Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Jim Balter jqb at
Sat Apr 25 15:24:08 EST 1998

modlin at wrote:
> In <6hqseq$q8n at>, rickert at (Neil Rickert) writes:
> [modlin] What is your definition of computation?
> >A computation is a set of causal operation which take place in the
> >world, and which have a certain kind of mathematical description.
> [modlin] Under your rules, is a Turing machine capable of computation?
> >No.  It is capable of formal computation, but not of computation,
> >where formal computation is a mathematical idealization of
> >computation.
> Interesting.  Your conflation of "computation" with notions of
> physically realized causality is something I've not encountered
> before...  none of the classic works on computability uses it that way,
> and indeed I can't think of a single author who would balk at saying
> that a Turing machine computes.  Computation is an abstraction,
> inherently distinct from the engineering practicalities of a device
> which might instantiate it.
> I think I'll just stop talking to you about this... it would be too
> annoyingly clumsy to adopt your idiosyncratic usage just for that
> purpose.  Unfortunate.

Every time I check in here, I find you guys having the same silly
parochial disagreements about who is being more clumsy or idiosyncratic
(and "a Turing machine computes" is strikingly clumsy -- your professed
ignorance concerning the universe of authors cannot be construed as
*support* for using the phrase; a Turing machine is a *description* of a

For an *informed* discussion of the issues of computation, cognition,
instantiation, and their relationship, I refer you once again to

(and I will mention, once again for those who confuse people with their
ideas, that this recommendation is not an endorsement of Chalmer's

<J Q B>

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