2009/1/14 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>

> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > 2009/1/14 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> >
> >> However a Turing machine is not just a set of states, it also requires a
> >> set of transition rules.  So in the same abstract way that the integers
> >> are ordered by "succession" the computational states of a Turing machine
> >> are ordered.  Whether just abstract rules, without implementation, are
> >> sufficient isn't clear to me.
> >
> > In an actual physical computer the transition rules are represented by
> > the causal links between the states, so that a particular input will
> > reliably give rise to a particular output. But I return to my question
> > about what would happen if there were a discontinuity in a sequence of
> > states, so that s1 to s10 on m1 are causally linked, s11 to s20 on m2
> > are causally linked, but there is no link between m1 and m2, i.e. m2
> > just happens to start in s11 accidentally. Assuming that s1 to s20
> > occurring in a single machine results is a few moments of
> > consciousness (which is to say, assuming that computationalism is
> > true), what would happen if the sequence is broken in the way just
> > described?
> I suspect something is lost.  You are thinking of the states as abstract
> steps
> in a computer program.  But a computer program requires a computer to run
> and
> the computer implements distributed spatiotemporal links.  In general you
> cannot
> take even a digitial computer and freeze it in a instant of time, call that
> a
> state, and restart it without any effects.

I do not see a problem with that... a program can be freezed any time...
dump the memory to a file, on restart, load the dump file to memory, put the
instruction pointer at the correct place and you're done. (well in practice
it is a little more difficult, but you could do it for *any* program). In
the situation that Stathis describe, causality is not broken in any way.
S1->S10 run in computer 1, dump, reload on computer 2 S11->S20 run in
computer 2, the causal link is given by the program that compute S1-S20
irrelevant on what physical device it is running on... the causal link is
the program and a program is relative to a machine (abstract one). So a
computation is the set of a program and the machine that runs it. A state
doesn't exists by itself (state of what ?), and this is where Stathis is
wrong I think.


>  Switches are in intermediate states,
> EM waves are propagating, electrons are diffusing - it is not a static
> thing
> like a step in a program.
> In terms of Bruno's teleporter, one might say yes accepting that there
> would be
> a one-time gap in consciousness (ever had a concussion?), but one would
> probably
> hesitate if the there was to be a gap every 10ms.
> Brent
> >

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

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