On 26 Aug 2009, at 17:58, Brent Meeker wrote:

>
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> 2009/8/26 David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com>:
>>> On 25 Aug, 14:32, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> <snip>
>>
>> I think what I have proposed is consistent with functionalism, which
>> may or may not be true. A functionally identical system produces the
>> same outputs for the same inputs, and functionalism says that
>> therefore it will also have the same experiences, such as they may  
>> be.
>> But what those experiences are like cannot be known unless you are  
>> the
>> system, or perhaps understand it so well that you can effectively run
>> it in your head.
>>
>>
>
> Does functionalism mean nothing more than if the same inputs produce
> the same outputs then the experience will be the same?  I think this
> is to simplistic.  To reduce it to a really simple example, suppose
> your brain functions so that:
>
> You look at sky.
> Blue detectors fire.
> You say, "Blue".
>
> Now the doctor replaces some neurons so that
>
> You look at sky.
> Blue detectors fire.
> The blue detectors excite frabjous detectors.
> Frabjous detectors fire
> You say, "Blue".
>
> Is your experience the same?  Do you experience "frabjous"?  If you
> put "melody" for "frabjous", you've got synsathesia.  I'd say that
> functional equivalence is relative to the level.  At *some* level
> equal-input-output=>equal-experience, but not at higher levels.
>
> What about lower levels?  Surely it doesn't matter whether 10,000 K+
> cross the axon membrane or 10,001 cross.  So somehow looking at just
> the right level matters in the hypothesis of functionalism.  Maybe
> that level corresponds to the level at which the organism acts; the
> functions evolved to support and direct actions.  Rocks don't act so
> they don't have any functional level.


You are right. A simpler example is a dreamer and a rock, and the  
whole universe. They have locally the same input and output: none!  So  
they are functionally identical, yet very different from the first  
person perspective. This is why in comp I make explicit the existence  
of a level of substitution. It is the only difference with  
functionalism which is usually vague on that point. It is a key point.

It is a key point in real life too. An enterprise will "survive" if  
you get fired and be replaced by someone doing your job, but your  
personal perspective will be different.

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




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