Peter Jones writes:

> > That's what I'm saying, but I certainly don't think everyone agrees with me 
> > on the list, and
> > I'm not completely decided as to which of the three is more absurd: every 
> > physical system
> > implements every conscious computation, no physical system implements any 
> > conscious
> > computation (they are all implemented non-physically in Platonia), or the 
> > idea that a
> > computation can be conscious in the first place.
> You haven't made it clear why you don't accept that every physical
> system
> implements one computation, whether it is a
> conscious computation or not. I don't see what
> contradicts it.

Every physical system does implement every computation, in a trivial sense, as 
every rock 
is a hammer and a doorstop and contains a bust of Albert Einstein inside it. 
Those three aspects 
of rocks are not of any consequence unless there is someone around to 
appreciate them. 
Similarly, if the vibration of atoms in a rock under some complex mapping are 
calculating pi 
that is not of any consequence unless someone goes to the trouble of 
determining that mapping, 
and even then it wouldn't be of any use as a general purpose computer unless 
you built another 
general purpose computer to dynamically interpret the vibrations (which does 
not mean the rock 
isn't doing the calculation without this extra computer). However, if busts of 
Einstein were conscious 
regardless of the excess rock around them, or calculations of pi were conscious 
regardless of the 
absence of anyone being able to appreciate them, then the existence of the rock 
in an otherwise 
empty universe would necessitate the existence of at least those two conscious 

Computationalism says that some computations are conscious. It is also a 
general principle of 
computer science that equivalent computations can be implemented on very 
different hardware 
and software platforms; by extension, the vibration of atoms in a rock can be 
seen as implementing 
any computation under the right interpretation. Normally, it is of no 
consequence that a rock 
implements all these computations. But if some of these computations are 
conscious (a consequence 
of computationalism) and if some of the conscious computations are conscious in 
the absence of 
environmental input, then every rock is constantly implementing all these 
conscious computations. 
To get around this you would have to deny that computations can be conscious, 
or at least restrict 
the conscious computations to specific hardware platforms and programming 
languages. This destroys 
computationalism, although it can still allow a form of functionalism. The 
other way to go is to reject 
the supervenience thesis and keep computationalism, which would mean that every 
(includidng the conscious ones) is implemented necessarily in the absence of 
any physical process.

Stathis Papaioannou
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