RE: computationalism and supervenience

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 22:46:15 +1000

Peter Jones writes:

> > > It was never conscious, and if anyonw concludede it was on
> > > the first run, they were mistaken. The TT is a rule-of-thumb for
> > > detecting,
> > > it does not magically endow consciousness.
> >
> > Are you suggesting that of two very similar programs, one containing a true random
> > number generator and the other a pseudorandom number generator, only the former
> > could possibly be conscious?
> Do you think someone would judge a system to be conscious in a TT
> if it gave predictable responses ?
> How accurate is the TT as a guide ?
> What else is there ?

The fact that people feel they are not responding to inputs in a deterministic way does
not necessarily mean that it is true. You could put a computer program through a TT and
be completely surprised by its quirky and imaginative responses - then run the program a
second time with the same inputs and get exactly the same responses. There are those
who argue that human cognition is fundamentally different from classical computers due
to quantum randomness, but even if this is the case there is no reason to believe that it
is necessarily the case. Brains would have evolved to give rise to appropriate survival-
enhancing behaviour, which precludes random or erratic behaviour. A degree of
unpredictability would have to be present in order to avoid predators or catch prey, but
unpredictable does not necessarily mean random: it just has to be beyond the capabilities
of the predators or prey to predict. The unpredictability could result from the effect of
classical chaos, or simply from the complexity of the behaviour which is in fact perfectly
deterministic. No true randomness is needed.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Aug 26 2006 - 08:48:06 PDT

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