Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Bruno Marchal writes:
>>Le 04-oct.-06, à 14:21, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
>>>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
>>This is a nice summary of Maudlin's paper.
>>>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.
>>Why? The whole point is that consciousness or even just computation
>>would supervene on *absence" of physical activity.
>>This is not "on *any* physical activity. I can imagine the quantum
>>vacuum is "full of computations", but saying consciousness supervene on
>>no physical activity at all is equivalent, keeping the comp assumption,
>>to associate consciousness on the immaterial/mathematical computations.
>>This shows then why we have to explain the relative appearance of the
> It is consistent with Maudlin's paper to say consciousness supervenes on no
> physical activity - i.e. on computation as Platonic object - but it is also
> to say that it supervenes on a recording, or on any physical activity, and
> perhaps if there were no physical universe with at least a single quantum
> there would be no consciousness. Admittedly the latter is inelegant compared
> the "no physical supervenience" idea, but I can't quite see how to eliminate
> Stathis Papaioannou
But note that Maudlin's argument depends on being in a classical world. The
world in which we live the counterfactuals are always realized with some
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