Cogprints

Supervenience and Implementation

Sloman, Aaron (1998) Supervenience and Implementation. [Departmental Technical Report]

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Abstract

How can a virtual machine X be implemented in a physical machine Y? We know the answer as far as compilers, editors, theorem-provers, operating systems are concerned, at least insofar as we know how to produce these implemented virtual machines, and no mysteries are involved. This paper is about extrapolating from that knowledge to the implementation of minds in brains. By linking the philosopher's concept of supervenience to the engineer's concept of implementation, we can illuminate both. In particular, by showing how virtual machines can be implemented in causally complete physical machines, and still have causal powers, we remove some philosophical problems about how mental processes can be real and can have real effects in the world even if the underlying physical implementation has no causal gaps. This requires a theory of ontological levels.

Item Type:Departmental Technical Report
Subjects:Biology > Theoretical Biology
Computer Science > Artificial Intelligence
Philosophy > Epistemology
Philosophy > Metaphysics
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:333
Deposited By:Sloman, Aaron
Deposited On:22 Jun 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:53

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