Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Mon Mar 17 2008 - 05:44:12 MDT

On 17/03/2008, Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> Oh? Maybe I misunderstood. Can we defer the extraordinarily
> interesting, crucial, appalling, and mind-blowing case of
> Sa->Sb , Sc->Sd , Se->Sf , ...
> until later? As you can well anticipate, this make my claims even
> more unbelievable! But I want to make sure, as you do, that you
> have understood my claim up till now.

The case I was thinking of is where the pairs overlap: Sa->Sb, Sb->Sc,
Sc->Sd,... . It seems that you would allow this set of states
continuous consciousness. Granted, it is less likely that these pairs
of states arise by chance in dust clouds and so on than that
individual, unconnected states do, but it doesn't seem enough of a
difference to banish consciousness from wherever it wasn't
deliberately intended.

> > I still haven't understood your position on information flow over a
> > noisy or unreliable channel. If two pieces of information are
> > transferred, and it is known that one is correct and the other not, is
> > there an interruption in consciousness if the correct information is
> > used?
> No interruption. Just like the sudden and miraculous appearance
> of Sir Francis Bacon in an exact state that he really did occupy in
> the 1600s. It really is him, and he didn't lose even an infinitesimal
> bit of consciousness, because this is a case of ...->Sd->Se->Sf...
> in the 17th century followed by the sudden Se->SF->SG->...
> in the 20th century, where caps are used, partly, to indicate his
> astonishment! Because Se really happened back then and Se
> also happened in the 20th century, his consciousness was not
> interrupted in the slightest.

The operator of the first machine notes its final state, and transfers
this state plus another unrelated state to the operator of the second
machine - not telling him which is which. The second operator inputs
one of the states into his machine and it just happens to be the
correct one, so no interruption in consciousness, right? (Whereas if
he had input the wrong state a completely different computation would
have resulted, so obviously total disruption of the stream of
consciousness would have resulted).

Now, suppose the first operator transfers the final state of his
machine *as well as* every other possible state, again not telling
which is which, and the second operator just happens to choose the
right state to input. Is there interruption of consciousness? There is
information transfer of sorts in that the correct state has been taken
off the first machine and is known to the first operator, but it is
completely hidden in the noise. The first operator may as well tell
the second operator to try all the different states in turn. Do you
think there will be continuity of consciousness if the first operator
tells the second operator to try each possible state in turn, but
*not* if the second operator tries each state in turn on his own
initiative, without any communication from the first machine?

Stathis Papaioannou

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