I am reminded of David Chalmer's paper recently mentioned by Hal Finney, "Does a Rock Implement Every Finite State Automaton?", which looks at the idea that any physical state such as the vibration of atoms in a rock can be mapped onto any computation, if you look at it the right way. Usually when this idea is brought up (Hilary Putnam, John Searle, the aforementioned Chalmers paper) it is taken as self-evidently wrong. However, I have not seen any argument to convince me that this is so; it just seems people think it *ought* to be so, then look around for a justification having already made up their minds. Now, if any computation is implemented by any physical process, then if one physical process exists, then all possible computations are implemented. I'll stop at this point, although it is tempting to speculate that if all it takes for every computation to be implemented is a single physical process - a rock, a single subatomic particle, the idle passage of time in an otherwise empty universe - perhaps this is not far from saying that the physical process is superfluous, and all computations are implemented by virtue of their existence as platonic objects.
> Dear Quentin et al,
> I keep reading this claim that "only the existence of the algorithm
> itself is necessary" and I am still mystified as to how it is reasoned for
> mere existence of a representation of a process, such as an implementation
> in terms of some Platonic Number, is sufficient to give a model of that can
> be used to derive anything like the world of appearences that we have.
> AFAIK, this claim is that mere existence necessarily entails any
> property, including properties that involve some notion of chance. First of
> all *existence* is *not* a property of, or a predicate associable with, an
> object as Kant, Frege and Russell, et all argued well.
> Per the Wiki article, Miller argued that existence is indeed a predicate
> "since it individuates its subject by being its bounds" [from the above web
> reference] but it seems that Miller's claim disallows any kind of
> relationship between such things (using that word loosely) as algorithms and
> thus denies us a mean to distinguish one algorithm from another. If
> Existence individuates an entity by "being its bounds" then it seems to
> follow that any other entity does not *exist* to it and thus no relationship
> between entities can obtain.
> I admit that I have not read enough of Miller's work to see if he deals
> with this problem that I see in his reasoning (as applied here), but
> nevertheless the basic proposal that existence is sufficient to obtain
> anything that is even close to a notion of implementation.
> also see: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existence/
> Implementation is a *process*, and as such we have to deal with the
> properties that are brought into our thinking on this.
> BTW, Plato never gave an explanation that I have seen of how the Forms "cast
> imperfect shadows" or even why such "shadow casting" was necessary...
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Quentin Anciaux" <quentin.[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 4:06 PM
> Subject: Re: Teleportation thought experiment and UD+ASSA
> Hi Hal,
> Le Mercredi 21 Juin 2006 19:31, Hal Finney a écrit :
> > What, after all, do these principles mean? They say that the
> > implementation substrate doesn't matter. You can implement a person
> > using neurons or tinkertoys, it's all the same. But if there is no way
> > in principle to tell whether a system implements a person, then this
> > philosophy is meaningless since its basic assumption has no meaning.
> > The MWI doesn't change that.
> That's exactly the point of Bruno I think... What you've shown is that
> physicalism is not compatible with computationalism. In the UD vision, there
> is no real "instantiation" even the UD itself does not need to be
> instantiated, only the existence of the algorithm itself is necessary.
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