Minds and Machines

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 259–280

Logically Possible Machines


  • Eric Steinhart
    • Department of PhilosophyWilliam Paterson University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1015603317236

Cite this article as:
Steinhart, E. Minds and Machines (2002) 12: 259. doi:10.1023/A:1015603317236


I use modal logic and transfinite set-theory to define metaphysical foundations for a general theory of computation. A possible universe is a certain kind of situation; a situation is a set of facts. An algorithm is a certain kind of inductively defined property. A machine is a series of situations that instantiates an algorithm in a certain way. There are finite as well as transfinite algorithms and machines of any degree of complexity (e.g., Turing and super-Turing machines and more). There are physically and metaphysically possible machines. There is an iterative hierarchy of logically possible machines in the iterative hierarchy of sets. Some algorithms are such that machines that instantiate them are minds. So there is an iterative hierarchy of finitely and transfinitely complex minds.

convergencefixed-pointinfinite algorithminfinite machineinfinite mindlimitpossible worldsituationsuper-Turing computer

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002