Re: The GLUT and functionalism

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Thu Apr 03 2008 - 05:32:50 MDT

On 03/04/2008, Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> I probably have nothing new to add, but if you were
> planning an action based upon a weighted sum of you-
> being-right and me-being-right, then I would say, in
> the case that I'm right, that there are, I believe, a number
> of smooth transition scenarios that start with your present
> brain, and replace it bit by bit with electro-mechanical
> and computerized hardware that would have (of course)
> exactly the same functional behavior, and that these make
> altogether a good argument for such a simulation/emulation
> being satisfactory.

It might have the same functional behaviour, but as John Searle
claims, it may be that your consciousness gradually fades away to
nothing as more and more of your brain is replaced.

[Incidentally, I haven't seen any evidence that Searle has answered or
even understood the "fading qualia" argument. He claims that as your
brain is being replaced with functionally equivalent computer chips,
you will notice, for example, that you are going blind, but will hear
yourself saying to the experimenter that your vision is normal. But
this is impossible if the replacement is indeed functionally
equivalent to the original brain tissue, since the remaining brain
(which would do the noticing that you are going blind) by definition
receives exactly the same inputs from the implants as it would have if
no change had been made. Therefore, you would not only behave as if
you have normal visual perception, you - i.e. that unreplaced part of
your brain able to reflect on experiences - would also feel and
believe that you have normal visual perception. As far as I'm
concerned, that state of affairs is equivalent to having normal visual
perception, which means you would lose nothing by having your brain
replaced by a functional equivalent. If you don't agree, then
uploading could be a problem for you.]

> > Yes, but I know right now that I'm not a zombie, regardless of whether
> > anyone else believes me. What you're suggesting is that this special
> > personal knowledge might be unreliable: I may yet be a zombie, or a
> > partial zombie, despite feeling what I feel.
> >
> No, I don't agree. Instead, I agree with you, namely, that
> from your point of view---assuming that you are not being
> looked up, i.e., not a zombie (and so *there is* a "your
> point of view)---you do have absolute knowledge (or as
> near as we ever come to such a thing) that you are
> conscious.
> So by definition, if you are indeed feeling anything at all,
> then you are conscious.

Suppose God informs you that the left side of your body was suddenly
made numb five minutes ago, but he has given you zombie feeling on
that side so that you behave as before and can tell no difference
between your left side and right side. Is this possible? I would argue
that whatever God did to you five minutes ago, *by definition* he has
left your perception intact. Zombie feeling, in this case, is no
different to normal feeling.

Stathis Papaioannou

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