Peter Jones writes:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Peter Jones writes:
> > > > Is it possible that we are currently actors in a single, deterministic,
> > > > non-branching
> > > > computer program, with the illusion of free will and if-then
> > > > contingency in general
> > > > being due to the fact that we don't know the details of how the program
> > > > will play
> > > > out?
> > >
> > > Lots of things are possible. The question is what to believe.
> > True, but I thought you were saying that such a thing was incompatible with
> > consciousness,
> > and I see no reason to believe that.
> There are a lot of prolems with what you are saying.
> I don't think it is possible to get dynamism out of stasis,
> and I don't think it is possible to get qualia out of mathematical
But what about a physical computer which creates an entire virtual environment,
with sentient beings? Once started up it would be completely deterministic,
just as a recording
would be. It could have if-then statements but these would not make any
difference, given initial
conditions. (A recording also has if-then statements, in that if the input were
output would also be different.) This could as easily be a real model of a
classical universe, with
no interference from outside once initial conditions + laws of physics had been
set. The if-then
statements are implicit in the laws of physics: if I throw a rock, it will
follow a parabolic trajectory
and shatter the window. As an inhabitant of the univerese I think I have free
will in deciding whether
or not to throw the rock, but in fact this is no more indeterminate than the
workings of a clockwork
mechanism. My understanding is that standard computationalism allows for
consciousness to occur
in such a universe, even if it isn't the universe we actually live in. If not,
then you have to abandon
computationalism and embrace something like Penrose's theory in which
quantum effects are responsible for consciousness; or maybe we've just all been
issued with a soul
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