Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> Hi Quentin,
> >
> > Hi Colin,
> >
> <<snip>>
> >> ... I am more interested in proving scientists aren't/can't be
> >> zombies....that it seems to also challenge computationalism in a
> certain
> >> sense... this is a byproduct I can't help, not the central issue. Colin
> >
> >
> > I don't see how the idea of zombies could challenge computationalism...
> Zombie
> > is an argument against dualism... in other way it is the ability to
> construct
> > a functionnal identical being as a conscious one yet the zombie is not
> conscious. Computationalism does not predict zombie simply because
> computationalism is one way to explain consciousness.
> >
> > Quentin
> >
> Now that there is a definite role of consciousness (access to novelty),
> the statement 'functional equivalent' makes the original 'philosophical
> zombie' an oxymoron...the first premise of 'functional equivalence' is
> wrong. The zombie can't possibly be functionally identical without
> consciousness, which stops it being a zombie!

You need to distinguish between having a function and being a function.
Locomotion is a function. Legs have the function of
locomotion. But wheels or wings or flippers could fulfil the same

> To move forward, the 'breed' of the zombie in the paper is not merely
> 'functionally identical'. That requirement is relaxed. Instead it is
> physically identical in all respects except the brain. This choice is
> justified empirically - the brain is known to be where it happens. Then
> there is an exploration of the difference between the human and zombie
> brains that could account for why/how one is conscious and the other is
> not. At that point (post-hoc) one can assess functional equivalence. The
> new zombie is born.
> Now...If I can show even one behaviour that the human can do that the new
> zombie can't replicate then I have got somewhere. The assessment benchmark
> chosen is 'scientific behaviour'. This is the 'function' in which
> equivalence is demanded. Of all human behaviours this one is unique
> because it is directed at the world _external_ to the scientist.

Surely just about every action is directed towards the external world.

> It also
> produces something that is demanded externalised (a law of nature, 3rd
> person corroboration). The last unique factor is that the scientist
> creates something previously unknown by ALL. It is unique in this regard
> and the perfect benchmark behaviour to contrast the zombie and the human.
> So, I have my zombie scientist and my human scientist and I ask them to do
> science on exquisite novelty. What happens? The novelty is invisible to
> the zombie, who has the internal life of a dreamless sleep.

I think you are confusing lack of phenomenality with lack of
response to the environment. Simple sensors
can respond without (presumably) phenomenality.
So can humans with blindsight (but not very efficiently).

>  The reason it
> is invisible is because there is no phenomenal consciousness. The zombie
> has only sensory data to use to do science. There are an infinite number
> of ways that same sensory data could arrive from an infinity of external
> natural world situtations. The sensory data is ambiguous

That doesn't follow. The Zombie can produce different responses
on the basis of physical differences in its input, just as
a machine can.

>- it's all the
> same - action potential pulse trains traveling from sensors to brain.

No, it's not all the same. Its coded in a very complex way. It's
like saying the information in you computer is "all the same -- its
all ones and zeros"

> The zombie cannot possibly distinguish the novelty from the sensory data
> and has no awareness of the external world or even its own boundary.

Huh? It's perfectly possible to build a robot
that produces a special signal when it encounters input it has
not encountered before.

> OK.
> Now, we have the situation where in order that science be done by a human
> we must have phenomenal consciousness. This is 'phenomena' - actual
> natural world 'STUFF' behaving in a certain way. If I was to do science on
> a rock...that rock is a natural world phenomena. So is consciousness. The
> fact that our present scientific modes of thinking make the understanding
> of it as a phenomena difficult is irrelevant. The reality of the existence
> of it is proven because science exists.
> How does this reach computationalism?
> Well if consciousness is phenomena like any other, as it must be, then
> phenomena of the type applicable to consciousness (whatever the mysterious
> hard problem solution is) must be present in order that scientific
> behaviour can happen. The phenomena in a computational artifact - one that
> is manipulating symbols - are the phenomena of the artifact, not those
> represented by any symbols being manipulated.
> So the idea of a functional equivalent based on manipulation of symbols
> alone is arguably/demonstrably wrong in one case only: scientific
> behaviour. From an AGI engineering perspective it means pure computation
> won't do it. So I am not going to use it. I am going to make chips that
> create the right phenomena in which to (symbolically) ground all knowledge
> acquisition. Merely hooking the AGI up to sensors will not do that.
> From a "computationalism" perspective it means....
> ....Now perhaps you can tell me what you think it means. I have my own
> practical implication...if you tell me I might understand better. I seem
> to have a messed-up idea of what computationalism actually means.
> cheers,
> Colin

 You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED]
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to