Brent meeker writes (quoting SP):

> > Maybe this is a copout, but I just don't think it is even logically 
> > possible to explain what consciousness 
> > *is* unless you have it. 
> 
> Not being *logically* possible means entailing a contradiction - I doubt 
> that.  But 
> anyway you do have it and you think I do because of the way we interact.  So 
> if you 
> interacted the same way with a computer and you further found out that the 
> computer 
> was a neural network that had learned through interaction with people over a 
> period 
> of years, you'd probably infer that the computer was conscious - at least you 
> wouldn't be sure it wasn't.

True, but I could still only imagine that it experiences what I experience 
because I already know what I 
experience. I don't know what my current computer experiences, if anything, 
because I'm not very much 
like it.
 
> >It's like the problem of explaining vision to a blind man: he might be the 
> >world's 
> > greatest scientific expert on it but still have zero idea of what it is 
> > like to see - and that's even though 
> > he shares most of the rest of his cognitive structure with other humans, 
> > and can understand analogies 
> > using other sensations. Knowing what sort of program a conscious computer 
> > would have to run to be 
> > conscious, what the purpose of consciousness is, and so on, does not help 
> > me to understand what the 
> > computer would be experiencing, except by analogy with what I myself 
> > experience. 
> 
> But that's true of everything.  Suppose we knew a lot more about brains and 
> we 
> created an intelligent computer using brain-like functional architecture and 
> it acted 
> like a conscious human being, then I'd say we understood its consciousness 
> better 
> than we understand quantum field theory or global economics.

We would understand it in a third person sense but not in a first person sense, 
except by analogy with our 
own first person experience. Consciousness is the difference between what can 
be known by observing an 
entity and what can be known by being the entity, or something like the entity, 
yourself. 

Stathis Papaioannou
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