Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 17:08:45 +0200

On 07 May 2009, at 18:29, Torgny Tholerus wrote:

> Bruno Marchal skrev:
>> On 06 May 2009, at 11:35, Torgny Tholerus wrote:
>>> Bruno Marchal skrev:
>>>> Someone unconscious cannot doubt either ... (A zombie can only fake
>>>> doubts)
>>> Yes, you are right. I can only fake doubts...
>> I suspect you are faking faking doubts, but of course I cannot
>> provide
>> any argument.
>> I mean it is hard for me to believe that you are a zombie, still less
>> a zombie conscious to be a zombie!
> I am a zombie that behaves AS IF it knows that it is a zombie.

OK. Meaning you don't know that you are zombie. But you know nothing.
It is a good thing to link consciousness and knowledge.

>>>> When you say "yes" to the doctor, we
>>>> assume the "yes" is related to the belief that you will survive.
>>>> This
>>>> means you believe that you will not loose consciousness, not
>>>> become a
>>>> zombie, nor will you loose (by assumption) your own
>>>> consciousness, by
>>>> becoming someone else you can't identify with.
>>> I can say "yes" to the doctor, because it will not be any difference
>>> for me, I will still be a zombie afterwards...
>> I don't know if you do this to please me, but you illustrate quite
>> well the Löbian "consciousness" theory.
>> Indeed the theory says that "consciousness" can be very well
>> approximated logically by "consistency".
>> So a human (you are human, all right?
> I look exactly as a human. When you look at me, you will not be
> able to
> know if I am a human or a zombie, because I behave exacly like a
> human.

So you believe that human are not zombie, and you agree that you are
not human.
Where do you come from? Vega? Centaur?

>> ) who says "I am a zombie", means
>> "I am not conscious", which can mean "I am not consistent".
>> By Gödel's second theorem, you remain consistent(*), but you loose
>> arithmetical soundness, which is quite coherent with your
>> ultrafinitism. If I remember well, you don't believe that there is an
>> infinity of natural numbers, right?
> Yes it is right. There is no infinity of natural numbers. But the
> natural numbers are UNLIMITED, you can construct as many natural
> numbers
> as you want. But how many numbers you construct, the number of
> numbers
> will always be finite. You can never construct an infinite number of
> natural numbers.

This is no more ultrafinitism. Just the usal finitism or intuitionism.
It seems I recall you have had a stronger view on this point.
Ontologically I am neutral on this question. With comp I don't need
any actual infinity in the third person ontology. Infinities are not
avoidable from inside, at least when the inside view begins some self-
reflexion studies.

>> We knew already you are not arithmetically sound. Nevertheless it is
>> amazing that you pretend that you are a zombie. This confirms, in the
>> lobian frame, that you are a zombie. I doubt all ultrafinitists are
>> zombie, though.
>> It is coherent with what I tell you before: I don't think a real
>> ultrafinitist can know he/she is an ultrafinitist. No more than a
>> zombie can know he is a zombie, nor even give any meaning to a word
>> like "zombie".
>> My diagnostic: you are a consistent, but arithmetically unsound,
>> Löbian machine. No problem.
> An ordinary computer can never be arithmetically unsound.

? (this seems to me plainly false, unless you mean "perfect" for
"ordinary". But computers can be as unsound as you and me.
There is no vaccine against soundness: all computers can be unsound
soo or later. there is no perfect computer. Most gods are no immune,
you have to postulate the big unnameable One and be very near to It,
to have some guaranty ... if any ...

> So I am not
> arithmetically unsound. I am build by a finite number of atoms, and
> the
> atoms are build by a finite number of elementary parts. (And these
> elementary parts are just finite mathematics...)

The inconsistency of this follows from the seven step. You are always
under the spell of the galois Connexion between what you can be here
and now and the space of possibilities there and elsewhere.
The more you are 3-finite, the more you are 1-infinite.
That is why you are quite coherent by saying that you are a zombie.
Zombies lack first personhood.

>> There are not many zombies around me, still fewer argue that they are
>> zombie, so I have some questions for you, if I may.
>> 1) Do you still answer yes to the doctor if he proposes to substitute
>> your brain by a sponge?
> If the sponge behaves exactly in the same way as my current brain,
> then
> it will be OK.

Why do you care about you behavior? This remains unclear for me.
Well, you will tell me that you behave like if you were caring, but
that you don't really care ...

>> 2) Do humans have the right to torture zombie?
> Does an ordinary computer have the "right" to do anything?

I don't think a computer has the right to cross a red stop, nor does a
computer have the right to smoke salvia in my country. Now that you
ask, I am not sure. If I am arrest for having some cannabis with me, I
will tell the police that it is for the my computer :)

> I do not want to be tortured, I behave as if I try to avoid that as
> strongly as I can. Because I behave in this way, I answer "no" to
> your
> question, because that answer will decrease the probability of you
> torturing me.

Do you realize that to defend your point you are always in the
obligation, when talking about any first person notion, like
consciousness, fear, desire, to add "I behave like ....". But if you
can do that successfully you will make me doubt that you are a zombie.
Or ... do you think a zombie could eventually find a correct theory of
consciousness, so that he can correctly fake consciousness, and delude
the humans?

>> 3) Do you have any "sort-of" feeling, insight, dreams, impression,
>> sensations, subjective or mental life, ... ?
> I behave as if I have "sort-of" feelings, I behave as if I have
> insights, I behave as if I have dreams, I behave as if I have
> impressions, I behave as if I have sensations, I behave as if I have a
> subjective or mental life, ...

As I said. But if you know that, I mean if you can behave like if you
were knowing that, it would mean that such words do have some meaning
for you.

How can you know that you are not conscious? Why do you behave like if
you are conscious, and then "confess" to us that you are not. Why
don't you behave like if you were not conscious. Should not a zombie
defend the idea that he is conscious, if he behaves like if he was

>> 4) Does the word "pain" have a meaning for you? In particular, what
>> if
>> the doctor, who does not know that you are a zombie, proposes to
>> you a
>> cheaper artificial brain, but warning you that it produces often
>> unpleasant hard migraine? Still saying yes?
> No, I will say "no" in this case, because I avoid things that causes
> "pain". I have an "avoiding center" in my brain, and when this center
> in my brain is stimulated, then my behavior will be to avoid those
> things that causes this center to be stimulated. Stimulating this
> center will cause me to say: "I feel pain".

This is coherent, but hardly believable. It does not fit with the
known pathologies of consciousness.
Glad to meet a zombie who believes that humans are not zombie, but I
continue to think that a real complete zombie would argue (falsely)
that he is conscious. You are the first zombie who wants to be
recognize as a zombie. It is very paradoxical, you have to acknowledge
some understanding of what it means to be "conscious", for pretending
you are not. It is less boring that the many I met in my youth who
were pretending the word "conscious" has no meaning at all.


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Received on Fri May 08 2009 - 17:08:45 PDT

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