Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent meeker writes:
>>>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
>>But you are simply positing that there is such a difference.  That's easy to 
>>because we know so little about how brains work.  But consider the engine in 
>>car.  Do you know what it's like to be the engine in your car?  You know a 
>>lot about 
>>it, but how do you know that you know all of it?  Does that mean your car 
>>engine is 
>>conscious?  I'd say yes it is (at a very low level) and you *can* know what 
>>it's like.
> No, I don't know what it's like to be the engine in my car. I would guess it 
> isn't like anything, but I might be wrong. 
> If I am wrong, then my car engine may indeed be conscious, but in a 
> completely alien way, which I cannot 
> understand no matter how much I learn about car mechanics, because I am not 
> myself a car engine. 

Then doesn't the same apply to your hypothetical conscious, but alien computer 
interpretative manuals are all lost?

>I think 
> the same would happen if we encountered an alien civilization. We would 
> probably assume that they were 
> conscious because we would observe that they exhibit intelligent behaviour, 
> but only if by coincidence they 
> had sensations, emotions etc. which reminded us of our own would we be able 
> to guess what their conscious 
> experience was actually like, and even then we would not be sure.

How could their inner experiences - sensations, emotions, etc - remind us of
anything?  We don't have access to them.  It would have to be their 
interactions with
the world and us that would cause us to infer their inner experiences; just as I
infer when my dog is happy or fearful.

Brent Meeker

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