Supervenience and implementation

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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,658
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John L. Pollock (2008). What Am I? Virtual Machines and the Mind/Body Problem. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):237–309.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

36 ( #91,119 of 1,726,181 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #147,227 of 1,726,181 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.