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Relativistic Implications for Physical Copies of Conscious States

Knight, Andrew (2020) Relativistic Implications for Physical Copies of Conscious States. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The possibility that consciousness is algorithmic depends on the assumption that conscious states can be copied or repeated by sufficiently duplicating their underlying physical states, leading to a variety of paradoxes including the problems of duplication, teleportation, simulation, self-location, the Boltzmann brain, and Wigner’s Friend. In an effort to further elucidate the physical nature of consciousness, I challenge this assumption by analyzing the implications of special relativity on evolutions of physical copies of a mental state, particularly the divergence of these evolutions due, for example, to quantum fluctuations. I show that the conjunction of three assumptions leads to a logical contradiction: first, that a conscious state supervenes on some sufficient underlying physical state such that instantiation of that physical state is sufficient to create that conscious state; second, that conscious states are associated with transtemporal identity; and third, that two or more physical copies of a conscious state can be instantiated nonlocally in spacetime. I then show that transtemporal identity is logically incompatible with the copiability of conscious states and offer several arguments in favor of transtemporal identity and against copiability of conscious states. Several explanatory hypotheses and implications are addressed, particularly the relationships between consciousness, locality, physical irreversibility, and quantum no-cloning.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Knight, Andrewaknight@alum.mit.edu0000-0003-0274-1681
Keywords: Strong artificial intelligence; mind uploading; computer consciousness; special relativity; quantum no-cloning; Wigner’s Friend
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Andrew Knight
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2022 22:48
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2022 22:48
Item ID: 20208
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Artificial Intelligence
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 13 May 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20208

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