-----Original Message-----
From: Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: everything-list@eskimo.com
Sent: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 18:12:43 -0700
Subject: Re: subjective reality

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> From: Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Cc: everything-list@eskimo.com
> Sent: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 12:01:42 +0200
> Subject: Re: subjective reality
> > > On 29 Aug 2005, at 18:41, [EMAIL PROTECTED] 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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