RE: computer pain

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:32:50 +1100

Colin Hales writes:
> Stathis said....
> <<SNIP>>
> > and Colin has said that he does not believe that philosophical zombies
> can exist.
> > Hence, he has to show not only that the computer model will lack the 1st
> person
> > experience, but also lack the 3rd person observable behaviour of the
> real thing;
> > and the latter can only be the case if there is some aspect of brain
> physics which
> > does not comply with any possible mathematical model.
> >
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> I just thought of a better way of explaining 'deviation'.
> Maxwell's equations are not 'unique' in the sense that there are an
> infinite number of different charge configurations that will produce the
> same field congurations around some surface. This is a very old
> result....was it Poisson who said it? can't remember.
> Anyway.... I will be presenting different objects to my 'chip scientists',
> but I will be presenting them in such a way as the sensory measurement is
> literally identical.
> What I expect to happen is that the field configuration I find emerging in
> the guts of the chips will be different, depending on the object, even
> though the sensory measurement is identical. The different field
> configurations will correspond to the different objects. That is what
> subjective experience will look like from the "outside".
> The chip's 'solution' to the charge cnfiguration will take up a
> configuration based on the non-locality...hence the scientists will report
> different objects, even when their sensory measurement is identical, and
> it is the only apparent access they have to the object (to us).
> I think that's more like what you are after... there's no "failure to
> obey" maxwell's equations, but their predictions as to charge
> configuration is not a unique solution. The trick is to realise that the
> sensory maeasurement has to be there in order that _any_ solution be
> found, not a _particular_ solution.
> pretty simple really. does that make more sense?
If you present an object with "identical sensory measurements" but get
different results in the chip, then that means what you took as "sensory
measurements" was incomplete. For example, blind people might be able
to sense the presense of someone who silently walks into the room due to
their body heat, or the breeze created by their breathing, or perhaps even
some proximity sensor that we have not as yet discovered.
But even supposing that perception involves some non-local interaction
(which would of course be an amazing finding on its own, regardless of the
implications for consciousness), much interesting scientific work has nothing
to do with the scientist's direct connection with his object of study. A scientist
can read about empirical data collected by someone on the other side of the
world and come up with a theory to explain it; for all he knows, the data is
completely fabricated, but this makes no difference to the cognitive processes
which result in the theory.
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sun Dec 17 2006 - 18:33:07 PST

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