Brent meeker writes:
> >>>I think it goes against standard computationalism if you say that a
> >>>computation has some inherent structural property. Opponents of
> >>>have used the absurdity of the conclusion that anything implements any
> >>>computation as evidence that there is something special and
> >>>about the brain. Maybe they're right.
> >>>Stathis Papaioannou
> >>Why not reject the idea that any computation implements every possible
> >>(which seems absurd to me)? Then allow that only computations with some
> >>structure are conscious.
> > It's possible, but once you start in that direction you can say that only
> > computations
> > implemented on this machine rather than that machine can be conscious. You
> > need the
> > hardware in order to specify structure, unless you can think of a God-given
> > programming
> > language against which candidate computations can be measured.
> I regard that as a feature - not a bug. :-)
> Disembodied computation doesn't quite seem absurd - but our empirical sample
> for embodiment.
> Brent Meeker
I don't have a clear idea in my mind of disembodied computation except in
rather simple cases,
like numbers and arithmetic. The number 5 exists as a Platonic ideal, and it
can also be implemented
so we can interact with it, as when there is a collection of 5 oranges, or 3
oranges and 2 apples,
or 3 pairs of oranges and 2 triplets of apples, and so on, in infinite variety.
The difficulty is that if we
say that "3+2=5" as exemplified by 3 oranges and 2 apples is conscious, then
should we also say
that the pairs+triplets of fruit are also conscious? If so, where do we draw
the line? That is what I mean
when I say that any computation can map onto any physical system. The physical
structure and activity
of computer A implementing program a may be completely different to that of
computer B implementing
program b, but program b may be an emulation of program a, which should make
the two machines
functionally equivalent and, under computationalism, equivalently conscious.
Maybe this is wrong, eg.
there is something special about the insulation in the wires of machine A, so
that only A can be conscious.
But that is no longer computationalism.
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