[ExI] [Exl] Digital Consciousness

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri May 3 01:28:36 UTC 2013

On Fri, May 3, 2013 at 10:49 AM, Henry Rivera
<hrivera at alumni.virginia.edu> wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>> Does euglena "experience" the perception of light during phototaxis?
>>I suspect at some level yes, otherwise there would have to be some
>>special consciousness spark entering at some evolutionary point
>>between euglena and humans, and that seems implausible.
> I hypothesize this is exactly what happened, but I wouldn't call it a spark.
> At some point in the evolution of higher-level animals, we developed some
> structure or process in our brain that allows us to jack into what I call
> the universal consciousness that is all around us that contains/produces
> qualia (perhaps interfacing at the plank scale). This is currently being
> discussed on the Journal of Consciousness Studies list due to recent
> articles on the topic. These brain structures or processes could be
> microtubules, as Hammeroff suggests, EM fields interacting with
> voltage-gated ion channels as Johnjoe McFadden suggests, Na+ channels as
> Alfredo Pereira suggests, Ca++ ions as Chris Nunn suggests, or maybe
> something we haven't discovered yet. Here's a recent paper on McFadden's
> CEMI from the JCS:
> http://machineslikeus.com/sites/default/files/mcfadden_JCS_2013%28a%29.pdf
> I recognize that until there is more evidence supporting such unpopular
> ideas, Occam's razor will lead most to dismiss them. I'm happy to modify my
> views as evidence comes in.

Apart from the scientific problem, the philosophical problem with
these theories is that they make consciousness substrate dependent, as
Brent and Gordon have been arguing, and that leads to absurdity. It
would mean that if the microtubules in your visual cortex could be
replaced with functional equivalents you would be blind but you would
not notice you were blind and you would behave as if you had normal

Stathis Papaioannou

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