On Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:01:12 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>
>
>
> On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM, Stephen P. King 
> <step...@charter.net<javascript:>
> > wrote:
>
>>  On 9/26/2012 11:29 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>  
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM, Stathis Papaioannou 
>> <stat...@gmail.com<javascript:>
>> > wrote:
>>
>>> On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM, Jason Resch 
>>> <jason...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> > If it has no causal efficacy, what causes someone to talk about the 
>>> pain
>>> > they are experiencing?  Is it all coincidental?
>>>
>>>  There is a sequence of physical events from the application of the
>>> painful stimulus to the subject saying "that hurts", and this
>>> completely explains the observable behaviour.
>>
>>
>>  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.
>>
>>
Exactly Jason. The moment we conflate  "physical events" with "painful 
stimulus" we have lost the war. If we assume that physical events can 
possibly be defined as full of 'pain', or that they stimulate (i.e. are 
received and responded to as a signifying experience - which is causally 
efficacious in changing observed behavior), then we are already begging the 
question of the explanatory gap. To assume that there can be a such thing 
as a purely physical event which nonetheless is full of pain and power to 
influence behavior takes the entirety of sense and awareness for granted 
but then fails to acknowledge that it was necessary in the first place. 
Once you have the affect of pain and the effect of behavioral stimulation, 
you don't need a brain as far as explaining consciousness - you already 
have consciousness on the sub-personal level.

>  
>>
>>> 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
>>
>>
This may not be what we are seeing at all, but rather what we are looking 
at. There was a recent study on the visual cortex which showed the same 
activity whether the subject actually saw something or not. There may be no 
activity in the brain at all which directly translates into any conscious 
experience that we have, only the event horizon where we interface with our 
body and the body's world. We aren't in there...we're in here. We are not 
extended across public spaces, we are intended within private times.  They 
are orthogonal sense modalities of the same essential process on multiple 
levels, each of which are cross-juxtaposed with ever other. (This means One 
group of cells in my body can get my full attention, or that I can think 
abstractly without consciously considering any cells or bodies or 
conditions in the world).

  
>>
>>> If the experience had separate causal powers we
>>> would be able to observe its effects: we would see that neurons were
>>> miraculously firing contrary to physical law, and explain this as the
>>> immaterial soul affecting the physical world.
>>>
>>
>>  It sounds like you are saying either epiphenomenalism is true or 
>> interactionism is true ( 
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism_(philosophy_of_mind)#Dualist_views_of_mental_causation
>>  ). 
>>  Both of these are forms of dualism, and I think both are false.
>>
>>
Yes, I agree they are both because they both fail to recognize the symmetry 
of extended public space and intended private time. It's understandable 
because we are inherently biased as being completely steeped in our privacy 
to the point that it seems largely transparent to us. Our ability to make 
sense of public space phenomena is so powerful and clear that we are, at 
least in the West, seduced into believing that the interior too surely must 
be nothing but a clever arrangement of exteriors. It isn't. The symmetry is 
the thing. Levels and symmetry are the answer, not linear functions. There 
is no magic required at all, unless you deny your own private experience 
from the start, which of course 'saws off the branch that you are sitting 
on' and logically disqualifies 'you' from having any opinion about anything.

>  
>>     Because they assume a substantive and thus separable substrate, the y 
>> are false.
>>
>>
>>  
>>  Violations of physics are not required for consciousness to have 
>> effects.  After all, no violations of physics are required for human 
>> psychology to have effects on stock prices.
>>  
>>     
>>     Demonstrating that minds are not epiphenomena!
>>
>>
>>
> Well, it at least shows emergent things can have effects.  A truck is an 
> emergent phenomenon, but it can still run you over.  So though 
> consciousness might be emergent we can't plainly rule out that it can have 
> no effects.
>   
>
>>   
>>
>>>
>>> > I find the entire concept of epiphenominalism to be self-defeating: if 
>>> it
>>> > were true, there is no reason to expect anyone to ever have proposed 
>>> it.  If
>>> > consciousness were truly an epiphenomenon then the experience of it 
>>> and the
>>> > resulting wonder about it would necessarily be private and 
>>> non-shareable.
>>> > In other words, whoever is experiencing the consciousness with all its
>>> > intrigue can in no way effect changes in the physical world.  So then 
>>> who is
>>> > it that proposes the theory of epiphenominalism to explain the mystery 
>>> of
>>> > conscious experience?  It can't be the causally inefficacious 
>>> experiencer.
>>> > The only consistent answer epiphenominalism can offer is that the 
>>> theory of
>>> > epiphenominalism comes from a causally efficacious entity which in no 
>>> way is
>>> > effected by experiences.  It might as well be a considered a
>>> > non-experiencer, for it would behave the same regardless of whether it
>>> > experienced something or if it were a zombie.
>>>
>>>  The experiencer would behave the same if he were a zombie, since that
>>> is the definition of a zombie.
>>
>>
>>  Dualist theories, including epiphenominalism, lead to the notion that 
>> zombies are logically consistent.  I don't think zombies make any sense. 
>>  Do you? 
>>  
>>
>>     These dualisms consider mind and body to be separable, this is where 
>> they fail. If Mind and body are merely distinct aspect of the same basic 
>> primitive then we get a prediction that zombies are not possible.
>>
>
> Right, and I think the converse is also true.  If zombies are not 
> possible, then dualism must be wrong.
>  
>
>>  Every mind must have an embodiment and every body must have (some kind 
>> of) a mind.
>>
>
Zombies are a malformed notion because they assume an expectation of 
sentience in an intentionally constructed illusion. Puppets exist, zombies 
are square circles. Simulation isn't an objectively real function, it's a 
matter of fooling some of the people some of the time.

The term mind is similar to soul in that it assumes a public extension of a 
private intention which isn't actually real. It makes it a lot easier to 
talk about to reify our cognitive level experiences as a 'mind', but it's 
really is just the mental frequency range of your Self. The body of your 
Self is your entire body, brain, cells, and even more - your house, your 
friends, your world. The self is *not* defined in space or bodies, it is 
reflected in those things.
 

>
>>
>>   
>>
>>> I know I'm not a zombie and I believe
>>> that other people aren't zombies either, but I can't be sure.
>>>
>>
>>  If you were a zombie, you would still know that you were not a zombie, 
>> and still believe other people are not zombies either, but you could not be 
>> sure.
>>  
>>
>>     How does this follow the definition of a zombie? They have no qualia 
>> thus no ability to reason about qualia!
>>
>
> Zombies can reason.  They can do absolutely everything you can do, except 
> they are not conscious. 
>

No, that's just a bad theoretical assumption. Understandable, but bad. In 
reality puppets can appear to reason to the extent that something thinks 
they know what behaviors should constitute reason and makes the leap from 
thinking that their observation of those behaviors implies awareness. 
Zombies can't do anything. They cannot be themselves. They have no first 
person experience at all. There is no 'they' there.
 

>  They are also completely identical and indistinguishable, from you.  The 
> only one who could (in principle) know they are a zombie is the zombie 
> itself, but they don't know anything the non-zombie doesn't, for both the 
> zombie and non-zombie brains have identical information content.  If you 
> ask it if it is conscious, it will still say yes, and believe it.  It will 
> not consider itself to be lying, it will in fact, believe itself to be 
> telling the the truth.  There would be no lie detector test to that could 
> detect this lie, the lie is so good, the zombie itself believes it.  The 
> zombie is in fact, as certain of its own consciousness as the non-zombie.
>

Confusion of exterior 3p and interior 1p. Assumption of 'identical'. 
Mistakes.
 

>  
>
>>
>>
>>  
>>  This follows because the notion of knowing, which I define as 
>> possessing information, applies equally to zombie and non-zombie brains. 
>>  Both brains have identical information content, so they both know exactly 
>> the same things. 
>>  
>>
>>     Then what makes a zombie a zombie???
>>
>>
> Right, I don't see that the difference makes a difference to anyone or 
> anything, so the truth that there is still some difference must be 
> questioned.  If there is no difference then the whole notion of zombies 
> becomes inconsistent.
>

Yup.
 

>  
>
>>
>>   They both know what red is like, they both know what pain is like.   
>> It's just there is some magical notion of there being a difference between 
>> them which is completely illogical.  Zombies don't make sense, and 
>> therefore neither do dualist theories such as epihenominalism.
>>  
>>
>>     No, the reports that are uttered by a zombie, if we are consistent 
>> are not reports of knowledge any more than the output of my calculator is 
>> knowledge!
>>
>
> But ask the zombie what it can see, and it can describe everything it 
> sees, inspect its brain and you can see the information flow from the 
> retinas to be processed by the visual cortex, and eventually make it to 
> utterances of what it is looking at.  It knows what it is seeing, it's 
> brain contains that knowledge in the same way any other brain does.  You 
> can even watch its hippocampus store memories of what it saw, and when you 
> ask it what it saw a few minutes ago, you can watch this knowledge come out 
> of its brain just as it does in a non-zombie brain.  So in what sense could 
> its knowledge be any less valid than the knowledge in a non-zombie brain? 
>  Remember, zombies are 100% physically identical to their non-zombie 
> counterparts, in every third-person observable way.
>

Just a hypothetical. In theory, fire shouldn't feel hot. Theory based on 
exterior mechanics can never apply to interior experience completely, 
because if it could then it would be logically impossible for there to have 
any reason for experience to exist at all. The reason why zombies don't 
make sense is the same reason that we have the hard problem. If function is 
all there is, why is anyone watching the show?
 

>  
>
>>
>>
>>   
>>
>>>
>>> > Epiphenominalism is forced to defend the absurd notion that 
>>> epiphenominalism
>>> > (and all other theories of consciousness) are proposed by things that 
>>> have
>>> > never experienced consciousness.  Perhaps instead, its core assumption 
>>> is
>>> > wrong.  The reason for all these books and discussion threads about
>>> > consciousness is that experiences and consciousness are causally
>>> > efficacious.  If they weren't then why is anyone talking about them?
>>>
>>>  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.
>>
>>   
>>     Right, and it is this that zombies lack.
>>
>>
> Zombies can think, understand,
>

No.
 

> solve problems, answer questions, 
>

Yes. Like a Magic Eightball can so that too.
 

> remember, talk about their beliefs, and so on.  
>

No. No beliefs, no memory. We can hear them talk, but 'they' aren't 
talking. No more than any other puppet.
 

> They just are not conscious of anything when they do these things. 
>

But since they *never* were conscious of anything, there never was a 'they' 
to begin with. You are assuming something that never was.
 

>  So when a zombie thinks/says/understands/believes he is conscious you 
> might say it thinks is wrong or lying. 
>

There is no belief, thought, or understanding. We can hear something being 
said, but it is only a clever set of automated recordings. What a 
zombie-puppet says is a fancy voicemail tree.
 

>  But in what sense is it lying or in what sense is it wrong?  Its brain 
> does the same calculations as the other brain that is telling the truth. 
>  Its brain contains the same neural patterns as the other brain that has 
> true beliefs.
>  
>

> Daniel Dennett says it well: "when philosophers claim that zombies are 
> conceivable, they invariably underestimate the task of conception (or 
> imagination), and end up imagining something that violates their own 
> definition".[9]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-8>
> [10]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett.2C_1995.2C_p._322-9>
>  He 
> coined the term *zimboes* (p-zombies that havesecond-order 
> beliefs<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-order_logic>) 
> to argue that the idea of a p-zombie is 
> incoherent;[11]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-10>
>  "Zimboes 
> thinkZ they are conscious, thinkZ they have qualia, thinkZ they suffer 
> pains – they are just 'wrong' (according to this lamentable tradition), in 
> ways that neither they nor we could ever discover!" 
>  
>

Dennett is just incredibly wrong about everything related to consciousness 
and perception, but he is very convincing as he expresses the logic of the 
mistakenly exteriorized interiority very well. The problem isn't that it is 
illogical, it is that logic isn't the ground of being after all, and 
supervenes on first person awareness in the first place - which transcends 
logic and reason.  


>>  It then becomes a straightforward problem of information theory and 
>> computer science to know if a certain system possesses knowledge of those 
>> things or not.
>>  
>>
>>     Knowledge, at least tacitly, implies the ability to act upon the 
>> data, not just be guided by it.
>>
>
Information cannot become significant on it's own. Not possible.
 

>
>>
>>  
>>  This isn't startling.  Doctors today declare people brain dead and take 
>> them off life support using the same assumptions.  If we had no principles 
>> for determining if something is conscious or not, would we still do this? 
>>  Do you worry about stepping on rocks because it might hurt them?  We have 
>> good reasons not to worry about those things because we assume there are 
>> certain necessary levels of complexity and information processing ability 
>> needed to be conscious.  So perhaps if we can tell with reasonable 
>> certainty something is not conscious, we might also be reasonably certain 
>> that a certain other thing IS conscious.
>>
>>  Proof, is another matter, and likely one we will never get.  Your 
>> entire life could be a big delusion and everything you might think you know 
>> could be wrong.  We can never really prove anything.
>>  
>>
>>     Rubbish! You are making perfection the enemy of the possible. We are 
>> fallible and thus can only reason within boundaries and error bars, so. 
>> Does this knock proofs down? NO!
>>
>
> We might be 99.99999% certain of some belief, but I don't know that we can 
> ever be certain.  Some non zero amount of doubt regarding the correctness 
> any proof depends on our own consistency/sanity.
>
> This is not to say that seeking out explanations, or evidence, or proof is 
> fruitless.  So I don't see this leading to an enemy of the good.
>  
>
>>
>>
>>    
>>
>>> because consciousness is not causally efficacious.
>>
>>
Hahahaha "I am not having this conversation" also means  "I have no way of 
knowing that I am not having this conversation."
 

>
>>  I disagree with this.
>>  
>>
>>     I agree with your disagreement!
>>
>
I third this disagreement, and escalate it to the level of truth more 
fundamental and elemental than all of physics and arithmetic. 
 

>
>>
>>    
>>
>>> It is
>>> emergent, at a higher level of description, supervenient
>>
>>
>>  Right, it could be emergent / supervenient, but that does not mean it 
>> is causally inefficacious.
>>
>>  You need to look at the counterfactual to say whether or not it is 
>> casually important.  Ask "If this thing were not conscious would it still 
>> behave in the same way?"  If not, then how can we say that consciousness is 
>> casually inefficacious?
>>  
>>
>>> or
>>> epiphenomenal - but not separately causally efficacious, or the
>>> problem of other minds and zombies would not exist.
>>>  
>>>   
>>  There is no problem of zombies if you can show the idea to be 
>> inconsistent.
>>
>>
You got it. Zombies were a very early and natural mistake, which I don't 
blame on Chalmers. Our naive realism is to conflate personal with 
impersonal, sub-personal with micro-impersonal, etc. He made a misstep, but 
anyone would have done the same. That's what pioneering a field is all 
about.

Craig
 

>
>>  Jason
>>
>>      Nice debate!
>>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Jason
>
>

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