On Jul 25, 7:44 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The argument in the paper is independent of any particular theory of
> consciousness. It just asks the question of whether consciousness can
> be separated from externally observable brain function.

With my theory of consciousness, that's the wrong question to ask.
It's like asking whether pronunciation of words can be separated from
words. It's not a meaningful question. The most exterior facing
aspects of consciousness can be detected externally, and the most
interior facing aspects of physics - such as perceptual qualia, can be
detected internally. Each part of the phenomenological continuum
overlaps in one range, can be related in another, and sharply diverges
at the extreme, until the extremes resolve in ineffability.

We could
> assume for the sake of argument that consciousness is miraculous:
> could God make a neuron that functions normally in its interaction
> with other neurons but lacks consciousness?

It's the same thing as my YouTube argument. If you make a program that
splices together YouTube clips of someone speaking English phonemes,
and then connect that up to a simple ELIZA/bot-like script, you have
made an image of a person who functions (close to) normally in it's
interaction with users online. A really snazzy version of this might
be able to fool everyone into thinking that they are talking to a real
person, yet I see that obviously there isn't really a virtual person,
just a clever GUI for a database front end.

>The answer, I think, is
> no, for it would lead to absurdity. As far as I can understand your
> theory, it would allow for the creation of zombie neurons, therefore
> it must be wrong.

Not zombie neurons, just zombie imitation neurons. A natural neuron
could not be a zombie, but you could make a neuron that you think
should function like a natural neuron and it would not be able to be
well integrated into the person's consciousness. If the imitation is
biological, genetic, and atomic, then it is a very good imitation and
I would expect a good chance for success, even if alternate gene
sequences or cell architectures were employed. If you cut out the
entire biochemical layer, and try to reproduce human consciousness
with only solid state electronics, you're going to get different
results which would exclude the ability to feel or understand human
experience in the absence of a living human.

Craig

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