Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Le 19-juin-07, à 21:27, Brent Meeker wrote to Quentin:
>> Quentin Anciaux wrote:
>>> On Tuesday 19 June 2007 20:16:57 Brent Meeker wrote:
>>>> Quentin Anciaux wrote:
>>>>> On Tuesday 19 June 2007 11:37:09 Torgny Tholerus wrote:
>>>>>>  Mohsen Ravanbakhsh skrev:
>>>>>>> The "subjective experience" is just some sort of behaviour.  You 
>>>>>>> can
>>>>>>> make computers show the same sort of >behavior, if the computers 
>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>> enough complicated.
>>>>>>  But we're not talking about 3rd person point of view. I can not 
>>>>>> see how
>>>>>> you reduce the subjective experience of first person to the 
>>>>>> behavior
>>>>>> that a third person view can evaluate! All the problem is this 
>>>>>> first
>>>>>> person experience.
>>>>>>  What you call "the subjective experience of first person" is just 
>>>>>> some
>>>>>> sort of behaviour.  When you claim that you have "the subjective
>>>>>> experience of first person", I can see that you are just showing a
>>>>>> special kind of behaviour.  You behave as if you have "the 
>>>>>> subjective
>>>>>> experience of first person".  And it is possible for an enough
>>>>>> complicated computer to show up the exact same behaviour.  But in 
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> case of the computer, you can see that there is no "subjective
>>>>>> experience", there are just a lot of electrical fenomena 
>>>>>> interacting
>>>>>> with each other.
>>>>>>  There is no first person experience problem, because there is no 
>>>>>> first
>>>>>> person experience.
>>>>>>  --
>>>>>>  Torgny Tholerus
>>>>> Like I said earlier, this is pure nonsense as I have proof that I 
>>>>> have
>>>>> inner experience... I can't prove it to you because this is what 
>>>>> this is
>>>>> all about, you can't prove 1st person pov to others. And I don't 
>>>>> see why
>>>>> the fact that a computer is made of wire can't give it 
>>>>> consciousness...
>>>>> there is no implication at all.
>>>>> Again denying the phenomena does not make it disappear... it's no
>>>>> explanation at all.
>>>>> Quentin
>>>> I think the point is that after all the behavior is explained, 
>>>> including
>>>> brain processes,  we will just say, "See, that's the consciousness 
>>>> there."
>>>> Just as after explaining metabolism and growth and reproduction we 
>>>> said,
>>>> "See, that's life."  Some people still wanted to know where the 
>>>> "life"
>>>> (i.e. "elan vital") was, but it seemed to be an uninteresting 
>>>> question of
>>>> semantics.
>>>> Brent Meeker
>>> I don't think the comparison is fair... between 'elan vital' and
>>> consciousness.
>> I think it is fair.  Remember that in prospect people argued that 
>> chemistry and physics could never explain life no matter how 
>> completely they described the physical processes in a living thing.  
>> All those cells and molecules and atoms were inanimate, none of them 
>> had life - so they couldn't possibly explain the difference between 
>> alive and dead.
> I think you miss the point.  To define life/death can only be a useless 
> semantic game. But nobody really doubts about his own consciousness 
> (especially going to the dentist), despite we cannot define it nor 
> explain it completely. Like Quentin I do think it is unfair to compare
> "elan vital" and "consciousness". Somehow "elan vital" is a poor theory 
> which has been overthrown by a better one. "consciousness" is a fact, 
> albeit a peculiar personal one" in need of an explanation; and there is 
> a quasi consensus among workers in that field that we don't see how to 
> explain consciousness from something simpler (a bit like the number 
> btw...).

Whether we can explain consciousness completely (or at least as 
completely as we have explained life) is an open question - no need to 
give up yet.  I think there is a good deal of mystery mongering about 
consciousness, as there was about life, which may one day be seen as a 
matter of asking the wrong questions.  There was also a quasi consensus 
that life could not be explained.  Every theory is seen to be a poor one 
from the viewpoint of a better one.

>>> I don't think consciousness is just a semantic question.
>> I didn't mean to imply that.  I meant that the residual question, 
>> after all the behavior and processes are explained (answering very 
>> substantive questions) will seem to be a matter of making semantic 
>> distinctions, like the question, "Is a virus alive?"
>>> As I
>>> don't believe that you could pin point consciousness... until proved
>>> otherwise.
>> No it won't be pin pointed.  It will be diffuse, an interaction of 
>> multiple sensory and action processes and you won't be able to point 
>> to a single location.  But, if we do succeed with our explanation, 
>> maybe we'll be able to say, "This being is conscious of this now and 
>> not conscious of that." or "This being does not have self-awareness 
>> and this one does."
> Well,  now, I can prove that if the comp hyp is true then those 
> "brave-new-worlds"-like assertions are provably wrong. If comp is true, 
> nobody, I should perhaps say nosoul, will ever been able to decide if 
> any other entity is conscious or not. Actually comp could be false
> because it is not even clear some entity can be completely sure of 
> his/her/it own consciousness ....

In that case I'd say comp has been disproved; as I can decide whether 
another person is conscious, just as you seem confident in asserting 
Torgny is not a zombie.  Of course I know you mean "decide" in the 
mathematical sense of "prove within an axiomatic system" - but very few 
things about the world can be decided in that sense.

Brent Meeker

>> And "conscious" and "aware" will have well defined operational ("3rd 
>> person") meanings.
>> Or maybe we'll discover that we have to talk in some other terms not 
>> yet invented, just as our predecessors had to stop talking about 
>> "animate" and "inanimate" and instead talk about "metabolism" and 
>> "replication".
> Terms by themselves will not sort out the difficulty. Even just our 
> beliefs or bets in numbers presents big conceptual difficulty.
> Bruno
>> Brent Meeker
>> "One cannot guess the real difficulties of a problem before
>> having solved it."
>>    --- Carl Ludwig Siegel
>>> Quentin
> > 

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