Re: MGA 1

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 17:22:49 +0100

On 25 Nov 2008, at 20:16, Brent Meeker wrote:

> Bruno Marchal wrote:

>>> Brent: I don't see why the mechanist-materialists are
>>> logically disallowed from incorporating that kind of physical
>>> difference into their notion of consciousness.
>> Bruno: In our setting, it means that the neuron/logic gates have
>> some form of
>> prescience.
> Brent: I'm not sure I agree with that. If consciousness is a
> process it may be
> instantiated in physical relations (causal?). But relations are in
> general not
> attributes of the relata. Distance is an abstract relation but it
> is always
> realized as the distance between two things. The things themselves
> don't have
> "distance". If some neurons encode my experience of "seeing a rose"
> might not
> the experience depend on the existence of roses, the evolution of
> sight, and the
> causal chain as well as the immediate state of the neurons?

With *digital* mechanism, it would just mean that we have not chosen
the right level of substitution. Once the level is well chosen, then
we can no more give role to the implementations details. They can no
more be relevant, or we introduce prescience in the elementary

>>> Bostrom's views about fractional
>>> "quantities" of experience are a case in point.
>> If that was true, why would you say "yes" to the doctor without
>> knowing the thickness of the artificial axons?
>> How can you be sure your consciousness will not half diminish when
>> the
>> doctor proposes to you the new cheaper brain which use thinner
>> fibers,
>> or half the number of redundant security fibers (thanks to a progress
>> in security software)?
>> I would no more dare to say "yes" to the doctor if I could loose a
>> fraction of my consciousness and become a partial zombie.
> But who would say "yes" to the doctor if he said that he would take
> a movie of
> your brain states and project it? Or if he said he would just
> destroy you in
> this universe and you would continue your experiences in other
> branches of the
> multiverse or in platonia? Not many I think.

I agree with you. Not many will say yes to such a doctor! Even
rightly so (with MEC). I think MGA 3 should make this clear.
The point is just that if we assume both MEC *and* MAT, then the
movie is "also" conscious, but of course (well: by MGA 3) it is not
conscious "qua computatio", so that we get the (NON COMP or NON MAT)

I keep COMP (as my working hypothesis, but of course I find it
plausible for many reasons), so I abandon MAT. With comp,
consciousness can still supervene on computations (in Platonia, or
more concretely in the universal deployment), but not on its physical
implementation. By UDA we have indeed the obligation now to explain
the physical, by the computational. It is the reversal I talked about.
Somehow, consciousness does not supervene on brain activity, but brain
activity supervene on consciousness. To be short, because
consciousness is now somehow related with the whole of arithmetical
truth, and things are no so simple.


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Received on Wed Nov 26 2008 - 11:23:04 PST

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