[ExI] Consciousness as 'brute fact' and meta-skepticism

Will Steinberg steinberg.will at gmail.com
Sun Feb 9 17:45:42 UTC 2020

On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 8:55 AM John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> I would bet money you don't take it as an axiom that all other people are
> conscious ALL THE TIME, you don't think they're conscious when they're
> sleeping or under anesthesia or dead. But why? Because your axiom has
> nothing to do with neurons or brains, your axiom is really that intelligent behavior
> implies consciousness, and everybody on Earth uses this axiom and has
> been doing so for far longer than they knew anything about neurons or even
> realized that brains had something to do with thinking.

This is a cop out imo.  I can see someone with absolutely no behavior and
assume that they are conscious.  I could also see someone whose brain was
totally fucked up and glitching out and still assume they were conscious,
even if there is no intelligence involved.  If I see someone getting
electrocuted they might not be making intelligent or even volitional
behaviors but I sure as hell believe they are consciously experiencing pain
(before they die...)  And you can mince words about brains as much as you'd
like but you know I'm not talking about dead brains.  I'm talking about a
reasonable assumption to make: most of the time, I am not making any
behaviors, yet I am conscious.  I simply extend this idea to others (who
are not dead) because I know they have brains too.  There is absolutely no
need for intelligent behavior to enter the mix ever.

Since you insist on talking about someone else's brain being different, why
not talk about clones or identical twins.  By your logic then, would it
make sense for a clone to believe another clone was conscious?  But what
about minute differences in the atomic dust in their brains?

The point is those differences do not matter and it's silly to think so.
Brains themselves are clearly associated with consciousness and I can test
that out by whacking myself in the head hard enough to pass out.
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