Kory Heath wrote:
> 
> On Nov 9, 2008, at 9:56 AM, Brent Meeker wrote:
>> It's sort of what I meant; except I imagined a kind of robot that,  
>> like your
>> Turing test program, had it's behavior run by a random number  
>> generator but just
>> happened to behave as if it were conscious.
> 
> Ok. That works just as well for me.
> 
>> I'm not sure where you would draw
>> the line between the accidentally convincing conversation and the  
>> accidentally
>> behaving robot to say one was a philosophical zombie and the other  
>> wasn't.
> 
> I wouldn't. I would say that neither of them are philosophical zombies  
> at all. And I'm pretty sure that that would be Dennett's position.
> 
>> Since the concept is just a hypothetical it's a question of semantics.
> 
> I agree. But the semantics are important when it comes to  
> communicating with other philosophers. My only point at the beginning  
> of this thread was that Bruno would be getting himself into hot water  
> with other philosophers by claiming that unimplemented computations  
> describing conscious beings should count as zombies, because that's a  
> misuse of the established term.
> 
>> OK.  It's just that the usual definition in strictly in terms of  
>> behavior and
>> doesn't consider inner workings.
> 
> But the inner workings are part of the behavior, and I'm pretty sure  
> that the usual definition of "philosophical zombie" includes these  
> inner workings.
> 
>> My own view is that someday we will understand a lot about the inner  
>> workings of
>> brains; enough that we can tell what someone is thinking by  
>> monitoring the
>> firing of neurons and that we will be able to build robots that  
>> really do
>> exhibit conscious behavior (although see John McCarthy's website for  
>> why we
>> shouldn't do this).  When we've reached this state of knowledge,  
>> questions about
>> qualia and what is consciousness will be seen to be the wrong  
>> questions.  They
>> will be like asking where is life located in an animal.
> 
> As far as I understand it, this is exactly Dennett's position.
> 
> Let's imagine we know enough about the inner working of brains to  
> examine a brain and tell what that person is thinking, feeling, etc.  
> Imagine that we certainly know enough to examine a brain and confirm  
> that it is *not* just a random-number generator that's accidentally  
> seeming to be conscious. We can look at a brain and tell that it  
> really is responding to the words that are being spoken to it, etc.  
> Let's say that we actually do examine some particular brain, and  
> confirm that it's meeting all of our physical criteria of  
> consciousness. Do you think it's logically possible for that brain to  
> *not* be conscious? If you don't believe that, then you, like Dennett  
> (and me), don't believe in the logical possibility of zombies.

I'm with you and Dennett - except I'm reserved about the use of "logical 
possibility".  I don't think logic makes anything impossible except "A and ~A"; 
which is a failure of expression.  So I tend to just say "impossible" or 
sometimes "nomologically impossible".

Brent

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