RE: UDA revisited

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 15:15:50 +1100

Colin Hales writes:
> You are a zombie. What is it about sensory data that suggests an external
> world? The science you can do is the science of zombie sense data, not an
> external world. Your hypotheses about an external world would be treated
> as wild metaphysics by your zombie friends (none of which you cen ever be
> aware of, for they are in this external world..., so there's another
> problem :-) Very tricky stuff, this.
My hypothesis about an external world *is* metaphysics, and you seemed to
agree in an earlier post that there was not much point debating it. I assume that
there is an external world, behave as if there is one, and would be surprised and
disturbed if evidence came up suggesting that it is all a hallucination, but I can't
ever be certain that such evidence will not come up.
> The only science you can do is "I hypothesise that when I activate this
> nerve, that sense nerve and this one do <this>"
And I call regularities in my perceptions the "external world", which becomes so
familiar to me that I forget it is a hypothesis.
> If I am to do more I must have a 'learning rule'. Who tells me the
> learning rule? This is a rule of interpretation. That requires context.
> Where does the context come from? There is none. That is the situation of
> the zombie.
I do need some rules or knowledge to begin with if I am to get anywhere with
interpreting sense data. With living organisms, evolution provides this knowledge
while with machines the designers provide it.
Incidentally, you have stated in your paper that novel technology as the end
product of scientific endeavour is evidence that other people are not zombies, but
how would you explain the very elaborate technology in living organisms, created
by zombie evolutionary processes?
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Nov 25 2006 - 23:16:28 PST

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