On Tue, May 03, 2011 at 11:29:33AM -0400, Stephen Paul King wrote:
>     Umm, no. It was not just the last sentence. I would like to
> expand on your thought process that lead to the conclusion. AFAIK, my
> idea of bare consciousness does not involve any form of selection
> (other than the 1p appearance of collapse of superpositions) and
> should apply to even a quark! 

Selection only plays a part in the derivation of quantum mechanics
(PROJECTION postulate). It doesn't play any role in the non-consious
ants argument.

> I am taking an idea from Chalmers and pushing it to see where and if
  it breaks down; “that consciousness is a fundamental property
  ontologically autonomous of any known (or even possible) physical
  properties, and that there may be lawlike rules which he terms
  "psychophysical laws" that determine which physical systems are
  associated with which types of qualia.”

I have no idea what this means :).

> 
>     As I see it any entity that has continuation in time has
>     consciousness. I know that I run the risk of crack-pottery, but
>     let’s go back over the Ant’s are not Conscious” argument. Your
>     argument follows the form of the Doomsday argument, which I have
>     serious doubts about per QTI, but setting that aside, why does
>     not the complexity of the organism not factor into the
>     consideration about the presence or absence of qualia in ants? 

Why should it?

> AFAIK, Bruno has argued effectively that amoeba are conscious... 

Not that I know of. IIUC, he maintains a position of agnosticism on
the subject. 

> The
>   factor that I think that the argument ignores (as does the Doomsday
>   argument) is the ability to communicate and the level of complexity
>   that can be communicated.  

Why is this factor relevant? Is this the "reference class should be
those entities capable of doing anthropic arguments" rebuttal - which
I haven't found to be particularly convincing?

> When we consider the question “what is our expected body mass if
> we are randomly sampled from the reference class of conscious beings?”
> are we covertly selecting only that subsample of entities that we
> would consider as conscious, say per a Turing test, like ourselves? 

No, only those conscious entities that have a body mass.

> What would be an appropriate Turing test for an ant? How does body
> mass inform us of the possession of qualia? 

A priori, it doesn't.

> > Surely very small body mass limits the number of brain states that
> we can claim supervene mentality, but what is that considering? Are we
> missing something perhaps in thinking that only a certain size brain
> or number of interconnected neurons supervenes consciousness? 

No such assumptions should be or were made.

> I think we might be making the inverse of Searle’s mistake of the Chinese 
> room! 
>     I think that we need to nail down exactly what we mean by 
> “consciousness”. The definition of “possesses qualia” is only the first step. 
> I need to read Nagel's papers some more ... 

For the non-conscious ants argument, consiousness is equated with the
anthropic reference class. No other properties of consiousness is
required. Of course, there are some who argue that the anthropic
argument reference class is some subset of conscious entities (eg
those able to understand athropic arguments), but short of someone
providing a convincing argument that this is the case, I feel
justified in assuming that the anthropic reference class is the whole
set of conscious entities.

> 
> Onward!
> 
> Stephen
>     
> 
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Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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