Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Kelly <>
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 23:55:57 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 21, 11:31 am, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:
> We could say that a state A access to a state B if there is a
> universal machine (a universal number relation) transforming A into B.
> This works at the ontological level, or for the third person point of
> view. But if A is a consciousness related state, then to evaluate the
> probability of personal access to B, you have to take into account
> *all* computations going from A to B, and thus you have to take into
> account the infinitely many universal number relations transforming A
> into B. Most of them are indiscernible by "you" because they differ
> below "your" substitution level.

So, going back to some of your other posts about "transmitting" a copy
of a person from Brussels to Moscow. What is it that is transmitted?
Information, right? So for that to be a plausible scenario we have to
say that a person at a particular instant in time can be fully
described by some set of data.

It would seem to me that their conscious state at that instant must be
recoverable from that set of data. The only question is, what
conditions must be met for them to "experience" this state, which is
completely described by the data set? I don't see any obvious reason
why anything additional is needed. What does computation really add
to this?

You say that computation is crucial for this "experience" to take
place. But why would this be so? Why couldn't we just say that your
various types of mathematical logic can describe various types of
correlations, categories, patterns, and relationships between
informational states, but don't actually contribute anything to
conscious experience?

Conscious experience is with the information. Not with the
computations that describe the relations between various informational

> But if A is a consciousness related state, then to evaluate
> the probability of personal access to B, you have to take
> into account *all* computations going from A to B

I don't see how probability enters into it. A and B are both fully
contained conscious states. Both will be realized, because both
platonically exist as possible sets of information. State B may have
a "memory" of State A. State A may have an "expectation" (or
premonition) of State B. But that is the only link between the two.
Otherwise the exist independenty.

So Brian Greene had a good passage somewhat addressing this in his
last book. He's actually talking about the block universe idea, but
still applicable I think:

"In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from
any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally
occupy their particular point in spacetime. This is no flow. If you
were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve,
1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in

The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our
conscious recognition of change in our thoughts, feelings, and
perceptions. Each moment in spacetime - each time slice - is like one
of the still frames in a film. It exists whether or not some projector
light illuminates it. To the you who is in any such moment, it is the
now, it is the moment you experience at that moment. And it always
will be. Moreover, within each individual slice, your thoughts and
memories are sufficiently rich to yield a sense that time has
continuously flowed to that moment. This feeling, this sensation that
time is flowing, doesn't require previous moments - previous frames -
to be sequentially illuminated."

On your earlier post:

> The physical has to emerge from the statistical
> probability interference among all computations, going through my
> (current) states that are indiscernible from my point of view.
> Why such interference takes the form of wave interference is still a
> (technical) open problem.

In my view, I just happen to be inhabit a perceptual universe that is
fairly orderly and follows laws of cause and effect. However, there
are other conscious observers (including other versions of me) who
inhabit perceptual universes that are much more chaotic and

But everything that can be consciously experienced is experienced,
because there exists information (platonically) that describes a mind
(human, animal, or other) having that experience.

I say that because it seems to me that this information could
(theoretically) be produced by a computer simulation of such a mind,
which would presumably be conscious. So add platonism to that, and
there you go!

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Received on Tue Apr 21 2009 - 23:55:57 PDT

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