On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> On 29 Nov 2010, at 05:15, Rex Allen wrote:
>> On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 4:06 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>  Would
>>> you admit then, that a computer which interprets bits the same way as a
>>> brain could be conscious?  Isn't this mechanism?  Or is your view more
>>> like
>>> the Buddhist idea that there is no thinker, only thought?
>>
>> Right, my view is that there is no thinker, only thought.
>
> Ah! The key point where we differ the most. Person is the key concept for
> those who grasp mechanism and its consequences.
> At least you don't eliminate consciousness, but you do eliminate persons.
> Brr...

Once one has abandoned libertarian free will, I don’t see that the
concept of “persons” matters much anyway.



>> Meillassoux’s solution uses Cantorian detotalization to counter
>> proposed resolutions to Hume’s “problem of induction” that involve
>> probabilistic logic depending upon a totality of cases.
>>
>> Meillassoux's main point with this digression into Cantorian set
>> theory is that just as there can be no end to the process of set
>> formation and thus no such thing as the totality of all sets, there is
>> also no absolute totality of all possible cases.
>>
>> Down the rabbit hole of infinite regress.  Doesn’t seem promising, and
>> doesn’t seem necessary.
>
> Meissaloux seems to ignore that the set of partial computable is closed for
> the Cantorian diagonalization. That is the key technical point which makes
> Church thesis possible and *digital* mechanism so powerful (and computer
> science a science).

If one doesn’t accept that conscious experience is the result of
computable functions, then I don’t see that this is relevant.

So the Church-Turing thesis is basically that "everything computable
is computable by a Turing machine."

Further, since an algorithm is a finite string of characters from a
finite alphabet, the number of computable functions is countable.

You can’t use Cantorian diagonalization in this case because doing so
would require you to write a computable function that could generate a
list of the other computable functions, and then create it’s own
output for input “n” by sampling the nth output of the nth computable
function and adding 1 - with the problem being that because of the
halting problem you can never generate a list of *only* the computable
functions.

Which means that Meillassoux’s idea won’t work *if* one assumes that
conscious experience is computable...since in that case there is, in
some sense, a set of possible conscious experiences.

But if one doesn’t start from the assumption that conscious experience
is computable, then your point has no bearing on Meillassoux’s
argument.  Right?

And, as an accidentalist, I don’t assume that conscious experience is
computable.

While some sequences of experience may have aspects that lend
themselves to being accurately described via computable functions, I
see no reason to accept that *all* aspects of *all* experiences are
thus describable.

So...an interesting argument, but I think not applicable.

Rex

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