[ExI] Fwd: Chalmers

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Dec 20 23:13:36 UTC 2019

On Sat, 21 Dec 2019 at 09:06, Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Stathis,
> If it isn’t a physical property, then the best it could be is: “A miracle
> happens here”.  That alone (along with all the other resulting “hard”
> problems) proves to me you’ve got a mistake somewhere in your logic.  And
> given how detailed I describe the problem with this logic, I don’t
> understand how you can’t see this.
> Pluss splitting everting into just A, B, and C is so far aware from any
> qualia, and what qualia are is completely irrelevant.  As I’ve tried to
> point out repeatedly, you not including the required functionality.  You’ve
> got to include the colorness functionality (redness, greenness…) in the
> system,, and finally a binding mechanism which can computationally bind
> colorness together, so you can have a composite qualitative experience
> composed of lots of them.
> So, let’s assume your B performs the required binding functionality.  You
> said a and b could be “Chemical Signals.”  We can throw out b because that
> is causally way downstream from the qualia pixels elements we can both
> objectively observe and consciously be directly aware of, would be aware
> of, presenting to a binding system.  a must be whatever it is that is the
> colorness quale (redness, greenness….) we can detect by being aware of its
> quality computationally bound to lots of other pixels of colorness.  I say
> colorness, a, is a physical property, evidently you think a is just magic.
> And there must be more than just B(a).  Since we can have at least 10s of
> thousands of pixels of awareness for each pixel on a surface we can see.
> So it must be B(a1, a2, a3…. aN)  Where n is at least tens of thousands of
> elemental “magic” qualities which can be bound into one unified conscious
> experience by B.
> A required functionality of binding mechanism B is the ability to
> recognize physical (or magic) red.  If it is glutamate that has the redness
> quality we can directly experience, B (and B1) must be able to report being
> aware that anything but glutamate (or redness or magic) being presented to
> any aN must be able to report, by being aware of that physical or
> qualitative (or magic?) difference, that it is not glutamate.  If it can’t
> do that, then it isn’t functioning properly.
> Also, if you are able to do some kind of substitution from B to B1, you
> must be able to use B1, to bind to the neuro substituted system, so you can
> be computationally aware of whether it is using glutamate, glycine, 1s, or
> 0s (or whatever redness or greenness magic you are thinking of.)
> If you provide the computational binding system which can do all of the
> above required functionality including the colorness (whether magic or
> physical) there will be no “hard” problems.  If you can describe such a
> sufficient system that has any other problems than an approachable color
> problem, I will join the functionalist camp.
> You seem to have constructed your argument in such a way that nothing will
> falsify your thinking that colorness must be magic, resulting in all the
> 'hard' problems chalmers has become famous for?

Qualia are not necessarily magic if they are not physical properties. You
can chop down a tree with an axe made of steel but "chopping down a tree"
is not a physical property of the steel, it is a process that can also
occur with an axe made of a different material, such as titanium or
tungsten. This does not mean that "chopping down a tree" is magic!

With regard to my A, B, C system it is important to emphasise that the
scientist can be COMPLETELY IGNORANT of any consciousness and still repair
or replace its components, simply by observing its behaviour. I might not
know anything about how a computer works or what a computer does, but I
could still replace wiring in the computer by soldering in new wires, and I
would expect that it would continue working the same. All I have to do is
test the electrical properties of the wire, make sure the replacement has a
similar resistance and is able to carry at least the same current, make
sure it is insulated appropriately for the voltage, and so on. For
completeness I could swap it in and out of circuit and make sure that the
inputs and outputs are the same. With my example, all the scientist has to
do is find a replacement B1 such that B1(a) = B(a) for all inputs a. He
does not have to know anything whatsoever about qualia, binding or pixels.
If he does this, the output of the system (speech, in this case) given a
particular input MUST be the same. Do you disagree with this?

Stathis Papaioannou
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