Re: 3 possible views of "consciousness" +

From: George Levy <>
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2001 14:19:38 -0800 wrote:

> > The> Humongous table is simply a translation device that maps the
> clock's
> > representation to your representation.
> >Ah, but the table is so complicated only because it needs to map
> >between the clock representation and your native representation, which
> >is horribly convoluted! In the representational transformation
> >(included in my original message) where you too are mapped to a clock,
> >the humongous table becomes a null operation: there's no lower
> >algorithmic complexity than that.

The Humongous Table is just consciousness by proxy. I have nothing against
tables, mind you :-) . Let's not forget that this table (or the
interpreter that converts this table into meaning) did not occur by
accident. Either someone programmed it or it evolved to be what it is.

The same could be said about a smart missile. Of course the missile is not
intelligent, but intelligence programmed it and therefore, it behaves as a
proxy for this intelligence. And this proxy phenomemon can operate across
time and space. It can be recorded, transmitted and duplicated.. In other
words, if a missile is coming at me, I could regard it as an extension of
the combined consciousness of the engineers and scientists who designed it
years ago, thousand of miles away, and of the military men who used it
minutes ago. The paradox of the Humongous table dissolves away when you
realize that the conclusion you reach about the consciousness of the
table, depends upon where you draw the line around the table.

The same holds true of a character in a cartoon. The celluloid is
obviously not conscious, but the spectator experiences the recorded
consciousness of a fictitious personna created in the mind of the scipt
writers and of the animators. And this personna does have a kind of
consciousness. It has been duplicated, and transmitted to appear on your
television screen. It lives in its own world, oblivious of the spectators.

Let me just repeat my earlier statement:

>I do agree with Russell Standish and his quotes from Stanislas Dehaenne
>there can be several kinds of consciousness. It can vary qualitatively
>depending on what mental processes are involved.

There are many kinds of consciousness.

Related to this question, is where do we draw the line around ourselves?
How independent should our consciousness be from our genes, physical
surrounding, family, schooling, culture, history and additions such as
prescription glasses, calculators, word processors, and other physical and
mind expending devices. How different are we from each other? In talking
about consciousness we should specify how the line is drawn and what our
frame of reference is. The conventional approach of regarding
consciousness as discrete and well separated entities obviously does not

George Levy
Received on Sun Feb 04 2001 - 14:34:56 PST

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