[ExI] Quantum consciousness, quantum mysticism, and transhumanist engineering
William Flynn Wallace
foozler83 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 7 23:45:08 UTC 2017
Adrian wrote: what the line is between sleeping versus a persistent
vegetative state, and so on).
Good - let's talk about sleep. If you are an empiricist like me, you are
uncomfortable with having no observable behavior to measure. But in stage
one sleep there is nothing to observe except by EEG and those kinds of
things. The person, however, has experiences that make him believe that he
is awake and thinking rationally when in fact he is asleep. I realize that
I am drifting into stage one when my thoughts become sort of weird.
Stage two is when the REM dreams occur, and again the person has
experiences without moving anything but his eyelids and a few muscle
twitches. Stage 4 is where you have the rare night terrors, waking up
Conscious remembrance of these is fraught with peril as far as our
interpretation of them is concerned.
Are they stages of consciousness? Is it OK to say that you are conscious
when you are dreaming? I tend to relate consciousness to being aware of
external stimuli, which means that it goes way down the phylogenetic
scale. In dreaming there is no awareness of external stimuli ordinarily,
though the dreamer may hear things and incorporate them in his dream.
Many unanswered questions here, especially about definitions.
On Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>
> On Wed., 8 Mar. 2017 at 8:41 am, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 1:23 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>
>> > On Wed., 8 Mar. 2017 at 7:17 am, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >> I don't, unless and until any functional components can actually be
>> >> from them - at which point they stop being any sort of mysticism, so by
>> >> definition that won't happen.
>> > Yes: if consciousness were due to something other than or in addition
>> to the
>> > observable behaviour of brain components then that would allow for a
>> > decoupling of mind from body.
>> That brings up another problem: one would need a strict definition of
>> "consciousness", such that anything complying with that definition
>> would be judged conscious.
> We can actually do a lot without defining it except in vague operational
> terms, which makes the argument more robust. I know what it means to say
> that I'm conscious even if I can't explain it or convince others of it. If
> some aspect of my consciousness, or another entity's consciousness if they
> have it, were due to an intrinsic quality of a brain component which could
> not be duplicated by duplicating the observable behaviour of that
> component, then it would imply a decoupling of mind from body. If something
> were tweaked in your brain you might become blind, or start seeing fire
> breathing dragons, but out of your mouth would still come sounds at
> medicating to the rest of the world that everything looks just the same.
> Imagine a human chauvinist, who refused to agree that any machine
>> could be conscious but was not willing to openly defend "only humans
>> can be conscious" (perhaps in part to have to avoid defining "human",
>> including whether humans who have suffered extreme lobotomy still
>> qualify, whether someone who is sleeping counts as presently conscious
>> or worth protecting due to expected near-term resumption of
>> consciousness, what the line is between sleeping versus a persistent
>> vegetative state, and so on). For every definition offered, a
>> transhumanist could then ask, "So if I built a machine that...then it
>> would be conscious? If not, why not?"
>> extropy-chat mailing list
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Stathis Papaioannou
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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