From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 21:21:29 -0400

On 20 Mar -1, Marchal wrote:
> Jacques M Mallah wrote:
> >From: Marchal <>
> >>Jacques M Mallah did indeed accept that consciousness will rely on the
> >>presence or absence of inactive piece, but this will put arbitrariness
> >>in any notion of physical instantiation of a computation, in the very
> >>opposite direction of what Turing-mechanism, or computationalisme is.
> >
> > No. First of all I never said that it depends on an inactive
> >piece; I just said that inactivity does not disqualify that piece.
> I don't understand. Do you believe or not that consciousness
> is maintained in a well-implemented computation running on a UTM, where
> all inactive registers (we know them because we have run that computation
> before) have been eliminated ? Yes or No.

        I'm not quite sure what you mean. By 'register' what exactly do
you mean? My answer may depend on it.

> I guess you mean NO, if only because you tell us "inactivity does not
> disqualify that piece". But this means that the presence of
> consciousness
> during an execution of a computation depends on the presence of an
> inactive
> piece, i.e. inactive during that computation.
> >As
> >pointed out above the piece would likely not be inactive since it would
> >have to perform the computation to verify the run.
> I believe you try to say something here. I don't see exactly what you
> are talking about. What do you mean by "verify the run" ?

        In the case where the sequence is driven by the random inputs,
which was the one being discussed, if it happens that the correct sequence
is not followed then some action was to be taken. To do this some device
must test to see if the correct sequence is being followed. In Maudlin's
case that was easy because his implementation was clock style (false).

> > As for "arbritrariness", I don't know what you're smoking but I
> >*don't* see that happenning *AT ALL* in this example. You have said
> >nothing to even *try* to justify such a statement.
> That is *ALL* what the crackpot/maudlin's argument is about.
> Why do you think Hal concludes :
> <<if
> a factory fire in India can affect whether a system
> here and now is conscious, you are moving into a realm
> where intuitions
> about consciousness become highly suspect.">>

        I don't know; as I said, his statement is wrong in every way,
from the use of 'here and now', to the allegation that it is

> Note that the argument shows also that any computation can be
> executed in a
> counterfactual correct way with an arbitrary small amount of
> arbitrary physical activities.

        I have not 'noted' that, and you have not made any case for that
at all. If you are using Maudlin's example, as I've already said, it's a
false implementation much like Chalmers' clock and dial.

> When you say:
> <<The
> computationalist has decided what seems important, such as the
> counterfactual stucture, and has no problem believing that unless the
> copper wires support a different counterfactual structure they would
> implement the same computation.>>
> I agree so much with you !
> but if you belief
> 1) than consciousness is invariant for functional substitution which
> preserves the counterfactual structure ;
> 2) than consciousness supervenes on the physical activity implementing
> the computation, then you are in trouble because consciousness can be
> made
> to supervene on some spurious physical activities.

        Then give an example.

> The problem is that the "Physical Activity" of ONE execution of a
> (classical) computation has been showned here to be independant
> of the counterfactual structure which relies abstractly to all
> possible executions. Here comp happens again deeply linked to the
> everythings idea.
> You must read more closely Maudlin or Hal's comments.

        Or you should read mine more closely.

> I guess I was overoptimist last day: you have not yet seen the point.
> As Maudlin explicitely tells us "his" argument is one level of abstraction
> deeper that Ned Block-Searle (and Mallah-Chalmers-Putnam, btw) type(s)
> of 'false implementation' argument.

        The latter type was not known to him when he wrote the paper.

> More on this when I will be less buzy.

        Fair enough.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Wed Jul 21 1999 - 18:24:24 PDT

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