X-Message-Number: 13013
From: "George Smith" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #13008 - #13010
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 11:59:50 -0800

In Message #13009 From: Daniel Crevier regarding the Subject: The
downloading thought experiment, he wrote in part:

> First, let us review our premises carefully. They are :
> - consciousness can be explained, understood and accounted for in terms
> of purely physical phenomena. "Self circuits", "standing waves" or any
> other phenomena deemed necessary to generate consciousness must be
> physical in nature, and therefore describable in quantitative terms.
> This implies that they can be simulated by a digital computer, to any
> desired degree of accuracy.  If they can't, then we are back to
> mysticism, and I won't follow anyone on these grounds.

Is anyone familiar with the works of University of Oregon professor of
physics Amit Goswami, Ph.D., in particular his 1993 book THE SELF-AWARE
UNIVERSE (ISBN 0-87477-798-4)?  Goswami proposes  that consciousness is the
primary source of both physical and mental phenomena, and claims that this
particular view not only is supported by the evidence of quantum physics but
offers the only extant approach which resolves all apparent paradoxes which
stem from the other currently offered hypotheses.

In re-reading his book, I discovered that I was incorrect in drawing the
conclusion that Goswami held that AI could "elicit" consciousness.  In fact
he actually offers very detailed explanations as to why he believes would
not be possible.

In particular I found Part Three of his book the most appropos to this
discussion in which he offers a detailed suggestion for how a sense of self
is created and what components are entailed in achieving this condition.  I
found especially interesting the discussion of perceptual experiments which
supported the issues surrounding Goswami's theory on free will and

I will not pretend that this is easy reading nor that it will not probably
raise the hackles of those who dislike mysticism out of hand, and firmly
believe (as Dr. Crevier proposes in his quote above) that consciousness is
an epiphenomenon of matter (brain), but if what he writes is as he claims it
to be, a way out of quantum paradox, then I consider it worth consideration.
Occom's Razor, et al.

So has anyone examined Goswami's works?  Coming from a fundamentally
reversed position (consciousness creating mind/matter) it is interesting
that this would support Professor Ettinger's concern that software
simulation might not be conscious but for entirely different reasons.

By the way, Goswami was reared by a Brahman priest family in India, but
became a scientific material realist in college.  Ten years after struggling
with the paradoxes of quantum mechanics he finally realized that if he
reversed his views, he had answers which not only removed the paradoxes, but
seemed to match the world view of his upbringing as well as the general
claims of mysticism.  In other words, Goswami has been on both sides of the
fence and evidently has the credentials for both sides as well.

George Smith

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