On 15 Dec 2011, at 02:11, meekerdb wrote:

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



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

It assumes only "no-computation => no-consciousness".

Intelligence (in the deep sense, not in the sense of competence) requires more than consciousness, but self-consciousness (which I think can be attributed to the Löbian machine (the universal machine "rich enough" to "know" that they are universal).

Intelligence is necessary to develop competence, but competence has a negative feedback on intelligence. But consciousness (raw data feeling) does not necessitate intelligence, I think.

Bruno






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)


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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