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?

No it's not a silly example; it's just that it seems that you are hypothesizing that I am providing the computation by seeing the apples as a pair, by seeing the beads as a triple and a pair and then as a quintuple. Above, this exchange began with you posing this as an example of a disembodied computation - but then the examples seem to depend on some (embodied) person witnessing them in order that the *be* computations. I guess I'm not convinced that it makes sense to say that anything can be a computation; other than in the trivial sense that it's a "simulation" of itself. I agree that there is a mapping to a computation - but in most cases the mapping is such that it seems more reasonable to say the computation is in the application of the mapping. And I dont' mean that the mapping is complex - a mapping from my brain states to yours would no doubt be very complex. I think the characteristic that would allow us to say the thinking was not in the mapping is something like whether it was static (like a look-up table) and not to large in some sense. > >>>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? 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. But when is this mapping doing the computing and when is it A or B? It seems that there must be an isomorphism between A and B processes at the level of an algorithm; otherwise it is the mapping that is doing the computing, as when B is rock and A is your brain. >Figuring out this mapping does not change the > physical activity of either A or B. 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; 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. Why not as some special property of the algorithm (or the mapping)? Brent Meeker --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---