[PD] Pd *is* a programming language!

Bryan Jurish moocow at ling.uni-potsdam.de
Sun Oct 1 14:40:06 CEST 2006

morning Mathieu, morning all,

<warning>rant follows</warning>

On 2006-09-30 05:13:42, Mathieu Bouchard <matju at artengine.ca> appears to
have written:
> Computability doesn't usually count input/output. The internet and pd
> are two examples of things relying heavily on input/output... except
> that you can also use pd without input/output.


what's a Turing machine without a tape?  I imagine that you're seeing
the tape (or rather, that you're seeing computability theorists seeing
the tape) in its machine-internal role of (basically) Just A Buffer, but
there's got to be data on it at t=0 (ok, maybe just the empty string,
but that's still information in the most formal sense), i.e. when the
computation begins.  I'll grant you that computability theorists (among
whom I count myself in a very minor, inexperienced, and somewhat
skeptical sort of way) tend to concern themselves with computability of
a program (ruleset, delta function, whatever) for *arbitrary* input,
which I will further grant is largely impractical; but hey, they're
*theorists*, right?

As to how the data got on the tape in the first place, what restrictions
may or may not justifiably be placed on it, and what the feeds into --
well, maybe that's a computable function as well, and maybe it isn't.
Are you perhaps saying "input/output" to refer to the user interface,
i.e. the existence and (assumedly) freely willed action [on the input
tape] and (also assumedly) conscious perception [of the output tape] by
an autonomous end-in-itself, i.e. a human being?  Well, free will is an
illusion anyways, so we can pretty much ignore that part of it (it may
of course still be a non-computable illusion, but there's some pretty
compelling data that it's pretty darned illusory).  Similarly,
"conscious perception" assumes a consciousness in which the perceptions
arrive, and no one, but no one has yet been able to provide an argument
which convinces me that such a thing must exist (whatever ephemeral form
of existence it's supposed to have in the first place); and that
includes the Churchlands, Dennet, Fodor, and even Grand Master Noam (uh,
that's Chomsky, of course), for all of whom I have a great deal of

That having been said, I find it extremely soothing to assume that there
is in fact such a thing as a semi-independent consciousness, and that
one of 'em somehow participates in my very own neural activities.
Likewise, since it would otherwise be pretty damn lonely in here (cf.
Hume), I like to imagine that there are in fact other folks on the
planet also infused with such semi-independent ephemera; in fact, I
blithely tend to assume this of everyone I meet.  Then for purely
practical (read: "normative", if you're so disposed) reasons, I've got
to assume that there is such a thing as free will, but the only bit that
I think might really represent a non-computable function is the "being
forced to suppose" part, cf. Kant "I think that ...", Quine & abstract
objects, etc., etc.

Apologies for the rant, just had to get that off my loosely connected
and causally participating ephemera...

Bryan Jurish                           "There is *always* one more bug."
jurish at ling.uni-potsdam.de      -Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology

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