Brent Meeker writes: > > You don't have to go as far as saying that *computation* is structural > > rather than > > semantic. You only need to say that *consciousness* is structural, and hence > > non-computational. That's what some cognitive scientists have done, eg. > > Penrose, > > Searle, Maudlin. Personally, I don't see why there is such a disdain for > > the idea > > that every computation is implemented, including every conscious > > computation. The > > idea is still consistent with all the empirical facts, since we can only > > interact > > with a special subset of computations, implemented on conventional > > computers and > > brains. > > > > Stathis Papaioannou > > Unless you can say what it is about a computation that makes it a unique > computation > to us and what it is about a computation that makes is conscious, then > nothing has > been gained. Clearly it is not true that we can interact only with > computations in > brains and computers. We can interact with pool balls and molecules and > weather and > lots of other things. > > Brent Meeker

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The difference between conscious and non-conscious computations is that the latter do not need an observer, or an interaction with the environment, to be meaningful. Take a very simple physical system like an abacus: you slide 2 beads to the left, then another 3 beads, count how many beads there are now on the left, and the abacus has computed 2+3=5. Next, you look out the window, see 2 birds land on a wire, then another 3 birds, count a total of 5 birds, and the bird-wire system has also computed 2+3=5. Or you observe a flock of birds of which 2 are red landing on a tree, and another flock of which 3 are red landing on the neighbouring tree, count all the red birds, and that system has now computed 2+3=5. Clearly there are countless physical systems everywhere computing 2+3=5, but only a small proportion of them are interesting: those which are meaningful to an observer. (Whether you say the accidental computations are not really worthy of the term "computation", or perhaps should be called "potential computations", is a matter of taste, and does not change the facts). Now, suppose some more complex variant of 3+2=3 implemented on your abacus has consciousness associated with it, which is just one of the tenets of computationalism. Some time later, you are walking in the Amazon rain forest and notice that under a certain mapping of birds to beads and trees to wires, the forest is implementing the same computation as your abacus was. So if your abacus was conscious, and computationalism is true, the tree-bird sytem should also be conscious. Moreover, whereas the 2+3=5 computation is only interesting if someone observes it, the conscious computation is just as interesting *to itself* whether anyone else is able to observe it or not. 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 everything-list@googlegroups.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---