RE: consciousness based on information or computation?

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 17:44:07 -0000

Bruno, I finally got around to replying to this missive of yours. But I am
still not sure what you're saying as I don't know precisely what you mean
"your mind (consciousness) includes your immediate expectations"

Forthermore, the idea of transportation has no place in my ontololgy as all
universes are discrete and contain no movement. Universes are related to
other universes only by correlation, which is a subjective feature. You may
see that your hand moves smoothly from one point to another. In fact, you
have viewed a huge number of unrelated universes in such a way that they are
related. It so happens that there is a universe in which you hand is at
point a, and another in which your hand is at point a+1, and those universes
appear to be related. But they are not. In an infinite multiverse universes
which appear to have any relation you like do in fact exist. We appear to
exist in those sets of universes which can be strung together so that the
laws of physics appear to emerge (weak anthropic principle, my dear friend).


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marchal []
> Sent: 13 January 1999 16:16
> To: Higgo James
> Subject: RE: consciousness based on information or computation?
> >Bruno, you say "you can only associate mind with the whole UD*." - I'm
> not
> >sure why.
> I will try to explain why shortly.
> The "practitionners" of computationnalism uses classical teletransport as
> a mean to move from one place A to another place B. This mean he is
> "read" at A, send (by wave radio, for exemple) at B, annihilated at A,
> and reconstituted at B. Let us call that experience : the primitive
> experience or simply the PE.
> Let us look first at two independent changes of the PE.
> PE1 : if, knowing it or without knowing it, the reconstitution is
> time-delayed at B, this doesn't change anything from his first-person
> point of view. In particular if he is certain to get B with PE, he must
> be certain to get B, in PE1. (The delay is supposed to be finite).
> PE2 : if he is told he will be reconstituted at B and B', his
> first-person futur is undetermined. The domain of undeterminism is {B,
> B'}.
> Of course, from a third person point of view, everything is determined.
> Do you agree until here ?
> Now, consider the following experience PE3 which mixed PE1 and PE2.
> He is told that he will be reconstituted at B and at B' (like PE2), but a
> time-delay of reconstitution is introduced at B (like PE1).
> Now, if you agree with what I say about PE1 and PE2, you will agree that :
> IF you quantify the undeterminism on {B, B'} in some way for PE2, THEN
> you must give the same quantification for the undeterminism on {B, B'}
> with PE3.
> For exemple, if he quantify {B, B'} with a uniform probability
> distribution with PE2, he must quantify {B, B'} with a uniform
> probability distribution with PE3. To sum up, the delay doesn't change
> his expectation.
> This follows from COMP (think on the first-person communication by the
> average robot instead of you, for exemple). The average robot = the
> normal (gaussian) robot when these experiences are iterated.
> OK ?
> I guess you will also accept that nothing will change, in neither PE nor
> PE1 nor PE2, if at B (for exemple) he is reconstituted in a perfect
> virtual environment (which could exist by COMP). This is PE4.
> If you agree, you are ready for "PE-omega", which is just the infinite
> running of the UD.
> Suppose that you are in some state of mind s, captured at some digital
> level by a computationnal state S (which exist by COMP).
> Now suppose the UD is running, and that it never ends (accidentally).
> Then you will be virtually reconstituted, in the state S, an infinite
> number of times in the all UD*.
> From the conclusion of PE to to PE4, it follows that you must quantify
> the undeterminism (relatively to S) on the infinite set of
> reconstitutions, which is an infinite set which is include in the whole
> UD*.
> Because your mind (consciousness) includes your immediate expectations,
> your mind is really defined by the whole UD*, which has a (platonist)
> arithmetical reality. This (platonist) arithmetical reality should
> convince a "occamist" like you that the "concrete running" of the UD is
> not necessary. (In my thesis I am much more cautious about that point).
> Of course the mind body problem is not solved here, we 've got just a
> beginning of a formulation of the problem in the computationnalist
> framework. With comp the mind aspect is not so difficult, it admits even
> a positivist account as the study of the discourse of (self referentially
> sound) machines, but we 've got a real matter problem. We must explain
> our determinist belief from the a priori very big UD*-undeterminism.
> The non triviality of computer science and the logic of provability
> suggest ways toward solutions as I illustrate in
> Bruno
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Received on Fri Feb 26 1999 - 09:47:18 PST

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