Fwd: COUNTERFACTUALS, conciousness is a relative concept

From: <GSLevy.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 15:31:48 EDT

In a message dated 99-07-01 20:57:08 EDT, R.Standish.domain.name.hidden writes:

<< Thus, it would seems, conciousness is very much a relative concept,
 just as free will and time would be. >>

Right on!!!

I realize and acknowledge that several of us have independantly rediscovered
many consequences of the MWI, and I will not take that credit away from you.
However, let me tell you my side of the story.

I have written a whole book on the subject. Many of the ideas I have
presented in this forum are lifted straight out this book. In it, I discuss,
not just the RELATIVE aspects of consciouness but its RELATIVISTIC aspects,
trying to merge the basic postulates of relativity with physical laws, the
MW, the cosmological principle, information theory ( c.f., mutual or
"relative" information), consciousness and free will. I explain how the
relationship between our own rationality and the existence of rational
physical laws. Fearing the nihilistic implications of this material, I also
discussed ethics if such a theory was generally accepted. I started this book
in June 1998 and finished the first draft in December 1998 before I connected
with this group. At that time I sent queries to seven agents. They all turned
me down.

The book is too far out, too unbelievable, and I just don't have the
credentials to be believed. If any one of you knows of a good way to publish
such a book, please let me know.

George Levy

attached mail follows:

GSLevey wrote:

> This uncertainty in the decision making process IS what we perceive as FREE
> WILL. Without this uncertainty we would just be automatons entirely
> predictable and unthinking, actually, to be more precise, UNCONSCIOUSLY
> THINKING, just like a program. Again this uncertainty is RELATIVE to the set
> of axioms or rules or harware driving the thinking machine or brain...purely
> in a Godelian sense. Free will can only exists in the eyes of the beholder
> who has his own set of axioms, rules, hardware driving his own thinking
> machine, brain..... And the beholder can be the self, or anyone else. Thus,
> if a "thinking" entity behaves predictably with respect a second "thinking"
> entity, then the first has no free will RELATIVELY to the second. A bull has
> no free will when it faces a matador waving a red cape.

I think this comment is uncovering a profound link between free will
and conciousness. MWI provides us with a natural solution to the free
will vs determinism conundrum. (David Deutsch gives a good discussion
of this in his FOR book). I have argued that a Turing machine
can never be concious, because it can't have free will. The output
states of the Turing machine are precisely given by the program and
the inputs. One needs at least to inject a little randomness in the
algorithm, which then offers a real choice between MWI branches for
the machine to travel down. It is this possibility of choice that
gives us our psychological sense of time, another important
characteristic of conciousness, and is also naturally related to the
arrow of time induced by the second law.

However, the perverse flip side of this situation is that an
unconcious Turing machine can implement a universe in which
conciousness exists, at least this is how I understand Bruno's
thesis. Of course the "time" in which the Turing machine executes its
program is completely unrelated to the "time" that the concious
entities implemented by the TM experience.

Thus, it would seems, conciousness is very much a relative concept,
just as free will and time would be.

Dr. Russell Standish Director
High Performance Computing Support Unit,
University of NSW Phone 9385 6967
Sydney 2052 Fax 9385 7123
Australia R.Standish.domain.name.hidden
Room 2075, Red Centre http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
Received on Fri Jul 02 1999 - 12:35:42 PDT

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