On Saturday, September 15, 2012 6:21:14 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 2:55 AM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> > What you think third party observable behavior means is the set of all 
> > properties which are externally discoverable. I am saying that is a 
> > projection of naive realism, and that in reality, there is no such set, 
> and 
> > that in fact the process of discovery of any properties supervenes on 
> the 
> > properties of all participants and the methods of their interaction. 
> Of course there is a set of all properties that are externally 
> discoverable, even if you think this set is very small! 

No, there isn't. That is what I am telling you. Nothing exists outside of 
experience, which is creating new properties all of the time. There is no 
set at all. There is no such thing as a generic externality...each exterior 
is only a reflection of the interior of the system which discovers the 
interior of other systems as exteriors.


> Moreover, this 
> set has subsets, and we can limit our discussion to these subsets. For 
> example, if we are interested only in mass, we can simulate a human 
> perfectly using the right number of rocks. Even someone who believes 
> in an immortal soul would agree with this. 

No, I don't agree with it at all. You are eating the menu. A quantity of 
mass doesn't simulate anything except in your mind. Mass is a normative 
abstraction which we apply in comparing physical bodies with each other. To 
reduce a human being to a physical body is not a simulation is it only 
weighing a bag of organic molecules.

> > My point of using cats in this thought experiment is to specifically 
> point 
> > out our naivete in assuming that instruments which extend our perception 
> in 
> > only the most deterministic and easy to control ways are sufficient to 
> > define a 'third person'. If we look at the brain with a microscope, we 
> see 
> > those parts of the brain that microscopes can see. If we look at New 
> York 
> > with a swarm of cats, then we see the parts of New York that cats can 
> see. 
> Yes, but there are properties of the brain that may not be relevant to 
> behaviour. Which properties are in fact important is determined by 
> experiment. For example, we may replace the myelin sheath with a 
> synthetic material that has similar electrical properties and then 
> test an isolated nerve to see if action potentials propagate in the 
> same way. If they do, then the next step is to incorporate the nerve 
> in a network and see if the pattern of firing in the network looks 
> normal. The step after that is to replace the myelin in the brain of a 
> rat to see if the animal's behaviour changes. The modified rats are 
> compared to unmodified rats by a blinded researcher to see if he can 
> tell the difference. If no-one can consistently tell the difference 
> then it is announced that the synthetic myelin appears to be a 
> functionally identical substitute for natural myelin. 

Except it isn't identical. No imitation substance is identical to the 
original. Sooner or later the limits of the imitation will be found - or 
they could be advantages. Maybe the imitation myelin prevents brain cancer 
or heat stroke or something, but it also maybe prevents sensation in cold 
weather or maybe certain amino acids now cause Parkinson's disease. There 
is no such thing as identical. There is only 'seems identical from this 
measure at this time'.


> As is the nature 
> of science, another team of researchers may then find some deficit in 
> the behaviour of the modified rats under conditions the first team did 
> not examine. Scientists then make modifications to the formula of the 
> synthetic myelin and do the experiments again. 

Which is great for medicine (although ultimately maybe unsustainably 
expensive), but it has nothing to do with the assumption of identical 
structure and the hard problem of consciousness. There is no such thing as 
identical experience. I have suggested that in fact we can perhaps define 
consciousness as that which has never been repeated. It is the antithesis 
of that which can be repeated, (hence the experience of "now"), even though 
experiences themselves can seem very repetitive. The only seem so from the 
vantage point of a completely novel moment of consideration of the memories 
of previous iterations.

> > This is the point of the thought experiment. The limitations of all 
> forms of 
> > measurement and perception preclude all possibility of there ever being 
> a 
> > such thing as an exhaustively complete set of third person behaviors of 
> any 
> > system. 
> > 
> > What is it that you don't think I understand? 
> What you don't understand is that an exhaustively complete set of 
> behaviours is not required. 

Yes, it is. Not for prosthetic enhancements, or repairs to a nervous 
system, but to replace a nervous system without replacing the person who is 
using it, yes, there is no set of behaviors which can ever be exhaustive 
enough in theory to accomplish that. You might be able to do it 
biologically, but there is no reason to trust it unless and until someone 
can be walked off of their brain for a few weeks or months and then walked 
back on.

> I don't access an exhaustively complete 
> set of behaviours to determine if my friends are the same people from 
> day to day, and in fact they are *not* the same systems from day to 
> day, as they change both physically and psychologically. I have in 
> mind a rather vague set of behavioural behavioural limits and if the 
> people who I think are my friends deviate significantly from these 
> limits I will start to worry. 

Which is exactly why you would not want to replace your friends with 
devices capable only of programmed deviations. Are simulated friends 'good 
enough'. Will it be good enough when your friends convince you to be 
replaced by your simulation?


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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