On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Aug 10, 10:27 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 1:20 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> 
>> wrote:
>> Not a good analogy since the US is not conscious as a single entity.
> How would we know? It's at least as much of a single entity as any
> computer.

It's possible that all sorts of systems are conscious without us
knowing it but there is no evidence for it.

> The brain is not conscious as a single entity either - we are not
> conscious of much of what we are doing, let along what our brain is
> doing.  I don't accept the objection to the analogy and I think we
> should continue using it since it reveals the issues specific to
> understanding the difference between an entity of millions of quasi-
> autonomous living organisms and a logical template being executed
> mechanically.
>> Please explain what would you think would happen if you replaced part
>> of your brain with an unconscious component that interacted normally
>> with the surrounding neurons. Would you say "I feel different" or
>> would you say "I feel exactly the same as before"?
> Please explain why you want to keep coming back to this fallacious
> example. There is no such thing as a component which interacts
> 'normally' when you are talking about a living being. Yes, the natural
> part of the brain could notice the difference, but it would not
> necessarily notice, depending on how much of the brain was exchanges,
> what parts, for how long, how much that part is used by that person at
> that time, etc, but above all it would depend on how closely the
> replacement part resembled the original. As I have asserted
> repeatedly, there is no such thing as a replacement that is
> functionally identical to the original without it actually being the
> original. That there could be is a radically misinformed assumption
> about the nervous system and consciousness which attempts to reduce
> the subtlety of the issue to a simplistic logical rubric.

You've asserted that only the original could be functionally identical
but you haven't explained why you think this: it implies that there is
uncomputable physics in the brain, and this goes against the
scientific mainstream. If you make such a radical claim you need very
good evidence, but I suspect you haven't thought about the
implications for physics at all.

In any case, I have made the thought experiment simpler by *assuming*
that the replacement component is mechanically equivalent to the
biological tissue. We can imagine that it is a black box animated by
God, who makes it tickle the surrounding neural tissue in exactly the
right way. I think installation of such a device would *necessarily*
preserve consciousness. What do you think?

Stathis Papaioannou

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