Hi Pete,

Le 28-mars-06, à 20:27, Pete Carlton a écrit :

> Hi -
>
>> The problem of consciousness is the problem of conscious thought. I
>> can
>> imagine there is no thinker, but I can't imagine there is no
>> consciousness, and that is the problem.
>
> I think it's not really a problem; it is only a problem if you are
> committed to a *certain* conception of consciousness (as irreducible,
> ineffable, intrinsic, etc).


I agree. Now I am indeed committed to the personal, but I think 
universal, fact that consciousness is ineffable in the sense that "I" 
cannot give a pure third person proof that "I" am conscious. Thought 
experiments based on the comp hyp can indeed explain that, as far as 
someone is conscious, he/she cannot communicate that fact  in any 
objective way. But now, *that* "meta-fact" can be explained in some 
objective way.




> I of course am not going to convince you to think of consciousness in
> a Dennettian framework, but just be aware that there is a perfectly
> respectable and mainstream philosophical line that dismisses things
> like Chalmers's "hard problem" as an artifact of bad
> conceptualizing.


I would say there is about 1500 years of attempt to dismiss the first 
person. In general that dismissing comes from a category error. From 
the fact that, indeed, the scientific discourse (third person, 
objective) cannot make the use of first person knowledge, some people 
claim that no scientific discourse can be made on consciousness. But 
you can always build a third person theory about anything provided you 
give sufficiently clear definitions, postulates, reasonable inference 
rules, consistency world-views (logician's model), etc. A third person 
discourse on the notion of first person discourse is quite possible.




> What the implications of this view are for your
> scheme, I can't say yet.  My hunch is that it would make things much
> easier to take "intrinsic consciousness" out of the picture and
> replace it with hugely complex behavioral dispositions, etc.


This is dismissing the hard problem. The question is really how to find 
a relation between hugely complex behavioral dispositions and 
consciousness.
Now I think consciousness is a "logical child" of "consistency" or 
"expectation of some possible truth or reality", and logic can explain 
why consistent machines (or more general entities) are bewildered by 
their true but "unpostulatable" (if I can say) self-consistency. This 
can justify many of the "meta-facts" described above.


>
> Anyway, I had another question: are you trying to *identify* one
> person with one simple (Turing, Lobian, etc) machine?
> I think this
> is a mistake - what if the best way to output your behavior is using
> a collection of millions or billions of machines, some of which are
> broken, some of which mess up the other machines, some of which are
> not found in your brain but are instead in your environment, or in
> other people.. will you say that this can all be reduced to one
> machine?  But then why identify *that* machine with one person?


Ah Ah !  This is an excellent remark, except maybe it shows you have 
not study my work---don't be sorry, nobody is perfect :-)
But the main point is really that: if comp is true then the mind body 
relation is not one-one. You can, for all practical purpose, attach a 
consciousness to some appearance of a "digital machine" (not 
necessarily a material one though), but no digital machine can attach 
its own consciousness to any particular machine token, but only to an 
abstract machine type having a continuum of  (2^aleph_0) "token 
incarnations" appearing in the universal deployment (like in 
Everett-Deutsch QM).
Also, in comp as I present it, if some part of some 
neighborhood-environment needs to be emulated for my consciousness to 
proceed, then I put that part, by definition,  in the "generalized 
brain", which is the part of the universe which needs to be duplicated 
for *me* being duplicated. The thought experiments I use are simpler 
when one assumes that the brain is the traditional biological one 
inside the skull, but that supplementary assumption can be eliminated 
once the universal dovetailer (or the universal wave function) is 
invoked. Even if the whole Milky Way *is* my brain, once it is 
Turing-emulable, you can understand that sooner or later the Universal 
Dovetailer will simulated it (infinitely often)---and then remember 
that the first person is not aware of any simulation delays.
But still, bravo (if you don't have read my work) because the fact that 
comp forces the mind-body relation to be NOT one-one, is a key feature: 
to an apparent (complex) body you can associate a mind (and this is 
almost just a rule of politeness), but to a mind-state, you can only 
associate the infinity of computational possible "body-histories" going 
through that state.  And then the comp mind-body problem reduces 
partially to the mathematical justification of the rarity of Harry 
Potter Magics or other Wonderland sort of White Rabbits. And if too 
much white rabbits are shown remaining, a case against comp is done, 
but incompleteness assures such a task is not an obvious one.

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


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