I finally figured out what was happening to my emails: the spam filter got 
overly agressive and it was sending some of the list posts to the spam folder, 
but letting others into the inbox.  The post I'm replying to now was one that 
was hidden that way.

--- On Sun, 2/14/10, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> >> Jack Mallah wrote:
> > What is false is your statement that "The only way to escape the conclusion 
> > would be to attribute consciousness to a movie of a computation".  So your 
> > argument is not valid.
> OK. I was talking in a context which is missing. You can also conclude in the 
> prescience of the neurons for example. The point is that if you assume the 
> physical supervenience thesis, you have to abandon comp and/or to introduce 
> magical (non Turing emulable) property in matter.

That is false. Bruno, you don't have to assume any 'prescience'; you just have 
to assume that counterfactuals count.  No one but you considers that 
'prescience' or any kind of problem.

> > gradually replace the components of the computer (which have the standard 
> > counterfactual (if-then) functioning) with components that only play out a 
> > pre-recorded script or which behave correctly by luck.
> > You could then invoke the 'fading qualia' argument (qualia could plausibly 
> > not vanish either suddenly or by gradually fading as the replacement 
> > proceeds) to argue that this makes no difference to the consciousness.  My 
> > partial brain paper shows that the 'fading qualia' argument is invalid.
> I am not using the 'fading qualia' argument.

Then someone else on the list must have brought it up at some point.  In any 
case, it was the only interesting argument in favor of your position, which was 
not trivially obviously invalid.  My PB paper shows that it is invalid though.

> > I think there was also a claim that counterfactual sensitivity amounts to 
> > 'prescience' but that makes no sense and I'm pretty sure that no one (even 
> > those who accept the rest of your arguments) agrees with you on that.
> It is a reasoning by a an absurdum reduction. If you agree (with any 
> computationalist) that we cannot attribute prescience to the neurons, then 
> the physical activity of the movie is the same as the physical activity of 
> the movie, so that physical supervenience + comp entails that the  
> consciousness supervenes on the movie (and this is absurd, mainly because the 
> movie does not compute anything).

I guess by 'physical supervenience' you mean supervenience on physical activity 
only.  That is not what computationalism assumes. Computationalism assumes 
supervenience on both physical activity and physical laws (aka 
counterfactuals).  There is no secret about that.  Consciousness does not arise 
from the movie, because the movie has the wrong physical laws.  There is 
nothing about that that has anything to do with 'prescience'.

Now, there is a school of thought that says that physical laws don't exist per 
se, and are merely descriptions of what is already in the physical activity.  A 
computationalist physicalist obviously rejects that view.

> > Counterfactual behaviors are properties of the overall system and are 
> > mathematically defined.
> But that is the point: the counterfactuals are in the math.
> Not in the physical activity.

Bruno, try to read what I write instead of putting in your own meanings to my 

A physical system has mathematically describable properties.  Among these are 
the physical activity and also the counterfactuals.  There is no distinction to 
make on that basis.  That is what I was saying.  That has nothing whatsoever to 
do with Platonism.

> machine ... its next personal state has to be recovered from the statistics 
> on the possible relative continuations.

No, nyet, non, and hell no.  That is merely your view, which I obviously reject 
and which has nothing to recommend it - especially NOT computationalism, your 
erroneous claims to the contrary.


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