Peter Jones writes:

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Peter Jones writes:
> >
> > > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > >
> > > > If every computation is implemented everywhere anyway, this is 
> > > > equivalent to the situation where every
> > > > computation exists as a platonic object, or every computation exists 
> > > > implemented on some computer or
> > > > brain in a material multiverse.
> > >
> > > But if implementing a particular computation depends on an observer, or
> > > a dicitonary,
> > > or somesuch, it is not the case that everything implements every
> > > computation unless
> > > it can be shown that evey dictionary somehow exists as well.
> >
> > The computation provides its own observer if it is conscious, by definition.
> But "providing its own observer", if computationalism is true,
> must be a computational property, ie. a property possesed
> only by particular programmes. However, if any system
> can be interpreted as running every programme, everysystems
> has the self-observation property, if interpretedt he right way.
> IOW, one you introduce interpretation-dependence, you can't get away
> from it.

That's right: if there is at least one physical system, then every computation 
is implemented, although we can only 
interact with them at our level if they are implemented on a conventional brain 
or computer, which means we have 
the means to interpret them at hand. The non-conscious computations are "there" 
in the trivial sense that a block of 
marble contains every possible statue of a given size. The conscious 
computations, on the other hand, are there and 
self-aware even though we cannot interact with them, just as all the statues in 
a block of marble would be conscious 
if statues were conscious and being embedded in marble did not render them 

> > If it isn't conscious then it's a matter
> > of taste whether you say it is implemented, but trivially or uselessly, in 
> > the absence of an observer, or it isn't
> > implemented at all in the absence of an observer. Conscious computations 
> > are the interesting case - if indeed
> > computations can be conscious.
> > > > 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
> > >
> > > What is parallel about a single electron ?
> >
> > If a physical system passing through a series of states in a given time 
> > interval can implement more than one
> > computation,
> Do you mean serially , or in terms of multiple dictionaries ?

In that the one series of physical states can have multiple interpretations 
under multiple dictionaries.

> > then it can be seen as implementing more than one computation 
> > simultaneously during the
> > given interval.
> AFAICS that is only true in terms of dictionaries.

Right: without the dictionary, it's not very interesting or relevant to *us*. 
If we were to actually map a random physical 
process onto an arbitrary computation of interest, that would be at least as 
much work as building and programming a 
conventional computer to carry out the computation. However, doing the mapping 
does not make a difference to the 
*system* (assuming we aren't going to use it to interact with it). If we say 
that under a certain interpretation - here it 
is, printed out on paper - the system is implementing a conscious computation, 
it would still be implementing that 
computation if we had never determined and printed out the interpretation.
> But then you don't have  a one electron universe....
> (it is important to distinguish the idea that any physical system COULD
> implement
> any computation IF it were interpreted with the right dictionary
> form the idea that it actually IS implementing every computaiton.
> With hypothetical dictionaries, you have only hypothetical
> computations).

Indeed, until the interpretation is determined, the implementation is only a 
triviality - except if the computation is 
self-aware, in which case what we think of it is not going to make any 
difference unless we plan to interact with it.

Stathis Papaioannou
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