>No doubt it would be technically difficult to make an artificial
>replacement for a neuron in a different substrate, but there is no
>theoretical reason why it could not be done, since there is no
>evidence for any magical processes inside neurons.

Subjectivity is the magic processes inside living neurons that is
unknown outside of that context. Life is the magic processes going on
through all cells and tissues that are unknown outside of organic
chemistry.

 The argument is
>that IF an artificial neuron could be made which would replicate the
>behaviour of a biological neuron well enough to slot into position in
>a brain unnoticed THEN the consciousness of that brain would be
>unaffected. If not, a bizarre situation would arise where
>consciousness could change or disappear (eg., going blind) without the
>subject noticing. Can you address this particular point?

I have already addressed this point - you can have a living person
with a prosthetic limb but you can't replace a person's brain with a
prosthetic and have it still be that person. The limb only works
because there is enough of the body left to telegraph sensorimotive
action through/around the prosthetic obstacle. On one level, the more
neurons you replace, the more obstacles you introduce. If the living
cells are able to talk to each other well through the prosthetic
network, then functionality should be retained, but the experience of
the functionality I would expect to be truncated increasingly. The
living neurons will likely be able to compensate for quite a bit of
this loss, as it is likely massively fault tolerant and redundant, but
if you keep replacing the live cells with pegs, eventually I think
you're going to get decompensation, dementia, and catatonia or some
zombie like state which will likely be recognizable to other human
beings.

On Jul 21, 10:58 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 8:46 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > neuron?
>
> No doubt it would be technically difficult to make an artificial
> replacement for a neuron in a different substrate, but there is no
> theoretical reason why it could not be done, since there is no
> evidence for any magical processes inside neurons. The argument is
> that IF an artificial neuron could be made which would replicate the
> behaviour of a biological neuron well enough to slot into position in
> a brain unnoticed THEN the consciousness of that brain would be
> unaffected. If not, a bizarre situation would arise where
> consciousness could change or disappear (eg., going blind) without the
> subject noticing. Can you address this particular point?
>
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

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