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Author Topic: Consciousness  (Read 8163 times)
hazek
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March 02, 2012, 08:31:52 PM
 #61

You said "There is nothing pointless about pondering the ramifications of another physical structure that has the exact same molecular content as another." Isn't this what we call cloning?

No.

Riiiiight, but some magical teleportation device does?

Dude, before you go on, figure out why cloning is not what you think it is.

I know why cloning doesn't fit your scenario. Because by itself it's not enough to complete your scenario. It lacks the "memories" of a life. But what I'm asking is surely if you're going to deal in hypotheticals, where you're imagining a scenario just to ponder it's hypothetical ramifications, shouldn't it be a lot more fruitful if you chose a scenario that starts with reality and adds something that we know how to do but is only extremely hard such as cloning an individual and then having the clone have the same exact memories and not something we don't know how to do such as teleporting life?

In answer to your question as to it being more fruitful, the answer is no. Plain and simple.

Care to elaborate?

The purpose of thought experiments is to illustrate the conundrums that exist within a particular domain of study, and by doing so, those who become familiar with said thought experiments can then see the domain of study in a new light, which might allow them to think about the problem differently, and to better understand it.

Generally, the purpose of a thought experiment is not to find a way to build the gadgets in the thought experiment.

Equally important with regard to this particular matter, cloning is irrelevant, and will yield nothing. Clones not only don't have the same molecular structure and memories over time, they never have the same molecular structure from the start, as their growth is a function of the molecules they assimilate, which is different for each individual.

Right, cloning and memories alone aren't enough, you'd have to also feed the clone exactly the same molecules, grow it in exactly the same environment ect.. basically replicate the exact path of growth of the original, which is still a lot more likely doable unlike teleporting which doesn't exist.

But that's besides the point because you apparently believe there's something to be learned by observing a fantasy instead of the reality. Tell me what can you learn from my original example?:
Isn't this a pointless scenario since we don't have a such a machine and we do not know if matter can even be manipulated in such a way?

Absolutely not. There is nothing pointless about pondering the ramifications of another physical structure that has the exact same molecular content as another. It's an absolutely necessary thing to consider if you wish to understand the ramifications of nature. It's very much worth considering as a mental exercise.

Both my super man example and your teleporting example are fiction, they don't exist, so please explain to me what we can learn about reality through examining fiction?

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hazek
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March 02, 2012, 08:40:22 PM
 #62

Btw you were right, I looked up Dan Dennett on youtube and I already enjoy what little I saw. His theory is very close to how I think about the world.

So thanks!

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

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dayfall
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March 02, 2012, 08:48:34 PM
 #63

Your mental states are the only things you have access to.

I don't think your mental states are what you think they are.
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March 02, 2012, 08:53:02 PM
 #64

Right, cloning and memories alone aren't enough, you'd have to also feed the clone exactly the same molecules, grow it in exactly the same environment ect.. basically replicate the exact path of growth of the original, which is still a lot more likely doable unlike teleporting which doesn't exist.

Actually, your clone example above would likely be more difficult, or at least as difficult. And I'm not claiming that we'd ever be able to teleport human beings. However, I must point out now, for the second time in a row, contrary to what you keep insisting, quantum teleportation does exist.

As for imaginary devices in thought experiments, I consider you to be rather presumptuous and ill informed when you accuse me of not hoping to illustrate something or learn something by engaging in such thought experiments. Please direct your argument instead to those who have benefited from other thought experiments proposed by Heisenberg, Einstein, Bohr, Chalmers, Hofstadter, and others.
hazek
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March 02, 2012, 09:10:59 PM
 #65

Right, cloning and memories alone aren't enough, you'd have to also feed the clone exactly the same molecules, grow it in exactly the same environment ect.. basically replicate the exact path of growth of the original, which is still a lot more likely doable unlike teleporting which doesn't exist.

Actually, your clone example above would likely be more difficult, or at least as difficult. And I'm not claiming that we'd ever be able to teleport human beings. However, I must point out now, for the second time in a row, contrary to what you keep insisting, quantum teleportation does exist.

Is that teleportation of a living organism?

As for imaginary devices in thought experiments, I consider you to be rather presumptuous and ill informed when you accuse me of not hoping to illustrate something or learn something by engaging in such thought experiments. Please direct your argument instead to those who have benefited from other thought experiments proposed by Heisenberg, Einstein, Bohr, Chalmers, Hofstadter, and others.

As far as I know they built their thought experiments on what they observed was possible meaning ontop of the rules of reality, without fiction.

See the problem I'm having with your example is that you cannot possibly know the rules it's governed by to be able to even begin imagining the results? With reality it's easy; we know what rules govern it. But as soon as you add fiction - a device that can teleport life - do you not, at that point, introduce a device for which you do not know what rules govern it and if so can not reach any useful conclusions? For example doesn't quantum mechanics say that no two electrons in the whole universe can be alike(same state) and that's a rule about reality which goes exactly against your thought experiment?

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
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March 02, 2012, 09:23:53 PM
 #66

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones. Also, I suggest you send Chalmers an email about philosophical zombies. While you're at it, send Hofstadter an email about teleportation of living organisms.

Oh, and while you're at it, and since you're a fan of Dennett, send him an email about Mary in the black-and-white room.
hazek
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March 02, 2012, 09:39:01 PM
 #67

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones.

Probably not. I don't know..

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
amencon
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March 03, 2012, 02:19:13 AM
 #68

Two or more identical perceptions does not entail death of the former. It does not refute the possibility of reincarnation.

I'm not quite agreeing with you, from a common sense point of view.

Also, on a different note, consider this: you lose consciousness, for whatever reason, i.e. being put under for surgery, passing out, sleep, etc. When you regain consciousness, what does that mean, exactly? The most likely scenario is you only think you were the person you were before you lost consciousness, precisely because you have those memories - in a sense, you are fooled into believing you exist as something moving through time.

Let's take it further. For most every conscious instant of your life, you possess the memory of being what you were, thus you have this sense of identity, whereas the truth of the matter is, you might as well be the recreated replica of yourself as Captain Kirk is when he beams down to a planet.

To reiterate: Captain Kirk steps into the transporter room and is vaporized - killed. His form is recreated exactly on the planet's surface at the molecular level, and thus the new Captain Kirk has the memories of the former Captain Kirk, and thus believes he is the former Captain Kirk, but he isn't. The former Captain Kirk is dead.

However, this isn't just happening to Captain Kirk. It happens to everyone, every moment of their life.

I've pondered this more than a few times.  Of course I've never come to any definitive conclusions.  I like the way you succinctly articulated the framing of this potentiality.  With no firm answer to this I think I'd probably not use the transporter without very good incentive to do so.

Another thought experiment that interests me:

Imagine you are about to be subjected to horrible torture for days or weeks on end.  At the conclusion of the torture all memory of the event will be wiped.  Knowing this, should you be scared or apprehensive going in?  If so, why?  What parallels can we draw from this to portions or the entirety of our experience in life?
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March 03, 2012, 05:20:25 AM
 #69


Another thought experiment that interests me:

Imagine you are about to be subjected to horrible torture for days or weeks on end.  At the conclusion of the torture all memory of the event will be wiped.  Knowing this, should you be scared or apprehensive going in?  If so, why?  What parallels can we draw from this to portions or the entirety of our experience in life?

You don't need a thought experiment for this. Take some Versed and do something scary. Go get your wisdom teeth pulled. You should have existential anxiety about your self being harmed whether you will have memory of the harmful events or not. Lacking memory of these events will cause you to have additional uncertainty about how much harm was actually done. This is especially true if there is little physical evidence of the harm. Maybe you said something terrible (betrayed someone) but can't remember it? You now have to rely on external information about yourself for that period of time, putting you at a disadvantage to others.
bb113
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March 03, 2012, 05:26:48 AM
 #70

Out of the Big Bang, point to the physical laws, or the physical matter, or the processes, which allowed consciousness to arise.

1. The Big Bang happens.
2. Matter forms into various objects.
3. Physical processes allow for more complex structures.
4. Parts of the Universe become aware of the Universe. How and why would that happen?

Somewhere in the above timeline (perhaps before 1 or between 1 and 2), physical laws came into being. You could almost say it's coincidental with the existence of mathematics. I don't know whether you'd call this step 0, or 1.5, or 0 and 1.5.

Steps 2 and 3 naturally follow.

Step 1 is a bit problematic. Physicists are working on it. It's a pretty interesting problem. Step 4 is problematic as well. Again, a pretty interesting problem. Step 0 and/or 1.5 are problematic and interesting as well.

The problem that neuroscientists are working on does not qualify as one of those 'interesting' problems. Don't get me wrong - it's very interesting relative to tax law, agriculture, etc., but it's just not one of the big problems. When neuroscientists say they're trying to understand consciousness, what they're saying is they're trying to understand what physical brain processes correlate to consciousness. In other words, they're peeling back the layers to discover neural correlates.

That still leaves question 4 unanswered.


I disagree with the timeline. Specifically, there may be no evidence for the placement of #4. Parts of the universe could be said to have "awareness" of the universe starting at point #1. I don't want to go on until "aware" is defined more clearly.
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March 03, 2012, 06:01:01 AM
 #71

I don't want to go on until "aware" is defined more clearly.

Forgive me, but I must say it. You're kind of sad. The reason: we've been through this for probably five pages or so (in the other thread and here). Do you recall our discussion about qualia, conscious experience and so forth? Do you?

There comes a point, when in the course of discussion between two people, that usage of words should be understood. Either go back and review everything, or give up. I'm not going to waste my time defining awareness. I might with a newcomer, but not you.

Qualia, dude. Conscious experience. Get it?
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March 03, 2012, 06:06:13 AM
 #72

Footnote: you've exhibited the same obtuseness with regard to parsing words related to climate change. It's holding you back, man. And yes, that means you.
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March 03, 2012, 06:24:14 AM
 #73

Qualia, dude. Conscious experience. Get it?

Haha, exactly. Because the exact points where we misunderstand each other haven't been dealt with. This is what I meant by arguing over ambiguous definitions. So does a rock have conscious experience? Am I just as conscious as you? What about a dog? Is consciousness actually a binary phenomenon (have it or you don't), or is there a spectrum of degrees of consciousness?

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March 03, 2012, 06:36:58 AM
 #74

Quote
First, what is consciousness? Consciousness is often referred to by philosophers as what it’s like to feel pain or to see the color red. Qualia, phenomenal feel, and the subjective quality of experience are terms used by philosophers which all make reference to consciousness. The basic idea is that when one has an experience, a pain in the foot for example, it seems theoretically possible to separate all of the neuron firings, information processing in the brain, and behavioral responses, from what will be left—the feeling of pain (this is also called the phenomenal feel or the qualia associated with pain).
http://philosophy.stanford.edu/apps/stanfordphilosophy/files/wysiwyg_images/raymore.pdf

Is this close to your definition? It is remarkably human centric. This is what I wanted to clarify. Are we talking about "aware like a human"?
hazek
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March 03, 2012, 12:14:47 PM
 #75

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones.

Probably not. I don't know..

I guess I wont get an answer then?

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
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March 03, 2012, 04:41:44 PM
 #76

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones.

Probably not. I don't know..

I guess I wont get an answer then?

With regard to your question, I'm not clear why you're asking it. Not only are you incapable of answering my rhetorical question, but you actually think your question requires an answer. Why do you require me to answer your question? It boggles my mind. Don't you know the answer?
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March 03, 2012, 04:47:36 PM
 #77

Qualia, dude. Conscious experience. Get it?

Haha, exactly. Because the exact points where we misunderstand each other haven't been dealt with.

They have. You have had books recommended to you. You have had a long discussion with me about it. You have had links to papers provided to you. You have had the specific term in question (qualia) defined for you. We have been discussing it for more than a week.

Quote
This is what I meant by arguing over ambiguous definitions.

No ambiguity here as to what the definitions are. If you still can't get it, you have had books recommended to you.

Quote
So does a rock have conscious experience? Am I just as conscious as you? What about a dog? Is consciousness actually a binary phenomenon (have it or you don't), or is there a spectrum of degrees of consciousness?

Those aren't definitions. Those are questions that are natural to ask and at the heart of discussion with regard to consciousness. Asking them at least demonstrates on your part an increasing understanding.
hazek
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March 03, 2012, 05:21:11 PM
 #78

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones.

Probably not. I don't know..

I guess I wont get an answer then?

With regard to your question, I'm not clear why you're asking it. Not only are you incapable of answering my rhetorical question, but you actually think your question requires an answer. Why do you require me to answer your question? It boggles my mind. Don't you know the answer?

Because if we don't have the technology to teleport a living organism you can't possibly know the laws such a machine would be governed by and so I really can't for the life of me understand what possible insight could you gain by examining your fictitious scenario.. It'd be like theorizing how superman is affected by kryptonite in a melted form if he drank it -> who cares, neither exist in reality.

If we don't have the technology, and I'm not a scientist or an expert to know if we do or don't so, really, please do correct me if we do have such a technology or even good theories how to get there, but if we don't, we can't know how it would work once we invent it so we can't possibly learn anything by theorizing about it's use; and that is if the rules that govern reality even allow for such a machine to be invented.. For instance you still haven't addressed the obstacle of the Pauli exclusion principle in quantum mechanics that seems to stand in the way of your scenario being even possible.

Basically I'm asking what do you hope to learn about reality by examining a fantasy?

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
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March 03, 2012, 05:32:18 PM
 #79

And I know you said it twice that quantum teleportation exists, but that doesn't tell me anything. I'm asking you if we have the technology to teleport a living organism?

I'll answer that when you tell me if we can do what you proposed with clones.

Probably not. I don't know..

I guess I wont get an answer then?

With regard to your question, I'm not clear why you're asking it. Not only are you incapable of answering my rhetorical question, but you actually think your question requires an answer. Why do you require me to answer your question? It boggles my mind. Don't you know the answer?

Because if we don't have the technology to teleport a living organism you can't possibly know the laws such a machine would be governed by and so I really can't for the life of me understand what possible insight could you gain by examining your fictitious scenario.. It'd be like theorizing how superman is affected by kryptonite in a melted form if he drank it -> who cares, neither exist in reality.

If we don't have the technology, and I'm not a scientist or an expert to know if we do or don't so, really, please do correct me if we do have such a technology or even good theories how to get there, but if we don't, we can't know how it would work once we invent it so we can't possibly learn anything by theorizing about it's use; and that is if the rules that govern reality even allow for such a machine to be invented.. For instance you still haven't addressed the obstacle of the Pauli exclusion principle in quantum mechanics that seems to stand in the way of your scenario being even possible.

Basically I'm asking what do you hope to learn about reality by examining a fantasy?

I assumed that you knew that we can't teleport a living organism. Googling quantum teleportation would answer that. But that's irrelevant. There is nothing wrong with assuming that teleportation could work. Here are the facts of the hypothetical scenario:

1. You are scanned and the position of every atom in your body is known.
2. You are reconstructed elsewhere.
3. Your original form is vaporized.

It's totally irrelevant if we can do it or not. Here's why: assume the process works flawlessly.

It's that simple. By assuming the process works flawlessly, you need not question the ramifications of the technology. Furthermore, I suggest you take up your personal issues with the scenario with well known thinkers on the subject of consciousness - not me.

You are wrong about being able to learn something about it if we can't do it. You totally miss the point of the exercise. The point of the exercise is to get one thinking about consciousness in a certain way to allow them the possibility of having new insights into understanding consciousness. Unfortunately, some people, such as yourself, like to nitpick on nonessential aspects of the discussion.
hazek
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March 03, 2012, 05:57:28 PM
 #80

If a transporter was proven to exactly replicate the mind as it was, I would use it. My perceived reality has been proven to be stable thus far and I would trust it in this circumstance.

So you would submit yourself to being killed, and allow a replica of yourself which contains the exact memories and brain structure to be created to replace yourself?

How can you prove my perception was destroyed and not reincarnated to the replica?

How can we deduce which latter event is more probable?

Consider the following two scenarios:

1. You step into the transporter room and your body is scanned at the molecular level and you are recreated somewhere else. Only problem is, the machine failed to actually destroy your body at this location. A service technician approaches you and says: "Sir, a minor glitch occurred. If you could come this way we'll manually finish the process..."

2. You step into the transporter room and your body is scanned at the molecular level and you are recreated not once, but three different times in three different locations. Clearly, you, the person who stepped into the transporter room, can't be all three of the newly created individuals. Granted, from their perspective, each of the three are you and fully believes in the success of the transportation process, but logically, at the very most, you are only one of them, and the other two are not. It makes further sense that you are in fact none of them, and are in fact, dead, forever, and not experiencing the world at all.

Answer: Pauli exclusion principle in quantum mechanics.

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
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