On 14 Dec 2011, at 06:32, Kim Jones wrote:

Any chance someone might précis for me/us dummies out here in maybe 3 sentences what Tim Maudlin's argument is? Nothing too heavy - just a quick refresher.

Jolly kind of you,

Kim Jones

On 12/12/2011, at 10:05 AM, Russell Standish wrote:

Maudlin's argument relies on the absurdity the the presence or absence
of inert parts bears on whether something is consious.


If nobody answers this I will answer asap. It is not an easy task. Maudlin's paper is an (independent) variant of the Movie-Graph Argument.

Those arguments show the difficulty (if not the impossibility) to keep the physical supervenience thesis (the idea that consciousness is produced by the *physical activity* of a computer) with mechanism. It is the key to understand why keeping comp leads to immaterialism, or idealism (of the objective kind).

Both argument shows that the physical activity related to a particular computation can be changed arbitrarily. Maudlin restores counterfactualness (the fact that the computation will handle correctly possibly different inputs) by adding inactive pieces of machinery, for the particular computation (say a "conscious one"). COMP + physical supervenience forces to give a physical activity relevant for a computation to a piece of matter which has no physical activity relevant for that computation.

Maudlins' argument assumes that comp necessitates the "323" principle, and we will come back on this, soon or later. MGA necessitates a plausible active equivalent form of the 323 principle, I am not sure of that. I will try a "layman-sum up" when I have more time.


MARCHAL B., 1988, Informatique théorique et philosophie de l'esprit. Actes du 3ème colloque international de l'ARC, Toulouse, pp. 193-227. (explanation in english: http://old.nabble.com/MGA-1-td20566948.html)

MAUDLIN T., 1989, Computation and Consciousness, The Journal of Philosophy, pp. 407- 432.


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