Maudlin's example in his paper is rather complicated. If I could summarise, he states that one of the requirements for a conscious computation is that it not be the trivial case of a recording, a machine that plays out the same physical motion regardless of input. He then proposes a second machine next to one which on its own is just a recording, such that the second machine comes into play and acts on the first machine should inputs be different. The system as a whole now handles counterfactuals. However, should the counterfactuals not actually arise, the second machine just sits there inertly next to the first machine. We would now have to say that when the first machine goes through physical sequence abc on its own, it is just implementing a recording and could not possibly be conscious, while if it goes through the same sequence abc with the second machine sitting inertly next to it it is or could be conscious. This would seem to contravene the supervenience thesis which most computationalists accept: that mental activity supervenes on physical activity, and further that the same physical activity will give rise to the same mental activity. For it seems in the example that physical activity is the same in both cases (since the second machine does nothing), yet in the first case the system cannot be conscious while in the second case it can.
There are several possible responses to the above argument. One is that computationalism is wrong. Another is that the supervenience thesis is wrong and the mental does not supervene on the physical (but Bruno would say it supervenes on computation as Platonic object). Yet another response is that the idea that a recording cannot be conscious is wrong, and the relationship between physical activity and mental activity can be one->many, allowing that any physical process may implement any computation including any conscious computation. Finally, it is possible that the second machine does somehow imbue the system with consciousness even though it doesn't do anything. The challenge is to see what is left standing after deciding on which of these ideas are the more absurd. Stathis Papaioannou ----------------------------------------------- > Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 21:56:13 -0700 > From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] > To: email@example.com > Subject: Maudlin's argument > > Bruno Marchal wrote in explaining Maudlin's argument: > "For any given precise running computation associated to some inner > experience, you > can modify the device in such a way that the amount of physical activity > involved is > arbitrarily low, and even null for dreaming experience which has no inputs > and no outputs. > Now, having suppressed that physical activity present in the running > computation, the > machine will only be accidentally correct. It will be correct only for that > precise computation, > with unchanged environment. If it is changed a little bit, it will make the > machine running > computation no more relatively correct. But then, Maudlin ingenuously showed > that > counterfactual correctness can be recovered, by adding non active devices > which will be > triggered only if some (counterfactual) change would appear in the > environment. > I believe the argument is erroneous. Maudlin's argument reminds me of the > fallacy in Maxwell's demon. > To reduce the machine's complexity Maudlin must perform a modicum of > analysis, simulation etc.. to predict how the machine performs in different > situations. Using his newly acquired knowledge, he then maximally reduces > the machine's complexity for one particular task, keeping the machine fully > operational for all other tasks. In effect Maudlin has surreptitiously > inserted himself in the mechanism. so now, we don't have just the machine but > we have the machine plus Maudlin. The machine is not simpler or not existent. > The machine is now Maudlin! > In conclusion, the following conclusion reached by Maudlin and Bruno is > fallacious. > "Now this shows that any inner experience can be associated with an arbitrary > low (even null) physical > activity, and this in keeping counterfactual correctness. And that is absurd > with the > conjunction of both comp and materialism." > Maudlin's argument cannot be used to state that "any inner experience can be > associated with an arbitrary low (even null) physical activity." Thus it is > not necessarily true that comp and materialism are incompatible. > I think the paradox can be resolved by tracing how information flows and > Maudlin is certainly in the circuit, using information, just like Maxwell's > demon is affecting entropy. > George > _________________________________________________________________ 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 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---