On 19 Jan 2010, at 03:28, silky wrote:

I don't disagree with you that it would be significantly complicated, I suppose my argument is only that, unlike with a real cat, I - the programmer - know all there is to know about this computer cat. I'm wondering to what degree that adds or removes to my moral obligations.


I think there is a confusion of level. It seems related to the problem of free-will. Some people believe that free will is impossible in the deterministic frame.

But no machine can predict its own behavior in advance. If it could it could contradict the prediction.

If my friend who knows me well can predict my action, it will not change the fact that I can do those action by free will, at my own level where I live.

If not, determinism would eliminate all form of responsability. You can say to the judge: "all right I am a murderer, but I am not guilty because I am just obeying the physical laws. This is an empty defense. The judge can answer: "no problem. I still condemn you to fifty years in jail, but don't worry, I am just obeying myself to the physical laws".

That is also why "real explanation of consciousness" don't have to explain consciousness away. (Eventually it is the status of matter which appear less solid).

An explanation has to correspond to its correct level of relevance.

Why did Obama win the election? "Because Obama is made of particles obeying to the Schoredinger equation."? That is true, but wrong as an explanation. "Because Obama promise to legalize pot"? That is false, but could have work as a possible explanation. It is closer to the relevance level.

When we reduce a domain to another ontologically, this does not need to eliminate the explanation power of the first domain. This is made palpable in computer science. You will never explain how a chess program works by referring to a low level.

Bruno

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



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