[ExI] Zombie Detector (was Re:Do digital computers feel?)

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Sun Jan 1 16:49:24 UTC 2017

Hi Jason,

Good question.  Let me first ask you a question, then based on your 
answer, I will be able to better answer your questions.

Let's say you duplicate a person, possibly with a Star Trek like 
transporter.  Except you make one minor change.  You completely swap the 
new persons redness knowledge with their greenness knowledge.  I would 
say you have still successfully transported them, that you have achieved 
multiple-realizability and functionally they will be identical.  But, 
the new person represents knowledge of strawberries with a greenness 
quality.  Do these before and after people have "identical mental states"?


On 12/31/2016 4:44 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
> Brent,
> Thank you, the video cleared it up for me then. So do you have no 
> objection to multiple-realizability (the idea that different physical 
> materials could in theory be used to construct minds that have 
> identical mental states)?
> Jason
> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 4:53 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com 
> <mailto:brent.allsop at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Hi Jason,
>     I'm just talking in simplified qualitative terms to make
>     communication easier to model what is and isn't important.  that
>     is the only reason I used the term grue to represent all the 99
>     million or whatever new colors that any particular tetrachromat
>     can experience (surely they are not all the same).
>     Also, when i say that glutamate has the redness quality and
>     glycene has the grenness quality, this too, is just simplified.  I
>     am describing what it would be like in a hypothetical world that
>     only has 3 colors - red (glutamate), green(glycene), and
>     white(aspartate).  (see:
>     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHuqZKxtOf4&t=30s
>     <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHuqZKxtOf4&t=30s>) I simply
>     describe in that video that if there was such a world, how could
>     the people in that world correctly see that in their simplified
>     world that glutamate was the neural correlate of red (and not
>     think it was white since glutamate reflects white light).
>     Then once a person can understand how this general correct
>     qualitative interpretation theory works in the simplified world,
>     they can use the same proper qualitative interpretation of
>     abstracted data, in the real world - to finally not be qualia
>     blind and finally discover what really has all the redness
>     qualities any one of us can experience.
>     Brent
>     On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 3:29 PM, Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com
>     <mailto:jasonresch at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Brent Allsop
>         <brent.allsop at gmail.com <mailto:brent.allsop at gmail.com>> wrote:
>             I, like most people, am a mere tetra chromate – I
>             experience the world with 3 primary colors.But some people
>             are tetrachromats, and do it with 4 primary colors.Let’s
>             call this 4^th color “grue”.Obviously, all us tri chromats
>             can hear the person say things like: “No that is Grue, not
>             one of the primary colors, as you claim” and we can
>             observe what is causing the 4^th primary color, including
>             it’s neural correlate in their brains.In other words, like
>             Frank Jackson’s brilliant color scientist raised in a
>             black and what room, us trichromats can learn everything
>             about grue, and see that it is not in our heads, but we
>             can see when the neurarl correlate of grue is in the head
>             of a tetrachromat.
>             In other words, all of us normal trichromatic people are
>             grue zombies.We can know and communicate everything about
>             them.In fact, we might even be able to be trained to call
>             the right things grue, just like the tetrachromat does,
>             and lie about it, and convince everyone else that we might
>             be a tetrachromat.(until you observe my brain)So, until we
>             enhance our primary visual cortext and give it what has
>             the grue color, we will never know how the tetrachromat
>             qualitatively interprets the word “grue”.
>             Now, some people think of a “p-zombie” as something that
>             is atomically identical to us, but just doesn’t have the
>             qualitative experience of consciousness – which of course
>             is very absurd, and very different than the grue type of
>             zombie, I am, who simply isn’t yet capable of producing
>             the grue neural correlate in my brain.But I can represent
>             grue with anything else that is in my brain, and talk
>             about it as if it was grue, in a grue zombie way.
>         But no new neurotransmitters are required to experience grue.
>         Moreover, tretrachromats don't just see 1 new type of color,
>         they can see 99 million new colors that us trichromats cannot
>         see. This is because we can sense about 100 independent
>         relative brightnesses for red green and blue colors, which
>         allows 100x100x100 possible resulting colors (1 million
>         colors). Tetrachromats get to see 100x100x100x100 or 100
>         million colors.
>         How can so many new colors come about if the neurocorolates
>         are somehow dependent on specific chemicals in the brain?
>         Tetrachromats don't have 100 times as many chemicals in their
>         brain as trichromats have, yet they get to perceive 100 times
>         as many qualia.
>         Jason
>             On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Jason Resch
>             <jasonresch at gmail.com <mailto:jasonresch at gmail.com>> wrote:
>                 Reminds me a bit of "An Unfortunate Dualist":
>                 http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-23-unfortunate-dualist.html
>                 <http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-23-unfortunate-dualist.html>
>                 As to your puzzle, if Fred is unable to detect any
>                 effects from conscious people (including their
>                 reflections), then he should not  be able to see his
>                 own reflection, but then he also shouldn't be able to
>                 hear his own thoughts either. Which might be your
>                 definition of a zombie, making him visible, etc.
>                 "Russell's reflection". However, Fred's own voice
>                 might still be heard if Fred's consciousness is an
>                 epiphenomenon, but I think practically speaking I
>                 think epiphenomenalism can be ruled out, together with
>                 the notion of p-zombies.
>                 See Daniel Dennett's "The Unimagined Preposterousness
>                 of Zombies":
>                 https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/unzombie.htm
>                 <https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/unzombie.htm>
>                     Dennett argues that "when philosophers claim that
>                     zombies are conceivable, they invariably
>                     underestimate the task of conception (or
>                     imagination), and end up imagining something that
>                     violates their own definition".^[3]
>                     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1991-3>
>                     ^[4]
>                     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1995-4>
>                      He coined the term "zimboes" – p-zombies that
>                     have second-order beliefs
>                     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-order_logic> –
>                     to argue that the idea of a p-zombie is
>                     incoherent;^[12]
>                     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-12>
>                      "Zimboes think^Z  they are conscious, think^Z
>                      they have qualia, think^Z  they suffer pains –
>                     they are just 'wrong' (according to this
>                     lamentable tradition), in ways that neither they
>                     nor we could ever discover!".^[4]
>                     <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1995-4>
>                 I'm not sure, however, whether your thought experiment
>                 sheds any new light on the concepts of consciousness
>                 or zombies. It seems like it may be only a
>                 reformulation of the "Barber Paradox", where the self
>                 reflexivity is a "power to detect only
>                 non-consciousness things", aimed at one's own
>                 consciousness.
>                 Jason
>                 On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 11:13 AM, Stuart LaForge
>                 <avant at sollegro.com <mailto:avant at sollegro.com>> wrote:
>                     Jason Resch wrote:
>                     <Therefore, if the brain is a machine, and is
>                     finite, then an
>                     appropriately programmed computer can perfectly
>                     emulate any of its
>                     behaviors. Philosophers generally fall into one os
>                     three camps, on the
>                     question of consciousness and the computational
>                     theory of mind:
>                     Non-computable physicists [. . .]Weak AI
>                     proponents [. . .]
>                     Computationalists.
>                     Which camp do you consider yourself in?>
>                     -------------------------------------------
>                     As a general rule, I prefer not to go camping with
>                     philosophers as I
>                     prefer the rigor of science and mathematics. But
>                     if I must camp in that
>                     neck of the woods, I would set up my own camp. I
>                     would call it the
>                     Godelian camp after Kurt Godel. Since I am a
>                     scientist and not a
>                     philosopher, I will explain my views with a
>                     thought experiment instead of
>                     an argument.
>                     Imagine if you will a solipsist. Let's call him
>                     Fred. Fred is solopsist
>                     because he has every reason to believe he lives
>                     alone in a world of
>                     P-zombies.
>                     For the uninitiated, P-zombies are philosophical
>                     zombies. Horrid beings
>                     that talk, move, and act like normal folks but
>                     lack any real consciousness
>                     or self-awareness. They just go through the
>                     motions of being conscious but
>                     are not really so.
>                     So ever since Fred could remember, wherever he
>                     looked, all he could see
>                     were those pesky P-zombies. They were everywhere.
>                     He could talk to them,
>                     he could interact with them, and he even married
>                     one. And because they all
>                     act perfectly conscious, they would fool most
>                     anyone but certainly not
>                     Fred.
>                     This was because Fred had, whether you would
>                     regard it as a gift or curse,
>                     an unusual ability. He could always see and
>                     otherwise sense P-zombies but
>                     never normal folk. Normal folk were always
>                     invisible to him and he never
>                     could sense a single one. So he, being a perfect
>                     P-zombie detector, came
>                     to believe that he was the only normal person on a
>                     planet populated by
>                     P-zombies.
>                     Then one day by chance he happened to glance in a
>                     mirror . . .
>                     Does he see himself?
>                     I want to hear what the list has to say about this
>                     before I give my answer
>                     and my interpretation of what this means for
>                     strong AI and the
>                     computational theory of mind.
>                     Stuart LaForge
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