Bruno Marchal writes:

> Le 03-sept.-06, à 05:07, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
> 
> > The dynamism part can be provided by a simple physical system such as 
> > the idle passage of time.
> > If you allow for parallel processing you don't need much time either. 
> > This leads to a situation whereby
> > every computation is implemented by universe with a single electron 
> > enduring for a nanosecond, for
> > example. I can't quite see how to get rid of the electron, but 
> > Maudlin's and Bruno's conclusion from
> > this seems to be that it is absurd and implies that the mental does 
> > not actually supervene on the physical.
> 
> 
> I think you mix the Mallah Putnam implementation problem, related to 
> the idea that any piece of matter could compute, and Maudlin's thought 
> experiment showing the incompatibility of the physical supervenience 
> thesis (that consciousness should supervene on the physical activity of 
> a computer running the computation) and computationalism (that 
> consciousness is invariant for a digital functional substitution made 
> at some level).
> 
> Maudlin build first a digital machine, let us call it M, which do a 
> computation PI (Maudlin's name for it) which we suppose does correspond 
> to a genuine consciousness experience (for example some remembering of 
> the taste of cocoa).
> Suppose that during the running of that particular computation PI, the 
> register r1, ...r67 are never used. Maudlin argue that if consciousness 
> is attached to the physical activity relevant for the computation, we 
> can retrieve those unused part of the computer, without changing the 
> consciousness experience.
> He shows then that he can managed to build a version of M, 
> proto-olympia (say) which has almost no physical activity at all when 
> he follows the PI computation.
> Proto-olympia  is *physically* accidentally correct for PI, but no more 
> counterfactually correct.
> Then Maudlin reintroduces the unused parts, the Klaras, which 
> reintroduces the counterfactual correctness, WITHOUT ADDING any comp 
> relevant physical activity (if not, it would mean the level is 
> incorrect(*)). So comp + physical supervenience (phys-sup) would force 
> us to associate any consciousness experience to any physical processes. 
> And that would kill comp! So sup-phys -> NOT comp, or equivalently comp 
> -> NOT sup-phys.
> We still have notions of computational supervenience, where persons and 
> consciousness are associated to relative number theoretical relations.
> 
> Bruno
> 
> (*) This explains also why, AT THIS STAGE, to move on a physical 
> multiverse would not help (Russell's Standish move), unless it makes US 
> non computable, but that would be equivalent to abandoning both comp 
> and the quantum (given that quantum mechanics is quantum turing 
> emulable).

To quote from above post:

"So comp + physical supervenience (phys-sup) would force 
 us to associate any consciousness experience to any physical processes. 
 And that would kill comp! So sup-phys -> NOT comp, or equivalently comp 
 -> NOT sup-phys."

It is the association of any conscious experience with any physical process 
which links the Putnam/Searle/Chalmers/Egan/Mallah/Moravec (and me, and 
probably many others independently) argument with the Maudlin/Marchal 
argument. There are at least three, not just two, ways to explain the problem:

(1) It is absurd that every physical process gives rise to every possible 
conscious experience, therefore computationalism must be wrong.

(2) It is absurd that every physical process gives rise to every possible 
conscious experience, therefore consciousness does not supervene on 
physical process at all, but exists in the domain of pure mathematics; 
this means that every possible conscious experience is necessarily 
implemented in Platonia.

(3) As a matter of fact, every physical process does give rise to every 
possible conscious experience, which means that every possible conscious 
experience is implemented if at least one physical process exists.

(2) and (3) lead to very similar results. If (3) is the case, we may not know 
if we are being implemented on a "real" physical substrate or on an endlessly 
nested series of emulations with an extreme minimalist physical reality at the 
bottom. The physical reality seems irrelevant, as in (2).

Stathis Papaioannou

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