Bruno Marchal wrote:

Le 03-janv.-07, à 16:36, Stathis Papaioannou wrote (in more than one
posts) :

> Maudlin starts off with the assumption that a recording being
> conscious is obviously absurd, hence the need for the conscious
> machine to handle counterfactuals. If it were not for this assumption
> then there would not have been much point to the rest of the paper.
> Actually, Putnam and Chalmers also think that the idea of any physical
> system implementing any computation is absurd. I am not sure of
> Mallah's position (he seems to have disappeared from the list after I
> joined), but Hal Finney seemed to give some credence to the idea, and
> outside the list Hans Moravec and Greg Egan seem also to at least
> entertain the possibility that it is true. I would be interested if
> anyone is aware of any other references.

Hans Moravec has defended in this list indeed the idea that even a
teddy bear is conscious. You could perhaps search in the archive my
reply to him. I will try to sum up what I think about this, but other
things need to be clarified, perhaps.

I put it to the list that there are several factors that are implicit
and explicit to the notion of consciousness .. which we humans mis-identify
and mis-weight.  They involve more than the human arrogance that 'our'
sentience is the gauge to measure any/all other-sentience against.

Allow me the gedankenexperiment notion that a sentience exists fully
potentiated and knowledgeable in some pre-existential realm. That
it suddenly finds itself instantiated in this universe and starts
enacting 'consciousness'. In a blink of a moment it dematerializes - to
the horror/wonderment of the rest of us standing here watching the event.

Make it easier -- a coma patient, inert for decades, re-wakes alone in
a room, registers its situation and in an instant - dies.  Would that
moment qualify for 'conscioueness'?
The questions arise .. could a true 'sentience' have existed in that brief
span of time?  I.e, "what is the shortest time span of sentient (self)other
awareness necessary, to "qualify" for consciousness?

Whether human-or-not, 'situational awareness', becomes a parameter
for consciousness, as well.

-reactive/interactive capacity
... etc.

not just in human terms, but allowed in a spectrum of extent,
from just-greater-than-zero to some full-functional (for that
system) capacity.

When you take the raw parameters criteria, and shrink them
down to their minimalist extents -- so that all the BASIC
CONDITIONS of 'sentience' are met/present - whether for a femto-second or 2 days or a billion years; whether capable
of acting-on-awareness or not, or, only capable of self-registry
of received-information; and so on .. we reach a point in
the existential scenario when 'computation' falls away as being
'too complex' in the conditions-spectrum.

What we reach in this paring-away scenario - are qualia of
existence necessary to meet MINIMALISTS conditions for sentience-of-some-sort. Which would not have to be:

In the final existential analysis for 'what is sentience/
consciousness' - it become the smallest, shortest contingient situation for an-aspect OF existence to REGISTER that some
Batesian "difference that makes a difference" -- is co-present.

In the final existential analysis of primary qualia of the universe, I preffered in 1996 that the most FUNDAMENTAL
dynamic change in this universe is some/any CHANGE OF INERTIA
from a fixed sameness.

This puts the formative, functional, primal qualiatative aspect
of sentience/consciousness right in the very fabric of the cosmos.

It is -not- complex or human consciousness -- which emerges later.
But it is the primal foundation-presence and qualia on which
emerged forms of consciousness rely  - in order for those complex forms
to exist, as they do.

Food for thought, ladies and gentlemen, food for thought.

Jamie Rose
Ceptual Institute 4 Jan 2007

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