From: Ben Goertzel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jan 07 2004 - 15:18:56 MST
> If you say, being human involves experiencing negative emotions,
> ok that is
> what it involves _today_. Being human 1 million years ago involved seeing
> your children eaten by beasts during the night, 1 thousand years ago it
> involved having to lift bricks of stones for a lifetime so that some jerk
> could look cool in front of the gods, 1 hundred years ago (not sure) it
> involved operation without anaesthesia.
But, your other examples are all EXTERNAL situations... whereas
"experiencing negative emotions" is an internal, intrinsic property of the
human brain/mind... the comparison is not so close, is it?
> Aside from philosophical debate, I think the productive way of
> facing these
> issues is to first get rid of the big evils everyone agrees on,
> and then
> once we are a more relaxed species without constant thorns in our
> butts and
> we can actually sit down still and think about problems with a more
> altruistic perspective, then we will decide who wants to keep the mouth
> sores and who doesn't.
Sure, that's hard to argue with ;-)
> If there is
> something that
> we, as spontaneously generated patterns at the edge of order and
> chaos, can
> claim to be unique about us it is the fact that we experience stuff
> (qualia). Not that we experience some particular ones, but that
> we are able
> to experience them as opposed to not experiencing anything at all.
As I tend to be an animist, I'm not so sure that qualia are unique to
humans. I tend to think they're part of everything in the universe ...
though with greater or lesser intensity.... I think that having qualia is
just about "existing" not specifically about "being human".... But this is
a philosophical issue that's hard to resolve -- at present -- in time it
will become a scientific issue, and I know we're both quite eager for that
-- ben g
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