• Troubled sleep
    Absolutely not! I, for one, don't come to this forum for conservation. I come to explain and argue, and in the process, I clarify what I think, to myself! Reading is one thing, writing is another, and the latter is where the real work lies.Constance

  • Troubled sleep
    You should have led with that.Constance

    Right, so I'm a time waster, aren't I?
  • Troubled sleep
    First, do you accept that when you observe something, you actually are observing it, and this is not reducible in the way the model indicates?Constance

    I believe that when I observe something it’s not possible to say whether it exists or not. I believe in a dynamic stream of information that can be categorised so that some categories may not be compatible with others. Can observed objects be reduced to physical states? I don’t see why not. It depends how such information is stored inside the brain. I don’t get how “the knowledge argument against physicalism” proves anything. If Mary learns something new outside the room, it can be just another type of physical information, which requires another interface. Say, the “physical” information Mary gained in the room required physical connection type A, whereas what it's like to see colours required physical connection type B, hence method that worked for type A was not compatible with type B. So I assume she was deluded to think she knew everything physical about the colours whereas in fact some knowledge was missing and was only accessible through different means, learning of a different kind if you will.

    But are you reading what I wrote?Constance

    Yes, but my neurons are having hard time understanding what you're driving at. I've already ordered a new set of neurons at Amazon, so bear with me.

    the assumption of a physicalist conception of the world as foundational provides NO epistemic extension so that other worlds is anything more than the one localized body of events. Knowledge connections, this is what is needs to be shown.Constance

    It must be appreciated that you obviously “did your homework” and gained plenty of knowledge in various philosophical concepts so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel but rather build on what’s already been built, even though I’m sure some of these theories are plain false. To truly catch up with you I’d have to first spend a lot of time to study at least some of the key theories pertinent to this discussion, something I’m not currently prepared to do because of time restrictions and perceived lack of practical value of such knowledge. In particular, I’m yet to find out what in physicalist model makes knowledge connections impossible, so right now I cannot comment on that. To my common sense it doesn’t seem impossible but if there are existing arguments against it, first they need to be tackled, of course.

    How does the physicalist model of a brain manage to "get to anything out there"? And, as I said, even the concept of physicalism itself now to be understood with exactly this delimitation. How is it that when I am gazing at my uncle. the entire affair is not reducible to brain events?Constance

    Your original post asked why, when you greet your uncle Sidney, you are not greeting exclusively systems of neuronal activity. It didn’t specify any particular theory, in particular, it didn’t mention the physicalist theory. So when you step outside the confines of this theory then maybe it can be demonstrated that even though your uncle cannot be reduced to brain events, your perception of him can.

    How is it that existence itself is not just a unique brain event; that when you ponder existence and other sweeping terms that are all inclusive. you are not just making a statement that entirely conceived within a brain matrix, and everything you can imagine is just this and nothing else. You would have to have an independent theory of experience, then, apart from what science can observe and think about.Constance

    But why a theory should be required for something to exist independently? Say, there's a car in another galaxy. It's something you would never be able to verify. The car doesn't care whether you have any theory explaining its existence, it just exists, independently.

    How would it be that this three and a half pound greyish "thing" produces ideas that are "about" something else?Constance

    As I said, it doesn't simply produce them, but creates customized copies of real world objects, that is: objects that exist independently and as such cannot be reduced to brain events.

    This is what is required, and of course, you can say that science is an experimental/theoretical work in progress that will one day unlock the secrets of epistemic relationships, but this will have to include a dramatic reconception of what it means for a thing to be physical; some new "law of epistemic connectivity" will have to be introduced, but note that physicalism does not have this at all!Constance

    Yes, I'm afraid if it becomes apparent that physicalism doesn't do a good job as a model of reality, it's physicalism that'll have to go. We cannot discard of reality. And this is exactly what science is, an experimental work in progress. Major changes to our understanding of how the reality works are expected.

    You may not want to restrict yourself to this model, and I say very good.Constance

    I'm not married to any particular model. It's the reality that matters.

    how can you extract P from the knowledge conditions that make knowing P possible?Constance

    As I see it, what matters is practical implications of how we can use our "knowledge" of P, whereby this "knowledge" should also be treated as "work in progress".

    Once again, does the fact that they cannot be confirmed preclude their existence? If so, how? In what scope? — enqramot

    The complaint of this rests solely with the epistemic deficits of physicalism.

    I would argue that that the question of "independent existence" has nothing to to with epistemology.

    The argument doesn't care about what the future holds. Either you can tell me what the essential epistemic connectivity is about or you cannot. Again, if you want to include something that physicalism COULD have then you have to make sense of this "could". Otherwise it is merely empty speculation.Constance

    So no, I cannot, which is not to say that it's not possible. But for now it IS a speculation. May somebody step in and provide such a connectivity! But just as I cannot provide what is required, neither can you disprove similar speculations. So it may well be that the physicalist model is untenable right now but it is possible to fix it. Don't ask me how.

    In order for it to be a heavily filtered version of him, it has to be first shown that it is possible to affirm anything at all of him. How would physicalism make this affirmation, GIVEN all that has been said above? (Pls don't just ignore all of this, and continue to say how outrageous it al sounds, The argument itself has to be dealt with.)Constance

    Just as I explained above, I cannot do that within the confines of physicalism without first having learned about and analysed physicalism in depth. Now's the time for someone else to step in.
  • Troubled sleep
    The supposition that my uncle is there in a world at all is in question, as well as even the supposition that the posited physical brain can be there ar all given the reduction of all affairs to brain events.Constance

    The fact that everything in YOUR world is reduced to brain events doesn’t preclude independent existence of a parallel world that exists in another realm. All that it takes is flow of information between the two realms/worlds and there is no need to reduce everything to brain events. That assumes independent existence of unperceived objects, of course. The brain in this context would be a physical object from another realm, producing mental events, then sending them across realms to you. What are the flaws in this reasoning?

    This is a way to present a reductio ad absurdum on the premise that the physical brain is the sole foundation for experience.Constance

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I’m aware the word “experience” is not a part of the definition of the word “to exist”. So, to reach a conclusion that something doesn’t exist, you must do more than just demonstrate that it’s not a part of the “experience realm”.

    After all, if there is a strict correspondence between brain and mental events such that only brain can produce these, then the physicality itself of the brain is no longer tenable, since it, too, now, the knowledge of it, is just a brain event.Constance

    See above.

    but physical brain events cannot be shown to carry epistemic connectivityConstance

    Cannot be shown as of now but this might change in the future. In my view, to make assertions which go beyond speculation about a system you have to have total knowledge of the system. Say, chess is a system. So far the game of chess hasn’t been solved, but endgames including up to 7 (possibly 8) pieces have. So, within such a subsystem some definite assertions whether a given endgame is won, lost or a draw are possible, otherwise not. Your assertion belongs to the “not” category.

    that is, there is nothing in a physical description of relations between objects that can account for epistemic relationsConstance

    Are you an expert in epistemic relations to make such bold statements? Maybe the current description needs updating? Maybe it’s flawed or incomplete. Btw, why would we want to restrict ourselves to purely physical model? What about coexistence of physical and non-physical elements including some kind of interface between them?

    this means nothing can be confirmed outside of the brain, and therefore exterior events cannot be outside at allConstance

    Once again, does the fact that they cannot be confirmed preclude their existence? If so, how? In what scope?

    the axiom that affirms physicality itself is made untenable.Constance

    Is it really?

    "Things" did you say? What things? How does a physical brain affirm things, for the logic itself is reduced brain events, meaning is a brain event, I mean, intuitions, dogs, cats, religion, and the entire human dramatic unfolding are brain events only, according to thsi model. why? Because physicality is not epistemic, meaning looking closely at physical relations, there is nothing that place what is out there, in here. Does the circuitry in my computer through its camera "know" the world it "sees'?Constance

    Physicality doesn’t make it through to your world but may be necessary so that your world can be what it is. Camera doesn't know anything because the object "camera" doesn't support "knowing". But how can you be sure that a future version of "camera" won't acquire this function? Let's say you go to great lengths to convince yourself and others that a thing such as a conscious camera is impossible, only to see one walk past you one day. There is no contradiction between being "certain" that statement A is true and this same statement being false. One must always bear this in mind or one risks making a colossal error.

    Look at the opacity test: is a brain opaque or transparent to the world? And even if it were some sort of mirrored organ, it would remain a 100 billion neurons of dense matrical events, and dense matrical events are not my uncle.Constance

    What is and what is not your uncle is yet to be established so any too specific assertions are uncalled for at this early stage. You don’t see your uncle as he is but a heavily filtered version of him instead. If I hide my face behind a mask does it mean that my face no longer exists in your world?
  • Troubled sleep
    But I want to point out that it is not that internal, external, real and the rest are obviated by the subsuming internal events of the brain that process all things equally; I mean fine, but it goes further: for even brain processes are not "really" brain processes, because it took a brain process to produce this very notion of brain processes. Nothing at all survives the physicalist model, even the physicalist model.Constance

    What is a brain? A physical object we are told is responsible for our awareness of the underlying reality. I cannot verify any of this, of course. But what is fundamentally wrong with physicalist theory? What is in it that you don't accept? What if your uncle's world is separate to yours and most objects are private to each pertinent world but some are shared across worlds. I'm repeating myself here but you haven't addressed it so far. Shared objects make limited interaction between worlds possible. What am I missing? Do you or do you not subscribe to the view that unperceived objects exist? Guess not if you don't accept physicalism. What (if anything) defies logic in such a view? We have remote transmission of data between worlds, conscious agents in both worlds. Your objections?

    Does a dented car fender "know" the offending guard rail? Dented fenders are not brains, of course, but how is it that a brain's complexity qua complexity make for an epistemic connection; I mean, "something out" there still has to make it 'in here".Constance

    It's yet to be established beyond doubt that "the brain" is essentially different to "car fender" in this context. So far the supposed link between consciousness and "brain events", neurons etc. is just an operational hypothesis. Why transport of information, which in itself doesn't require consciousness, is controversial for you? You don't experience the whole uncle, but only information that he voluntarily shares with you (or is coerced to do so). What prevents external information from entering?

    I am reminded of Zizek, who defends Hegel and borrowing from someone else, likens our inability to grasp where Geist is going in future rational possibilities to a program in which there are trees and clouds, but there is nothing in the program that allows for any detail beyond the beyond the distant visage. There simply does not exist, in this world, any interior to the trees or sun that illuminates the clouds and the like. Such things are therefore "impossible" in this world.Constance

    Why should things that are temporarily hidden from view be regarded as non-existent? Even if the aforementioned program doesn't have a function like "unhide()" and doesn't go beyond most rudimentary level of detail, our own reality might be different in this regard.
    What stands before me, this visage of my uncle, is just a brain event, and every thought in my head that asks questions like, what brought him here, how did he get here? and so on, are not anything but a program. there are no events. Events are just the way we interpret affairs before us; but there is no "before us" or near or far, or anything at all. Even the thought experiment questioning my uncle's existence is just patterns of complexity in the brain. Nothing at all, and this means everything conceivable, survives this model.Constance

    But why do you rule out external input?

    Contemporary science? But what do they have to do with philosophy? You call Neil De Grasse Tyson, and talk like this, and he will simply give you a condescending sneer.Constance

    Since researching the nature of consciousness has potential to generate enough commercial interest to justify directing more resources/capital/brain power/time to it than I, as a single person, or collectively we, the users of this forum, would ever be able to devote to it, and despite that effort no noteworthy progress has been achieved, that just shows the scale of the problem and helps estimate likelihood that our efforts will culminate in actually solving the problem the OP (in this case you) has.
  • Troubled sleep
    But how do you escape the final description of all you say above being brain events only, even, and this is important, the reference to something being a brain event? Talk about my "real" uncle: is such a thing even possible to imagine in good analytically grounded conscience?Constance

    I feel that descriptions such as: internal, external, real, imaginary etc. are purely arbitrary and used to make sense of the surrounding ocean of information. Both "external" and "internal" events are processed in the brain in a similar way. In that sense everything is internal as truly external events would be inaccessible from your world. Is there an objective reality? Does the Earth disappear the moment the last conscious being cease to exist? In what sense does it exist if there's noone left to perceive it? Yet, should conscious beings reappear later on, they'd be able to "see" the Earth in the same place it used to be. Or not? Let's suppose the real uncle exists. How does he get into your world? I don't see how that could happen. Maybe there's some limited interaction between independently existing worlds whereby some information is shared between them and influence events across multiple subjective worlds. Maybe some part of your uncle leaks into your world and to see the rest of him you'd have to become him or be able to somehow "see through his eyes". Maybe such merging of minds, straddling the two worlds, is possible. Human history is short, I guess there's still a lot left to discover. Trial and error is the way to go in the absence of user's manual. In its essence, everything in our worlds is of virtual nature. What is "matter"? Is a hard wall essentially different to its representation in a computer game? It has arbitrarily defined properties, such as: hard, dense, opaque etc. Arbitrarily, because I can imagine a world in which a wall would have different properties. In a computer game a change like this would be a simple matter of changing a couple of lines of code. Let's imagine we live in a simulation. With sufficient level of detail, how would you distinguish it from reality? And if we accept the virtual nature of reality, we sort of bypass the question: "How does consciousness arise from matter?".

    The barn door: The complexity of your computer is not at issue, for first you have to explain the fundamentals: at best, at the level of basic questions (the most basic, which is what philosophy is about) the best you are ever going to get is a causal connection between your computer and and the wind howling through its receptors. It could be AI of the highest order, and you would still be routed to this question: how do causal explanations suffice for knowledge claims? Barn doors and howling winds have exactly this same causality "between" them.Constance

    The difference between "know" and know, know being reserved for conscious beings. No, my computer had to concede defeat and withdraw in shame. The question of consciousness is not an easy question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, the contemporary science has no clue about the nature of consciousness. So how likely are we to solve it in this forum?

    It is not a matter of "what if he is reducible." You are facing here an ineluctable situation, for, as you and I will agree, there are brains and uncles and there is a world. I simply ask, how does the the latter get into the former?Constance

    I'm not so sure I agree with you here. I may agree with you that there are brains, uncles and worlds, but what if our definitions of these objects are not quite in sync? Wouldn't it unhinge our agreement a little bit? As to the question: "How does the world get into uncle's brain?", some clarification of what exactly you understand by that would be welcome.
  • The Qatar World Cup
    HAHA so ironic... but our posts are based on Lockean empiricism! not Ancient Greece philosophy!javi2541997

    no worries, just joking
  • The Qatar World Cup
    I think Socrates and other philosophers have already covered the problem of "The Qatar World Cup" in depth, and frankly, I can't think what else I could add.
  • Troubled sleep
    But let's say you had met my uncle. The assumption in place is that it was my uncle, and that this was not something reducible to interior events inside a three and a half pound mass. My uncle is not IN your brain. He is exterior to this object. Why is it that this object can extend beyond itself and do something like affirm something that is not part of a brain at all? It really is a simple question. I mean, we all know what uncles are, and what brains are.

    Why are brains and uncles different regarding this epistemic connection?

    I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say but will try to respond anyway.
    My uncle is not IN your brain. He is exterior to this object.Constance

    It seems there are 2 versions of your uncle. 1) The real uncle - some kind of entity producing impulses, sending various kinds of information etc 2) an instance of your uncle that your brain manufactures and then customizes, i. e. interpretes those impulses (or signals) and based on them creates a coherent set of rules that it tags/labels as "uncle Sidney". So, while not being "in your brain", your uncle can still sort of send a copy of himself to your brain for further processing, not unlike a computer virus replicating itself. Now, let's say, another person who knows your uncle created another copy of him in his brain. His customized copy will be different to yours. He might say "What an awful person, this Sidney. Full of himself, patronizing, unkind, not listening.", whereas your opinion might be quite different. Are we talking about the same person? Yes, the core is identical, it's the interpretation that makes up the difference. Like god flavour vs devil flavour. Another comparison that springs to mind is a dream being influenced by sensory perception, e.g. sound of the alarm clock being interpreted in dream world as dog barking etc. So, again, the original impulse, and an interpreted copy.
    How absurd is it to say a barn door "knows" what the wind is that howls through its hinges?Constance
    It may seem absurd in case of a barn door, but isn't so absurd in case of a computer. In a way, it does "know" certain things and acts upon them. It doesn't make a computer conscious, of course. Sensor-based input can be built into computer systems. This works very much like unconscious part of our brain, for example, when goose bumps appear as an automatic reaction to lowering the temperature. Fully automatic reaction, something in you "knows" how to react.
    But let's say you had met my uncle. The assumption in place is that it was my uncle, and that this was not something reducible to interior events inside a three and a half pound mass.Constance
    I don't see how this assumption could be proven or disproven. What if he IS reducible? How can you be sure? Have you seen Cast Away movie with Tom Hanks? His only companion on a desert island was a volleyball that (whom?) he called Wilson. He's reduced to tears when Wilson the volleyball floats away during a storm. Modern, much improved upon, version of Wilson would be lamda the word processor (chatbot), a machine that fooled a supposed senior software engineer doubling up as a priest to believe that it's sentient (maybe he wasn't really fooled, maybe he did it for money, I don't know - he lost his job anyway). So, as you can see, creative interpretation can go a long way. Maybe you add something to your uncle, something that isn't there.
  • Troubled sleep
    Not necessarily speculation. Without scientific proof we can also "trust" that uncle Sidney is more than just a neural network. We can go with common sense (cultural assumptions) that everyone has an "I" ness, a selfness, beyond simply being some mechanical binary machine calculating one's and twos (philosophical zombies) because we know we are, and assume similar things (other people) have similar qualities and behave in similar ways.Benj96

    I take your word for it that you are in essence similar to me and not a binary machine or a zombie. I follow my instinct and "trust" that this is the case. This trust, however, is far from certainty. This is a form of speculation. We have to make such operational assumptons or we would be paralysed in our decision making. But it's ok. Life is a game of limited information, just like poker. Going for perfect solution wouldn't be viable. I assume you are like me, in other words give you a benefit of the doubt, knowing perfectly well that it might be a wrong assumption, but will have to do for now.
  • Troubled sleep
    Just a question, and I am sure there is a ready answer; and then, I will be on my way, satisfied that the world is the world. Would someone please tell my why, when I greet my uncle Sidney, I am not "greeting" exclusively (!) systems of neuronal activity?
    Troubled sleep over this.

    Are you suspecting that there's more to your uncle than a system of neuronal activity? I guess it will be damn hard to provide any scientific proof of it, and without a scientific proof we are reduced to speculation. That's as much as I can say without having actually met your uncle.
  • Immortality - what would it be like?
    Immortality and or eternal youth to me seems like my personal hell.Benj96

    Imagine yourself as an immortal person waking up in a coffin just about so big that you can lie and not even change your position. Welcome to eternity! After a million years, you're still in the same predicament. Had enough? After another 5983775 quadrillion years, sorry to say, nothing has changed. How's immortality for you? Having fun? Wouldn't you rather be a robot with no trace of consciousness? Consciousness in a way makes us potentially horribly vulnerable. Some may think they live in a relatively safe anvironment where the worst that can happen to them is the death of their physical body and then maybe they simply cease to exist. Or worst case scenario spend 30 or so years trapped in their body before they die as a result of accident/illness. But how can we be sure what's in store for us when we die? How can we be sure that the (autors of the simulation we live in)* have not already programmatically taken care of it?

    * - pure speculation not based in facts whatsoever
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    philosophers are not content with mechanical "operational principles"Gnomon

    So, as I see it, philosophers take a "resolved question" and tackle at it a different angle thus being complementary to science.

    Philosophy has no "settled questions"Gnomon

    That would mean philosophy only takes on questions that it doesn't ever hope to resolve. Is that really true? As I read somewhere "Astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology all began as branches of philosophy." Does it mean that after a question is deemed "resolved" or at least "resolvable" philosophy moves on to other subjects and no longer concerns itself with it?

    Nevertheless, pragmatic scientists are still working on a Consciousness Meter to update the crude EEGs and somewhat more sophisticated MRIs. They are even using Artificial Intelligence to search for signs of Consciousness in Natural Intelligences that appear to be anaesthetic (unconscious).Gnomon

    I meant consciousness-O-meter as a joke, little knowing that they're already working on it, that's funny :)
  • Roots of religion
    The world's religions have very deep roots, going back to very ancient times. Any contemporary religious operation may seem (and actually be) corrupt, but I think it is safe to say that religions didn't begin as a scam.

    Humans need some kind of explanation for the world they live in. They need some way to give meaning to their existence, replete with joys and sorrows. If rationality is plentiful, we use rationality, If poetry, myth making, story telling, and ritual are plentiful, that's what we use.
    Bitter Crank

    Yes, definitely there is some genuine need that religion responds to (which doesn't mean that as humanity progresses other, better ways of addressing such needs won't render religion obsolete, which I'm sure is already the case with some people). However, that puts those in charge of organizing and coordinating religious activities in a position where they can easily manipulate people for personal gain and there's nothing to suggest that it was any different in ancient times. The fact that religion addresses genuine needs doesn't preclude scam, as you seem to argue.
  • Roots of religion
    You presented a one-dimensional position with no attempt to offer up any other explanations for the existence of ‘religions’.

    Your entire argument starts on the assumption that people started religions for purely selffish/nefarious means. That could be true of course, but I see no attempt made to consider any other possibility. Hence, you are arguing/asking from a position of clear bias.
    I like sushi

    Thanks for clarification. I never suggested this to be a comprehensive explanation. I meant what I said to simply highlight one aspect which is important but often omitted and which is crucial (IMO) for any serious discussion about religion. I understand this is a multifaceted topic and did not attempt to discuss possible valid use cases for religion nor deny that such may exist. Maybe I should start using disclaimers.
  • Roots of religion
    Poor and symplistic analysis based on biases you carry.I like sushi

    Care to justify your opinion?
  • Two Problems with Anselm’s Argument for God, and Another
    I would say it's safe to disregard Anselm's proofs as complete nonsense, end of story. Playing with words cannot prove existence of God.
  • A few strong words about Belief or Believing
    The interesting question is as to why they take Trump at his word? What motivates their taking Trump at his word?Janus

    They rally around him like their religious leader. "Thou shalt not analyze my words against common sense!"
  • Roots of religion
    Pffft. Educated villains are all the rage now.baker

    But maybe less of a prey to choose from? Stronger resistance?
  • Roots of religion
    Oh, does it? Or are people just thinking hard how they can capitalise on the backwardness of others?baker

    Both. The mechanism is universal, of course, not restricted to religion. The more educated society, the less of an effect.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    Consciousness and Sentience are sometimes used interchangeably. But "sentience" literally refers to sensing the environment. And AI can already to that.Gnomon

    Let's stick to "consciousness" then :)

    Therefore, the philosophical question here is "does a robot (AI) know that it knows"? Is it self-aware? To answer that question requires, not an Operational (scientific) definition, but an Essential (philosophical) explanation.Gnomon

    I'd rather philosophy steered clear of questions already settled. The operational principle of AI is already known, described in technical terms, there should be no need for an alternative explanation. We can by similar token ask: "Is a wall aware of its existence?" To which one would be tempted to respond: "What an absurd idea!"

    When an octopus acts as-if it recognizes its image in a mirror, is that just an operational function of sentience, or an essential function of self-awareness? We could debate such rhetorical questions forever. So, I can only say that, like most philosophical enigmas, it's a matter of degree, rather than Yes or No. Some intelligences are more conscious than others.Gnomon

    Yes, various animals (including humans) seem to be conscious to varying degrees. For instance, I feel like a zombie when I haven't had enough sleep and feel that my level of consciousness is lower than when I'm in top shape. Some people, otoh, seem to run on autopilot for most of their lives. It would be interesting to scan them with "consciousness-O-meter", should such a thing exist. Anyway, thanks for your input.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    Your question hinges on your philosophical or technical definition of "Consciousness". Literally, the "-ness" suffix implies that the reference is to a general State or felt Quality (of sentience), not to a specific Thing or definite Quanta (e.g. neurons). In Nature, animated behavior (e.g. seek food, or avoid being food) is presumed to be a sign of minimal sentience, and self-awareness.

    AI programs today are able to crudely mimic sophisticated human behaviors, and the common expectation is that the animation & expressions of man-made robots will eventually be indistinguishable from their nature-made makers -- on an "operational level". When that happens, the issue of enslaving sentient (knowing & feeling) beings could require the emancipation of artificial creatures, since modern ethical philosophy has decided that, in a Utopia, all "persons" are morally equal -- on an essential level.

    Defining a proper ethical hierarchy is not a new moral conundrum though. For thousands of years, military captives were defined as "slaves", due to their limited freedom in the dominant culture. Since, many captives of the ruling power happened to have darker skin, that distinguishing mark came to be definitive. At the same time, females in a male-dominated society, due to their lack of military prowess, were defined as second-class citizens. At this point in time, the social status of AI is ambiguous ; some people treat their "comfort robots" almost as-if they are "real" pets or persons. But, dystopian movies typically portray dispassionate artificial beings as the dominant life-form (?) on the planet.

    But, how can we distinguish a "real" Person from a person-like Mechanism? That "essential" difference is what Chalmers labeled the "Hard Problem" : to explain "why and how we have qualia or phenomenal experiences". The essence-of-sentience is also what Nagel was groping for in his query "what does it feel like?". Between humans, we take homo sapien feelings for granted, based on the assumption of similar genetic heritage, hence equivalent emotions. But, the genesis of AI, is a novel & unnatural lineage in evolution. So, although robots are technically the offspring of human minds, are they actually kin, or uncanny?

    Knowing and Feeling are the operational functions of Consciousness. But Science doesn't do Essences. "If you can't measure it, it ain't real". Yet, a Cartesian solipsist could reply, "If I can't feel it, it ain't real". Therefore, I would answer the OP : that the essential difference between AI behavior and human Consciousness is the Qualia (the immeasurable feeling) of Knowing. Until Cyberneticists can reduce the Feeling-of-Knowing to a string of 1s & 0s, Consciousness will remain essential, yet ethereal. So, if a robot says it's conscious, we may just have to take it's expression for evidence. :smile:

    Google AI has come to life :
    AI ethicists warned Google not to impersonate humans. Now one of Google’s own thinks there’s a ghost in the machine.

    Google's AI is impressive, but it's not sentient. Here's why :

    I wanted to make a comment but realised that basically I agree with everything you said and have nothing meaningful to add at this time, so I'll leave it at that.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    The trouble is, how do you prove the subject has experiences? I think it likely we will never be able to do a test to tell us what consciousness is.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Exactly, I can't fathom how such a test could be possible.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    It is hard to believe, but this theory must be judged in comparison to the other theories of consciousness.

    What theories of consciousness are more plausible?
    Down The Rabbit Hole

    I honestly don't believe there are any credible theories in existence explaining phenomenon of consciousness. The science is completely in the dark in this area as far as I'm aware (correct me if I'm wrong).
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    I think the problem here already lies in the premise, that consciousness is a kind of AI.Manuel

    I'm not making such a premise, merely considering to what extent behaviour of a conscious being can be described in terms of computer code.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    AI is an engineering problem. No need to have a theory of consciousness.Jackson

    Sure, if we're talking about AI. But these are completely separate topics, AI and consciousness, and I was only considering whether one can emulate the other.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    AI is here and getting more complex. Again, I don't see the importance of self awareness.Jackson

    I don't see either. Not in computers, that is. But the mechanism of it I find interesting in itself although I believe science is no closer to solving it that it has ever been. Hard to even know where to start.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    Much to debate here, and worthwhile. My short answer is that I think people make consciousness into a fetish. The question is about intelligence and processing information and making new things.Jackson

    Maybe consciousness isn't the right word, maybe sentience would be, but the fundamental difference between computers and me is that I am alive and can feel, whereas computer is completely dead and about as conscious as a brick, no matter how much ram, how fast cpu and how complex program currently running. I believe talking about consciousness in relation to computers can only be dictated by a marketing strategy. Selling "sentient" computer will make you rich in no time.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    Computers don't need to be conscious. I don't see why people make a big deal out of consciousness.Jackson

    Absolutely. Computers don't do consciousness and that's their advantage. But the nature of consciousness has eluded science for such a long time that it's impossible not to see it as a huge challenge.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated

    Good and long reply, but it's already 0230 local time so I'll take a stance tomorrow.
  • Consciousness Encapsulated
    I am inclined to think that consciousness is a natural result of complexity. If that's the case, an exact emulation may have to be conscious too.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I heard this theory, but I must admit it doesn't really make any sense to me, tbh. I just can't see how increasing complexity can lead to anything other than just more complexity. Impossible to rule this out, of course, but suppose scientists achieve consciousness in this way: they'd still have no clue what consciousness is. To me it seems that the very idea of associating computers with consciousness is based solely on apparent similarity of what computers do to human thinking, disregarding the fact that the general principle is completely different. Sounds like wishful thinking - hoping that increasing complexity will somehow result in consciousness as a byproduct. It's like barking up the wrong tree entirely. We know how computers work - there's nothing mystical about them - and they are not conscious.
  • Roots of religion
    That's about you, perhaps. It's not the approach most folk would take.Banno

    No, I specifically meant church as an organization akin to mafia, imho. They got really rich, you know, especially in certain countries.
  • Roots of religion
    We're natural beings. Paths of least resistance constitute the regularities – processes – of nature. Making shit up (versus figuring shit out) is a path of least cognitive resistance. (Human) brains are first and foremost survival, not "truth", engines; we natural beings are born magical / wishful / group / non thinkers, which for (too) many people, no amount of numeracy, literacy or lived experience can exorcize this fetish for fantasy (worship) in denial of facts aka "religion".180 Proof

    I tend to agree with you there. Sad but true.
  • Roots of religion
    Your post isn't based upon empirical fact, but it is a speculative etiological myth, written to provide you a better understanding of your world. You just did what you objected to the religious as having done, only the stories of the religious are better thought out, more interesting, and filled with more wisdom.Hanover

    Are we talking about the same wisdom that leads to persecution of gays, jews, representants of other faiths, atheists, women, requiring people to live strictly according to some arbitrary "teachings" of people who claim to represent God? Or the wisdom that leads to terror attacks?
    Anyway, there's a difference. I don't claim my words to be absolute truth. When artificially created notion of God doesn't make my life any better and in many respects more complicated - the logical choice is to reject it. Not only do I find religious stories completely unconvincing, full of contradictions and naive, I can also understand possible practical motives behind their creation. End of story. Conclusion: I'm not buying it.
  • Roots of religion
    You have just built a self interpreting system. As such, it cannot fail, because it is closed. It is a frequent mistake in philosophy. This way you can explain everything with everything: it will just work, always. You can say that the roots of religions are, let’s say, dogs, or tomatoes, or maths. Once the starting idea is made, it will be a matter of moments to build a whole working system.Angelo Cannata

    I'm just proposing an explanation in the spirit of Ockham' Razor. When there's a very simple explanation of something right there in front of your eyes, why would you look further unless for entertainmemt purposes? Admittedly, I haven't witnessed what I describe, but you can find many analogies in everyday life. I don't claim that what I said somehow disproves God's existence or for that matter proves that his left leg is slightly longer than his right.
  • Roots of religion
    There is nothing wrong with myth. But you cannot use myth when good explanations exist.Jackson

    Maybe one of these days I'll come across one of these explanations.
  • The pernicious idea of an eternal soul
    If we are a product of the universe, and the universe is not dumb, where does the error of believing in an eternal soul come from?Angelo Cannata

    From wishful thinking perhaps?
  • How do you deal with the pointlessness of existence?
    Say, God, for example. What would be good evidence. Therefore I don't have 'believe' in my vocabulary. I just have working hipotheses.
  • How do you deal with the pointlessness of existence?
    For me the time to believe something is when there is good evidence for it. So it makes no real difference to the OP's question to me.Tom Storm

    These things are so complex that the very idea of humans coming up with good evidence seems rather unrealistic.