How many mind states?

From: Gilles Henri <>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 14:42:13 +0200

>Yup. You will crash. Sorry. If you're coming to London give me a call on
>0171 337 3760.
>On Henri's point, we have finite number of atoms, but I am not certain that
>there is a finite number of configurations for those atoms.

In my opinion, brain states are highly degenerated in the sense that
typical mind states are probably linked to macroscopic neural states,
corresponding to many microscopic configurations. It is further probable
that many neural states can correspond to the same apparent mind state,
since we are continuously (in most worlds!) loosing a lot of neurons
without suffering dramatical consequences. As we have around 10^10 neurons,
I would guess that the total number of mind states would be lower (and
probably much lower) than 2^(10^10), many of them not corresponding to
sensible thoughts. This would let some room for the memory of a very long
life, but not for an infinite one...

>> For me these questions are not so pressing,
>> is the pressing question:
>> Is MWI true?
>> We have to find tests!
>> Somebody who has a proof that
>> tests are impossible should publish
>> it. (If the proof ios convincing
>> MWI will become ``many words'' for me).

In my opinion again, the difficulty of "proving" MWI is that genuine
quantum effects are only visible in interference terms, as the decoherence
theory tells us. That's why Tegmark's suicide experiment, although correct
in the MWI, can not be considered as a proof of it, even in the worlds
where the experimentalist survives. As already mentioned, it could be
merely considered as the realization of a very unlikely probability, which
is also compatible with the wave function collapse interpretation. The only
proof of MWI would be by a statistically significant deviation from the
classical evolution after a measurement, due to interference with the
"ghost" universes which are supposed to have disappeared in the WFCI. It
should be reproducible in any world (some kind of macroscopic Aspect's
experiment). Unfortunately, the decoherence theory tells us that these
deviations are VERY VERY small, so I cannot figure out how to make them
significant... The best argument for MWI is still that of logical
self-consistency. Well, we are quite confident that gravitational waves do
exist, although nobody has been able to detect them up to now!

Received on Mon Nov 23 1998 - 05:45:11 PST

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