Peter Jones writes (quoting SP): > > 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.
Perhaps you could suggest an experiment that would demonstrate the point you are making? That is, a putatively conscious computer under various situations, so it could be tested to see under what circumstances it is conscious and under what circumstances its consciousness disappears. Stathis Papaioannou --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.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 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---