On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 3:16 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>>> 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.

The claim is that (a) he would not notice any change, and (b)
therefore his consciousness would not change. (a) is not begging the
question but is a consequence of any physicalist theory of mind, i.e.
mental events occur because of physical events in the brain, so that
if the same physical events occur the same mental events will also
occur. John Searle claims to be a physicalist but he believes that if
part of your brain is replaced by a functionally identical computer
chip your behaviour will remain the same but your consciousness will
fade away. Incidentally, Searle accepts that there is no problem in
principle with making such a zombie chip. However, this is not
possible under a physicalist theory as defined above. If the computer
chip has the same I/O behaviour as the volume of tissue it replaces,
the brain that does the noticing cannot tell that anything has
changed. Only if consciousness is disconnected from brain activity,
due for example to an immaterial soul, could the subject notice a
change even though his brain is responding normally. The conclusion is
that IF the replacement is functionally identical THEN the
consciousness is also preserved, which establishes
substrate-independence and functionalism. How in practice you would
determine that something is functionally identical is a separate

>> 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
>> automatically.
>> 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.

The same is true of neurons. They could be doing complex calculations
for protein folding, could even be aware of it like worker bees aware
of their position in the hive, but the subject is not himself aware of
it. All he is aware of is the higher level behaviour that manifests
through motor output

>>>>> Similarly, the left hemisphere might implement some
>>>>> superintelligence which experiences much more, but is deciding to fool
>>>>> the
>>>>> 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
>>>> your consciousness.
>>> 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.

This is why the thought experiment involves *partial* replacement. The
behaviour we are considering is the low level behaviour of the neurons
as well as the high level behaviour of the subject. The original
biological tissue is constrained to behave normally if it receives the
normal inputs from the replacement, and if consciousness supervenes on
the physical it is therefore constrained not to notice that anything
has changed. The conclusion is therefore that consciousness is not
separable from function; it cannot, for example, be substrate

Stathis Papaioannou

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