Re: Bruno's argument

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 18:55:26 -0400

1Z wrote:

> >
> > Even with the consciousness-is-computation computationalism, it depends
> > what your definition of "is" is...if you understand it to mean that a
> > conscious experience is nothing more than an alternate way of describing
> > certain computation, I suppose Chalmers would not be a
>"computationalist" in
> > this sense, but if you just understand it to mean that the experience
> > the computation are inextricably linked then he still could be called a
> > computationalist.
>He goes to great lengths to explain the difference between
>and identity.

I was asking whether "computationalism" is always taken to imply identity.
And I'm not sure if Chalmers addresses the issue of whether it would still
make sense to talk about "supervenience" in the case where the connection
between qualia and computation was a necessary as opposed to a contingent
one--see my question below.

> > > > As I
> > > > understand him, he does argue that there is a one-to-one
> > > > between computations and conscious experiences,
> > >
> > >But not an identity relationship.
> >
> > But what if the one-to-one relationship is not understood to be
> > i.e. the relationship between first-person qualia and third-person
> > descriptions of computations is the same in all possible worlds?
>That's supervenience under logical or natural laws.

But "natural laws" are usually taken to be contingent, we can imagine
possible worlds where they are different--can you have "supervenience" under
logical laws, or any other laws which must be the same in all possible
worlds? I don't have Chalmers' book handy at the moment, but does he address
this question?

> > > > and he certainly believes
> > > > that a sufficiently detailed simulation of a brain would *behave*
> > >like
> > > > the original.
> > >
> > >But that is underpinned by psychophysical laws, not identity.
> >
> > If the psychophysical laws are a matter of necessary truth, I'm not sure
> > this is a meaningful an analogy, "1+1" being equal to
> > could be said to be underpinned by the laws of arithmetic, but if these
> > are necessary ones, then isn't "1+1" also identical with "2"?
>If you can't even express qualia mathemtically how
>can you have a mathemtically necessary psychophysical law ?

I wasn't saying it would be mathematically necessary, I was thinking of some
kind of vague notion of metaphysical necessity where a better understanding
of consciousness would show that qualia are by nature certain kinds of
causal patterns experienced "from the inside", so that they would
necessarily be tied to objective descriptions of causal patterns as viewed
"from the outside" in third-person terms. I can discern some basic causal
relationships in my own experience--imagining an image of a certain food
always bringing to mind a memory of its taste, for example--so perhaps a
more refined type of introspection would show that all qualia are
complicated and subtle causal patterns of some sort, in which case it
wouldn't make sense to imagine a world where the same qualia were tied to
different causal patterns.


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Received on Thu Jul 20 2006 - 18:56:32 PDT

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