[ExI] The alleged existence of consciousness

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 16:20:55 UTC 2010

On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM, Stathis Papaioannou
<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> Philosophical zombies by definition exhibit the same complex behaviour
> as conscious beings. If nature could have produced zombies then why
> aren't we zombies?

Who knows? If zombism is possible, maybe we just got lucky that we
ended up with consciousness.

> It can't be that zombies take more effort to make,

Sure it could.

> since if the patterns of neuronal firing are reproduced in a different
> substrate that would reproduce the behaviour but, you claim, not
> necessarily the consciousness.

That assumes that Swobe's scenario is the only way to achieve zombism.

> So the brain could have evolved
> similarly to the way it actually did, but without the added
> complication of consciousness.

What makes you so sure it's a complication?

> It is difficult to imagine that
> something as elaborate and non-adaptive as consciousness could have
> evolved if there were so many other pathways to the same end without
> consciousness.

We don't know anything about the number of pathways to intelligence
with or without consciousness.

> The best explanation is that the brain we happen to
> have ended up with is not specially blessed, and any other brain based
> on similar patterns resulting in similar behaviour would have also had
> a similar consciousness.

Intuitively, that seems likely. But we just don't know.


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