On 9 March 2010 09:06, Jack Mallah <jackmal...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> If consciousness supervenes on the physical realization of a computation,
>> including the inactive part, it means you attach consciousness on an unknown
>> physical phenomenon. It is a magical move which blurs the difficulty.
> There is no new physics or magic involved in taking laws and counterfactuals
> into account, obviously. So you seem to be just talking nonsense.
> The only charitable interpretation of what you are saying that I can think of
> is that, like Jesse Mazer, you don't think that details of situations that
> don't occur could have any effect on consciousness. Did you follow the
> 'Factual Implications Conjecture' (FIC)? I do find it basically plausible,
> and it's no problem for physicalism.
> For example, suppose we have a pair of black boxes, A and B. The external
> functioning of each box is simple: it takes a single bit as input, and as
> output it gives a single bit which has the same value as the input bit. So
> they are trivial gates. We can insert them into our computer with no
> problem. Suppose that in the actual run, A comes into play, while B does not.
> The thing about these boxes is, while their input-output relations are
> simple, inside are very complex Rube Goldberg devices. If you study
> schematics of these devices, it would be very hard to predict their
> functioning without actually doing the experiments.
> Now, if box A were to function differently, the physical activity in our
> computer would have been different. But there is a chain of causality that
> makes it work. If you reject the idea that such a system could play a role
> in consciousness, I would characterize that as a variant of the well-known
> Chinese Room argument. I don't agree that it's a problem.
> It's harder to believe that the way in which box B functions could matter.
> Since it didn't come into play, perhaps no one knows what it would have
> done. That's why I agree that the FIC is plausible. However, in principle,
> there would be no 'magic' involved even if the functioning of B did matter.
> It's a part of the overall system, and the overall system implements the
But the consciousness of the system would be the same *whatever* the
mechanism inside box A, wouldn't it? Suppose box A contains a
probabilistic mechanism that displays the right I/O behaviour 99% of
the time. Would the consciousness of the system be perfectly normal
until the box misbehaved, or would the consciousness of the system be
(somehow) 1% diminished even while the box was functioning
appropriately? The latter idea seems to me to invoke magic, as if the
system "knows" there is a dodgy box in there even if there is no
evidence of it.
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