Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent meeker writes:
> > Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> > > Peter Jones writes:
> > We should ask ourselves how do we know the thermometer isn't conscious of
> > the
> > temperature? It seems that the answer has been that it's state or activity
> > *could*
> > be intepreted in many ways other than indicating the temperature; therefore
> > it must
> > be said to unconscious of the temperature or we must allow that it
> > implements all
> > conscious thought (or at least all for which there is a possible
> > interpretative
> > mapping). But I see it's state and activity as relative to our shared
> > environment;
> > and this greatly constrains what it can be said to "compute", e.g. the
> > temperature,
> > the expansion coefficient of Hg... With this constraint, then I think
> > there is no
> > problem in saying the thermometer is conscious at the extremely low level
> > of being
> > aware of the temperature or the expansion coefficient of Hg or whatever
> > else is
> > within the constraint.
> I would basically agree with that. Consciousness would probably have to be a
> if computationalism is true.
I don't think that follows remotely. It is true that it is vastly
better to interpret a column of mercury as a temperature-sensor than
a pressure-sensor or a radiation-sensor. That doesn't mean the
knows that in itself.
Computationalism does not claim that every computation is conscious.
If consciousness supervenes on inherent non-interprtation-dependent
it can supervene on features which are binary, either present or
For instance, whether a programme examines or modifies its own code is
such a feature.
>Even if computationalism were false and only those machines
> specially blessed by God were conscious there would have to be a continuum,
> different species and within the lifespan of an individual from birth to
> death. The possibility
> that consciousness comes on like a light at some point in your life, or at
> some point in the
> evolution of a species, seems unlikely to me.
Surely it comes on like a light whenver you wake up.
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