On 11 Nov 2009, at 08:48, Rex Allen wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 1:29 PM, Brent Meeker  
> <meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
>> That's why I say I take it as an ansatz - "Let's consider
>> all possible computations and see if we can pick out physics and the
>> brain and consciousness from them."
> I would think that it's pretty much a given that out of all possible
> computations, we surely will be able to find some way of representing
> physics, the brain, and the contents of conscious experience.
> If we can't find some way to symbolically/logically represent these
> things...what would that mean?  Wouldn't it mean that we ourselves
> aren't capable of grasping them?
> So, I don't think I see the significance of success in this
> project...I would think that success in finding some
> logico-mathematical representation of physics and the rest is the
> expected outcome, and that conclusive failure would be big news.
> So with computationalism, you can't see beneath the substitution level
> to the underlying "processor" substrate of what really exists.  The
> conscious experience that results from the computation doesn't have to
> reveal anything about the nature of the computer...below the
> substitution level could be neurons, transistors, falling dominoes,
> dust clouds (a la Egan), numbers, platonic objects, alien matter
> existing in some alternate universe, Wang's Carpet (Egan again),
> ROCKS...basically anything capable of supporting computation...who
> knows?  It would all look the same to us above the substitution level,
> right?

No, as i said to Brent, comp says exactly what is below our  
substitution level: all computations. If our consciousness supervenes  
on state S, it means we have to take all computations going through  
state S.
If we look below our computational substitution level, and find a  
computation, like in classical physics, then we know that either we  
are not machine, or that we are in some simulation (and this has  
probability zero from our first person perspective, so that if we see  
classical computable laws, from our first person perspective we can no  
more be machine). Here, of course the quantum data confirms that we  
could be machine. QM is an ally of digital mechanism. If the physical  
truth was classical physics, UDA would be a proof that we are not  
digital machine.

> If we were to go with Bruno's proposal, wouldn't it be because a
> substrate of platonically existing numbers seemed like a more
> plausible substrate than a contingently existing physical universe of
> matter and energy and laws which sprang from...nothing?  Has existed
> eternally?  What?

I agree with you. A physical universe is a bit like a creationist  
concept, it does not explain neither consciousness nor matter. But  
with comp, the point is that it is not a proposal, but a logical  
consequence, if I may insist. It is the UDA point.



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