Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, May 10, 2016.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    "Cause" and "effect" are abstract labels assigned to detectable objects / circumstances (the latter purported to concern "real" things rather than concepts or name-tags which belong to such schemes). Like turning on a light switch (cause) superficially resulting in a bulb glowing (effect). But they're not absolute labels. The bulb is just as much a cause of other effects itself. Both the classification of "cause" and the classification of "effect" can be applied to the bulb, depending upon the practicality, perspective or needs of a person in sorting out how to explain something or just addressing the existence of the bulb. It's kind of akin to sometimes calling Margaret Wheeler a wife, a mother, a city treasurer, etc instead of Margaret Wheeler -- depending upon the labels of the word-game or system referring to her.

    A chain wouldn't seem an applicable metaphor if there was only one cause and one effect. So you mean a branching sequence discriminated into countless units called "causes and effects" or many things having those relational roles attributed to them. But then how would a human or its whole lifespan be breaking that sequence by likewise being so distinct and distinguishable? A human is an "effect" in terms of having an origin, but it's also a "cause" (nothing else on Earth ever planted landers and rovers on the planet Mars).

    Consciousness is ascribed so many different meanings by varying camps of ideas that there's surely one that tries to declare it the exclusive property of watery cell organizations (John Searle comes to mind with his "biological naturalism"). But similarly there will be another definition that could assign it to an electronic substrate (computer, robot, etc) of the future, if not already.
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  3. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    In this future you speek of... do you thank a robotic duplication which was indistingusable from a human woud at best be a P Zombie... ie... not have sentience.???
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Since a robot would be technological rather than biological, it would be a "duplicate" only in the sense of replicating the functions or operational scheme of a human. The introspective and extrospective manifestations associated with brains are not public (they have to be reported by the individual having them, and others believe only because they likewise have the capacity). So qualitative experience could potentially be left out of the functional description of a human -- especially if it's deemed as not serving an important function. [Bud Skinner supposedly once asserted that it's irrelevant to a functional analysis, and the doctrine of epiphenomenalism famously declared that the mental (it would probably be refined to "experience", today) had no potency, no return effect upon the brain. So it depends upon the a priori biases of the theorists / investigators as to whether or not it would be included slash have importance.]

    If the manifestations are excluded from a functional duplication, then eliminativist definitions of consciousness that exclude experience (i.e., feature psychological activities and body behaviors transpiring "in the dark" so to speak without that empirical or exhibited brand of evidence), would of course still be applicable to artificial "minds". The intelligence and non-experiential consciousness of a robot navigating through its environment and responding to questions / commands is unremarkably just the result of more complex, specialized mechanistic relationships -- since it depends upon intricate arrangements of the basic ability of particles / atoms (and their higher-level organizations) to interact and create working configurations or structure.

    Accordingly that precursor from which both regular and p-zombie minds are "built" (relational / connective actions in space) actually makes a universal "proto-mentality" the case in that restricted way (minus experience). Whereas experience lacks a known or accepted precursor from which it can be built-up from the elemental level, and thus pan-protoexperientialism remains speculative. But once precursors for whatever _x_ item are discerned, there's ironically not much need to refer to its resident territory as a situation of "pan-proto___". Anymore than scientists would routinely refer to the affairs of physics as "proto-biological". The uncommon / rare biological stratum is hardly the only thing that primal physics agencies can potentially produce; plus physics affairs are prior in rank -- certainly in terms of being "first" time-wise if not in hierarchy.

    Now, to finally get to around to "what I think" prediction-wise: I have no idea; or my prediction would have no impact, anyway. If there are actually specific "magical" processes or configurations of dynamic relationships responsible for conjuring a "showing" slash "manifestation" of anything (as opposed to the usual not-even-nothingness of consciousness being absent), then it would depend again on whether or not engineers discover and utilize such a tool (an experience summoning formula) for that brute emergence of experience in affiliation with artificial intelligence.

    OTOH, if presentations (primitive ones) are just an internal way that elemental matter in general fundamentally exists -- that is, the former doesn't rely on the aforementioned special, magical "dances / rituals" being performed at higher levels to evoke these most primitive appearances -- then the microphysical "stuff" of electronic devices and even rocks already privately exhibit a disorganized noise of meaningless phenomenal events. The assumption of "not-even-nothingness" attributed to what non-consciousness is in the context of traditional materialism would then not be the case. (Charles Peirce: Viewing a thing from the outside, considering its relations of action and reaction with other things, it appears as matter [lends itself to abstract, quantitative description]. Viewing it from the inside, looking at its immediate character as feeling, it appears as consciousness [lends itself to being qualitative, phenomenal]. -- Man's Glassy Essence)

    What a biological or electronic system (brain, computer, etc) would be supplying is manipulating those basic more or less random internal properties of matter into coherent visual, aural, olfactory, tactile, etc simulations of the environment (in response to the sensory input of the human body or robot). And also applying cognitive / memory procedures (identification and understanding) to those sophisticated phenomenal events, so that they are recognized and have meaning (which includes the very validation of those appearances being present). Thus the aforementioned "magical" performances taking place at a higher level of interacting components cease being a feat of brute emergence in regard to bringing about experiences, due to acknowledgment of a once elusive precursor of experience which they are utilizing. Manifestations finally join the rest of "mind" in also being explainable by a complicated system of dynamic structural relationships in space.
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So is that a "yes" or a "no"?

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  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    The original idea of a philosophical zombie concerned a being which was physically and behaviorally indistinguishable from its normal human counterpart except for lack of manifestations, qualia, feelings, etc. A high standard which would actually allow it for many to still be classifiable as a human organism, with an asterisk. But if the concept of a "zombie" is tweaked or generalized to refer to anything that qualifies in terms of outward actions as conscious (but minus experiences), without concern for perfect duplication, then CH's robot could at least qualify for that stripe of "zombie consciousness".

    Taken to begin with that they correspond to brain processes and neural structures... Eliminativists contend that introspective thoughts, bodily sensations, and perceptions having manifested content ("something being there") is an illusion [or outright abort the issue sooner by eliminating thoughts and sensations altogether]. But that would have to be clarified as a linguistic or conceptual illusion since an illusion in everyday terms usually involves visual, aural, etc experiences that are misinterpreted (i.e., illusion in that context itself is subsumed under or depends beforehand upon there being such "shown evidence" or "not an absence of everything" affairs). It's often pointed out that eliminativists still seem to conflictingly be referring to thoughts, beliefs, sensations, etc in the course of explaining themselves. Their response is that they're stuck with expressing themselves in traditional language and its folk psychology biases; and therefore accordingly have to wait on a future language to be developed (favorable to the eliminativist outlook) so as to successfully resolve the appearance of contradiction.
    Last edited: May 20, 2016

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