Re: Dreaming On

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2009 09:00:17 +0200

On 21 Aug 2009, at 22:01, Brent Meeker wrote:

> Flammarion wrote:
>> Do you think that if you scanned my brain right down to the atomic
>> level,
>> you still wouldn't have captured all the information?
> That's an interesting question and one that I think relates to the
> importance of context. A scan of your brain would capture all the
> information in the Shannon/Boltzman sense, i.e. it would determine
> which
> of the possible configurations and processes were realized. However,
> those concerned about the "hard problem", will point out that this
> misses the fact that the information represents or "means" something.
> To know the meaning of the information would require knowledge of the
> world in which the brain acts and perceives, including a lot of
> evolutionary history. Image scanning the brain of an alien found
> in a
> crash at Roswell. Without knowledge of how he acts and the
> evolutionary
> history of his species it would be essentially impossible to guess the
> meaning of the patterns in his brain. My point is that it is not just
> computation that is consciousness or cognition, but computation with
> meaning, which means within a certain context of action.

If the context, or even the whole physical universe, is needed, it is
part of the "generalized" brain. Either the "generalized" brain is
Turing emulable, and the reversal reasoning will proceed, or it is
not, and the digital mechanist thesis has to be abandoned.

Humans, and actually, any mechanical entity cannot understand their
own patterns in their brains, but we don't need to do that to be able
to "use" our brain and be conscious. If the crash at Roswell has not
demolished the brain of E.T., or if the scan of his brain his
faithful, so that his brain can be reconstituted, nobody has to
understand the brain pattern for the E.T. himself to have an
experience of his consciousness.

> In fact the fact that we can't see the workings of consciousness is
> inherent it it. We see through it.

Exactly, and this can related to what I say above.

> It is notorious that thoughts come
> into consciousness with no discernible cause - as in the Poincare
> effect.

That is most plausible, and there are evidence that life (notably the
heart and the brain) exploits the so called deterministic chaos (like
in Verhulst bifurcation, and the Mandelbrot set).


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Received on Sat Aug 22 2009 - 09:00:17 PDT

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