Several philosophical problems arising from the physics of consciousness, including identity, duplication, teleportation, simulation, self-location, and the Boltzmann Brain problem, hinge on one of the most deeply held but unnecessary convictions of physicalism: the assumption that brain states and their corresponding conscious states can in principle be copied. In this paper I will argue against this assumption by attempting to prove the Unique History Theorem, which states, essentially, that conscious correlations to underlying quantum mechanical measurement events must increase with time and that every conscious state uniquely determines its history from an earlier conscious state.
In order to dive deeper into an exciting topic, we’re mixing up the format. Over the next three days, we’ll spend the next three episodes exploring an incredible application of seemingly purely-abstract mathematics: how algebraic topology can help us decode the connections among neurons in our brains, to help us understand their function.
Neuroscientists will tell you that boredom gets a bad rap. Research is starting to show that the time we spend doing literally nothing could be extremely beneficial. Letting our minds wander could actually be the time we need to understand what we want from life, or spark the creative ideas that will move a long-stuck project forward. But if you’re always on your phone, whether it’s texting or checking Twitter, can you ever be bored enough for your mind to wander into brilliance?