On 22 Apr 2009, at 08:55, Kelly wrote:
> On Apr 21, 11:31 am, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>> We could say that a state A access to a state B if there is a
>> universal machine (a universal number relation) transforming A into
>> This works at the ontological level, or for the third person point of
>> view. But if A is a consciousness related state, then to evaluate the
>> probability of personal access to B, you have to take into account
>> *all* computations going from A to B, and thus you have to take into
>> account the infinitely many universal number relations transforming A
>> into B. Most of them are indiscernible by "you" because they differ
>> below "your" substitution level.
> So, going back to some of your other posts about "transmitting" a copy
> of a person from Brussels to Moscow. What is it that is transmitted?
> Information, right?
> So for that to be a plausible scenario we have to
> say that a person at a particular instant in time can be fully
> described by some set of data.
Not fully. I agree with Brent that you need an interpreter to make
that person manifest herself in front of you. A bit like a CD, you
will need a player to get the music. Now, any (immaterial, simple)
Turing universal system will do, so I take the simplest one, the one
that we learn at school: elementary arithmetic. (On some other planet
they learn the combinators at school, and in the long run it could be
better, but fundamentally it does not matter).
> It would seem to me that their conscious state at that instant must be
> recoverable from that set of data. The only question is, what
> conditions must be met for them to "experience" this state, which is
> completely described by the data set?
But from the first person perspective I need, and elementary
arithmetic provides, an infinity of universal histories going through
my current states. It is not just "information", it is information
relative to possible computations.
> I don't see any obvious reason
> why anything additional is needed. What does computation really add
> to this?
It adds the relative interpretation of that information. Information,
which you identify with some bit strings is just a number, it is just
an encoding of a person, not the person.
Consciousness is the state of mind of a person who believes in a
reality. This makes sense only relatively to probable universal
> You say that computation is crucial for this "experience" to take
> place. But why would this be so? Why couldn't we just say that your
> various types of mathematical logic can describe various types of
> correlations, categories, patterns, and relationships between
> informational states, but don't actually contribute anything to
> conscious experience?
Remember I assume the computationalist hypothesis. This means I will
accept to be encoded in an information string, but only under the
promise it will be decoded relatively to probable computational
histories I can bet on, having an idea of my current first person state.
> Conscious experience is with the information.
Conscious experience is more the content, or the interpretation of
that information, made by a person or by a universal machine.
If the doctor makes a copy of your brain, and then codes it into a bit
string, and then put the bit string in the fridge, in our probable
history, well in that case you will not survive, in our local probable
> Not with the
> computations that describe the relations between various informational
If you say yes to a doctor for a digital brain, you will ask for a
brain which functions relatively to our probable computational
>> But if A is a consciousness related state, then to evaluate
>> the probability of personal access to B, you have to take
>> into account *all* computations going from A to B
> I don't see how probability enters into it. A and B are both fully
> contained conscious states. Both will be realized, because both
> platonically exist as possible sets of information. State B may have
> a "memory" of State A. State A may have an "expectation" (or
> premonition) of State B. But that is the only link between the two.
The UD generates an infinity of computations going from A to B.
Probabilities, credibilities, plausibilities, provabilities will all
> Otherwise the exist independenty.
I don't see any sense in which the term "computational state" makes
sense independently of a least one computation. But from inside we
have to take care on the infinity of computation, including those with
the "dovetailing-on-the-reals" noisy background. (From inside we
cannot distinguish the many finite initial segment of those reals with
the reals themselves.)
> So Brian Greene had a good passage somewhat addressing this in his
> last book. He's actually talking about the block universe idea, but
> still applicable I think:
> "In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from
> any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally
> occupy their particular point in spacetime. This is no flow. If you
> were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve,
> 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in
> The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our
> conscious recognition of change in our thoughts, feelings, and
> perceptions. Each moment in spacetime - each time slice - is like one
> of the still frames in a film. It exists whether or not some projector
> light illuminates it. To the you who is in any such moment, it is the
> now, it is the moment you experience at that moment. And it always
> will be. Moreover, within each individual slice, your thoughts and
> memories are sufficiently rich to yield a sense that time has
> continuously flowed to that moment. This feeling, this sensation that
> time is flowing, doesn't require previous moments - previous frames -
> to be sequentially illuminated."
I totally agree with this picture. Brian Green uses a space time,
where I use the numbers with they additive and multiplicative
structure, and my point is that assuming comp, it has to work, and I
show how space time and energy has to emerge from the inside view of a
tiny fragment of arithmetic. But both in Green and with comp, the
information or the points makes sense because they are structured, by
space-time in Green, and by addition and multiplication in comp. A
computation is a mathematical object in Plato Heaven, or just in a
tiny part of the standard model of arithmetic.
> On your earlier post:
>> 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.
> In my view, I just happen to be inhabit a perceptual universe that is
> fairly orderly and follows laws of cause and effect.
You hope this! But with comp this is globally wrong, and only "locally
apparent". "You" (3-person) are distributed densely on the border of a
universal dovetailing. What you perceive is the mean on all possible
"continuations". My point is that it has to be such once we assume
comp, and that this is empirically verifiable/refutable.
I put "continuations" in quotes, because it is not necessarily
related with physical notion of futures. It is more logical consistent
extensions. It could develop on physical pasts, and elsewhere.
> However, there
> are other conscious observers (including other versions of me) who
> inhabit perceptual universes that are much more chaotic and
> But everything that can be consciously experienced is experienced,
> because there exists information (platonically) that describes a mind
> (human, animal, or other) having that experience.
Yes there is a world in which you computer will transform itself into
a green flying pig. The "scientific", but really everyday life
question, is, what is the "probability" this will happen to "me" here
and now. If the probability is 99,9 %, I will not find worth to even
begin writing a post ....
Physics is the science of such prediction, and if comp is true, the
correct-by-definition prediction have to take account all histories
and to see those who have measure near 1.
> I say that because it seems to me that this information could
> (theoretically) be produced by a computer simulation of such a mind,
> which would presumably be conscious.
Yes, because the computer will generate not just the states, but it
will related them.
> So add platonism to that, and
> there you go!
We agree here. And comp makes arithmetical platonism sufficient. It
makes highly undecidable if there is anything more. From inside, on
the contrary, the bigness is not even measurable or nameable. That
follows from "simple" theoretical computer science.
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