From: Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: Platonism vs Realism WAS: ROADMAP (well, not yet really...
Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2006 11:26:10 -0700

1Z wrote:
 > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 >>I've never really understood why computationalists insist that a system
 >>must be able to handle counterfactuals in order for consciousness to 
 > I've explained that several times: computer programmes contain
 > if-then statements.
 >>other than that otherwise any physical system could be seen as 
 >>any computation, which does not seem to me a good reason. In any case,
 >>Maudlin shows that the requirement for handling counterfactuals leads to
 >>a situation where of two systems with identical physical activity, one is
 >>conscious and the other not.
 > If two systems differ counterfactually, they are not physically
 > identical.

I don't think I understand this either.  Computer programs contain if-then
statements which branch the process depending on the data input to the 
   But there is no real distinction between data an program.  So if you 
that  computed intelligence or consciousness depends on counterfactuals in 
program that seems to me to be the same as insisting that the computation is
implemented in some way that divides it from input data, i.e. it is in an

I'm sympathetic to this view.  I think intelligence is relative to an
environment.  But I'm not sure what computationalists think of this; I 
they suppose the environment can be simulated too and so then the whole 
thing is
a closed system and there are no conuterfactual branchings.

Brent Meeker

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