Re: Know your mind

From: Hans Moravec <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 20:11:37 -0400

James Higgo:
> I'm not sure why someone else's knowledge of a system has any
> bearing on it's subjective experience. If it does, then anyone who
> believes in God (omniscient) is, by this definition, not capable of
> subjective experience in their own view. Minds are piles of
> components; why does it matter if they can be known? I have just
> received Robot, and perhaps the issue is discussed in more detail
> there. James

My take is just that subjective experience (consciousness) is an
abstract (subjective!) property, like beauty and value, which requires
a beholder to note its existence, and which does not exist for every
beholder. The disorienting twist is that consciousness functions as
a beholder, allowing the beheld property of consciousness to behold
its own existence!

Maybe it is possible to change your own consciousness' opinion about
your own consciousness (as about your own beauty or worth). Doesn't
Zen Buddhism work towards that: a state in which ego and sensation and
thought vanish, while body and brain continue to function normally?

There probably are other abstractions in your head that have their own
idea of what you're all about: they just don't communicate in obvious
ways. For instance, there are split-brain experiments that show
pretty clearly your mute right brain can have different beliefs,
feelings and goals than the talky left brain.

Also, in multiple-personalty disorder, several talky consciousnesses
seem to share the same brain. How many always-silent multiple
personalities, that nevertheless believe themselves to exist and have
feeling, might one find in a normal person, if one knew how to look
in just the right ways?
Received on Fri Jul 09 1999 - 17:13:50 PDT

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