Re: Free will/consciousness/ineffability

From: Marchal <>
Date: Mon Oct 8 06:45:18 2001

Brent Meeker wrote:

>On 05-Oct-01, Marchal wrote:
>>> Neil Lion:Seeing that there is no rigerous way to define what actually
>>> constitues a physical computer, and what does not, does it make any
>>> sense to say "my desktop computer" has become conscious?
>> Bruno:Your desktop computer cannot be conscious, nor can my brain.
>> If you succeed putting my mind (software) in your desktop
>> computer, your desktop computer will still not be conscious, but
>> it will make possible for me to talk with you (as my brain does
>> now). Only a person can be said conscious. And person, like
>> nation, or game are immaterial (with comp), and not absolutely
>> "singularisable" (only relatively).
>Brent:This confuses me, Bruno. You always postulate 'comp', i.e. that the
>brain can be emulated. I had always assumed that this entailed the
>emulation being conscious.

Well, not really the emulation, but some person can have
a consciousness such that that consciousness is manifested
through that emulation relatively to you, or relatively
to the computations you share with that consciousness.

>Now I see that you regard consciousness as
>not only as immaterial (as a computer program or mathematics is
>immaterial) but also independent of material - a soul - and at the same
>time you regard the material as independent of consciousness so that a
>material structure, such as a brain, can have related consciousness or
>not. This seems to be dualism - which as you must know has many
>problems related to the interaction of spirit and material.

I do not regard the material as independent of consciousness.
Remember that the material is a "consciousness construction"
in the company of those computations going through that consciousness.
It is true that, locally, a piece of matter can be considered as
independent of my consciousness, but it is just a way of speaking.

I agree with you that dualism is difficult to defend, but comp
entails immaterialist monism. Now, we can bet, for empirical
reasons, that we are sharing long and deep computations, which
are also interfering (for pure computational reasons but we
can expect that quantum interferences mirror the comp interferences),
so that some very stable object appears in our experiences, and can
be considered as mind independent for all practical purposes.
Nevertheless any proposition like "that object exists" is a
machine anticipation true only relatively to a most probable

Received on Mon Oct 08 2001 - 06:45:18 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:07 PST