[ExI] The alleged existence of consciousness

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 16 03:45:04 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Sent: Mon, February 15, 2010 6:01:36 PM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] The alleged existence of consciousness

I can't deny that I myself 
> am conscious (according to Pollock). Such
would be irresponsible at best. 
> However, I can easily deny that my
computer is conscious; maybe not as easily 
> as Searle, but still pretty
easily. By exactly the same token, I can deny 
> that you (the reader)
are conscious.

Since you seem to buying into Descartes' "evil daemon" argument, allow me to play the devil's advocate. You could deny the consciousness of other beings, but it is extraordinarily difficult to do, because it goes against your survival instincts. You may *claim* that you are the only conscious person in existence but I *dare* you to act on that belief even for a single day. You will find yourself reacting to and anticipating the actions of people around you, no matter how hard you try. If you are brave enough to scientifically test your hypothesis, the easiest experiment to see if someone else is conscious or not is to pinch them. I guarantee you will get some data on which to base your conclusion.

For this thread only, consider me 
> a solipsist. I hold that only
Spencer Campbell brains are capable of 
> sustaining consciousness. I
grant that other human brains are similar to 
> Spencer Campbell brains,
in precisely the same way that a 
> correctly-programmed digital computer
is similar to SC brains, but I reject 
> the notion that they generate
even the most rudimentary of subjective 
> experiences.

From worm to man, *pain* is possibly the most rudimentary of subjective experiences. Therefore I challenge you to cause pinch every creature you meet for just a single day and you will have your answer.

What logic could you possibly bring to bear on a person with 
> this set
of beliefs?

The logic of pain. That which reacts to pain *must* have the subjective experience of pain because there can be no such thing as objective pain or objective suffering of any kind for that matter.

> Call me irrational if you will, but you can't 
> call me illogical.
Solipsism is a self-consistent position. I don't want it 
> to be, so I
would appreciate it if someone could show me otherwise, but I 
> am
presently convinced that it is.

It is a hypocritical position where a person's arguments and a person's actions are in contradiction.

Have I gone over my eight-post 
> limit today? I should start keeping
track of 
> that.

You need not answer me until you have performed your experiment or chickened out of it. ;-)

Stuart LaForge 

"Never express yourself more clearly than you think." - Niels Bohr 


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