Peter Jones writes:
 
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Brent meeker writes:
> >
> > > >>>I think it goes against standard computationalism if you say that a 
> > > >>>conscious
> > > >>>computation has some inherent structural property. Opponents of 
> > > >>>computationalism
> > > >>>have used the absurdity of the conclusion that anything implements any 
> > > >>>conscious
> > > >>>computation as evidence that there is something special and 
> > > >>>non-computational
> > > >>>about the brain. Maybe they're right.
> > > >>>
> > > >>>Stathis Papaioannou
> > > >>
> > > >>Why not reject the idea that any computation implements every possible 
> > > >>computation
> > > >>(which seems absurd to me)?  Then allow that only computations with 
> > > >>some special
> > > >>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 argues
> > > 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?
> 
> No, they are only subroutines.

But a computation is just a lot of subroutines; or equivalently, a computation 
is just a subroutine in a larger 
computation or subroutine.
 
> >  If so, where do we draw the line?
> 
> At specific structures

By "structures" do you mean hardware or software? I don't think it's possible 
to pin down software structures 
without reference to a particular machine and operating system. There is no 
natural or God-given language.
 
> > 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.
> 
> So ? If the functional equivalence doesn't depend on a
> baroque-reinterpretation,
> where is the problem ?

Who interprets the meaning of "baroque"?
 
> > 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.
> 
> No. But what would force that conclusion on us ? Why can't
> consciousness
> attach to features more gneral than hardware, but less general than one
> of your re-interpretations ?

Because there is no natural or God-given computer architecture or language. You 
could say that consciousness 
does follow a natural architecture: that of the brain. But that could mean you 
would have a zombie if you tried 
to copy brain function with a digital computer, or with a digital computer not 
running Mr. Gates' operating system.

Stathis Papaioannou
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