2010/1/8 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> 2010/1/7 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>:
>>> A program that generates S2 as it were out of nowhere, with false
>>>> memories of an S1 that has not yet happened or may never happen, is a
>>>> perfectly legitimate program and the UD will generate it along with
>>>> all the others. If the UD is allowed to run forever, this program will
>>>> be a lower measure contributor to S2 than the program that generates
>>>> it sequentially;
>>> How do you know this?
>> Why S2 is unlikely to appear out of nowhere is equivalent to the White
>> Rabbit problem in ensemble theories, which has been often discussed
>> over the years on this list. Russell's "Theory of Nothing" book
>> provides a summary. The general idea is that structures generated by
>> simpler algorithms have higher measure, and it is simpler to write a
>> program that computes a series of mental states iteratively than one
>> that computes a set of disconnected mental states from ad hoc data.
>>> and similarly in any physicalist theory. But although
>>>> S2 may guess from such considerations that he is more likely to have
>>>> been generated sequentially, the point remains that there is nothing
>>>> in the nature of his experience to indicate this. That is, the fact
>>>> that S2 remembers S1 as being in the past and remembers a smooth
>>>> transition from S1 to S2 is no guarantee that S1 really did happen in
>>>> the past, or even at all.
>>> We're assuming that thought is a kind of computation, a processing of
>>> information.  And we're also assuming that this processing can consist of
>>> static states placed in order.  So given two static states, what is the
>>> relation  that makes their ordering into a computational process?  One
>>> answer would be that they are successive states generated by some
>>> program.
>>> But you seem to reject that.  To say that S2 remembers S1 doesn't seem to
>>> answer the question because "remembering" is itself a process, not a
>>> static
>>> state.  I tried to phrase it in terms of the entropy, or information
>>> content, of S1 and S2 which would be a static property - as for example,
>>> if
>>> S2 simply contained S1.  But that hardly seems a proper representation of
>>> states of consciousness - I'm certainly not conscious of my memories most
>>> of
>>> the time.  Even as I type this I obviously remember how to type (though
>>> maybe not how to spell :-) ) but I'm not conscious of it.
>> You've made this point in the past but I still don't understand it. If
>> S1 and S2 are periods of experience generated consecutively in your
>> brain in the usual manner, do you agree that you would still be
>> experience them as consecutive if they were generated by chance by
>> causally disconnected processes?
> No, I don't.  Of course if they had durations of seconds or minutes, I
> would experience much the same thing.  But it is not at all convincing
> to me that the experience at the beginning and end of the period would
> be identical - and hence in the limit of infinitesimal duration, discrete
> states I'm not sure what the experience would be, if any at all.
>  The requirement would be only that
>> the respective experiences have the same subjective content in both
>> cases. Memory is only one aspect of subjective content, if an
>> important one. If S1-S2 spans the typing of a sentence, then both S1
>> and S2 have to remember how to type and what the sentence they are
>> typing is.
> But here you have allowed S1 and S2 to be processes with significant
> duration and even overlap.  They are no longer discrete, static states.
>  It may seem to be unconscious but obviously it can't be
>> completely unconscious, otherwise it could be left out without making
>> any difference. Your digestion is an example of a completely
>> unconscious process that need not be taken into account in a
>> simulation of your mind. Another example is your name: you may have no
>> awareness at all of your name during S1-S2 so it could safely be left
>> out of the simulation, although at S3 when you reach the end of your
>> post and you need to sign it you need to remember what it is.
> You are relying on the idea of a digital simulation which is described
> by a sequence of discrete states.  But in an actual realization of such
> a simulation the discrete states are realized by causal sequences in
> time which are not of infinitesimal duration and overlap.

This as no impact on the computational level, what is important is the logic
state which is discrete. What is running on an actual computer is a
program... that the physical computer use 3V or 1V or less or that it can
handle 5*10^9 instructions per second or 5000 doesn't change that fact, the
program will run the same (with regard to the (external) execution speed).
If consciousness is "digitalisable" then it follows that it is composed of
discrete states with no duration at all. The "time"  inside the program does
not need to be related to an (our) external clock. I could represent "time"
in an imaginary program by a counter... the fact that between two steps a
million year has passed, inside the program only the next counter value is
given, so only "1" has passed for the pov of the program.

So if we want to see the consequences of the computational hypotesis, we
must first take for granted that we are digitalisable, hence the
particularities of a specific physical instantiation have no impacts on what
the program is running (the consciousness). As the running of that program
on a virtual machine running on a specific physical instantiation has no
impact, as the running on a virtual machine running on a virtual machine
running ...

Think of it like a computer movie file... the movie is stored by frame...
the movement is illusory.


> Brent
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All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
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