Stathis writes

> I was using the term "information" loosely, to include what is commonly 
> termed qualia, subjective experience etc. I agree that if a physical system 
> is fully specified, then that is all you need in order to duplicate or 
> emulate the system. The new system will do everything the original one did, 
> including have conscious experiences. It's worth stressing this point again: 
> you don't need any special, non-physical information to emulate or duplicate 
> a conscious system; you don't need God to provide it with a soul, you don't 
> need to purchase a mind-body interface kit, you don't need to meditate and 
> wave quartz crystals around, and you don't need to have 1st person knowledge 
> of its subjective experiences. All you need is a few kilograms of raw 
> materials, a molecular assembler mechanism, and the data which indicates 
> where each bit goes. Once the job is finished, you automatically have a 
> system which talks, eats, and is conscious. Psychology and biology have been 
> reduced to physics and chemistry. Consciousness has been shown to be just be 
> an emergent phenomenon in a particular type of biological computer. Agree so 
> far?

Well, this is certainly all right by me---though hardly by everyone
here. You have described very well the ordinary reduction of humans
and animals to ordinary physical mechanisms, a view that was
widespread among materialists all through the 19th and 20th
centuries, even if they didn't have as much evidence as we do.

> OK: having said all that, and assuming at this point that we know the 
> position and function of every atom in this newly created system, I *still* 
> would wonder what it feels like to actually *be* this system.

Have you read Hofstadter's comments on Thomas Nagel's essay "What is
it Like to be a Bat?". (Most easily accessed in "The Mind's I" by
Hofstadter and Dennett.) And I presume that you're familiar with
Daniel Dennett's views on qualia, as in "Consciousness Explained",
but that you reject them? (I'm rather new to this list.)


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