On 12 March 2010 04:17, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:

> We can do a thought experiment. A brain is rigged to explode unless it
> goes down one particular pathway. Does it change the computation being
> implemented if it is given the right input so that it does go down
> that pathway? Does it change the consciousness? Is it different to a
> brain that lacks the connections to begin with so that it does not
> explode but simply stops working unless it is provided with the right
> input? What do you lose if you say both brains have exactly the same
> conscious experience as a normal brain which goes down that pathway?

> You might have diminished consciousness.  If you identify consciousness with
> a computation, as in a digital computer, then any specific computation will
> leave some components unused.  But 0's are as much a part of the computation
> as 1's.  So just because the same causal chain of gates or neurons is used
> it is not the same computation unless it is relative to the same possible
> computations.  Or at least that's one way to look at it.  It's not magic,
> it's just that computation and consciousness maybe holistic properties of a
> system.

When a brain is not being consciously used at all, because the person
is in dreamless sleep, the counterfactuals are all still there; they
just don't have any effect. As the person is waking up their
consciousness for the first second might be very limited, while again
the counterfactual behaviour is still there. A common sense conclusion
would be that only that part of the system which is being used
contributes to consciousness. What reason is there to reject this

Stathis Papaioannou

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