Peter Jones writes:

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Peter Jones writes (quoting SP):
> >
> > > > > > I'm not sure how the multiverse comes into the discussion, but you 
> > > > > > have
> > > > > > made the point several times that a computation depends on an 
> > > > > > observer
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > No, I haven't! I have tried ot follow through the consequences of
> > > > > assuming it must.
> > > > > It seems to me that some sort of absurdity or contradiction ensues.
> > > >
> > > > OK. This has been a long and complicated thread.
> > > >
> > > > > > for its meaning. I agree, but *if* computations can be conscious 
> > > > > > (remember,
> > > > > > this is an assumption) then in that special case an external 
> > > > > > observer is not
> > > > > > needed.
> > > > >
> > > > > Why not ? (Well, I would be quite happy that a conscious
> > > > > computation would have some inherent structural property --
> > > > > I want to foind out why *you* would think it doesn't).
> > > >
> > > > I think it goes against standard computationalism if you say that a 
> > > > conscious
> > > > computation has some inherent structural property.
> >
> > I should have said, that the *hardware* has some special structural 
> > property goes
> > against computationalism. It is difficult to pin down the "structure" of a 
> > computation
> > without reference to a programming language or hardware.
> 
> It is far from impossible. If it keeps returning to the same state,
> it is in a loop, for instance. I am sure that you are tiching to point
> out
> that loops can be made to appear or vanish by re-interpretation.
> My point is that it is RE interpretation. There is a baseline
> set by what is true of a system under minimal interpretation.
> 
>  The idea is that the
> > same computation can look completely different on different computers,
> 
> Not *completely* different. There will be a mapping, and it will
> be a lot simpler than one of your fanciful ones.
> 
> > the corollary
> > of which is that any computer (or physical process) may be implementing any
> > computation, we just might not know about it.
> 
> That doesn't follow. The computational structure that a physical
> systems is "really" implementing is the computational structure that
> can
> be reverse-engineered under a minimally complex interpretation.
> 
> You *can* introduce more complex mappings, but you don't *have* to. It
> is
> an artificial problem.

You may be able to show that a particular interpretation is the simplest one, 
but it 
certainly doesn't have to be the only interpretation. Practical computers and 
operating 
systems are deliberately designed to be more complex than they absolutely need 
to be 
so that they can be backward compatible with older software, or so that it is 
easier for 
humans to program them, troubleshoot etc. A COBOL program will do the same 
computation 
as the equivalent C program, on whatever machine it is run on. And I'm sure the 
physical 
activity that goes on in the human brain in order to add two numbers would make 
the most 
psychotic designer of electronic computers seem simple and orderly by 
comparison. 

Stathis Papaioannou
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