Re: The Game of Life

From: Gisle Reigstad Tangenes <>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 02:57:16 +0100 (MET)

On 20 xxx -1, Marchal wrote:

> Why do you want making these poor little creatures to be
> wrong ? And wrong about their own feelings.
> How could someone believe to be conscious without being conscious ?

So far, I absolutely side with BM: To believe anything presupposes
being conscious. Descartes was right about that much.

> "Running" a machine is a modality which makes sense only relatively
> to you. That relative running makes it possible for the machine to
> manifest its consciousness relatively to you. It makes possible
> to entangled and share computationnal histories. But consciousness per se
> is not linked to the dynamical physical activity itself.

I guess it's time to reveal the terrible secret: Your list is infected by
a biological naturalist.

My Searlean objection to the above brand of functionalism
is, How can computation as such be sufficient to generate consciousness,
when it obviously isn't an intrinsic process of any physical system?

To clarify: There is a distinction between intrinsic and
observer-relative features of reality. The former include all properties
that are logically independent of the intentional attributions of
observers, such as the molecular structure of the object I am sitting on.
The latter are properties that exist only relative to such attributions,
such as being a chair. The problem here is that computation, to quote
Searle, is "not a machine process that like neuron firing or internal
combustion; rather, computation is an abstract mathematic process that
exists only relative to conscious observers and interpreters" (*The
Mystery of Consciousness*, 17).

Note that this is not equivalent to the Chinese Room argument, which says
that syntacs is not sufficient for semantics; it denies instead that
physics is sufficient for syntax. Computation and all other syntax is
observer-relative, and in one sense exists only from a 1. person point of
view. Please release me from the spell of this simple consideration.

Seasons' greetings,
Gisle Tangenes
Received on Mon Dec 20 1999 - 18:00:28 PST

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