Re: computationalism and supervenience

From: 1Z <>
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 06:38:25 -0700

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Peter Jones writes:
> > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > > Peter Jones writes:
> > >
> > > > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > If every computation is implemented everywhere anyway, this is equivalent to the situation where every
> > > > > computation exists as a platonic object, or every computation exists implemented on some computer or
> > > > > brain in a material multiverse.
> > > >
> > > > But if implementing a particular computation depends on an observer, or
> > > > a dicitonary,
> > > > or somesuch, it is not the case that everything implements every
> > > > computation unless
> > > > it can be shown that evey dictionary somehow exists as well.
> > >
> > > The computation provides its own observer if it is conscious, by definition.
> >
> > But "providing its own observer", if computationalism is true,
> > must be a computational property, ie. a property possesed
> > only by particular programmes. However, if any system
> > can be interpreted as running every programme, everysystems
> > has the self-observation property, if interpretedt he right way.
> >
> > IOW, one you introduce interpretation-dependence, you can't get away
> > from it.
> That's right: if there is at least one physical system, then every computation is implemented, although we can only
> interact with them at our level if they are implemented on a conventional brain or computer, which means we have
> the means to interpret them at hand. The non-conscious computations are "there" in the trivial sense that a block of
> marble contains every possible statue of a given size.

All the computations are merely potential, in the absence of
interpreters and dictionaries,
whether conscious or not.

> The conscious computations, on the other hand, are there and
> self-aware

Not really. They are just possibilities.

> even though we cannot interact with them, just as all the statues in a block of marble would be conscious
> if statues were conscious and being embedded in marble did not render them unconscious.

But that gets to the heart of the paradox. You are suggesting that
computations are still conscious even thought hey don't exst and
are mere possiiblities! That is surely a /reductio/ of one of your

> > > then it can be seen as implementing more than one computation simultaneously during the
> > > given interval.
> >
> > AFAICS that is only true in terms of dictionaries.
> Right: without the dictionary, it's not very interesting or relevant to *us*. If we were to actually map a random physical
> process onto an arbitrary computation of interest, that would be at least as much work as building and programming a
> conventional computer to carry out the computation. However, doing the mapping does not make a difference to the
> *system* (assuming we aren't going to use it to interact with it). If we say that under a certain interpretation - here it
> is, printed out on paper - the system is implementing a conscious computation, it would still be implementing that
> computation if we had never determined and printed out the interpretation.

The problem remains that the system's own self awareness,
or lack thereof, is not observer-relative. something has to give.

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Received on Tue Sep 05 2006 - 09:41:11 PDT

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