• BlueBanana
    875
    I suppose most of us are familiar with the concept of philosophical zombies, or p-zombies for short: beings that appear and act like humans and are completely indistinguishable from humans but do not have consciousness.

    However, a p-zombie, despite having no consciousness, reacts to stimuli in exactly the same way a human being would. A human, however, is aware of its own consciousness and sentience, and this awareness in itself is a perception that human reacts to. Therefore, wouldn't a p-zombie notice its lack of consciousness and experiences and comment on these, thus not being completely similar in its actions to a human being?

    If this kind of being - one that reacted to all its perceptions in a way a human would, but did not have the perception of the conscious experiences or thoughts - what would its reaction to this then be like? Would the p-zombie appear to be panicking or show some other emotion, or, upon realizing that it had no emotions, would it also stop expressing them?

    I think this rises yet another quite interesting question: what do we even react to? Do we react to external stimuli, or our experiences of them? I think this is what defines the answer to the previous question as well; if the answer is the former one, the p-zombie would indeed mostly act like a human, but were it the latter one, the p-zombie would have no motivation to perform any action at all or react to any stimuli except by its reflexes, and die of starvation.
  • JupiterJess
    110
    Therefore, wouldn't a p-zombie notice its lack of consciousness and experiences and comment on these, thus not being completely similar in its actions to a human being?BlueBanana

    yeah you're right. The closest thing we have are people with Aphantasia who lack a "mind's eye" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphantasia however during interaction with other people they are able to comprehend they are lacking something the others have.

    The p-zombie argument is built on the idea that consciousness is epiphenomenal. So you can have a zombie that relates every detail but has no phenomenal version of events. In that sense it's stupid but works well as an argument against mechanism. If anyone thinks it can be true besides being a philosophical thought experiment (sort of like the Socractic dialogues) then they are nuts.
  • Inyenzi
    10
    If this kind of being - one that reacted to all its perceptions in a way a human would, but did not have the perception of the conscious experiences or thoughts - what would its reaction to this then be like?BlueBanana

    He'd start rambling on about consciousness like David Dennet :smile:
  • SteveKlinko
    289
    However, a p-zombie, despite having no consciousness, reacts to stimuli in exactly the same way a human being would.BlueBanana
    Take the Conscious Visual experience of the scene the p-Zombie is looking at. Without the Conscious Visual experience the p-Zombie would be Blind and would not be able to move around in the World without bumping into things. The Conscious Visual experience is the final stage of the Visual process. People who think the Conscious experience is not necessary for the p-Zombie to move around in the World are exhibiting Insane Denial of the purpose of the Conscious Visual experience.
  • BlueBanana
    875
    As a counter-example, robots lack conscious visual experience but manage to react accordingly to information transferred by photons.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.3k
    However, a p-zombie, despite having no consciousness, reacts to stimuli in exactly the same way a human being would. A human, however, is aware of its own consciousness and sentience, and this awareness in itself is a perception that human reacts to. Therefore, wouldn't a p-zombie notice its lack of consciousness and experiences and comment on these, thus not being completely similar in its actions to a human being?BlueBanana
    Sure, a p-zombie would notice something missing, just like a blind person notices something missing when they hear others talking about their visual experiences.

    P-zombies wouldn't have dreams or nightmares.
    P-zombies wouldn't have that internal voice telling them what would be right or wrong, or self-reflection. Being a p-zombie would be like having blind-sight. People with this condition are aware that there is something there, but are not clear on the details of what that thing is. They do not behave like normal humans as a result of this lack of visual consciousness.

    The behaviour of computers are driven by bottom-up processes (mechanical/hardware) and top-down processes (non-mechanical/software). P-zombies would be like "computers" without software. They would be more like a typewriter that simply reacts to external input and can't perform actions based on its own internal programming and stored information. That would be the kind of difference we would see between a human being and a p-zombie.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Very confusing post.

    How would a non-conscious being reflect on its own condition? Doesn't the term ''zombie'' specifically deny self-awareness of any kind?
  • BlueBanana
    875
    How would a non-conscious being reflect on its own condition?TheMadFool

    Good question, as a thought experiment I think one could think of a conscious being losing their consciousness, thus having knowledge of the nature of consciousness without having it.

    Doesn't the term ''zombie'' specifically deny self-awareness of any kind?TheMadFool

    Depends on how self-awareness is defined, I guess. By the definition of p-zombie, it should act like it had self-awareness.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Depends on how self-awareness is defined, I guess. By the definition of p-zombie, it should act like it had self-awareness.BlueBanana

    This is a puzzle to me. A p-zombie, the way you describe it, should be indistinguishable from a person who actually is conscious.

    Isn't this a ''dead'' end?

    If you define y as x and then it becomes impossible to inquire into how x and y may be compared.

    Anyway I started a thread on self-awareness and whether that is a good thing or not.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    I think you're missing the point re. the p-zombie thing, it's a stipulation, a thought experiment, an "intuition pump" (a tool to draw out and clarify our intuitions about something) not an empirical hypothesis (that there could be such a creature).

    I love the way some philosophers (e.g. Dennett) handle it though: they cut the Gordian knot by saying simply (in complicated ways) that we are p-zombies! :)
  • BlueBanana
    875
    I'm aware, but to be used as a thought experiment, the concept should make sense. Furthermore, although the term isn't used in that context, when a sceptic question whether other people have consciousness, isn't the idea practically the same?
  • BlueBanana
    875
    If you define y as x and then it becomes impossible to inquire into how x and y may be compared.TheMadFool

    More of "y should (appear to) be x". Sure the zombie would not have self-awareness in the sense that it wouldn't exactly have any knowledge at all, although its communication would reflect the information stored in its brain,
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k


    The notion of a philosophical zombie is a manifestation of the Spiritualist confusion of academic philosophers.

    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know.

    We're purposefully-responsive devices, designed by natural-selection, to achieve certain material goals and purposes. Consciousness is the property of being a purposefully-responsive device.

    But the word "Consciousness" is, of course, used very chauvinistically. We only apply that word to those purposefully-responsive devices that are sufficiently similar to us. Other humans, or maybe other mammals. ...maybe the vertebrates, or maybe include the insects...and so on.

    Yeah, but when it comes down to it, you're not different in kind from a mousetrap or a refrigerator lightswitch.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • BlueBanana
    875
    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know.Michael Ossipoff

    No, it does those things through causality causing it to do those things. Doing those things does not imply consciousness being involved.

    Consciousness is the property of being a purposefully-responsive device.Michael Ossipoff

    Where is the consciousness in a mousetrap? How does it rise from its physical nature?
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k


    I’d said:

    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know.

    You replied:

    No, it does those things through causality causing it to do those things.

    You could say that about any event, explain it by saying that it’s caused by causality. For example, that could be said about the operation of a Roomba. What the Roomba does is caused by its built-in purposeful-responsiveness. …as can also be said of any animal, or humans too. The behavior that makes you say that a person has Consciousness is the result of designed-in purposeful responsiveness. If there’s any Consciousness there, it’s the purposeful-responsiveness itself.

    The (hypothetical) philosophical-zombie has that purposeful-responsiveness too. How else do you think it does what a human does?

    Doing those things does not imply consciousness being involved.

    Correct. It doesn’t imply the kind of Consciousness that you’re talking about. …some Spiritualist notion of a separate entity, separate and different from the body.

    But animals have what you could call “Consciousness” because animals are designed to do various things, to accomplish particular goals and purposes. What you regard as a separate entity called “Consciousness” consists of the design-purpose built into animals (including humans). …their designed-in purposeful-responsiveness, to accomplish their design goals.

    I’d said:

    Consciousness is the property of being a purposefully-responsive device.

    You replied:

    Where is the consciousness in a mousetrap?

    For the purpose of our animal-chauvinist usage in speech, I define “Consciousness” as purposeful-responsiveness of a device with which the speaker feels kinship.
    You don’t feel kinship with a mousetrap.

    Yes, it’s a vague definition, because our use of the word “Consciousness” is imprecise. Really, “purposeful-responsiveness” is a better, more uniformly-used term.

    How does it rise from its physical nature?

    It isn’t some separate thing that “arises”, “supervenes” or “emerges”, or whatever. It’s just the property of purposeful-responsiveness. …but you don’t call it “Consciousness” when possessed by something you don’t feel kinship with.

    But would you say that insects aren’t conscious? They go about their business, as do mammals, and they experience fear. In those regards, they’re recognizably similar to us.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • gurugeorge
    517
    Ah, I said that because you were questioning whether a p-zombie would behave as we do, but the stipulation is that it does - it behaves indistinguishably from us (so it wouldn't die of starvation because of its lack of consciousness for example).

    I think the problem is that questioning whether other people have consciousness isn't really a well-formed question (or, it's not a question that actually makes any sense), it just seems to be.

    Actually digging into the philosophy a bit: there are broadly two senses in which we use the concept of consciousness:-

    A. A publicly verifiable thing. We observe the world, we see things avoiding some things, cleaving to other things, and that kind of behaviour is what we call "conscious." Animals have it, although there's a fuzzy line where animals don't seem to have it any more and their behaviour can be explained as purely mechanical and "robotic" (e.g. bacteria, ants, things like that). And this sense of consciousness has reasonable, publicly verifiable tests, like "How many fingers am I holding up?"

    B. Something each of us has or is that is completely private (no one else can see your consciousness, or can tell whether you "have" it or not).

    I think the problem is that, generally speaking, the latter sense, which probably derives from religion (ideas about soul, spirit, etc.), is often confused with the former sense, in that having B is supposed to be what makes A possible. B is supposed to be an un-publicly-verifiable inner thing that makes the publicly-verifiable A behaviour happen.

    Most of the philosophical battles in philosophy of mind seem to be around some people thinking that B is a real thing, and that if you don't have it, you can't be conscious, even under conditions when most would say you're conscious in sense A (the p-zombie).

    Detractors of B point out that we seem to get along perfectly well in the A sense regardless of whether we have B or not.

    I don't know what the answer is, it depends on how you squint at it. Sometimes one thinks having this inner "registering" of outside events and of inner thoughts is the most weird and important thing in the world, and that denying it would lead to hideous atrocity; sometimes the detractors seem right and it's all a fuss about nothing.

    One point: it looks like we're getting pretty close to being able to scan peoples' brains and know what they're thinking. If that's the case, then in the end, the complaints just come down to an ontological truism elevated to something grand and mysterious: I am not you, and you are not me.
  • BlueBanana
    875
    Yes, it’s a vague definition, because our use of the word “Consciousness” is imprecise. Really, “purposeful-responsiveness” is a better, more uniformly-used term.Michael Ossipoff

    It's also incorrect as it does not describe what the term "consciousness" refers to. As I stated, purposeful-responsiveness doesn't imply consciousness, but strictly speaking consciousness doesn't imply purposeful-responsiveness either. In contrast,

    some Spiritualist notion of a separate entity, separate and different from the body.Michael Ossipoff

    is what the word means and refers to.

    All conscious beings that exist are purposefully-responsive because they are a part of our universe, a property of which causality is, making actually everything purposefully-responsive from some points of view. Being a part of the universe isn't a good definition for conscious beings either.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k


    What it amounts to is that you're using "Consciousness" to refer to something that I don't believe in.

    You're in good company. A lot of academic philosophers do too.

    But you're implying that the meaning that you give to that word is its only correct meaning.

    I don't think that there's a consensus about what the word "Consciousness" means.

    If someone built a perfectly human-impersonating robot, and said that it's a philosophical zombie, and if its behavior and reactions were indistinguishable from those of a human, then how would you prove that there's some un-bodily, Dualistic, "Consciousness" that it lacks? Don't you see the weakness of that position?

    There'd be no reason to believe that that robot lacks anything of a human.

    In actuality, robots will probably be made without the natural-selecton-built-in self-interest that humans and other animals have. No need to worry about a selfish robot take-over. They'd have more resemblence to ants than to self-interested mammals. Of course ants and bees will protect themselves, but they value, first, their service to the colony.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k

    I suppose the Consciousness that you're referring to needn't be unbodily. Some people are claiming that there's some mysterious way that the brain causes it. Yeah: Purposefulness. That's it. Nothing mysterious there.
  • SteveKlinko
    289
    As a counter-example, robots lack conscious visual experience but manage to react accordingly to information transferred by photons.BlueBanana
    But Humans don't work like Robots. Humans and probably all Conscious beings have a further processing stage that presents the Visual experience to them. The Visual experience is what we use to move around in the World. When I reach out to pick up my coffee cup I see my Hand in the Conscious Visual experience. If my hand is off track I adjust my hand movement until I can touch the handle and pick up the coffee cup. It would be much more difficult to do this without the Conscious Visual experience. The Conscious Visual experience contains an enormous amount of information that is all packed up into a single thing. The Neural Activity is not enough. We would need far more Neural Activity to equal the efficiency that the Conscious Visual experience provides us.
  • SteveKlinko
    289
    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know.Michael Ossipoff
    If a Computer could experience for example the Color Red then I would agree. But a Computer does not Experience anything. A Computer can be programmed to scan pixels in an image to find the Red parts. A Computer will look for pixels with values that are within a certain range of numbers. A Computer never has a Red experience but it can find the Red parts of an image. So just because it can find the Red parts of an image, like a Human can, it does not mean it has a Conscious Red experience while doing this. A Computer works in a different way than a Conscious being does. Science doesn't understand enough about Consciousness yet to design Machines that have Consciousness.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.4k
    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know. — Michael Ossipoff

    If a Computer could experience for example the Color Red then I would agree. But a Computer does not Experience anything.
    SteveKlinko

    ...and you know that....how? If you aren't a computer, then how can you speak for what a computer does or doesn't experience?

    What does experience mean? I define "experience" as a purposefully-responsive device's interpretation of its surroundings and events in the context of that device's designed purposes.

    By that definition, yes a computer has experience.

    As I said, we tend to use "Consciousness" and "Experience" chauvinistically, applying those words only to humans or other animals. That's why I try to cater to that chauvinism by sometimes defining those words in terms of the speaker's perception of kinship with some particular other purposefully-responsive device..

    A Computer can be programmed to scan pixels in an image to find the Red parts. A Computer will look for pixels with values that are within a certain range of numbers. A Computer never has a Red experience but it can find the Red parts of an image.

    When you find the red part of an image, why should I believe that you have a red experience in a meaningful sense in which a computer doesn't?

    The computer finds the red part of the image. You find the red part of the image. Period (full-stop).

    You wouldn't report the red part of the image if you hadn't experienced it. The same can rightly be said of the computer.

    So just because it can find the Red parts of an image, like a Human can, it does not mean it has a Conscious Red experience while doing this.

    You call it a Conscious Experience when it's yours, or of another person, or maybe another animal. ...you or a purposeful-device sufficiently similar to you, with which you perceive some kinship.

    A Computer works in a different way than a Conscious being does.

    ...because you define a Conscious Being as something very similar to yourself.

    Science doesn't understand enough about Consciousness yet to design Machines that have Consciousness.

    ...if you're defining "Consciousness" as "ability to pass as human".

    Current technology can't yet produce a robot that acts indistinguishably similarly to a human and does any job that a human can do.

    Imitating or replacing humans is proving more difficult than expected. Life has evolved over billions of years of natural-selection. It wasn't reasonable to just expect to throw-together something to imitate or replace us in a few decades.

    If such a machine is ever built, some would say that it has Consciousness and Experience (as do we), and some would say that it doesn't (and that it's a philosophical zombie merely claiming to have feelings and experiences).

    Of course the former would be right.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • SteveKlinko
    289
    Any device that can do what a person or other animal can do has "Consciousness". That's how it does those things, you know. — Michael Ossipoff

    If a Computer could experience for example the Color Red then I would agree. But a Computer does not Experience anything. — SteveKlinko
    ...and you know that....how? If you aren't a computer, then how can you speak for what a computer does or doesn't experience?

    What does experience mean? I define "experience" as a purposefully-responsive device's interpretation of its surroundings and events in the context of that device's designed purposes.

    By that definition, yes a computer has experience.

    As I said, we tend to use "Consciousness" and "Experience" chauvinistically, applying those words only to humans or other animals. That's why I try to cater to that chauvinism by sometimes defining those words in terms of the speaker's perception of kinship with some particular other purposefully-responsive device..
    Michael Ossipoff
    Seriously ... you think a Computer experiences the color Red like we do? You know that the only thing happening in a computer at any instant of time is : Add, Subtract, Multiply, And, Or, Xor, Divide, Shift Left, Shift Right, compare two numbers, move numbers around in memory, plus a few more. If you have 4 cores then this is happening in 4 different places in the computer chip. Which one of these operations experiences the color Red?

    A Computer can be programmed to scan pixels in an image to find the Red parts. A Computer will look for pixels with values that are within a certain range of numbers. A Computer never has a Red experience but it can find the Red parts of an image. — SteveKlinko

    When you find the red part of an image, why should I believe that you have a red experience in a meaningful sense in which a computer doesn't?

    The computer finds the red part of the image. You find the red part of the image. Period (full-stop).

    You wouldn't report the red part of the image if you hadn't experienced it. The same can rightly be said of the computer.
    Michael Ossipoff
    Question is: Do you have a Red experience in any meaningful sense. Think about your Red experience. Think about the Redness of the Red. That Redness is a Property of a Conscious phenomenon. Think about how a Computer works. Add, Subtract, Multiply, etc. There are categorical differences with how the Human Brain functions and how a Computer functions. A Human Brain has trillions of Neurons firing simultaneously at any instant of time. A 4 core processor chip only has 4 places where things can happen at any given instant of time. Effectively a 4 core computer chip has only 4 Neurons.

    So just because it can find the Red parts of an image, like a Human can, it does not mean it has a Conscious Red experience while doing this. ---SteveKlinko

    You call it a Conscious Experience when it's yours, or of another person, or maybe another animal. ...you or a purposeful-device sufficiently similar to you, with which you perceive some kinship.



    A Computer works in a different way than a Conscious being does. ---SteveKlinko

    ...because you define a Conscious Being as something very similar to yourself.
    Michael Ossipoff
    I showed you how a Machine detects Color. It compares numbers in memory locations. It makes no sense to think that it also has a Red experience. It doesn't need a Red experience to detect colors. Machines and Brains do things using different methods.


    Science doesn't understand enough about Consciousness yet to design Machines that have Consciousness. ---SteveKlinko

    ...if you're defining "Consciousness" as "ability to pass as human".

    Current technology can't yet produce a robot that acts indistinguishably similarly to a human and does any job that a human can do.

    Imitating or replacing humans is proving more difficult than expected. Life has evolved over billions of years of natural-selection. It wasn't reasonable to just expect to throw-together something to imitate or replace us in a few decades.

    If such a machine is ever built, some would say that it has Consciousness and Experience (as do we), and some would say that it doesn't (and that it's a philosophical zombie merely claiming to have feelings and experiences).

    Of course the former would be right.
    Michael Ossipoff
    I'm not defining Consciousness as the ability to pass as Human. Most Birds can probably have a Conscious Red experience.

    I think that since our Brains are made out of Physical Matter that other kinds and Configurations of Matter could produce Consciousness. Science just needs to understand Consciousness more. I think that someday there will be full Conscious Androids and not mere Robots.
  • Wayfarer
    6.6k
    I suppose most of us are familiar with the concept of philosophical zombies, or p-zombies for short: beings that appear and act like humans and are completely indistinguishable from humans but do not have consciousness.BlueBanana

    So, how to test for a P-Zombie: ask some questions, like, 'how do you feel right now?' 'what is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?', or 'what's you're favourite movie, and what did you like about it?' Engage it in conversation. I can't see how it could maintain the pretence of being, well, 'a being', for very long, as all it can do is regurgitate, or combine, various responses and information that has been uploaded into it (how, by the way? Is it a computer? If so, could it pass the Turing Test?)

    These challenges from 17th century philosophers still seem germane:

    if there were such machines with the organs and shape of a monkey or of some other non-rational animal, we would have no way of discovering that they are not the same as these animals. But if there were machines that resembled our bodies and if they imitated our actions as much as is morally possible, we would always have two very certain means for recognizing that, none the less, they are not genuinely human. The first is that they would never be able to use speech, or other signs composed by themselves, as we do to express our thoughts to others. For one could easily conceive of a machine that is made in such a way that it utters words, and even that it would utter some words in response to physical actions that cause a change in its organs—for example, if someone touched it in a particular place, it would ask what one wishes to say to it, or if it were touched somewhere else, it would cry out that it was being hurt, and so on. But it could not arrange words in different ways to reply to the meaning of everything that is said in its presence, as even the most unintelligent human beings can do. The second means is that, even if they did many things as well as or, possibly, better than anyone of us, they would infallibly fail in others. Thus one would discover that they did not act on the basis of knowledge, but merely as a result of the disposition of their organs. For whereas reason is a universal instrument that can be used in all kinds of situations, these organs need a specific disposition for every particular action.

    René Descartes, Discourse on Method (1637)

    It must be confessed, moreover, that perception, and that which depends on it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is, by figures and motions, And, supposing that there were a mechanism so constructed as to think, feel and have perception, we might enter it as into a mill. And this granted, we should only find on visiting it, pieces which push one against another, but never anything by which to explain a perception. This must be sought, therefore, in the simple substance, and not in the composite or in the machine.

    Gottfried Leibniz, Monadology
  • BlueBanana
    875
    I wonder how Descartes would react to Siri :D anyway, I don't think the Turing test is a good method for detecting thinking process. A robot, or a zombie, could be programmed to answer questions about their feelings as if they had any.

    I can't see how it could maintain the pretence of being, well, 'a being', for very long, as all it can do is regurgitate, or combine, various responses and information that has been uploaded into it (how, by the way? Is it a computer? If so, could it pass the Turing Test?)Wayfarer

    Isn't that what humans do as well? We are fed information through our senses in infancy and childhood that we over the course of years learn how to react to.
  • BlueBanana
    875
    But Humans don't work like Robots.SteveKlinko

    Is the converse true? I think a robot works, although in a simplified way, like a human, making it possible for it to replicate the actions of conscious beings.

    The Conscious Visual experience contains an enormous amount of information that is all packed up into a single thing. The Neural Activity is not enough.SteveKlinko

    I think the opposite is the case. A conscious experience, whatever its benefits are, cannot be efficient. While containing all of the visual data provided by eyes, it also contains the experience of that data, which is such a rich experience we ourselves can't even begin to comprehend how it is created. The brain also unconsciously organizes and edits that data to a huge extent, filling gaps, causing us to perceive illusions, basically expanding our visual experience beyond what information is provided by the senses. For example,

    When I reach out to pick up my coffee cup I see my Hand in the Conscious Visual experience. If my hand is off track I adjust my hand movement until I can touch the handle and pick up the coffee cup.SteveKlinko

    a robot would only need to find a specific kind of group of pixels with a color matching the color of the cup. Conscious mind, for some reason, in a way wastes energy forming an idea of "cupness", equating that cup with other cup and connecting it to its intended usage as well as all the memories (unconscious or conscious) an individual has relating to cups. All that information could be broken down to individual points and be had access to by a robot, but instead human mind makes something so complex and incomprehensible.

    The existence of that idea also allows me to, while seeing a simple cup, appreciate my conscious perception of that cup. I still can't see the evolutionary value of that appreciation, though.
  • Wayfarer
    6.6k
    I wonder how Descartes would react to Siri?BlueBanana

    I think the Descartes of the quote I provided could have anticipated something like Siri.

    Isn't that what humans do as well?BlueBanana

    You're taking a lot for granted, and in such matters, that is not wise.
  • SteveKlinko
    289
    But Humans don't work like Robots. — SteveKlinko
    Is the converse true? I think a robot works, although in a simplified way, like a human, making it possible for it to replicate the actions of conscious beings.

    The Conscious Visual experience contains an enormous amount of information that is all packed up into a single thing. The Neural Activity is not enough. — SteveKlinko
    I think the opposite is the case. A conscious experience, whatever its benefits are, cannot be efficient. While containing all of the visual data provided by eyes, it also contains the experience of that data, which is such a rich experience we ourselves can't even begin to comprehend how it is created. The brain also unconsciously organizes and edits that data to a huge extent, filling gaps, causing us to perceive illusions, basically expanding our visual experience beyond what information is provided by the senses. For example,

    When I reach out to pick up my coffee cup I see my Hand in the Conscious Visual experience. If my hand is off track I adjust my hand movement until I can touch the handle and pick up the coffee cup. — SteveKlinko
    a robot would only need to find a specific kind of group of pixels with a color matching the color of the cup. Conscious mind, for some reason, in a way wastes energy forming an idea of "cupness", equating that cup with other cup and connecting it to its intended usage as well as all the memories (unconscious or conscious) an individual has relating to cups. All that information could be broken down to individual points and be had access to by a robot, but instead human mind makes something so complex and incomprehensible.

    The existence of that idea also allows me to, while seeing a simple cup, appreciate my conscious perception of that cup. I still can't see the evolutionary value of that appreciation, though.
    BlueBanana
    You're missing the reality that the Robot would most definitely need the concept of cupness to operate in the general world of things. Knowing the color of the handle of one particular cup might help with that cup. In the real world the Robot would need to understand cupness in order to find a cup in the first place. Then when it finds a cup it can determine what color it is.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.3k
    A robot, or a zombie, could be programmed to answer questions about their feelings as if they had any.BlueBanana
    Like I said, p-zombies cannot be programmed. They are dead inside. Humans are more like robots, where p-zombies are more like a mechanical contraption without any capacity for programming. Humans are programmable. P-zombies are not.

    You're taking a lot for granted, and in such matters, that is not wise.Wayfarer
    Every time you are asked what it is that is missing when we compare humans to computers, you weasel out of answering the question.

    You're missing the reality that the Robot would most definitely need the concept of cupness to operate in the general world of things. Knowing the color of the handle of one particular cup might help with that cup. In the real world the Robot would need to understand cupness in order to find a cup in the first place. Then when it finds a cup it can determine what color it is.SteveKlinko
    So, we design a robot with templates - a template for cups, for humans, for dogs, for cars, etc. - just like humans have. We humans have templates stored in our memory for recognizing objects. We end up getting confused, just like a robot would, when an object shares numerous qualities with different templates. The solution is to make a new template, like "spork". What would "sporkness" be? Using the word, "cupness" just goes to show what is wrong with philosophical discussions of the mind.
  • BlueBanana
    875
    You're missing the reality that the Robot would most definitely need the concept of cupness to operate in the general world of things. Knowing the color of the handle of one particular cup might help with that cup. In the real world the Robot would need to understand cupness in order to find a cup in the first place. Then when it finds a cup it can determine what color it is.SteveKlinko

    It would need the information the concept of cupness holds - or, some of that information. It doesn't need to compose all this knowledge into this abstract construction that also holds much unnecessary data. Cupness is much more than what a cup is and what counts as a cup, or even all the knowledge concerning cups there is. Cupness is like a generalized form of a thought (or dare I even say feeling) of a cup, something only a conscious and sentient being can grasp. That simultaneously compressed but also overly complex thought is something I don't believe would be necessary.
  • BlueBanana
    875
    Like I said, p-zombies cannot be programmed. They are dead inside. Humans are more like robots, where p-zombies are more like a mechanical contraption without any capacity for programming. Humans are programmable. P-zombies are not.Harry Hindu

    If they have memory, they can learn, and therefore they can be in a sense programmed through conditioning. So, do they have memory? Is memory a property of only mind, only brain or both? I'm not an expert but afaik the existence of memories in brain has been scientifically confirmed.

    Either way, the reflexes of p-zombies should work normally so at least classical conditioning should work on them.
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