From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 17:49:18 -0400

On 24 xxx -1, Marchal wrote:
> Jacques M Mallah wrote:
> > Suffice it to say, though, that whether the number of branches is
> >finite or infinite makes little difference. The point is you lose measure
> >with a QS.
> >Some people in the multiverse have more measure than others,
> >and measure is proportional to effective probability. If you deny this I
> >don't see how you can even explain why people descended from apes have
> >higher effective probability than those that form spontaneously.
> I do agree with the relation between measure and effective probability.

        Good, maybe there is still some hope for you. (Yeah right.)

> >> [BM] The problem is that Jacques M Mallah is computationnalist. I am afraid
> >> that this entails he has no other choice than to choose the relative SSA.
> >> Only by choosing a strong physicalist ontological principle AND by
> >> choosing a strong (and rather mysterious) link between consciousness and
> >> physical activity, will it be possible for him to get a "limited MW" in
> >> which branching is absolute. Such a link between consciousness and
> >> physical activity has been showed incompatible with mechanism (by myself
> >> in 1988, and independently by Tim Maudlin in 1989, precise reference in
> >>
> >
> > [JM] Yeah right. I wanted to see this crackpot proof only because
> >(unlike QS) it does directly touch on my interests, but unfortunately it
> >was unreadable. So what's the idea of the "proof"? In English.
> 1) I like very much your sense of humor, Jacques. Do you really believe
> that
> I will be clearer in English ? ... and without drawings, and without
> hands waving ?

        Oui, je connais seulement un tres petite nombre des mots Francais.
Vraiment, je peut ecrire une mal paragraphe, mais je ne peut pas
comprehende les mots des autres.

> 2) Is it necessary ? This very discussion list, as we can realize by
> looking at the beginning in the archive, is founded on the idea
> (see also Tegmark and Schmidhuber, and (of course) Everett !) that
> allowing more [every] things to exist makes possible the isolation of
> more [the most] simpler [simplest] explanation possible. This, I think,
> means that almost every one in the list accept some kind of
> conceptually strong form of Occam Razor (as explicitely,
> exemplified by James Higgo). With such an idea, there is no need for
> eliminating HE. Any arithmetical (abstract) DU is enough.

        If you're saying we all accept the everything hypothesis, that is
irrelevant. I think there's a good chance it's true, but it must be
proven that it gives the right predictions. I assume for now that the
debate about QS is in the context of QM, straight Shrondinger equation.
        Besides, you also said that the proof would show why a "relative
SSA", which I think is nonsense in any context, is needed.

> The problem here is that the "physics" cannot distinguish a
> counterfactually correct firing of a neuron (for exemple) and an
> accidentally correct firing of a neuron.

        Sure it can.

> For exemple, think that
> the neuron is broken and that, by pure chance, a cosmic ray supplies
> it in real time.
> Then, if consciousness supervenes on the physical activity
> of a digital computer (emulating a brain), it will be not difficult
> to show that consciousness will supervene
> on a physically equivalent device, at some level below our substitution
> level,
> where the device is build in such a way -by filming the computer- that
> all "computationnal activity" will be purely
> accidentally correct (like in a cartoon where the dropping of a stone in
> a window is NOT the cause of the breakdown of the window).
> That mean that consciousness could supervene on something equivalent to a
> filmed brain, in which there is no form of "physical" computation at all.

        As you noted in your next mail, this has been discussed on the
list many times already. Such a device would not implement the
computations and would not be conscious according to computationalism.
        That's it? So much for your alleged proof. There's nothing in
it. It just presents an example of a physical situation in which a
computation is not implemented, and claims that consciousness would not be
present in that situation.

> This is basically the idea of the reductio ad absurdum.

        Of course Wei Dai does not find it absurd; his position is that it
would be conscious. I'd call him a 'structuralist'.

><< Hal:
>It is not enough, in this view, to reproduce an instance of information
>processing in a non-causal way.


>(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

        I obviously reject that.

>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.

        Right, the laws of physics must exist in addition to things such
as functions.

>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
>universes. >>

        Nope. Causality is easy to incorporate into a one universe model.
Any initial value problem obviously has causality.

>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.

        Good, that will help you understand QS.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Fri Jun 25 1999 - 14:57:25 PDT

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