Re: Mindless Thought Experiments

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Mar 03 2008 - 21:39:51 MST

Stathis writes

> I have a computer in front of me of bizarre alien manufacture which
> simulates a day in the life of an apple. I don't understand its
> architecture and there is no I/O which would allow me to test it. The
> aliens all died when their sun went nova after they launched the
> computer into space. Even if we could find some sort of pattern in the
> internal workings of the computer it is impossible to assign meaning
> to the pattern,

Wait. One of our apples? The kind grown on Earth and presumably
throughout the galaxy? If all the highly intelligent entities in our solar
system in the year 2300 were to focus on solving "The Riddle of the
Alien Artifact", sooner or later one of them would notice that some of
the patterns embedded in the artifact are highly characteristic of (isomorphic
to).... an apple!

> So, does the computer still simulate the apple?


Besides, what is inherently true of an object does not depend on who
happens to have survived some nova somewhere, or upon any truly
external condition.

(For example, it may be true of an object that it has the property
"photons that bounced off it millions of years later affected a certain
distant photographic plate". But that is not *inherently* true of the
object, although perhaps better words should be found.)


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