The functionalist position implies that function alone generates consciousness. My position is that consciousness itself is the generator, not the generated. This does not mean that the brain does not provide consciousness with access to a human quality experience - it does, along with providing a lot of living cells and organic molecules with experience on their own levels as well. > You have claimed that this is wrong, and that no matter how closely a > replacement brain part duplicates the function of the original there > will be a change in consciousness, Not exactly. I say that there is no such thing as duplication in an absolute sense. When something seems similar enough to another thing, we can say that it has been duplicated, but this is a function of our pattern recognition capacities. This is not an issue for most forms and functions which we produce, but that's because there are no other forms or functions which are *us*. That little detail changes everything, and it is the same detail which makes us aware of consciousness in the first place. Because I understand that consciousness is not produced by a function of the brain, (the brain is used as a vehicle to participate in many conscious experiences), I can see the flaw in the reasoning which assumes that the self can be replaced. This is not some sentimental attachment for the sacredness of the self, rather it is a clear apprehension of the ontology of subjectivity as private physics. You can replace the function of a limb with a prosthetic limb, but you have not replaced the limb. You can simulate the function of a fireplace with concrete 'logs' and and a heat source, but you have not replaced the fireplace. All you have done is satisfied some limited expectations of certain sense channels. You cannot replace a person's head or brain in their entirety because there is nothing left of the person which you are trying to convince has been replaced. Replacement is a function of mechanistic expectation, not the concrete reality of physics. > simply because it isn't the > original. If this were so, you would expect a change in consciousness > when atoms in the brain are replaced with different isotopes, even if > the isotopes are not radioactive. And yet this is not what happens. > No, that is not what I would expect at all. If you made a few people in New York City wear the same yellow hats, would you expect New York City to be changed? How about if you got rid of all the people and replaced them with audioanimatronic mannequins that wear yellow hats instead? See the difference? The scientific explanation is that chemistry is for the most part > unaffected by the number of neutrons in the nucleus, and that since > the brain works by means of chemical reactions, brain function and > hence consciousness are also unaffected. But the brain works by means of experiences as well. If I say something that makes you mad, your brain chemistry is changed - not by chemistry, but by your interpretations of my intentions and meanings. It's true that events on different layers of public and private physics have highly specific ways of interacting, but that doesn't mean that we can replace a brain stem with a plastic computer and expect that the conscious person will survive. > It's not that there is > anything magically consciousness-preserving about switching isotopes, > it's just that switching isotopes is an example of part replacement > that makes no functional difference, like replacing a part in your car > with a new part that is 0.001 mm bigger. > I understand, but consciousness isn't a function. It is elaborated through function, but without some kind of original perception-participation, there is no difference between a function and no function. Without the history of perceived experience there can be no coherent identity. Since we know that brain damage can disrupt a person's identity, we can assume that the brain is not infinitely plastic and tolerant. Even transplanted organs suffer the chance of rejection. Why then should we assume that something which functions to create experiences in ways which we have no understanding of could be 'replaced' or 'duplicated' by something which bears no resemblance for a biological organism? The tolerance of a biological organism to nuclear variation is high, maybe infinitely so. As long as a zygote made of alternate isotopes grows into a healthy baby, I would expect that such a baby would be indistinguishable from any other, although I would not be surprised if was not that simple either. The tolerance changes as you go up the ladder though. Molecules are very particular about how they combine. Cells are even more particular in some ways. Organisms even require abstract social conditions to nurture them into a healthy state. Just because the gross structure of the factory-like aspects of the brain could be modeled does not mean that the content of the personal experience which that factory serves would be retained. The range of phenomena in the universe runs from the generic to the proprietary. Until we understand exactly why that is, and why it seems so important, there is no reason to assume that one can simply be substituted for the other. You would not replace the bricks of the Taj Mahal with bricks of ripe bananas, even though they may function the same way for a while in small amounts. That is the level of error I think we are dealing with in the assumption of inorganic brains. Craig > > -- > Stathis Papaioannou > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msg/everything-list/-/dIUHl2vQd-MJ. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.