Stathis,

Yes, you are right. My main point is to show that such a point of view
is possible, not to actually argue for it... but I am largely just
asserting my intuitions nonetheless.

--Abram

On Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 4:05 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>
> 2008/12/6 Abram Demski <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:
>
>> The causal structure of a recording still looks far different from the
>> causal structure of a person that happens to follow a recording and
>> also happens to be wired to a machine that will kill them if they
>> deviate. Or, even, correct them if they deviate. (Let's go with that
>> so that I can't point out the simplistic difference "a recording will
>> not die if some external force causes it to deviate".)
>>
>> 1. Realistic malfunctions of a machine playing a recording are far
>> different from realistic malfunctions of the person-machine-combo. The
>> person inherits the possible malfunctions of the machine, *plus*
>> malfunctions in which the machine fails to modify the person's
>> behavior to match the recording. (A malfunction can be defined in
>> terms of cause-effect counterfactuals in two ways: first, if we think
>> that cause/effect is somewhat probabilistic, we will think that any
>> machine will occasionally malfunction; second, varying external
>> factors can cause malfunctions.)
>>
>> 2. Even during normal functioning, the cause/effect structure is very
>> different; the person-combo will have a lot of extra structure, since
>> it has a functioning brain and a corrective mechanism, neither needed
>> for the recording.
>>
>> Also-- the level of the correction matters quite a bit I think. If
>> only muscle actions are being corrected, the person seems obviously
>> conscious-- lots of computations (& corresponding causal structure) is
>> still going on.. If each neuron is corrected, this is not so
>> intuitively obvious. (I suppose my intuition says that the person
>> would lose consciousness when the first correction occurred, though
>> that is silly upon reflection.)
>
> Yes, there are these differences, but why should the differences be
> relevant to the question of whether consciousness occurs or not? And
> what about the case where the extra machinery that would allow the
> right sort of causal structure but isn't actually used in a particular
> situation is temporarily disengaged?
>
> It seems to me that everyone contributing to these threads has an
> intuition about consciousness, then works backwards from this:
> "obviously, recordings aren't conscious; now what are the qualities
> that recordings have which distinguish them from entities that are
> conscious?". There's nothing intrinsically wrong with this method, but
> it is possible to reach an impasse when the different parties have
> different intuitions.
>
>
>
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou
>
> >
>

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