On 2/19/07, Jason <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

On Feb 18, 5:46 pm, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>
> > You can't prove that a machine will be conscious in the same way you
> are.
> > There is good reason to believe that the third person observable
> behaviour
> > of the brain can be emulated, because the brain is just chemical
> reactions
> > and chemistry is a well-understood field. (Roger Penrose believes that
> > something fundamentally non-computable may be happening in the brain but
> he
> > is almost on his own in this view.) However, it is possible that the
> actual
> > chemical reactions are needed for consciousness, and a computer
> emulation
> > would be a philosophical zombie. I think it is very unlikely that
> something
> > as elaborate as consciousness could have developed with no evolutionary
> > purpose (evolution cannot distinguish between me and my zombie twin if
> > zombies are possible), but it is a logical possibility.
> >
> > Stathis Papaioannou
>
> I believe that to say that some special substrate is needed for
> consciousness, be it chemical reactions or anything else, is
> subscribing to an epiphenominal view.  For example, there should be no
> difference in behavior between a brain that operates chemically and
> one which has its chemical reactions simulated on a computer; however
> if it is the chemicals themselves that are responsible for
> consciousness, this consciousness can have no effect on the brain
> because the net result will be identical whether the brain is
> simulated or not.  To me, epiphenominalism is a logical contradiction,
> because if consciousness has no effect on the mind, we wouldn't wonder
> about the mind-body problem because the mystery of consciousness would
> have no way of communicating itself to the brain.  Therefore, I don't
> see how anything external to the functioning of the brain could be
> responsible for consciousness.
>
> Jason


I would bet on functionalism as the correct theory of mind for various
reasons, but I don't see that there is anything illogical the possibility
that consciousness is substrate-dependent. Let's say that when you rub two
carbon atoms together they have a scratchy experience, whereas when you rub
two silicon atoms together they have a squirmy experience. This could just
be a mundane fact about the universe, no more mysterious than any other
basic physical fact.  What is illogical, however, is the "no causal effect"
criterion if this is called epiphenomenalism. If the effect is purely and
necessarily on first person experience, it's no less an effect; we might not
notice if the carbon atoms were zombified, but the carbon atoms would
certainly notice. I think it all comes down to the deep-seated and very
obviously wrong idea that only third person empirical data is genuine
empirical data. It is a legitimate concern of science that data should be
verifiable and experiments repeatable, but it's taking it a bit far to
conclude from this that we are therefore all zombies.

Stathis Papaioannou

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