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Philosophical Zombies
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Yes,u r true.Everything we see,hear,touch etc. is only in our brains.We can't know the reality-the truth.every person we know we can't say they do exist.it's what scientists say.there r a lot of such things.The only thing 4 sure - it's we and our Creator.
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Posted 2/24/08

shibole wrote:

By this I do not mean people who argue philosophy like zombies, but rather how do you know that everyone else possesses consciousness (awareness, not moral conscience)?


Let me put something on the table not for the purpose of argument but for clarification.

This argument is made by David Chalmers, and it was created as a way to show and defend dualist interactionism; which is one of the many philosophical approaches to the mind-body problem. (if you don't want to read the additional info and just focus on the zombie argument start reading after the blue colored word)

Dualistic interactionism focuses on mental and physical relations, philosophers such as Plato, Descartes and Chalmers support this position. It basically means that common sense shows that a close relationship exist between two very different identities; material (quantitative) and mental (not "quantitative" , in that it does not occupy space, has no shape, etc).
example, I am walking barefoot and step on a piece of glass, this causes the first brain state , that in turn causes a mental state (pain), that in turn causes me to move my foot, which in turn causes the pain to decrease or go away, etc, etc.

The question is: HOW does the interaction occur, if possible, can we pinpoint where? or could it be that like materialist argue, the mind is simply an extension of the body and not separate at all? or consider the idealist monist who think the body is illusory and the mind is the only substance there is?

Dualism is opposing these two views, but what I want to point out is that interactionism is not the only dualism there is. There is also epinophenomenalism which argues for a one-way-relationship between mind and body (body affects mind but mind cannot affect body) it relies on the premises of the causation of physical events in nature.

There is also a dualism called parallelism (two separate but parallel relations, mental and physical connected by human action) like two synchronized clocks for example, such that the harmony between the two makes them appear related to each other.
There are other but I dont find them worth discussing (pantheism and panpsychism).

The main debate basically has been between interactive dualism and two types of materialism (reducive and eliminative)
Reducive materialism basically means that beliefs, pain, desires, etc are mental events that occur in the brain, that is they occur in the brain as a physical thing, there is no mental reality here. all physical.
Eliminitave says the ordinary talk about mental events is flawed, our common sense that includes concepts such as belief, desire, perception, idea, emotion, sensation, etc is mistaken and that when we learn more about the brain we will be able to replace those concepts with more accurate descriptions (instead of saying I have a headache, I would say, C-fibers in my brain are firing)

Now, all of them have strengths and flaws but the main topic of this thread is dualistic interactionism. So let me focus on that.
The five most important problems with this argument are:

1. where does the interaction occur?

Descartes said in the pineal gland ( we now know is false, or no evidence has proved it so far)
the problem is, physical events have location but mental events do not, nor they are subject to physical laws so how can we speak of how mental events " cause, touch, meet, interact, with the body?
The dualist says we don't have to understand where the mind is, is sufficient just to acknowledge that there are metaphysical and physical realms, but is this really convincing to you?

2. how does it occur?

Kind of similar to the first, how can a physical state cause a mental one?
the dualist replies that why should two substances be qualitatively similar in order to influence each other? isn't me raising my hand testimony to the validity of interactionism?

3. how can the idea of mental causing physical be compatible with the principle of conservation of energy?

The amount of energy in a close physical system remains constant so the interaction bet mind and body violates the principle.
Energy is a function of matter but the dualist tells us that somehow my decision to raise my hand creates the energy necessary to cause my hand to raise

Dualists can say that the universe might be an open system where energy comes and goes at different points but as far as I know, physics operates in the assumption that the universe is a closed system. Now if you start including things like God then...well you know where that ends...
They can also say there might be a replacement of energy within the closed system but that to me is just a desperate attempt to save the argument
Another thing they can say is that mental causation may not necessarily require energy but instead it could just redirect or manipulate it but them we are back that point number 2 (how does it occur?)

4. how can the idea of two realities be compatible with the principle of Occam's Razor?

this one is self explanatory I think.
two realities, body and mind seem to violate the principle of simplicity

5. how can one who knows himself as a mental being account for other minds which we never experience directly? ( this is what you are addressing at some point in your post, I just want you to know there are more flaws than this one =] )

The main problem with this is a generalization from only ONE particular (my own; my experience of for example the previous stepping-on a piece of glass example, is only experienced by me, is private and I cannot know if other experience the same under the same circumstances) to a generalization of all the other living human beings and animals.
This seems like the case of a man seeing a cherry tree and then generalizing that every other tree in the world is a cherry tree.

so dualistic interactionism might be valid in some aspects but is not perfectly sound.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The zombie argument goes like this:

(From http://books.google.com/books?id=0fZZQHOfdAAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Conscious+Mind&sig=Ub0JuHpUIbwq5MTasxBtQAn4YP0#PPA93,M1)



From my class notes:
Chalmer thinks that since we can conceive zombies like his arguments argues, who are physically identical to us but lackin consciousness and following David Hume, whatever can be conceptually distinguished is different, we must have consciousness as a separate substance ( so we must have mind and bodies as two)

The problem with the zombie argument is that it does NOT disprove that consciousness is a biological process, Interactive dualism like I said is valid at some points but not sound. It is logically possible yes, but so is parallelism, pantheism, epinophenomenalism, and the other arguments to the mind body problem.

I have not read enough on materialism and dualism so I have not found which position is more satisfactory over the other.
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Posted 2/24/08
i am aware that i am writing this post..

I am thinking of what i am writing....

i have consciousness...


therefore i am a cactus...

wahhaha...

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Posted 2/24/08
Ningen: I don't know about philosophical zombies, but I'm sure that THOSE two... (<_<)

*pointing at both Shimoko and Akurei*

Are social zombies! I mean all they live for is the consumption of anime, manga, and video games like zombies from the moives seek to eat brains!!


Shimoko: Huh...Some people DO beleive in zombies, but not the brain-eating type from the moives. These 'real' zombies are more like 'dead criminals (in the eyes of society) being enslaved to the point that they're soulless'. And FYI, that's from the real religion of voodoo.

Akurei: OK pansy, first of all, what part of "I AM A DEMON" don't you (*cho-me*) understand!!!?

Shimoko: That reminds me, in the manga series "Black Sun Silver Moon" zombies are corpses animated by demon spirits. As for if I'M a zombie or not. Who knows? This is why my status message says "Do I even have a life? I wondering..."

Ningen: In short, pretty much, everyone here who watches a CARTOON show on the INTERNET is as much of a zombie as possible!!

Shimoko: Now I'm wondering who's more offensive on this site? Akurei, who tends to insult all humans....

Akurei: 'Cause humans are all idiots and a waste of flesh who are gobbling up MY AIR!

Shimoko: Or Ningen, who tends to be rigid in her thoughts and believes that otaku like me and most people who visit this site are all Hikikomori who are a waste of their governments/parents time and money with their own existance?

Ningen: Well, they are!

Shimoko: And you're wondering why so many want to kill themselves...
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Posted 2/24/08
we've been talking about zombies and there seem to be three major opinions,
1. I am the only conscious person on the planet
2. everyone on the planet is conscious
3. everyone on the planet is a zombie
why not split the difference and everyone's right? everyone being both a zombie and an alert conscious person at the same time?
Imagine that everyone occupies their own little version of reality (which we do if we go with reality being what we percieve) and all these little universes overlap each other. the people we interact with on a day to day basis would only be echoes or zombie versions of their actual selfs because we can never enter another person's universe, mind, soul, whatever. It wouldn't matter how zombieish they are in their reality because their actions in ours are the only ones that are pertinent.

just a thought
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Posted 2/24/08
Like I said, the main point of that argument is to support the dualist interactionism argument. Sure we can imagine lots of things but does that answer the mind - body problem?
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Posted 2/24/08
Oh I forgot to tell you all that I am philosophical zombie. My brain told me to do it so I did it.
Posted 2/24/08
The Brain replacement argument, it says that you could hypothetically replace every single organ and body part of a physical body, it is just that the replacements should operate similarly to the previous ones. You could basically replace everything, until you reach the neo-cortex. It wouldn't affect the person's mind/consciousness. It would just influence the physical motoric skills. That would also mean that one doesn't need a mind/consciousness to live. But it is well know that the mind can influence the physical body. As proven with monks who are perfectly well-trained in using their mind and body, also in separating both. But does the physical body influence the mind? Or is this just one-sided, as in only the mind influences the body?

It is also possible for the mind to separate from its physical body. For example meditation makes this possible.

The Looking-down argument, is somehow the way of taking a God-like point of view and looking down at Earth.
Eccles said that he likes to imagine himself floating above Earth, looking down on the drama of evolution as it unfolds.
The mere fact that we can articulate the argument is supposed to be proof that lying beyond the physical world is the world of mind. The notion behind this argumen is that one has to use "creative imagination". For example Einstein used this type of thinking. He sought to become objects traveling at high speed. This is somehow an activity of "pure mind", and not connected with any brain process. Does this prove that someone has a mind/consciousness? Does that mean that a person who lacks creative imagination does not have a consciousness/mind? It is quite known that there are people who lack this ability, but are they now really p-zombies?

Edit: Question: Is it possible for the mind to survive without a physical body? Or is it only possible for the physical body to live without a mind? If it was possible for the mind to live without body, that would mean that there is a possible afterlife. But how could you prove that? There is no way of how to communicate with the bodyless minds. Unless you are good in spiritualism and you know how to call minds...D: Lawl.....this is soooooo complicated and abstract but it is soo fascinating at the same time..=] Plus I have this slight feeling that I am starting to confuse the terms: Spirits, ghosts, minds, consciousness, souls....wahhhhh O.o

Flo~
Posted 2/24/08

mauz15 wrote:
This argument is made by David Chalmers, and it was created as a way to show and defend dualist interactionism; which is one of the many philosophical approaches to the mind-body problem.

I know, I had read about this a bit, but I figured I'd just ask this question in isolation to see what people would say. After all, it sounds kind of funny and I thought it might attract someone with some knowledge on the subject, or some interesting opinions anyway.



From my class notes:
Chalmer thinks that since we can conceive zombies like his arguments argues, who are physically identical to us but lackin consciousness and following David Hume, whatever can be conceptually distinguished is different, we must have consciousness as a separate substance ( so we must have mind and bodies as two)

The problem with the zombie argument is that it does NOT disprove that consciousness is a biological process, Interactive dualism like I said is valid at some points but not sound. It is logically possible yes, but so is parallelism, pantheism, epinophenomenalism, and the other arguments to the mind body problem.

I have not read enough on materialism and dualism so I have not found which position is more satisfactory over the other.

If I had to guess, they're probably both right on some points and wrong on others. Here's my personal unauthoritative guess at what might be going on:

Your mind has to consist of at least two things, which you might see as both being essentially material. 1) Matter used to represent and process information, and 2) information. #1 is "physical" and #2 is "logical". In a computer this distinction is more clear: #1 would be hardware, #2 would be software.

I don't know that these things really comprise two "worlds" because the information, as far as I can tell, can't exist without physical representation. Furthermore, processing of the information (from a materialist viewpoint) can't take place except along physical pathways.

I'm just going to consider this to be materialist, so far anyway. It may be that most of what we think of as consciousness, as a process, essentially is all in this processing which takes place on physical processors (parts of the brain). In fact, we know that certain areas in the brain are associated with different functions that we associate with consciousness.

The one thing that this doesn't explain is, why am I me and not someone or something else? Why am I "in" this specific body? Though I'd argue that my whole sense of self may be tied up in my body, there's still the simple fact that this consciousness, whatever it is, seems to be here and not somewhere else.

So if there's another "reality" for consciousness, it may be something simple like a dimension, or a point, which doesn't represent any information or do any processing.

What exactly would bind some physical "consciousness particle" like this to a process in the brain is of course rather speculative, but this is probably where some of these crazy ideas like "quantum mind" (the idea that neurons have use some property of quantum nondeterminism) come in. Of course, it wouldn't surprise me to find that this is just somewhat superstitious. (Quantum nondeterminism is mysterious, and consciousness is mysterious, therefore they must be related. Only problem is that people were thinking this about electromagnetism only just a little while ago.) Anyway, it seems that at least some sort of processing has to be going on in the brain to link this consciousness to perception, etc.

So it could be that mind is pretty much all material (or what we now call material) except for some other thing that basically just defines "identity" in that it seems to be unique but has no other property other than its distinctiveness from others of its type, sort of like a point in space along one dimension.

The fact that space and time seem to be the same thing, yet I seem to be moving through time, suggests that this consciousness particle thing might be some "physical" thing moving through time but existing in its own dimension. Basically we each might have a different particle along this line in this extra dimension. Of course, if I go to sleep, then it seems to keep moving through time, or maybe it jumps forward. I'm not sure if you'd consider this "another reality" because if it has a relationship with space-time then it may be part of normal physical reality like space-time as well.

Anyway, those are my crazy speculative thoughts on the issue. I'm not sure how that all maps to modern philosophical terminology. The key thing though seems to be that I'm aware of me and not someone else. At the very least it seems like there has to be some real thing that defines why I'm me and not someone else, even if that's all it does.
Posted 2/24/08

MidnightZorya wrote:
It is also possible for the mind to separate from its physical body. For example meditation makes this possible.

What evidence do you have to support that?


Does that mean that a person who lacks creative imagination does not have a consciousness/mind? It is quite known that there are people who lack this ability, but are they now really p-zombies?

Unable to imagine anything, or just spacial things like an object in space?

If they couldn't imagine anything I'd think they'd be unable to form sentences and speak.



Edit: Question: Is it possible for the mind to survive without a physical body? Or is it only possible for the physical body to live without a mind? If it was possible for the mind to live without body, that would mean that there is a possible afterlife. But how could you prove that?

It's not necessarily necessary for mind to exist without body in order to have an afterlife, depending on how you define afterlife. The death of one brain could just carry over into the life of another, sort of like a domino knocking over another domino. If this process didn't convey any information, the "reborn" consciousness wouldn't have any way to know that it ever previously existed though, so it would seem to itself to have just come out of nowhere possibly. If the new being had some tiny bit of information from the previous being then it might have some characteristics of the previous being, but still not enough to distinguish that they came from some other being and aren't simply random. For example, maybe the previous being had red as it's favorite color. When it was reborn, the new being also had red as its favorite color. It may have gotten that from the previous being, but not have any awareness of the name or sense of identity of the previous being.

This doesn't rule-out "spirits" etc because a spirit, ghost, whatever could just be another type of body made of something other than normal matter as we know it. (This is essentially what Buddhism claims. If you go to heaven, then you're reborn in a "subtle material body" in a "heavenly realm" of existence. It's not like a ghost levitates out of your body and flies off to heaven, more like being reborn in another location except as a different form of life.)
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Posted 2/24/08
i know nothing on this subject but Hellfire and Dalmations this is fun to follow!
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Posted 2/24/08
hehheeheh. Have u been watching Haruhi Suzumiya, Matrix, etc. lately becuase the summary of youre topic just says that you are the only person lving on earth & everybody else is a data. Know what, the only thing that could send you back to the real world is a punch in the face....you know, the throwing fruit punch on your face making you wet-thing, not real punch like KAPOOW!
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Posted 2/24/08

shibole wrote:

I asked my wife what she thinks, and oddly she says that she's the only truly conscious person in the universe and that everyone else is a philosophical zombie, including me. But how do I know that she isn't actually a philosophical zombie herself?



Well, the truth is.... we've all lied to you up to this point, but for some unknown reason I am compelled to tell the truth. We are all philosophical zombies! You're 'wife' was programed to say that in order to through you off and this whole existence you've been experiencing was just one long experiment conducted by beings that surpass sentience.

Not buying it? Well... I guess the whole "beings that surpass sentience" thing is stretching it a little.^_^

Honestly, this idea plagued me off and on from when I was 16 until I turned 19.. at which point I decided that assuming it is an allusion, I'd still live life as if it were reality [more or less]. The truth is, we really can't 'prove' anything. Our senses aren't absolute and can be deceived, and most of the non-essential information we obtain comes to us from other people. But I think that fact alone is the best argument against philosophical zombies [or for the idea that I am one] because we start out rather ignorant until people start feeding us information that we swallow without question [that is, until we learn that people are usually wrong]. So, the first question we need to answer is "What is sentience?" is it nothing more than the some of our knowledge combined with cognitive reasoning? That wouldn't account for color, 'beauty' and music. What propose do those things serve except to make life more enjoyable for the individual?


MidnightZorya wrote:

For example Descartes said that there are two properties that would unmask such a person:
1)it could not use language creatively rather than producing stereotyped responses
2)it could not produce appropriate non-verbal behavior in arbitrarily various situations


Actually that would typically be diagnosed as 'Asperger syndrome':

"Asperger syndrome is one of several autism spectrum disorders (ASD) characterized by difficulties in social interaction and by restricted, stereotyped interests and activities. AS is distinguished from the other ASDs in having no general delay in language or cognitive development. Although not mentioned in standard diagnostic criteria, motor clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.

Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody and intonation, and motor clumsiness are typical of the condition, but are not required for diagnosis.
People with Asperger syndrome display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. They may stick to inflexible routines or rituals, move in stereotyped and repetitive ways, or preoccupy themselves with parts of objects.

People with Asperger syndrome may refer to themselves in casual conversation as aspies"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome
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Posted 2/24/08

shibole wrote
I asked my wife what she thinks, and oddly she says that she's the only truly conscious person in the universe and that everyone else is a philosophical zombie, including me. But how do I know that she isn't actually a philosophical zombie herself?



If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound? If you answer yes, then you can assume your wife isn't a zomby. If you answer no, then by you should believe what your wife does except for yourself. The third answer is cherry pie. MMM-MMM good! Also, I don't know can work. In such a case, you're jsut avoiding thinking about problem and are a zomby yourself.
Posted 2/25/08

shibole wrote:
What evidence do you have to support that?

Wah I think I've used the wrong term.....spirit..it should have been soul or spirit I guess or perhaps consciousness. Proof? <.< Maybe astral projection(out of body activity)? I know I know....>.> That's no steady argument at all..Lawl~

Unable to imagine anything, or just spacial things like an object in space? If they couldn't imagine anything I'd think they'd be unable to form sentences and speak.

I think the example about Einstein imagining himself becoming an object that travels at high speed should have made it clear. <.< Plus I said "creative" imagination, I never said that they are totally unable to imagine anything. To a certain point everyone can imagine something, for example I bet that everybody can imagine himself eating something delicious, or imagining a certain situation...Just some people don't have such an elevated level of imagination as others. This elevated level of imagination is called "creative imagination" and is proof of an activity of "pure mind". Pure mind involves also the consciousness, being conscious, totally aware of what we are trying to imagine, having a very strong control over the mind and consciousness. Pure spirit awareness.
Since the mind is of physical origin, created out of someone's brain(mind functions). Mind functions come and go. Consciousness remains unchanged no matter what the mind functions produce or do not produce. Which would mean that this "creative imagination" is mainly/only based on pure consciousness.

Besides that, to counter your argument about someone who is unable to imagine anything, that he/she would be unable to form sentences and speak.
I will use following example: Lets say that someone who is unable to imagine anything(I suppose that imagination involves a lot of intelligence), but has a very good memory, he could learn every single sentence by heart. He could use his ears and memorise other people talking(which is very probable, everyone has parents...and parents talk and form sentences..), so he saw, heard from small on people forming sentences, and speak. He saw in what situations this sentences were used. That would mean that he is actually very able to use sentences and talk. But I have my doubts about his capability to form correct/understandable sentences. It would be very probable that his reactions and sentences might be sometimes inadequate to the given situations, since he lacks the creative imagination to use the memorised words and sentences in an intelligible way. But that doesn't mean that he is unable to form sentences, people would just call him mentally challenged/stupid/slow. <.<

Flo~
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