Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/4/25 Brent Meeker <>:
>> This implicitly assumes that you can dispense with the continuum and
>> treat the process as a succession of discrete states.  I question that.
> So are you saying that, because we are conscious, that is evidence
> that reality is at bottom continuous rather than discrete?
>> It is how we think and how we write and describe computer programs and
>> we know that if we make the time step small enough in the simulation we
>> can accurately reproduce processes.  But I think we are fooling
>> ourselves by taking the description in terms of discrete states to be
>> sufficient - actually we are relying on the physics of the computer to
>> join one state to the next.  Bruno proposes to abstract this whole
>> process up to Platonia where the role of the computer in interpreting
>> the program is taken over by abstract computations.  But then to avoid
>> any choice he must allow all possible (countably infinite)  computations
>> between any two states.  ISTM this implies a strange topology of states
>> and I'm not clear on how it models consciousness.
>>> Or maybe consciousness is only created
>>> from platonic objects / information or relationships that exist within
>>> them.  The appeal of computationalism for me is that it creates a
>>> self-interpreting structure, the information or state has meaning only
>>> because it is part a state machine.  We, being creatures who can only
>>> experience through time might be fooled into thinking change over time
>>> is necessary for consciousness, but what if we could make a computer
>>> that computed over the X-dimension instead of T, what would such a
>>> computer look like and how would it be logically different from a
>>> recording (which is static over T), and how is it logically different
>>> from a computer that computes accross the T dimension?
>> I don't think it is *logically* different.  Before computers, a
>> computation was something written out on sheets of paper (I know because
>> my first summer job in college was calculating coordinates and depths
>> for a geological research company and my official job title was
>> "Computer".)  :-)
> Do you think a computation would feel different from the inside
> depending on whether it was done with pencil and paper, transistors or
> vacuum tubes?
No, I don't think the medium makes a difference.  But interpretation 
makes a difference.  Most computations we do, on pencil and paper or 
transistors or neurons, have an interpretation in terms of our world.  
Kelly is supposing there is a "self-interpreting structure" I'm not sure 
what he means by this, but I imagine something like an elaborate 
simulation in which some parts of the computation simulate entities with 
values or purposes - on some mapping.  But what about other mappings?


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