On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 1:18 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>> A zombie brain component is a component that replicates the function
>> of the tissue it replaces but does not replicate its contribution to
>> consciousness, such as it may be. The visual cortex is necessary for
>> visual perception since if we remove it we eliminate vision. A zombie
>> visual cortex replicates the I/O behaviour at the cut interface of the
>> removed tissue but does not contribute to consciousness. If whole
>> zombies are possible then it should be possible to make such a
>> component. If you say the brain as a whole would have normal
>> consciousness even though the component didn't
> This is where I find your argument confusing.  Consider an atom in the
> brain.  Can you replace it with a zombie atom?  It doesen't matter, so long
> as it acts like a normal atom it will contribute to consciousness.  The
> brain as a whole will have normal consciousness even though the atom
> doesn't.  But the consciousness never depended on the atom *having*
> consciousness - only on the atom *contributing* to consciousness (by having
> the same functional behavior).

Yes, I agree with you; I don't believe it is possible to make a
zombie. If it were possible then we would either need components that
lack or don't contribute to intrinsic consciousness (if consciousness
is an intrinsic property of matter or if consciousness is added via an
immaterial soul) or components that lack or don't contribute to the
functional organisation that gives rise to consciousness while
possessing the functional organisation that gives rise to intelligent
behaviour. It's an argument against zombies and against the
substrate-dependence of consciousness.

>> you could modify the
>> thought experiment to replace all of the brain except for one neuron.
>> In that case the replaced brain would be a full blown zombie,
> No.  I can replace all the atoms with zombie atoms and the brain is still a
> normal conscious brain.
>> but
>> adding the single biological neuron would suddenly restore full
>> consciousness. This is absurd, but it should be possible if zombies
>> are possible.
> I agree with your conclusion, but your argument seems to imply that since
> zombies are impossible, zombie components are impossible and so quarks must
> have an element of consciousness.  It invites the fallacy of slipping from
> 'contributes to consciousness' to 'has consciousness'.

No, I don't think quarks are either conscious or zombies. I think
consciousness arises necessarily from intelligent behaviour.

Stathis Papaioannou

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