> Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 13:10:52 -0700
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> Subject: Re: computationalism and supervenience
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > Brent Meeker writes:
> > 
> > 
> >>I think we need to say what it means for a computation to be 
> >>self-interpreting.  Many 
> >>control programs are written with self-monitoring functions and logging 
> >>functions. 
> >>Why would we not attribute consciousness to them?
> > 
> > 
> > Well, why not? Some people don't even think higher mammals are conscious, 
> > and perhaps 
> > some there are true solipsists who could convince themselves that other 
> > people are not really 
> > conscious as rationalisation for antisocial behaviour. 
> Autistic people don't emphathize with others feelings - perhaps because they 
> don't 
> have them.  But their behavoir, and I would expect the behavoir of a real 
> solipist, 
> would be simply asocial.
> >On the other hand, maybe flies experience 
> > pain and fear when confronted with insecticide that is orders of magnitude 
> > greater than that 
> > of any mere human experience of torture, and maybe when I press the letter 
> > "y" on my 
> > keyboard I am subjecting my computer to the torments of hell. 
> And maybe every physical process implements all possible computations - but I 
> see no 
> reason to believe so.
> >I don't buy the argument that 
> > only complex brains or computations can experience pain either: when I was 
> > a child I wasn't 
> > as smart as I am now, but I recall that it hurt a lot more and I was much 
> > more likely to cry when 
> > I cut myself. 
> > 
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> You write as though we know nothing about the physical basis of pain and 
> fear.  There 
> is a lot of empirical evidence about what prevents pain in humans, you can 
> even get a 
>   degree in aesthesiology.  Fear can be induced by psychotropic drugs and 
> relieved by 
> whisky.
> Brent Meeker

But can you comment on the difference between your own subjective experience of 
fear or 
pain compared to that of a rabbit, a fish, or something even more alien? I know 
we can say that 
when you prod a fish with stimulus A it responds by releasing hormones B, C and 
D and swishing its 
tail about in pattern E, F or G according to the time of day and the phases of 
the moon, or whatever, 
and furthermore that these hormones and behaviours are similar to those in 
human responses to 
similar stimuli - but what is the fish feeling?

Stathis Papaioannou
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