On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 3:22 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>> 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
> And what part would that be?  The homunculus in the Cartesian theater.  I
> don't think functionalism entails that there is some "noticing" neuron in
> the brain.  If functionalism is correct, "noticing" must be distributed.

Noticing is distributed, but the parts of the brain are
interconnected. Visual perception occurs in the visual cortex, then
the information may be sent to the limbic system causing an emotional
reaction to what is seen and the language centre allowing you to
describe what you see, and on to the motor cortex leading to muscle
contraction in the limbs. If something changes in your visual cortex
then all these other areas in the brain receive different inputs, and
so produce different outputs. You feel different and you behave
differently, and that constitutes noticing that there has been a

If your visual cortex is replaced by an electronic device that
produces the appropriate outputs at its borders, the rest of your
brain will respond normally. You will watch a film, understand the
story and be able to describe it afterwards, have the appropriate
emotional responses, and so on. In other words as far as the qualia in
the rest of your brain go there is no difference. Now, is it possible
that your actual visual qualia have disappeared and you just can't
notice? If you think this is possible, how can you be sure that didn't
go blind last Tuesday and just haven't noticed? If you are actually
blind in this strange way what have you lost?

>> 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,
> But the question is what "functionally identical" means.  Can it mean only
> the same input/output or must it be similar inside at some lower level.  If
> you specify the same input/output for all possible input sequences,
> including "environmental" ones, then I agree that your argument goes
> through.  But failing that, it seems to me the consciousness that is within
> or due to the AI hemisphere can be different AND noticed in that hemisphere.

It can be noticed separately in that hemisphere but if it is not
communicated it will be a separate consciousness. If my liver suddenly
gained self-awareness that would not necessarily mean that I (the
person generated by my brain) would share in it or vice versa.

> Your argument seems to assume that consciousness is localized and must be
> outside the AI part, but that would lead to philosophical zombies when you
> replaced the whole brain and there was no "outside".

No, because the argument shows that the replaced part must contribute
normally to the consciousness of the whole, due to the conceptual
difficulty with partial zombies - being blind without knowing you are

Stathis Papaioannou

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