On 03 Apr 2013, at 23:53, Jesse Mazer wrote:



On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

In a universe of functionalism or comp, I would expect that this would never happen, as my brain should always prioritize the information made available by any eye that is open over that of an eye which is closed.

I don't think the "function" in functionalism is supposed to refer to utility or purpose. Functionalism as I understand it just refers to the idea that if you replaced each part of the brain with a "functionally identical" part, meaning that its input/output relationship is the same as the original part, then this will result in no change in conscious experience, regardless of the material details of how the part produces this input/output relation (a miniature version of the "Chinese room" thought experiment could work, for example). It's also self-evident that there should be no behavioral change, *if* we assume the reductionist idea that the large-scale behavior of any physical system is determined by the rules governing the behavior and interactions of each of its component parts (you would probably dispute this, but the point is just that this seems to be one of the assumptions of 'functionalism', and of course almost all modern scientific theories of systems composed of multiple parts work with this assumption).

For example, if you have a tumor which is altering your consciousness and disrupting some other abilities like speech, that is obviously not serving any useful function, but "functionalism" wouldn't claim it should, it would just say that if you replaced the tumor with an artificial device that affected the surrounding neurons in exactly the same way, the affected patient wouldn't notice any subjective difference (likewise with more useful parts of the brain, of course).

There may of course be different meanings that philosophers have assigned to the term "functionalism", but I think this is one, and I'm pretty sure it's part of what "COMP" is taken to mean on this list.

You are right. Functionalism means that we can substitute a part with functionally equivalent part. Comp, in the weak sense I use it, means that functionalism occurs at some description level. Then we can explain that a machine cannot know for sure its own substitution level, but it can bet on it, and the physics around him can give some indication. If the comp physics gives exactly the "usual quantum mechanics", it could be an evidence that pour substitution level is given by the Heisenberg uncertainty relations. Note that this is not the level needed to survive, but to survive in the exact same mental state. People will accept much higher level brain substitution, because they will be cheaper, and they will not mind so much loosing some memories or even personality treats.

Bruno



http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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