Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Mar 18 2008 - 22:45:12 MDT

Stathis writes

> Lee wrote:
>> [Stathis writes]
>> > Now, suppose the first operator transfers the final state of his
>> > machine *as well as* every other possible state, again not telling
>> > which is which, and the second operator just happens to choose the
>> > right state to input. Is there interruption of consciousness?
>> No interruption. The last state on the Australian machine is
>> identical to the first state on the Vienna machine.
> Sorry for labouring the point but I intended that there be no overlap.

Ah, probably my error. Anyway...

> The Australian operator reads the last state S(n) of his machine, and
> transfers this information to the Vienna operator who works out
> (from knowledge of the machine's operation) that he must
> start up his machine in state S(n+1).

Well, I have utterly no problem with an overlap of simply two
states, nor can I imagine anyone having an objection. (BTW,
I will still get around to starting a "Repeated Experience" thread,
since at very least you, John Clark, and I will probably differ.)

> In this way the combined machines + operators can reliably carry
> out the same computations as a single machine.

I see. In other words, it's as though the Vienna operator, a
very smart dude, works out *himself* with, say, his pocket
calculator, S(n+1). Quite all right with me. I don't think it
ever matters where a computation is done, nor on what
hardware. Just so that it's a real computation, and so
sustains real causality and information flow.

> But if the Australian operator simply provides a list
> of all possible states, knowing but not telling which one is S(n),
> that seems to me exactly the same as providing no information at all;

I agree.

> i.e. the same as if the Vienna operator knew nothing about the
> antipodean device and simply tried random states, one of them just
> happening to be S(n+1). How does this affect whether consciousness is
> interrupted?

Very good question. In that case there is an infinitesimal interruption in
consciousness, because there was no genuine information flow or
causality, in other words, to me, not a real computation at all. All
possible things are tried in Vienna. I think I see where you are going,
but I'll let you deliver the next blow! :-)


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