From: Marchal <>
Date: Fri Jun 25 03:37:54 1999

Hi everythingers,

I was telling you (in my last post of yesterday 24/06/99):

>I would still like to mention that Hal Finney (if I remember correctly)
>has pointed toward a similar argument in the discussion.
>I don't remember where. I will look for it in the archive.

I found it by searching "counterfactual" in the body of the posts in the
It is the "causality and consciousness" post by Hal (15 Jan 1999). More

Here is an interesting excerp:

<< Hal:

It is not enough, in this view, to reproduce an instance of information
processing in a non-causal way. For example, we could monitor each
neuron in the brain and record its firing pattern, then play back those
patterns in another brain which has had its neural connections all
severed. Each neuron would have its own "recorded tape" for when it
was supposed to fire, based on the measurements made in the brain which
was thinking. In the playback brain, the neurons all fire with exactly
the same patterns as in the conscious brain. Is it conscious?

(My solution is, as I said earlier, that the question isn't meaningful,
because it is at best another iteration of an already-produced
and it doesn't matter if a conscious calculation is instantiated multiple

According to the consciousness-as-causality view, this playback is not
conscious, even though the patterns are all the same. There is no causal
relationship among the neural firings as their was in the real brain.
Without causality, there is no consciousness.

If we accept that consciousness is a real phenomenon deserving of
explanation, this view would require that causality is also a real,
fundamental, physical phenomenon. But if the only way causality can be
defined is as a relationship that spans multiple universes, it would
follow that consciousness also must fundamentally involve multiple

This is not necessarily as absurd as it may seem at first. Our
consciousness seems to inherently be an active process. The sense we
have of being conscious is intricately bound up with the sensation of
the passage of time. Yet time "passing" is really a matter of the
increase of entropy, which can also be related to universe splitting
in either a many-worlds or all-universes model. So it is already clear
that our perceptions do partake of some aspects of the multiple worlds.
If we could somehow bring counterfactuals into this, then we might be
closer to a coherent theory of consciousness.


I will make a detailed comment about that ASAP. I agree with Hal but not
on the point
"it doesn't matter if a conscious calculation is instantiated multiple
times", where it seems I am closer to Jacques M Mallah.


I give you all the posts in which "counterfactual" appears in the body.
I believe that the notion of counterfactuality is fundamental in the
Everything Approach,
not only for discussion on causality and consciousness, but also for the
of the appearance of physical laws, etc.

             eScribe Search results for "counterfactual"

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Messages 1 through 18 shown out of 18 matches. [Prev 50 matches] [Next 50

Re: Craziness of a quantum suicidal, Marchal, Thu, 24 Jun 1999 11:11:55
Re: The White Rabbit Conjecture, Marchal, Mon, 22 Mar 1999 02:56:11
RE: delayed reply, Higgo James, Mon, 15 Mar 1999 09:46:38
RE: delayed reply, Marchal, Mon, 8 Mar 1999 07:01:14
RE: consciousness based on information or computation?, Marchal, Tue, 2
Feb 1999 09:34:50
Re: Misc., Marchal, Fri, 29 Jan 1999 14:03:49
Re: Misc., Marchal, Thu, 28 Jan 1999 03:14:37
Re: consciousness based on information or computation?, Jacques M Mallah,
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 10:22:20
Re: consciousness based on information or computation?, Wei Dai, Mon, 25
Jan 1999 16:13:21
Re: consciousness based on information or computation?, Jacques M Mallah,
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 14:06:51
Re: Causality and consciousness, Marchal, Mon, 25 Jan 1999 03:01:46
Re: consciousness based on information or computation?, Wei Dai, Sun, 24
Jan 1999 17:48:18
Re: consciousness based on information or computation?, Jacques M Mallah,
Sat, 23 Jan 199912:20:06
Causality and consciousness, hal, Fri, 15 Jan 1999 22:11:58
Re: Decision theory, Wei Dai, Sun, 10 Jan 1999 16:00:01
Re: Decision theory, Jacques M Mallah, Sat, 9 Jan 1999 18:53:35
RE: hypotheses of everything; measure, Higgo James, Thu, 19 Nov 1998
Re: hypotheses of everything; measure, Jacques M. Mallah, Wed, 18 Nov
1998 15:15:16


Received on Fri Jun 25 1999 - 03:37:54 PDT

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