> From: stath...@gmail.com
> Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 20:23:55 +1100
> Subject: Re: problem of size '10
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> On 23 February 2010 04:45, Jesse Mazer <laserma...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >> It seems that these thought experiments inevitably lead to considering
> >> digital simulation of the brain in a virtual environment. This is
> >> usually brushed over as an inessential aspect, but I'm coming to the
> >> opinion that it is essential. Once you have encapsulated the whole
> >> thought experiment in a closed virtual environment in a digital
> >> you have the paradox of the rock that computes everything. How we know
> >> what is being computed in this virtual environment? Ordinarily the
> >> answer to this is that we wrote the program and so we provide the
> >> interpretation of the calculation *in this world*. But it seems that in
> >> these thought experiments we are implicitly supposing that the
> >> simulation is inherently providing it's own interpretation. Maybe, so;
> >> but I see no reason to have confidence that this inherent
> >> is either unique or has anything to do with the interpretation we
> >> intended. I suspect that this simulated consciousness is only
> >> consciousness *in our external interpretation*.
> >>
> >> Brent
> >
> > In that case, aren't you saying that there is no objective answer to
> > a particular physical process counts as an "implementation" of a given
> > computation, and that absolutely any process can be seen as implementing
> > computation if outside observers choose to interpret it that way? That's
> > basically the conclusion Chalmers was trying to avoid in his "Does a
> > Implement Every Finite-State Automaton" paper
> > at http://consc.net/papers/rock.html which discussed the implementation
> > problem. One possible answer to this problem is that implementations
> > totally subjective, but this would seem to rule out the possibility of
> > ever being any sort of objective measure on computations (unless you
> > some privileged observers who are themselves *not* identified with
> > computations and whose interpretations are the only ones that 'count')
> > makes it hard to solve things like the "white rabbit problem" that's
> > discussed often on this list.
> > Jesse
> It seems to me that perhaps the main reason for assuming that
> counterfactual behaviour in the brain is needed for consciousness is
> that otherwise any physical system implements any computation, or
> equivalently every computation is implemented independently of any
> physical reality that may or may not exist, and this would be a
> terrible conclusion for materialists.

Well, this is the conclusion I'm trying to avoid with my idea about defining
causal structure in terms of logical implications between propositions about
events and the laws governing them. I think this idea could avoid the
conclusion that any physical system implements any computation, but also
avoid the conclusion that implementations of computations need to be defined
in terms of counterfactuals. Were you reading the discussion I was having
about this with Jack? If not, the old post where I first brought up the idea
to Bruno is at
a more recent post from my discussion with Jack where I give a simple
illustration of how it's supposed to work is at

If you see any major problems with this idea, let me know!

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