> Colin Hales writes:
>> You are a zombie. What is it about sensory data that suggests an
>> external world? The science you can do is the science of
>> zombie sense data, not an external world. Your hypotheses
>> about an external world would be treated
>> as wild metaphysics by your zombie friends (none of which you
>> can ever be aware of, for they are in this external world...,
>> so there's another problem :-) Very tricky stuff, this.
> My hypothesis about an external world *is* metaphysics, and
> you seemed to agree in an earlier post that there was not
> much point debating it. I assume that
> there is an external world, behave as if there is one, and would be
> surprised and > disturbed if evidence came up suggesting that
> it is all a hallucination, but I can't
> ever be certain that such evidence will not come up.

This is the surprise we are due. It's something that you have to inhabit
for a while to assimilate properly. I have been on the other side of this
for a long while now.

The very fact that the laws of physics, derived and validated using
phenomenality, cannot predict or explain how appearances are generated is
proof that the appearance generator is made of something else and that
something else That something else is the reality involved, which is NOT
appearances, but independent of them.

I know that will sound weird...

>> The only science you can do is "I hypothesise that when I activate this
>> nerve, that sense nerve and this one do <this>"
> And I call regularities in my perceptions the "external world", which
> becomes so
> familiar to me that I forget it is a hypothesis.

Except that in time, as people realise what I just said above, the
hypothesis has some emprical support: If the universe were made of
appearances when we opened up a cranium we'd see them. We don't. We see
something generating/delivering them - a brain. That difference is the

>> If I am to do more I must have a 'learning rule'. Who tells me the
>> learning rule? This is a rule of interpretation. That requires context.
>> Where does the context come from? There is none. That is the situation
>> of
>> the zombie.
> I do need some rules or knowledge to begin with if I am to get anywhere
> with interpreting sense data.

You do NOT interpret sense data! In consciuous activity you interpret the
phenomenal scene generated using the sense data. Habituated/unconscious
reflex behaviour with fixed rules uses sense data directly.

Think about driving home on a well travelled route. You don't even know
how you got home. Yet if something unusual happened on the drive - ZAP -
phenomenality kicks in and phenomenal consciousness handles the novelty.

> With living organisms, evolution provides this
> knowledge

Evolution provided
a) a learning tool(brain) that knows how to learn from phenomenal
   consciousness, which is an adaptive presentation of real
   external world a-priori knowledge.
b) Certain simple reflex behaviours.

> while with machines the designers provide it.

Machine providers do not provide (a)

They only provide (b), which includes any adaptivity rules, which are just
more rules.

> Incidentally, you have stated in your paper that novel technology as the
> end
> product of scientific endeavour is evidence that other people are not
> zombies, but
> how would you explain the very elaborate technology in living organisms,
> created
> by zombie evolutionary processes?
> Stathis Papaioannou

Amazing but true. Trial and error. Hypothesis/Test in a brutal live or die
laboratory called The Earth.... Notice that the process selected for
phenomenal consciousness early on....which I predict will eventually be
proven to exist in nearly all animal cellular life (vertebrate and
invertebrate and even single celled organisms) to some extent. Maybe even
in some plant life.

'Technology' is a loaded word...I suppose I mean 'human made' technology.
Notice that chairs and digital watches did not evolve independently of
humans. Nor did science. Novel technology could be re-termed 'non-DNA
based technology, I suppose. A bird flies. So do planes. One is DNA based.
The other not DNA based, but created by a DNA based creature called the
human. Eventually conscious machines will create novel technology too -
including new versions of themselves. It doesn't change any part of the
propositions I make - just contextualises them inside a fascinating story.

Colin Hales

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