Re: Bostrom Paper

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 10:24:44 +1100

On 03/04/2008, GŁnther Greindl <> wrote:
> Dear List,
> I searched through the archive, this paper does not seem to have been
> discussed.
> Quantity of Experience: Brain-Duplication and Degrees of Consciousness
> If two brains are in identical states, are there two numerically
> distinct phenomenal experiences or only one? Two, I argue. But what
> happens in intermediary cases? This paper looks in detail at this
> question and suggests that there can be a fractional (non-integer)
> number of qualitatively identical experiences. This has implications for
> what it is to implement a computation and for Chalmer's Fading Qualia
> thought experiment. [Minds and Machines, 2006, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 185-200]

The paper argues that a conscious program implemented on a computer
built with probabilistic components would have fractional experiences.
I think this is quite implausible. Firstly, there seems no good reason
to claim that if all the components just happened to function normally
on a particular run that this implementation would be phenomenally
different to an implementation on a computer with normal components.
Secondly, what could a fractional experience possibly be like? Bostrom
makes it clear that this would not be equivalent to a less intense
experience, but something quite different, that would not actually be
noticed by the subject as a change from normal. This raises the
possibility that my quantity of experience was decreased through some
brain illness that afflicted me last night. But since I feel just the
same today as I did yesterday, why should I care?

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Apr 03 2008 - 19:24:59 PDT

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