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To:everything-list@googlegroups.com From:Evgenii Rudnyi Subject:Re: Primitive Awareness and Symmetry Date:Thu, 05 Apr 2012 22:38:31 +0200
 

On 05.04.2012 21:38 meekerdb said the following:
> On 4/5/2012 11:56 AM, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
>> On 05.04.2012 20:39 David Nyman said the following:
>>> On 5 April 2012 17:37, Evgenii Rudnyi<usenet@rudnyi.ru> wrote:
>>>
>>>>> (a) It is impossible to make a philosophical zombie as consciousness
>>>>> is just a side-effect of intelligent behaviour;
>>>>> (b) It is possible to make a philosophical zombie but the mechanism
>>>>> for intelligent behaviour that nature chanced upon has the side-effect
>>>>> of consciousness.
>>>>>
>>>>> Though (b) is possible I don't think it's plausible.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Jeffrey Gray considers consciousness from a viewpoint of empirical
>>>> studies.
>>>> Philosophical zombies so far exist only in the minds of crazy
>>>> philosophers,
>>>> so I am not sure if this is relevant.
>>>
>>> I've always thought that the parable of the philosophical zombie was
>>> nothing more than a way of dramatising the fact that fundamental
>>> physical theory explicitly abjures any appeal to consciousness in
>>> pursuit of its explanatory goals. All such theories are built on the
>>> assumption (which I for one am in no position to dispute) that a
>>> complete physical account of human behaviour could be completed
>>> without reference to any putative conscious states
>>>
>>> The zombie metaphor isn't intended as a challenge to how things
>>> actually are, but rather to pump our intuition of explanatory gaps in
>>> our theories of how things are. Hence, in the case that either option
>>> a) or b) were true, it would still seem unsatisfactory that that
>>> neither conclusion is forced by any existing physical theory, given
>>> the unavoidable observational truth of consciousness.
>>>
>>> David
>>
>> In this sense, his conclusion is in agreement with philosophers. In
>> his book, Jeffery Gray shows that "consciousness display" cannot be
>> explained by the current science. According to him, a new science is
>> required.
>>
>> Yet, this does not change his hypothesis about why "consciousness
>> display" could be advantageous for evolution. We do not know what it
>> is, but if is there, it certainly can help to organize servomechanisms
>> in the body.
>
> But 'conscious display' is just putting another name on what he purports
> to explain. Unless Gray can point to specific brain structures and
> processes and explain why those structures and processes make
> consciousness and others don't, he has done nothing to put new words on
> "consciousness". Science needs *operational* definitions. Conversely, if
> he can specify the structures and processes then we can instantiate
> those in a robot and see if the robot acts as if it were conscious. I
> think that will be the experimental test of a theory of consciousness.
> If we can manipulate consciousness by physical/chemical manipulation of
> the brain that will be evidence we know what consciousness is. Notice
> that in the physical science we don't go around saying, "Yes, I know how
> gravity works and I can predict its effects and write equations for it,
> but what IS it?"

Science start with a research on a phenomenon. If to speak about a
theory of consciousness then we are presumably close to the level when
ancient Greeks would try to develop a theory of electricity. Yet, the
phenomenon, for example lighting was already there and it was possible
to describe it even then.

'Conscious display' is a metaphor, if you like then a placeholder. We
cannot explain right now how brain produces consciousness and this is
Gray's point. Yet, this does not mean that the phenomenon is not there.
We just cannot explain it. In this respect, Gray's book is a very good
example of empirical science, the theory of consciousness is however not
there.

Evgenii

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