Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Thu Mar 20 2008 - 23:07:00 MDT

On 21/03/2008, Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> > (a) The file I've received says that the final state of the Australian
> > machine was S-6754. The successor state for that is S-2037, so if I
> > input that into my machine, the computation won't know it has been
> > spread across two continents.
> How did you get a hold of S-2037? If you looked it up somewhere,
> or heard from a little bird that you should try S-2037, then the answer
> would be no. But if you worked out, i.e., your brain emulated the
> machine itself, i.e. calculated state S-2037 from S-6754, then yes,
> no [infinitesimal] interruption occurred.

I looked it up. The physics of the machine is such that state A will
reliably transition to state B. This can either be worked out from
first principles or by experiment, and the results stored in a table.
The entire computation could be done by hand in this way by a human
operator who blindly follows the rules and has no more idea where the
rules came from (or the grander purpose behind his actions) than an
individual gear or transistor does. We need to agree that the causal
link is preserved in (a), with *no* interruption in consciousness,
before considering (b) and (c).

> > (b) The file I've received gives the final state of the Australian
> > machine as either S-6754 or S-789. Their respective successor states
> > are S-2037 and S-9175, so I'll try both of those, and when I get the
> > right one, the computation and its consciousness will have been
> > implemented without interruption.
> Yes. The other run will either occur entirely incorrectly, or, after
> somehow getting back on track, will suffer even more than that
> tiny interruption of consciousness.
> > (c) The file from Australia lists all possible machine states S-1 to
> > S-9999. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but one of them has to be
> > the right one. First, I'll input S-1, the successor state of S-3412;
> > then S-2, which as everyone knows is the successor state of S-439;
> > next, S-3, successor of S-2031 (or was it S-3021? I always get those
> > two mixed up but it's definitely one or the other)... and so on to
> > S-9999.
> Yes. Unless I've missed something, I think that this is just the
> logical next step after (b), and so the answer is should be just
> the same. All of these here in (c) seem to me to implement a
> computation that has one non-causal step, i.e., a tiny tiny
> lapse of consciousness.
> > You can see that the Vienna operator's muttering as he goes about his
> > work in the last example has no effect on the mechanics of the
> > computation. As he inputs S-2037 he could be thinking that it is the
> > successor of S-6754, or he could be thinking about what he will have
> > for dinner, and it will make no difference to his behaviour as he is
> > just inputting all the states anyway.
> >
> > In which of the above cases is the causal link between the two
> > machines preserved? In which does consciousness continue
> > uninterrupted?
> I believe that I have answered. In some cases, the state S-2037
> really was computed in a local calculation, and in some cases it
> was gotten by chance, more or less. In the former there were no
> interruptions of consciousness, but in the latter there were.
> Lee

Stathis Papaioannou

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