Brent Meeker writes (quoting SP):
 
> > A lot of the stuff criticising Chalmer's thesis is quite strident, at least by the usual academic
> > standards. It's not quite as severe as the reaction to Roger Penrose's theories on the mind, but
> > almost. Many cognitive scientists seem to take anything not clearly straightforward materialism
> > as automatically false or even nonsense. I sympathise with them to a degree: I think we should
> > push materialism and reductionism as far as we can. But the inescapable fact remains, I could
> > know every empirical fact about a conscious system, but still have no idea what it is actually
> > like to *be* that system, as it were from the inside.
>
> That's commonly said, but is it really true?  Even without knowing anything about another person's 
> brain you have a lot ideas about what it is like to be that person.  Suppose you really knew a lot 
> about an artificial brain, as in a planetary probe for example, and you also knew a lot about your 
> own brain and to you could compare responses both at the behavioural level and at the "brain" level. 
>   I think you could infer a lot about what it was like to be that probe.  You just couldn't directly 
> experience its experiences - but that's not surprising.
 
You have an idea of what it is like to be another person because you are one yourself. A completely alien being might actually know more about how a human brain works than any human, even to the extent where he could manufacture a fully working and conscious brain, but he would not necessarily have any idea at all about what it is like to be a human unless by accident his own mind turned out to be similar to ours - and even then he couldn't be sure. On the other hand, if you know every empirical fact about a non-conscious entity well enough to make an exact working replica, then you know everything there is to know about it. We could define consciousness as what is left over when you subtract what can be known about an entity by an external observer from what can be known by being that entity yourself.
 
Stathis Papaioannou 
 


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