Re: Free will/consciousness/ineffability

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 22:30:11 -0700

Hello Marchal

On 08-Oct-01, Marchal wrote:
> 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
> computation.

OK, as I understand your ontology it is something like:


But this seems to still leave the problems of dualism because it allows
that a consciousness (e.g. mine) can be generated without any
associated material (e.g. a brain) and also that consciousnesses can
generate another brain (e.g. duplicate of mine) with no associated
consciousness. I take it that this is the 'indeterminism' you
illustrate by the Washington/Moscom duplication experiment. I had
never been able to understand what indeterminism you referred to until
now. Now I see that you suppose that the original consciousness will
go into one of the duplicates and the other will be void of
consciousness. Is this correct?

Brent Meeker
  Sometimes it is necessary to make things clearer than the truth.
      --- Dean Acheson
Received on Mon Oct 08 2001 - 10:34:01 PDT

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