why do you believe IN *"QUALIA"?* they are just as human assumptions (in our
belief system) as* "VALUE"*  (or, for that matter: to take seriously your
short (long?) term memories).
A* "ZOMBIE"* is the subject of a thought experiment in our humanly
aggrandizing anthropocentric boasting. A dog?
With the incredible complexity we must assume for (mental) brain(function)
it is almost ridiculous to speak about "partial brains" - especially in the
same breath where we assume what the loss of 1 (one) or even of an
infinitesimally small part of ONE neuron may do. How about the non-neuronal
ingredients, like prions, a little structural change of which may cause (I
would rather say: 'indicate') mad cow disease.

On 3/16/10, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
>  On 3/16/2010 6:03 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 16 March 2010 20:29, russell standish <> 
> <> wrote:
> I've been following the thread on Jack's partial brains paper,
> although I've been too busy to comment. I did get a moment to read the
> paper this evening, and I was abruptly stopped by a comment on page 2:
> "On the second hypothesis [Sudden Disappearing Qualia], the
> replacement of a single neuron could be responsible for the vanishing
> of an entire field of conscious experience. This seems antecedently
> implausible, if not entirely bizarre."
> Why? Why isn't it like the straw that broke the camel's back? When
> pulling apart a network, link by link, there will be a link removed
> that causes the network to go from being almost fully connected to
> being disconnected. It need not be the same link each time, it will
> depend on the order in which the links are removed.
> I made a similar criticism against David Parfitt's Napoleon thought
> experiment a couple of years ago on this list - I understand that
> fading qualia is a popular intuition, but it just seems wrong to
> me. Can anyone give me a convincing reason why the suddenly
> disappearing qualia notion is absurd?
> Fading qualia would result in a partial zombie, and that concept is
> self-contradictory. It means I could be a partial zombie now,
> completely blind since waking up this morning, but behaving normally
> and unaware that anything unusual had happened. The implications of
> this is that zombie vision is just as good as normal vision in every
> objective and subjective way, so we may as well say that it is the
> same as normal vision. In other words, the qualia can't fade and leave
> the behaviour of the brain unchanged.
> I think this is a dubious argument based on our lack of understanding of
> qualia.  Presumably one has many thoughts that do not result in any overt
> action.  So if I lost a few neurons (which I do continuously) it might mean
> that there are some thoughts I don't have or some associations I don't make,
> so eventually I may "fade" to the level of consciousness of my dog.  Is my
> dog a "partial zombie"?
> I think the question of whether there could be a philosophical zombie is
> ill posed because we don't know what is responsible for qualia.  I speculate
> that they are tags of importance or value that get attached to perceptions
> so that they are stored in short term memory.  Then, because evolution
> cannot redesign things, the same tags are used for internal thoughts that
> seem important enough to put in memory.  If this is the case then it might
> be possible to design a robot which used a different method of evaluating
> experience for storage and it would not have qualia like humans - but would
> it have some other kind of qualia?  Since we don't know what qualia are in a
> third person sense there seems to be no way to answer that.
> Brent
> Chalmers thinks partial zombies are absurd but does not believe that
> full zombies are prima facie absurd. Accepting this, it would seem to
> be possible that one could suddenly transition from fully conscious to
> fully zombified without going through an intermediate stage. For
> example, this could happen with the swapping of one neuron. However,
> it wouldn't be the neuron that causes the change, it would be an
> infinitesimally small part of the neuron. This is because the neuron
> itself, like the brain, could be replaced with functionally identical
> components. For the same reason that qualia can't fade for the whole
> brain, qualia can't fade for the neuron. So the qualia would have to
> suddenly disappear with the swapping of one single indivisible
> component of the neuron. Are you prepared to say that it is possible
> there is a single subatomic particle in your brain which makes the
> difference between consciousness and zombiehood?
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