On 20 Apr 2009, at 14:14, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/4/20 Kelly <harmon...@gmail.com>:
>> What is the advantage of assigning consciousness to computational
>> processes (e.g. UDA), as opposed to just assigning it to the
>> information that is produced by computational processes?
>> For example, to take Maudlin's "Computation and Consciousness" paper,
>> if you just say that the consciousness is found in the information
>> represented by the arrangement of the empty or full water troughs,
>> then that basically removes the problem he is pointing out.
>> Similarly, associated consciousness only with information seems to
>> resolve problems with random processes interfering with the causal
>> structure of physically implemented computations which then, despite
>> having the causal chain interrupted, would still seem to produce
>> consciousness. (more on the irrelevance of causality:
>> Bruno Marchal has mentioned this in his movie graph argument, where a
>> cosmic ray interrupts a logical operation in a transistor on a
>> computer that is running a brain simulation, but due to good fortune
>> the result of the operation is still correct despite the break in the
>> causal chain that produced the answer.
>> Conscious being associated with information would also seem to
>> the problems with Davidson's "swampman" scenario, and the related
>> quantum swampman scenario (http://platonicmindscape.blogspot.com/
>> So, many different programs can produce the same information, using
>> many different algorithms, optimizations, shortcuts, etc. But if all
>> of these programs all accurately simulate the same brain, then they
>> should produce the same conscious experience, regardless of the
>> various implementation details.
>> The most obvious thing that all such programs would have in common is
>> that they work with the same information...the state of the brain at
>> each given time slice. Even if this state is stored in different
>> forms by each of the various programs, there must always be a mapping
>> between those various storage formats, as well as a mapping back to
>> the original brain whose activity is being simulated.
>> Therefore, it seems better to me to say: Consciousness is
>> information, not the processes that produce the information.
>> What are the drawbacks of this view when contrasted with
> The drawback is that any physical system (which could be mapped onto
> any information or any computation) would be conscious. This is only a
> drawback if you believe, I guess as a matter of faith, that it is
I would say that the drawback is that consciousness is not
information, although the idea that we can be conscious *of* something
is obviously related to information management.
The UDA is supposed to show that, having said yes to the doctor, we
have to define the notion of physical system from the notion of
computation, only having such a definition at hands, can we see if
any physical system implements any computations, which I doubt (except
in some trivial senses).
Also, consciousness is a first person attribute (indeed the
paradigmatic first person attribute). As such I can associate my
consciousness only to the infinity of computations, in arithmetic,
going trough my state. The physical has to emerge from the statistical
probability interference among all computations, going through my
(current) states that are indiscernible from my point of view.
Why such interference takes the form of wave interference is still a
(technical) open problem.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at