I’m very close to finishing “The Conscious Mind – In Search of a Fundamental Theory” by David Chalmers. Everything except his review of Quantum Physics, over which I skimmed ahead to get a feel for the scope he’s addressing. I find myself in a very strange state, skimming some sections forwards and backwards, returning to read some sections very carefully. I can hardly believe it but everything I’ve been researching for four years is just slotting into place before my eyes. Spine tingling.
The bit I just did not expect to find in Chalmers, because I’ve not seen anyone quote or argue the aspect with him in papers or conferences, is “Information” (after Shannon). Information as something more fundamental than consciousness itself. Which is significant because Information was in fact my subject when I came into this space, and I’ve already bought the idea from quantum information work, that information is more fundamental than physics, and suspected it must underly both physics and consciousness or, effectively, a physics embracing information underlies everything including consciousness.
David is very careful with his argumentation – really impressive in fact – painfully distinguishing speculations from tiny fragments of evidence, recognising intuitions and suspending disbelief where unproven too, all in a synthetic way, and building cases that are hard to refute despite few individual “knockdown cases”. Very much aligned with Deutsch’s stuff, as I said already, when it comes to the limitations of logic in building a quality explanation or formal argument.
Everything is here. Quality. Physics. Logic. Life. Consciousness.
From Dave Deutsch via Dave Chalmers to Dave Bowman’s final words.
“Oh my god, it’s full of information.”
So rather than another long-winded dump of incoherent thoughts and impressions, it’s time I tried to put a thesis together. I’ve felt I should do this many times before, but the problem has always been the breadth of what needs to be covered, and however narrow an aspect I chose to focus on in a potential paper, there were always boundary conditions that couldn’t avoid undeveloped (and hence incoherent) reference to more of the other aspects. In truth, I spotted this with Deutsch’s Fabric of Reality, where his synthesis of four arguments each suffering an explanatory gap in their common sense acceptance, nevertheless seemed to hang together as a whole. I’ve just gotta do it.
Don’t hold your breath. It may be worth the wait, but don’t forget that the patron saint of the universal church of the interactive network is St Douglas (of the whooshing deadline) Adams.