On Apr 20, 2:04 am, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> The main difficulty I see is that it fails to explain the sequential
> aspect of consciousness.  If consciousness is identified with
> information then it is atemporal.

Time is just the dimension of experience.  But experience is an
internal "psychological" concept, not an external concept.  Therefore
"time" is also an internal feature of subjective experience, not
necessarily an external feature of objective reality.

So it seems to me that we have have no direct access to the physical
world.  Information about the physical world is conveyed to us via our
senses.  BUT, we don't even have direct conscious access to our
sensory data.  All of that sensory data is instead apparently heavily
processed by various neural subsystems and "feature detectors", the
outputs of which are then reintegrated into a simplified mental model
of reality, and THAT is what we are actually aware of.  That mental
model is what we think of as "the real world".  So it seems to me
that, even accepting physicalism, we can already think of ourselves as
living in a virtual world of abstract information.

The same is true of time.  We experience time only because we
represent that experience internally as part of our simplified model
of the world.  If there is an external time, it could be altered in
many ways, but our internal representation (and experience) of time
will remain unchanged.   Time derives from Consciousness.  Not vice
versa.  Time IS an aspect of consciousness...and thus doesn't exist
seperately from conscious experience.

And also you can go back to the computer simulation idea and think
about various scenarios.  If you and your environment were simulated
on a fast computer or a slow computer...you wouldn't be able to tell
the difference. If the computer ran for a while, then the simulation
data was saved and the computer turned off, then a year later the
computer and the simulation were restarted where they left off, you
would have no way to detect that a year had passed in "external"
time.  To you in the simulation, it would be as though nothing had
happened, because the computer simulation would pick up on the same
exact calculation where it had left off.  There was no interruption in
your experience of time.

I agree that experience and consciousness requires changes of state,
but I don't agree that it must be change with respect to an external
physical "time" dimension.  The best analogy that I have heard is that
if you have a non-horizontal line, it's Y value changes with respect
to the X axis.  So some piece of information (the Y value) "changes"
with respect to another set of values (the X axis).  But there is no
time involved in this type of change.

Your experience of the X axis will depend on how you represent the X
axis internally in your model of reality.  Maybe you will experience
the X axis spatially...maybe you will experience it chronologically,
maybe you will experience it some other way entirely.  Your experience
of it depends entirely on how it is represented internally in the
information that produces your conscious experience.

I think that the Sherlock Holmes approach is the correct one for
investigating and explaining the nature of consciousness and reality:
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however
improbable, must be the truth."

I come to the conclusion that consciousness is information by way of
process of elimination.  I can think of experiments or scenarios where
you can do away with everything except information and still get
behavior that seems conscious and which therefore I assume is actually
conscious. Information is the only common factor in all situations
where consciousness seems to be in evidence.  And really, it doesn't
seem that counter-intuitive to me that information is ultimately what
makes me what I am.

So, I agree with David Chalmers that the idea that some (all?)
information is conscious in some way is a fundamental aspect of
information, and not really reducible to more fundamental descriptions
or processes. Which again makes sense...how can you get more
fundamental than "information"?

On Apr 20, 2:04 am, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> The main difficulty I see is that it fails to explain the sequential
> aspect of consciousness.  If consciousness is identified with
> information then it is atemporal.  There are attempts to overcome this
> objection by assuming a discretized consciousness and identifying
> sequence with a partial ordering by similarity or content, but I find
> them unconvincing because when you chop consciousness into "moments"
> then the "moments" have very little content and it's not clear that it
> is enough to define a sequence.  It seems you have allow each "moment"
> to have small duration - and then you're back to process.  Or instead of
> expanding consciousness in the time direction, you could get enough
> information by expanding in the "orthogonal" direction - i.e. including
> unconscious things like information stored in memory but not being
> recalled (at the moment).  But then you've slipped physics in.
> Brent- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -
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