On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 1:51 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 12/14/2011 10:40 AM, Joseph Knight wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 11:32 PM, Kim Jones <kimjo...@ozemail.com.au>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
>> I'll try, but with a few more than 3 sentences. Suppose the
> consciousness of a machine can be said to supervene on the running of some
> program X. We can have a machine run the program but only running a
> constant program Y that gives the same output as X for one given input. In
> other words, it cannot "handle" counterfactual inputs because it is just a
> constant program that does the same thing no matter what. Surely such a
> machine is not conscious. It would be like, if I decided "I will answer A B
> D B D D C A C..." in response to the Chemistry test I am about to run off
> and take, and happened to get them all correct, I wouldn't really know
> Chemistry, right?
> But I think Russell has reasonably questioned this. You say X wouldn't
> know chemistry. But that's a matter of intelligence, not necessarily
> consciousness. We already know that computers can be intelligent, and
> there's nothing mysterious about intelligence "supervening" on machines.
> Intelligence includes returning appropriate outputs for many different
> inputs. But does consciousness?
I was really just using my Chemistry test as an imperfect analogy to the
machine running Y being conscious (or not), so it doesn't affect the rest
of the argument. But I see your point. Would you argue that a constant
program (giving the same output no matter the input) can be conscious in
principle? Maudlin assumes that such a program cannot be conscious, in his
words, "it would make a mockery of the computational theory of mind." I am
agnostic. In my opinion the Filmed Graph argument is more convincing than
Maudlin, because with Maudlin one can still fall back to the position
"consciousness can in principle supervene on a constant program".
(For those interested, here is the article
> So consciousness doesn't supervene on Y. But Maudlin (basically) shows
> that you can just add some additional parts to the machine that handle the
> counterfactuals as needed. These extra parts don't actually do anything,
> but their "presence" means the machine now could exactly emulate program X,
> i.e., is conscious. So a computationalist is forced to assert that the
> machine's consciousness supervenes on the presence of these extra parts,
> which in fact perform no computations at all.
> I think what Russell said about this earlier, i.e., in a multiverse the
> extra parts are doing things, so consciousness then appears at the scale of
> the multiverse -- is fascinating. But I am out of time. Hope this helped. I
> would recommend reading the original paper for the details.
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