The Five Points of Codicalism: LISAN

L What is known — Knowledge (cf. epistemology) — are expressions (models) in a language.
I What there is — Being (cf. ontology) — is the (ultimately ineffable material) substrate (reality) of nature, of which everything is made.
S A linguistic compiler maps language to language (simulation) and is substrate-independent.
A A synthetic compiler (or substrative compiler) maps language to a substrate-dependent object (assembly) — e.g., a biocompiler.
N The language (model) is not the substrate (reality) — but languages can be compared by precision and utility. A simulation is not an assembly.

LISAN: lisan is Arabic for tongue or language.

see also Road(s) to Codicalism


Philip Thrift


programming architectonics

The study of programming — architectures and frameworks — architectonically (vs. programming linguistics — the study of programming languages). :
• the unifying structural design of something
• the structural arrangement or makeup of an anatomical part or system :
ar·chi·tec·ton·ics (är′kĭ-tĕk-tŏn′ĭks)
n. (used with a sing. verb)
3. Philosophy The scientific systematization of knowledge.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.

Kant, Deleuze, and Architectonics


Philip Thrift

On the level

A philosophical concept that runs counter to hierarchical, layered modeling (Are There Levels Out There?) is the rhizome [1]. Rhizomes appear in web/network programming theory [2,3,4]. (Still no “Rhizome” programming language?)

[1] Rhizome_(philosophy)
[2] The actor-network
[3] Territory(ies) Internet
[4] Rhizomatic model of the internet




Introducing Tony and Cody dialogues

Tony – a Platonist/Positivist
Cody – a Pragmatist/Codicalist

cf. Consequences of Pragmatism (Introduction: Platonists, Positivists, and Pragmatists)


TONY: An important aspect of Bruno Marchal’s theory is that he proposes to solve “the hard problem” of consciousness by identifying the unprovable truths of arithmetic with the ineffable qualia of consciousness.

CODY: If Marchal thinks that that is a property of consciousness, and if consciousness is a property of brains, and if brains are made of biomaterials, then he must think that there could be a biocomputer (a computer made of biomaterials) that can support super-Turing computing.

TONY: Why? He’s not saying that any particular brain can experience/comprehend all the unprovable truths. Only that each brain can realize some of the unprovable truths.

CODY: Then make a really gigantic network of (brain-level) biocomputers and connect them via the (next generation) internet. Call it WWB — World Wide Brain. WWB is now your super-Turing computer!

TONY: It’s still finite and there are still infinitely many true theorems it cannot prove. Marchal doesn’t think consciousness is a property of brains; he thinks it’s property of some computations or algorithms. And he doesn’t suppose it has to do anything super-Turing. He thinks that jumping spiders, and possibly even simpler animals, are conscious.*

CODY: As for consciousness, there are some (natural computationalists) who think that particular property requires biocomputing — the object code consists of biomatter rather than a binary running on standard silicon.

* via Free Thinkers Physics Discussion Group / (Brent Meeker)



Turing’s Ideas and Models of Computation
Eugene Eberbach, Dina Goldin2, Peter Wegner

The theory of computation that we have inherited from the 1960’s focuses on algorithmic computation as embodied in the Turing Machine to the exclusion of other types of computation that Turing had considered. In this chapter we present new models of computation, inspired by Turing’s ideas, that are more appropriate for today’s interactive, networked, and embedded computing systems. These models represent super-Turing computation, going beyond Turing Machines and algorithms. We identify three principles underlying super-Turing computation — interaction with the world, infnity of resources, evolution of system — and apply these principles in our discussion of the implications of super-Turing computation for the future of computer science.

also Interactive Computation:The New Paradigm


TONY: I am waiting for someone to say that genes have created gene splicing technology and computers in order to copy themselves onto hard drives and from there copy themselves onto new organisms.

CODY: Genes have created biological forms that can make gene splicing technology and computers in order to copy themselves onto hard drives and from there copy themselves onto new organisms.


Philip Thrift

On ‘consistency’ and natural computing

in Codicalism, here are two senses of ‘consistency’: linguistic consistency (the model of some aspect of physical reality written in a particular language — or possibly multiple languages — is consistent) and substrative consistency (physical reality itself is consistent).

It could be that there is substrative consistency and we just haven’t found the right language for linguistic consistency.

Inconsistent formal systems based on paraconsistent and dialetheic logics do have contradictions but it’s not the case that that all sentences are provable (called “explosion”). There are paraconsistent logic programming languages, for example. Some think physical theory will turn out to be paraconsistent.

That’s linguistic inconsistency (within or between two languages). But is there substrative (actual physical events) inconsistency?

I don’t think so either (and once it is defined “what that would mean”, a language is involved), but I don’t know.


I would eliminate all vestiges of platonism by defining mathematics simply as this:

That what can be computed on some physical computer.

Now what physical computers can exist? (Black-hole computers? Bio-computers? etc.) That’s the question!


I question whether “simplest” is a principle that is the “best” for what a physical theory should be.

What if there were a multiverse theory generator — based on some sort of genetic programming — that output random, “messy” physical theories (all written in ActorScript, Go, Racket, …) and it turned out that our physical universe pretty much was modeled d by one of those.


Philip Thrift

Road(s) to Codicalism

Positivism (according to Rorty) is a form of Platonism: It just replaces one form of idealization with another.
(page xiii, Platonists, Positivists, and Pragmatists)

Instrumentalism (from Dewey) became Neopragmatism (or Linguistic Pragmatism, from Rorty) becomes Codicalism.

    Instrumentalism → Neopragmatism [+Ironism] → Codicalism

Rorty’s pragmatism is also referred to as nonreductive physicalism, by which he meant that everything is physical, but a language of one domain may not necessarily be (usefully) translatable or compilable to a language of a “lower” domain.

A physicalist account of mathematics is here:
Physico-formalist philosophy of mathematics

Like Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) — though he contradicts MUH repeatedly himself — Ontic Structural Realism (OSR) is a hyper-platonism that is anti-materialism (and anti-physicalism, the more modern way of putting it).

Opposite of Codicalism, MUH and OSR put the cart (of mathematics, languages, models, etc.) before the (physical, material) horse rather than the other way around!

Paul Feyerabend’s ‘doctrine of ineffability’

precludes any one ‘theory’, ‘worldview’, or, more broadly, one set of epistemic activities, from ‘Platonizing’ themselves, and asserting their ‘hard realist’ credentials.

does not deny the existence of a mind-independent reality, but insists that absolute knowledge about this ultimate reality is impossible. Reality itself is ineffable but “reacts” to the plurality of different approaches. While the sciences can yield “manifest realities,” the mistake of many scientists is to reify them as primary and unique. Against this scientific realism, Feyerabend advocates a more humble interpretation of our access to that ultimate reality.


“Feyerabend on the Ineffability of Reality”
Ian James Kidd

“Late Feyerabend against Scientific Realism”
Eric C. Martin

The Abundant World: Paul Feyerabend’s Metaphysics of Science
Matthew J. Brown


In codicalism (yin = the substrate, yang = languages), the substrate corresponds to the ineffable ‘ultimate reality’ in Feyerabend’s (and in Kant’s and Wittgenstein’s) vocabulary, providing the grounding our languages require.

Completing the diagram (combining Rortian and Kantian strains):


    Instrumentalism → Neopragmatism [+Ironism]         (languages)
            Transcendentalism    →         Ineffabilism         (the substrate)


— the informational world meets the phenomenological world.


cf. The substrate and the sublime (re: Kant)


Codicalism as (Victor J.) Stengerism:

languages: Vic’s modelism – it’s models all the way up and down – cf:
the substrate: Vic’s materialism – atoms and the void –

other?: nonphysical minds and consciousnesses, platonistic mathematical domains, …


Philip Thrift

What evolutionary morality misses

A proponent of evolutionary morality may claim that evolution programmed us with moral feelings.

But evolution also programmed us with the ability to do abstract computation (beyond that of other primates — those not extinct, anyway).

What Makes a Human Brain Unique
Experiment compares the way monkey and human brains respond to abstract information

The idea that integrating abstract information drives many of the human brain’s unique abilities has been around for decades. But a paper published in Current Biology, which directly compares activity in human and macaque monkey brains as they listen to simple auditory patterns, provides the first physical evidence that a specific area for such integration may exist in humans. Other studies that compare monkeys and humans have revealed differences in the brain’s anatomy, for example, but not differences that could explain where humans’ abstract abilities come from, say neuroscientists.


Our moral codes could be both embodied in us and created by us, using our brains, uniquely (among other animals still here on Earth) capable of abstract computation.


Philip Thrift

DSL engines

A topologist. epistemologist, chemist, biologist, astrophysicist, particle physicist, category theorist, philosopher of science, algebraist, programming language theorist, painter, metaphysician, cosmologist, logician, combinatorialist, social scientist, dancer, moral philosopher, political scientist, geologist, linguist, historian, geometer, … each has their own favorite collection of domain-specific — overlapping, intertranslatable. or intercompilable to varying degrees — languages and practices (DSL&Ps) , with no one language and practice manual to rule them all.


Philip Thrift