On 19.08.2011 05:12 Stathis Papaioannou said the following:
On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 3:53 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi<use...@rudnyi.ru>
I'm not saying we shouldn't do science, just that we can't be
*sure* that something which behaves as if it's conscious is
actually conscious. A thermostat may have a primitive
consciousness or it might not; I don't know.
I do not get your point. For example please develop a theory that
will ascribe a thermostat a primitive consciousness.
I was talking about scientific experiments described in the book of
Jeffrey Gray. I agree that each experiment is based on assumption.
Yet, if we talk about science, the please make a scientific
critique of these experiments. Then it would be easier to follow
It's simply a fact that we can't deduce consciousness from
behaviour. We can do experiments on consciousness assuming that when
people say "I experience this" they are telling the truth, but the
essentially private nature of consciousness means that it can't be
proved. The thermostat is a good example: if I hypothesise that it is
conscious, I can do experiments where it is observed to push the
temperature up and I claim "the thermostat feels cold". Can you think
of any experiment that will help me decide if the thermostat does or
does not feel cold? If you can, then you have a scientific test for
consciousness. we can apply it to computers, animals, thermostats and
any alien beings we encounter.
If we cannot research consciousness, then I am not sure if I understand,
what this discussion is about. After all, tastes differ.
In my view, any experiment is based on some assumptions (a world view).
To this end, it would be nice to understand what a world view would be
necessary to state that "the thermostat feels cold". I guess it is
certainly possible to introduce new definitions under which such a
statement would make sense. Yet, someone must first do it.
Let me give one example. Dick and Natalie are writing a book
"Embryogenesis explained" and in in the first chapter they use an
expression "bacteria can perceive". To understand the meaning of such a
statement I have chosen a ballcock
It might be also a good example to ask if a toilette with a ballcock has
consciousness or not, I believe that even a nice example as a
thermostat. Yet, if we are back to the discussion about "bacteria can
perceive", then the answer was that yes, perceive was considered at the
level of an automatic door. In the sense that an automatic door also
perceives. Then I have nothing against, it is matter of a definition.
If we however consider research on consciousness, then it looks as
follows. I have conscious experience. Then for example I observe that I
experience visual illusions. Then I try it with other people. The report
that they have the same illusions. In parallel measurement of the brain
activity shows that the same illusion causes the activity of the same
areas in the brain. Under mild assumptions, it infers that other people
also have conscious experience. This could be even extended to monkey.
As I have said, any experiment is based on some assumptions that in the
case above for example exclude zombies. Yet, a zombie is just an
argument ab absurdum and in my view it does not make much sense to
consider it literally. I would agree that it is impossible to prove it
now, as we do not have a theory of consciousness yet. Yet again, it
would be nice to look at a world view that allows the existence of
It seems that at present there is only one candidate for a zombie -
Dennet, who defending his theory seems to refuse his own consciousness
(I do not remember now where I have seen this nice statement, it could
be that in the Gray's book but I am not sure).
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