On 11.08.2011 09:25 Stathis Papaioannou said the following:
On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 4:55 PM, Stephen P.
The specific question I'm asking is whether it is possible to
separate consciousness from behaviour. Is it possible to make a brain
component that from the engineering point of view functions perfectly
when installed but does not contribute the same consciousness to the
brain? You will note that there is no claim here about any theory of
consciousness: it could be intrinsic to matter, it could come from
tiny black holes inside cells, it could be generated on the fly by
God. Whatever it is, can it be separated from function?
It is tricky to prove consciousness from behavior. Yet, it seems
sometimes to be possible under some mild assumptions. To this end I will
briefly describe below an experiment that has been done to prove that a
monkey has conscious visual perception (p. 69 in Jeffrey Gray,
Consciousness: Creeping on the hard problem). By the way, I have found
the original paper that he cites (pdf seems to be freely available):
N K Logothetis, Single units and conscious vision.
The experiment is based on binocular rivalry. When each eye sees a
different image, then brain cannot merge them into a consistent view.
Rather a person experience in such a case either the first image or the
second and the images changes periodically. Let me put it this way, the
images on retina in both eyes are constant and different, but we
experience not two images at once but rather they change periodically.
An assumption. If someone experiences binocular rivalry, then he/she has
conscious visual perception.
The question is then how to prove that a monkey experience binocular
rivalry. This has been done for example by training a monkey to press
correctly different levels when it sees different images. As a whole it
is tricky but looks reasonable. Well, this was just an idea and there is
some more stuff in the paper.
Clearly one can develop a robot that will claim that it experiences
binocular rivalry. Yet, this is in my view an another problem.
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