RE: UDA revisited

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 21:17:39 +1100

David Nyman writes:
> 1. To coherently conceive that a PZ which is a *functional* (not
> physical) duplicate can nonetheless lack PC - and for this to make any
> necessary difference to its possible behaviour - we must believe that
> the PZ thereby lacks some crucial information.
> 2. Such missing information consequently can't be captured by any
> purely *functional* description (however defined) of the non-PZ
> original.
> 3. Hence having PC must entail the possession and utilisation of
> information which *in principle* is not functionally (3-person)
> describable, but which, in *instantiating* 3-person data, permits it to
> be contextualised, differentiated, and actioned in a manner not
> reproducible by any purely functional (as opposed to constructable)
> analog.
This seems to me a bit muddled (though in a good way: ideas breaking surface at
the limits of what can be expressed). If the duplicate is a "functional" one then
there can't be any difference to its possible behaviour, by definition.
Colin could have made his point by saying that a PZ is impossible, as only a
conscious person can act like a conscious person when faced with a difficult
enough test, such as doing science. Ironically, this is the same conclusion as
standard computationalism, which Colin opposes.
> Now this seems to tally with what Colin is saying about the crucial
> distinction between the *content* of PC and whatever is producing it.
> It implies that whatever is producing it isn't reducible to sharable
> 3-person quanta. This seems also (although I may be confused) to square
> with Bruno's claims for COMP that the sharable 3-person emerges from
> (i.e. is instantiated by) the 1-person level. As he puts it -'quanta
> are sharable qualia'. IOW, the observable - quanta - is the set of
> possible transactions between functionally definable entities
> instantiated at a deeper level of representation (the constitutive
> level). This is why we see brains not minds.
> It seems to me that the above, or something like it, must be true if we
> are to take the lessons of the PZ to heart. IOW, the information
> instantiated by PC is in principle inaccessible to a PZ because the
> specification of the PZ as a purely functional 3-person analog is
> unable to capture the necessary constitutive information. The
> specification is at the wrong level. It's like trying to physically
> generate a new computer by simply running more and more complex
> programs on the old one. It's only by *constructing* a physical
> duplicate (or some equivalent physical analog) that the critical
> constitutive - or instantiating - information can be captured.
If PZ's do exist, then there has to be a clear 3-person difference between
the PZ and its PC-possessing brother: different physical structure, if not
different behaviour. A machine based on semiconductors is not conscious,
but the equivalent machine based on thermionic valves and doing the same
computations is. Far-fetched, I don't believe it, and we could never *know*
that it was the case (not even the computers themselves could know it was
the case, i.e. whether they are conscious, unconscious or differently
conscious), but we would have all the information there very clearly 3-person
There is another possibility: this machine lacks PC, that identical functionally
*and* physically identical machine has it. The problem is, we need to invoke
magic to explain this.
> We have to face it. We won't find PC 'out there' - if we could, it
> would (literally) be staring us in the face. I think what Colin is
> trying to do is to discover how we can still do science on PC despite
> the fact that whatever is producing it isn't capturable by 'the
> observables', but rather only in the direct process and experience of
> observation itself.
> David
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Nov 28 2006 - 05:17:56 PST

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