On Sunday, October 21, 2012 3:39:11 PM UTC-4, rclough wrote:
> BRUNO: Keep in mind that zombie, here, is a technical term. By definition
> behaves like a human. No humans at all can tell the difference. Only
> God knows, if you want.
> ROGER: I claim that it is impossible for any kind of zombie
> that has no mind to act like a human. IMHO that would
> be an absurdity, because without a mind you cannot know
> anything. You would run into walls, for example, and
> couldn't know what to do in any event. Etc.
> You couldn't understand language.
Roger I agree that your intuition is right - a philosophical zombie cannot
exist in reality, but not for the reasons you are coming up with. Anything
can be programmed to act like a human in some level of description. A
scarecrow may act like a human in the eyes of a crow - well enough that it
might be less likely to land nearby. You can make robots which won't run
into walls or chatbots which respond to some range of vocabulary and
sentence construction. The idea behind philosophical zombies is that we
assume that there is nothing stopping us in theory from assembling all of
the functions of a human being as a single machine, and that such a
machine, it is thought, will either have the some kind of human-like
experience or else it would have to have no experience.
The absent qualia, fading qualia paper is about a thought experiment which
tries to take the latter scenario seriously from the point of view of a
person who is having their brain gradually taken over by these substitute
sub-brain functional units. Would they see blue as being less and less blue
as more of their brain is replaced, or would blue just suddenly disappear
at some point? Each one seems absurd given that the sum of the remaining
brain functions plus the sum of the replaced brain functions, must, by
definition of the thought experiment, equal no change in observed behavior.
This is my response to this thought experiment to Stathis:
*Stathis: In a thought experiment we can say that the imitation stimulates
*surrounding neurons in the same way as the original.*
Craig: Then the thought experiment is garbage from the start. It begs the
question. Why not just say we can have an imitation human being that
stimulates the surrounding human beings in the same way as the original?
Ta-da! That makes it easy. Now all we need to do is make a human being that
stimulates their social matrix in the same way as the original and we have
perfect AI without messing with neurons or brains at all. Just make a whole
person out of person stuff - like as a thought experiment suppose there is
some stuff X which makes things that human beings think is another human
being. Like marzipan. We can put the right pheromones in it and dress it up
nice, and according to the thought experiment, let’s say that works.
You aren’t allowed to deny this because then you don’t understand the
thought experiment, see? Don’t you get it? You have to accept this flawed
pretext to have a discussion that I will engage in now. See how it works?
Now we can talk for six or eight months about how human marzipan is
inevitable because it wouldn’t make sense if you replaced a city gradually
with marzipan people that New York would gradually fade into less of a New
York or that New York becomes suddenly absent. It’s a fallacy. The premise
screws up the result.
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