On Sun, May 17, 2009 at 2:03 AM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Do you suppose that something could behave just as humans do yet not be
> conscious, i.e. could there be a philosophical zombie?

I think that somewhere there would have to be a conscious experience
associated with the production of the behavior, THOUGH the conscious
experience might not supervene onto the system producing the behavior
in an obvious way.

Generally I don't think that what we experience is necessarily caused
by physical systems.  I think that sometimes physical systems assume
configurations that "shadow", or represent, our conscious experience.
But they don't CAUSE our conscious experience.

So a computer simulation of a human brain that thinks it's at the
beach would be an example.  The computer running the simulation
assumes a sequence of configurations that could be interpreted as
representing the mental processes of a person enjoying a day at the
beach.  But I can't see any reason why a bunch of electrons moving
through copper and silicon in a particular way would "cause" that
subjective experience of surf and sand.

And for similar reasons I don't see why a human brain would either,
even if it was actually at the beach, given that it is also just
electrons and protons and neutrons.moving in specific ways.

It doesn't seem plausible to me that it is the act of being
represented in some way by a physical system that produces conscious

Though it DOES seem plausible/obvious to me that a physical system
going through a sequence of these representations is what produces
human behavior.

> The information processing?

Well, I would say information processing, but it seems to me that many
different "processes" could produce the same information.  And I would
not expect a change in "process" or algorithm to produce a different
subjective experience if the information that was being
processed/output remained the same.

So for this reason I go with "consciousness is information", not
"consciousness is information processing".

Processes just describe ways that different information states CAN be
connected, or related, or transformed.  But I don't think that
consciousness resides in those processes.

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