1Z wrote:
> 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 
>>>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 
>>>mapping).  But I see it's state and activity as relative to our shared 
>>>and this greatly constrains what it can be said to "compute", e.g. the 
>>>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 
>>>aware of the temperature or the expansion coefficient of Hg or whatever else 
>>>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
> thermometer
> knows that in itself.
> Computationalism does not claim that every computation is conscious.
> If consciousness supervenes on inherent non-interprtation-dependent
> features,
> it can supervene on features which are binary, either present or
> absent.

It could, depending on what it is.  But that's why we need some independent 
operational definition of consciousness before we can say what has it and what 
doens't.  It's pretty clear that there are degrees of consciousness.  My dog is 
of where he is and who he is relative to the family etc.  But I don't think he 
the mirror test.  So whether a thermometer is conscious or not is likely to be 
matter of how we define and quantify consciousness.

> For instance, whether a programme examines or modifies its own code is
> surely
> 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.

Not at all.  If someone whispers your name while you're asleep, you will wake 
up - 
showing you were conscious of sounds and their meaning.

On the other hand, it does come on like a light (or a slow sunrise) when you 
come out 
of anesthesia.

Brent Meeker

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