Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> It seems to me that there are two main sticking points in the discussions on
> several list threads in recent weeks. One is computationalism: is it right or 
> wrong?
> This at least is straightforward in that it comes down to a question of 
> faith, in the
> final analysis, as to whether you would accept a digital replacement brain or 
> not
> (Bruno's "yes doctor" choice). The other sticking point is, given 
> computationalism
> is right, what does it take to implement a computation? There have been 
> arguments
> that a computation is implemented by any physical system (Putnam, Searle, 
> Moravec)
> and by no physical system (Maudlin, Bruno Marchal). The discussion about 
> Platonism
> and the ontological status of mathematical structures, in particular, relates 
> to this
> second issue. Bruno alludes to it in several papers and posts, and also 
> alludes to his
> "movie graph argument", but as far as I can tell that argument in its 
> entirety is only
> available in French. Comments and elaboration would be welcome.
>
> Stathis Papaioannou

That is a fair summary, but there are two ambiguities in
"computationalism" --
cosnciouness vs. cognition, process vs programme -- leading
to a total of four possible meanings.

Most people would not say "yes doctor" to a process that recorded their
brain on a tape a left it in a filing cabinet. Yet, that is all you can
get out
of the timeless world of Plato's heaven (programme vs process).

That intuition is, I think,.rather stronge than the intuition that
Maudlin's argument relies
on: that consciousness supervenes only on brain activity, not on
counterfactuals.

But the other ambiguity in computationalism offers another way out. If
only cognition
supervenes on computational (and hence counterfactual) activity, then
consciousness could supervene on non-counterfactual activity -- i.e
they could both supervene on physical processes, but in different ways.


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