On 8/11/2011 5:10 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
It's not the same outputs for the same inputs, since the mathematician
has far more elaborate mental states even if he just answers "21" and
"12". For example, he may be thinking about how boring the questions
are and about what he is going to have for lunch. So if part of the
mathematician's brain were replaced with a calculator it isn't the
case that neither his behaviour would change nor would he notice that
anything had changed.
But his behavior is exactly the same. Your are evading the hypothesis by
counting internal thoughts as "behavior". As noted before "behavior" is
fuzzy. You could try defining "same behavior" to mean same output for all
possible inputs; but it's not clear that "all possible inputs" is a coherent
concept. From a more empirical standpoint you really mean something more
vague and "same behavior" means "similar to past behavior such that his
friends don't think he's had a personality change." But that, I think,
leaves a lot of room for differences of qualia.
The statement was "neither his behaviour would change nor would he
notice that anything had changed".
But the second clause is begging the question. To say "nor would he
notice than anything had changed" is the same as saying his
consciousness is not changed. It's going beyond functionalism.
If both these criteria are
satisfied then the qualia are preserved. If a brain component is
replaced with a functional equivalent (perhaps in a different
substrate) neither the behaviour would change nor would the subject
notice any change, therefore his consciousness would not change. Take
care of the engineering problem and the consciousness follows
It may be difficult to exactly define and be sure of "same behaviour"
or "same output for all possible inputs" but it is a commonplace
difficulty for engineers, where one may be called on to replace a
component in a machine with a different but hopefully functionally
identical component. If an op amp in a piece of electronic equipment
has burned out you may look for another device with similar or better
power handling, bandwidth etc. The replacement may for example be an
IC where the original was made of discrete parts. It may not function
exactly the same under all possible tests but it should be close
enough for the conditions to which the equipment will be subjected.
Exactly. The engineer only cares about the input/output so he can
replace a simple circuit with a computer programmed to emulate it. But
the computer (assuming it's sufficiently fast) can multi-task and do
other things at the same time, like calculate a trillion digits of pi.
If there's no monitoring of this by some output no one can tell this by
just looking at the computer. But they could tell if they looked at the
internal circuit activity. So what counts as "behavior" is ambiguous
and depends on defining arbitrary black boxes.
Similarly, the left hemisphere might implement some
superintelligence which experiences much more, but is deciding to fool
right hemisphere into thinking all is well.
Suppose your left hemisphere is replaced with a superintelligent AI
that easily models the behaviour of your bilogical brain and interacts
appropriately with your right hemisphere, but in addition has various
lofty thoughts of its own. The result would then be that you, Jason
Resch, would continue to behave normally and not notice any change in
Why would he not notice? Who is "he"? You seem to invoke the Cartesian
theatre where "noticing" takes place and so the AI part isn't noticed
because it doesn't go to the theater.
This is rather like the fallacy of the Chinese Room, where Searle
claims that since the human operator doesn't understand Chinese the
room can't understand Chinese. There are two systems, the room and the
operator, and just because they interact there is no requirement that
one understands anything the other understands, let alone that they
are one mind.
But you refer to Jason "not noticing a difference" as evidence that
functionalism is true. "Noticing" is a psychological, non-functional
concept, so it can't be invoked in supporting functionalism. In the
Chinese room there is no "not noticing a change" because there is no
noticing of at all.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at