RE: The Meaning of Life

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 13:13:27 +1100

And I was leaving consciousness undefined beyond, perhaps,
"what I mean when I say I'm conscious". You can do a lot of
philosophising about the subject going no further than this,
and it saves you from the charge that you've got the definition

Stathis Papaioannou

> From:
> To:
> Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life
> Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 13:12:52 -0500
> Stathis:
> I will not go that far, nor draw 'magnificent' conclusion about conscious rocks (I am not talking about the unconscious hysteria of the rhytmic crowd-noise of teenage immaturity - call them rolling or non-rolloing STONES), - I just try to call the state of being conscious an effective sensitivity (including response maybe) to information (changes?) from the ambience.
> (Not a Shannon-type info).
> John
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Stathis Papaioannou<>
> To:<>
> Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 9:53 PM
> Subject: RE: The Meaning of Life
> John Mikes writes:
> > Regarding consciousness being generated by physical activity, would it help if
> > I said that if a conventional computer is conscious, then, to be consistent, a
> > rock would also have to be conscious?
> > JM: Bruno:
> > A rock will not read an article in the Figaro, but that is not the rock's fault. It is our usage of the human terms transferred into non-human applications, what I sense all over. Did we properly identified 'conscious'? I feel (generalized DOWN the complexity-scale) it is some 'mental sensitivity' - maybe more. Human mentality of course. Even if animals are deemed conscious, it is in human measures. Like: animals are stupid: cannot talk. Washoe chimp 'talked' US sign language and how else should a creature articulate its sounds (for human talk) without proper equipment to do so?
> > Sensitivity with the proper premises is 'conscious' in humans - as we call it. A rock has response to information it can acknowledge, it is semantics what word we use to mark it. A pine tree does not run, a human does not fly. (how stupid, says the chicken),
> I make the claim that a rock can be conscious assuming that computationalism
> is true; it may not be true, in which case neither a rock nor a computer may be
> conscious. There is no natural syntax or semantics for a computer telling us
> what should count as a "1" or a "0", what should count as a red perception, and
> so on. These things are determined by how the computer is designed to interact
> with its environment, whether that mean outputting the sum of two numbers to
> a screen or interacting with a human to convince him that it is conscious. But what
> if the environment is made part of the computer? The constraint on meaning and
> syntax would then go, and the vibration of atoms in a rock could be implementing
> any computation, including any conscious computation, if such there are.
> John Searle, among others, believes this is absurd, and that therefore it disproves
> computationalism. Another approach is that it shows that it is absurd that consciousness
> supervenes on physical activity of any sort, but we can keep computationalism and
> drop the physical supervenience criterion, as Bruno has.
> Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Jan 13 2007 - 21:19:00 PST

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