Re: MGA 3

From: Michael Rosefield <>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 13:39:47 +0000

There's a quote you might like, by Korzybski: "That which makes no
difference _is_ no difference."

- Did you ever hear of "The Seattle Seven"?
- Mmm.
- That was me... and six other guys.

2008/11/26 Bruno Marchal <>

> MGA 3
> It is the last MGA !
> I realize MGA is complete, as I thought it was, but I was doubting this
> recently. We don't need to refer to Maudlin, and MGA 4 is not necessary.
> Maudlin 1989 is an independent argument of the 1988 Toulouse argument
> (which I present here). Note that Maudlin's very interesting "Olympization
> technic" can be used to defeat a wrong form of MGA 3, that is, a wrong
> argument for the assertion that the movie cannot be conscious. (the
> argument that the movie lacks the counterfactual). Below are hopefully
> correct (if not very simple) argument. ( I use Maudlin sometimes when people
> gives this non correct form of MGA 3, and this is probably what makes me
> think Maudlin has to be used, at some point).
> MGA 1 shows that Lucky Alice is conscious, and MGA 2 shows that the
> "luckiness" feature of the MGA 1 experiment was a red herring. We can
> construct, from MEC+COMP, an home made lucky rays generator, and use it at
> will. If we accept both digital mechanism, in particular Dennet's principle
> that neurons have no intelligence, still less prescience, and this
> *together with* the supervenience principle; we have to accept that Alice
> conscious dream experience supervenes on the projection of her brain
> activity movie.
> Let us show now that Alice consciousness *cannot* supervene on that
> *physical* movie projection.
> I propose two (deductive) arguments.
> 1)
> Mechanism implies the following tautological functionalist principle: if,
> for some range of activity, a system does what it is supposed to do, and
> this before and after a change is made in its constitution, then the change
> does not change what the system is supposed to do, for that range of
> activity.
> Example:
> - A car is supposed to broken but only if the driver is faster than 90
> miles/h. Pepe Pepito NEVER drives faster than 80 miles/h. Then the car is
> supposed to do what she is supposed to do, with respect of its range of
> activity defined by Pepe Pepito.
> - Claude bought a 1000 thousand processors computer. One day he realized
> that he used only 990 processors, for his type of activity, so he decided to
> get rid of those 10 useless processors. And indeed the machine will satisfy
> Claude ever.
> - Alice has (again) a math exam. Theoreticians have correctly predict that
> in this special circumstance, she will never use neurons X, Y and Z. Now
> Alice go (again, again) to this exam in the same condition, but with the
> neurons X, Y, Z removed. Again, not only will she behaved like if she
> succeed her exam, but her consciousness, with both MEC *and* MAT still
> continue.
> The idea is that if something is not useful, for an active process to go
> on, for some range of activity, then you can remove it, for that range of
> activity.
> OK?
> Now, consider the projection of the movie of the activity of Alice's brain,
> "the movie graph".
> Is it necessary that someone look at that movie? Certainly not. No more
> than it is needed that someone is look at your reconstitution in Moscow for
> you to be conscious in Moscow after a teleportation. All right? (with MEC
> assumed of course).
> Is it necessary to have a screen? Well, the range of activity here is just
> one dynamical description of one computation. Suppose we make a hole in the
> screen. What goes in and out of that hole is exactly the same, with the hole
> and without the hole. For that unique activity, the hole in the screen is
> functionally equivalent to the subgraph which the hole removed. Clearly we
> can make a hole as large as the screen, so no need for a screen.
> But this reasoning goes through if we make the hole in the film itself.
> Reconsider the image on the screen: with a hole in the film itself, you get
> a "hole" in the movie, but everything which enters and go out of the hole
> remains the same, for that (unique) range of activity. The "hole" has
> trivially the same functionality than the subgraph functionality whose
> special behavior was described by the film. And this is true for any
> subparts, so we can remove the entire film itself.
> Does Alice's dream supervene (in real time and space) on the projection of
> the empty movie?
> Remark.
> 1 Of course, this argument can be sum up by saying that the movie lacks
> causality between its parts so that it cannot really be said that it
> computes any thing, at least physically. The movie is just an ordered record
> of computational states. This is neither a physical computation, nor an
> (immaterial) computation where the steps follows relatively to some
> universal machine. It is just a description of a computation, already
> existing in the Universal Deployment.
> 2 Note this: If we take into consideration the relative destiny of Alice,
> and supposing one day her brain broke down completely, she has more chance
> to survive through "holes in the screen" than to the "holes in the film".
> The film contains the relevant information to reconstitute Alice from her
> brain description, contained on this high resolution film. Keeping comp, and
> abandoning the physical supervenience thesis, means that we do no more
> associate consciousness, neither on the movie, NOR on the brain special
> activity in a computation, but to the computation itself directly. A brain,
> and even a film, will "only" be a way to make bigger the probability
> for a consciousness to manifest itself relatively to a "probable" universal
> computational history.
> Strictly speaking, running the movie dimimish Alice chance to have her
> conscious experience (life) continue, at least relatively to you, because of
> the many scratches the projector makes on the pellicle, which remove
> relevant information for a safe reconstitution later (again relatively to
> you).
> 2)
> I give now what is perhaps a simpler argument
> A projection of a movie is a relative phenomenon. On the planet 247a,
> nearby in the galaxy, they don't have screen. The film pellicle is as big as
> a screen, and they make the film passing behind a stroboscope at the right
> frequency in front of the public. But on planet 247b, movies are only for
> travellers! They dress their film, as big as those on planet 247a, in their
> countries all along their train rails with a lamp besides each frames, which
> is nice because from the train, through its speed, you get the usual 24
> frames per second. But we already accepted that such movie does not need to
> be observed, the train can be empty of people. Well the train does not play
> any role, and what remains is the static film with a lamp behind each frame.
> Are the lamps really necessaries? Of course not, all right? So now we are
> obliged to accept that the consciousness of Alice during the projection of
> the movie supervenes of something completely inert in time and space. This
> contradicts the *physical* supervenience thesis.
> Exercises.
> a) Someone could propose an alternate argument that a movie does not
> compute (and so consciousness does supervene on it) by alluding to the lack
> of causality in the movie: the movie does not handle the counterfactual
> existing implicitly in computations (physical or not). Use Maudlin's
> Olympization technic to refute that argument.
> b) Make fun by using a non dreaming Alice. Shows that the movie (film or
> screen) graph border is needed to get the accidental zombies (the puppet).
> And then the "important" exercise (the original goal).
> c) Eliminate the hypothesis "there is a concrete deployment" in the seventh
> step of the UDA. Use UDA(1...7) to define properly the computationalist
> supervenience thesis. Hint: reread the remarks above.
> Have a good day.
> Bruno
> <>
> <>
> >

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Wed Nov 26 2008 - 08:40:01 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:15 PST