[ExI] Zombie glutamate

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Feb 16 17:08:23 UTC 2015

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com>

> Hi Stathis,
> What do you think the chances are, that we are still simply just miss
> communicating?  We both think we understand the other, but I bet one of
> us is more mistaken in this belief, than the other.  I desperately want
> to better understand the way you think, and fear I am still missing
> something important.  Let me state some of my understanding about the way
> you think about the qualitative nature of consciousness.
> I'm sure we are somehow miscommunicating, and it is frustrating.

> You understand what “zombie glutmate” is, but you think such is logically,
> or mathematically provably, not possible?
> Zombie glutamate is glutamate that functions normally in its role as a
neurotransmitter according to any test, except it does not contribute to
the aspect of consciousness that natural glutamate does (say red qualia). I
think this is absurd: if it functions normally, then it must also
contribute to consciousness normally. I don't think it is possible even by
miraculous means to create zombie glutamate.

> You think there is no solution to the “hard problem” or that it is
> unapproachable via science.  This includes your belief that we will never
> be able to determine in any way, any kind of diversity of phenomenal
> consciousness (i.e. including things like being able to detect simple red
> green qualitative inversion, let alone the difference between more
> significant types of diversity like bi chromate vs tri chromate,
> tetrachromats…).
> I think the philosophical "hard problem" of consciousness is almost by
definition impossible to solve. However, I think we can go a long way
towards solving the "easy problem", even to the point of being able scan
someone's brain and deduce what they are thinking.

> It is impossible for you to imagine how anyone could ever experience a new
> blue they have never experienced before.
> No, I can imagine that.

> You prefer talking about zombie functional isomorphs, or think zombie
> functional isomorphs are more consistent with your thinking, as you think
> such is more possible than zombie glutamate?
> No, I don't think zombie functional isomorphs are possible. I use the term
in order to dismiss it.

> Do you think it would be possible to build a system, purely out of zombie
> information (i.e. by definition, has not qualitative
> properties/consciousness), that could pass a Turing test?
> Yes.

Stathis Papaioannou
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