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.
Imagine a universe in which the most elementary components are stripped of all properties besides some binary notion of existence or non-existence. Like, if the tiniest chunks of spacetime, or chunks of quantum fields, or elements in the abstract space of quantum-mechanical states can either be full or empty. These elements interact with their neighbors by a simple set of rules, leading to oscillations, elementary particles, atoms, and ultimately to all of the emergent laws of physics, physical structure, and ultimately the universe.
But… is the universe actually made of stuff? An increasing number of physicists view the universe – view reality as informational at its most fundamental level. But how big a memory bank would you even need to compute a universe? Seriously, let’s figure it out.