From: Krekoski Ross (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Mar 03 2009 - 23:06:07 MST
I agree with some of what you are saying-- stating that 'we are programmed
to believe we are conscious' is just deferring the problem. My immediate
subjective experience is bounded, but there is no boundary in terms of my
brains physical interaction with its immediate environment. different
cortices interact with each other, different systems in my body interact
with each other, my body interacts with its environment. There is no region
where interaction with its immediately surrounding regions cease. Yet
consciousness is bounded. We are not all aware of the entire universe as an
immediate subjective experience.
Ah, you will likely say, but only some interaction is relevant, others are
just viewable as random thermal noise. This is probably true, so it may make
sense to think about information as a possible substrate of consciousness.
-- Its intuitively satisfying, at a primordial level, all we're really aware
of is information.
On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 1:28 PM, <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I read most of the OB article on zombies.... neutron diameters and
> 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
> 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,
> 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?
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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
> > 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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