On 11 Mar 2010, at 02:10, Brent Meeker wrote:
Here's an interesting theory of consciousness in which
counterfactuals would make a difference.
The fat that the counterfactuals makes a difference is the essence of
comp and of the comp supervenience thesis. But that is the reason why
neither the movie, nor the boolean graph *is* conscious. What is
conscious is the person, and by comp, the person is an abstract
immaterial being that you can locally associate it to the boolean
graph/brain, (and even the movie, quasi conventionally, in the case
you decide to project the last frame of the movie on the boolean
graph, to trigger it relatively stable in your story). But the
consciousness of that person is then related, if only in the relative
way, to all computational histories going through it, from its point
of view (more exactly from the 3-p views of his 1-p views).
Quite consistent with AUDA, but I have often explained the consistency
of "machine theology", auda, with Hobson theory of dreams and
neurophysiological approaches. There is an implicit use of the galois
connexion theories/model, or equation/surface, and that qualia is the
shape of experience, is natural with the first person who lives at the
intersection of belief and truth (Bp & p).
This is coherent for example with his analysis of the problem of
"Mary" (correct with respect to its implicit comp):
Being and describing
According to the IIT, a full description of the set of
informational relationships generated by a complex at a
given time should say all there is to say about the experience
it is having at that time: nothing else needs to be added.17
Nevertheless, the IIT also implies that to be conscious—say
to have a vivid experience of pure red— one needs to be a
complex of high ; there is no other way. Obviously,
although a full description can provide understanding of
what experience is and how it can be generated, it cannot
substitute for it: being is not describing. This point should
be uncontroversial, but it is worth mentioning because of a
well-known argument against a scientiﬁc explanation of
consciousness, best exempliﬁed by a thought experiment
involving Mary, a neuroscientist in the 23rd century (Jack-
son, 1986). Mary knows everything about the brain pro-
cesses responsible for color vision, but has lived her whole
life in a black-and-white room and has never seen any
color.18 The argument goes that, despite her complete
knowledge of color vision, Mary does not know what it is
like to experience a color: it follows that there is some
knowledge about conscious experience that cannot be de-
duced from knowledge about brain processes. The argument
loses its strength the moment one realizes that conscious-
ness is a way of being rather than a way of knowing.
According to the IIT, being implies “knowing” from the
inside, in the sense of generating information about one’s
previous state. Describing, instead, implies “knowing” from
But he makes a common mistakes by concluding:
This conclusion is in no way surprising: just
consider that though we understand quite well how energy
is generated by atomic ﬁssion, unless atomic ﬁssion occurs,
no energy is generated—no amount of description will
Which is obviously incorrect. If you emulate the couple made of the
genuine cortical integrated system + the atomic fission, there will be
a conscious (and relatively correct) observation of energy generation.
If you want he is correct from inside, but if his own (based on comp)
theory is correct, there is view from outside of the couple <observer/
atomic-fission>. He is not aware of the comp first person (plural or
From this, he miss the mind-body problem, but this does not change
the interest for its proposal as a theory of human consciousness. It
is even coherent with my suggestion that a brain is either two
universal machines in front of each other, or two brains in front of
each other (making a brain 2 or 4 or 8 or 16 or 32 ... universal
At some point he need times, he says, but here the UD-times, or even
the successor on natural numbers suits perfectly.
I have no problem with his notion of graded consciousness, being an
experiencer of lucidity in sleeps, and amateur of altered states of
consciousness, amnesia, etc. This does not change really the nature 0
or 1 of being conscious or not: the abstract third person being the
fixed point of p <-> Bp. Löb's formula (B(BP->p-->Bp) makes such fixed
point true and provable. (on the contrary; the first person lives at
the intersection of p and Bp (p & Bp) and has no fixed point).
The p, Bp, Bp & p, Bp & Dt, Bp & p & Dt, does not describe partial
states of consciousness, but different state of consciousness (like
observing, feeling, proving, knowing, etc.). the modalities
corresponding to the point of views, and they take into account our
intrinsic ignorance on which universal machine bears us, and on the
fact that below or substitution level all Universal machine/number are
playing at once, (by the uda step 2-7).
In mixing Tononi's term and mine: the first person is the integrator
of information. In one of its note he seems to be aware that this
defines a logic.
It is coherent also with the fact that a brain is a filter of
possibilities With comp, or with non relativist Everett, it is always
a filtration of ain infinity of histories/universal machines among
Tononi assume the identity thesis? Not necessarily? I think he is
neutral. He beryas it only with Mary, if I can say. He does not
address the consciousness/realties problem, and does not seems aware
that elementary arithmetical truth contains or define high "psi"
region, region of high information integration with respect to fluxes
of possible histories in the universal dovetailing.
I don't see how we could use Tononi's paper to provide a physical or a
computational role to inactive device in the actual supervenience of a
an actual computation currently not using that device. I f you have
an idea, please elaborate. In my opinion this a priori integrate well
in the comp consequences. Thanks for that interesting reference on a
reasonable neurophysiological (and with a "high substitution level"
comp) account of consciousness and qualia, probably consistent with
auda, but not aware, like many, of the conceptual reversal that the
basic assumption imposes.
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