Bruno Marchal wrote:
> I think that Maudlin refers to the conjunction of the comp hyp and
> supervenience, where consciousness is supposed to be linked (most of
> the time in a sort of "real-time" way) to the *computational activity*
> of the brain, and not to the history of any of the state occurring in
> that computation.
> If you decide to attach consciousness to the whole physical history,
> then you can perhaps keep comp by making the substitution level very
> low, but once the level is chosen, I am not sure how you will make it
> possible for the machine to distinguish a purely arithmetical version
> of that history (in the arithmetical "plenitude" (your wording)) from
> a "genuinely physical one" (and what would that means?). Hmmm...
> perhaps I am quick here ...
> May be I also miss your point. This is vastly more complex than the
> seven first steps of UDA, sure. I have to think how to make this
> transparently clear or ... false.
As you know I believe that the physical world can be derived from
consciousness operating on a platonic "arithmetic plenitude."
Consequently, tokens describing objective instances in a physical world
cease to be fundamental. Instead, platonic types become fundamentals. In
the platonic world each type exists only once. Hence the whole concept
of indexicals looses its functionality. Uniqueness of types leads
naturally to the "merging universes:" If two observers together with the
world that they observe (within a light cone for example) are identical
then these two observers are indistinguishable from themselves and are
actually one and the same.
I have argued (off list) about my platonic outlook versus the more
established (objective reality) Aristotelian viewpoint and I was told
that I am attempting to undo more than 2000 years of philosophy going
back to Plato. Dealing with types only presents formidable logical
difficulties: How can types exist without tokens? I find extremely
difficult to "prove" that the absence of an objective reality at the
fundamental level. Similarly, about a century ago people were asking how
can light travel without Ether. How can one "prove" that Ether does not
exist? Of course one can't but one can show that Ether is not necessary
to explain wave propagation. Similarly, I think that the best one can
achieve is to show that the objective world is not necessary for
consciousness to exist and to perceive or observe a world.
However, some points can be made: getting rid of the objective world
postulate has the following advantages:
1) The resulting theory (or model) is simpler and more universal (Occam
2) The mind-body problem is eliminated at the outset.
3) Physics has been evolving toward greater and greater emphasis on the
observer. So why not go all the way and see what happens?
I don't find Maudlin argument convincing. Recording the output of a
computer and replaying the recording spreads out the processing in time
and can be used to link various processes across time but does not prove
that the consciousness is independent of a physical substrate.
Rearranging a tape interferes with the thought experiment and should not
be allowed if we are going to play fair. By the way, I find the phrases
"supervenience" and "physical supervenience" confusing. At first glance
I am not sure if physical supervenience means the physical world
supervening on the mental world or vice versa. I would prefer to use the
active tense and say "the physical world supervening on the mental
world," or even use the expression "the physical world acting as a
substrate for consciousness".
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