On 9 Sep, 01:39, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 1. Computationalism in general associates that consciousness with a
> > specific comptuer programme, programme C let's say.
> > 2. Let us combine that with the further claim that programme C
> > causes cosnciousness, somehow leveraging the physical causality of the
> > hardware it is running on.
> > 3. A corrolary of that is that running programme C will always
> > cause the same effect.
> > 4. Running a programme on hardware is a physical process with
> > physical effects.
> > 5. It is in the nature of causality that the same kind of cause
> > produces the same kind of effects-- that is, causaliy attaches to
> > types not tokens.
> > 6. Running a programme on hardware will cause physical effects, and
> > these will be determined by the kind of physical hardware. (Valve
> > computers will generate heat, cogwheel computers will generate noise,
> > etc).
> > 7. Therefore, running programme C on different kinds of hardware
> > will not produce a uniform effect as required by 1.
> > 8. Programmes do not have a physical typology: they are not natural
> > kinds. In that sense they are abstract. (Arguably, that is not as
> > abstract as the square root of two, since they still have physical
> > tokens. There may be more than one kind or level of abstraction).
> > 9. Conclusion: even running programmes are not apt to cause
> > consciousness. They are still too abstract.
> What you say above seems pretty much in sympathy with the reductio
> arguments based on arbitrariness of implementation.
It is strictly an argument against the claim that
computation causes consciousness , as opposed
to the claim that mental states are identical to computational
> As you say above "consciousness might depend on specific properties of
> hardware, of matter". If so, this would demand an explicitly physical
> theory of mind, and such a 'Searlian' project would consequently seek
> to associate a specific phenomenal state with specific physical
> events. But CTM is not engaged on such a project; in fact it entails
> the opposite conclusion: i.e. by stipulating its type-token identities
> purely functionally it requires that a homogeneous phenomenal state
> must somehow be associated with a teeming plurality of heterogeneous
> physical states.
It doesn't suggest that any mental state can be associated with any
It has been accused of overdoing Multiple Realisability, but MR
can be underdone as well.
> Various arguments - Olympia, MGA, the Chinese Room etc. - seek to
> expose the myriad physical implausibilities consequential on such
> implementation independence. But the root of all this is that CTM
> makes impossible at the outset any possibility of linking a phenomenal
> state to any unique, fully-explicated physical reduction.
That's probably a good thing. We want to be able to say that
two people with fine-grained differences in their brain structure
can both be (for instance) apprehensiveness.
> If nothing
> physical can in principle be ruled out as an explanation for
That isn't an implication of CTM. CTM can regard computers as
a small subset of physical systems, and conscious computers as
a small subset of computers.
> no uniquely-justified physical explanation need - or in
> practice could - be explicated.
I don't think "unique justification" is a requirement
>The detailed implausibilities
> variously invoked all fall out of this.
> So if a physical theory of mind is what is needed, CTM would seem to
> fail even as a candidate because its arbitrariness with respect to
> physical realisation renders it incapable of grounding consciousness
> in any specific fundamental physical reduction.
MR is not complete arbitrariness.
> Indeed defences of
> functionalism against its various critics never cite any physical
> grounds for the plausibility of conscious supervenience on the
> physical composition of, say, the Chinese room, but focus instead on
> defending the functional relevance of various features of the
> experimental setup. Hence, without an explicitly physical, as opposed
> to functional, criterion for what counts as a 'physical' explanation,
> it is hard to see how CTM is compatible with any intelligible notion
> of materialism.
It is compatible with materialism because brains and computers
are material. If CTM had the implication that one material
system could realise more than one computation, then there
would be a conflict with the phsyical supervenience principle.
But CTM only has the implication that one computation
system could be realised more on more than one
>Indeed, its success could only be in direct
> opposition to the principles of materialist reductive theory.
I don't think that follows at all.
> that a reasonable conclusion?
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