Stathis:
I will not go that far, nor draw 'magnificent' conclusion about conscious rocks 
(I am not talking about the unconscious hysteria of the rhytmic crowd-noise of 
teenage immaturity - call them  rolling or non-rolloing STONES), - I just try 
to call the state of being conscious an effective sensitivity (including 
response maybe) to information (changes?) from the ambience.  
(Not a Shannon-type info). 
John

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stathis Papaioannou 
  To: everything-list@googlegroups.com 
  Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 9:53 PM
  Subject: RE: The Meaning of Life




  John Mikes writes:

  > Regarding consciousness being generated by physical activity, would it help 
if
  > I said that if a conventional computer is conscious, then, to be 
consistent, a
  > rock would also have to be conscious?
  > JM:  Bruno:
  > A rock will not read an article in the Figaro, but that is not the rock's 
fault. It is our usage of the human terms transferred into non-human 
applications, what I sense all over. Did we properly identified 'conscious'? I 
feel (generalized DOWN the complexity-scale)  it is some 'mental sensitivity' - 
maybe more. Human mentality of course. Even if animals are deemed conscious, it 
is in human measures. Like: animals are stupid: cannot talk. Washoe chimp 
'talked' US sign language and how else should a creature articulate its sounds 
(for human talk) without proper equipment to do so?
  > Sensitivity with the proper premises is 'conscious' in humans - as we call 
it. A rock has response to information it can acknowledge, it is semantics what 
word we use to mark it. A pine tree does not run, a human does not fly. (how 
stupid, says the chicken),

  I make the claim that a rock can be conscious assuming that computationalism 
  is true; it may not be true, in which case neither a rock nor a computer may 
be 
  conscious. There is no natural syntax or semantics for a computer telling us 
  what should count as a "1" or a "0", what should count as a red perception, 
and 
  so on. These things are determined by how the computer is designed to 
interact 
  with its environment, whether that mean outputting the sum of two numbers to 
  a screen or interacting with a human to convince him that it is conscious. 
But what 
  if the environment is made part of the computer? The constraint on meaning 
and 
  syntax would then go, and the vibration of atoms in a rock could be 
implementing 
  any computation, including any conscious computation, if such there are.

  John Searle, among others, believes this is absurd, and that therefore it 
disproves 
  computationalism. Another approach is that it shows that it is absurd that 
consciousness 
  supervenes on physical activity of any sort, but we can keep computationalism 
and 
  drop the physical supervenience criterion, as Bruno has.

  Stathis Papaioannou


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