RE: Bruno's argument

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:05:49 +1000

Brent Meeker writes:

> > Yes, but any physical system can be seen as implementing any computation with the appropriate
> > rule mapping physical states to computational states.
> I think this is doubtful. For one thing there must be enough distinct states. It's all very well
> to imagine a mapping between a rock and my computer idealized as isolated closed systems - but in
> fact they are not isolated close systems. When you're talking about simulating the universe in
> computation it has a lot more states than a rock and it isn't close either.

The rock could be running all the required computations *in parallel*.

> >Attempts are made to put constraints on what
> > counts as implementation of a computation in order to avoid this uncomfortable idea, but it
> > doesn't work unless you say that certain implementations are specially blessed by God or something.
> > So at least you have to say that every computation is implemented if any physical universe at all
> > exists, even if it is comprised of a single atom which endures for a femtosecond. That's an absurd
> > amount of responsibility for a little atom, and it makes more sense to me (although I can't at the
> > moment think of a proof) to say that the atom is irrelevant, and the computations are implemented
> > anyway by virtue of their status as mathematical objects.
> Or by virtue of there being universes.

Sure: there may be a physical universe, and there may be something special about brains - i.e. only brains
or some restricted subset of possible computation devices might be able to run conscious programs.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Jul 27 2006 - 19:07:50 PDT

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