You're right in one way, but there *is* a difference between what we experience in the first person and everything else. It is *possible* to doubt everything about the external world, but it is *impossible* to doubt that you are having a first person experience/ a thought/ an observer-moment/ whatever you want to call it.

-- Stathis Papaioannou

From: "Brent Meeker" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: RE: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness
Date: Sat, 7 May 2005 22:57:22 -0000

There are many things we can't test conclusively - in fact there is nothing we
*can* test conclusively. All scientific knowledge is provisional. So I don't
see why you jump from the fact that we can't conclusively test for other minds
to saying that we take it on faith. I'd say that I have a lot of evidence for
other minds.

Brent Meeker

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Stathis Papaioannou [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 5:47 AM
>Subject: Re: Everything Physical is Based on Consciousness
>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"
>>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
>>>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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