Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

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Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Postby nameta9 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:29 pm

Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Imagine a brain in a vat hooked up to a computer. Imagine that brain, in the fake virtual world, but totally indistinguishable from the real world fall asleep and dream. Imagine the dream being completely indistinguishable from the 1st virtual world. Imagine that the dreaming brain falls asleep again within the dream and dreams again. Another level of indirection, another hidden layer, another barrier from "reality".

Imagine that the observer of the first brain in a vat is simply dreaming that it is observing that brain in a vat. Imagine that that observer is itself a brain in a vat. Imagine an infinite recursion of observers observing brains in a vat, having dreams, etc. Where does it end ?

These kinds of problems demonstrate that reality is only INFORMATION RELATIONSHIPS, information transfers and interactions, information conversations, information transactions, that there is no external fundamental reality, that only the point like instantaneous events, interactions, action and reactions, only the instantaneous interactions of Mass-Energy with itself or other chunks of itself exist, can be perceived, can be decoded.

Then the box and reference system where said experiences are put, how they are sequenced into a narrative, how they are connected, delimited, along with their meaning in language and thought and feelings is an arbitrary configuration given by what memory content is present in the mind, what patterns it is programmed to recognize, what expectations of causes and effects have been programmed in the mind, how the mind imagines other people's thought processes, reactions, and how they relate to the arbitrary invention and construction of reality in the mind.

The illusion of laws of physics, patterns, reality and repetitive patterns cannot hold and don't hold anymore.
Reality is only the present picosecond of perception you have. All of our memory with all of its rules, patterns, understandings is essentially an invention, is essentially just a tool, that helps us navigate in time, through pain/pleasure circuits. But time is only instants, disconnected from the past and future (we connect the dots, but the dots aren't connected, they are only connected in our minds), reality is only instantaneous perceptions, interactions, events. Nothing more.

It is not casual that the structure of the universe and reality presents us with paradoxes such as the Brain in a Vat and the Dream within a dream, are you dreaming or are you awake ? These paradoxes are trying to tell us something: they are trying to communicate the real essence of the universe.
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Re: Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Postby Carleas » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:00 pm

I think there's a problem with the construction of your paradox. If I am dreaming that I'm dreaming, there isn't a dream of a sleeping dream that persists: I'm still only one level deep. If someone shakes real-world me's shoulder, I won't wake up in the dream and then wake up in the real world, I'll only wake up in the real world. There are only two possibilities: awake and dreaming. Nesting dreams doesn't make them deeper.

Something similar is true of brains in vats. Suppose I have a brain in a vat, and I set up my computer to present it with the scenario that it has a brain in a vat and a computer. Further suppose that this brain in a vat sets up its computer to show its brain in a vat a brain in a vat. A diagram representing the situation would be this:

Me
|
V
Brain in a vat
|
V
Brain shown to brain in a vat
|
V
Brain shown to brain shown to brain in a vat.

But if we consider the ontological status of these brains, there's a distinction that prevents this from becoming an infinite regress. When we try to pick out which things are real-world objects, and which are simulations, we find only two conditions: I am a real world object, and so is the brain sitting in front of me, but both other brains are just simulations produced by my computer. Like the case in dreaming, there are only two conditions: real-world brains and simulated brains. The brain that is simulated by a brain that is simulated is exactly as simulated. Again, nesting does not change ontological status.

This doesn't solve the question of us living in a dream world or being brains in vats, but it does remove the infinite regress, as well as anything that follows from it.
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Re: Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Postby rakra » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:58 pm

no, the brain in a vat experiment is not like this.

why did u presuppose that REAL you exists? the experiment is to show that there is no real you, but there's always been brain in the vats.

Consider you, who is watching the LCD screen, is actually a dream, by a brain in vat. And so on, dreams in the dreams.

and nameta9, I don't really understand how you solved this paradox. And I don't understand why you said they are trying to communicate the real essence of the universe.
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Re: Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Postby nameta9 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:58 am

This paradox has no solution, it will never and can never be solved no matter what you think, no matter how you try to think it away, and no matter how hard you try.

And why ? because if you are a brain in a vat, or you are dreaming, or whatever other possible situation of being buried inside hidden layers of any sort, there will never and can never be any way to find out. You can't get out of the box you have been put in. And being that you are always inside some kind of box and reference system, the space or universe which contains the box is part of the non observable universe.

Also, if you want to find out if you are a brain in a vat, then this means that you want to find out if another description of reality is operating, if there are other laws of physics, other arrangements, other rules of engagement and interactions and other patterns that are operating and must be discovered.

But if you do find out that this is the case, then maybe the next day you may discover that there are yet other rules and you are actually just in a dream. And the day after you may find out that you are in a simulation, or whatever. And the rules and discoveries could go on forever, and each time you could be surprised as how you got the entire previous model of reality completely wrong. Kind of like the "paradigm shift" of Kuhn (or something like that), or like the way we are told science operates, always discovering new more encompassing laws and patterns, and then we all know "science never ends, and never finishes discovering ever more new patterns and laws, etc."

But if you simply accept that what is, is just an instantaneous interaction, just a point like event with no further patterns, no history, no past or future, no connections with other entities neither in space or time, then all of these problems are solved. Whatever new model, no matter how far out, is just as good, can do, the next second, the model will be another completely different one, who cares.

Back to the fact that you can never know if you are a brain in a vat: but this is the point, the universe tells us what you can't do, where the edges of the box in which you find yourself are, where the limits are. And this is what defines reality. You can't exceed the speed of light, you can't know if you are in a dream or virtual reality, you can't solve the three body problem. This is the real information the structure of the universe communicates to us.

For example, take the three body problem. Three bodies of the exact same size, having the exact same properties and being exactly equally distant from each other interact and influence each other, but we can't predict what the exact paths of these bodies will be as they evolve in time. But this is what you should expect, it is actually correct that it has no solutions, because any slight difference between them, even a difference in distance of 10^-100 mm, will change the paths. But infinite precision in size and distance is not possible, can't be known, hence the problem will never be solved perfectly and analytically.

You can approximate, but the perfect theoretical solution can't exist, because if you had a perfect theoretical solution, that would mean that reality is a complete metaphysical, abstract mathematical entity. The bodies would follow a perfect predetermined path, they would be a pure mathematical entity, a pure abstraction, how could they always follow the same perfect path ? That is way more detached from what our perception of reality seems to be.

And since all of physics is just a subsequent elaboration of more three to n body problems, if we could solve the three body problem, we could analytically solve all kinds of problems, from protein folding to the exact evolution of the reactions in biological cells, to the exact equation of a man, to the exact equation of the weather, etc. You would just need to feed the problems in ever more powerful supercomputers. But, this is not the case, just look at the protein folding problem, they are now trying to solve the problem with a distributed computer executing 9,000 trillion operations per second. And progress is being achieved very slowly, and always with great simplifications and approximations.

Of course, you all know what the real solution is: Modified brains, Changing the neural circuits of your Mind, Technological Singularity, Instant Singularities, etc.

Check out:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=174921
Last edited by nameta9 on Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brain in a Vat Paradox Solved

Postby Carleas » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:09 pm

rakra wrote:why did u presuppose that REAL you exists? the experiment is to show that there is no real you, but there's always been brain in the vats.


As I said, I wasn't attempting to solve the skeptical worry that we're brains in vats (elsewhere I've argued against the most famous solution to that concern*). Rather, I'm arguing that the recursion bottoms out one level down. No matter whether I'm real or not, I know that all the brains below me are experiencing realities that are exactly as simulated. It's not really significant that their realities are known to be simulated by intermediary brains; they bear essentially the same relationship to me as do all the brains between us.

What that tells us is that there are at most two types of reality in this scenario: 'real' reality, and simulated reality. There is no infinite regress. Similarly, there is only waking and dreaming, there's no significance to "dreaming that you're dreaming that...", it's the same as "dreaming that..."

Nameta, your worries seem unrelated to the brain in the vat question. You're presenting more general worries: failure of induction, incompleteness, etc. The brain in the vat problem isn't necessary to bring these out.

*
I realize now that my points here present problems for my counter-argument to Putnam. That argument relies on the idea of a brain in a vat in a brain in a vat (BIVIBIV) to establish the ability to coherently refer to the world outside the vat. But if there is no such thing as recursed envatment, it may be bootstrapping.
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