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From: SLP <SLP.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 06:47:35 -0500

Hans Moravec wrote: "Attribution of subjective experience is a

festering issue……"

This is actually the key point. We don't know what subjectivity is.

Passing the Turing Test is a necessary but not sufficient

condition for a consciousness. A sufficiently responsive mechanism, but

lacking self-awareness with qualia, could "outwit" any possible Turning

test. A proper definition of consciousness must await our understanding

its physical and computational basis.

We don't know whether there will be a smooth reduction of our common

(and admittedly folk-psychological) concept of consciousness to strict

physics (the position called "reductive materialism") or whether this

concept is so flawed that it will have to be junked completely

("eliminative materialism'). Until we actually understand how brains

work, and what we crudely call "consciousness" is generated, it is

premature to attempt an answer.

Talking about "interpretations" and "consciousness" ( or "subjectivity")

at this point therefore seems wholly premature.

On the other hand, we CAN say what reality is like, because we do

understand its math, at least to a certain level, confirmed by massive

amounts of experimental data. We can say, for example, that reality is

deterministic. Consider the following 3 points:

(1) QM really is the Everett formalism, and this implies determinism.

And if we look

at work by Gell-Mann and Hartle, which extends Everett's and explains

approximate classicity at the coarse-grained level, we see the

determinism more clearly when we consider the full cosmological context,

where literally EVERYTHING comes about as a consequence of the form of

the initial density matrix. I would also argue, although this may be

controversial, that by the understanding given of equivalence classes in

GMH, quantum state vectors are seen to be incomplete descriptions, and

the uncertainty principle, even though it is a rigorously derivable

consequence of the formalism of QM, therefore comes across (in some

appropriate sense) as only epistemological. I find it bizarre that

Gell-Mann's merely verbal statements seem to go against what his math is

saying. How, for example can he say that QM is somehow

"indeterministic" even though everything-the entire evolution of the

universe-is completely specified by the initial density matrix? And how

can he claim, so arbitrarily, that the particular quasi-classical set of

correlations that we call our macroscopic reality is the only real one

or even somehow (except from our very parochial point of view) a

particularly special one?

(2) The "view from nowhen" of QM, almost by definition, means a fully

determinate block universe.

(3) It would appear, on the basis of the existence of quantum

correlations, that the only possible "true" wavefunction can be the wave

function of the entire "Universe," i.e., of all that exists. This

Universal wavefunction cannot depend on time or space. One easy way to

see this is by bringing in general relativity. If the Universal

wavefunction did depend on time or space, then we would have a

dependence on how we chose space or time coordinates, which is

inconsistent with general relativity. Space and time must therefore be

derivative entities whose "information content" is already contained

within the timeless and metaphysically determinate Universal

wavefunction. What is, is--complete determinism.

In a fully deterministic universe, what brings about the determinism?

We can SPECULATE the answer is pure logical consistency. Doing this

gives us a generalization of ordinary MWI to an "everything "

hypothesis. And in an appropriate form (e.g., Tegmark's) this

hypothesis is testable.

Steve Price, MD

Received on Thu Jul 08 1999 - 04:57:55 PDT

Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 06:47:35 -0500

Hans Moravec wrote: "Attribution of subjective experience is a

festering issue……"

This is actually the key point. We don't know what subjectivity is.

Passing the Turing Test is a necessary but not sufficient

condition for a consciousness. A sufficiently responsive mechanism, but

lacking self-awareness with qualia, could "outwit" any possible Turning

test. A proper definition of consciousness must await our understanding

its physical and computational basis.

We don't know whether there will be a smooth reduction of our common

(and admittedly folk-psychological) concept of consciousness to strict

physics (the position called "reductive materialism") or whether this

concept is so flawed that it will have to be junked completely

("eliminative materialism'). Until we actually understand how brains

work, and what we crudely call "consciousness" is generated, it is

premature to attempt an answer.

Talking about "interpretations" and "consciousness" ( or "subjectivity")

at this point therefore seems wholly premature.

On the other hand, we CAN say what reality is like, because we do

understand its math, at least to a certain level, confirmed by massive

amounts of experimental data. We can say, for example, that reality is

deterministic. Consider the following 3 points:

(1) QM really is the Everett formalism, and this implies determinism.

And if we look

at work by Gell-Mann and Hartle, which extends Everett's and explains

approximate classicity at the coarse-grained level, we see the

determinism more clearly when we consider the full cosmological context,

where literally EVERYTHING comes about as a consequence of the form of

the initial density matrix. I would also argue, although this may be

controversial, that by the understanding given of equivalence classes in

GMH, quantum state vectors are seen to be incomplete descriptions, and

the uncertainty principle, even though it is a rigorously derivable

consequence of the formalism of QM, therefore comes across (in some

appropriate sense) as only epistemological. I find it bizarre that

Gell-Mann's merely verbal statements seem to go against what his math is

saying. How, for example can he say that QM is somehow

"indeterministic" even though everything-the entire evolution of the

universe-is completely specified by the initial density matrix? And how

can he claim, so arbitrarily, that the particular quasi-classical set of

correlations that we call our macroscopic reality is the only real one

or even somehow (except from our very parochial point of view) a

particularly special one?

(2) The "view from nowhen" of QM, almost by definition, means a fully

determinate block universe.

(3) It would appear, on the basis of the existence of quantum

correlations, that the only possible "true" wavefunction can be the wave

function of the entire "Universe," i.e., of all that exists. This

Universal wavefunction cannot depend on time or space. One easy way to

see this is by bringing in general relativity. If the Universal

wavefunction did depend on time or space, then we would have a

dependence on how we chose space or time coordinates, which is

inconsistent with general relativity. Space and time must therefore be

derivative entities whose "information content" is already contained

within the timeless and metaphysically determinate Universal

wavefunction. What is, is--complete determinism.

In a fully deterministic universe, what brings about the determinism?

We can SPECULATE the answer is pure logical consistency. Doing this

gives us a generalization of ordinary MWI to an "everything "

hypothesis. And in an appropriate form (e.g., Tegmark's) this

hypothesis is testable.

Steve Price, MD

Received on Thu Jul 08 1999 - 04:57:55 PDT

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