Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 13:43:03 +1000

On Sun, Aug 27, 2006 at 09:31:15PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> It seems to me that the idea of a deterministic machine being conscious is assumed to be
> preposterous, for no good reason. I believe that I could have acted differently even with
> identical environmental inputs, which is what the feeling of "free will" is. However, it is
> possible that I might *not* have been able to act differently: simply feeling that I could
> have done so is not evidence that it is the case. And even if it were the case, due to true
> quantum randomness or the proliferation of branches in the multiverse leading to the effect
> of first person indeterminacy, it does not follow that this is necessary for consciousness to
> occur.

It is true that Maudlin's argument depends on the absurdity of a
recording being conscious. If you can accept a recording as being
conscious, then you would have trouble in accepting the conclusion
that counterfactuals are relevant.

As regards to free will, in the multiverse we do have genuine free
will, not just the illusion of it. As to what this has to do with
consciousness, I'm not sure, except that free will and self awareness
are complementary concepts (this argument is developed more in my
book), and self-awareness appears to be necessary for consciousness to
ensure the anthropic principle works.

A "house of cards" argument. I would not be relying upon free will as
being necessary for consciousness.

> > I thought I had another argument based on creativity, but it seems
> > pseduo RNG programs can be creative, provided the RNG is cryptic enough.
> Right, it's the complexity of the program that generates interesting and perhaps intelligent
> behaviour, not its randomness.

And complexity is defined with respect to an observer of bounded
computational power. For any observer, a sufficiently crytpic
algorithmic number stream will be indistinguishable from random.

> Stathis Papaioannou
> _________________________________________________________________
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Received on Sun Aug 27 2006 - 19:20:09 PDT

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