Re: Consciousness and free will

From: M.A. <>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 14:21:40 -0500

          Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the detailed explanations. I'll post my responses in an interlinear manner using color to differentiate (if that's ok). M.A.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Bruno Marchal
  Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:49 PM
  Subject: Re: Consciousness and free will

  On 29 Nov 2008, at 16:45, M.A. wrote:

    (Assuming MEC/Comp.and MWI) If the computational universe which I experience

  Assuming MEC I would say *you* experience an infinity of computational histories. The term "universe" is far too ambiguous (now).

  But isn't each history separated from all others by impermeable walls? Do you mean that the word "universe" is ambiguous or just my use of it?

    is a single instance of a vast array of similar universes playing out every possible variation of the initial axioms, then no one universe could depart from its predetermined program since in so doing it would alter its program and duplicate that of another universe thus spoiling the overall mission of implementing every possible variation.

  Histories can bifurcate in a way that you will find yourself in both histories ("you" seen from some third person point of view). Each histories is deterministic but, your future is uncertain.

  But what about the first person "me"? "I" am only conscious of one history.

    It follows that each program-universe is completely detirministic

  All right.

    and that consciousness is merely an observing passenger inside the program;

  At some point I could "defined" consciousness as the state of (instinctively at first) betting on a history. This will speed up yourself relatively to your current stories, and make greater the set of your possible continuation. As an exemple you become aware an astero´d is coming nearby make it possible for you to envisage a set of possible decisions, which can themselves augment your probability of survival.

  It seems like the present copy of "me" can "envisage these decisions", but be unable to carry them out unless they are part of his deterministic history.

     thus each program that contains a thinking entity is in a schizophrenic condition.

  Come on! You agree to the presense of schism below. Is it the connotation of "schizophrenic" that you don't like?

    This is because consciousness--which is part of the program--is capable of judging the actions of the program. When the program acts in a way approved by it,

  by it? Sorry. "It" means consciousness in this and the following paragraphs.

    the thinker is encouraged to believe that his will produced the action.


    But when the program acts in a manner repugnant to it,

  to who? (The conscious observer.)

    the conscious observer, refusing to give up the notion of free will, explains the lapse by rationalizations such as: God, luck, destiny, possession, halluciation etc.

  As far as I understand, the program here acknowledge its ignorance. If, by being too much proud, he doesn't, then he make higher some catastrophe probabilities.

  But isn't his problem of pride determined in some history, namely the one "I" experience?

    So every consciousness, bearing burdensome memories of repugnant actions, must either surrender the possibility of free will (fatalism),

  Wrongly, I would say.

    accept the intercession of supernatural powers (theology),

  "it" could just accept it belongs to a collection of deep unknown histories, and many other unknown things, some even not nameable (and deadly if named). It can consolate itself by pointing on its *partial* control.

  Not very consoling when entangled with the intense immediacy and sensitivity of one's ego.

  Note also that it is not really the program or the machine who thinks, but the people "vehiculated" trough that machine computation relatively to its most probable (and local) computational histories.

  But I think as an individual, not as a group.

    or theorize an inaccessible part of itself that is able to override its purposes (Freud).

  That is not entirely meaningless imo.

    All of which implies a schism between consciousness and one of the following: the program, the universe or itself.

  Here I agree. Universal machine are born to experience such a schism. We can come back on this. In its purer form it is a consequence of incompleteness. All universal machine hides a mystery to themselves, and more the machine learn, more that mystery is bigger. (This is related to the gap between G and G*, for those who reminds previous explanations).

  I find this most profound.

    I'd be interested to know to what extent my thinking about this question agrees with or goes against the present discussion.


  I made a try. Interesting post. Tell me if you are ok with it. (I believe in free will, but I would prefer to say simply just "will". Free-will is a bit of an oxymoron).

  I am totally ok with it and will resolutely refrain from coupling "free" and "will" in the future. Thanks again.



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Received on Sun Nov 30 2008 - 14:21:47 PST

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