On Sun, Jul 23, 2006 at 06:53:50PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 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? 

Good question!

> 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. 

But why does our consciousness supervene on any physical object (which we
conventionally label "heads")?

> 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. 

I don't really follow this argument :(

 > > 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.  

Not necessarily at a simpler level, but I did try to expand on it to
make the argument clearer.


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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
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