Re: Objective Meaning Must Exhibit Isomorphism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Fri Mar 07 2008 - 07:14:20 MST

Stathis writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> I do not believe that pi (or more precisely an entirely random sequence)
>> is more conscious, and has more conscious observers, than the entire
>> human race on Earth in the year 2008.
>> But to your way of thinking, must not an infinitely long random sequence,
>> similar to pi in many ways, contain stretches isomorphic to anyone's life,
>> isomorphic to all the thoughts humans have ever had or ever can have?
> No, pi would contain only an infinitesimal proportion [!] of the
> computations underpinning any given physical reality, since there are
> infinitely many transcendental numbers, as well as all the other
> mathematical structures.

But pi contains *every* finite sequence of digits, sooner or later in
its expansion. I wasn't talking about proportions. Pi (given that it is
random and never does exhibit patterns, and is like a truly random string)
also contains every infinite sequence too, allowing for gaps, e.g. infinite
sequences using blocks a trillion digits long. Therefore by your lights
when you said

>> The decimal expansion of pi looks random but contains any string of
>> digits you care to nominate, if you calculate it to enough places
>> [actually I don't think this has been proven, but it is conjectured to
>> be so]. That is, the ensemble looks random, but it contains islands of
>> structure hidden in the noise. If these islands of structure contain
>> observers, they will be no less conscious for the fact that an
>> observer outside the ensemble can't find them.

mustn't you say that pi contains all the thoughts of all Earth people in 2008?
(Where we differ is that to me, pi is a frozen string. There is no information
flow, hence no consciousness.) Clifford Pickover (in the link you provided) and his readers don't
understand the difference between a frozen state and live computation.

So while the dust between the galaxies (out to say 10^200 light years)
in a finite though large universe, rather explicitly exhibits every state of
of any person. But that person gets no runtime from it, since there is
no information flow between the states.

>> > Even if [Monday and Tuesday] occurred in separate Hubble
>> > volumes with no
>> > chance of information flow between them you would
>> > experience Monday followed by Tuesday.
>> Yes, but only if (to my way of thinking) there was any information
>> flow going on.
> So if two computers implement Monday and Tuesday in isolation from
> each other, i.e. purely by chance, there *won't* be subjective
> continuity between them, while if two similar computers implement
> Monday and Tuesday in a similar way, except the programmer set up
> Tuesday having knowledge of Monday, there *will* be subjective
> continuity between them? How is this discrepancy possible, if mental
> states supervene on physical states?

Oh, all of Monday will be filled with bonafide conscious experience
of all entities lucky enough to be emulated, and so will Tuesday,
But there will be no causal information flow between them, so for
one instant between Monday 24:59:59.999... and Tuesday 12:00.00
information flow will not exist. But the internal observers, of course,
will lose almost nothing. This is not the case with dust between the
stars, since no causal information flow connects any two instants.

>> That's the main reason that I don't subscribe to "platonic"
>> computation. That is, real computation---any computation worthy
>> of the name---must be driven by causality in which each state is
>> causally derived from earlier state(s). I don't believe in timeless
>> computation, calculation, or consciousness.
> You have to explain how the computations know they are causally
> connected, and not just accidentally connected.

To me, it's not a matter of them knowing it. In your example,
Monday and Tuesday (separately, it is true) exhibit total and
continuous causal information flow (except for one tiny instant
half way through the 48 hours). But then, each day is fully
implemented in a computer operating under ordinary information

Consciousness just is, causal information flow just is. And it is they,
I claim, which are required, contrary to the Theory of Dust.
Otherwise "absurdities" follow, such as that almost every random
decimal expansion between 0 and 1 implements more consciousness
than all the people together who ever lived.


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