On 05.04.2012 21:38 meekerdb said the following:
On 4/5/2012 11:56 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
On 05.04.2012 20:39 David Nyman said the following:
On 5 April 2012 17:37, Evgenii Rudnyi<use...@rudnyi.ru> wrote:

(a) It is impossible to make a philosophical zombie as consciousness
is just a side-effect of intelligent behaviour;
(b) It is possible to make a philosophical zombie but the mechanism
for intelligent behaviour that nature chanced upon has the side-effect
of consciousness.

Though (b) is possible I don't think it's plausible.


Jeffrey Gray considers consciousness from a viewpoint of empirical
studies.
Philosophical zombies so far exist only in the minds of crazy
philosophers,
so I am not sure if this is relevant.

I've always thought that the parable of the philosophical zombie was
nothing more than a way of dramatising the fact that fundamental
physical theory explicitly abjures any appeal to consciousness in
pursuit of its explanatory goals. All such theories are built on the
assumption (which I for one am in no position to dispute) that a
complete physical account of human behaviour could be completed
without reference to any putative conscious states

The zombie metaphor isn't intended as a challenge to how things
actually are, but rather to pump our intuition of explanatory gaps in
our theories of how things are. Hence, in the case that either option
a) or b) were true, it would still seem unsatisfactory that that
neither conclusion is forced by any existing physical theory, given
the unavoidable observational truth of consciousness.

David

In this sense, his conclusion is in agreement with philosophers. In
his book, Jeffery Gray shows that "consciousness display" cannot be
explained by the current science. According to him, a new science is
required.

Yet, this does not change his hypothesis about why "consciousness
display" could be advantageous for evolution. We do not know what it
is, but if is there, it certainly can help to organize servomechanisms
in the body.

But 'conscious display' is just putting another name on what he purports
to explain. Unless Gray can point to specific brain structures and
processes and explain why those structures and processes make
consciousness and others don't, he has done nothing to put new words on
"consciousness". Science needs *operational* definitions. Conversely, if
he can specify the structures and processes then we can instantiate
those in a robot and see if the robot acts as if it were conscious. I
think that will be the experimental test of a theory of consciousness.
If we can manipulate consciousness by physical/chemical manipulation of
the brain that will be evidence we know what consciousness is. Notice
that in the physical science we don't go around saying, "Yes, I know how
gravity works and I can predict its effects and write equations for it,
but what IS it?"

Science start with a research on a phenomenon. If to speak about a theory of consciousness then we are presumably close to the level when ancient Greeks would try to develop a theory of electricity. Yet, the phenomenon, for example lighting was already there and it was possible to describe it even then.

'Conscious display' is a metaphor, if you like then a placeholder. We cannot explain right now how brain produces consciousness and this is Gray's point. Yet, this does not mean that the phenomenon is not there. We just cannot explain it. In this respect, Gray's book is a very good example of empirical science, the theory of consciousness is however not there.

Evgenii

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