On 9/19/2012 4:27 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:14:17 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:

    On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM, Craig Weinberg
    <whats...@gmail.com <javascript:>> wrote:

    >> No, the paper does *not* assume that there is a set of
    functions that
    >> if reproduced will will cause consciousness. It assumes that
    >> like what you are saying is right.
    > By assume I mean the implicit assumptions which are unstated in
    the paper.
    > The thought experiment comes out of a paradox arising from
    assumptions about
    > qualia and the brain which are both false in my view. I see the
    brain as the
    > flattened qualia of human experience.

    Chalmer's position is that functionalism is true, and he states this
    in the introduction, but this is not *assumed* in the thought
    experiment. The thought experiment explicitly assumes that
    functionalism is *false*; that consciousness is dependent on the
    substrate and swapping a brain for a functional equivalent will not
    necessarily give rise to the same consciousness or any consciousness
    at all. Isn't that what you believe?

I believe that there is ontologically no such thing as a functional equivalent of an organism by an inorganic mechanism. If you use stem cells as the functional equivalent, then it could work fine. There is no 'good enough' as a citeria for being alive.

    >> And if it were possible to replicate the behaviour without the
    >> experiences - i.e. make a zombie - it would be possible to make a
    >> partial zombie, which lacks some experiences but behaves
    normally and
    >> doesn't realise that it lacks those experiences. Do you agree that
    >> this is the implication? If not, where is the flaw in the
    > The word zombie implies that you have an expectation of
    consciousness but
    > there isn't any. That is a fallacy from the start, since there
    is not reason
    > to expect a simulation to have any experience at all. It's not a
    > it's a puppet.

    Replace the word "zombie" with "puppet" if that makes it easier to

I have no trouble understanding what you are saying.

    > A partial zombie is just someone who has brain damage, and yes
    if you tried
    > to replace enough of a person's brain with a non-biological
    material, you
    > would get brain damage, dementia, coma, and death.

    Not if the puppet components perform the same purely mechanical
functions as the original components.

I am saying that consciousness is not a mechanical function, so it makes no difference if you have a trillion little puppet strings pushing dendrites around, there is still nothing there that experiences anything as a whole.

    In order for this to happen
    according to the paper you have to accept that the physics of the
    brain is in fact computable. If it is computable, then we can model
the behaviour of the brain,

Except that we can't, because the behavior of the brain is contingent on the real experience of the person who is using that brain to experience their life. You would have to model the entire cosmos and separate out the experiences of a single person to model the brain.

    although according to the assumptions in
the paper (which coincide with your assumptions)

No, they don't. I say that the paper's explicit assumptions are based on incorrect implicit assumptions (as are yours) that consciousness is the end product of brain mechanisms. I see consciousness as the beginning and ending of all things, and the brain as a representation of certain kinds of experiences.

    modeling the
    behaviour won't reproduce the consciousness. All the evidence we have
    suggests that physics is computable, but it might not be. It may turn
    out that there is some exotic physics in the brain which requires
    solving the halting problem, for example, in order to model it, and
    that would mean that a computer could not adequately simulate those
    components of the brain which utilise this physics. But going beyond
    the paper, the argument for functionalism (substrate-independence of
    consciousness) could still be made by considering theoretical
    components with non-biological hypercomputers.

Will functionalism make arsenic edible? Will it use numbers to cook food?

My point is this. I am programmed, but I am not a program. An electronic computer is also programmed but not a program. It doesn't matter what kind of program is installed on either one, neither of us can become the other.


Hi Craig,

What you need to perhaps show is that you are not just making a new case for "vitalism", that there is something about each individual thing that is actually conscious that is not capturable in terms of recursively enumerable functions.




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