Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 23:49:07 +1000

2009/4/30 Bruno Marchal <>:

>> Putnam and Searle use the Rock argument to suggest
>> that computationalism is false: they consider it absurd that any
>> conscious computation supervenes on any physical activity (or
>> equivalently no physical activity, since at one extreme the Rock
>> argument allows that any computation is implemented by the null
>> state).
> ?

If the vibration of atoms in a rock can be mapped onto any
computation, then there is a one to many relationship between a
physical state and a computation. That is, you can't say that the rock
implements one computation but not another. So the rock is a massively
parallel computer implementing every computation. Furthermore, any
subset (in time and space) of the rock is a massively parallel
computer implementing any computation. At the limit, a minimal subset
of the rock, such as a quark existing for one Planck interval,
implements every computation. And why not go one step further and say
that nothingness implements every computation? So you arrive at the
conclusion, computation exists independently of physical activity. Few
people seem satisfied with this conclusion, so they try to argue
either that computationalism is false or else that computationalism is
true and dependent on physical activity and therefore that the
argument is invalid.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Apr 30 2009 - 23:49:07 PDT

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