Last post didn't show up in email.  Seems random.

--- On Tue, 2/23/10, Jesse Mazer <> wrote:
> -even if there was a one-to-one relationship between distinct computations 
> and distinct observer-moments with distinct qualia, very similar computations 
> could produce very similar qualia,

Sure. So you want to know if there are different (though similar in certain 
ways) computations that would produce _identical_ consciousness?  I'd say yes, 
and see below.  Some cases are obvious - e.g. simulating "a brain + other 
stuff" and varying the other stuff, which does change the computation.

I think though that you are trying to get at something a little more subtle, so 
I'll go further.  In my MCI paper (, I note that 

"One computation may simulate some other computation and give rise to conscious 
experience only because it does so. In this case it would be unjustified double 
counting to allow the implementations of both computations to contribute to the 
measure. This problem is easily avoided by only considering computations which 
give rise to consciousness in a way that is not due merely to simulation of 
some other conscious computation.
Such a computation is a fundamental conscious computation (FCC)."

So what you really want to know is whether different FCCs could give rise to 
the same consciousness.  Again I would say yes.

> you're not really saying that the Earth computation *taken as a whole* is 
> associated with multiple qualia. It's as if we associated distinct qualia 
> with distinct sets-

Again I think you are trying to get at FCCs.  So now you want to know if a 
single FCC can give rise to multiple observers.  That one is a bit harder but I 
suspect it could.

> Well, the idea is that to determine what causal structures are contained in a 
> given "universe" (whether a physical universe or a computation), we adopt the 
> self-imposed rule that we *only* look at a set of propositions concerning 
> events that actually occurred

> Aside from that though, the counterfactuals you mention are of a very limited 
> kind, just involving negations of propositions about events that actually 
> occurred. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I thought that the way you (and 
> Chalmers) wanted to define implementations of computations using 
> counterfactuals involved a far "richer" set of counterfactuals about detailed 
> alternate histories of what could have occurred if the inputs were different.

Yes - computations are defined using a full spectrum of counterfactual 
behaviors.  I would certainly not change that definition as it is the simplest 
way to describe the dynamics of the system.

However, I think there could be some common ground between what you want to do 
and my approach.  As I wrote in the MCI paper (p. 21), 

"... if a computer is built that ‘derails’ for the wrong input, that does not 
mean the computer does not implement any computations. It is true that it will 
not implement the same CSSA as it would if it did not suffer from the 
derailment issue, but it will still implement some CSSA which is related to the 
normal one. This new CSSA may be sufficient to give rise to consciousness."

Now, I think your approach is equivalent to the following conjecture:

Factual Implications Conjecture (FIC): "If different computations have the same 
logical implication relationships among states (and conjuctions of states) that 
actually occur in the actual run, then they give rise to the same type of 
consciousness regardless of their dynamics for other (counterfactual) 

I'm not sure the FIC holds in all cases but it does seem plausible at least for 
many cases.


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