On Mon, May 2, 2022 at 7:06 PM Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au>

> *> Hi John, always a pleasure to cross swords with your brain :).*

Greetings Russell, and I feel the same way you do; or at least I'm pretty
sure I do, but there is always a bit of uncertainty when determining the
conscious state of another human being.

* > I know that I am conscious. Therefore I must be a member of the set of
> consious entities. It is true I don't know what else is in the set.*

Mathematical proofs demand absolute certainty, and If you demand absolute
certainty the possibility that the set of conscious entities contains only
one member cannot be excluded by any logical argument. But of course in our
everyday lives we never encounter absolute certainty nor do we need it,
except when we're taking a calculus examination.
* > I do assume that all humans are conscious*

I assume the same thing for 2 reasons:

1) The evidence is overwhelming that Charles Darwin was right, thus
Evolution produced me and I am conscious, but evolution can NOT directly
see consciousness anymore then we can directly see consciousness in others,
because consciousness alone, regardless of how much we may value it, can
confer no reproductive advantage, and that's all Evolution cares about.
However, Evolution most certainly CAN see intelligent behavior. The only
thing that is compatible with all this is that consciousness is the
inevitable byproduct of intelligence, so it must be a brute fact that
consciousness is the way data feels when it is being processed
intelligently.  A corollary of this would be that the Turing Test works
just as well for consciousness as it does for intelligence. It's far from
perfect but the Turing Test is the only tool we have to investigate

2) I simply could not function unless I assumed I was not the only
conscious being in the universe.

> *(at least at some point in their lives),*

Yes, neither of us believes that our fellow human beings are conscious when
they're sleeping, or under anesthesia, or dead, and for the same reason,
when they are in those states they just don't behave very intelligently.
And that's why I'm interested in AI and intelligence research, but I'm not
interested in consciousness research. And that's also why consciousness
research has not advanced an inch, or even a nanometer, in a 1000 years.

> *but if you assume the opposite, then the argument is even stronger.*

Assuming the opposite would be assuming that everything is always conscious
regardless of its behavior, so even rocks are conscious, even electrons.

*> No - it is a deduction. You're reading the abstract. It is usual to
> state the conclusion in the abstract so you know whether it is worth
> digging into the paper body to see the proof.*

It takes time to carefully read a scientific paper, and so the abstract was
invented to give a reader just enough information to decide if reading the
entire paper is worth their time. Your abstract makes clear that the
conclusion that insects are not conscious is based on "*finding oneself a
member of a particular reference class of conscious beings*" with the
implicit assumption the set contains more than one member. I concede that
if one makes that assumption then it might not be unreasonable to conclude
that insects are not conscious (although I see no reason to believe that
consciousness is an all or nothing matter) , but now you admit you "*don't
know what else is in the set"* of conscious beings. And determining what
else is in that set is exactly what this entire controversy is all about.

John K Clark    See what's on my new list at  Extropolis

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