simple as it gets I think.

Very good question. The idea is a program that runs. A memory is a
stored program: basically a bit string. The qualia arises from
complexity of programs. In the inner universe, the idea has mass and
energy. Matter is simply a perpetual program, a loop. That is what
memory is.

Since the outer universe is also computation and works on (quite
possibly) the same principles, the realization of the idea requires
mass and energy as well. It's just a different program. Just like the
coding of a virtual machine.

One of the strange consequences of this peculiar view is that virtual
machines are given a special metaphysical status. I think from the
view point of traditional philosophy this seems to be a major fallacy:
I seem to be positing too many entities. Therefore, a western
philosopher would cry out "This is crazy! You have given every virtual
machine a universe of its own just to be able to explain

Well, I wouldn't want to say that because I guess that's basically
Berkeley's view who was a priest. I'm not a priest :) Therefore I have
to think differently :)

Apparently, this view is monist in some sense: everything is
computation. So, in a specific way, this gives the entire universe a
mind, a subjective experience of its own in which minds like us, and
smaller processes like photons constitute individual ideas/memories in
the collective mind.

However, I wouldn't call that God. It's just what exists. It's a
machine. (Assuming DP was true, and the other assumptions above were
true, etc.)

Besides, the CAs of DP have not been shown to be self-sufficient to
explain QM and general relativity. For this to happen, we might have
to posit even stranger entities! (Which I will not go into)

Within the mind, there may be smaller virtual machines. Then the mind
would not be a universe, it would be a multiverse consisting of
multiple universes. Not one.

If you found my post entertaining, you might want to have a look at Ed
Frenkin's site:

It's a very simplistic solution in fact. I am saying that the
subjective experience is simply existence of another kind. That's all
it is, that's why it is subjective. The subjectivity is explained
fully in multism I think. But that comes at

Re: Prelude to Multism

Postby erayo » Sat, 10 Jan 2004 02:01:20 GMT

Dear Fred,

Did you find the clarifications worthwhile or did it seem to make it
even more insane?



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