Dear Stephen,

COMP is basically a variant of the familiar "Problem of Other Minds", which is not just philosophical esoterica but something we have to deal with in everyday life. How do you know that all your friends and family are really conscious in the way you are conscious, and not merely zombies who behave as if they are conscious? There isn't any empirical test that can help you decide the answer to this question conclusively; in the final analysis, you assume that other people have minds as a matter of faith. This troubles me as much as it troubles you, but alas, there is nothing we can do about it.

--Stathis Papaioannou

From: "Stephen Paul King" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
CC: <>
Subject: Re: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness
Date: Sat, 7 May 2005 10:27:45 -0400

Dear Stathis,

It is exactly this seeming requirement that we accept COMP by faith and demand no possibility of empirical falsification that troubles me the most. For me, a theory must make predictions that "might be confirmed to be incorrect" otherwise all one has, at best, is the internal consistensy of the theory. In light of Goedel's theorems, the utility of such theories to answer questions is in doubt.
There must be always some way for independent observers to agree upon the falsifiable implications of a theory. Here we are considering a theory of observers themselves...


----- Original Message ----- From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: <>
Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness

OK, I agree. AI research is an experimental science. It may or may not be possible to build and program a computer so that it behaves like an intelligent and self-aware entity. Even if this difficult feat is eventually accomplished, there will then be the philosophical questions casting doubt on whether it is *really* conscious. This is the old problem of possibility of knowing whether other people really have minds like us, or whether they are just zombies acting like conscious beings. Ultimately, and regretfully, we can only be sure that we ourselves are conscious, and we have to take the existence of other minds on faith. However, if we believe that other humans are conscious because they seem to behave like we do, but refuse to believe that a computer which behaves in the same way (i.e. passes the Turing test) is conscious, then we are being inconsistent, and it is this inconsistency which I have called biological chauvinism.

Having said that, it was not the purpose of my original post to show that observer-moments are Turing emulable. Rather, it was to show that Bruno Marchal's UDA can work without explicitly defining or explaining consciousness. I believe Bruno himself has aknowledged that the computational hypothesis (which he calls "comp") may ultimately have to be taken as a matter of faith. This sort of bothers me because I spent a large part of my adolescence heaping scorn on religion and other faith-based belief systems, but I can't do anything about it.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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