Re: KIM 2.3 (was Re: Time)

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 09:41:17 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/1/12 Brent Meeker <>:
>>> A machine running a program goes through a sequence of states.
>>> Consider 20 consecutive states, s1 to s20, which give rise to several
>>> moments of consciousness. Would you say that running the sequence s1
>>> to s20 on a single machine m1 will give a different conscious
>>> experience to running s1 to s10 on m1 and separately s11 to s20 on m2?
>> I'm suggesting that there has to be something that makes the states a
>> sequence instead of just a set or an aggregate.
> In that case, there would be a difference between the two cases I
> described above, perhaps a gap in consciousness when the sequence is
> separated into two parts on two machines. But this presents conceptual
> problems. For a start, the observer notices no gap,

You are assuming the set of states is a sufficient simulation to instantiate an
observer, which is what I doubt.

>and his external
> behaviour is also unchanged. If there is nevertheless a gap, would it
> be of infinitesimal duration or would its duration perhaps be that of
> the period of consciousness s10 and s11 would have given rise to had
> they occurred in the usual causally connected way in the one machine?

In human consciousness, as instantiated by brains, there is a process in which
signal/information is not local, it is distributed in spacetime and is connected
causally which means, per relativity, that you cannot make any unique spacelike
snapshot and label it "the state". I don't go so far as to claim that
consciousness *must be* instantiated in this way, but I think there must be
something that makes the "states" part of a process - not just snapshots. Bruno
gets around the problem of defining states by assuming a digital Turing like
process, but then he has to provide something besides spacetime to make the set
of states a sequence; which is he does by invoking the requirement that they be
a computation. I have some doubts as to whether this is enough, but at least it
is something.


> What would happen to the gap if there were communication between the
> two machines, say by sneakernet? And what if the information transfer
> between the two machines was unreliable, so that the right state was
> transferred only half the time?

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Received on Mon Jan 12 2009 - 12:41:26 PST

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