- Contemporary messages sorted: [ by date ] [ by thread ] [ by subject ] [ by author ] [ by messages with attachments ]

From: Wei Dai <weidai.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 19:08:33 -0700

Chalmer's wrote in _The Conscious Mind_:

Ultimately one would like a theory of consciousness to do at least the

following: it should give the condition under which physical processes give

rise to consciousness, and for those processes that give rise to

consciousness, it should specify just what sort of experience is

associated. [end quote]

We are still pretty far away from such a theory, so perhaps we should ask

instead what is the minimal theory of consciousness that we need in order

to make practical decisions? I argue that all we need is a theory that for

each object or process, give the person using the theory the probability

that the object or process gives rise to that person's consciousness. In

other words, it should tell me the probability that being some object or

process feels exactly like the way I feel right now. I think all of us

already has a minimal theory of consciousness, since we can all tell for

example that it is very unlikely that being a typical rock feels like the

way we feel. But of course there are areas our theories are deficient in.

None of us can be very confident (i.e. assign a probability close to 0 or

1) about whether being replays of our mental processes feels like the way

we feel.

The minimal theory of consciousness is the link between a theory of

everything and decision theory. In order to derive useful information from

our subjective experiences, we need to know the conditional probability

that we feel the way we do under various assumptions. Given a set of

assumptions, a theory of everything would produce a probability measure P

over the set of all possible objects or processes. Now to get the

probability that I feel the way I do, I compute sum_over_all_x P(x)Q(x),

where Q(x) is the probability that being x feels the way I do.

The minimal theory of consciousness provides a way to formalize certain

problems in the philosphy of consciousness (such as whether replays or

copies are conscious) while ignoring others (such as what it feels like to

be an alien) that do not have direct bearing on practical matters. I hope

narrowing down the scope of the theory of consciousness will make it easier

to solve the problems that really need to be solved.

Received on Mon Jul 12 1999 - 19:09:59 PDT

Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 19:08:33 -0700

Chalmer's wrote in _The Conscious Mind_:

Ultimately one would like a theory of consciousness to do at least the

following: it should give the condition under which physical processes give

rise to consciousness, and for those processes that give rise to

consciousness, it should specify just what sort of experience is

associated. [end quote]

We are still pretty far away from such a theory, so perhaps we should ask

instead what is the minimal theory of consciousness that we need in order

to make practical decisions? I argue that all we need is a theory that for

each object or process, give the person using the theory the probability

that the object or process gives rise to that person's consciousness. In

other words, it should tell me the probability that being some object or

process feels exactly like the way I feel right now. I think all of us

already has a minimal theory of consciousness, since we can all tell for

example that it is very unlikely that being a typical rock feels like the

way we feel. But of course there are areas our theories are deficient in.

None of us can be very confident (i.e. assign a probability close to 0 or

1) about whether being replays of our mental processes feels like the way

we feel.

The minimal theory of consciousness is the link between a theory of

everything and decision theory. In order to derive useful information from

our subjective experiences, we need to know the conditional probability

that we feel the way we do under various assumptions. Given a set of

assumptions, a theory of everything would produce a probability measure P

over the set of all possible objects or processes. Now to get the

probability that I feel the way I do, I compute sum_over_all_x P(x)Q(x),

where Q(x) is the probability that being x feels the way I do.

The minimal theory of consciousness provides a way to formalize certain

problems in the philosphy of consciousness (such as whether replays or

copies are conscious) while ignoring others (such as what it feels like to

be an alien) that do not have direct bearing on practical matters. I hope

narrowing down the scope of the theory of consciousness will make it easier

to solve the problems that really need to be solved.

Received on Mon Jul 12 1999 - 19:09:59 PDT

*
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0
: Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:06 PST
*