Bruno Marchal writes:

> >  I think I have more basic difficulties also, like the Maudlin 
> > argument re the handling of counterfactuals for consciousness to 
> > occur:
> It is a bit harder, no doubt. And, according to some personal basic 
> everything philosophy, the Maudlin argument is important of not ....
> > is this requirement just to avoid saying that everything implements 
> > every computation?
> Jacques Mallah makes that point some years ago (in this list), and I 
> think Hal Finney has developed that point. I think their argument are 
> valid. But then I don't think the Putnam-Mallah-Chalmers is really a 
> problem once you get the idea that the physical world emerge from the 
> mathematical world of computations. Personally I have never seen a 
> convincing argument that everything implements every computations, just 
> perhaps some tiny part of some computations.
> I will postpone saying more on the movie-graph/Olympia type of argument 
> (if only to avoid to much simultaneous threads and to modulate the 
> difficulties).

It seems to me trivially obvious that any sufficiently complex physical system 
implements any finite computation, just as any sufficiently large block of 
marble contains every marble statue of a given size.  The difference between 
random noise (or a block of marble) on the one hand and a well-behaved computer 
(or the product of a sculptor's work) on the other is that the information is 
in the latter case presented in a way that can interact with the world 
containing the substrate of its implementation. But I think that this idea 
leads to almost the same conclusion that you reach: it really seems that if any 
computation can be mapped to any physical substrate, then that substrate is 
superfluous except in that tiny subset of cases involving well-behaved 
computers that can handle counterfactuals and thus interact with their 
environment, and we may as well say that every computation exists by virtue of 
its status as a platonic object. I say "almost" because I can't quite see how 
to prove it, even though I suspect that it is so.

Stathis Papaioannou
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