Re: Objective Meaning Must Exhibit Isomorphism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Fri Mar 07 2008 - 12:24:53 MST

Nick writes

>Lee Corbin wrote:
>> Stathis writes
>> > 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?

I'm sorry, everyone! The programmer *did* convey the
causal information from the end of Monday's run to the
beginning of Tuesday's run. I was thinking of, like, dust
in space where the state of a patch of dust near the Virgo
cluster (over a few light years in extent) is not conveyed
to a state near the Andromeda galaxy.

>> 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.
> But somewhere in the dust is the transition from moment 0 to moment 1,
> somewhere is the transition from moment 1 to moment 2, ..., so every
> transition is computed even though it's not the "same" state 1 in
> between those two computations (or it is the same, but with a
> different physical implementation).

A given patch of intergalactic dust (say a tenth of a light year wide)
at one instant is isomorphic to my brain state. Some time later (or
even earlier) another vastly removed patch of dust is isomorphic
to my brain state as it is an instant later. I meant to say that between
these two patches no information actually flew. (It would have
probably required FasterThanLight, at least.)

Or do you mean to say that *somewhere* the dust actually "computes"
for a tiny microsecond, and is isomorphic to the changes in my brain
over that microsecond, and then a second place, the computation is
taken from state 2 to state 3? If so, these breaks that occur happen
almost continually, and prevent ongoing information flow. But perhaps
I'm not understanding you.

> In any case, I don't see that you could notice the lack of information
> flow. Since (if) the mental supervenes on the physical, then for there
> to be a noticeable difference the computation would have to come out
> differently depending on the causal history of the initial state, an
> arrant absurdity.

Surely you don't believe that one patch of dust relays information to
another patch of dust many, many light years away? But we may
simply be miscommunicating. Can you clarify, please?


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