I had a similar thought about a chameleon brain (I call a p-Zelig instead
of a p-zombie), which would impersonate behaviors of whatever environment
it was placed into. Unlike a philosophical zombie, which would have no
personal qualia but seem like it does from the outside, the chameleon brain
would explicitly forbid having any particular qualia, since its entire
processing would be devoted to computing cross-modal generalities. It is
intentionally not trying to be a person, it is just trying to mirror
anything - clouds, wolves, dandelion, whatever, according to the
measurements it takes using a large variety of peripheral detectors.
On Tuesday, October 1, 2013 9:31:24 AM UTC-4, Pierz wrote:
> Maybe. It would be a lot more profound if we definitely *could* reproduce
> the brain's behaviour. The devil is in the detail as they say. But a
> challenge to Chalmer's position has occurred to me. It seems to me that
> Bruno has convincingly argued that *if* comp holds, then consciousness
> supervenes on the computation, not on the physical matter. But
> functionalism suggests that what counts is the output, not the manner in
> which it as arrived at. That is to say, the brain or whatever neural
> subunit or computer is doing the processing is a black box. You input
> something and then read the output, but the intervening steps don't matter.
> Consider what this might mean in terms of a brain. Let's say a vastly
> advanced alien species comes to earth. It looks at our puny little brains
> and decides to make one to fool us. This constructed person/brain receives
> normal conversational input and outputs conversation that it knows will
> perfectly mimic a human being. But in fact the computer doing this
> processing is vastly superior to the human brain. It's like a modern PC
> emulating a TRS-80, except much more so. When it computes/thinks up a
> response, it draws on a vast amount of knowledge, intelligence and
> creativity and accesses qualia undreamed of by a human. Yet its response
> will completely fool any normal human and will pass Turing tests till the
> cows come home. What this thought experiment shows is that, while
> half-qualia may be absurd, it most certainly is possible to reproduce the
> outputs of a brain without replicating its qualia. It might have completely
> different qualia, just as a very good actor's emotions can't be
> distinguished from the real thing, even though his or her internal
> experience is quite different. And if qualia can be quite different even
> though the functional outputs are the same, this does seem to leave
> functionalism in something of a quandary. All we can say is that there must
> be some kind of qualia occurring, rather a different result from what
> Chalmers is claiming. When we extend this type of scenario to artificial
> neurons or partial brain prostheses as in Chamer's paper, we quickly run up
> against perplexing problems. Imagine the advanced alien provides these
> prostheses. It takes the same inputs and generates the same correct
> outputs, but it processes those inputs within a much vaster, more complex
> system. Does the brain utilizing this advanced prosthesis experience a kind
> of expanded consciousness because of this, without that difference being
> detectable? Or do the qualia remain somehow confined to the prosthesis
> (whatever that means)? These crazy quandaries suggest to me that basically,
> we don't know shit.
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