Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Peter Jones writes (quoting Russell Standish and SP):
> > > > It is true that Maudlin's argument depends on the absurdity of a
> > > > recording being conscious. If you can accept a recording as being
> > > > conscious, then you would have trouble in accepting the conclusion
> > > > that counterfactuals are relevant.
> > >
> > > That's what I'm disputing. You can have machines handling
> > > counterfactuals, like a thermostat,
> > > that aren't conscious (not much, anyway), and machines not handling
> > > counterfactuals, like a
> > > complex computer or human with rigidly constrained inputs, that is
> > > conscious.
> > Computer always have counterfactuals, because there changing
> > one part of them (whether data or programme) has an effect on
> > the overall behaviour. Changing one part of a recording (e.g splicing
> > a film) changes only *that* part.
> I don't think you can distinguish between recording and computation on that
> basis. By "recording"
> I don't mean just the film, but the film + projector as system. The film is
> the computer's fixed input
> and the computer is the projector in this case. A closer analogy would be a
> software media player
> playing an .mpg file: the output is rigidly fixed by the input, although the
> media player handles
> counterfactuals in that the output would be different if the input were
> different. But the same is
> true of any physical system sensitive to initial conditions.
I don't see how that helps you argument. Such a "recording" is not just
of unrelated states. There is something beyond the manifest, active
explains how one state makes the transition to another. (Of couse
I would say that "something" is matter/physical laws).
> > > The latter seems
> > > obvious to me from the fact that an entity experiences only one stream of
> > > consciousness at a
> > > time, regardless of how many actual (in the multiverse) or possible (in a
> > > single universe model,
> > > with or without true randomness) braches there are in which that entity
> > > is conscious.
> > That doesn't follow. A counterfactual is a COUNTERfactual - -it is
> > something that could have happenned but didn't. There is no
> > reason why we should be conscious of in things
> > we coudl have done but didn't. (Unless counterfactuals
> > are itnerpreted as alternate worlds, but then they
> > are not really COUNTERfactuals -- they actually
> > did happen, buit "somewhere else").
> That's just the point I am making: there is no reason why we should be
> conscious of things we
> could have done but didn't,
Well, there is if you start from the premisses that
1) consciousness is a type of computation
2) computations provide counterfactuals
3) In an immaterial universe, counterfactuals are provided by "other
> and there is no reason I should notice anything strange had happened
> if all my copies in other multiverse branches suddenly drop dead. Even if as
> a matter of fact it can be
> shown that consciousness is always associated with the actual or potential
> implementation of
> counterfactuals, it does not follow that we are conscious *as a result* of
The claim of computationalism is that we are indeed conscious
as the result of running a program. If you are going
to reject compuationalism, what other route do you have
to a immaterial, Everythingist universe ?
> > The claim that consciousness requires counterfactuals
> > stems from the argument that consciousness is
> > comptutation, and computation requires counterfactuals.
> > It doesn't stem from an expeiential insight into counterfactual
> > situations.
> A practical computer requires counterfactuals in order to interact with its
A computer programme has counterfactuals because
in general it has if-then branches, and in gnereal
it doesn't execute them all. That is a quite
separate consideration from "interacting with the environment".
> problem with this idea is that firstly *any* physical system interacting with
> its environment
> handles counterfactuals,
Why is that a problem ? The claim is that programmes have
not that everything with a counterfactuals is a programme.
> and secondly there is no reason to assume that the handling of
> counterfactuals is somehow responsible for consciousness.
The purported reason is computationalism. You culd
abandon it, but where does that leave you ?
> A rigidly determined computation
> may be a "trivial" case of a computation but it does not mean it is not a
A determined system can still have counterfactuals.
> . A machine
> hardwired to compute the digits of pi, and nothing else, is still computing
> the digits of pi even though
> it isn't much use as a general purpose computer.
And it would computer something else if
it were hardwired differently. It still fulfils
the "internal counterfactual criterion" -- if
one of its states were changed, the subsequent sequence of states
would change. Unlike movie.
>Similarly, we can imagine beings who are still
> conscious even though their lives are rigidly determined.
Counterfactuals are *not* the same thing as indeterminism.
> You have to come up with a good reason
> as to why constraining the possible paths a stream of consciousness can take
> will cause loss of
The purported reason is computationalism. You could
abandon it, but where does that leave you ?
> Stathis Papaioannou
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