[ExI] Atheism

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 03:06:40 UTC 2020

On Mon, 20 Apr 2020 at 11:10, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Stathis,
> On Sun, Apr 19, 2020 at 6:39 PM Stathis Papaioannou via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Atheist. However, weird conclusions come from the assumption that
>> consciousness is not tied to a biological substrate and can result from
>> computation.
> Do tell us more.

Any physical process can be interpreted as a Turing machine implementing a
particular computation. Generally this can be dismissed as true but
trivial, like the assertion that a block of marble contains every possible
statue: only computations that are recognisable as such because they are
implemented on machines that can interact with their environment need be
taken seriously. However, if we allow that computations can give rise to
self-awareness, the requirement that they interact with their environment
can be ignored, since we can consider a virtual environment with self-aware
inhabitants forever isolated from the substrate of its implementation.
Therefore, every possible conscious computation necessarily exists, without
anyone deliberately programming it.

This conclusion has been used by some philosophers, such as Hilary Putnam
and John Searle, as a reductio ad absurdum against computationalism, but I
don't see why it should be so, and any alternative to computationalism is
even more absurd.

Stathis Papaioannou

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