Russell Standish writes:
> To refine the problem a little further - we see a brain in our
> observed reality on which our mind supervenes. And we see other
> brains, for which we must assume supervenience of other persons (the
> no zombies assumption).
> What is the cause of this supervenience? It is a symptom of the
> anthropic principle (observed reality being consistent with our
> brains), but this is merely transferring the mystery. In my ToN book I
> advance the argument that this has to be something to do with
> self-awareness - ie the body is necessary for self-awareness, and
> self-awareness must therefore be necessary for consciousness.
> Bruno, I know in your theory that introspection is a vital component
> (the Goedel-like constructions), but I didn't see how this turns back
> onto the self-awareness issue. Did you develop this side of the argument?

Why is the body necessary for self-awareness? And why are our heads not homogeneously solid like a potato? The answer is straightforward if you say only computers compute, but not if you say everything computes, or every computation is implemented (sans "physical reality") by virtue of its status as a mathematical object in Platonia. One answer is that only those computations which supervene on physical processes in a brain which exists in a universe with orderly physical laws (which universe is just a tiny subset of the computations in Platonia) can result in the kind of orderly structure required to create the effect of a conscious being persisting through time. This does not necessarily mean that the computations underpinning your stream of conscious are actually implemented in a physical universe, or even in a simulation of a physical universe, since it is impossible to say "where" a computation is being implemented when there are an infinity of them for every possible thought. Rather, it is enough that those computations which have a component in the physical universe (such as it is) are selected out, while those that end in your head turning into a bunch of flowers in the next microsecond are excluded.
The above is of course related to the problem of the failure of induction, which you address more rigorously in your "Why Occam's Razor" paper and (hopefully at a simpler level, when it arrives) in your ToN book.
Stathis Papaioannou

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