Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> >
> >
> > 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.
> Stathis:
> > 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.

So what? There is nothing in them that was
not first in "sensing", unless magic is taking place.

> 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.

Only in dreaming and hallucination.

> > 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.

But it does not follow without consciousness, there is no
change of belief. Any more than "without legs there is no

You probably have some adaptive software on your PC...

> 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.

It doesn't follow that it can't
be perceived without phenomenality.
(Or that there is any special certainty to human perceptions).

>  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.

We do it via our phenomenality. That doesn't mean
that entities devoid of phenomenality can't do it.

> > 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.

None of that shows that phenomenal fields are essential
to the process. legs and locomotion again.

> ..but..
> 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.

Disjoint sense data are ambiguous. They need to be
contextualised with other sense data, memories, innate
reflexes and so on. The $64,000 dollar question is
whether you can have all that without phenomenality.

> > 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.

If it can find regularities without consciousness, Zombies *can* do

>  It does not mean it has
> access to the external matural world.

Despite having sensory feeds? What kind of sense doesn't
give you access to the external 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.

They don't fundamentally contain information that was
not already present in the sensory feeds

> No matter how weird it sounds our brains
> can map sensory fields to the world outside...

That doesn't sound weird at all. In fact, AFAICT, machines can
do the same thing.

> 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.

That may be true of individual data, but there is no reason
to think the process of reconstructing the external sources of data
involves anything more than the comparison, synthesising,
and filtering of data -- all of which is on the Easy Problem side if
the fence.

> 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!)

Uh-huh. The hard problem is understanding how the physical
process gets mapped to any kind of experience at all. But
that is equally true where there is no external cause of the
neural event. The issue of reconstructing, or projecting,
an external-world cause of a (genuine) perceptual
event is another question.

> I had no idea people were so confused about the distinction between
> sensing and perception. I hope I am helping.
> the paramecium!
> cheers
> colin

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