Kory Heath wrote:
> On Nov 20, 2008, at 10:38 AM, Brent Meeker wrote:
>> I think you really you mean nomologically possible.
> I mean logically possible, but I'm happy to change it to  
> "nomologically possible" for the purposes of this conversation.

Doesn't the question go away if it is nomologically impossible?

>> I think Dennett changes the question by referring to
>> neurophysiological "actions".  Does he suppose wetware can't be  
>> replaced by
>> hardware?
> No, he definitely argues that wetware can replaced by hardware, as  
> long as the hardware retains the computational functionality of the  
> wetware.

But that's the catch. Computational functionality is a capacity, not a fact. 
Does a random number generator have computational functionality just in case it 
(accidentally) computes something?  I would say it does not.  But referring the 
concept of zombie to a capacity, rather than observed behavior, makes a 
difference in Bruno's question.

>> In general when I'm asked if I believe in philosophical zombies, I  
>> say no,
>> because I'm thinking that the zombie must outwardly behave like a  
>> conscious
>> person in all circumstances over an indefinite period of time, yet  
>> have no inner
>> experience.  I rule out an accidental zombie accomplishing this as  
>> to improbable
>> - not impossible.
> I agree. But if you accept that it's nomologically possible for a  
> robot with a random-number-generator in its head to outwardly behave  
> like a conscious person in all circumstances over an indefinite period  
> of time, then your theory of consciousness, one way or another, has to  
> answer the question of whether or not this unlikely robot is  
> conscious. Now, maybe your answer is "The question is misguided in  
> that case, and here's why..." But that's a significant burden.

I would regard it as an empirical question about how the robots brain worked. 
If the brain processed perceptual and memory data to produce the behavior, as 
Jason's causal relations, I would say it is conscious in some sense (I think 
there are different kinds of consciousness, as evidenced by Bruno's list of 
first-person experiences).  If it were a random number generator, i.e. 
accidental behavior, I'd say not.  Observing the robot for some period of time, 
in some circumstances can provide strong evidence against the "accidental" 
hypothesis, but it cannot rule it out completely.


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