Re: Reality, the bogus nature of the Turing test

From: Colin Geoffrey Hales <>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 23:21:55 +1000 (EST)

"1Z" wrote:
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> It would be a problem if the actual infinities or infinitesimals were
thrid person describable *and* playing some role in the process of
individuating consciousness. In that case comp is false.
>> About solipsism I am not sure why you introduce the subject. It seems
to me nobody defend it in the list.
> Explainning matter as a pattern of experiences , rather than in
> a "stuffy" way, is methodological solipsism.

I am doing a detailed look at the relationship between solipsism and
science. I am writing it up...will post it on the list (if that's's not too big!) when it's Ok to read.. I am surprised at what I
found. The feedback on solipsism is interesting...

Russel is right in the sense that 'as-if' instrumentalism seems to
characterise scientific behaviour...where scientists act 'as-if' the
external world existed. At the same time, the facts of neuroscience tell
us that scientific evidence arrives as contents of phenomenal
consciousness, so science is, in fact, all about correlated appearances...
and it is an 'as-if' solipsism. That is, science is also acting 'as-if'
solipsism ( as per "1Z" 'methodological solipsism) defines the route to
knowledge but is actually in denial of solipsism!

The weird state that seems to be in place is that science is tacitly
radically solipsistic in respect of what evidence is available (phenomenal
consciousness is all there is), whilst scientist's actual behaviour denies
this solipsism and tacitly adopts the 'as-if' stance in respect of the
existence of an external world. The net affect is that the external world
is assumed to exist, consciousness is eschewed as evidence of anything in
its own right and objectivity allows correlates of appearances within
consciousness to literally define the workings of the (assumed existent)
external world. Science is a methodological-solispsist-in-denial
instrumentalism? whew!

This paradoxical situation I have analysed out and, I hope, straightened
out. The answer lies not in adopting/rejecting solipsism per se (although
solipsism is logically untenable for subtle reasons) , but in merely
recognising what scientific evidence is actually there and what it is
evidence of. At least then scientists will have a consistent position and
will no longer need to think one way and behave another. At the moment
they are 'having it both ways' and have no awareness of it. ...if you talk
to mainstream neuroscientists, to whom this matters the most (in terms of
understanding the available evidence) they have no clue what you are on
about...but they go right on doing it without question...staring down the
microscope with their phenomenal consciouess at the "external world" they
assume they are directly characterising without phenomenal consciousness,
correlating the appearances of test and in, day out...

The thing is, none of it actually matters...until one day you decide
scientifically study phenomenal cosnciousness... which I think I have said
previously.... so many ways to get to the same place!

I'll probably dump the text of 'Solipsism and Science' to the list
tomorrow. Who'd have thought that in looking at AI i'd end up forced to
analyse solipsism in science?

colin hales

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Received on Wed Sep 20 2006 - 09:23:21 PDT

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