> That simple mathematical objects have a sort of existence is probably
> unobjectionable, but most people probably don't give it too much thought.
> For most, it's a question analogous to whether a falling tree makes a
> noise when there's no one there to hear it. Whether the number 3 existed
> before people thought about it is an abstract philosophical question
> without much importance or connection to reality, in most people's minds,
> including computationalists and AI researchers.
It's true. Most AI researchers and those who (if they were familiar
with the term) would consider themselves computationalists do *not*
concern themselves with questions about the "existence" of numbers.
> To then elevate this question of arithmetical realism to the point
> where it has actual implications for our own perceptions and our models
> of reality would, I think, be a new idea for most computationalists.
That's for sure.
> Right here on this list I believe we've had people who would accept
> the basic doctrines of computationalism, who would believe that it is
> possible for a human mind to be "uploaded" into a computer, but who
> would insist that the computer must be physical!
Why, whyever for? Isn't it true that most people don't object to their
*physical* destruction because they realize that they'll continue to
live on as abstract machines? For sure, those who believe fully in
the Universal Distribution don't really care if they get hit by a truck,
because after all, their computation will continue anyway---it will even
continue in some other physical universe according to the QTI (Quantum
Theory of Immortality).
> A mere potential or abstractly existing computer would not be good
> enough. I suspect that such views would not be particularly rare
> among computationalists.
Well, I guess they're just not familiar enough with the QTI. But
even without QTI, can't Bruno prove that the bitstrings that make
you up arithmetically are unaffected by mere trucks?