On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Craig Weinberg

>> The universe is algorithmic insofar as a small number of physical rules
>> gives rise to everything that we see around us.
> Only if we infer that is the case. Physical rules don't give rise to
> anything, especially beings which experience some version of 'seeing
> everything around them'.

I'm not sure if you really don't understand what is meant by "a small
number of physical rules gives rise to everything that we see around us".
It means there are certain regularities in the universe which we call
"rules" or "laws of nature". For example, the total momentum of two bodies
before they collide is the same as the total momentum after they collide,
which is called the "law of conservation of momentum". This is not a law
from a parliament or a law from God but a description of what happens.

>> A philosophical zombie is not charged with an expectation of anything
>> mental, that is one of its defining characteristics.
> That's what I mean by charged. If you define something as having no mental
> experience and give it a name of a generic undead person, you are charging
> your definition with an expectation of absent personhood. If I say puppet,
> there is no supernatural absence of personhood, there is a common sense
> notion of prosthetically extended personhood of the puppeteer through an
> inanimate object.

There's no puppeteer if the computer acts autonomously. If you are going to
insist that since the computer was programmed it is not acting autonomously
then consider the same computer that came about through matter falling
together randomly - certainly physically possible if very improbable. We
have two apparently identical computers, one manufactured and programmed by
humans, the other generated spontaneously. Is one potentially conscious and
the other not?

>> It's "begging the question" if I make the assumption in the premises of
>> argument that purports to prove it. But I propose it as a theory: if Bugs
>> Bunny does do this in an interactive way, such as a real rabbit would,
>> Bugs Bunny is indeed as conscious as a real rabbit.
> If I see an old YouTube of a dead celebrity talking to Johnny Carson, does
> that mean that both of them are indeed conscious? Playing the YouTube has
> power of resurrection? If not, please explain in detail why not.

Why do you keep bringing up this example? It is obvious to anyone within a
second that the video will not interact with you like the real Johnny
Carson through a video link would.

>> What we observe is that when certain physical processes happen,
>> consciousness happens.
> We observe that physical processes coincide with reports of particular
> of conscious experiences. We have no theory to link the two causally and
> even lack an understanding of anesthesia.

A theory is that consciousness happens whenever a system interacts with the
environment in the way conscious entities do, and that in fact
consciousness is no more than this. Anaesthetics knock out this interaction
and so knock out consciousness. Death also knocks out this interaction and
so knocks out consciousness.

>> This is a minimal theory. It's like observing the inverse square law for
>> gravitational attraction. As a minimal theory, it is enough until new
>> come along requiring further explanation.
> Enough to send us in the completely wrong direction.

So you say, but you need to explain what aspect of the theory goes against

> In light of
> The fact that intelligence has no pragmatic reason or opportunity to
> or use consciousness to accomplish any unconscious purpose (even
> accidentally).
> The fact that intelligence in all observed cases evolves naturally through
> the development of an infant into a child and from primitive to more
> species.
> The fact that attempts at artificial intelligence thus far not only show
> glimmer of consciousness but to the contrary continue to embody the
> emptiness of mechanism.
> The fact that the regions of the human brain involving intelligence are
> preceded by limbic-emotional and thalamic-sensory consciousness.
> The fact that human beings cannot function as intelligent agents while
> unconscious, but can be conscious without developing intelligence.

It seems human level intelligence is sufficient but not necessary for
consciousness. A minimal ability to perceive and interact with the
environment seems to be necessary. Biological processes per se however are
*not* sufficient. A anaesthetised human has most of his low level
neurological and other biological processes functioning normally but is not
conscious. That is consistent with functionalism but not with the idea that
consciousness originates at the cellular or molecular level.

Stathis Papaioannou

Stathis Papaioannou

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