# Re: computationalism and supervenience

```Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>
> Bruno Marchal writes:
>
>
>>Le 24-août-06, à 13:53, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
>>
>>
>>>>I would say the multiple branches are needed to have any *stable*
>>>>conscious experience, i.e. to have conscious experience "with the
>>>>right
>>>>(relative) probabilities"
>>>
>>>It may as a matter of fact be the case that our consciousness is
>>>multiple branches, but I don't see how this would confer stability.
>>>When people
>>>pray for something, they are actually asking God to prune the
>>>multiverse branches
>>>in which undesirable outcomes occur. If God complies, in the extreme
>>>case leaving
>>>only a single branch intact, their future conscious experience will be
>>>very stable
>>>indeed.
>>
>>
>>OK. You also ask this to Russell:
>>
>>
>>>Is there any reason to believe that we would lose consciousness, or
>>>notice
>>>that anything strange had happened at all, if most or all of the
>>>parallel branches
>>>in the multiverse suddenly vanished?
>>
>>
>>I think we would. Suppose you put coffee in a cup. One second after you
>>drink it.
>>Now, both with the comp hyp., or with just the quantum hypothesis, you
>>know there are quantum or comp continuations in which the coffee will
>>be transformed into tea (or white rabbits ...). Suppose God prunes all
>>the branches where the coffee does not change, then, during that
>>second, the probability of drinking coffee, relatively to tour
>>experience of having put coffee in the cup, will be zero. I guess you
>>will noticed the difference.
>>Recall the seventh step of the UDA (in the SANE version of UDA with 8
>>steps). You drop a pen, and you evaluate the probability that the pen
>>hits the ground (if that is english). By the comp first person
>>indetermincacy, the comp-exact first plural calculus, in principle,
>>consists in considering *all* computations in UD* (i.e. generated by
>>the UD in Platonia where we are supposed to be infinitely patient)
>>going through your "actual state" (i.e. the one when you will just
>>bring the cup to your mouth), and to see what is going on (from some
>>third person pov) in each of the consistent computational
>>continuations. If some "comp Goddess" was able to prune, the way she
>>wants, the computation or their continuations she could change
>>arbitrarily your local physical laws, and unless she decides to revised
>>your memory (and thus your actual states) you would notice.
>
>
> You would if it were the non-miraculous branches that were selectively
> pruned, although I guess that it is just this sort of pruning people would
> be asking of God (you would hardly need to pray that your coffee remain
> coffee). Nevertheless, even if the content of your conscious experience
> changed, there is no reason why you should not remain conscious as long
> as there was one single branch left in which you were conscious. To put it
> differently, there is no way you can tell that some single world / collapsing
> wave function interpretation of QM is correct, if you exclude quantum
> interference effects (and even that does not convince everyone, as we
> know).
>
>
>>About your question "could a recording be conscious?" Well, let me
>>quote you:
>>
>>
>>
>>>But WHY can't a recording be conscious? How do I know I'm not in
>>>a recording at the moment? True, I am surprised by my experiences
>>>and believe I could have acted differently had I wanted to, but that
>>>might all be part of the script to which I am not privy, so that things
>>>could only have been different if the recording had been different.
>>
>>
>>I think I mainly agree with you, but I have some reason to discard
>>expression like "a recording can be conscious". If it is a recording of
>>a (genuine) *computation* (unlike just a program), you can *associate*
>>consciousness to .... not really to the recording, but to the "person"
>>having that piece of computation recorded. That is, I think only
>>"person" can think. I don't believe a brain can think, nor any piece of
>>local "comp-matter". Only persons think, and only first persons are
>>aware of thinking.
>>Giving your other posts, I think this could just be a terminological
>>nuance, but it helps to separate persons and their many relative third
>>person (or first plural) incarnations/implementations.
>
>
> What I meant was, if a computer program can be associated with
> consciousness, then a rigid and deterministic computer program can also
> be associated with consciousness - leaving aside the question of how
> exactly the association occurs. For example, suppose I have a conversation
> with a putatively conscious computer program as part of a Turing test, and
> the program passes, convincing me and everyone else that it has been
> conscious during the test. Then, I start up the program again with no memory
> saved from the first run, but this time I play it a recording of my voice
> from
> the first test. The program will go through exactly the same resposes as
> during the first run, but this time to an external observer who saw the first
> run the program's responses will be no more surprising that my questions
> on the recording of my voice. The program itself won't know what's coming
> and it might even think it is being clever by throwing is some
> "unpredictable"
> answers to prove how free and human-like it really is. I don't think there is
> any
> basis for saying it is conscious during the first run but not during the
> second. I
> also don't think it helps to say that its responses *would* have been
> different
> even on the second run had its input been different, because that is true of
> any record player or automaton.```
```
I think it does help; or at least it makes a difference.  I think you
illegitmately
move the boundary between the thing supposed to be conscious (I'd prefer
"intelligent", because I think intelligence requires counterfactuals, but I'm
not
sure about consciousness) and its environment in drawing that conclusion.  The
question is whether the *recording* is conscious.  It has no input.  But then
you say
it has counterfactuals because the output of a *record player* would be
different
with a different input.  One might well say that a record player has
intelligence -
of a very low level.   But a record does not.

Brent Meeker

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