Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> I am answering all the mail in time order. I can see below you are making
> some progress! This is cool.
> > 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. 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.
> > OK, I'll revise my claim: all I have to work with is
> > perceptions which I assume are coming from sense data which
> > I assume is
> > coming from the real world impinging on my sense organs.
> > The same is true of a machine which receives environmental
> > input and processes it. At the processing stage, this is
> > the equivalent of perception. The processor assumes that
> > the information it is processing originates from sensors which
> > are responding to real world stimuli, but it has no way of
> > knowing if the data actually arose from spontaneous
> > or externally induced activity at any point from the sensors,
> > transducers, conductors, or components of the processor itself:
> > whether they are hallucinations, in fact. There might be some
> > clue that it is not a legitimate sensory feed, but if the
> > halllucination is perfect it is by definition
> > impossible to detect.
> By George, you're getting it!
> >> 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.
> > You could say: my perceptions are
> > regular/persistent/repeatable/stable enough to assume an
> > external reality generating them and to do science on. And if
> > a machine's central processor's perceptions are similarly
> > regular/persistent/, repeatable/stable, it could also do
> > science on them. The point is, neither I nor
> > the machine has any magical knowledge of an external world.
> > All we have is regularities in perceptions, which we assume
> > to be originating from the external world because that's
> > a good model which stands up no matter what we throw
> > at it.
> Oops. Maybe I spoke too soon! OK.
> Consider... "...stable enough to assume an external reality..".
> You are a zombie. What is it about sensory data that suggests an external
What is it about sensory data that suggests an external world to
Well, of course, we have a phenomenal view. Bu there is no informtion
in the phenomenal display that was not first in the pre-phenomenal
> The science you can do is the science of zombie sense data, not an
> external world.
What does "of" mean in that sentence? Human science
is based on human phenomenality which is based on pre-phenomenal
sense data, and contains nothing beyond it informationally.
Humans unconsciously make guesses about the causal origins
of their sense-data in order to construct the phenomenal
view, which is then subjected to further educated guesswork
as part of the scientific process (which make contradict the
original guesswork, as in the detection of illusions)
> Your hypotheses about an external world would be treated
> as wild metaphysics by your zombie friends
Unless they are doing the same thing. why shouldn't
they be? It is function/behaviour afer all. Zombies
are suppposed to lack phenomenality, not function.
> (none of which you cen ever be
> aware of, for they are in this external world..., so there's another
> problem :-) Very tricky stuff, this.
> The only science you can do is "I hypohesise that when I activate this
> nerve, that sense nerve and this one do <this>" You then publish in nature
> and collect your prize. (Except the external world this assumes is not
> there, from your perspective... life is grim for the zombie)
Assuming, for some unexplained reasons, that zombies cannot
hypothesise about an external world without phenomena.
> If I am to do more I must have a 'learning rule'. Who tells me the
> learning rule?
The only thing a zombie lacks, by hypothesis, is phenomenality.
Since a "learning rule" is not a quale, they presumably have them.
> 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.
> >> ..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.
> > If the perception is less ambiguous that the sense data,
> > that is a false certainty.
> Less ambiguous means more information content. More discrimination. The
> brain accesses the external world directly, not only via sensing.
> mystery of non-local access = "hard problem" = we don't know everything.
The hard problem is about how phenomenality arises.
You seem to have assumed that there is some kind of
clairvoyance going on as well. But that is idiosyncratic.
> We have to admit to this ignorance and accept that we don't know something
> fundamental about the universe. BTW this means no magic, no ESP, no
> "dualism" - just basic physics an explanatory mechanism that is right in
> front of us that our 'received view' finds invisible.
Errr, yes. Or our brains don't access the external world directly.
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