## Miscellaneous Writings (David Chalmers).

This page contains a number of miscellaneous items, mostly unpublished in print, from over the years.

• The Two-Envelope Paradox: A Complete Analysis? (PS)
• You're given two envelopes, and are told that one contains twice the amount in the other, but you aren't told which is which. You tentatively decide to take envelope A, but then reason that there is a 50% chance that B contains twice A's amount and a 50% chance that it contains half A's amount, with an expected value of 1.25 times A's amount overall, so it is in your interests to switch. But of course the same holds in reverse. What is going on? I give a detailed analysis of this "two-envelope" paradox, including a few interesting subtleties that are sometimes overlooked. I didn't publish this as I now think the analysis is incomplete; in effect it solves the "numerical" paradox but not the "decision-theoretic" paradox.

• The St. Petersburg Two-Envelope Paradox
• This is a much more recent short paper (2001) that fills in the gap in the paper above. It sets out a closely related scenario, which combines elements of the St. Petersburg paradox and the two-envelope paradox, and use this to diagnose where the decision-theoretic paradoxical reasoning goes wrong. Published in Analysis, 2002.

## Old proto-papers

These are a few unfinished papers on a variety of subjects, mostly written around when I was graduate student at Indiana. I set these aside because I wasn't quite happy with them, or because I didn't think they were very significant, or because they evolved into something else, or because I am lazy, but looking at them now I quite enjoy them. My 1999 self may not endorse every youthful excess here, but there are some interesting bits and pieces.

• The First-Person and Third-Person Views
• An early high-level overview of "first-person" and "third-person" issues about consciousness. This was Part I of a supposedly 3-part paper - the two remaining parts got turned into my paper "Consciousness and Cognition". This part doesn't reach any firm conclusions, but it captures something of the eternal internal struggle.
• A Taxonomy of Cognitive Jokes
• This was my inner taxonomist at work. (See my bibliography for another example of this sad trait.) Following a workshop on humor at CRCC, during which innumerable jokes were told and dissected, this was my attempt to fit all of the jokes into a few basic templates. Unfortunately the jokes themselves are given only one-line summaries, so I wish you luck with recognizing them.
• On Spaghetti-Sorters and the Powers of Analog Computation
• This has a few jottings on the existence of "spaghetti-sorters" and other remarkable devices that seem to be able to compute certain functions faster than any standard computer (a spaghetti-sorter sorts a list of n numbers in order n time, for example, by cutting n pieces of spaghetti with the right lengths and banging them against a table).
• How Cartesian Dualism Might Have Been True
• On a not-too-far-fetched scenario, inspired by contemporary work in artificial life, in which a Cartesian interactive dualism would have turned out to be true. Indeed, many of the "simulated worlds" in artificial life are Cartesian in just this way.

## Philosophical commentaries

These are a few commentaries I've given at philosophy conferences over the years. Often I don't write these up, but these may have enough in them to be worthwhile.

• Connectionist Representation and Deep Systematicity
• A 1991 commentary (for a St. Louis conference on "Perspectives on Mind") on Andy Clark's "Theoretical Spaces". I think the idea of "deep systematicity" as the central virtue of connectionism is quite important, although I haven't got around to developing it in a real paper. There are also some remarks on the relationship between evolution and learning.
• Determining the Moment of Consciousness?
• This was a 1993 SPP commentary on Valerie Hardcastle's paper "On Determining the Monent of Consciousness" (published in Philosophical Psychology), which argues the neural level can help determine some "Orwell/Stalin" indeterminacies. Here I was in the unusual position of defending Dan Dennett; at the end Dennett was in the unusual position of agreeing with almost everything I said.
• What is it Like to be a Thermostat?
• A 1994 APA commentary on Dan Lloyd's "What is it Like to be a Net?" Most people at the time thought I was joking.

## Old Usenet postings

In days gone by I posted to Usenet, and other mailing lists, quite a bit. There was an occasional very good discussion - at least one of my published papers resulted from this sort of thing, and I can see other traces here and there. Other postings were just intellectual curiosity or frivolity. The endless discussions of Chinese rooms and consciousness were too open-ended to excerpt here, but here are a few more specific topics.

• "Pick a number between zero and infinity"
• About the time I stood on a street corner and asked just that.
• Is the Continuum Hypothesis true, false, or neither?
• I asked this question in sci.math and got quite a few interesting responses. This message (which is now part of the sci.math FAQ) is a summary and discussion. Lots of information on the Continuum Hypothesis can be found here.
• Thoughts on emergence
• An attempt at explicating the notion of "emergence" that is very popular in artificial life, complex systems theory, and other parts of contemporary science.
• Does a rock implement every FSA?
• A comp.ai.philosophy discussion of Putnam's argument that every ordinary open system implements every finite automaton. A number of people contributed to this discussion, which has lots of interesting byways and raises plenty of deep questions about computation. My paper of the same title descended from this.
• Realms of cognitive science
• Someone else posted about various "realms" such as those of matter, representation, and consciousness; here I take the conceit and run with it, multiplying the realms and discussing various possible relations among them.

Go to: