Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Peter Jones writes:
>
> > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > > 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.
> >
> > The rock-hammer and the bust of Einstein are mere possibilities. You
> > don't
> > have an argument to the effect that every physical sytem is
> > implements every computation. Every physical systesm
> > could implelement any computation under suitable re-interpretation,
> > but that is a mere possibility unless someone does the re-interpreting,
> > --
> > in which case it is in fact the system+interpreter combination that is
> > doing
> > the  re-intrepreting.
>
> OK, but then you have the situation whereby a very complex, and to our mind 
> disorganised, conscious
> computer might be designed and built by aliens, then discovered by us after 
> the aliens have become
> extinct and their design blueprints, programming manuals and so on have all 
> been lost. We plug in the
> computer (all we can figure out about it is the voltage and current it needs 
> to run) and it starts whirring
> and flashing.  Although we have no idea what it's up to when it does this, 
> had we been the aliens, we
> would have been able to determine from observation that it was doing 
> philosophy or proving mathematical
> theorems. The point is, would we now say that it is *not* doing philosophy or 
> proving mathematical theorems
> because there are no aliens to observe it and interpret it?

Yes, and we would be correct, because the interpretation by th ealiens
is a part of the process.
The "computer" we recover is only one component, a subroutine.

If you only recover part of an artifiact, it is only natural that you
cannot
necessarily figure out the funtion of the whole.

> You might say, the interpretation has still occurred in the initial design, 
> even though the designers are no
> more. But what if exactly the same physical computer had come about by 
> incredible accident, as a result of
> a storm bringing together the appropriate metal, semiconductors, insulators 
> etc.: if the purposely built computer
> were conscious, wouldn't its accidental twin also be conscious?

Interpretation is an activity. If the total systems of
computer+intepretation is
consicous, that *would* be true of an accidental system, if the
interpretational subssytem were accidentally formed as wll, Otherwise,
not.

> Finally, reverse the last step: a "computer" is as a matter of fact thrown 
> together randomly from various
> components, but it is like no computer ever designed, and just seems to whir 
> and flash randomly. Given that there
> are no universal laws of computer design that everyone has to follow, isn't 
> it possible that some bizarre alien
> engineer *could* have put this strange machine together, so that its 
> seemingly random activity to that alien
> engineer would have been purposely designed to implement conscious 
> computation?

"To the alien engineer" means "interpreted by the alien
engineer". Interpretation is an activity, so it means additional
computaiton. All your
examples are of subsytems that *could* be conscious
if they were plugged into a specific larger system.

 And if so, is it any more
> reasonable to deny that this computer is conscious because its designer has 
> not yet been born than it is to deny
> that the first computer was conscious because its designer has died, or 
> because it was made accidentally rather
> than purposely built in a factory?


Interpretation is an activity. Possible designers and dictionaries
don't lead to actual
consciousness.

> Stathis Papaioannou
>
> _________________________________________________________________
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