On 12 March 2010 10:46, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:

> When a brain is not being consciously used at all, because the person
> is in dreamless sleep, the counterfactuals are all still there;

> Hmmm.  Are they?  Suppose instead of being asleep the person is anesthetized
> and cooled so there is no activity at all in the brain...it's inert.  Are
> counterfactuals still there?  From an information processing standpoint,
> counterfactuals only exist because they are alternate possibilities.
> "Possibility" though is too vague to base a theory on.  Suppose it is
> refined by saying the counterfactuals are defined by the probabilities of
> quantum mechanics.  I think this is what Jack is getting at when he appeals
> to "physical laws".

The pathways are all intact and can spring into action if the person
wakes up. There is a continuum from everything being there and ready
to use immediately, to all there but parts of the system dormant, to
not there at all but could be added if the person has extensive
surgery. And a firm plan to do the surgery would be different again
from the mere availability of surgery. You would need an entire theory
of how the probability of the counterfactual behaviour occurring would
affect consciousness

> they
> just don't have any effect. As the person is waking up their
> consciousness for the first second might be very limited, while again
> the counterfactual behaviour is still there. A common sense conclusion
> would be that only that part of the system which is being used
> contributes to consciousness. What reason is there to reject this
> conclusion?

> Because it leads to the MGA, where consciousness is instantiated by just a
> recorded sequence.  Bruno uses this to argue that the consciousness must be
> associated with the abstract counterfactuals which are part of the
> computation.  But that raises the problem that arbitrarily many abstract
> computations exist which include that same part.  Bruno makes a virtue of
> this by saying that is why there are multiple worlds in QM (although it
> seems to allow many more worlds than QM would).  But if we're going to
> appeal to things happening in the multiple worlds we can maintain the
> counterfactuals without going to Platonia.

It's not incompatible with any physical observation to say that
consciousness is instantiated by just a recorded sequence.

Stathis Papaioannou

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