Hi Stephen P. King 

The physical is, and only is, what you can measure.

Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him 
so that everything could function."
----- Receiving the following content ----- 
From: Stephen P. King 
Receiver: everything-list 
Time: 2012-09-16, 12:13:52
Subject: Re: Zombieopolis Thought Experiment

On 9/16/2012 8:42 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

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> 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.

 Hi Craig!


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.

    Thus we can realistically claim that the physical world is exactly and only 
all things that we (as we truly are) have in common. What must be understood is 
that as the number of participating entities increase to infinity, the number 
of "things in common" goes to zero. Only for a large but finite set of entities 
will there be a semi-large number of relations that the entities have in common 
and not have a degeneracy relation between them.

    A black Hole is a nice demonstration of the degeneracy idea. The effect of 
gravity is the force of degeneracy, when all the ground states are forces to 
normalize and become identical with each other, the "space" and "delay" (time) 
that is different between them collapses to zero and thus we get singularity in 
the limit of the degeneracy.

> 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. 

    Craig point here is that if we are going to perform a substitution then the 
artificial component must be capable of reproducing *all* of the functions of 
the neuron unless we are going to ignore the fact that neurons are not *just 
transistors*. We cannot fail to recognize that a neuron is not just one thing 
to each other and to the rest of the body and environment beyond it. We need to 
drop the idea that the universe is made up of gears and levers and springs and 
understand that it is not uniquely decomposable into isolate entities that can 
somehow retain their set of unique properties in isolation.

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'.

    Exactly. If we are going to invoke functional equivalence then we must 
invoke all functions that are involved, not just some of them.

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 

    Indeed! WE can easily see that the principle of identity of indiscernibles 
is involved here. Minds, the "things that are conscious", do not exist "in 
space" as physical objects and thus do not have positions or momenta or spin or 
duration quantities that can be used to externally locate them in different 
places so that the PII can be safely ignored. OTOH, minds must be implemented 
or else they are just the "presupposition of a possible thought". They have to 
be functionally implemented "in the flesh" for only the possibility of being 
able to interact with each other and thus gain knowledge of themselves and the 
world (of other minds).

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.

    The postulate of "No Doppelgangers" by Gordon Pask and the "no cloning" 
theorem of Kochen & Specker speak to this directly.

> 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.

    True if and only if the set of behaviors (functions) is truly infinite. 
What needs to be understood, is that we can safely ignore all of the infinity 
except for a finite subset in our models of interactions. We must pay a price 
for doing this and it is the price of not having a completely deterministic 

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.

    LOL! Indeed!

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 

    He want complete predictability, Craig. That is why. TO predict exactly 
what something is going to do is to be able to control it. We humans have this 
hang up about having to control everything....


Stathis Papaioannou 

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