Brent Meeker writes:

> > 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.

The rock could be running all the required computations *in parallel*.

> >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.

Sure: there may be a physical universe, and there may be something special 
about brains - i.e. only brains 
or some restricted subset of possible computation devices might be able to run 
conscious programs.

Stathis Papaioannou
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