Re: KIM 2.3 (was Re: Time)

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 09:44:54 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 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.
However a Turing machine is not just a set of states, it also requires a
set of transition rules. So in the same abstract way that the integers
are ordered by "succession" the computational states of a Turing machine
are ordered. Whether just abstract rules, without implementation, are
sufficient isn't clear to me.


> 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
> object.

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Received on Tue Jan 13 2009 - 12:45:05 PST

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