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Old 05-16-2019, 04:23 PM
Half Man Half Wit's Avatar
Half Man Half Wit is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I really have no idea what you mean by "computational", and it pretty much certainly has no bearing on how consciousness works, particularly in a materialist system. In a materialist system consciousness is an emergent consequence of the physical behavior of the brain. The brain is physical and follows physical rules. It can therefore be simulated, by simulating those physical rules. Doing that in an accurate simulation will necessarily give you the same emergent behaviors, because causality. Which means you'll get a mind simulated in the computer. Pretty straightforward, give or take the unbelievably massive amount of storage and processing power it will take to simulate the behavior of that much physical mass in detail. It certainly is theoretically possible, though.
You have the whole thing backwards. It is, ultimately, only the ability to interpret symbolic vessels that makes it possible to use any physical system to compute, or simulate, anything. So when you say that a system can be simulated, you're already appealing to mental capacities.

Let's leave out the middleman of computation, and talk about imagination instead. I can imagine robots, unicorns, trees, and even minds. Physical systems following physical rules---no problem there. By your argument, for a sufficiently powerful imagination, it should be possible to imagine an actual mind into existence.

So, well, imagination gives rise to minds! That's that, then. Except of course nobody's going to buy that: after all, I have just used a transparently mental capacity to explain the mental. That's of course a no-go; but that's exactly what computationalism does. That's the point of my above example that's being so studiously ignored.