I totally agree that consciousness requires "outside" interaction. That's the way we are. We are living beings that exist in a world. We, as we are, couldn't exist otherwise. Things happen. We interact. We make other things happen. The question of consciousness is a contradiction. The question is trying to reduce consciousness to something less than it is. Even Bruno's number world leads him to believe in the irreducibility of consciousness. It is a mystery. We need to get off of our modern reductionistic thrones or we will die before we live.
Tom Stathis Papaioannou wrote: > Brent Meeker writes: > > > > The brain-with-wires-attached cannot interact with the environment, > > > because > > > all its sense organs have been removed and the stimulation is just coming > > > from > > > a recording. Instead of the wires + recording we could say that there is > > > a special > > > group of neurons with spontaneous activity that stimulates the rest of > > > the brain > > > just as if it were receiving input from the environment. Such a brain > > > would have > > > no ability to interact with the environment, unless the effort were made > > > to > > > figure out its internal code and then manufacture sense organs for it - > > > but I > > > think that would be stretching the definition of "potential interaction". > > > In any > > > case, I don't see how "potential interaction" could make a difference. > > > > Yet you had to refer to "stimulate...as if it were receiving input from the > > environment" to create an example. If there were no potential interaction > > there could be no "as if". So istm that the potential interaction can be an > > essential part of the definition. That's not to say that such a definition > > is right - definitions aren't right or wrong - but it's a definition that > > makes a useful distinction that comports with our common sense. > > It's very difficult to define "potential interaction". With even a completely > solipsistic > computer we could imagine taking readings at various points in the circuit > with an > oscilloscope and/or changing circuit voltages, capacitance, resistance etc. > Is the > fact that we *could* do this enough to make the computer conscious? Or would > it > only be conscious if we had access to its design specifications, so that we > could in > principle communicate with it meaningfully rather than just making random > changes? > What if the human race died out but the computer continued to function, with > no > hope that anyone might ever talk to it? What if the computer had very complex > (putatively) conscious thoughts, but rather simple input and output, eg. it > beeps > when the counts from a connected geiger counter matches the number it happens > to be thinking of at the time: would that be enough to make it conscious or > does the > environmental interaction have to match or reflect (or potentially so) the > complexity > of its internal thoughts? > > > >If you had > > > two brains sitting in the dark, identical in anatomy and electrical > > > activity except > > > that one has its optic nerves cut, will one brain be conscious and the > > > other not? > > > > Where did the brains come from? Since they had optic nerves can we suppose > > that they had the potential to see photons and they still have this > > potential given replacement optic nerves? Not necessarily. Suppose one > > came from a cat that was raised in complete darkness. We know > > experimentally that this cat can't see...even when there is light. The lack > > of stimulus results in the brain not forming the necessary structures for > > interpreting signals from the retina. Now suppose it were raised with no > > stimulus whatever, even in utero. I conjecture that it would not "think" at > > all - although there would be "computation", i.e. neurons firing in some > > order. But it would no longer have the potential for interaction; even with > > its own body. > > Yes, the cat would be missing essential brain structures so it would not be > conscious of light even if you somehow gave it eyes and optic nerves. But I > think > this makes the point that perception/consciousness does not occur in the > environment > but in the brain. If you have the right environmental inputs but the wrong > brain, > there is no perception, whereas if you have the right brain with the neurons > firing > in the right way, but in the absence of the right environmental inputs, the > result is > a hallucination indistinguishable from reality. > > Stathsi Papaioannou > _________________________________________________________________ > Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. > http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---