Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Kelly <>
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2009 12:17:15 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 24, 2:41 am, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> >
> > In the materialist view, my mental state is just the
> > state of the particles of my brain at that instant.
> I think we need some definition of "state".

Hmmm. Well, I think my view of the word is pretty much the dictionary
definition. Though there are two different meanings in play here.

The physical state:

"the condition of matter with respect to structure, form,
constitution, phase, or the like"

And the mental state:

"a particular condition of mind or feeling"

Though ultimately I'm saying that there is no actual physical world
that exists outside of and independent from our perceptions. You and
I probably perceive a very similar world, but there other conscious
observers who perceive very different worlds. But all worlds are
virtual worlds that exist only inside the minds of conscious platonic
observers. And I base this conclusion on the line of thought laid out
in my previous posts.

> If we discretize your brain, say slice it into Planck
> units of time as Jason suggested, now we need to
> have something to connect one state to another.

Why do we need to have something extra to connect one state to
another? What does this add, exactly?

I think that these instances of consciousness are like pieces from a
picture puzzle. But not a jigsaw picture puzzle...instead let's say
that each puzzle piece is perfectly square, and they combine to make
the full picture.

How do you know where each piece fits into the overall picture? By
the contents of the image fragment that is on each puzzle piece.

So each puzzle piece has, contained within it, the information that
indicates it's position in the larger framework. The same is true of
instances of consciousness.

Based on how well the edges of their "images" line up, you can get
some idea about the relationship between two instances of

> In idealism, the content of a state consciousness (a Planck slice, not
> of a brain, but of a stream of consciousness) seems to me to be very
> small

Well, I'm not sure how much of the brain's information is needed to
represent a particular state of consciousness. But I don't think that
it's a crucial question. My answer is: more than none of it, but
less-than-or-equal-to all of it. Somewhere in that range. Ha!

> You say it is
> connected by the correlation of information content, but is that
> unique? Is there a best or most probable next state or what?

So I guess I'm taking the position of "extreme platonism" here. The
result is, I suppose, indistinguishable from that of modal realism.

All possible "next states" exist. None of them are "best" or "more
probable" than any other. Every possible future lies ahead of you,
and some version of you will experience each one of them. There will
be a version of you that never sees anything that strikes you as
unusual and who says "the universe is very normal, and this all makes
perfect sense, and how could it be any other way. These people who
advocate extreme platonism are crazy, because it doesn't match what I

But, there will also be a version of you who never has a normal
experience again. For eternity you will go from strange experience to
strange experience. And this version will say, "ah, ya, Kelly was
right about that extreme platonism thing."

And there will be all points between the two extremes.

Though, I think that this view does make a testable prediction. Which
is: there will be no end to your experiences. There is no permanent
first person death.

Of course, many realities will be unpleasant enough that this isn't
necessarily a good thing. All good things lie before you. But so do
all bad things. Blerg.

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Received on Sat Apr 25 2009 - 12:17:15 PDT

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