Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
> > > 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?
> >
> > I'm not sure I understand your example.  Are you saying that by simply 
> > existing, two
> > apples and 3 oranges compute 2+3=5?  If so I would disagree.  I would say 
> > it is our
> > comprehending them as individual objects and also as a set that is the 
> > computation.
> > Just hanging there on the trees they may be "computing" apple hanging on a 
> > tree,
> > apple hanging on a tree,... but they're not computing 2+3=5.
> What about my example in an earlier post of beads on an abacus? You can slide 
> 2 beads to the left, then another
> 3 beads to the left, and count a total of 5 beads; or 2 pairs of beads and 3 
> pairs of beads and count a total of 5
> pairs of beads, or any other variation. Perhaps it seems a silly example when 
> discussing consciousness, but the most
> elaborate (and putatively conscious) computation can be reduced to a complex 
> bead-sliding exercise. And if sliding
> beads computes 2+3=5, why not if 2 birds and then 3 birds happen to land on a 
> tree, or a flock of birds of which 2
> are red lands on one tree and another flock of birds of which 3 are red lands 
> on an adjacent tree? It is true that these
> birds and beads are not of much consequence computationally unless someone is 
> there to observe them and interpret
> them, but what about the computer that is conscious chug-chugging away all on 
> its own?
> > >That is what I mean
> > > when I say that any computation can map onto any physical system.
> >
> > But as you've noted before the computation is almost all in the mapping.  
> > And not
> > just in the map, but in the application of the map - which is something we 
> > do.  That
> > action can't be abstracted away.  You can't just say there's a physical 
> > system and
> > there's a manual that would map it into some computation and stop there as 
> > though the
> > computation has been done.  The mapping, an action, still needs to be 
> > performed.
> What if the computer is built according to some ridiculously complex plan, 
> plugged in, then all the engineers, manuals,
> etc. disappear. If it was conscious to begin with, does it suddenly cease 
> being conscious because no-one is able to
> understand it?
If it was consicous, it ws consicus as the result
of whatever computation it is performing, and that is *not* the
computation resulting froma complex process of re-interpretation.
As I have shown, such a process is a separate computation in
which the "computer" figures as a subrouting -- possibly
even an unimportant one.

It is also possible that the "computer" isn't conscious, but
the total system of comptuer+reinterpretation is conscious
In that case, if the apparatus that implements the mapping is
the consciousness disappears.

The thing to remember is that just because one physical
systems is desgnated a computer, and another isn't, that doesn't
mean the first systesm is in fact doing all the computing. The
is taking place where the activity and the complexity is taking place.

> It could have been designed according to the radioactive decay patterns of a 
> sacred stone, in which
> case without the documentation, its internal states might appear completely 
> random. With the documentation, it may be
> possible to understand what it is doing or even interact with it, and you 
> have said previously that it is the potential for
> interaction that allows it to be conscious, but does that mean it gradually 
> becomes less conscious as pages of the manual
> are ripped out one by one and destroyed, even though the computer itself does 
> not change its activity as a result?
> > >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.
> >
> > I don't see any problem with supposing that A and B are equally conscious 
> > (or
> > unconscious).
> But there is a mapping under which any machine B is emulating a machine A. 
> Figuring out this mapping does not change the
> physical activity of either A or B.

But without an phsyical activity to actually implement the mapping
(the kind of thing which, I have ben arguing, is computation itself)
that is a mere possibility.

> You can argue that therefore the physical activity of A or B is irrelevant 
> and consciousness
> is implemented non-corporeally by virtue of its existence as a Platonic 
> object;

If you wanted to beg the whole question.

> or you can argue that this is clearly nonsense and
> consciousness is implemented as a result of some special physical property of 
> a particular machine.

Or you can still argue that it is implemented by the computational
activity of the machine, since it is not implemented by a merely
hypothetical mapping, and an actual mapping or re-interpretation is
another, different physical system, and another, dfferent computation.

> Stathis Papaioannou
> _________________________________________________________________
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