[ExI] Zombie glutamate

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed Feb 18 18:29:25 UTC 2015

On Wed, Feb 18, 2015  Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Functions in the brain are, to an extent, localised.

Memory doesn't seem to be localized, and there is no way to know, or at
least no way to prove, if consciousness is.

> > if a part of the brain is damaged it results in specific deficits in
> function, while other functions are left unaffected.

If region X of the brain is damaged we know that some behaviors change and
others do not, we can make educated guesses but we have no way of PROVING
if consciousness is destroyed or not.

> > So if the visual cortex is taken out the subject can't see, although he
> can speak normally

And the exact same thing would happen if the eyeballs of the subject were
taken out. What does that teach you about the nature of consciousness?
Nothing as far as I can tell.

> Now, what happens if you replace the visual cortex with a perfect
> functional analogue which, however, lacks the special "function" of
> consciousness?

If it's the biological visual cortex that generates your consciousness and
it is removed and replaced by a electronic visual cortex that does
everything just as well as the biological version EXCEPT for generating
consciousness then a intelligent conscious being has been turned into a
intelligent zombie.

> > Now I hope you can see that if EVERY FUNCTION THAT CAN POSSIBLY BE
> SCIENTIFICALLY TESTED FOR is incorporated into the artificial visual cortex
> then it will receive and process input and send output to the rest of the
> brain in the same way as the original visual cortex;


> > the subject will behave completely normally;


> > what would happen if there is a function that can't be scientifically
> tested for, responsible for visual perception (i.e. consciousness) in the
> cortex?

They're not the same thing, visual perception can be tested for,
consciousness of what is perceived can not be.

> > That function would be left out and the subject would be blind

If a being responds to light in it's environment then it may or may not be
conscious, but it is certainly not blind.

> > but because the artificial visual cortex is sending all the right
> signals to his speech centres, and every other part of his brain, he
> doesn't realise he is blind

If the biological visual cortex is what generates consciousness and it has
been removed then he doesn't realize ANYTHING, he's a zombie. He could
still be intelligent witty charming and sexy but he would have no more
consciousness than a brick.

> > and he still declares that he can see normally.

Yes because his behavior is unaffected, he said "I can see normally" before
the operation so he'd say the same thing after it.

> it would be possible to remove a major aspect of a person's
> consciousness, such as visual perception, but they would behave normally
> and they would not notice that anything had changed.

Their bodies would behave just as it always did but they wouldn't notice
anything, they're zombies.

> > So do you see the problem with this?

Yes, the theory that intelligent behavior and consciousness can be
separated can't be proven wrong and will never be proven wrong, so the idea
is silly, very very silly.

  John K Clark

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