Consciousness ~=~ self-referentiality' (was Re: Consciousness, New Thinking About

tony.jeffs tonyjeffs2 at
Sun Jun 9 04:41:28 EST 2002

Compression & Complexity

A difficulty Im having is "how do you identify the relevant complexity?"
Imagine I've just painted the wall with blue paint.

The relevant complexity is
"Paint wall blue"

One could add
"... miss a bit at top left edge;  ... brush hair near centre..... paint too
thick left centre..."
But that's not part of it.

One could add
"Chemical structure of paint molecules = ....."
But that's not part of it.
Being less pedantic, if we consider human complexity as being relevant to
human consciousness, the complexity of the whole body doesn't apper to be
relevant, only the brain, but maybe not the motor parts.... and maybe not
the  primitave parts like the tecta...

This is too much of a tangent for me.  Think I'll move past this for now.


"Matt Jones" <jonesmat at> wrote in message
news:b86268d4.0206031417.52410c2e at
> Mark Horn <rama at> wrote in message
news:<adge3f$6t9$0 at>...
> > 3-JUN-2002
> >
> > With all due respect -
> >
> > It seems surprisingly meaningless to suggest that "whatever
> > consciousness is, it must be made of normal matter," or anything else.
> <snip>
> > I would suggest that defining consciousness physically might be
> > analogous to the enterprise of defining the quantum wave function of the
> > universe [1], and that the convergence of our efforts must ultimately
> > yield a quantum cosmology that is totally self-consistent;
> You bring up a lot of valid points on which our current ideas about
> consciousness fall far short of anything resembling a proper physical
> theory.
> No argument there. We have no idea what a physical theory of
> consciousness might look like (assuming consciousness "is something").
> But 100 years ago, physicists had literally no inkling whatsover what
> their physical theories would eventually look like today (in fact if
> you asked almost any of them, approximately -one- of them would have
> said anything about spacetime, the equivalence of energy & matter, or
> probability functions).
> About 150 years before that, nobody, physicist or philosopher (I guess
> physicists were all called "natural philosophers" back then), had any
> idea that  a physical theory might even involve equations.
> Yeah,  there's a lot we don't know.  And that's exactly how it'll
> remain unless we mull over the various options.
> Physicists didn't arrive at the standard model by some wholesale
> theorizing about unified field theories. Indeed, nobody could even
> talk about unification theories until a lot of groundwork in more
> mundane areas had already been rigorously laid.  And laid in an
> entirely piecemeal fashion (ok, so 1905 saw one wholesale theory in
> its entirety, but that was an extreme outlier, and was "special", not
> "general" anyway).
> To say that we need something like a unified theory of physics before
> contemplating theories of consciousness just isn't realistic. That's
> not how classical physics arose, it's not how statistical mechanics
> arose, it's not how relativity arose (close, though), it's not how
> quantum electrodynamics or chromodynamics arose, it's not how modern
> evolutionary or molecular biology arose, it's not how psychology
> arose, etc etc etc.
> It's just not how people do science. They start with what they -do-
> know, and speculate about things they -don't- know.
> Cheers,
> Matt

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list