On 12/14/2011 5:35 PM, Joseph Knight wrote:


On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 7:11 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 12/14/2011 2:09 PM, Joseph Knight wrote:


    On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 1:51 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto: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
        <mailto: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
            refresher.

        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?

    I don't think something can be conscious in the human sense unless it is
    intelligent.  The question is can something be intelligent without being 
conscious.


I have always assumed so. Maybe it is unjustified, but I see no compelling reason why intelligence implies consciousness. There are strong reasons to believe the two are correlated though, because I agree that consciousness probably implies high intelligence.

    I incline to not, but I'm not sure.  I think the interesting point is that 
there
    tends to be a unjustified slip from consciousness to intelligence in some 
arguments.


Agreed; I have encountered this many times in discussions like this. I prefer to leave intelligence out of it entirely, because I don't think there is any real controversy over whether intelligent entities can be built with 1s and 0s. In fact, they already have.

    In particular the "323" argument implicitly assumes that 
not-intelligent=>not-conscious.


I am still unsure of the 323 argument, could you or someone explain?

As I understand it, if some computer, given a certain input, performs a computation that entails consciousness there will in general be some register in the computer that plays no active part in the computation, say register 323. So the same computation, entailing the same consciousness, would be performed with register 323 removed. In fact we could eliminate all the registers and components that do not change state during the computation without affecting the supervening consciousness. We can essentially reduce the computer to a playback machine that only performs this computation given the certain input. With any other input it will do something stupid or do nothing. Hence it can't possibly be conscious and we must have been wrong to suppose that consciousness supervened on the computation. Notice however that we have assumed that since it is now not intelligent, it can't be conscious. It is assumed that consciousness implicitly requires intelligent response to counterfactuals. But it is really intelligence or competence that requires this.

Brent


    Brent

    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 itself
    <http://www.finney.org/%7Ehal/maudlin.pdf>)


        Brent



        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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