Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/8/27 Brent Meeker <>:
>> 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.
> If you have a different experience for the same input, then you don't
> produce the same output. 

If you count experience as "output" that would reduce functionalism to 
a meaningless tautology.

>You might on a particular occasion, but you
> won't under all conditions, because you will be able to say there is
> something different about the altered experience; namely, the sky now
> looks frabjous or melodious as well as blue. To have a functionally
> perfect brain replacement is to be guaranteed that *nothing* will
> change, so that you will never even be able to say, "this feels a bit
> weird, but I can't explain exactly how".

But if functionalism is to be meaningful the level of functional units 
for a perfect brain replacement must not vary with experience - 
otherwise functionalism threatens to collapse to identicalism (I just 
made that up :-) ).

I actually expect that our consciousness is very crude, compared to 
the information theoretic content of our perception and our biological 
function, and we could be easily fooled by the doctor.  Suppose we get 
a brain that makes the sky look different - but one that forgets how 
the sky used to look.


>> 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.

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