Re: Tegmark is too "physics-centric"

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 09:08:34 +1100

On Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 12:28:04PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >
> >As I understand it, COMP refers to the conjunction of:
> >
> >1) Arithmetic realism
> >2) Church-Turing thesis
> >3) Survivability of consciousness under duplication
> ...and annihilation of the "original" (if not it could be trivial). I guess
> that's what you intended to mean.
> >Computationalism (as I understand it) is the strong AI principle -
> >that a program running on a Turing machine (or equivalent) is
> >sufficient to generate consciousness. A stronger version might be that
> >all conscious processes can be represented by a program. I can see how
> >3) follows from this stronger version - but I don't see how
> >computationalism follows from COMP.
> Well, that's really a question of vocabulary. I prefer to say Strong AI
> for ... the strong AI thesis. I guess also you intended to say that COMP
> does not follow from the Strong AI thesis, because the fact that machines
> can think does not entail that we are machine (machine can think does not
> entail that *only* machines can think). But COMP entails the strong AI
> thesis,
> because if I am a machine then machines can think. (accepting the
> perhaps foolish idea that *I* can think :)

How does COMP entail that I am a machine? I don't follow that step at all.

> Computationnalism is really the "modern" digital version of "Mechanism"
> a philosophy guessed by early Hindouist, Plato, ... accepted for animals by
> Descartes, for humans by La Mettrie, Hobbes, etc. With Church
> thesis mechanism can leads to pretty mind/matter theories.

If one accepts mechanisms that go beyond the Turing machine, then
computationalism is a stricter assumption than mere mechanism (which I
basically interpret as "anti-vitalism").

I would counter that a Geiger counter hooked up to a radioactive
source is a "mechanism", yet the output cannot be computed by a Turing
machine. (Of course some people, such as Schmidhuber would disagree
with that too, but that's another story).

> Bruno

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Received on Tue Mar 02 2004 - 17:12:15 PST

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