Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 16:50:39 +0200

On 25 Apr 2009, at 21:42, Kelly wrote:

> On Apr 24, 3:14 am, Jason Resch <> wrote:
>> Kelly,
>> Your arguments are compelling and logical, you have put a lot of
>> doubt
>> in my mind about computationalism.
> Excellent!
> It sounds like you are following the same path as I did on all of
> this.
> So it makes sense to start with the idea of physicalism and the idea
> that the mind is like a very complex computer, since this explains
> third person observations of human behavior and ability very well I
> think.
> BUT, then the question of first person subjective consciousness
> arises. Where does that fit in with physicalism? So the next step is
> to expand to physicalism + full computationalism, where the
> computational activities of the brain also explain consciousness, in
> addition to behavior and ability.
> But then you run into things like Maudlin's Olympia thought
> experiement, and Bruno's movie graph examples, and many other strange
> scenarios as well.
> So the next step is to just get rid of physicalism altogether, as it
> has other problems anyway (why something rather than nothing, the
> ultimate nature of matter and energy, the origin of the universe, the
> strangeness of QM, etc. etc.), and just go with pure computationalism.
> But in the thought experiments that led to the jettisoning of
> physicalism, the possiblity appears of just associating consciousness
> with information, instead of the computations that produce the
> information.

Then you loose the measure problem, the physical laws, the partial and
relative control, the quantum nature of the computations, etc.

> So we seem to have two options: "computation + information" OR
> "information".

This is like replacing the universal dovetailing (with its redundancy,
its very long (deep) histories, its many internal dynamics)

> I can't really see what problem is solved by including computation.

Do you say "yes" to the digitalist doctor? If yes, you cannot avoid
"computer science" or "elementary number theory" even just to define
"information". Why avoiding computer science in a theory which relate
consciousness (as manifesting relatively to me) to working computer.

> To me, assigning consciousness to platonically existing information
> seems to be good enough, with nothing left over for computation to
> explain. So, I go with the "just information" choice.

Agains. formally the difference is that your theory accept the natural
number (the finite information strings) and succession (to get them
all). But if you add addition and multiplication you get computer
science + a measure which explains why apples can fall from a tree in
normal histories, and why white rabbits can be rare.
i could that that if you are platonist, I don't see how you can avoid
the computations through which informations flux develop themselves,
when seen from inside.

Perhaps I should just ask what is your theory. Measure of information
needs already a non trivial math apparatus.


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Received on Sun Apr 26 2009 - 16:50:39 PDT

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