[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Feb 16 11:30:26 UTC 2010

On 16 February 2010 02:28, Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

>>> You beg the question of non-organic consciousness. As
>>> far as we know, "non-organic alien visitors" amounts to a
>>> completely meaningless concept.
>> What??
> You ask what I would say to non-organic alien visitors, and I suppose you assume those non-organic alien visitors have consciousness. But non-organic consciousness is what is at issue here.

I thought you said before that you did not rule the possibility of
non-organic consciousness. If the aliens had clockwork brains, you
might allow that they are conscious, but not if they have digital
computers as brains. Of course, their technology might be so weird
that you would be unable to tell what was clockwork and what was a
digital computer, especially if there was a mixture of the two.
Nevertheless, even if they are zombies, you can still have a
discussion with them once you have figured out each other's language.
The aliens would insist that they were conscious, and question whether
you were conscious. What could you say to them to convince them

>>> As for nematodes, I have no idea whether their
>>> primitive nervous systems support what I mean by
>>> consciousness. I doubt it but I don't know. I classify them
>>> in the gray area between unconscious amoebas and conscious
>>> humans.
>> At some point, either gradually or abruptly, consciousness
>> will happen in the transition from nematode to human or watch to AI.
> I consider it a scientific fact that consciousness arises between the nematode to the human. But only in science-fiction does consciousness happen in digital watches or digital computers.

I guess you mean that you know that you're conscious - that is your
empirical evidence. But the alien visitors would say the same, and
there is no test you could do on them (or they on you) to prove
consciousness. If they presented you with an argument purporting to
prove that organic matter can't have a mind you would dismiss it out
of hand, no matter how clever it was; and similarly they would dismiss
any of your arguments purporting to show that they cannot be

Stathis Papaioannou

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