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

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Dec 30 22:29:02 UTC 2016

On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>

> 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 4th 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
> 4th 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.


> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Reminds me a bit of "An Unfortunate Dualist":
>> 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
>> 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
>> thinkZ they are conscious, thinkZ they have qualia, thinkZ 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>
>> 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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