Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the detailed explanations. I'll
post my responses in an interlinear manner using color to differentiate (if
that's ok). M.A.
----- Original Message -----
From: Bruno Marchal
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:49 PM
Subject: Re: Consciousness and free will
On 29 Nov 2008, at 16:45, M.A. wrote:
(Assuming MEC/Comp.and MWI) If the computational universe which I experience
Assuming MEC I would say *you* experience an infinity of computational
histories. The term "universe" is far too ambiguous
But isn't each history separated from all others by impermeable walls?
Do you mean that the word "universe" is ambiguous or just my
use of it?
is a single instance of a vast array of similar universes playing out every
possible variation of the initial axioms, then no one universe could depart
from its predetermined program since in so doing it would alter its program and
duplicate that of another universe thus spoiling the overall mission of
implementing every possible variation.
Histories can bifurcate in a way that you will find yourself in both
histories ("you" seen from some third person point of view). Each histories is
deterministic but, your future is uncertain.
But what about the first person "me"? "I" am only conscious of one history.
It follows that each program-universe is completely detirministic
and that consciousness is merely an observing passenger inside the program;
At some point I could "defined" consciousness as the state of (instinctively
at first) betting on a history. This will speed up yourself relatively to your
current stories, and make greater the set of your possible continuation. As an
exemple you become aware an asteroïd is coming nearby make it possible for you
to envisage a set of possible decisions, which can themselves augment your
probability of survival.
It seems like the present copy of "me" can "envisage these decisions", but be
unable to carry them out unless they are part of his deterministic history.
thus each program that contains a thinking entity is in a schizophrenic
Come on! You agree to the presense of schism below. Is it the connotation of
"schizophrenic" that you don't like?
This is because consciousness--which is part of the program--is capable of
judging the actions of the program. When the program acts in a way approved by
by it? Sorry. "It" means consciousness in this and the following paragraphs.
the thinker is encouraged to believe that his will produced the action.
But when the program acts in a manner repugnant to it,
to who? (The conscious observer.)
the conscious observer, refusing to give up the notion of free will,
explains the lapse by rationalizations such as: God, luck, destiny, possession,
As far as I understand, the program here acknowledge its ignorance. If, by
being too much proud, he doesn't, then he make higher some catastrophe
But isn't his problem of pride determined in some history, namely the one "I"
So every consciousness, bearing burdensome memories of repugnant actions,
must either surrender the possibility of free will (fatalism),
Wrongly, I would say.
accept the intercession of supernatural powers (theology),
"it" could just accept it belongs to a collection of deep unknown histories,
and many other unknown things, some even not nameable (and deadly if named). It
can consolate itself by pointing on its *partial* control.
Not very consoling when entangled with the intense immediacy and sensitivity
of one's ego.
Note also that it is not really the program or the machine who thinks, but
the people "vehiculated" trough that machine computation relatively to its most
probable (and local) computational histories.
But I think as an individual, not as a group.
or theorize an inaccessible part of itself that is able to override its
That is not entirely meaningless imo.
All of which implies a schism between consciousness and one of the
following: the program, the universe or itself.
Here I agree. Universal machine are born to experience such a schism. We can
come back on this. In its purer form it is a consequence of incompleteness. All
universal machine hides a mystery to themselves, and more the machine learn,
more that mystery is bigger. (This is related to the gap between G and G*, for
those who reminds previous explanations).
I find this most profound.
I'd be interested to know to what extent my thinking about this question
agrees with or goes against the present discussion.
I made a try. Interesting post. Tell me if you are ok with it. (I believe in
free will, but I would prefer to say simply just "will". Free-will is a bit of
I am totally ok with it and will resolutely refrain from coupling "free" and
"will" in the future. Thanks again.
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