Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sun Mar 23 2008 - 21:50:13 MDT

Stathis writes

>> > 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.
>> But if the result of this calculation is merely stored in a table,
>> and subsequent "calculations" just access and exhibit this
>> result, then no genuine computation is performed the second
>> and later times. Only the first calculation was authentic, and
>> also authentic in the sense that I believe consciousness during
>> any particular run to depend on this authenticity of computation.
> The physics of the machine is just there to determine that the right
> state transitions consistently occur. A model of an AND gate does not
> have to involve a simulation of semiconductor physics; the only
> purpose of the physics is to ensure that the state transitions in a
> simple lookup table are followed.

And who says that there's never any progress in email discussions?
It sounds as though you have finished asking about my requirements
for a computation to be conscious. If not, pray continue.

Then we disagree, as follows. Your last paragraph conveys, though
naturally too briefly, one standard way of saying what a computation is.
That your views lead directly to beliefs I consider faintly absurd does
not bother you at all, since you endorse the final results of my
reduction anyway. Namely, a succession of frozen states, or patches
of dust between the galaxies, or even a rock---all of these do just as
good as does your own brain. True, if your brain is demolished in an
accident tomorrow, that infinitesimally reduces the amount of runtime,
but at least you gain the consolation that the very same atoms, buried
in a cemetery somewhere in Australia, still continue to implement you,
just as does every object or collection of atoms (no matter how dispersed),
all according to the patterns of Platonia.

Thanks so very much, if we're done. Else continue.

Time for me to start asking (I guess with my provocative last paragraph
I already have), or time to move on to Repeated Experience?


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