Re: Interpretations, subjectivity

From: Christopher Maloney <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 22:21:18 -0400

SLP wrote:
> Christopher Maloney wrote:
> >
> > Higgo James wrote:
> > >
> > > I think almost everyone on this list would disagree wit the statement,
> > > "Passing the Turing Test is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a
> > > consciousness". The idea that a machine that passes the test could be
> > > outwitted by another conscious entity simply displays lack of knowledge of
> > > the definition of the Turing test.
> >
> > Yes, whenever I hear anyone talk about "Zombies", I reach for
> > my gun.
> >
> > (paraphrasing Stephen Hawking.)
> Two questions:
> Since we don't understand the physical or computational basis of
> consciousness, how can the existence of "zombies" be denied a priori?

Ugh, I don't even want to *talk* about zombies. I find the whole
concept patently absurd, and in a way, ethically repugnant. By
that I mean that it seems to me awfully grandiose and anthro-
centric to even presume that some other creature that exhibits
all the traits of consciousness and thoughtfulness, could some-
how not be conscious or thoughtful.

This whole philosophical debate really does make me roll my eyes,
so if you're tempted to reply by attempting to defend the concept,
you might just save your time. Unless you feel so strongly that
you think the rest of the group would benefit. But as James also
indicated, I doubt you're going to change many minds here in this

> How does raising the possibility of zombies show lack of knowledge of
> the definition of the Turing test? The Turing test, ultimately, is
> "judged" not on the basis of objective, enumerable criteria, but by the
> mere subjective opinion of fallible humans.
> Steve Price, MD

Chris Maloney
"Knowledge is good"
-- Emil Faber
Received on Sun Jul 11 1999 - 20:15:46 PDT

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