On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 01:08:25PM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> 
> On 26 Dec 2011, at 12:06, Russell Standish wrote:
> 
> >On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:09:27AM +0100, Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >>
> >>On 26 Dec 2011, at 02:00, Russell Standish wrote:
> >>
> >>>Good analogy. Let's explore it further. Tommy is in the
> >>>classroom. So
> >>>is Samantha. Let's swap Tommy's consciousness for Samantha's.
> >>>But the
> >>>classroom does not change!
> >>
> >>Are you swapping the brain? That would be a change in the classroom.
> >>If you swap just the consciousness, I don't see the meaning, nor the
> >>relevance.
> >>
> >
> >No, swapping the consciousness, not the brains.
> 
> What would that mean?
> 
> 
> >First consider whether
> >Tommy's consciousness supervenes on the classroom. If yes, then
> >consider whether Samantha's consciousness supervenes on the
> >classroom. By symmetry with Tommy, one should also say yes. In that
> >case you have two conscious entities supervening on the same
> >"hardware", which contradicts the definition of supervenience.
> 
> I don't see this at all. If I run the UD, an infinity of different
> consciousness will supervene on the physical phenomenon consisting
> in that execution. I do already believe that different consciousness
> occur in my own brain: they supervene on the activity of the whole
> brain though. Supervenience of Y on X, means only that a change of Y
> needs a change on X, not the reverse.
> 
> If Y supervene on X, Y supervene on X united to anything.
> 
> >
> >Therefore we must conclude that nobody supervenes on the classroom.
> 
> I have no understanding of what you mean by swapping consciousness
> of two people.
> 
> Bruno
> 

This is purely a technical result deriving from the definition of
supervenience. It says that if two conscious states differ, then so
must the sates of the hardware being supervened on.

In this case we have two conscious states (Tommy's and
Samantha's). They clearly differ. Therefore, the supervened hardware
must be in a different state for each consciousness.

So therefore, it is incorrect to say that both Tommy and Samantha
supervene on the same classroom. Although, presumably they do supervene on
their own bodies which are within the classroom.

This is a direct counter example to your statement:

> If Y supervene on X, Y supervene on X united to anything.
> 

I suspect you might have a different notion of supervenience than
usually deployed. But in that case, perhaps a different term might be
called for (if it is important).

-- 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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