Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
>>>A non-conscious computation cannot be *useful* without the 
>>>and in this sense could be called just a potential computation, but a 
>>>computation is still *conscious* even if no-one else is able to figure this 
>>>out or
>>>interact with it. If a working brain in a vat were sealed in a box and sent 
>>>space, it could still be dreaming away even after the whole human race and 
>>>their information on brain function are destroyed in a supernova explosion. 
>>>As far
>>>as any alien is concerned who comes across it, the brain might be completely
>>>inscrutable, but that would not make the slightest difference to its 
>>Suppose the aliens re-implanted the brain in a human body so they could 
>>interact with
>>it.  They ask it what is was "dreaming" all those years?  I think the answer 
>>be, "Years?  What years?  It was just a few seconds ago I was in the hospital 
>>for an
>>appendectomy.  What happened?  And who are you guys?"
> Maybe so; even more likely, the brain would just die. But these are 
> contingent facts about 
> human brains, while thought experiments rely on theoretical possibility.

That's generally useful; but when we understand little about something, such as 
consciousness, we should be careful about assuming what's "theoretically 
particularly when it seems to lead to absurdities.  How do we know it's a 
and not essential, fact about brains...and conscious thought?

>>>>>>>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 
>>>>>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 
>>>>>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 
>>>>>a conscious computation, it would still be implementing that computation 
>>>>>if we
>>>>>had never determined and printed out the interpretation.
>>And if you added the random values of the physical process as an appendix in 
>>manual, would the manual itself then be a computation (the record problem)?  
>>If so
>>how would you tell if it were a conscious computation?
> The actual physical process becomes almost irrelevant. In the limiting case, 
> all of the 
> computation is contained in the manual, the physical existence of which makes 
> no 
> difference to whether or not the computation is implemented, since it makes 
> no difference 
> to the actual physical activity of the system and the theory under 
> consideration is that 
> consciousness supervenes on this physical activity. If we get rid of the 
> qualifier "almost" 
> the result is close to Bruno's theory, according to which the physical 
> activity is irrelevant 
> and the computation is "run" by virtue of its status as a Platonic object. As 
> I understand 
> it, Bruno arrives at this idea because it seems less absurd than the idea 
> that consciousness 
> supervenes on any and every physical process, while Maudlin finds both ideas 
> absurd and 
> thinks there is something wrong with computationalism.

As I understand your argument, the manual doesn't have to be a one-to-one 
of states, and so it can "translate" from the null event to any string 
So the physical event is irrelevant.

Brent Meeker

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