[ExI] Zombie glutamate

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sat Feb 21 16:14:30 UTC 2015

On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:22 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>

> there are some who claim that even replacing like for like would not
> reproduce consciousness

In this case there is experimental proof that idea is false, the atoms in
our brains are constantly being replaced and yet consciously we feel like
the same person, or at least I do.

> in a thought experiment it is enough to consider the case where a volume
> of neural tissue is replaced by a black box which has the appropriate I/O
> behaviour. Do you accept that such a black box would necessarily preserve
> consciousness,

Certainly I agree with that, I'd bet my life it's true, but I can not
provide a proof that a mathematician would accept.

> > or can you conceive of a way of partly replacing the
> putative consciousness-generating apparatus without the subject or an
> observer noticing, respectively, a gross change in consciousness or
> behaviour?

Behavior would certainly be the same and I think it's only a matter of time
before that is demonstrated experimentally, and I am virtually certain
consciousness would be unaffected too however that will never be
demonstrated experimentally. The difference is that in the replacement part
all the inputs and outputs *that you can measure in the lab* are identical
but although I think it's ridiculous it is logically possible that there
are other inputs and outputs that neither your lab nor any lab will ever be
able to measure. But even the lifetime of the universe is far too short to
worry about this very small residual uncertainty.

  John K Clark
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