Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 17:38:54 +0200

On 29 Apr 2009, at 00:25, Jesse Mazer wrote:

> Kelly wrote:
> >
> > Not if information exists platonically. So the question is, what
> does
> > it mean for a physical system to "represent" a certain piece of
> > information? With the correct "one-time pad", any desired
> information
> > can be extracted from any random block of data obtained by making
> any
> > desired measurement of any physical system.
> >
> > If I take a randomly generated one-time pad and XOR it with some
> real
> > block of data, the result will still be random. But somehow the
> > original information is there. You have the same problem with
> > computational processes, as pointed out by Putnam and Searle. The
> > molecular/atomic vibrations of the particles in my chair could be
> > interpreted, with the right mapping, as implementing any conceivable
> > computation.
> >
> > So unambiguously connecting information to the "physical" is not so
> > easy, I think.
> This is essentially the problem discussed by Chalmers in "Does a
> Rock Implement Every Finite-State Automaton" at
> ,

Yes. And I don't buy that argument. I will not insist because you did
it well in your last post. Also, if it was the case that rock
implement sophisticated computations, it would just add some measure
on some computations in the Universal Dovetailing. Also, a rock cannot
be a computational object: it is a projection of an infinity of
computations when we look at the rock at a level which would be below
our common substitution level. Eventually we will met the quantum
vacuum (assuming comp implies QM, as I think), and in some "parallel
world" that vaccum will go through all accessible states, but this is
part of so many variate histories that they interfere destructively
and does not generate any classical history stable relatively to any
observer coupled with the rock.

> and I think it's also the idea behind Maudlin's Olympia thought
> experiment as well.

Maudlin's Olympia, or the Movie Graph Argument are completely
different. Those are arguments showing that computationalism is
incompatible with the physical supervenience thesis. They show that
consciousness are not related to any physical activity at all.
Together with UDA1-7, it shows that physics has to be reduced to a
theory of consciousness based on a purely mathematical (even
arithmetical) theory of computation, which exists by Church Thesis.
The movie graph argument was originally only a tool for explaining how
difficult the mind-body problem is, once we assume mechanism.

> But for anyone who wants to imagine some set of "psychophysical
> laws" connecting physical states to the measure of OMs I think there
> may be ways around it. For example, instead of associating an OM
> with the passive idea of "information", can't you associate with the
> causal structure instantiated by a computer program that's actually
> running, as opposed to something like a mere static printout of its
> states? Of course you'd need a precise mathematical definition of
> the "causal structure" of a set of causally-related physical events,
> but I don't see any reason why it should be impossible to come up
> with a good definition.

Actually this is a good idea if you define causality by the logical
relation linking a universal machine and a computation. But from the
first person perspective you will have to take into account all
universal machine relating those states, that is an infinity of
computational histories. This comes from the invariance of the 1-
perspective for arbitrary long delays in the arithmetical universal


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Received on Wed Apr 29 2009 - 17:38:54 PDT

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