On 3/11/2010 4:35 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
On 12 March 2010 10:46, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com>  wrote:

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

[Brent]
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.

That would be a classical change and different from a MWI possibility.

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

I doesn't occur - that's why it's counterfactual. We have a theory about the probability of counterfactuals occuring, i.e. QM. MWI has the effect of making the counterfactuals "available" as explanations (at least metaphysically).

Tononi's theory is one that relates this to consciousness. Bruno's theory has the same requirement, except the counterfactuals are in the abstract computation.



[Stathis]
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?

[Brent]
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.

Is it incompatible with any physical observation to say that consciousness is instantiated by a rock? The only consciousness we have observation of is our own 1st person. It's not plausible that it's a recording, though in some sense it may be logically possible.

Brent

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