On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 10:45 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>  It's not about whether other cells would sense the imposter neuron,
> it's
> about how much of an imposter the neuron is. If acts like a real cell
> in
> every physical way, if another organism can kill it and eat it
> and
> metabolize it completely then you pretty much have a cell. Whatever
> cannot
> be metabolized in that way is what potentially detracts from the
> ability to
> sustain consciousness. It's not your cells that need to sense DNA,
> it's the
> question of whether a brain composed entirely of, or significantly of
> cells
> lacking DNA would be conscious in the same way as a
> person.

DNA doesn't play a direct role in neuronal to neuronal interaction. It
is necessary for the synthesis of proteins, so without it the neuron
would be unable to, for example, produce more surface receptors or the
essential proteins needed for cell survival; however, if the DNA were
destroyed the neuron would carry on functioning as per usual for at
least a few minutes. Now, you speculate that consciousness may somehow
reside in the components of the neuron and not just in its function,
so that perhaps if the DNA were destroyed the consciousness would be
affected - let's say for the sake of simplicity that it too would be
destroyed - even in the period the neuron was functioning normally. If
that is so, then if all the neurons in your visual cortex were
stripped of their DNA you would be blind: your visual qualia would
disappear. But if all the neurons in your visual cortex continued to
function normally, they would send the normal signals to the rest of
your brain and the rest of your brain would behave as if you could
see: that is, you would accurately describe objects put in front of
your eyes and honestly believe that you had normal vision. So how
would this state, behaving as if you had normal vision and believing
you had normal vision, differ from actually having normal vision; or
to put it differently, how do you know that you aren't blind and
merely deluded about being able to see?

Stathis Papaioannou

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