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Old 05-20-2019, 02:04 PM
Half Man Half Wit's Avatar
Half Man Half Wit is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 6,906
Originally Posted by RaftPeople View Post
Despite the fact that your box example applies when this function is viewed in isolation, when viewed relative to it's surrounding environment, the specific purpose becomes realized.
If I understand you correctly, then this reply doesn't work: what matters with respect to the environment is what I've earlier on called the stimulus-response behavior; but that's just given by a line of causality connecting both. The computation, such as it is, doesn't change it, but---again---is merely an interpretive gloss over and above the physical behavior.

So in my box example, stimuli come in the form of switch flips, and responses are given in the form of lights either lighting up or not. No matter what computation I take the system to perform, this stimulus-response behavior remains the same; so the interaction with the environment is blind towards anything else.

The same goes for things like the circadian rhythm. Nothing is, ultimately, being computed; it's merely the physical evolution in response to causal factors that triggers, say, time-sensitive hormone release. Picture one of these old wind-up kitchen timers: they don't compute the time to ring, the spring merely winds down after a certain time (response), provided it's been wound up (stimulus).