Re: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Adam Safron (
Date: Sun Aug 19 2007 - 21:35:54 MDT

If by consciousness, you mean some magic stuff that makes the world
different from another universe with an identical physical
description, then it probably does not exist. But if you define
consciousness as a certain kind of information processing that
results in subjective experiences, then there is no need for
contradiction. If you have replicated all physical facts about the
world, then wouldn't that include neurophysiological dynamics, which
produce/are our subjective experiences? You seem to imply that
consciousness is incompatible with a deterministic framework. I
believe this corresponds to a "fallacy of composition." Just because
all of the parts of a system lack a property (e.g. intentionality) on
their own, that does not mean that the system as a whole can't have
aggregate properties such as the ability to make decisions based on
available information.

On Aug 19, 2007, at 9:13 PM, Matt Mahoney wrote:

> --- Randall Randall <> wrote:
>> On Aug 19, 2007, at 8:04 PM, Matt Mahoney wrote:
>>> I mean consciousness as that which distinguishes people from
>>> philosophical
>>> zombies.
>> But is there any reason to think that the concept of a
>> philosophical zombie makes any sense? In order for it
>> to make sense, you have to have found that consciousness
>> isn't a physical process. Do you believe you have
>> evidence for this view?
> I have none, yet I also believe that I am not a p-zombie. I
> realize these
> views are contradictory. I just leave it at that.
> -- Matt Mahoney,

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