On Jul 25, 10:08 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> You say the question is meaningless but then answer it in the affirmative.

The answer is as affirmative as it is negative. Consciousness is
partially separable and partially inseparable from brain function.

> > 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.
> So you can end up both behaving as if you have normal vision and
> believing that your vision is normal while being completely blind. Are
> you happy with this as a possibility? Or do you see how it could be
> avoided if consciousness and the non-conscious function of neural
> tissue can be separated?

You won't believe that your vision is normal, no. Other people will
believe your vision is normal and you will have the capacity to make
them believe it is normal by being able to verify external optical
conditions, but your visual qualia will not be felt if the prosthetic
cortex has no biological-chemical level responses. Think of the
difference between a local anesthetic and a general anesthetic. If
it's local, there's not much external clues as to the lack of
sensation going on. If the dentist starts drilling and you say
'aaaahhh' then she gives you more Novocaine. Likewise, people under
general anesthetic sometimes report becoming conscious but immobilized
during surgery. What you're talking about with replacing just the
visual cortex is somewhere in between. It's a big part of a sighted
person's consciousness to become numb to, but the rest of them will
still be able to peer through empty eyeballs at a generic world of
shapes and colors. You may have to consciously decrypt each shape of
each letter to think of what it's called. Who knows. It depends on how
the closely the replacement cortex resembles a natural one.

> Or do you see how it could be
> avoided if consciousness and the non-conscious function of neural
> tissue can be separated?

I'm saying that all tissue is potentially aware, just not part of what
we consider 'us'. If you put live stem cells in a brain it might
develop into a better replacement cortex than fully articulated non-
biological neurons ever could.


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