Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Stuart Armstrong (
Date: Mon Mar 31 2008 - 08:26:49 MDT

>> Question: would you prefer
>> (A) to be tortured for an hour in the old-fashioned way
>> (B) for records of such an hour merely to be retrieved from
>> a galaxy far, far away a long time ago in which you were
>> tortured just the same, and merely the states for that hour
>> interval brought to Earth and at the proper moment merely
>> looked up?

> In that case, (A) and (B) would be equivalent.

>From a philosophical point of view, I can see your point - but I'd
like to inject some practical caveats here. If I was given such a
choice, I would jump at (B) instantly. Partly because of anticipation
of pain (which is much more important to me right now than
anticipation of the end of pain).

But mainly because if we tweak this example, we get highly
non-inuitive consequences. What about "get tortured now, and left to
live for ten years while slowly recuperating" vs "in ten year's time,
have a distant memory of being tortured"?

Or "having a terrible, painful nightmare, then waking up" vs "waking
up, with a vague fading memory that you had some unpleasant dream"?

The evolution of our memories - vivid events become less vivid,
sometimes get erased entirely - seems to militate against total
equivalence between "C happened" and "everyone remembers that C
happened (but it didn't)".

> You might think that it sounds reasonable, but ultimately
> you have to take it on faith. You also have to admit that you might be
> at least partially a zombie right now, since feeling that you're all
> conscious does not count as evidence that this is in fact the case.

I'm feeling that Zombies should be denied their rations of brains, and
buried away from this list for ever. With no way of distinguishing a
zombie from a non-zombie, I don't see what the point of mentioning
them is.

> to prior existing patterns existing only in Platonia.

I plan to visit Platonia soon, and bring back some photos. Or at
least, the platonic ideal of photos.


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