Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
>>On Oct 11, 5:11 am, Brent Meeker <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>>>>But it isn't possible to determine by inspection that they are
> conscious.Are you claiming it's impossible in principle, or just that
>>>we don't know how?
>>It may be impossible in principle (i.e. 1-person experience is
>>ex-hypothesi incommunicable) and we certainly don't know how to.
> The fact that conscious experience is intrinsically privately
> presented/delivered can be regarded as key evidence in any proposition as
> to its physics. Any real solution must, by definition, explain why that is
> so.
> Indeed if you imagine a world where consciousness is mundane they would
> expect it to be so. If this possibility exists what it means is that the
> attitude to scientific evidence has to change to suit the real world of
> scientific evidence... especially if consciousness in the form of
> observation by a scientist is to be demanded as the source of evidence on
> pain of being declared unscientific (which is what we currently do -
> unless you can eyeball it you're not being scientific).
> The subtlety with 'objective scientific evidence' is that ultimately it is
> delivered into the private experiences of indiividual scientists. Only
> agreement as to what is evidenced makes it 'objective'. So the privacy of
> the experience individuals is and always will be an intrinsic and
> unavoidable part of the whole process.
> If this is the case then there's a way around it - because in saying the
> last sentence I have been implicitly assuming that a human is doing the
> observing and therefore accepting tacitly all the limitations of that
> circumstance. Relax that constraint and what do you get? Either another
> biological life form is supplying evidence or a non-biological life-form
> is giving evidence of consciousness somehow.

Why a "life form"?  Why not an instrument or a robot?

> A non-biological life-form offers the only really flexible and fully
> controllable and ethical option. How can this do the job, you ask? Isn't
> this a circular arument? You have to know you;ve built a conscious life
> form in oder that you get evidence to prove its consciousness?
> Not really... what it does is open up new options. In another world where
> ethics are different you'd experiment by grafting scientist's heads
> together so they could verify each other's experiences in some way. Plenty
> of scientists! Why not?! ... erm...welll...not really gonna fly is it?

Don't we "graft scientists heads together" now by speech, papers, symposia,...

> So the viable alternative is 'grafting' putative artifiacts together in
> 'cancellation bridges' 


>of one form or another and configure them in such a
> way as to report unambiguously the presence or absense of the results of
> the physics of experience doing its stuff. Merge 4 artificial scientists
> and get them to compare/contrast... and report....

So, for example, if we build a lot of different Mars rovers and they go to Mars 
they report back similar things we'll have evidence that they are conscious?

Brent Meeker

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