On Mon, May 2, 2022 at 7:06 PM Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:
> *> 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 consciousness. 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 <https://groups.google.com/g/extropolis> ifq -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/everything-list/CAJPayv0QSNnLQX2AdVagi8ixAOsLA57xgqMmJwDXkomsW4MszQ%40mail.gmail.com.