David Nyman wrote:
> On Oct 9, 6:35 pm, "1Z" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>>What is a "computation itself"? A process? And algorithm?
> Bruno covers what he means by 'comp' pretty comprehensively in his
> various posts and papers.
>>Using supplementary assumptions -- such as "only activity counts".
> Not sure what you're getting at - do you mean that, under materialism,
> the mere existence (not specific activity) of physical properties
> suffices to generate conscious experience? If so, I don't follow. I
> assume (see below) that, under materialism, experience -> psychological
> activity -> physical activity.
>>Yes, but it is still quite possible that a class of phsyical
>>systems picked out by some computational(but ultimately physical)
>>set of properties are conscious/cognitive in veirtue of those
>>proeprties -- ie computationalism is a sort of convenient
>>shorthand or shortcut to the physically relevant properties.
> But this is the very nub. And it may be dead wrong, so would you
> address this directly? What is being claimed (in this form, a general
> appeal to the class of arguments referred to by the UDA 8th step) is
> that under materialism, 'computationalism' (i.e. the 1st variety in my
> taxonomy) precisely *can't* 'pick out' a set of 'physically relevant
> properties' in any stable way, because the physical instantiation of
> any given 'computation' is essentially arbitrary, and can extend to any
> number of diverse physical properties, to choice. Under materialism,
> specific conscious experiences should presumably map, or reduce, to the
> activity of an equivalently stable set of physical properties (in an
> analogous sense to, say, specific neurological processes reducing
> stably downwards through the physical substrate). And this can't be the
> case if I can change the physical properties of the computational
> substrate at will, from step to step of the program if necessary. So
> the claim is that, under materialism, some other schema than
> computationalism must ultimately be deployed to explain any stable
> *general* mapping from consciousness to physics. I agree that this is a
> bold claim, but it does appear to stem from a basic dislocation in the
> supervention scheme consciousness -> computation -> physicalism. Its
> consequence is that if we wish to claim that consciousness does in fact
> supervene stably on computation, as opposed to the physical itself,
> then such computation must itself be defined in a manner unconstrained
> to specific *physical* properties. This is a reductio devised to show
> the consequences of the starting assumptions. You pays your money.....
>>The point is that computationalists can continue to believe in matter
>>so long as they don't believe in numbers.
> But if I'm right, they can't also believe that 'computation' - which is
> only arbitrarily constrained physically - is an adequate explanatory
> schema for consciousness. It's just a metaphor, and metaphors per se
> (as opposed to their instantiations) aren't 'real in the sense that I
> am real'.
> David

But I think they can.  The "basic dislocation" arises from supposing that 
can exist without a physical process; an invalid inference from computation 
able to exist independent of each particular physical process.  So you can 
that consciousness supervenes on computation and computation supervenes on 
processes.  Of course that brings us back to the question of whether every 
process implements every possible computation.

Brent Meeker

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