Re: Objective Meaning Must Exhibit Isomorphism

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 05:30:13 MDT

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

> > 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?
> Oh, then we have a slightly new situation: Sm is no longer the
> first Tuesday state, but the second. Sj was (maybe) carried
> by sneaker net to the Tuesday computer. That's just like being
> ideally teleported! :-)

What I had in mind was that Sj is used as input to produce its
successor Sm, from which the rest of Tuesday follows
deterministically. If Sj is reliably transferred from the first to the
second computer that would be the same as if the computation unfolded
in the one intact machine, no? But if the transfer were unreliable it
would only be by chance that the "right" sequence of states was set
into motion giving rise to the Tuesday experience.

> [I'm recalling that State-j was the last state of Monday, and
> State-m was the first state of Tuesday, when ordinarily on
> a normal computer Sj would give rise to Sm by the laws
> of physics or their in-computer equivalent.]
> So in *no case* in your new scenario above is there a causal
> link, i.e., what I mean, a "computed link" characterized by
> computed information flow. The only computations in that
> new scenario (with Sj being both the last state of Monday
> and the first state of Tuesday) are the computations inside
> the computer that go from Sa->Sb->...->Sj and Sj->Sk->...
> Again, if Sm would arise strictly by chance on the Tuesday
> computer, then this one state would---to me---fail to have
> been computed. And so thereby inflict an infinitesimal break
> in consciousness.
> >> 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.
> Why do we want or need to go there? What is the appeal to you
> and Schmidhuber and the rest of the gang to all that dust comprising
> 0.99999999999 of your experience? That would seem to me to
> induce fatalism.

Determinism, yes. Is that the same as fatalism?

Stathis Papaioannou

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