X-Message-Number: 14878
From: "Pat Clancy" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 12:15:03 -0800
Subject: Re: Turing Tome, Immortality, Consciousness

> >
> >Let me repeat my Turing Tome counterexample, in part,
> >with a slightly different emphasis. Imagine a huge book,
> >containing code for a person and his lifetime (or a large
> >segment of it, including his environment). Is the book 
> >alive? Does it have feelings? Is anything happening?
> >It must be alive and feeling, if you believe that isomorphism
> >is everything. And you can't escape by saying the program must be running
> >in an active computer. If isomorphism is good enough for
> >space and for matter, why isn't it good enough for time?
> One thought is that the Turing Tome could never isomorphically model
> immortality (or an immortal being) because it would have to be an infinite
> record. (That is, an infinite amount of experience, meaning an infinite
> amount of information, would have to figure in a reasonable notion of
> immortality, by my criteria, which are also echoed in Tipler's book.) 

I don't think you have to invoke immortality, but I agree part of the problem 

with the Tome is that is must be infinite, and it also must exist in its 
right there in front of you. So if an entity in the Tome were conscious, it 
would be so in a way that was entirely inaccesable to us, because at each 
instant of time we have the full history of that consciousness laid out before 
us, unchanging and timeless. We could not of course communicate with it 
since all such communication during the history of the entity is already 
encoded in the Tome, between that and other entities in the Tome. I think all 
you can say is that any entity in the Tome can only appear conscious to 
other entities in the Tome, and that such appearance and the definition of 
"conscious" is itself described in the Tome. That not mean that such entities 
are in reality conscious although the definition may shed light on what it 
means to be conscious in reality (if that makes any sense!).

Pat Clancy

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