Re: KIM 2.3 (was Re: Time)

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 22:49:02 +1100

2009/1/13 Brent Meeker <>:

> In human consciousness, as instantiated by brains, there is a process in which
> signal/information is not local, it is distributed in spacetime and is connected
> causally which means, per relativity, that you cannot make any unique spacelike
> snapshot and label it "the state". I don't go so far as to claim that
> consciousness *must be* instantiated in this way, but I think there must be
> something that makes the "states" part of a process - not just snapshots. Bruno
> gets around the problem of defining states by assuming a digital Turing like
> process, but then he has to provide something besides spacetime to make the set
> of states a sequence; which is he does by invoking the requirement that they be
> a computation. I have some doubts as to whether this is enough, but at least it
> is something.

It comes down to whether the brain is Turing emulable. If it is, then
I see no problem describing it in terms of a sequence of discrete
states. The question then arises whether the causal links between the
states in an intact digital computer are necessary to give rise to
consciousness, which is what I thought you were claiming, or whether
the same states in disconnected fashion would achieve the same thing.
Opponents of computationalism such as John Searle have argued that if
a Turing machine can give rise to consciousness then the disconnected
states would also have to give rise to consciousness, which is then
taken as a reductio against computationalism. The alternative way,
saving computationalism, is, I think, Bruno's: it isn't the physical
states giving rise to consciousness, but the computation as Platonic

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Jan 13 2009 - 06:49:14 PST

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