On Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 1:29 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> But can you separate the consciousness from that sequence of physical events > or not? There are multiple levels involved here and you may be missing the > forest for the trees by focusing only on the atoms. Saying the > consciousness is irrelevant in the processes of the brain may be like saying > human psychology is irrelevant in the price moves of the stock market. Of > course, you might explain the price moves in terms of atomic interactions, > but you are missing the effects of higher-level phenomenon, which are real > and do make a difference. The higher level description is not an entity with *separate* causal power. Was the stock market movement caused by physics, chemistry, biochemistry or psychology? In a manner of speaking, it's correct to say any of them; but we know that all the chemical, biochemical and psychological properties are ultimately traceable to the physics, even if it isn't practically useful to attempt stock market prediction by analysing brain physics. What I object to is the idea of strong emergence, that higher level properties are not merely surprising but fundamentally unable to be deduced from lower level properties. >> We can't observe the >> experience itself. > > > I'm not convinced of this. While today, we have difficulty in even defining > the term, in the future, with better tools and understanding of minds and > consciousness, we may indeed be able to tell if a certain process implements > the right combination of processes to have what we would call a mind. By > tracing the flows of information in its mind, we might even know what it is > and isn't aware of. > > Albeit at a low resolution, scientists have already extracted from brain > scans what people are seeing: > http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16267-mindreading-software-could-record-your-dreams.html We still can't observe the experience. Advanced aliens may be able to read our thoughts very accurately in this way but still have no idea what we actually experience or whether we are conscious at all. >> The people talking about them could be zombies. There is nothing in >> any observation of peoples' behaviour that *proves* they are >> conscious, > > > Consciousness is defined on dictionary.com as "awareness of sensations, > thoughts, surrounds, etc." Awareness is defined as "having knowledge". So > we can say consciousness is merely having knowledge of sensations, thoughts, > surroundings, etc. The "merely" makes it an epiphenomenon. I think this is Daniel Dennett's potion. Dennett argues that zombies are logically impossible as consciousness is nothing but the sort of information processing that goes on in brains. -- Stathis Papaioannou -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.