Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 18:57:49 -0700

Kelly wrote:
> On Apr 22, 2:02 pm, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
>> I was with you up to that last sentence. Forward or backward, we just
>> experience increasing entropy as increasing time, but that doesn't
>> warrant the conclusion that no process is required and an "instant"
>> within itself has an arrow of time.
> It seems to me that each instant DOES contain within itself an arrow
> of time, in the form of memories. Later instances are related to
> earlier instances by virtue of having memory-information about those
> earlier instances. That's what ties the various "states" together.
> The nature of the computations that might transition you from instant
> to instant are not relevant.
> What matters is where you end up, not how you got there. If a
> transition causes you to assume a state that contains no information
> about earlier events (i.e., no memory of these events), then you have
> lost a crucial part of what makes you who "you" are.
> If you save your brain state at time A and then you save state again
> at a subsequent time B, there is a relationship and an objectively
> measureable degree of correlation between the information contained in
> the two saved data sets.
> It is, I think, the degree of correlation between states that provides
> the illusion of a "flow" of consciousness. This has nothing to do
> with the type of computation that could be used to "transition"
> between the two data sets.

If by "state" you meant something like the state of one's brain or
perhaps including some local chunk of the universe, I'd agree with you.
But in general an "instant" of *consciousness* does not include any
memory. My conscious stream of thought only occasionally brings up
unique memories that one could trace back to my earlier thoughts. In
fact most of my thinking, in the sense of information processing, is
subconscious. I suppose one could expand the definition of "experience"
to include unconscious experience, although it's hard to say what that
would mean without assuming a physical reality to instantiate it.
> Again, it seems to me that the arithmetic logic that Bruno refers to
> just serves to "describe" the relations between datasets. It doesn't
> "produce" consciousness.
> If there are many "algorithms" that could be used to transition from
> state A to state B, it seems to me that all of them would produce the
> same conscious experience. If you end up at "state B", then it
> doesn't matter how you go there...your "memory" of the experience will
> be identical regardless of what path you took.
> And since all states (not just A and B) exist platonically, then every
> possible "process" can be "inferred" to connect them in every possible
> way. But I don't think this means that the processes are the source
> of consciousness. They are just descriptions of the ways that states
> could be connected.
And I assume (and I believe Bruno agreed) that all possible processes,
i.e. computations, also exist Platonically. This seems to me to
introduce a continuum topology on states. Between every two states
there are countably many other states.


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Received on Thu Apr 23 2009 - 18:57:49 PDT

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