RE: Is the universe computable?

From: Jesse Mazer <lasermazer.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2004 21:45:00 -0500

David Barrett-Lennard wrote:
>
>Georges Quenot wrote:
>
> > Also I feel some confusion between the questions "Is the universe
> > computable ?" and "Is the universe actually 'being' computed ?".
> > What links do the participants see between them ?
>
>An important tool in mathematics is the idea of an isomorphism between
>two sets, which allows us to say *the* integers or *the* Mandelbrot set.
>This allows us to say *the* computation, and the device (if any) on
>which it is run is irrelevant to the existence of the computation. This
>relates to the idea of the Platonic existence of mathematical objects.
>
>This makes the "confusion" between the above questions irrelevant.
>
>I think it was John Searle (who argues that computers can't be aware)
>who said "A simulation of a hurricane is not a hurricane, therefore a
>simulation of mind is not mind". His argument breaks down if
>*everything* is a computation - because we can define an isomorphism
>between a computation and the simulation of that computation.
>
>- David

Isn't there a fundamental problem deciding what it means for a given
simulated object to implement some other computation? Philosopher David
Chalmers discusses the similar question of how to decide whether a given
physical object is implementing a particular computation in his paper "Does
a Rock Implement Every Finite-State Automaton?", available here:

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/papers/rock.html

--Jesse Mazer

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Received on Wed Jan 07 2004 - 21:48:00 PST

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