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philosophical zombies (and extra-temporal subjunctive possibility)  (with definitions)
Posted: 30 May 2011 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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GdB - 30 May 2011 02:33 AM
Mingy Jongo - 29 May 2011 01:24 PM

Just realise that the p-zombie cannot be distinguished from a normal human agent at all. Of course one can make programs that in a limited area act as if they are conscious, and I fully agree that those do not necessarily are conscious. But a p-zombie does not just pass the Turing test, it asks you about the meaning of life, wonders what consciousness is, wonders if you see a red rose as I do, is hurt by a stupid remark of mine, and we enjoy a nice night together…

No, a p-zombie would not.  By definition, there is nothing there to experience thoughts and emotions.

?? A p-zombie would not what? Again: the definition of a p-zombie is that it behaves exactly the same as conscious agents. So if I talk about ‘red qualia’, or ‘what it looks like’ and she does not understand what I say, I have a criterion for it being a p-zombie.

A p-zombie would not “wonders what consciousness is, wonders if you see a red rose as I do, is hurt by a stupid remark of mine, and we enjoy a nice night together”.  If you ask a p-zombie what something looks like, it would respond just like a conscious being would, even though it doesn’t actually perceive vision.  That is the entire point of the thought experiment.

GdB - 30 May 2011 02:33 AM
Mingy Jongo - 29 May 2011 01:24 PM

Do you know with absolute certainty that other minds exist?

No, not absolutely sure, in the methodological exact sense. My wife could be a p-zombie, my children too. And I must confess that I will not be able to convince somebody else from the fact I am not a p-zombie. How could I? A GdB-p-zombie would say exactly the same as I do, per definition. But then, one might wonder why I talk about feelings when I do not have them…

Um… huh?  What happened to this:

GdB - 24 May 2011 11:38 PM

I think p-zombies are logically impossible.

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Posted: 30 May 2011 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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GdB - 29 May 2011 09:11 AM

Yes, it does. “Behaves the same, same substance, not distinguishable from conscious agents”. That would be in any world that has natural laws. Chalmers seems also to believe in this ‘panexperientialism’ of sixfootbrit…

No, it is conceivable if the phenomenal subjective qualities of conscious experience, i.e. qualia, are denied as in Type physicalism and strong AI with their implications for the nature of consciousness.

From the wiki on Type physicalism

Type physicalism (also known as reductive materialism, type identity theory, mind-brain identity theory and identity theory of mind) is a physicalist theory, in philosophy of mind. It asserts that mental events can be grouped into types, and can then be correlated with types of physical events in the brain. For example, one type of mental event like “mental pains” will, presumably, turn out to be describing one type of physical event (like C-fiber firings).

And the wiki on

Strong AI

Many interdisciplinary approaches to intelligence (e.g. cognitive science, computational intelligence and decision making) tend to emphasise the need to consider additional traits such as imagination (taken as the ability to form mental images and concepts that were not programmed in) and autonomy.

All these are conceivable worlds without consciousness as humans know and experience it, subjectively.

Of course I would be lying: because you know it is a contradiction in terms. As you cannot separate a ‘robotic’ (your term!) not from a normal one, how could I even say it is robotic? It is an empty concept.

Irrespective of whether you are lying or not, your intention in the context of your post, i.e. to associate it wrt philosophical zombies as lying, is not justified.

It is conceivable that with strong AI, such a robotic cat which behaves as though it is conscious but it is not alive and has no phenomenal consciousness, could exist in the future.

FYI, here is an interesting paper on the conceivability of philosophical zombies

Many philosophers accept the conceivability of zombies: creatures that lack consciousness but are physically and functionally identical to conscious human beings. Many also believe that the conceivability of zombies supports their metaphysical possibility. And most agree that if zombies are metaphysically possible, then physicalism is false. So, the claim that zombies are conceivable may have considerable significance.

How not to answer the zombie challenge:

The same moral applies to the argument from the conceivability of zombies — and in particular to the claim that zombies are conceivable. Careful reflection on this conceivability claim seems only to
confirm its plausibility. Philosophers who endorse it, such as Chalmers, commit no fallacy; they make no relatively simple error in reasoning. Consequently, suggestions that such a blunder underlies
the claim are bound to fall flat.

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Posted: 30 May 2011 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 30 May 2011 08:22 AM

A p-zombie would not “wonders what consciousness is, wonders if you see a red rose as I do, is hurt by a stupid remark of mine, and we enjoy a nice night together”.  If you ask a p-zombie what something looks like, it would respond just like a conscious being would, even though it doesn’t actually perceive vision.  That is the entire point of the thought experiment.

It would behave like that, there is no way I can distinguish between a conscious agent and a p-zombie. So I would be just as happy with her, as I am now, supposing my wife is a conscious agent. The entire point of the thought experiment is to conceive of a difference that cannot be perceived by any means. Can you really?

Mingy Jongo - 30 May 2011 08:22 AM
GdB - 30 May 2011 02:33 AM
Mingy Jongo - 29 May 2011 01:24 PM

Do you know with absolute certainty that other minds exist?

No, not absolutely sure, in the methodological exact sense. My wife could be a p-zombie, my children too. And I must confess that I will not be able to convince somebody else from the fact I am not a p-zombie. How could I? A GdB-p-zombie would say exactly the same as I do, per definition. But then, one might wonder why I talk about feelings when I do not have them…

Um… huh?  What happened to this:

GdB - 24 May 2011 11:38 PM

I think p-zombies are logically impossible.

From the concept of the p-zombie follows that conscious agents and p-zombies cannot be distinguished. So at least the question if somebody is a p-zombie or a conscious agent cannot be decided.

How close can we get to a logical impossibility? Let’s compare:

1. I can conceive of a bachelor who is married.
2. I can conceive of a difference that cannot be ascertained by any means.

What do you think? Can we really conceive of that?

[ Edited: 30 May 2011 11:50 PM by GdB ]
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Posted: 30 May 2011 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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kkwan,

In your article Torin Alter is giving arguments against a position that is not mine. So for me that is not relevant. Or you must show that I do what Eric Marcus is doing. Then I will think about it.

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Posted: 01 June 2011 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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GdB - 30 May 2011 11:42 PM

How close can we get to a logical impossibility? Let’s compare:

1. I can conceive of a bachelor who is married.
2. I can conceive of a difference that cannot be ascertained by any means.

What do you think? Can we really conceive of that?

I agree that it is logically impossible to conceive of either a bachelor who is married, or a difference that cannot be ascertained.  However, I arrive at that conclusion differently in each example.  #1 is asking one to conceive of an overlap between two contradictory properties, making both “it is logically possible for a bachelor who is married to exist” and “I can conceive of a bachelor who is married” false.  #2 is logically impossible because by the very act of conceiving a difference, that difference is ascertained.  However, that does not mean “it is logically impossible for a difference that cannot be ascertained to exist”.

Here is another example of a proposition that is logically possible, but not logically possible to conceive of:
“It is logically possible for a color I have never experienced to exist.”
Even if I could conceive of a color I had never experienced up to a moment in time, I would experience it at the very same instant I conceived of it.

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Posted: 02 June 2011 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 01 June 2011 11:08 AM

...that does not mean “it is logically impossible for a difference that cannot be ascertained to exist”.

Here is another example of a proposition that is logically possible, but not logically possible to conceive of:
“It is logically possible for a color I have never experienced to exist.”
Even if I could conceive of a color I had never experienced up to a moment in time, I would experience it at the very same instant I conceived of it.

well done!

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Posted: 03 June 2011 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 01 June 2011 11:08 AM

Here is another example of a proposition that is logically possible, but not logically possible to conceive of:
“It is logically possible for a color I have never experienced to exist.”
Even if I could conceive of a color I had never experienced up to a moment in time, I would experience it at the very same instant I conceived of it.

Hmm… You are pushing me to the limit… If you look back you see that I am not 100% sure, I used wordings like ‘I think’ and ‘how close can we get’. But I think your criticism lets stand my most important idea: that somebody cannot conceive of it. So if he says so he is lying.

And one other point: p-zombies are defined, not discovered or derived from something else. But the definition is open. Imagine that the idea of p-zombies was already known with the ancient Greeks. So what would a p-zombie for them? Of course, something that looks like a human, feels like a human, is made of the same 4 basic elements… Ups! In the meantime we have discovered a lot, now we would say made up of the same chemical elements, the same protein structures, DNA, etc. So at a certain time we might discover something very new about humans, say other kinds of essential structures we have not yet discovered, but what then? We would define p-zombies again as entities that also have these structures, but still have no consciousness. Can such a concept play a serious role in philosophical discussions? I really feel thrown back to times when the ontological proof of god was taken seriously.

[ Edited: 03 June 2011 02:10 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 06 September 2011 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Philosophical Zombies exist, they are called Neo-Conservatives. I believe that Kissinger is the quintessential P-Zombie.

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Posted: 06 September 2011 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Nah, Kissinger would be too liberal for them.  Three better choices would be Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Gov. Perry.  vampire

And don’t forget the Koch brothers.

Occam

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Posted: 06 September 2011 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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The p-zombie argument relies on your worldview. If you believe in souls, then you will be able to conceive of p-zombies. If you do not believe in souls, then you will not be able to conceive of p-zombies. Hence, it is a kind of circular argument or an appeal to intuition.

From a materialist point of view, how can something that does not experience qualia act as if it does? If it couldn’t experience qualia, it wouldn’t be able to function like a normal human (experiencing qualia is required to make decisions like a human).

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Posted: 06 September 2011 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Occam. - 06 September 2011 05:37 PM

Nah, Kissinger would be too liberal for them.  Three better choices would be Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Gov. Perry.  vampire

And don’t forget the Koch brothers.

Occam

I would actually argue quite the contrary. Rush, Perry and Cheney probably have subjective experiences. They probably enjoy the sunset, they can “feel”; however, with Kissinger, I think that he has all the strapping of a human being. He can think and act human, but he lacks essential “qualia” and therefore lacks a more fundamental moral structure that may derive from such a thing (as I understand it at least).

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Posted: 07 September 2011 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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domokato - 06 September 2011 06:37 PM

The p-zombie argument relies on your worldview. If you believe in souls, then you will be able to conceive of p-zombies. If you do not believe in souls, then you will not be able to conceive of p-zombies. Hence, it is a kind of circular argument or an appeal to intuition.

Depends on what you think is the ‘p-zombie argument’. It seems that a ‘soulist’ has a clear conception, but has he? The p-zombie must be something that cannot be distinguished from a normal human in all respects (matter, functioning, behaviour, speaking, listening, etc. etc.). That means we might be surrounded by p-zombies without knowing. Even a p-zombie would would tell about its feelings, or give rational arguments, otherwise we could distinguish p-zombies and humans. So the least we can say is that the concept is methodological empty. Stronger we can say that the soulist has not thought through his idea, especially if he realises I cannot distinguish between him and a p-zombie, which he surely will not accept.

domokato - 06 September 2011 06:37 PM

From a materialist point of view, how can something that does not experience qualia act as if it does? If it couldn’t experience qualia, it wouldn’t be able to function like a normal human (experiencing qualia is required to make decisions like a human).

We do not experience qualia: we experience the world around us, and our feelings an thoughts. The idea of ‘qualia’ is as empty as the idea of p-zombies. ‘Having qualia’ does not mean anything more than ‘experiencing the world’. If I watch the glass bottle here in front of me I see the glass bottle, not some picture of it. A p-zombie reacts on everything around him in the same way as humans do, per definition. So if p-zombies would exist, they can do exactly the same as we can, but then without qualia. But when p-zombies do not need them to behave as they do, why do we?

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Posted: 07 September 2011 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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domokato - 06 September 2011 06:37 PM

From a materialist point of view, how can something that does not experience qualia act as if it does? If it couldn’t experience qualia, it wouldn’t be able to function like a normal human (experiencing qualia is required to make decisions like a human).

Precisely, if qualia is what it is like to be human. In other words, it will be a physicalist/materialist zombie and non-human.  LOL

Furthermore, from this article on zombies in the SEP

David Chalmer’s objection:

He further objects (2007) that exponents of this approach face a dilemma. Let C be whichever psychological ‘key features’ we have but zombies lack. Then if it is conceivable that the purely physical facts about us should have held without C, then C is not physicalistically explicable. On the other hand, if that is not conceivable, then C cannot explain our epistemic situation as contrasted with that of zombies. So either C is not physicalistically explicable, or C cannot explain our epistemic situation.

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Posted: 08 September 2011 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Hi GdB,

GdB - 07 September 2011 04:49 AM

We do not experience qualia: we experience the world around us, and our feelings an thoughts. The idea of ‘qualia’ is as empty as the idea of p-zombies. ‘Having qualia’ does not mean anything more than ‘experiencing the world’. If I watch the glass bottle here in front of me I see the glass bottle, not some picture of it.

I never understand this view so occasionally ask.

What does it mean to say we experience the world around us?

Viewing ourselves as our brains to avoid dualism, our experience must be based somehow on the effect the external world has on us, surely, this includes our feelings and thoughts.

If our feelings and thoughts are internal to us, then so is the world around us that we experience. so this is not external objective reality.

And don’t examples of illusions show us this? If the illusions aren’t external reality then what are they?edit: And where are they? Whatever the illusions are, the brain getting them straightened out doesn’t change the nature of the stuff except that it’s more correct.

Stephen

[ Edited: 08 September 2011 05:59 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 08 September 2011 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Another example.

I look at the world around me with my glasses off.

I then look at it with them on and it changes.

The world around me can’t change depending on whether I have my glasses on or not, so how do you account for this without qualia?

Stephen

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