On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 10:41 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> Good, so you agree that the idea of a partial zombie is absurd! So do
>> you now have an alternative explanation for what would happen if a
>> fuctionally identical part were substituted into your visual cortex,
>> where visual qualia occur?
> You have missed the point of last several hundred sentences I've
> written. There is no such thing as a functionally identical part that
> is not the genuine part. Any substitution potentially affects qualia,
> to what degree depends on the degree in isomorphism of the substitute,
> both logically and materially. Also visual qualia do not occur in the
> visual cortex, they occur in a person's awareness, through the
> interiority of the visual  cortex + (the interiority of) the retina +
> (the i) of the eye + (i) the body's external environment + the
> exterior projection of congnitive and emotional associations
> contributed by other brain regions interiorities.

Visual qualia occur in the visual cortex, which is fed information
from downstream structures such as the retina and optic nerve. If the
visual cortex is destroyed there are no visual qualia even though the
rest of the visual system is intact, and even though reflexes such as
pupillary constriction in response to light remain intact.

Any substitution will of course affect qualia IF it affects function.
The lens in the eye is replaced in cataract surgery and that does not
affect visual qualia at all, because the artificial lens is
functionally equivalent. The artificial lens is not functionally
identical under *all* circumstances, since it is not identical to the
natural lens; for example, it won't go cloudy with prolonged
ultraviolet light exposure. However, it *is* functionally identical as
far as normal vision is concerned, and that is the thing we are
concerned with. An artificial neuron is more difficult to make than an
artificial lens or artificial joint, but in principle it is no
different. It just has to slot into the network of neurons in a way
that is close enough to a natural neuron. It does not have to behave
exactly the same as the neuron it is replacing, since even the same
neuron changes from moment to moment, just close enough.

>> You would behave normally and tell everyone
>> that your vision had not changed, since the information reaching the
>> rest of your brain, including your language centre, would be the same.
>> That's what "functionally identical" means.
> Then functionally identical is a meaningless tautology, as I have
> explained several time. My answer is always going to be the same each
> time I read this misguided non-thought non-experiment. You're just
> saying 'if everything is the same, how can it be different', and
> glossing over my correct insistent that everything cannot be the same
> unless it is the genuine original. Even the original is not the same
> from year to year, so why is a plastic appliance developed over a few
> years in a lab based on two dimensional logic going to feel the same
> as a million living cells resulting from 4 billion years of multi-
> dimensional experiential evolution?

I am unclear as to what exactly you think the artificial neuron would
do. If it replicated 99.99% of the behaviour of the biological neuron
do you think it would result in a slight change in consciousness, such
as things looking a little bit fuzzy around the edges if the entire
visual cortex were replaced, or do you think there would be total
blindness because machines can't support qualia?

I have asked several times if you believe that IF the behaviour of a
device were exactly the same as a biological neuron THEN you would
deduce that it must also have the consciousness of a neuron, and you
haven't answered. I've asked the same question differently: could an
omnipotent being make a device that behaves just like a neuron (but
isn't a biological neuron) while lacking consciousness, and you
haven't answered that either. A simple yes/no would do.

>  That you feel responsible for one and not the other is a function of
> being able to feel at all. That is not achieved by neuron position or
> circuit topology. Feeling is dependent upon what makes up the circuit.
> What is it a circle of? A circle of live burning cats feels something,
> a circle of transistors does not...not in a shrieking, horrifying,
> unforgettably traumatizing way anyhow. Transistors made of inorganic
> material doesn't feel - it detects. Burning cats feel AND detect.

So you say. We assume that you are right and see where it leads. It
leads to contradiction, as you yourself admit, but then you avoid
discussing how to avoid the contradiction.

>> > Unless that matter is inside my brain, in which case my subjective
>> > will can and does supersedes physical law (and vice versa).
>> Nonsense. The physical laws determine what your brain does.
> What physical law determines how you are going to respond to this? Is
> your opinion from a different part of the Law of Thermodynamics than
> mine? How do you explain our difference of opinion using brain
> chemistry alone? It's a throwback to 19th century materialism. 'It is
> all one great machine with subordinate parts'. The billiard ball model
> was sunk with Einstein and Heisenberg, Freud and Jung, Picasso and
> Stravinsky. The 20th century happened.

If our brain chemistry were the same then we would have the same
opinions; but since our brain chemistry is different we have different
opinions. Moreover, my opinions change because my brain chemistry

>>The gravitational attraction
>> between two bodies is different if they are further apart, but that
>> doesn't mean that they do not follow a consistent physical law!
> They don't follow a physical law, they just do what they can depending
> on what they are. Our observations of what they do can be summarized
> by our understanding, which we call a physical law.
>>On the
>> contrary, the classical law of gravitation says that the force between
>> them varies inversely as the square of the distance. Similarly, a
>> molecule in a beaker of water may behave differently compared to the
>> same molecule in a cell, but both molecules follow exactly the same
>> chemical laws, which take into account temperature, pH, osmolality,
>> concentration etc.
> That has nothing to do with the psyche of a human being and it's
> expression through the tissue of a human brain, body, and lifetime.

Of course it does. It has absolutely everything to do with it. If you
drank 10 liters of water the sodium concentration in your brain would
fall and you would go into a coma. If you had a non-material soul that
was unaffected by biochemistry you would have been OK.

>> >> The model is required to reproduce the behaviour. To make an
>> >> artificial knee joint you need to know how a natural knee join
>> >> functions, what stresses it is likely to be subjected to and so on.
>> >> You can't just insert a picture of a knee joint and expect the patient
>> >> to walk; but a patient will be able to walk with a knee joint made of
>> >> completely non-physiological materials.
>> > The patient will be able to walk, but the natural knee no longer
>> > exists. The joint has no feeling. Only one aspect of it's behavior has
>> > been reproduced. If you were a cartilage cell in that joint, you would
>> > now be dead, which is what you would be if you replaced your brain
>> > with non-physiological materials.
>> To an external observer the knee functions normally and to the owner
>> it functions normally, since he may truthfully tell you that he feels
>> exactly the same as he did before he got arthritis. Of course the
>> artificial joint is different: it's made of metal, it shows up very
>> opaque on X-ray, there is a scar over it. But these differences do not
>> affect function.
> If he breaks his artificial knee, he won't experience the same pain as
> if he broke his original knee. That is a function. The difference
> means that it does not 'function normally'. He can take a 3/4" drill
> and put a hole straight through his patella five inches and not feel a
> damn thing. That is not 'functioning normally'. Why not admit it?

Similarly with an artificial brain component of the right design, if
the circulation is cut off he won't have a stroke. But that does not
mean that he can't have normal cognition.

>> No, the radioactive decay is truly random,
> What makes you an authority on what is truly random?

Look it up yourself.

>>while the behaviour of the
>> crowd is just difficult to predict, unless as Brent pointed out
>> radioactive decay or other quantum events are amplified to make it
>> truly random also.
> Why would the behavior of a crowds at many different baseball games be
> any easier to predict than radioactive decay?

Actually it would be much harder to predict the crowd, but the
distinction between truly random and pseudorandom still applies. Look
it up.

>> > Atoms behave like atoms. Molecules in a live brain behave differently
>> > than those in a dead brain. What is this force? Cumulative
>> > entanglement. Significance. Negentropy. Sense.
>> Molecules in a live brain behave differently because the environment
>> is different, but molecules everywhere in the universe still follow
>> exactly the same physical laws.
> Of course, molecules do what molecules do. Minds do things to
> molecules, molecules do things to minds. It's not really debatable.

Do you imagine that a molecule in a cell does things that would
surprise a biochemist? For example, do you imagine that an ion gate in
a cell membrane can open apparently without being triggered by any
change in the physical conditions such as binding of neurotranmitter?
If so, it should be evident experimentally; can you cite any papers
showing such amazing results?

Stathis Papaioannou

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to