On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 5:45 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thursday, April 18, 2013 9:03:24 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
>> On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >> It comes down to whether the computer has desires and feelings. We
>> >> can't be sure whether it does or not.
>> >
>> >
>> > Why would we even entertain the possibility that it does though? If
>> > computers had feelings wouldn't at least some of them complain about
>> > something or express some mood once in a while?
>> Does a water molecule? Does a protein?
> A computer made of protein or water wouldn't have feelings either. Rich
> subjective content, in my view, arises through experience over billions of
> years, which cannot be skipped or condensed. It has nothing to do with the
> materials as materials, but it has to do with the materials as they reflect
> a history going back indefinitely.

You keep asserting that two physically identical objects with
different histories have different qualities. If you were genuine
about making this case you would propose an experimental test. For
example, have two different people make the same device through
different processes, show that the two devices are identical in
structure and materials, then show that nevertheless they behave
differently due to their different history. Or, if you don't like that
one, come up with another one that could possibly be done. Philosophy
is well and good but your ideas have empirical implications which you
should pursue.

>> Humans and bacteria are similar in some ways and different in others.
>> The differences could be as great as the differences between a modern
>> supercomputer and an AI of the future.
>  Sure, or like the differences between a brick wall and the Taj Mahal.
> Complexity does not equal life or consciousness. Corpses are complex.

Corpses are structurally different from the living animal, even though
they are made of the same matter and have the same history up to the
point of death.

>> > Why would we have any idea about 'choice' or 'freedom', or
>> > 'responsibility'?
>> Are you implying a general principle that if we can conceive of it it
>> must be so??
> I am implying that nothing can exist in a foreground if it cannot be
> contrasted against a background. If there is only determinism in the
> universe, there is no background, so it cannot possibly be conceptualized in
> any way. Determinism as opposed to what? How is determinism 'deciding'
> whether or not it determines itself to exist?

You make up these rules ad hoc. Why does something need to be
contrasted with something else in order to be conceptualised? And even
if it does why does it need to be contrasted with something actual?
And what implications has this for choice, freedom and responsibility
anyway: you can either say they are valid concepts and compatible with
determinism or that they are invalid concepts and under determinism we
continue as usual with quasi-choice, quasi-freedom and

>> > Why would those things be conceivable without any way to step back from
>> > determinism voluntarily? Do you think a typewriter thinks about choice
>> > or
>> > freedom? Does a machine gun think about responsibility?
>> Those machines don't, but neither does a water molecule or a protein.
> If you are a person, you have the luxury of looking at cells and molecules,
> but molecules and cells can't look back at a person. The person does not
> exist on that level, even though the effects of what a person does can
> impact them. Your view doesn't account for the aesthetic differences so that
> from the start you define a person as generic states of quantum/molecules -
> but those are meaningless to us except to provide basic resources of
> locality. Your view assumes a metaphysical property leaps out of a machine's
> function which feels, and can be exported to anything irrespective of its
> nature, but the reality we experience is that the difference between life
> and death, edible and inedible, natural and synthetic are among the most
> significant differences which we care about as human beings.

Whatever metaphysics you posit for a human can also be posited for a machine.

>> >> Unless simulated beings can have experiences.
>> >
>> >
>> > Like Bugs Bunny. Maybe he really enjoys the taste of carrots?
>> Again, you use facile counterarguments, like a race of electronic
>> beings claiming humans can't be conscious because water molecules and
>> proteins obviously aren't.
> There is a huge difference. Water and protein molecules are not obviously
> unconscious - they respond to their environment in countless ways. Bugs
> Bunny is a representation. Whatever medium he is drawn, printed, or painted
> on, there is no possibility of it reacting as Bugs Bunny. No representation
> has any presence of its own - they rely on the physical nature of the medium
> and the experiential nature of the beholder of the medium completely. Water
> and protein are not shadows or figures, they are natural presences which are
> their own medium and I think, their own beholder as well.

A simulation is also a process, and a simulation of a human which
actually behaves like a human is an extremely complex process, of a
similar order of complexity as an actual human. A human does not rely
on his beholder to be conscious, he is conscious in himself. Why could
not a computer simulation of a human, which is as complex as a human,
behaves like a human, has as much mass as a human and is made up of
the same fundamental particles as a human if that is important to you,
also be conscious? What is it that the computer fundamentally lacks?

>> > I don't know it, but I understand why consciousness cannot be simulated
>> > by
>> > something which is not inherently conscious (because of the Presentation
>> > problem...hard problems, explanatory gap, binding problem, symbol
>> > grounding
>> > problem, mind-body symmetry problem)
>> These problems, such as they are, do not preclude consciousness from
>> being simulated.
> Why not? If consciousness cannot be tied in any way to forms and functions
> then how can you think that it might not mean that consciousness cannot be
> generated from forms and functions?

The hard problem, binding problem, symbol grounding problem and
mind-body symmetry problem do not imply that consciousness cannot be
generated from form and function.

>> If we could explain why one type of thing could not
>> possibly be conscious that would be a major step towards solving the
>> Hard Problem.
> Representations cannot possibly be conscious. These letters you are reading
> *cannot possibly ever become conscious*. If you have a psychotic episode,
> then you may have an experience where letters reflect your own
> overly-animated psyche back to you in a way which convinces you they are
> conscious, but that is an over-stepping of the bounds of subjectivity, i.e.
> a form of the Pathetic fallacy. From an absolute perspective, no
> representation can have any experiential content. No map is a territory.

Again you are making this up. It is like claiming that subatomic
particles could never become conscious. Look at them, they are
completely stupid and unfeeling, it's ridiculous to even contemplate
that they could be participants in consciousness!

>> > and I understand why assembled bodies
>> > in space do not necessarily equal continuous experiences through time,
>> > and
>> > why, in general, maps are not territories. The only counter-argument I
>> > see
>> > is wishes, promises, and threats based on presumptions about
>> > consciousness
>> > defined from a 3p behaviorist perspective.
>> The map is not the same as the territory but this does does not
>> preclude the map from having properties of the territory.
> Yes it does. A territory allows for unlimited inspection and interaction,
> where a map is only a facade that holds up to limited and proscribed
> interaction. A map is intentionally produced to serve a given class of
> participants in a particular range of sense modalities. A territory is not
> limited in that way and is potentially discoverable by any participant.
> Deeper than that however, all presentations (territories) are intrinsically
> genuine - they are part of a history of the universe in which they directly
> participate. Representations are not. Bugs Bunny has no family tree, no
> country of origin, etc. It's a human symbol which has no life outside of
> human experiences.

You're missing the point. The mind itself is a representation of the
world, realised in substance that is not identical with the world.
Your argument is like saying we cannot possibly have visual perception
because the map is not the territory. Whatever you make up to support
your position has an ad hoc counterpart that could be used to support
the impossibility of human consciousness.

Stathis Papaioannou

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