On 29 Apr 2009, at 23:30, Jesse Mazer wrote:

> From: marc...@ulb.ac.be
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> Subject: Re: Consciousness is information?
> Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2009 22:19:56 +0200
> >Maudlin's point is that the causal structure has no physical role
> But I'm not convinced that the basic Olympia machine he describes  
> doesn't already have a complex causal structure--the causal  
> structure would be in the way different troughs influence each other  
> via the pipe system he describes, not in the motion of the armature.

But Maudlin succeed in showing that in its particular running  
history,  *that* causal structure is physically inert. Or it has  
mysterious influence not related to the computation.

> >But read the movie graph which shows the same thing without going  
> through the question of the counterfactuals.
> Where can I find the movie graph argument?

Search MGA 1, MGA 2,  (and forget MGA 3 I don't like it) in the recent  
threads on this list. Or read the french versions in my two theses. Or  
wait I put my last paper on my web page.
Let us see:

> >If you believe that consciousness supervene on the physical  
> implementation, or even just one universal machine computation, then  
> you will associate consciousness to a description of that computation.
> But why must I do that? Why can't I associate consciousness to a  
> causal structure in the real world that's isomorphic to the causal  
> structure of the computation, not just a passive description of the  
> computation?

Because in a particular running what makes the structure causal can be  
physically inert. This means that if you attach consciousness to it,  
you are attaching consciousness to something abstract. No problem,  
both consciousness and computations seems to me abstract or immaterial  
at the start. But then, unless you introduce a physical selection  
principle (unrelated to the abstract computation), you have to attach  
consciousness on all abstract realization of the computation. The  
machine cannot know which computation (or which mathematical universal  
machine) implements its states, forcing to consider the whole abstract  
space of all computations, which fortunately makes sense (through  
Church thesis).

Put in another way: a digital machine cannot distinguish between real,  
virtual or arithmetical. Unless magical power not present in the  
computations is introduced to select a reality.

> Is there a fatal flaw in my suggestion about defining "causal  
> structure" in terms of propositions about events and the way certain  
> propositions logically imply others

No fatal flaw. On the contrary, it is the good idea. I do this too.  
But then you cannot rely on particular "concrete things" to select one  
computations among all possible one. You already move to the abstract,  
or mathematical or logical. I just insist to push that idea to its  
ultimate consequence. The seemingly realness or concreteness will have  
to emerge from an infinity of absract, but well defined, computations.  
No Token, many Types. Token are types view from inside. Comp gives an  
indexical (self-referential) way to explain concrete token from  
abstract types.

> (if you take into account the basic laws of whatever 'universe'  
> you're describing with these propositions, whether it's the laws of  
> physics in the real universe or the laws governing a cellular  
> automaton)?

If you survive "qua computatio", you cannot make a consciousness  
singular in the absolute. A concrete machine (relatively concrete with  
respect to you) can be endowed with consciousness, but from its first  
person view, its future (and past, and reality)  is determined by all  
sublevel computations that the machine cannot distinguish.

If you attach an evolving mind to a cellular automaton states'  
sequence, you have to attach that same mind to all relative  
implementations of that sequence generated in the universal  
dovetailing, or in elementary arithmetic, and this change the  
prediction that the automaton can make about what it can find when it  
looks at himself or at his neighborhood below its substitution level.  
There are many consequence of this. For example you can deduce that  
whatever the physical universe is, it is not a classical cellular  
automaton, nor the result of any classical evolving system.  At best,  
it could be a quantum cellular automaton, but even this should be  
deduced from a relative measure on *all* computations.

I hope this can help, I am aware (and Maudlin is too as he told me a  
long time ago) that this point is a bit subtle and rarely well  

Note that Maudlin concludes that there is a problem with comp, and I  
conclude there is a problem with the physical supervenience. We both  
agree that comp and physical supervenience are incompatible. I keep  
comp as my favorite working hypothesis, and so I attach consciousness,  
not to any implementation of a computation, but to all at once, and  
only through logical links at some level.
When the computations differentiate up to the point the machine can  
tell the difference, consciousness bifurcate or differentiate. It  
remains to justify why the quantum computations seem to win the  
competition among all computations, but classical computer science  
gives clues that this could indeed be the case when we take the self- 
referential limitations explicitly into account (cf AUDA). This would  
prevent comp from solispisme: there would be a coherent notion of  
first person plural. There are also evidences from pure number theory.

Feel free to criticize MGA, I appreciate (rational) critics by non  
person eliminativist researcher.


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