Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: 1Z <>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 14:41:24 -0000

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Russell Standish writes:
> > 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.
> That's what I'm disputing. You can have a machine handling counterfactuals, like a thermostat,
> that aren't conscious (not much, anyway), and machines not handling counterfactuals, like a
> complex computer or human with rigidly constrained inputs, that is conscious.

Computer always have counterfactuals, because there changing
one part of them (whether data or programme) has an effect on
the overall behaviour. Changing one part of a recording (e.g splicing
a film) changes only *that* part.

> The latter seems
> obvious to me from the fact that an entity experiences only one stream of consciousness at a
> time, regardless of how many actual (in the multiverse) or possible (in a single universe model,
> with or without true randomness) braches there are in which that entity is conscious.

That doesn't follow. A counterfactual is a COUNTERfactual - -it is
something that could have happenned but didn't. There is no
reason why we should be conscious of in things
we coudl have done but didn't. (Unless counterfactuals
are itnerpreted as alternate worlds, but then they
are not really COUNTERfactuals -- they actually
did happen, buit "somewhere else").

The claim that consciousness requires counterfactuals
stems from the argument that consciousness is
comptutation, and computation requires counterfactuals.

It doesn't stem from an expeiential insight into counterfactual

> I think we
> can still say this if the multiverse is run in Platonia, which does not allow the removal of multiverse
> branches in the same way possible with a computer model. For example, the version of me alive
> in the multiverse branches where he has won the lottery every week for a year has much lower
> measure, but he is not proportionately less conscious.

Then you have a WR problem. Barbour introduces the idea
that low-measure Nows are less conscious in order to
avoid the WR problem, and with no other motivation.

> The other actual or possible branches may
> affect the content and relative probabilities of my conscious experience but not the fact that I am
> having a conscious experience.

> Stathis Papaioannou
> _________________________________________________________________
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Received on Tue Aug 29 2006 - 10:44:14 PDT

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