Quentin Anciaux wrote:



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

    Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

        2010/1/7 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com
        <mailto: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 ...

But the point is that the above is a lot more than needed to say "yes" to the doctor. You could say yes to the doctor without believing that the time and casual connection of states was irrelevant.


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

An illusion provided by the finite duration of you brain responses.

Brent


Quentin


    Brent


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