Re: against computationalism

From: James Higgo <>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 1999 21:05:01 +0100

Gilles, I have just read and enjoyed your post of 1st August.

The problem we face, defining when a device is conscious, puts me in
mind of Bunge's comments on the problems we have understanding the
universe as a whole: we have troubnle because we are trying to see from
the outside something which does not have an outside.

The brain device is conscious if it thinks it is conscious.
Consciousness is not an objective property, and the best we can do from
the outside is to give it a Turing test. As Hans said, the sun is
conscious if it we view it in the right way - apply a time line, and
some spatial dimensions - and ask it how it feels today. This overcomes
your objection to comp2, I feel.

I'm not sure I understand your last point ('without ANY interaction with
external storage of information about its own structure). A significant
part of my mind is stored on the Nokia9110 organizer I lost 2 weeks ago,
which is why I'n not functioning so well at the moment. It was not only
part of my mind but it stored information about its own structure.
Dennett describes old people whose trauma at being removed from familiar
surroundings, into which they had 'offloaded' certain computational
tasks, is similar to someone who has undergone major brain surgery.

On another topic, I've had the thought that the (Brandon Carter) idea
that WAP determines all constants and laws could also solve the MWI
decoherence poblem - i.e. why we don't see superimposed live and dead
cats. I've posted an expanded version of my recent little article at
Received on Mon Aug 09 1999 - 14:03:42 PDT

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