Re: Objective Meaning Must Exhibit Isomorphism

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 02:32:58 MDT

On 11/03/2008, Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> Again, I submit that there must be a *causal* connection between
> Sj and its successor Sm, and that it be a *calculation*, i.e., that
> Sm be *computed* from Sj. And that if Sj arises solely by chance
> (or a child twiddly knobs) then it is not a bonafide computation.

It's very difficult to even define what counts as a causal link.
Suppose you're in charge of the Tuesday computer and your friend gives
you two files, one of which is Sj from the end of the Monday computer
run while the other is not. If you input one of the files at random
and it turns out to be Sj, does that count as a causal link? What if
you input both files on two separate runs, knowing that one of them
has to be Sj? What if your friend tells you which is the correct file,
but you know that he's sometimes a bit of a joker?

> To take a more extreme case, suppose again that the last seven
> minutes of Monday had suffered just this same lack of what I
> call bonafide computation, and that all the states of those seven
> minutes had arisen strictly by chance. Then we begin the inevitable
> downward spiral (e.g. see "The Story of a Brain" in Hofstadter
> and Dennett's "The Mind's I"). I say that it leads to ABSURDITY,
> and the weak point in the chain MUST be this point at which,
> as I say, "no actual computing is done".
> > If you drop that idea you may as well say that only brand name
> > neurons are capable of consciousness.
> No, I don't need to go that far! :-) My target is merely rocks
> being conscious, or patches of dust between here and the Hyades
> supercluster being 0.99999999999 of Stathis's experience in life.

Well, you *could* say that there is something fundamentally
non-computable about the brain. That would solve all the problems,
wouldn't it? Patching up functionalism so that it doesn't lead to
apparently absurd conclusions (even though these conclusions may still
be compatible with observed reality) sounds to me a bit like patching
up quantum theory with "wave function collapse" in order to avoid the
apparent absurdity of the MWI.

Stathis Papaioannou

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