Re: subjective reality

From: <>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 11:52:37 -0400

 -----Original Message-----
 From: Brent Meeker <>
 Sent: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 18:12:43 -0700
 Subject: Re: subjective reality wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> From: Bruno Marchal <>
> To:
> Cc:
> Sent: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 12:01:42 +0200
> Subject: Re: subjective reality
> > > On 29 Aug 2005, at 18:41, wrote:

> You are also speculating in a narrower sense and that is where I
have > concentrated my objections, thus far. Though two
> of your premises (CT & AR) seem quite legitimate to me because,
though > they remain conjectural, there is some heuristic
> evidence that favors them, there is one of them, YD, which is purely
> speculative. To make it precise this is the claim that
> "one can replace the entire experience of a human being by that of a
> "digital computer" without prejudice to that experience".
> Though you seem ambivalent about how necessary this hypothesis is to
> your derivation of the *whole of physics* you
> cannot deny that you currently use it as an axiom! You seem also
aware > of the fact that QM invalidates this hypothesis,
> in other words, if QM is true physics than you cannot accomplish
such > replacement (which I assume might involve some
> physical interventions).

  YD is certainly speculative, but there is considerable evidence that
human experience is an epiphenomena of brain activity - from which is
follows that YD is possible. So far as I know there is nothing in QM
that contradicts it. In fact Tegmark and others have shown that the
operation of the human brain must be almost completely classical. So
for YD to be inconsistent with physics it would have to inconsistent
with classical physics.

 Why do you think YD is inconsistent with QM?

 Brent Meeker

 Hi Brent,

  At this stage of the argument I feel like answering: because Bruno
thinks so! But you deserve a better answer. I don't
  quite think your statements above are quite accurate and one does not
surely follow from the other. Human experience
  is surely NOT an epiphenomenon of brain activity though SOME of it
very likely is. To me, at least human experience includes things like:
we are born, we eat, we grow, we play, we work, we meet other people,
we learn to dance, we drive cars, we get into accidents, we get sick,
we go to war, we run into bullets, we get old, we forget, we die. It
also includes things like, we
  are happy, we are sad, we pain, we dream, we crave, we wonder, we
prove theorems. See what I mean? Are all these
  epiphenomena of barin activity? I don't think you can say that about
the first set though I am sure you have experienced
  some of what I describe. About the second set you may be more
convinced but I am sure you have heard the word
  "intensionality" associated to at least some of those. It reminds us
that some of our so called "mental states" (brain configurations if you
prefer" have a certain directionality to them usually pointing to
events that we take to be
  consensually external to us. So maybe you want to widen a bit your
concept of 'human experience" above.

  As I stated before I believe it is not difficult to imagine a
situation in which you can falsify, by a non-local quantum
  mechanical experiment the type of hypothesis that Bruno calls YD,
meaning one scenario in which all your experience
  (by which I mean what I describe above) is, at some point in your
life, replaced by a suitably programmed digital
  computer. Bruno states that he actually knows this to be the case that
is the reason I have not given myself the
  trouble to try and sharpen up the argument. But I am quite confident
that this can be done with a bit of patience
 and the help of the many wonders of quantum states.

  As far as I can tell you are correct in that Classical Mechanics does
not, a priori, forbid such "operation" if the brain
  is indeed a fully classical functional system and Tegmark's argument
has obvious merit. On the other hand there may
  be other "technical" impediments to this "avatar" that we don't know
about since we do not really know much
  about brain function and surely about how it really pins down human
experience (in the narrow or wide sense).

 Godfrey Kurtz
 (New Brunswick, NJ)

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Received on Wed Aug 31 2005 - 12:02:05 PDT

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