Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
2010/1/11 Brent Meeker <>:

S1 and S2 can be precisely delimited as machine states but only more
loosely as mental states. This is because, as you say, there may be a
thought that spans S1 and S2, and is therefore partly generated by M1
and partly by M2. I don't see this as an issue since even if the
computer was just doing arithmetic it could be broken up and
distributed across two machines and the final answer would still be
the same.
The answer would be the same, but the computation would not.  So the person
with the AI brain might add up numbers the same, but have a different
conscious experience.  Consider for example your conscious experience at age
six when asked to add 120 and 280 as compared to how you do it now.

I was initially considering the case of a computer doing the
calculation directly, not generating a mind that does the calculation.
The computation would have to span the two machines, and it would
still be the same computation.

I suppose it could be "the same computation" in the Platonic sense that adding 2+2 is a computation, but as realized on two computers it couldn't be the same as realized on a single computer. At a minimum it would take some extra steps to transfer data in the registers.
Similarly, if the subject in the virtual environment was
doing mental arithmetic he would still get the right answer despite
the physical discontinuity introduced mid-calculation, and how would
that be possible if the discontinuity caused a disruption in
Because addition, like most thought, is mostly unconscious?

I certainly have to think about it consciously. In the example you
gave I look at the 20 and the 80 and notice that they add to 100,

How do you "notice" that? Is it not an unconscious fact recalled into consciousness?

the 100 and 200 add to 300, so the answer is 120 + 280 = 100 + 300 =
400. If this thought was interrupted I might get the wrong answer, or
at the very least I would know it was interrupted. But the subject in
the proposed experiment by definition does not notice any
interruption, since S2 proceeds deterministically whether the
computation is on the one machine or spread over two machines

But aren't you assuming that consciousness is produced by the abstract Platonic computation - rather than by the actual physical process (which is not the same) - in other words assuming the thing being argued?

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