On 12 February 2010 03:14, Jack Mallah <jackmal...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> That's not true.  For partial replacement scenarios, where part of a brain 
> has counterfactuals and the rest doesn't, see my partial brain paper: 
> http://cogprints.org/6321/

I've finally come around to reading this paper. You may or may not be
aware that there is a condition called Anton's syndrome in which some
patients who are blind as a result of a lesion to their occipital
cortex are unaware that they are blind. It is not a matter of denial:
the patients honestly believe they have normal vision, and confabulate
when asked to describe things placed in front of them. They are
deluded about their qualia, in other words. It is a type of organic
delusional disorder called anosognosia, an inability to recognise an
obvious functional deficit in oneself.

This is interesting, but I don't think it damages the fading qualia
argument. For a start, the syndrome does not occur in most patients
who have such cortical lesions, and it is very rare in patients whose
lesion is downstream in the visual pathway, such as in the eye or the
optic nerve. It is not a routine response to the loss of perception,
but rather a specific delusional disorder called an anosognosia, where
the patient's reality testing is impaired and he does not recognise a
functional deficit obvious to everyone else. More to the point, the
fading qualia argument requires that there be no functional change as
a result of the neural replacement, and in Anton's syndrome there is a
gross functional change, since the patient is blind. A patient who is
cognitively intact would immediately notice that something was awry,
and even if he was hallucinating rather than blind, he would notice
that there was a discrepancy between what he thinks he sees and what
his other faculties tell him is really there. There would thus be an
immediate change in consciousness, and similarly in your paper where
you consider a gradual removal of brain tissue. It would have to be
very specific surgery to produce the sort of delusional state you

Stathis Papaioannou

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