Are you at all familiar with the work of Peter Wegner where self-reference is built into his notion of "interactive computations" by the use of Non-Well Founded Set theory (ala Jon Barwise et al)?
I agree. My question was somewhat but not completely rhetorical as it is (or should be obvious) that a complete description of Einstein's Brain or any other physical object is, at best, a pipedream. Nevertheless, this idea that there is somehow an identity or equivalence between a "complete description" of an object and said object itself that is directly implied by the contemporaty Ai school (ala Dennet, Churchland, etc.)
It it hard for me, as a student of philosophy, to bring myself to even consider any discusion or theory that has this nonsense as its basic tacit premise. Something has to give!
Interesting, we are straying into FoR list territory! I seem to recall that D. Deutsch poists out that "other times are other universes" and that "travel" by what ever means between such is severly constrained to only that which can be subsummed under the umbra of quantum enteglement.
We seem to, again, stray into ideas and assumptions that simply do not hold up under strutiny!
Ok, but what about the nature of this "simulation" as a computational algorithm? How do we obey the definitions of Universal Turing Machines while considering interactive systems that under most reasonable conditions will run into situations that never occured to the person that wrote said algorithm. I am reminded of the difficulty of this when I watched a news report about a race that was held between robotic vehicles...
It is not important to note that the winner of said race:
"Stanley got that smart by learning during countless hours of desert testing in the months leading up to the race. Equipped with a wide variety of sensors and a heap of custom-written software including machine learning algorithms, Stanley grew smarter with practice. Eventually it became a master of finding the path, detecting obstacles and avoiding them while staying on course."
This is hardly compatible with UTMs as a UTM's algorithm must be definable "prior" to the running of the computation itself. In this case of interactive computation, there is a huge transformation that takes place, a transformation that we usually call "learning".
So, to get back to the point, it is hardly a win for the idea of a priori existing algorithms to claim that some how *all* of the content of a 1st person can be faithfully mapped to some bit string in Platonia. It takes something more than mere existence for 1st Person content to occur...
Is it possible to agree with some aspects of Penrose's claims and arguments without having to be tared witht the same broad brush? Since we have come to the conclusion (being hopeful!) that physical objects can not have the purely classical "apriori" definiteness of properties to the sharp degree that a UTM seems to require (at least in principle), so why is it that we continue to ignore the fact that this line of reason leads inevitably to the conclusion that we must treat any object, including the brain, as quantum mechanical?
If an object is quantum mechanical and is said to do computing, why do we work so hard to not see these two aspects as distinct and unrelated? To say nothing of Bruno's goal of deriving non-comutative QM from sophisticaled variations on classical logics...But I digree. Please take a look at Wegner's papers and see if you think he is on the right track.
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