Re: Boltzmann Brains, consciousness and the arrow of time

From: Stephen Paul King <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2009 21:09:50 -0500

Hi GŁnther,

    Nice post! Coments soon.

    Speaking of Svozil's work, please see: Cristian S. Calude, Peter H.
Hertling and Karl Svozil, ``Embedding Quantum Universes in Classical Ones'',
Foundations of Physics 29(3), 349-390 (1999) [abstract], [CrossRef
DOI:10.1023/A:1018862730956], [pdf], [pdf], [tex], [ps].

    How can we derive quantum logics from purely integer (or even real
number) based logics? This paper seems to yeild a no-go theorem!



----- Original Message -----
From: "GŁnther Greindl" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 5:53 PM
Subject: Re: Boltzmann Brains, consciousness and the arrow of time

Hi Bruno,

first of all thanks for the long answer, and yes, it was very helpful.

You described the production of all reals with a very vivid imagery; it
showed a glimpse of the vastness of the UD. And, I agree, _in the limit_
there will be an infinite number of histories. So, as we have to also
take into account infinite delay, we must take this limit into account
and have infinite histories going through a "state" (do I understand you

As to the interacting programs: do you consider them purely because they
are part of UD or do you think this is a possible way to share histories?

(I am interested in this because I find COMP very convincing, though I
am still a bit worried about solipsism).

I am also preparing a few thoughts (in a later post, but see hints
below) on how consciousness might supervene on large parts of past
causal histories, thereby also steering a bit away from solipsism
(arguing via the concept of external realism from analytic philosophy,
summarized by Putnam's "meaning is not in the head").

I also have another question (related to the above issue of solipsism):

We have considered COMP and MAT and seen that the two are not really

But you also say that with COMP, the universe itself is not computable
(I understand why, and I agree with your reasoning as you have presented

But I have one "worry": what if the subsitution level is "at the bottom"
  of the universe - (for a moment drawing on materialist intuitions, the
universe in the "normal" sense and not considering infinite histories
for the moment).

If the universe is a computation, then also an individual in the
universe is part of this computation. But this individual can't be
"duplicated" because of the quantum no-cloning theorem (that is what I
mean with "at the bottom" - not above the quantum level).

Svozil for instance refers in a number of papers to the work of Moore
and Finkelstein that show, assuming we have an automaton, we would
witness complementarity.

(see for instance these overview papers:

Svozil, K. ``How real are virtual realities, how virtual is reality? The
constructive re-interpretation of physical undecidability'', Complexity,
1, 43-54 (1996).

Svozil, K. Computational Universes Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 2005, 25,

Svozil, K. Physical Unknowables physics/0701163, 2007)

The results of course would also apply if we were "solipsist" automatons
and "the whole" not (so the arguments are quite compatible with varying
versions of machine conception (universe/person) ).

I am just saying that we can't know if we are "separable" from the universe.

To state it differently (and to make the connection with complementarity
and duplication):

If we assume the whole universe to be an automaton, also it's
inhabitants would be "mechanical" =effectively computable of course -
but maybe they could then not be duplicated, because, when person A were
trying to make a scan of the properties of person B, the universe as a
whole would move into different states and make complementary
observables - which _could_ be necessary for a duplication - unavailable.

This may only work if consciousness supervenes not on "isolated"
computations, but only if it is embedded in computations constructing
whole universes - but then again, we can't exclude this a priori.

And we would still have to consider many worlds, but these would then
indeed be _worlds_ and not only OMs with incoming/outgoing histories (of
course it would still seem this way from the concrete OM, but with
greatly reduced danger of white rabbits) - the laws of physics would not
emerge for OM's stranded in the UD deployment but for OM's embedded
already in highly structured computational environments - we would only
have to take into account duplications of OM's where also whole
universes are duplicated.

So, what I am getting at, wouldn't you have to modify your argument -
the reversal physics/machine psychology - insofar that not only a
substitution level exists (COMP), but that this level is "separable"
from a possible universe-machine (the possibility of which we can't
exclude at the beginning of the argument). A kind of qualified COMP, QCOMP?

Of course, the variant where the whole universe is necessary for
duplication would still be machine psychology, but at a different level
- at the universe level (classical sense again) and not at the level of
everday conception of persons. Maybe COMP with the assumption that
consciousness needs whole universes to supervene on (I don't mean that a
universe is conscious; persons, brains would be conscious, but they
would need the surrounding computations supplied by the universe to
provide "meaning") is even preferable to the view that one can duplicate
a person from _within_ a universe (because of the white rabbit problem).

Reading through my post above again, I believe that your COMP argument
also works with the above conception.

QCOMP and UNIVERSE-COMP would just be different as to what would be
possible for us in _this_ universe: for instance, QCOMP would allow
mind-uploading and teleportation and other such things in _this
universe_ (materialist intuition again); while UNIVERSE-COMP would only
allow this in Platonia, in the Universal deployment, which is
inaccessible for manipulation for us inhabitants of the rather small
(considered against Platonia) visible universe.

Best Wishes,

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Received on Sat Jan 03 2009 - 21:09:33 PST

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