Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 10:28:59 -0700

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/4/29 Brent Meeker <>:
>>> I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that the information in most
>>> physical processes, but not consciousness, can be discrete? I would
>>> have said just the opposite: that even if it turns out that physics is
>>> continuous and time is real, it would still be possible to chop up
>>> consciousness into discrete parts (albeit of finite duration) and
>>> there would still be continuity.
>> I could buy that if the finite duration was long enough that the content
>> of the conscious interval was sufficient to order the intervals.
>> Otherwise you'd need some extrinsic variable to order them (e.g physical
>> time, brain states).
> It seems to me that if the seconds of my life were according to an
> external clock being generated backwards or scrambled, I would have no
> way of knowing this, nor any way of knowing how fast the clock was
> running or if it was changing speed.

That assumes that one second can be cleanly (no causal or other
connection) sliced from the next second with no loss, which is what I doubt.

> So how would the external clock
> be able to impose an order on moments of quasi-consciousness below the
> critical minimal interval, when it has no subjective effect on
> supercritical intervals?
>>> In fact, I can't imagine how
>>> consciousness could possibly be discontinuous if this was done, for
>>> where would the information that tells you you've been chopped up
>>> reside?
>> In Bruno's Washington/Moscow thought experiment that information isn't
>> in your consciousness, although it's available via third persons. My
>> view of the experiment is that you would lose a bit of consciousness,
>> that you can't slice consciousness arbitrarily finely in time.
> Could the question be settled by actual experiment, i.e. asking the
> subject if they noticed anything unusual?
Yes, I think it could - if we could do the experiment. Certainly when
I've been unconscious, either from concussion or anesthesia I've noticed
something unusual. :-)


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Received on Wed Apr 29 2009 - 10:28:59 PDT

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