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

> All I have to work on is sensory data also.

No you don't! You have an entire separate set of perceptual/experiential
fields constructed from sensory feeds. The fact of this is proven - think
of hallucination. When the senory data gets overidden by the internal
imagery (schizophrenia). Sensing is NOT our perceptions. It is these
latter phenomenal fields that you consciously work from as a scientist.
Not the sensory feeds. This seems to be a recurring misunderstanding or
something people seem to be struggling with. It feels like its coming from
your senses but it's all generated inside your head.

> I can't be certain that there is a "real world" out there, and
> even if there is, all I can possibly do is create a virtual
> reality in my head which correlates with the patterns of sense
> data I receive.

Yes - the "virtual reality" is the collection of phenomenal scenes
mentioned above .... is what you use to learn from, not the sense data.
Put more accurately - you learn things that are consistent with the
phenomenal scenes. There is a tendency in some circles to think of
consciousness as an epiphenomenal irrelevance, devoid of causal
efficacy... I would disagree in that it's causal efficacy is in CHANGE of
belief (learning), not the holding of static belief. Scientific behaviour
is all about changing belief.

reality of the external world? It doesn't matter what you believe about
the existence or otherwise of 'reality'. Whatever "it" is, we have an
a-priori tool for perceiving it that is a phenomenon. i.e. Phenomenality
is a real world phenomenon just as real as a rock. Leave the reality
discussion to the campfire.

Whatever 'reality' is, it is regular/persistent/repeatable/stable enough
to do science on it via our phenomenality and come up with laws that seem
to characterise how it will appear to us in our phenomenality.

> Certainly, it is ambiguous, and that is why we have science: we
> come up with a model or hypothesis consistent with the sense data,
> then we look for more sense data to test it.

You describe scientific behaviour...yes, but the verification is not
through sense data but through phenomenal fields. The phenomenal fields
are NOT the sense data. Phenomenal fields can be ambiguous, yes.
Scientific procedure deals with that.
The sense data is separate and exquisitely ambiguous and we do not look
for sense data to verify scientific observations! We look for
perceptual/phenomenal data. Experiences. Maybe this is yet another
terminological issue. Sensing is not perception.

> Any machine which looks for regularities in sensory feeds
> does the same thing. Are you saying that such a machine could
> not find the regularities or that if it did find the
> regularities it would thereby be conscious?
> Stathis Papaioannou

I am saying the machine can find regularity in the sensory feeds - easily.
That is does so does not mean it is conscious. It does not mean it has
access to the external matural world.

..and that is not what WE do....we find regularity in the perceptual fields.

Looking for regularity in sensory data is totally different process fro
looking for regularity in a perceptual field. Multiple sensory feeds can
lead to the same perceptual field. Multiple perceptual fields can arise
out of the same sensory feeds. No matter how weird it sounds our brains
can map sensory fields to the world outside...The sensory data is
intrinsically ambiguous and not about the external world, but the world at
the location of the transduction that created the sensory measurent. And
an indirect transduction at that (a retinal cone protein isomerisation by
a red photon is not a 'red photon experience' it is a
protein-isomerisation experience  - ie no experience at all!)

I had no idea people were so confused about the distinction between
sensing and perception. I hope I am helping.

now...to the paramecium!



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