On Saturday, August 11, 2012 3:01:41 PM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
> Roger,
> You say computers are quantitative instruments which cannot have a self or 
> feelings, but might you be attributing things at the wrong level?  For 
> example, a computer can simulate some particle interactions, a sufficiently 
> big computer could simulate the behavior of any arbitrarily large amount of 
> matter.  The matter in the simulation could be arranged in the form of a 
> human being sitting in a room.

Does that mean that if I carefully scooped some salt or iron filings into a 
pattern <http://www.unitedearth.com.au/HJsand.jpg>, that we should have an 
expectation of a sound being produced automatically?

> Do you think this simulated human made of simulated matter, all run within 
> the computer not have a self, feelings, and intuition?

The simulated human won't even have an 'it'-ness. The simulation only 
exists for us because it is designed specifically to exploit our 
expectations. There is no simulation, just millions of little salt scoopers.

>  After all, we are made up of material which lacks feelings, nonetheless, 
> we have feelings.

That's like saying that a photograph is made up of pixels which lack image. 
Since the nature of consciousness is privacy, we are not the best judge of 
non-human consciousness. There is no reason to trust our naive realism in 
assuming that non-humans lack proto-feelings.

"Complex behavior is not confined to metazoans. Both amoebae and ciliates 
show purposive coordinated behaviour, as do individual human cells, such as 
macrophages. The multi-nucleate slime mould *Physarum polycephalum* can 
solve shortest path mazes and demonstrate a memory of a rhythmic series of 
stimuli, apparently using a biological clock to predict the next pulse 
(Nakagaki et. al. 2000, Ball 2008)." - 


>  Where do you believe these feelings originate?

Feelings may not originate, but like the colors of the spectrum are 
accessed privately but have no public origination. As long as we assume 
that experience is something which occurs as the product of a mechanism, 
then we are limited to making sense of the universe as a meaningless 
mechanism of objects. If we think of time and space as the experiential 
cancellations, I think we have a better chance of understanding how it all 
fits together.


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