RE: computationalism and supervenience

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 15:42:29 +1000

Bruno marchal writes:

> Le 26-août-06, à 16:35, 1Z a écrit :
> >
> >> 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,
> >
> > That is not a fact.
> It would make sense, indeed, only if the map is computable, and in this
> case I agree it has not been proved. Again UDA makes such question non
> relevant, given that the physical is secondary with respect to the
> intelligible.

Any computation that can be implemented on a physical system A can be mapped
onto another physical system B, even if B has fewer distinct states than A, since
states can be "reused" for parallel processing. If B is some boring sysstem such as
the ticking of a clock then the "work" (not sure what the best word to use here is)
of implementing the computation lies in the mapping rules, not in the physical
activity. The mapping rules are not actually "implemented": they can exist written
on a piece of paper so that an external observer can refer to them and see what
the computer is up to, or potentially interact with it. And if the computer is conscious
because someone can potentially talk to it using the piece of paper, ther is no reason
why it should not also be conscious when the piece of paper is destroyed, or everyone
who understands the code on the piece of paper dies. In the limiting case, the platonic
existence of the mapping rule contains all of the computation and the physical activity
is irrelevant - arriving at the same position you do.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Mon Aug 28 2006 - 01:44:21 PDT

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