Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: Norman Samish <>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 06:55:29 -0700

Stathis Papaioannou writes:
That's right, but with a fixed input the computer follows a perfectly
deterministic course, like a clockwork mechanism, however many times we
repeat the run. Moreover, if we consider the recording of the input as
hardwired into the computer, it does not interact with its environment. So
we have the possibility that a perfectly deterministic physical system that
does not interact with its environment may be conscious. And since the
computer may be built and programmed in an arbitrarily complex way, because
any physical system can be mapped onto any computation with the appropriate
mapping rules, we have the possibility that any physical system could be
implementing any computation. That would be a trivial result given that we
are unable to interact with such a computer and would never be able to use
it or recognise it as a computer - except that such a computer can be
conscious, self-aware in its own segregated virtual world.

NCS: If the computer is "conscious" I don't see how it could be a
deterministic or predictable physical system. To me, consciousness means it
is self-aware, capable of modifying its responses, and therefore not
predictable. What are the ingredients of a conscious computer ? Perhaps
one essential component is a central processing unit that depends on quantum
randomness to arrive at a decision when other factors balance out.

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Received on Sat Aug 26 2006 - 09:57:32 PDT

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