Re: Asifism

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:29:03 +0200

Le 19-juin-07, 21:27, Brent Meeker wrote to Quentin:

> Quentin Anciaux wrote:
>> On Tuesday 19 June 2007 20:16:57 Brent Meeker wrote:
>>> Quentin Anciaux wrote:
>>>> On Tuesday 19 June 2007 11:37:09 Torgny Tholerus wrote:
>>>>> Mohsen Ravanbakhsh skrev:
>>>>>> The "subjective experience" is just some sort of behaviour. You
>>>>>> can
>>>>>> make computers show the same sort of >behavior, if the computers
>>>>>> are
>>>>>> enough complicated.
>>>>> But we're not talking about 3rd person point of view. I can not
>>>>> see how
>>>>> you reduce the subjective experience of first person to the
>>>>> behavior
>>>>> that a third person view can evaluate! All the problem is this
>>>>> first
>>>>> person experience.
>>>>> What you call "the subjective experience of first person" is just
>>>>> some
>>>>> sort of behaviour. When you claim that you have "the subjective
>>>>> experience of first person", I can see that you are just showing a
>>>>> special kind of behaviour. You behave as if you have "the
>>>>> subjective
>>>>> experience of first person". And it is possible for an enough
>>>>> complicated computer to show up the exact same behaviour. But in
>>>>> the
>>>>> case of the computer, you can see that there is no "subjective
>>>>> experience", there are just a lot of electrical fenomena
>>>>> interacting
>>>>> with each other.
>>>>> There is no first person experience problem, because there is no
>>>>> first
>>>>> person experience.
>>>>> --
>>>>> Torgny Tholerus
>>>> Like I said earlier, this is pure nonsense as I have proof that I
>>>> have
>>>> inner experience... I can't prove it to you because this is what
>>>> this is
>>>> all about, you can't prove 1st person pov to others. And I don't
>>>> see why
>>>> the fact that a computer is made of wire can't give it
>>>> consciousness...
>>>> there is no implication at all.
>>>> Again denying the phenomena does not make it disappear... it's no
>>>> explanation at all.
>>>> Quentin
>>> I think the point is that after all the behavior is explained,
>>> including
>>> brain processes, we will just say, "See, that's the consciousness
>>> there."
>>> Just as after explaining metabolism and growth and reproduction we
>>> said,
>>> "See, that's life." Some people still wanted to know where the
>>> "life"
>>> (i.e. "elan vital") was, but it seemed to be an uninteresting
>>> question of
>>> semantics.
>>> Brent Meeker
>> I don't think the comparison is fair... between 'elan vital' and
>> consciousness.
> I think it is fair. Remember that in prospect people argued that
> chemistry and physics could never explain life no matter how
> completely they described the physical processes in a living thing.
> All those cells and molecules and atoms were inanimate, none of them
> had life - so they couldn't possibly explain the difference between
> alive and dead.

I think you miss the point. To define life/death can only be a useless
semantic game. But nobody really doubts about his own consciousness
(especially going to the dentist), despite we cannot define it nor
explain it completely. Like Quentin I do think it is unfair to compare
"elan vital" and "consciousness". Somehow "elan vital" is a poor theory
which has been overthrown by a better one. "consciousness" is a fact,
albeit a peculiar personal one" in need of an explanation; and there is
a quasi consensus among workers in that field that we don't see how to
explain consciousness from something simpler (a bit like the number

>> I don't think consciousness is just a semantic question.
> I didn't mean to imply that. I meant that the residual question,
> after all the behavior and processes are explained (answering very
> substantive questions) will seem to be a matter of making semantic
> distinctions, like the question, "Is a virus alive?"
>> As I
>> don't believe that you could pin point consciousness... until proved
>> otherwise.
> No it won't be pin pointed. It will be diffuse, an interaction of
> multiple sensory and action processes and you won't be able to point
> to a single location. But, if we do succeed with our explanation,
> maybe we'll be able to say, "This being is conscious of this now and
> not conscious of that." or "This being does not have self-awareness
> and this one does."

Well, now, I can prove that if the comp hyp is true then those
"brave-new-worlds"-like assertions are provably wrong. If comp is true,
nobody, I should perhaps say nosoul, will ever been able to decide if
any other entity is conscious or not. Actually comp could be false
because it is not even clear some entity can be completely sure of
his/her/it own consciousness ....

> And "conscious" and "aware" will have well defined operational ("3rd
> person") meanings.
> Or maybe we'll discover that we have to talk in some other terms not
> yet invented, just as our predecessors had to stop talking about
> "animate" and "inanimate" and instead talk about "metabolism" and
> "replication".

Terms by themselves will not sort out the difficulty. Even just our
beliefs or bets in numbers presents big conceptual difficulty.


> Brent Meeker
> "One cannot guess the real difficulties of a problem before
> having solved it."
> --- Carl Ludwig Siegel
>> Quentin
> >

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Received on Thu Jun 28 2007 - 10:29:15 PDT

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