Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: 1Z <>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 10:19:48 -0000

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> Peter Jones writes:
> [quoting Russell Standish]
> > > > The Game of Life is known to be Turing complete. However, I do not
> > > > think any arrangement of dots in GoL could be conscious. Rather there
> > > > is an arrangement that implements a universal dovetailer. The UD is
> > > > quite possibly enough to emulate the full Multiverse (this is sort of where
> > > > Bruno's partail results are pointing), which we know contain conscious
> > > > processes.
> [quoting SP]
> > > That's putting it inversely compared to my (naive) understanding of how the UD works.
> > > I would have said
> > > (a) some programs are associated with consciousness
> > > (b) the UD emulates all programs
> > > (c) hence, the UD emulates all the conscious programs
> > >
> > > In particular, I would have said that some sequence of frames in GoL is associated with
> > > a particular consciousness that can interact with the universe providing the substrate of
> > > its implementation, because we can observe the patterns, maybe even link them to real
> > > world events.
> >
> > That is a strange passage. Are you saying that the links would
> > be
> > a) causal
> > b) coincidental
> > c) there is no difference between a) and b).
> The links would be causal in the normal sense of the word, i.e. the computer running GoL is an
> electronic device following the laws of physics, and we could link its output to real world events
> in the usual way that we interface with electronic computers.

But the GoL is fairy self-contained. Only the starting sate could be
supplied as an input. But if it supposed to be emulating
a UD, that fixes the starting state, and if the UD is supposed
to be gnerating a multiverse, what need does it have of
external inputs ?

> > > This does not necessarily mean that the consciousness is caused by or
> > > supervenes on the pattern of dots, any more that the number 3 is caused by or supervenes
> > > on a collection of 3 objects. If anything, it could be the other way around: the GoL pattern
> > > supervenes on, or is isomorphic with, the consciousness which resides in Platonia.
> >
> >
> > ????
> Well, this is the whole problem we have been discussing these past few weeks. The computer
> exhibits intelligent behaviour and we conclude that it is probably conscious. The physical
> states of the computer are clearly the cause of its behaviour, and the means whereby we
> can observe it or interact with it, but is it correct to say that the physical states are the cause
> of its *consciousness*?

If physicalism is correct, only physical states exist,
so yes.

> At first glance, the answer is "yes". But what about a computer which
> goes through exactly the same physical states as part of a recording, as discussed in my other
> posts?

It won't be exactly the same state, since dispositions and
counterfactuals have
a physical basis.

>If you say this is not conscious, you have a problem, because identical electrical activity
> in the computer's circuitry would then on one occasion cause consciousness and on another
> occasion not.

It all depends on what you mean by "activity". The total physical
state will be different.

> If you say it is conscious, then you have to allow that a recording or an inputless
> machine can be conscious, something many computationalists are loathe to do.

That depends whether they are consciousness-computationalists
or cognition-computationalists.

> Stathis Papaioannou
> _________________________________________________________________
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Received on Sat Aug 26 2006 - 06:21:40 PDT

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