On 24 Apr 2009, at 06:14, Kelly wrote:

> On Apr 22, 12:24 pm, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>>> 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.
> It seems to me that consciousness is the self-interpretion of
> information.  David Chalmers has a good line:  "Experience is
> information from the inside; physics is information from the outside."

First person experience and third person experiment. Glad to hear  
Chalmers accept this at last.
In UDA, inside/outside are perfectly well defined in a pure third  
person way: inside (first person) = memories annihilated and  
reconstructed in classical teleportation, outside = the view outside  
the teleporter. In AUDA I use the old classical definition by Plato in  
the Theaetetus.

> I still don't see what an interpreter adds, except to satisfy the
> intuition that something is "happening" that "produces"
> consciousness.  Which I think is an attempt to reintroduce "time".

I don't think so. The only "time" needed is the discrete order on the  
natural numbers. An interpreter is needed to play the role of the  
person who gives some content to the information handled through his  
local "brain".   (For this I need also addition and multiplication).

> But I don't see any advantage of this view over the idea that
> conscious states just "exist" as a type of platonic form (as Brent
> mentioned earlier).

The advantage is that we have the tools to derive physics in a way  
which is enough precise for testing the comp hypothesis. Physics has  
became a branch of computer's psychology or theology.

> At any given instant that I'm awake, I'm
> conscious of SOMETHING.

To predict something, the difficulty is to relate that consciousness  
to its computational histories. Physics is given by a measure of  
probability on those comp histories.

> And I'm conscious of it by virtue of my
> mental state at that instant.  In the materialist view, my mental
> state is just the state of the particles of my brain at that
> instant.

Which cannot be maintained with the comp hyp. Your consciousness is an  
abstract type related to all computations going through your current  

> But I say that what this really means is that my mental state is just
> the information represented by the particles of my brain at that
> instant.  And that if you transfer that information to a computer and
> run a simulation that updates that information appropriately, my
> consciousness will continue in that computer simulation, regardless of
> the hardware (digital computer, mechanical computer, massively
> parallel or single processor, etc) or algorithmic details of that
> computer simulation.

OK. But it is a very special form of information. Consciousness is  
really the qualia associated to your belief in some reality. It is a  
bet on self-consistency: it speed up your reaction time relatively to  
your most probable histories.

> But, what is information?  I think it has nothing to do with physical
> storage or instantiation.  I think it has an existence seperate from
> that.  A platonic existence.  And since the information that
> represents my brain exists platonically, then the information for
> every possible brain (including variations of my brain) should also
> exist platonically.

You make the same error than those who confuse a universal dovetailer  
with a counting algorithm or the babel library. The sequence:

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, ... , or 0 1 10 11 100 101 110 111 go through all  
description of all information, but it lacks the infinitely subtle  
redundancy contained in the space of all computations (the universal  
dovetaling). You work in N, succ, you lack addition and  
multiplication, needed for having a notion of interpreter or universal  
machine, the key entity capable of giving content to its information  
structure. This is needed to have a coherent internal interpretation  
of computerland.

>> 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
>> history.
> Given the platonic nature of information, this isn't really a
> concern.  In Platonia, you always have a "next moment".  In fact, you
> experience all possible "next moments".  The "no cul-de-sac" rule
> applies I think.

By definition, indeed, once we want to quantify the first person  
"next moment" makes sense only relatively to (universal) machine. It  
is the "next step" relatively to some computation and thus universal  
machine interpreting that "machine".
The cul-de-sac/no-cul-de-sac depends on the points of view adopted by  
the machine itself.

>> If you say yes to a doctor for a digital brain, you will ask for a
>> brain which functions relatively to our probable computational
>> history. No?
> I won't worry about it too much, as there is no doctor, only my
> perceptions of a doctor.  Every possible outcome of the "brain
> replacement operation" that I can perceive, I will perceive.

Not in the relative way. You have to explain why you see apples  
falling from a tree, and not any arbitrary information-theoretical data.

> Including outcomes that don't make any sense.

You have to explain why they are *rare*. If not your theory does not  
explain why you put water on the gas and not in the fridge when you  
want a cup of coffee.

> Additionally, every possible outcome of the operation that the doctor
> can percieve, he will perceive.  Including outcomes that don't make
> any sense.
> So it seems to me that a lot of your effort goes into explaining why
> we don't see strange "white rabbit" universes.


> Thus the talk of
> probabilities and measures.  I'm willing to just say that all
> universes are experienced.

That is absolutely true. But we don't live in the absolute (except  
perhaps with salvia :). We live in the relative worlds/states. I  
cannot go to my office by flying through the window. The probability  
that I end up in an hospital is far greater than arriving in piece to  
my job place.

> Strange ones, normal ones, good ones, bad
> ones, ones with unbreakable physical laws, ones with no obvious
> physical laws at all.  It's all a matter of perception, not a matter
> of physical realization.

That is true, but we want to explain "the stable appearance of atoms  
and galaxies", and what happens when we die.

>> 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.
> I'm not sure what it means to ask, "what is the probability that my
> computer will turn into a green pig".  One of me will observe
> everything that can be observed in the next instant.  How many things
> is that?  I'm not sure.  More than 10...ha!  Setting aside physical
> limits, maybe infinitely many?  Given that I might also get extra
> sensory capacity in that instant, or extra cognitive capacity, or
> whatever.
> So, of course all of that sounds somewhat crazy, but that's where you
> end up when you try to explain consciousness I think.  Any explanation
> that doesn't involve eliminativism is going to be strange I think.

The comp theory explains why we cannot explain consciousness, nor  
truth. But we can bet on computational states, then the thought  
experiments show that physics is derivable from computer science/ 
number theory in term of probabilities, and we can compare those  
probabilities with the one we extract from the long observation of our  
neighborhoods. Comp is a concrete testable theory, but we have to  
derive the physics from it to do so. There is a gift because it gives  
a complete arithmetical interpretation of an earlier type of theory  
like Plotinus theology, which does not eliminate the person like  
modern materialism, comp lead to a natural distinction between truth  
about us, and provable by us.

> But, if you are willing to say that consciousness is an illusion, then
> you can just stick with materialism/physicalism and you're fine.

You are right. But consciousness is the only thing I have no doubt  
about. The *only* undoubtable thing. The fixed point of the cartesian  
systematic doubting attitude. A theory which eliminate my first  
person, or my consciousness, although irrefutable by me, is wrong, I  
hope, I hope it to be wrong for you too. (Why would I send a post on  
consciousness to a zombie?)

> In
> that case there's no need to invoke any of this more esoteric stuff
> like platonism.  Right?

Right. Materialism is a trick based on a lie (consciousness, and thus  
pain, suffering are illusions) and an illusion (there is matter). This  
is used to stop fundamental inquiry. It is not a coincidence that  
authoritative theologies insists on materialism so much. Before  
Darwinism God created the man, after Darwinism God created the matter.  
Assuming comp, couple matter-man

Any content of consciousness can be an illusion. Consciousness itself  
cannot, because without consciousness there is no more illusion at all.




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