Peter Jones writes (quoting SP): > > What about an inputless computer program, running deterministically like a > > recording. > > Would that count as a program at all, > > It would be a trivial case.
Trivial does not mean false. > > and could it be a conscious program, given that > > computationalism is true? > > Obviously not, since people have inputs. There are several possible responses to that. Firstly, it isn't necessarily true that only people can be conscious, even if people (and maybe some animals) are the only entities we have good reason to believe are conscious. Secondly, there is always the possibility that an inputless, deterministic machine might be able to receive input. We might open the case, connect a lead with alligator clips, and start communicating with it in morse code. To the program, it would be like a message from God. You would then have to decide at which point the program became conscious: when the case was opened, when the message was sent, or was it conscious all along? If you say it was not conscious until the message was actually sent you would have to say that an entity was only conscious while receiving input, and stopped being conscious while it was analysing the input already received. Finally, it is possible to have the same kind of interaction that a machine with environmental inputs has by connecting two previously inputless machines to each other. They can then have a two way conversation, each surprised by the other's responses, but the system as a whole remains inputless and deterministic. The ultimate example of this is, as Brent Meeker suggested, a self-contained virtual reality. The universe as a whole could be seen as just this, unless you believe that God speaks to us from outside. Stathis Papaioannou _________________________________________________________________ Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---