Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 15:41:02 +0200

Le 24-août-06, à 13:53, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

>> I would say the multiple branches are needed to have any *stable*
>> conscious experience, i.e. to have conscious experience "with the
>> right
>> (relative) probabilities"
> It may as a matter of fact be the case that our consciousness is
> spread across
> multiple branches, but I don't see how this would confer stability.
> When people
> pray for something, they are actually asking God to prune the
> multiverse branches
> in which undesirable outcomes occur. If God complies, in the extreme
> case leaving
> only a single branch intact, their future conscious experience will be
> very stable
> indeed.

OK. You also ask this to Russell:

> Is there any reason to believe that we would lose consciousness, or
> notice
> that anything strange had happened at all, if most or all of the
> parallel branches
> in the multiverse suddenly vanished?

I think we would. Suppose you put coffee in a cup. One second after you
drink it.
Now, both with the comp hyp., or with just the quantum hypothesis, you
know there are quantum or comp continuations in which the coffee will
be transformed into tea (or white rabbits ...). Suppose God prunes all
the branches where the coffee does not change, then, during that
second, the probability of drinking coffee, relatively to tour
experience of having put coffee in the cup, will be zero. I guess you
will noticed the difference.
Recall the seventh step of the UDA (in the SANE version of UDA with 8
steps). You drop a pen, and you evaluate the probability that the pen
hits the ground (if that is english). By the comp first person
indetermincacy, the comp-exact first plural calculus, in principle,
consists in considering *all* computations in UD* (i.e. generated by
the UD in Platonia where we are supposed to be infinitely patient)
going through your "actual state" (i.e. the one when you will just
bring the cup to your mouth), and to see what is going on (from some
third person pov) in each of the consistent computational
continuations. If some "comp Goddess" was able to prune, the way she
wants, the computation or their continuations she could change
arbitrarily your local physical laws, and unless she decides to revised
your memory (and thus your actual states) you would notice.

All right? This should answer your questions.

About your question "could a recording be conscious?" Well, let me
quote you:

> But WHY can't a recording be conscious? How do I know I'm not in
> a recording at the moment? True, I am surprised by my experiences
> and believe I could have acted differently had I wanted to, but that
> might all be part of the script to which I am not privy, so that things
> could only have been different if the recording had been different.

I think I mainly agree with you, but I have some reason to discard
expression like "a recording can be conscious". If it is a recording of
a (genuine) *computation* (unlike just a program), you can *associate*
consciousness to .... not really to the recording, but to the "person"
having that piece of computation recorded. That is, I think only
"person" can think. I don't believe a brain can think, nor any piece of
local "comp-matter". Only persons think, and only first persons are
aware of thinking.
Giving your other posts, I think this could just be a terminological
nuance, but it helps to separate persons and their many relative third
person (or first plural) incarnations/implementations.


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Received on Thu Aug 24 2006 - 10:14:53 PDT

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