Consciousness is information?

From: Kelly <>
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2009 22:47:35 -0700 (PDT)

What is the advantage of assigning consciousness to computational
processes (e.g. UDA), as opposed to just assigning it to the
information that is produced by computational processes?

For example, to take Maudlin's "Computation and Consciousness" paper,
if you just say that the consciousness is found in the information
represented by the arrangement of the empty or full water troughs,
then that basically removes the problem he is pointing out.

Similarly, associated consciousness only with information seems to
resolve problems with random processes interfering with the causal
structure of physically implemented computations which then, despite
having the causal chain interrupted, would still seem to produce
consciousness. (more on the irrelevance of causality:

Bruno Marchal has mentioned this in his movie graph argument, where a
cosmic ray interrupts a logical operation in a transistor on a
computer that is running a brain simulation, but due to good fortune
the result of the operation is still correct despite the break in the
causal chain that produced the answer.

Conscious being associated with information would also seem to address
the problems with Davidson's "swampman" scenario, and the related
quantum swampman scenario (

So, many different programs can produce the same information, using
many different algorithms, optimizations, shortcuts, etc. But if all
of these programs all accurately simulate the same brain, then they
should produce the same conscious experience, regardless of the
various implementation details.

The most obvious thing that all such programs would have in common is
that they work with the same information...the state of the brain at
each given time slice. Even if this state is stored in different
forms by each of the various programs, there must always be a mapping
between those various storage formats, as well as a mapping back to
the original brain whose activity is being simulated.

Therefore, it seems better to me to say: Consciousness is
information, not the processes that produce the information.

What are the drawbacks of this view when contrasted with

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Received on Sun Apr 19 2009 - 22:47:35 PDT

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