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 > > _________________________________________________________________ > Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. > http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---