Brent Meeker writes: > >>> 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. > > I'm always suspicious of things that are true "by definition". How exactly > does an > observer provide meaning or whatever it is that makes a computation? And how > does > consciousness fulfill this function. I, in my conscious thoughts, certainly > don't > "observe" the computation that my brain performs. In fact my thoughts seem > to spring > from nowhere more or less spontaneously in coherent trains or as prompted by > perceptions.
Let's not try to define consciousness at all, but agree that we know what it is from personal experience. Computationalism is the theory that consciousness arises as a result of computer activity: that our brains are just complex computers, and in the manner of computers, could be emulated by another computer, so that computer would experience consciousness in the same way we do. (This theory may be completely wrong, and perhaps consciousness is due to a substance secreted by a special group of neurons or some other such non-computational process, but let's leave that possibility aside for now). What we mean by one computer emulating another is that there is an isomorphism between the activity of two physical computers, so that there is a mapping function definable from the states of computer A to the states of computer B. If this mapping function is fully specified we can use it practically, for example to run Windows on an x86 processor emulated on a Power PC processor running Mac OS. If you look at the Power PC processor and the x86 processor running side by side it would be extremely difficult to see them doing the "same" computation, but according to the mapping function inherent in the emulation program, they are, and they still would be a thousand years from now even if the human race is extinct. In a similar fashion, there is an isomorphism between a computer and any other physical system, even if the mapping function is unknown and extremely complicated. That's not very interesting for non-conscious computations, because they are only useful or meaningful if they can be observed or interact with their environment. However, a conscious computation is interesting all on its own. It might have a fuller life if it can interact with other minds, but its meaning is not contingent on other minds the way a non-conscious computation's is. I know this because I am conscious, however difficult it may be to actually define that term. The conclusion I therefore draw from computationalism is that every possible conscious computation is implemented necessarily if any physical process exists. This seems to me very close to saying that every conscious computation is implemented necessarily in Platonia, as the physical reality seems hardly relevant. Stathis Papaioannou _________________________________________________________________ Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---