2009/4/22 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>:

> The question was whether information was enough, or whether something
> else is needed for consciousness.  I think that sequence is needed,
> which we experience as the passage of time.  When you speak of
> computations "going from A to B" do you suppose that this provides the
> sequence?  In other words are the states of consciousness necessarily
> computed in the same order  as they are experienced or is the order
> something intrinsic to the information in the states (i.e. like
> Stathis'es observer moments which can be shuffled into any order without
> changing the experience they instantiate).

Say a machine is in two separate parts M1 and M2, and the information
on M1 in state A is written to a punchcard, walked over to M2, loaded,
and M2 goes into state B. Then what you are suggesting is that this
sequence could give rise to a few moments of consciousness, since A
and B are causally connected; whereas if M1 and M2 simply went into
the same respective states A and B at random, this would not give rise
to the same consciousness, since the states would not have the right
causal connection. Right?

But then you could come up with variations on this experiment where
the transfer of information doesn't happen in as straightforward a
manner. For example, what if the operator who walks over the punchcard
gets it mixed up in a filing cabinet full of all the possible
punchcards variations, and either (a) loads one of the cards into M2
because he gets a special vibe about it and it happens to be the right
one, or (b) loads all of the punchcards into M2 in turn so as to be
sure that the right one is among them? Would the machine be conscious
if the operator loads the right card knowingly, but not if he is just
lucky, and not if he is ignorant but systematic? If so, how could the
computation know about the psychological state of the operator?

Stathis Papaioannou

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