Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Peter Jones writes:
>>There is a very impoertant difference between "computations do
>>not require a physical basis" and "computations do not
>>require any *particular* physical basis" (ie computations can be
>>implemented by a wide variety of systems)
> Yes, but any physical system can be seen as implementing any computation with
> the appropriate
> rule mapping physical states to computational states.
I think this is doubtful. For one thing there must be enough distinct states.
It's all very well
to imagine a mapping between a rock and my computer idealized as isolated
closed systems - but in
fact they are not isolated close systems. When you're talking about simulating
the universe in
computation it has a lot more states than a rock and it isn't close either.
>Attempts are made to put constraints on what
> counts as implementation of a computation in order to avoid this
> uncomfortable idea, but it
> doesn't work unless you say that certain implementations are specially
> blessed by God or something.
> So at least you have to say that every computation is implemented if any
> physical universe at all
> exists, even if it is comprised of a single atom which endures for a
> femtosecond. That's an absurd
> amount of responsibility for a little atom, and it makes more sense to me
> (although I can't at the
> moment think of a proof) to say that the atom is irrelevant, and the
> computations are implemented
> anyway by virtue of their status as mathematical objects.
Or by virtue of there being universes.
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