On 19 Aug 2011, at 23:08, meekerdb wrote:

On 8/18/2011 11:04 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 1:33 PM, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

According to Bruno we can look at how it works and conclude it's not a universal computer and it's certainly not Lobian, so we conclude it's not conscious. This accords with the common intuition that something conscious has to be pretty complex and have memory at a minimum. I know a guy who studies neuroscience and cognition who won't eat anything with a cerebral

What about the idea that a thermostat is conscious and feels hot and
cold in its simple way? How would you devise an experiment to prove or
disprove that?

I'm content to say a thermostat is conscious of hot and cold and desired temperature. It even communicates those things to us (via a dial). But I don't think it's conscious in human terms because it doesn't have memory and it doesn't learn. I agree with Jason's last post, an opinion I've expressed before in slightly different terms. I think we will eventually get to the point that we will be able to engineer intelligent machines that act as if they were conscious. And then, in Bruno's terms, we'll "bet" that they are conscious. Consciousness will no longer be a unified concept, as "life" no longer is. We will distinguish many kinds and degrees of consciousness and intelligence. The "hard question" will not be answered, it will be bypassed. Sometime in the future some cognitive engineer will be asked,"But what makes your robot conscious?" And the engineer will answer, "Hypotheses non fingo."

Hmm... This is a point where I disagree with you Brent. Life is a fake concept, I agree. Its definition can only be conventional, at least for a mechanist. It is 3-p reproduction, basically. I consider cigarettes to be alive, with a very complex reproduction cycle including transformation of the human brain. But consciousness is a fundamental and unavoidable 1p phenomenon. We don't need to make it into an hypothese: we live it. And as such it asks for an explanation. In fact what you say works for stuffy matter and primitive physical universe. This is more clearly a (strong) hypothesis, coming from a gross instinctive "animal extrapolation". And comp illustrates that not only we don't need that hypothesis, but that such hypothesis just cannot be used to relate consciousness and reality-experience.



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