On Sun, Oct 15, 2006 at 07:00:19PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Russell Standish writes:
> > I don't quite follow your argument. OMs are not computations. Whatever
> > they are under computationalism, they must be defined by a set of
> > information, a particular meaning to a particular observer.
> Computationalists do sometimes say things like "cognition is computation" and 
> leave 
> it at that. A more common formulation is that consciousness supervenes on the 
> physical activity underlying computation. It was Donald Davidson in 1970 who 
> introduced the term "supervenience" in philosophy of mind:
> "Mental characteristics are in some sense dependent, or supervenient, on 
> physical 
> characteristics. Such supervenience might be taken to mean that there cannot 
> be 
> two events exactly alike in all physical respects but differing in some 
> mental respects, 
> or that an object cannot alter in some mental respects without altering in 
> some 
> physical respects.
> [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/supervenience/#2.1]
> That seemed perfectly reasonable and obvious to me a few years ago, but the 
> more I 
> think about it the more problematic it becomes. The subject of the present 
> post is that 
> it seems two objects or processes may in fact be physically identical but 
> mentally different.


> I was using "quantum state" as synonymous with "physical state", which I 
> guess 
> is what you are referring to in the above paragraph. The observer sees a 
> classical 
> universe because in observing he collapses the wave function or selects one 
> branch 
> of the multiverse. Traditional computationalism ignores the other branches/ 
> other 
> elements of the superposition, but you have implied previously that these are 
> necessary for consciousness because they allow implementation of 
> counterfactuals. 
> Does that mean consciousness would be impossible in a classical universe?

No - just computationalist consciousness supervening on a classical
physical systems. 

I am open to machines + random oracles being conscious, and I am also
open to computational Multiverses. What I'm not open to is abandoning
supervenience, due to the problem of the Occam catastrophe.

> > In this case, this projected QM state describes not a full observer
> > moment, but only a component of one. And of course there will be
> > multiple observer moments sharing that component.
> I didn't think an OM could have components, being the smallest unit of 
> subjective 
> experience. Do you mean a component of the physical structures giving rise to 
> the 
> OM? And how can you be sure that other OMs share that component?

OMs are defined by some information. Very clearly more than 1 bit is
involved, but it is presumably finite.

Let us say that within this OM I am aware of two apples - 1 red and 1
green. The information describing one of these apples is the
"component" I was referring to.

As for other OMs sharing that component, this comes down to the usual
suspect arguments against solipsism. I don't feel like rehashing those
at the moment :)

*PS: A number of people ask me about the attachment to my email, which
is of type "application/pgp-signature". Don't worry, it is not a
virus. It is an electronic signature, that may be used to verify this
email came from me if you have PGP or GPG installed. Otherwise, you
may safely ignore this attachment.

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
            International prefix  +612, Interstate prefix 02

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