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Olympia and Other O-Machines


Against Maudlin, I argue that machines which merely reproduce a pre-programmed series of changes ought to be classed with Turing’s O-Machines even if they would counterfactually show Turing Machine-like activity. This can be seen on an interventionist picture of computational architectures, on which basic operations are the primitive loci for interventions. While constructions like Maudlin’s Olympia still compute, then, claims about them do not threaten philosophical arguments that depend on Turing Machine architectures and their computational equivalents.

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  1. I argued as much in my (Klein 2008), and (Bartlett 2012) has a nice review and critique of such moves.

  2. With apologies to (Lem 1976).


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Thanks to Gary Bartlett, Peter Clutton, Adam Elga, David Hilbert, Mark Sprevak, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on previous drafts.

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Correspondence to Colin Klein.

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Funding: Work partially supported by Australian Research Council Grant FT140100422

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Klein, C. Olympia and Other O-Machines. Philosophia 43, 925–931 (2015).

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  • Computation
  • Computability
  • Implementation
  • Turing machines
  • Consciousness