It depends entirely on the degree to which the neurons are modified or
artificial. If you replace some parts of a care with ones made out of
chewing gum or ice, they may work for a while under particular
conditions, temperatures, etc. Think of how simple an artificial heart
is by comparison to even a single neuron, let alone a brain. It's a
pump with a regular beat. Yet, the longest anyone has survived with
one is seven years.

All I'm saying is that for something to function identically to a
neuron, it must in all likelihood be a living organism, and to be a
living organism, it's likely that it needs to be composed of complex
organic molecules. Not due to the specific magic of organic
configurations but due to the extraordinary level of fidelity required
to reproduce the tangible feelings produced by living organisms, and
the critical role those feelings likely play in the aggregation of
what we consider to be consciousness. Consciousness is made of
feelings themselves, and their behaviors, their internal consistency
and not just the neurological behaviors which are associated with
them. It is a first person experience, completely undetectable in
third person.

Or, to use your car analogy, would the replaceable parts of a car
include a driver? Are all drivers capable of driving the car in the
same way? A blind person can physically drive the car, push the
pedals, turn the wheel. Can a blind or unconscious nucleus drive a


On Jul 20, 10:12 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 9:44 AM, Craig Weinberg <> wrote:
> > Since it's not possible to know what the point of view of biological
> > neurons would be, we can't rule out the contents of the cell. You
> > can't presume to know that behavior is independent of context. If you
> > consider the opposite scenario, at what point do you consider a
> > microelectronic configuration conscious? How many biological neurons
> > does it take added to a computer before it has it's own agenda?
> I think you're still missing the point. Forget about consciousness for
> the moment and consider only the mechanical aspect of the brain. By
> analogy consider a car: we replace parts that wear out with new parts
> that function equivalently. If we replace the sparkplugs as long as
> the new ones screw in properly and have the right electrical
> properties it doesn't matter if they are a different shape or colour.
> The proof of this is that car is observed to function normally under
> all circumstances. Similarly with the brain, we replace some existing
> neurons with modified or artificial neurons that function identically.
> No doubt it would be difficult to make such neurons, but *provided*
> they can be made and appropriately installed, the behaviour of the
> entire brain will be the same, and *therefore* the consciousness will
> be the same. Do you agree with this, or not?
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

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