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
>>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
>>it, but how do you know that you know all of it? Does that mean your car
>>conscious? I'd say yes it is (at a very low level) and you *can* know what
> 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?
> 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
the world and us that would cause us to infer their inner experiences; just as I
infer when my dog is happy or fearful.
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