Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 16:40:26 +0200

On 25 Apr 2009, at 21:17, Kelly wrote:

> 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"

... and computational states.

Then assuming comp, you can attribute a mental state to a
computational state, and then you must attribute an infinity of
computational states to a mind state.

> 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.

This is close to the consequence of comp.

>> 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 would say this goes along with the very (mathematical) definition of
what a computational state is.

> 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.

Nice image. With comp the same image admits an infinity of pieces

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

And thus there is a measure problem. We agree?

> 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.

OK, but such first person experience are excluded from the scientific
thought. We can talk about scientifically. My point is that comp
entails also verifiable:refutable physical facts.

> 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.

Yet, we have partial control, we can do things which change our
relative measure. It is useful when we want drink coffee, to give an


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Received on Sun Apr 26 2009 - 16:40:26 PDT

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