Eugen Leitl wrote:
David Barrett-Lennard wrote:
> Here is a justification of why I think arithmetical realism is at least
> very plausible...

I'm all ears.

> Let's suppose that a computer simulation can (in principle) exhibit
> awareness.  I don't know whether you dispute this hypothesis, but let's
> assume it and see where it leads.

With you so far. We already have simulated critters with behaviour, and
awareness of their environment. Computational neuroscience even attempts to
do it with a high degree of biological realism.

> Let's suppose in fact that you Eugin,  were able to watch a computer
> simulation run, and on the screen you could see "people" laughing,
> talking - perhaps even discussing ideas like whether *their* physical
> existence needs to be postulated, or else they are merely part of a
> platonic multiverse.  A simulated person may stamp his fist on a
> simulated coffee table and say "Surely this coffee table is real - how
> could it possibly be numbers - I've never heard of anything so

That wouldn't be abstract "numbers". You'd have a system with a state, evolving
along a trajectory. In your case, that system state is being rendered (in
realtime, I presume) for external observers.

...but suppose we implement the same abstract program on several computers of totally different construction, like a regular computer using electronic impulses vs. a quantum computer or a gigantic babbage machine that uses only rotating gears. For the critters inside the simulation, wouldn't all these cases appear subjectively identical to them? If so, it seems the only common denominator is that all the computers were doing the same abstract computation, the physical details are apparently irrelevant in determining the experience of the simulated beings. Doesn't this lend intuitive support to the Platonic view that our own physical universe is itself just a particular abstract computation? Isn't your own belief that there is something more to our own universe, something more "physical" I guess, nothing more than faith in a certain metaphysical view of reality, with no more evidence (and considerably less parsimony, IMO) to justify it than the Platonic view?


Jesse Mazer

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