# Re: Can mind be a computation if physics is fundamental?

```Hi Colin,

It seems that to me that until one understands the nature of the extreme
Idealism that COMP entails, no arguement based on the physical will do...```
```
"I refute it thus!"
-Dr. Johnson http://www.samueljohnson.com/refutati.html

Onward!

Stephen

----- Original Message -----
From: Colin Hales
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:51 PM
Subject: Re: Can mind be a computation if physics is fundamental?

Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 10 Aug 2009, at 09:08, Colin Hales wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 06 Aug 2009, at 04:37, Colin Hales wrote:

Man this is a tin of worms! I have just done a 30 page detailed
refutation of computationalism.
It's going through peer review at the moment.

The basic problem that most people fall foul of is the conflation of
'physics-as-computation' with the type of computation that is being carried out
in a Turing machine (a standard computer). In the paper I drew an artificial
distinction between them. I called the former NATURAL COMPUTATION (NC) and the
latter ARTIFICIAL COMPUTATION (AC). The idea is that if COMP is true then there
is no distinction between AC and NC. The distinction should fail.

Why? COMP entails that physics cannot be described by a computation,
but by an infinite sum of infinite histories. If you were correct, there would
be no possible white rabbit. You are confusing comp (I am a machine) and
constructive physics (the universe is a machine).

This is the COMP I have a problem with. It's the one in the literature.
It relates directly to the behaviour (descriptive options of) of scientists:
COMP
This is the shorthand for computationalism as distilled from the
various sources cited above. The working definition here:

“The operational/functional equivalence (identity,
indistinguishability at the level of the model) of (a) a sufficiently embodied,
computationally processed, sufficiently detailed symbolic/formal
description/model of a natural thing X and (b) the described natural thing X”.

If this is not the COMP you speak of, then this could be the origins of
disparity in view. Also, the term "I am machine" says nothing scientifically
meaningful to me.

This is not comp. Actually the definition above is ambiguous, and seems to
presuppose natural things.
I did not make this up. I read it in the literature in various forms and
summarised. 'Mind as computation' is a specific case of it. If I have a broken
definition according to you then I am in the company of a lot of people. It's
also the major delusion in many computer 'scientists' in the field of AI, who's
options would be very different if COMP is false. So I'll use COMP as defined
above, for now. It is what I refute.

'presupposing natural things..." ?? hmmmmmm....

Natural things........You know... the thing we sometimes call the 'real
world'?  Whatever it is that we are in/made of, that appears to behave rather
regularly and that we are intrinsically ignorant of and 'do empirical science
on'. The 'thing' that our consciousness portrays to us? The place with real
live behaving humans with major brain and other nervous system problems who
could really use some help? That natural world that actually defined COMP as
per above. That 'thing'.Whatever 'it' is... that will do for a collection of
'natural things'.

The idea that the "presupposition of natural things" is problematic is rather
unhelpful to those (above, real, natural) suffering people. Sounds a bit
emotive, but .. there you go .. call me "practically motivated". I intend to
remain in this condition. :-)

Colin

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