On 27 Nov 2011, at 16:12, benjayk wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

since an uploaded digital mind could also
be part of a lot of dreamy realities

It is a part of a lot of "dreamy realities", without any uploading. By definition of the body and of the digital level of substitution, if we upload ourself in a computer, we conserve the same relative proportion
of the "dreamy realities".
Yes, if a correct substitution level exists. My point is that it in the
general case no digital substitution level can exists, because of a
self-referential loop between the substitution and the environment / between the computation and the instantiation of the computation (see below for a
more detailed argument).

Just put the environment needed in the 'generalized brain'. Steps 1-6 becomes a bit awkward but is still valid, and step seven remains unchanged.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Our brain avoids that by being a structure with a quite unique

Current physics makes this very doubtful. Assuming QM, there is only
quantum clouds of brains. Unless you presuppose the old copenhagen QM,
which does not make sense to me.
I don't mean unique in a physical way, but in a subjective way. It is
subjectively easier to see the difference between brains, but harder to see the difference between computers (that may be physically equal, but running different code). The uniqueness of the brain is its uniqueness of subjective

Both with comp and QM the brain is hardly unique. Then the dissemblance between brain is a contingent fact, unless you abandon mechanism right now. This means that you are just stating that you believe in non-comp. I am agnostic on comp and on non-comp.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

and a quite clear subjective dividing barrier to virtual
realities (I am not a/ in a computer).

How do you know that?
I can't know that, indeed I suspect that even just my local personal self is
to some extent distributed among all computations.

Good intuition, and a necessity assuming comp.

I only say that I do not have a perspective of being a computer.

If you can add and multiply, or if you can play the Conway game of life, then you can understand that you are at least a computer.

When I look
at myself, I see (in the center of my attention) a biological being, not a

Biological being are computers. If you feel to be more than a computer, then tell me what. I discovered the notion of computer by studying the molecular genetics of bacteria. (Turing) universality is cheap.

Don't confuse a computer (the concept) with a keyboard in front of a TV (one possible incarnation of a computer).

Bruno Marchal wrote:

It's harder to dinstinguish
yourself from other simulated selfes than from other biological
because of the natural biological barriers that we have, that

I can see that I am physically/biologically seperate from you,

You cannot see that.

while we
could be both simulated on one computer, without any clear physical dividing

All my point is that once we assume comp, the word "physical" can no more be taken as granted. You seem to *presuppose* a primary physical universe (Aristotle). I do not.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

We can only say YES if we assume there is no self-referential loop
my instantiation and my environment (my instantiation influences
what world
I am in, the world I am in influences my instantiation, etc...).

Why? Such loops obviously exist (statistically), and the relative
proportion statistics remains unchanged, when doing the substitution
at the right level. If such loop plays a role in consciousness, you
have to enlarge the digital "generalized" brain. Or comp is wrong,
I think it is self-refuting if we not already take the conclusion for
granted (saying YES only based on the faith we are already purely digital). Imagine substituting our whole generalized brain (let's say the milky way).
Then you cannot have access to the fact that the whole milky way was

In the reasoning we use the fact that you are told in advance. That you cannot see the difference is the comp assumption.

because otherwise the whole milky way would have to appear to
be a computer running a simulation of the milky way, making our experience drastically different (which is not possible, given that our experience should remain invariant). But if we don't have access to the fact/ the way that we are being substituted, it makes no sense to say YES, because we
can't even say whether are being substituted. If a substitution is not
taking place subjectively, the question of saying YES becomes meaningless
(making COMP meaningless).

Of course not. You talk like a doctor who would provides artificial brain without asking the permission of the patient. Then comp entails that, if the doctor is choosing the right subst level, the patient will not see the difference. But that's part of the point.

The only way we could know we are being substituted is if there is something other than the milky way to communicate with (which can see we are being

Yes. Like the doctor.

But then we have no reason to suspect that this other will
remain invariant, because from its perspective we have shifted from being the milky way to being a computer running a simulation of a milky way, which is such a big difference that it will inevitably totally change its response (to the point of not being the same other / the same relative world anymore
- a a totally different interaction s taking place).

You beg the question. Assuming comp he will say "thanks doctor, I feel better now".

Or we just *believe* we are being substituted (for whatever reason) and say YES to that, without any evidence we actually are being substituted, but then we are not saying YES to an actual substitution but to the conclusion (I am just a digital machine that is already equal to the substitution).

Please just study the proof and tell me what you don't understand. I don't see the relevance of the paragraph above, nor can I see what you are arguing about.

Either way, our experience doesn't remain invariant, or we have no way to
state we are being substituted (making COMP meaningless).

This point is not valid. We can say "yes" for a substitution in advance. Then, in that case, just surviving a fatal brain illness will make the difference.

How is that not a reductio ad absurdum?
The only situtation where COMP may be reasonable is if the substitute is very similar in a way beyond computational similarity - which we can already
confirm due to digital implants working.

The apparent success of digital implants confirms that we don't need to go beyond computational similarity.

This would make COMP work in a quite special case scenario, but wrong in

It is hard to follow you.


Bruno Marchal wrote:

OK, we could say YES based on the faith that subjective self-
reference will
develop a world for the digital brain that is similar to the old world
(though that seems very unlikely to me), but this is not YES qua

That is exactly the YES qua computatio. You let the artificial machine
handling the 3-person self-reference (at the hopefully right level),
and you bet you are still confronted with the local "persistant true
This is impossible since 3-person self-reference behaves differently that 1-person self-reference. The computations may remain invariant (and thus 3-p
self-reference), but the implementation is not, and we can't avoid 1-p
reference to the implementation. If I am substituted with a digital brain,
the computations at first may be the same, but I can see that the
implementation has changed (if only indirectly through my environment),
making the computation different again.
An attempt of substitution leads to an infinite regress of self- reference. I substitute myself at the right level, but then my implementation has changed and I can see that, which necessarily changes the computations that are going on. Then we have to change the substitution again (or take the change
of computations into account in the begining) if I see I am being
substituted. But this also has to be taken in to account... This infinite
regress could only terminate if at some point I can't know I am being
substituted, in which case there is no way to say YES to a substitution (except as an exclamation of faith in the conclusion of COMP). This means that according to COMPs assumption (YES) it can't terminate at a finite number of steps, so we can't have a finite substitution level. But we would need that in order to say YES. In any case, COMP is false in the general
COMP only works relatively if subjective self-reference *happens* to arrive at a similar state of consciousness. But this is not (purely) due to the computations that are going on. It is due to subjective self- referential

View this message in context: 
Sent from the Everything List mailing list archive at Nabble.com.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com . For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en .


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to