On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 1:55 PM, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> On 19 Nov 2008, at 20:17, Jason Resch wrote:
> To add some clarification, I do not think spreading Alice's logic gates
> across a field and allowing cosmic rays to cause each gate to perform the
> same computations that they would had they existed in her functioning brain
> would be conscious. I think this because in isolation the logic gates are
> not computing anything complex, only AND, OR, NAND operations, etc. This is
> why I believe rocks are not conscious, the collisions of their molecules may
> be performing simple computations, but they are never aggregated into
> complex patterns to compute over a large set of information.
> Actually I agree with this argument. But it does not concern Alice, because
> I have provide her with an incredible amount of luck. The lucky rays fix
> the neurons in a genuine way (by that abnormally big amount of pure luck).
If the cosmic rays are simply keeping her neurons working normally, then I'm
more inclined to believe she remains conscious, but I'm not certain one way
or the other.
> If you doubt Alice remain conscious, how could you accept an experience of
> simple teleportation (UDA step 1 or 2). If you can recover consciousness
> from a relative digital description, how could that consciousness
> distinguish between a recovery from a genuine description send from earth
> (say), and a recovery from a description luckily generated by a random
I believe consciousness can be recovered from a digital description, but I
don't believe the description itself is conscious while being beamed from
one teleporting station to the other. I think it is only when the
body/computer simulation is instantiated can consciousness recovered from
Consider sending the description over an encrypted channel, without the
right decryption algorithm and key the description can't be differentiated
from random noise. The same bits could be interpreted entirely differently
depending completely on how the recipient uses it. The "meaning" of the
transmission is recovered when it forms a system with complex relations,
presumably the same relations as the original one that was teleported, even
though it may be running on a different physical substrate, or a different
I don't deny that a random process could be the source of a transmission
that resulted in the creation of a conscious being, what I deny is that
random *simple computations, lacking any causal linkages, could form
* By simple I mean the types of computation done in discrete steps, such as
multiplication, addition, etc. Those done by a single neuron or a small
collection of logic gates.
If you recover from a description (comp), you cannot know if that
> description has been generated by a computation or a random process, unless
> you give some prescience to the logical gates. Keep in mind we try to refute
> the conjunction MECH and MAT.
Here I would say that consciousness is not correlated with the physical
description at any point in time, but rather the computational history and
flow of information, and that this is responsible for the subjective
experience of being Alice. If Alice's mind is described by a random
process, albeit one which gives the appearance of consciousness during her
exam, she nevertheless has no coherent computational history and her mind
contains no large scale informational structures. The state machine that
would represent her in the case of injection of random noise is a different
state machine that would represent her normally functioning brain.
> Nevertheless your intuition below is mainly correct, but the point is that
> accepting it really works, AND keeping MECH, will force us to negate MAT.
> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 12:50 PM, Jason Resch <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>wrote:
>> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 5:59 AM, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>>> Does everyone accept, like Russell, that, assuming COMP and MAT, Alice
>>> is not a zombie? I mean, is there someone who object? Remember we are
>>> proving implication/ MAT+MECH => <something>. We never try to argue
>>> about that <something> per se. Eventually we hope to prove MAT+MECH =>
>>> false, that is NOT(MAT & MECH) which is equivalent to MAT implies NOT
>>> MECH, MECH => NOT MAT, etc.
>>> (by MAT i mean materialism, or naturalism, or physicalism or more
>>> generally "the physical supervenience thesis", according to which
>>> consciousness supervenes on the physical activity of the brain.
>> Bruno, I am on the fence as to whether or not Alice is a Zombie. The
>> argument for her not being conscious is related to the non causal effect of
>> information in this scenario. A string of 1's and 0's which is simply
>> defined out of nowhere, in my opinion cannot contain conscious observers,
>> even if it could be considered to encode brain states conscious observers or
>> a universe with conscious observers. To have meaningful information there
>> must be relations between objects, such as the flow of information in the
>> succession of states in a Turing machine. In the case of Alice, the
>> information coming from the cosmic rays is meaningless, and might as well
>> have occurred in isolation. If all of Alice's logic gates had been spread
>> over a field, and made to fire in the same way due to cosmic rays and if all
>> logic gates remained otherwise disconnected from each other, would anyone
>> consider this field of logic gates be conscious?
>> I have an idea that consciousness is related to hierarchies of
>> information, at the lowest levels of neural activity, simple computations of
>> small amounts of information combine information into a result, and then
>> these higher level results are passed up to higher levels of processing,
>> etc. For example the red/green/blue data from the eyes are combined into
>> single pixels, these pixels are combined into an field of colors, this field
>> of colors is then processed by object classification sections of the brain.
>> So my argument that Alice might not be conscious would be related to the
>> skipping of steps through the injection of information which is "empty" (not
>> having been computed from lower level sets of information and hence not
>> actually conveying any information).
>> ) I do not believe is
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