Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 16:29:33 +0200

On 03 Jun 2009, at 20:11, Jason Resch wrote:

> On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Bruno Marchal <>
> wrote:
>>> Do you believe if we create a computer in this physical
>>> universe that it could be made conscious,
>> But a computer is never conscious, nor is a brain. Only a person is
>> conscious, and a computer or a brain can only make it possible for a
>> person to be conscious relatively to another computer. So your
>> question is ambiguous.
>> It is not my brain which is conscious, it is me who is conscious. My
>> brain appears to make it possible for my consciousness to manifest
>> itself relatively to you. Remember that we are supposed to no more
>> count on the physical supervenience thesis.
>> It remains locally correct to attribute a consciousness through a
>> brain or a body to a person we judged succesfully implemented locally
>> in some piece of matter (like when we say yes to a doctor). But the
>> piece of matter is not the subject of the consciousness. It is only
>> the "abstract person" or "program" who is the subject of
>> consciousness.
>> To say a brain is conscious consists in doing Searle's'mistake when
>> he
>> confused levels of computations in the Chinese room, as well seen
>> already by Hofstadter and Dennett in Mind's I.
> Thanks for your response, if I understand you correctly, you are
> saying that if we run a simulation of a mind, we are not creating
> consciousness, only adding an additional instantiation to a mind which
> already has an infinity of indeterminable instantiations. Is that
> right?

Yes, you are right. When you implement an emulation of a mind, you are
just adding such an instanciation relatively to you. Of course you are
not adding anything in "Platonia".

> Does this imply that it is impossible to create a simulation of a mind
> that finds it lives in an environment without uncertainty?

That is correct.

> If so is
> it because even if the physical laws in one instantiation may be
> certain, where some of the infinite number of computations that all
> instantiate that mind may diverge and in particular which one that
> mind will find itself in is not knowable?

Yes. I will come back on this in the seven step thread.

> The consequence being that all observers everywhere live in QM-like
> environments?

Absolutely. We can consider that we "live" in an infinity of
computations, but we cannot distinguish them ... until they
differentiate sufficiently so that they are in principle
distinguishable (like being in Washington or being in Moscow). This
entails that below our substitution level
what can be observed depends directly on some average on an infinity
of computations. The quantum-like aspect of "nature" is, in that
sense, a consequence of digitalism in the cognitive science. The
classical, and computational, aspect of physics remains the hard
things to derive.


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Received on Thu Jun 04 2009 - 16:29:33 PDT

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