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
> structues

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 
different, the 
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 
essentially non-computable 
quantum effects are responsible for consciousness; or maybe we've just all been 
issued with a soul 
by God.

Stathis Papaioannou

Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to