On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 11:52 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> But the part of your brain that is doing the doubting, which might be
>> normal,
>
> If the part of your brain doing the doubting is 'normal' enough for
> you to experience doubt, then you are conscious to that extent. It's
> very straightforward. There is no point in overthinking it.

Yes.

>> could be fed signals about perceptual data (perception
>> involves consciousness by definition) from non-conscious machinery.
>> The technical issues re this machinery are irrelevant: it is only
>> necessary to consider that it is *possible* to provide the appropriate
>> electrochemical signals without also providing consciousness (the
>> hypothesis entertained in order to disprove it).
>
> Consciousness isn't provided. It's not a service. It's like saying
> that mass is being provided to an object.

My position is that consciousness occurs necessarily if the sort of
activity that leads to intelligent behaviour occurs. This is not
immediately obvious, at least to me. I assume therefore that it is not
true: that it is possible to have intelligent behaviour (or
neuron-like behaviour) without consciousness. This assumption is then
shown to lead to absurdity.

>>You would thus believe
>> you had perceptions when in fact you had none.
>
> Signals from an artificial source are still perceptions. When I play
> an mp3 it comes from a speaker rather than a miniature musician. I can
> tell the difference, and I can hear the song. There is no mystery
> there, it's just how sense works. It's not a substance that travels
> through space like a projectile, it's the 'wholes that are pulled
> through the holes'.

Perceptions are generally believed to occur in brain tissue, and
probably cortical rather than subcortical tissue, not in the
environment or in the sensory organs. If a part of your cortex
associated with a certain type of perception or cognition is removed,
that perception or cognition is eliminated. (Other brain tissue can
take on the lost function but this process requires remodelling).

>> that could be the case
>> now: you could be completely blind, deaf, lacking in emotion but you
>> behave normally and don't realise that anything is wrong. Please think
>> about this paragraph carefully before replying to it - it is
>> essentially the whole argument and you seem to have misunderstood it.
>
> I have thought about it many times. Like 25 years ago. It's the
> reductio ad absurdum of materialism. You can't seem to let go of the
> idea that perception is perception whether it happens completely
> within your own dreamworld, through the tailpipe of some computerized
> lawnmower, or a crystal clear presentation of external realities. It.
> makes. no. difference. Having a thought, any thought, any experience
> whatsoever and being aware of that fact is consciousness. Period. It
> doesn't matter if you have a brain or not, or what other people
> observe of your behavior. Unless you are talking about a medical
> definition of being conscious as far as exhibiting signs of responsive
> to the outside world, which is something else entirely. That would
> only be relevant for something which we assume to be capable of
> consciousness in the first place.

I'm talking about subjective experience, perceptions, qualia,
understanding, feelings. These things cannot be observed from the
outside, as opposed to associated behaviours which are observable. But
there is a big conceptual problem if it is possible to make brain
components that perform just the mechanical function without also
replicating consciousness. Sometimes you say it would be too difficult
to create such components, which is irrelevant to the argument. Other
times you say that there would be a change in perception, but then
don't seem to understand that it would be impossible to notice such a
change given that the part of the brain that does the noticing gets
normal inputs by definition.

>> >> I assume you think you're conscious, but
>> >> you would still think that if you had a consciousness-destroying
>> >> (according to you) brain lesion that left your neurons functioning
>> >> normally, such as inactivation of DNA.
>>
>> > No, that's the opposite of what I am saying. If your neurons are not
>> > functioning normally, ie, reduced your brain to the status of a random
>> > organ or silicon chip, you would not think you're conscious; 'you'
>> > would not think.
>>
>> >>It might have happened a minute
>> >> ago to most of your brain; how could you know that it had not?
>>
>> > That's where the 3p position breaks down into absurdity. The whole
>> > point of what I've been saying here is that we should each, in our own
>> > minds recognize that idea as a fallacy, follow it back to it's origin,
>> > and rip it out by the roots so we can't ever make the mistake of
>> > naively thinking it again . It doesn't matter if there is a brain
>> > lesion cause to our experience, consciousness is just as much of a
>> > hallucination whether or not it corresponds to some exterior
>> > reference, because experience doesn't 'exist', it insists. Descartes
>> > wasn't right about everything, but the reason that the cogito still
>> > resonates with it's powerful simple truth, is that it cannot be
>> > denied.
>>
>> > Once you have a foothold on this immutable fact, you can reconcile it
>> > with the immutable facts of science and realize that they are a mirror
>> > image of each other rather than a phenomenon-epiphenomenon. They occur
>> > on the same phenomenon~phenomenon equivalence level. Existence is a
>> > form of insistence, and insistence is a form of existence. They are a
>> > single involuted continuum, but they are never the same thing within a
>> > single PRIF (Perceptual Relativity Inertial Frame) so that my
>> > subjective sensorimotive experience can only look like the consequence
>> > of electromagnetic activity to you. This is how the cosmos works. This
>> > is the solution to the mind-body problem.
>>
>> >  It's up to you now, whether to interiorize this idea, to under-stand
>> > (settle within you) it as your own truth, or to see it as an enemy
>> > idea - a threat to the self which must be defended against through
>> > accusation or inference, suspicion, literalism, intolerance,
>> > sophistry, etc. All of these tools will help restore your interiority
>> > to a state of satisfaction, to reassure you that surely this idea has
>> > no place in pretending at truth. If, however, you apply the spirit of
>> > science rather than the letter, you might be obliged to run your
>> > counter-examples in reverse. What idea is it that you are actually
>> > defending?
>>
>> > What if you pretend I'm right and argue it that way, just out of
>> > curiosity to see if you might have some confirmation bias? Treat your
>> > own views as you would astrology. Assume that you only believe what
>> > you believe because evolutionary biology has wound up making you as an
>> > entity that thinks it wants to win a debate; because he thinks it will
>> > get him food and sex, and that his opinion on it is the meaningless
>> > arithmetic of a protein and sugar machine designed to keep it's body
>> > alive. If I want you to believe what I'm saying, I have only to modify
>> > your behavior, mechanically, or with reward & punishment conditioning
>> > so that you will act like you believe it. How will you know that you
>> > don't believe it?
>>
>> > The universe leaves it up to you. If you want to doubt that your life
>> > exists, you are free to do that. You can imagine that you are a
>> > transparent, egoless window of logical observation on the universe,
>> > and because of how the cosmos works, your observations will support
>> > that. It's not a coincidence. If you want to imagine that you are the
>> > universe, and that every moment of your life is part of a divine
>> > order, and that your thoughts are connected with that order directly,
>> > your expectations will be supported in that too. 'What the thinker
>> > thinks, the prover proves.'
>>
>> I'm afraid I don't really understand what you're saying.
>
> Are you serious? I'm starting to think that you are trolling me.
>
>>I just want
>> to know if a machine that behaved as if it were conscious
>
> I just want to know how many times I can repeat the phrase 'there is
> no such thing as 'behaving as if it were conscious' before you
> acknowledge the meaning of it.

No, I don't understand how you could possibly not understand the
phrase. "Here's Joe, he behaves as if he's conscious, but I can't be
sure he is conscious because I'm noit he".

>>would in
>> fact be conscious. I think it would,
>
> You are free to think whatever you want under my model. If you're
> right about consciousness being just a brain behavior, in which case
> you can only think what your neurology makes you think. In that case
> you might as well stop reading because there's no point in imagining
> you can have an opinion about anything.

I'm not saying consciousness is just a brain behaviour, I'm saying
consciousness is generated by a brain behaviour, and if you copy the
behaviour in a different substrate you will also copy the
consciousness. And of course I can only think what my neurology makes
me think, and my neurology can only do what the laws of physics
necessitate that it do.

>> otherwise it is possible that I
>> am currently deluded about being conscious, which is absurd.
>
> I've gone over and over and over this. A puppet 'behaves like it is
> conscious' when it is being manipulated by a puppeteer. Does that mean
> the puppet is conscious? You're just affirming a fallacious initial
> assumption that consciousness is a behavior rather than an elaboration
> of an intrinsic quality of all matter. There is certainly a range of
> awareness in matter, so that behavior can generally indicate what
> level of awareness something is capable of experiencing, but that goes
> out the window when you are talking about intentionally simulating the
> kinds of behaviors we would tend to associate with beings similar to
> ourselves.

I understand what you're saying and assume for the purposes of
argument that it is true - that consciousness is substrate-dependent
and hence an implementation of a brain component in a different
substrate will therefore be unconscious or differently conscious. But
then if this component is inserted into your brain you will be
differently conscious without realising that you are differently
conscious - otherwise the brain component is not really functioning
normally, which is the initial assumption. So I ask you again, yes or
no, IF A BRAIN COMPONENT SLOTS IN AND FUNCTIONS NORMALLY FROM A
MECHANISTIC PERSPECTIVE DOES THAT MEAN THE WHOLE BRAIN'S CONSCIOUSNESS
WILL NECESSARILY ALSO BE NORMAL?

> Being 'deluded about being conscious is a true non-sequitur'. Delusion
> is consciousness too. A brick cannot be deluded. A computer cannot be
> deluded. A brain cannot be deluded. A person can be deluded - because
> they are the cumulatively entangled sensorimotive interior of a human
> brain, which contains many ambiguous and conflicting fugues of
> significance, organized dynamically and hierarchically through
> metaphor and association, image, instinct, etc on many different
> levels of awareness above and below the conscious threshold.

I agree you can't be deluded about your consciousness, but if
consciousness is substrate-dependent then you CAN be deluded about
your conscious. That's why consciousness can't be substrate-dependent!


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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