Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
>>>A non-conscious computation cannot be *useful* without the
>>>and in this sense could be called just a potential computation, but a
>>>computation is still *conscious* even if no-one else is able to figure this
>>>interact with it. If a working brain in a vat were sealed in a box and sent
>>>space, it could still be dreaming away even after the whole human race and
>>>their information on brain function are destroyed in a supernova explosion.
>>>as any alien is concerned who comes across it, the brain might be completely
>>>inscrutable, but that would not make the slightest difference to its
>>Suppose the aliens re-implanted the brain in a human body so they could
>>it. They ask it what is was "dreaming" all those years? I think the answer
>>be, "Years? What years? It was just a few seconds ago I was in the hospital
>>appendectomy. What happened? And who are you guys?"
> Maybe so; even more likely, the brain would just die. But these are
> contingent facts about
> human brains, while thought experiments rely on theoretical possibility.
>>>>>>>then it can be seen as implementing more than one computation
>>>>>>>simultaneously during the given interval.
>>>>>>AFAICS that is only true in terms of dictionaries.
>>>>>Right: without the dictionary, it's not very interesting or relevant to
>>>>>If we were to actually map a random physical process onto an arbitrary
>>>>>computation of interest, that would be at least as much work as building
>>>>>programming a conventional computer to carry out the computation. However,
>>>>>doing the mapping does not make a difference to the *system* (assuming we
>>>>>aren't going to use it to interact with it). If we say that under a certain
>>>>>interpretation - here it is, printed out on paper - the system is
>>>>>a conscious computation, it would still be implementing that computation
>>>>>had never determined and printed out the interpretation.
>>And if you added the random values of the physical process as an appendix in
>>manual, would the manual itself then be a computation (the record problem)?
>>how would you tell if it were a conscious computation?
> The actual physical process becomes almost irrelevant. In the limiting case,
> all of the
> computation is contained in the manual, the physical existence of which makes
> difference to whether or not the computation is implemented, since it makes
> no difference
> to the actual physical activity of the system and the theory under
> consideration is that
> consciousness supervenes on this physical activity. If we get rid of the
> qualifier "almost"
> the result is close to Bruno's theory, according to which the physical
> activity is irrelevant
> and the computation is "run" by virtue of its status as a Platonic object. As
> I understand
> it, Bruno arrives at this idea because it seems less absurd than the idea
> that consciousness
> supervenes on any and every physical process, while Maudlin finds both ideas
> absurd and
> thinks there is something wrong with computationalism.
>>>>The problem remains that the system's own self awareness, or lack thereof,
>>>>not observer-relative. something has to give.
>>>Self-awareness is observer-relative with the observer being oneself. Where
>>Self-awareness is awareness of some specific aspect of a construct called
>>It is not strictly reflexive awareness of the being aware of being aware...
>>the abstract computation it is just this part of a computation having some
>>we identify as "awareness" relative to some other part of the computation. I
>>it is a matter of constructing a narrative for memory in which "I" is just
> I don't think "self-awareness" captures the essence of consciousness.
Neither do I; I was just responding to you noting that self-awareness is
"observer-relative". The "observer" is really just a construct forced on us by
grammar which demands that an action be done by someone or something. We could
accurately say there is observation.
>We commonly think
> that consciousness is associated with intelligence, which is perhaps why it
> is often stated
> that a recording cannot be conscious, since a recording will not adapt to its
> environment in
> the manner we normally expect of intelligent agents. However, consider the
> experience of
> pain when you put your hand over a flame. There is certainly intelligent
> behaviour associated
> with this experience - learning to avoid it - but there is nothing
> "intelligent" about the raw
> experience of pain itself. It simply seems that when certain neurons in the
> brain fire, you
> experience a pain, as reliably and as stupidly as flicking a switch turns on
> a light. When an
> infant or an animal screams in agony it is not engaging in self-reflection,
> and for that matter
> neither is a philosopher: acute pain usually displaces every other concurrent
> experience. A being played a recording of a painful experience over and over
> into the relevant
> neural pathways may not be able to meaningfully interact with its
> environment, but it will
> be hellishly conscious nonetheless.
> Stathis Papaioannou
I could make a robot that, having suitable thermocouples, would quickly
hand from a fire; but not be conscious of it. Even if I provide the robot with
"feelings", i.e. judgements about good/bad/pain/pleasure I'm not sure it would
conscious. But if I provide it with "attention" and memory, so that it noted
painful event as important and necessary to remember because of it's strong
affect; then I think it would be conscious.
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