From: ' ' (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Mar 03 2009 - 22:28:56 MST
I read most of the OB article on zombies.... neutron diameters and switches.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I know I am aware and I assume everyone else is aware too. We all follow physical laws and we all obey our natures... i.e. I said that because of course I would say. What is consciousness? Well, isn't it simple how it works? I am aware of the white light beading down on my fingers from my monitor as I say this.... isn't consciousness highly ordered? I mean, how my brain creates a visual scene of what I am looking at? I can only be aware of so much at a time. How does our brains create a scene of what we are looking at? Or how do I hear the raindrops and thunder in the background (I am listening to it on youtube)? Isn't the mind both highly ordered and highly comprehensible when you think about it? We have to understand how our brain creates what we experience and how we go from one moment to the next in our continuity of experience....
What I mean is, what would happen if you took say 50,000 neurons out of my prefrontal cortex and replaced it with artifical, silicone neurons?
Wouldn't I still be me, wouldn't my experience continue as follows?
What is subjective experience and how is it created? I guess that is what I am getting at. We are a superstructure, after all. We have a limbic system, a prefrontal cortex, a parietal, occipital and visual cortices... we have auditory cortices, we have hippocampi, etc, etc. What is it about all of those systems working together that allows me to say, hey! I remembered that guy from 4 years ago that he was really into trains and that I was a completely different person those 4 years ago but that I was still the same person as I am know.... I remembered that it happened to me... what creates that continuity... I mean if you injected something into my motor cortex that destroyed my ability to move my right pinky, then I would still be me, right?
What if you gave me a prefrontal labotomy? Would I be able to judge sound correctly? Would I be able to judge your tone of voice or how I present myself socially? Why does destroying a distinct system of my frontal lobe make it impossible for me to understand tone of voice correctly if at all?
Aren't we just this very complex pattern of structures and information that is preserved from day to day? What if you destroyed a certain neuron that encoded for a face (or an array of neurons, I don't know enough neuroscience yet)? Would I not recognize the person but I would recognize the person's voice and then have Capgras like delusions or just plain old confusion? What I mean is, who are we? What constitutes us as a person?
Isn't obviously a synergistic array of systems (cortical, neuronal, cellular, etc.) that creates us but how in the fuck do we know what will happen to us if we do anything out of the ordinary to our biologies? Don't we just need the pattern of our system (i.e. the brain and everything between and in it) to continue personhood? Does it matter if we are made of silicon or made of carbon?
How can we possibly know any of this for sure?
> Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 20:20:54 -0800
> From: email@example.com
> Subject: RE: [sl4] Re: Uploads coming first would be good, right?
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> --- On Tue, 3/3/09, ' ' <email@example.com> wrote:
> > I know there would be no difference if I am conscious or
> > not, but I think consciousness is a physical phenomena
> > therefore it doesn't matter to me.
> So your definition of consciousness is that which distinguishes you from a philosophical zombie?
> Or you mean that consciousness is detectable, but we just don't know how to detect it yet? Or we just don't know how to describe what it is because we haven't thought about the problem hard enough?
> Perhaps you can argue, like Penrose, that the brain does something that is not computable. But most of us believe that the brain is made up of atoms that obey the laws of physics, and we know that physics is computable.
> Or maybe another explanation is that animals that didn't fear most of the things that could kill them didn't pass on those genes to their offspring. Humans, being intelligent, learned about death and labeled that thing that distinguishes living humans from everything else as "consciousness" and naturally have a very strong desire to preserve it. So that thing that you just *know* has to exist is really just a strong belief that all humans share.
> So the question is, if a machine is programmed to behave just like you, including being programmed to express this strong belief, is it you? The question is which side of this machine do you draw the line that separates living humans from everything else?
> Or maybe it's just an imaginary line.
> -- Matt Mahoney, firstname.lastname@example.org
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