On Nov 24, 2008, at 5:40 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> The question turns on what is a computation and why it should have
> magical properties. For example, if someone flips the squares on a
> Life board at random and accidentally duplicates the Life rules does
> that mean the computation is carried out?

I would say no. But of course, the real question is, "Why does it  
matter?" If I'm reading you correctly, you're taking the view that  
it's the pattern of bits that matters, not what created it (or  
"caused" it, or "computed it", etc.)

It would help me if I had a clearer idea of how you view  
consciousness. I assume that, for you, if someone flips the squares on  
a Life board at random and creates the expected "chaos", there's no  
consciousness there, but that there are certain configurations that  
could arise (randomly) that you would consider conscious. I assume  
that these patterns would show some kind of regularity - some kind of  
law-like behavior.

It's not easy for me to explain why I think it matters what kind of  
process (or in Platonia, what kind of abstract computation) generated  
that order. But it's also not easy for me to understand the  
alternative view. During those stretches of time when the random field  
of bits is creating a pattern that you would call conscious, what do  
you *mean* when you say it's conscious? By definition, you can't mean  
anything about how it's reacting to its environment, or that it's  
doing something "because of" something else, etc.

> I think there is a partial zombie problem regardless of whether
> Unification or Duplication is accepted.

Can you elaborate on this? What partial zombie problem do you see that  
Unification doesn't address? And do you think that the move away from  
"physical reality" to "mathematical reality" solves that problem? If  
so, how?

-- Kory


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