On 06 Jan 2010, at 19:57, Brent Meeker wrote:

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

2010/1/6 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>:

I can understand that view, but in that case why consider them
computations? Why not just suppose all states of your consciousness (and even other parts of the world) exist. If they can be glued together by inherent features or simply experienced without even an implicit order, then computation seems irrelevant. Of course that leaves the apparent lawfulness of physics even further from possible explanation than the UD

We start off with what we observe: apparently there is a physical
world, and some parts of this physical world, called brains, seem to
give rise to consciousness. There is reason to think that computers
running a program can also give rise to consciousness. Taking this
hypothesis of computationalism seriously then leads to interesting
questions, such as whether there is a reason to suppose that
consciousness happens only when the computations are physically
instantiated (and what exactly that means), or whether their status as
platonic objects is enough to generate the associated consciousness.
In other words, there is a series of rational steps starting from what
we observe, and if any step is faulted the whole edifice falls;
whereas imply assuming idealism from the start is ad hoc and

I think what I asked about is different from simply assuming idealism. It is carrying your thread of reasoning a few steps further. Suppose Platonic objects exist. Suppose computations, as Platonic objects, are enough to instantiate consciousness. Suppose consciousness consists of discrete states of this computation.

I will insist that consciousness cannot consists of discrete states of computation. It may be associated to, attached to, etc. Consciousness is a first person notion, and computational state are third person notions. We cannot identify them. It is the same mistake than identifying mind and brain. Brain are assembly of molecules, minds are memories, informations, logical and pragmatical dispositions, etc. In some thread this can be just an irrelevant detail, but as we are going to the crux of the reasoning, we will have to be very careful. The devil is in the detail ...

Suppose the fact that the states are connected by the computation is irrelevant to their instantiation of consciousness. The states are themselves Platonic objects. So if we assume Platonic objects exist we will already have assumed these states to exist and consciousness to have been instantiated by them - with no reference to computation.


I think Bruno avoids this by saying consciousness consists of computationally connected sequences thru a given state - not the state itself - but I'm not sure why that should be.

Assuming digital mechanism, we can associate consciousness to a computation. This computation makes sense only with respect to a number or a machine which "do" (platonically) that computation. If not, all number can be said to code a computational state, and all sequence of states could define a computations, and the computations would be non enumerable, but the computations (without oracle), and considered in the third person way are enumerable: it is always generated by a precise phi_i(j).

Now, to associate a consciousness to a computation is not enough. The association has to be 1-person statistically stable. We have to take into account the global first person indeterminacy, which involved all computations.

I will come back on this in my comment to Nick's last post.



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