Hi Stephen,

If the "non active piece of matter" plays a role in the computation, it means that we have not choose the correct substitution level. For example the brain would be a quantum computer. But quantum computer are Turing emulable, and so its work is emulated by the Universal Dovetailer, and the UDA (+MGA) goes trough. That applies to Maudlin's argument as well.

Bruno


On 25 Jan 2011, at 10:04, Stephen Paul King wrote:

Dear Bruno and Friends,

I was re-reading the Mauldin paper again and something struck me that I had not noticed before. I hope that I am not way over my head on this one, but I think that there is something of a straw man in Mauldin’s definition of the supervenience thesis! He assumes the principle of Locality .


    We read on page 409 of “Computation and Consciousness”:

“If an active physical system supports a phenomenal state, how could the presence or absence of a causally disconnected object effect that state? How could the object enhance or impede or alter or destroy the phenomenal state except via some causal interaction with the system? Since the phenomenal state is entirely realized at the time of the experience, only the activity of the system at that time should be relevant to its production. The presence or absence of causally isolated objects could not be relevant. This is all the supervenience thesis needs to say.”

Now, let us take a look at Bell’s theorem. From the wiki article 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell's_theorem

“Bell's theorem has important implications for physics and the philosophy of science as it indicates that every quantum theory must violate either locality or counterfactual definiteness. In conjunction with the experiments verifying the quantum mechanical predictions of Bell-type systems, Bell's theorem demonstrates that certain quantum effects travel faster than light and therefore restricts the class of tenable hidden variable theories to the nonlocal variety.”
end quote

While we are considering the idea of “causal efficacy” here and not hidden variable theories, the fact that it has been experimentally verified that Nature violates the principle Locality. Therefore the assumption of local efficacy that Mauldin is using for the supervenience thesis is not realistic and thus presents a flaw in his argument. We cannot claim that only those objects in some near distance or time of flight to the system that we propose is a generator of phenomenal states are the only ones that are involved in the emergence of the phenomenal states. We have overwhelming experimental evidence that the classical assumptions must be carefully examined to be sure that they are correct. The locality assumption is flawed. So what if instead we question the contrafactual definiteness aspect? If we disallow for the definiteness of contrafactuals then Mauldin cannot construct Olympia and thus his argument does not work either.

Onward!

Stephen

PS, It is interesting that you mention reincarnation, Bruno. I too am friendly toward that idea and I am a little bit motivated in my questions about interactions with you by something that my wife mentioned to me in a conversation that we had about the idea of reincarnation of souls. She asked me” “Could bodies be necessary so that souls can interact with each other and thus evolve?” By the way, the Syfy television channel’s series “Caprica” explored a very cool computational version of reincarnation that you might find amusing.

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