Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#16  Postby Greta » October 8th, 2017, 1:22 am

James, first thought, from a biological standpoint, is muscle memory (which at times itself can trigger aware memories). I'll leave it at that for now for Atreyu to give his thoughts.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis



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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#17  Postby Atreyu » October 8th, 2017, 5:26 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote: Atreyu, I'm curious as to your idea of the role of memory with regard to consciousness. You mention flipping a light switch unconsciously, but what if everything regarding consciousness is the same between two such light switch flippings, except one is remembered and one is not? Is it that memory is necessary but not sufficient?


A certain amount of memory is definitely necessary for consciousness. But the key thing lacking in this case is the memory of one's self.

Why is a man unconscious? Because he doesn't remember himself.

I like to use dreams, comas, and hypotism as examples of unconscious states for man, because they're so obvious. Note that when one is dreaming or hypnotized that they have no awareness of themselves. To dream, or to be hypnotized, implies before anything else that a man has forgotten himself. When you're dreaming, you have no sense of self. A bunch of stuff is going on, but there's no self-awareness there. Once a man begins to have a sense of himself, he's beginning to wake up. People even pinch themselves in their dreams to wake up, as this tactic helps one to regain their awareness of themselves, i.e. it helps one to remember themselves, and they they wake up.

The problem is that Mankind does not realize that this is his ordinary state even when he's "awake" (not asleep). We don't normally remember ourselves in the moment, and this is why we're not conscious. We've all forgotten ourselves (our selfs).

To flip the light switch on without being aware of it means you're not aware of yourself (your self) doing it. To do it consciously, one must be aware of themselves (their selfs) before the act. ("I am now going to turn on the light so I can see") If this is not done before the act, then one is not really doing it, it's just happening automatically out of habit. It's as if our bodies are doing it, not us, just like our instinctive functions of the body (heartbeat, breathing, etc). Are you beating your heart right now? No, it just happens. The same applies to our voluntary actions like flipping on a light switch or drumming our fingers on the table because we're nervous. To be conscious of our actions means to be conscious of ourselves (i.e. to remember ourselves).

That's why certain esoteric schools called the method of attaining consciousness "self-remembering" or "remembering yourself". Becoming conscious means regaining self-awareness, which we've lost because we've learned to get lost in thought (i.e. we've learned to forget ourselves), so this process of attaining self-consciousness is a sort of journey of return, i.e. the process of remembering who and what we really are.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#18  Postby Consul » October 8th, 2017, 12:18 pm

Atreyu wrote:Why is a man unconscious? Because he doesn't remember himself.


You're confusing "unselfconscious" with "unconscious".

Atreyu wrote:When you're dreaming, you have no sense of self.


Yes, you have.

"The Dream Self in the Center of the Dream World
In F. Snyder's (1970) study the dreamer was present and the central character in 95% of the 285 REM reports that were over 150 words long. In another laboratory study of REM dreams, the dream self was present in 90% of the dream reports, and active in over 70% of the reports (Strauch & Meier, 1996). Hence, the dream world seems to have at least one permanent inhabitant: the dreamer herself. In most dreams the dreamer appears in the center of the dream world and interacts with the surrounding dream environment. The overall form and content of phenomenal consciousness during dreaming appears to closely resemble the form and content of our everyday experiences. There is an entire sphere of phenomenal experience surrounding us. We ourselves are posited in the center of events and see the surrounding world from our first-person perspective."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 82-3)
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#19  Postby Atreyu » October 10th, 2017, 2:06 pm

Consul wrote: "The Dream Self in the Center of the Dream World
In F. Snyder's (1970) study the dreamer was present and the central character in 95% of the 285 REM reports that were over 150 words long. In another laboratory study of REM dreams, the dream self was present in 90% of the dream reports, and active in over 70% of the reports (Strauch & Meier, 1996). Hence, the dream world seems to have at least one permanent inhabitant: the dreamer herself. In most dreams the dreamer appears in the center of the dream world and interacts with the surrounding dream environment. The overall form and content of phenomenal consciousness during dreaming appears to closely resemble the form and content of our everyday experiences. There is an entire sphere of phenomenal experience surrounding us. We ourselves are posited in the center of events and see the surrounding world from our first-person perspective."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 82-3)


The error here is REM sleep. That's a small % of the total time we are asleep, and dreaming goes on throughout the entire time. Not to mention this is only REM sleep in which the dreamer could remember his dreams. Even in REM sleep, most of what's going on is completely forgotten upon waking up.

For most of our dreaming state, we have no conception of ourselves at all. And when one does, as noted in your quote, it's usually at the periphery of the dream-state, right before a man wakes up.

Self-consciousness is definitely necessary for consciousness in general. A man cannot really be conscious of things outside of himself if he is not conscious of things inside himself (i.e. if he's not conscious of himself). This is so because everything a man sees around him is reflected through his subjective perceptive/cognitive apparatus. Therefore, to be objectively conscious of those things around him a man must first learn to correct (be objective about) his subjective perceptive/cognitive apparatus.

Otherwise it would be like a scientist trying to be more objective (conscious) about microbes in a drop of water by seeing them through a microscope, but without understanding how the microscope works, or even how to interpret the results. To be objective about something a scientist must first be able to be objective about his tools of inquiry...
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#20  Postby Consul » October 10th, 2017, 3:31 pm

Atreyu wrote:
Consul wrote: "The Dream Self in the Center of the Dream World
In F. Snyder's (1970) study the dreamer was present and the central character in 95% of the 285 REM reports that were over 150 words long. In another laboratory study of REM dreams, the dream self was present in 90% of the dream reports, and active in over 70% of the reports (Strauch & Meier, 1996). Hence, the dream world seems to have at least one permanent inhabitant: the dreamer herself. In most dreams the dreamer appears in the center of the dream world and interacts with the surrounding dream environment. The overall form and content of phenomenal consciousness during dreaming appears to closely resemble the form and content of our everyday experiences. There is an entire sphere of phenomenal experience surrounding us. We ourselves are posited in the center of events and see the surrounding world from our first-person perspective."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Inner Presence: Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. pp. 82-3)


The error here is REM sleep. That's a small % of the total time we are asleep, and dreaming goes on throughout the entire time. Not to mention this is only REM sleep in which the dreamer could remember his dreams. Even in REM sleep, most of what's going on is completely forgotten upon waking up.

For most of our dreaming state, we have no conception of ourselves at all. And when one does, as noted in your quote, it's usually at the periphery of the dream-state, right before a man wakes up.


I know from my own (unforgotten) dream experiences that there is a sense of self(hood) during dreams. Dreaming is an altered state of consciousness, so the dreamer's sense of self(hood) may be altered or distorted too; but this doesn't mean that there isn't any. Moreover, there are both REM and non-REM "dream selves":

Representation of the Self in REM and NREM Dreams

Atreyu wrote:Self-consciousness is definitely necessary for consciousness in general. A man cannot really be conscious of things outside of himself if he is not conscious of things inside himself (i.e. if he's not conscious of himself). This is so because everything a man sees around him is reflected through his subjective perceptive/cognitive apparatus. Therefore, to be objectively conscious of those things around him a man must first learn to correct (be objective about) his subjective perceptive/cognitive apparatus.


There is a difference between physical/physiological self-consciousness, i.e. (perceptual, proprioceptive/interoceptive) consciousness of one's body (bodily awareness), and mental/psychological self-consciousness, i.e. (perceptual/introspective) consciousness of one's mind; and the former doesn't entail the latter.

Evolutionarily speaking, consciousness started with primitive sensations; and, as far as I know, the first sense to develop in the course of animal evolution is touch. (It is also the first sense to develop during the ontogenesis of a human embryo.) And it is arguable that tactile perception is both other-perception and bodily self-perception.

See: Touch and Bodily Awareness

"All immediate tactual perception involves perception of a relation holding between our body and objects in contact with it."

"All immediate tactual perception involves contact between sensitive portions of the body, and the things perceived. Now not only is there always such contact, but there is always perception of this contact. Part of what we immediately perceive is that a certain portion of our body is in contact with the object."

(Armstrong, D. M. Bodily Sensations. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962. pp. 14+15)
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#21  Postby Mosesquine » October 11th, 2017, 11:01 pm

I have to say something in relation to OP. Robots and humans are different in physical structures. Whether robots are conscious or not is not helpful to consider P-zombies hypothesis. The hypothesis can be stated more precisely as follows: There can possibly be the beings that have the same physical-chemical-biological states like us without consciousness. This means that, according to P-zombies hypothesis, the same brain states including the same aspects of physical, chemical, neurological, biological features can lack of consciousness. I suspect this hypothesis true.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#22  Postby Chili » October 11th, 2017, 11:25 pm

Mosesquine wrote:I have to say something in relation to OP. Robots and humans are different in physical structures. Whether robots are conscious or not is not helpful to consider P-zombies hypothesis. The hypothesis can be stated more precisely as follows: There can possibly be the beings that have the same physical-chemical-biological states like us without consciousness. This means that, according to P-zombies hypothesis, the same brain states including the same aspects of physical, chemical, neurological, biological features can lack of consciousness. I suspect this hypothesis true.


What empirically justifies the blithe assumption by the individual that other persons are actually conscious?
The honest question is not "could there be p-Zombies" but rather "how do I know everyone else is *not* one" .
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#23  Postby JamesOfSeattle » October 11th, 2017, 11:27 pm

Mosesquine wrote:I have to say something in relation to OP. Robots and humans are different in physical structures. Whether robots are conscious or not is not helpful to consider P-zombies hypothesis. The hypothesis can be stated more precisely as follows: There can possibly be the beings that have the same physical-chemical-biological states like us without consciousness. This means that, according to P-zombies hypothesis, the same brain states including the same aspects of physical, chemical, neurological, biological features can lack of consciousness. I suspect this hypothesis true.

Why do you suspect the hypothesis is true?

I suspect the hypothesis is false. The reason I suspect it is false is that is that I believe the fundamental nature of consciousness involves responding to certain aspects of the environment, specifically, information (in a broad sense) in the environment. Thus, anything responding similarly is necessarily conscious.

So again, what reasons do you have for your suspicion?

*

-- Updated October 11th, 2017, 8:31 pm to add the following --

Chili wrote:What empirically justifies the blithe assumption by the individual that other persons are actually conscious?
The honest question is not "could there be p-Zombies" but rather "how do I know everyone else is *not* one" .

The duck theorem:if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.
Other people look like me and act like me, so they are probably like me, including their consciousness.

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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#24  Postby Steve3007 » October 12th, 2017, 3:25 am

Mosesquine:
There can possibly be the beings that have the same physical-chemical-biological states like us without consciousness. This means that, according to P-zombies hypothesis, the same brain states including the same aspects of physical, chemical, neurological, biological features can lack of consciousness. I suspect this hypothesis true.


As Consul pointed out to me earlier, if you believe this to be true then you inevitably must believe that there is something to consciousness which is nothing to do with our physical structure and which could never, not even in principle, be designed into something. The thing that is often referred to as a soul.

Is that your belief?
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#25  Postby Consul » October 12th, 2017, 10:16 am

Mosesquine wrote:I have to say something in relation to OP. Robots and humans are different in physical structures. Whether robots are conscious or not is not helpful to consider P-zombies hypothesis. The hypothesis can be stated more precisely as follows: There can possibly be the beings that have the same physical-chemical-biological states like us without consciousness. This means that, according to P-zombies hypothesis, the same brain states including the same aspects of physical, chemical, neurological, biological features can lack of consciousness. I suspect this hypothesis true.


It should be mentioned that there are two different kinds of possibility involved here: (onto)logical possibility and nomological possibility. The latter concerns what is possible in our actual world given the laws of nature therein. David Chalmers believes that P-zombies are (onto)logically possible but nomologically impossible in the actual world with its actual physical and psychophysical laws. That is, he does not deny that any physical duplicate of a conscious creature in our actual world would be conscious too. What he denies is that there is no possible world (different from the actual world) where nonconscious physical duplicates of conscious creatures exist. Of course, the psychophysical laws in such a world must be different from the ones in the actual world in order for P-zombies to be possible therein.

"It remains as plausible as ever, for example, that if my physical structure were to be replicated by some creature in the actual world, my conscious experience would be replicated, too. So it remains plausible that consciousness supervenes naturally on the physical. It is this view—natural supervenience without logical supervenience—that I will develop."

(Chalmers, David J. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. p. 124)
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#26  Postby Chili » October 12th, 2017, 10:38 am

Psychophysical laws? This is where this stuff approaches pseudoscientific buffoonery. Talk about "quacking" like a duck! There are no "psychophysical" laws known to science except the ones that some people pull out of thin air. He might as well be using ghostbusting technology to detect etheric ectoplasm. I would very much like to see a history of the development of the field of psychophysics.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#27  Postby Consul » October 12th, 2017, 11:05 am

Chili wrote:Psychophysical laws? This is where this stuff approaches pseudoscientific buffoonery. Talk about "quacking" like a duck! There are no "psychophysical" laws known to science except the ones that some people pull out of thin air. He might as well be using ghostbusting technology to detect etheric ectoplasm. I would very much like to see a history of the development of the field of psychophysics.


"The arguments do not lead us to a dualism such as that of Descartes, with a separate realm of mental substance that exerts its own influence on physical processes. The best evidence of contemporary science tells us that the physical world is more or less physically closed: for every physical event, there is a physical sufficient cause. If so, there is no room for a mental 'ghost in the machine' to do any extra causal work.
...
The dualism implied here is instead a kind of property dualism: conscious experience involves properties of an individual that are not entailed by the physical properties of that individual, although they may depend lawfully on those properties. Consciousness is a feature of the world over and above the physical features of the world. This is not to say it is a separate 'substance'; the issue of what it would take to constitute a dualism of substances seems quite unclear to me. All we know is that there are properties of individuals in this world—the phenomenal properties—that are ontologically independent of physical properties.
...
Where we have new fundamental properties, we also have new fundamental laws. Here the fundamental laws will be psychophysical laws, specifying how phenomenal (or protophenomenal) properties depend on physical properties. These laws will not interfere with physical laws; physical laws already form a closed system. Instead, they will be supervenience laws, telling us how experience arises from physical processes. We have seen that the dependence of experience on the physical cannot be derived from physical laws, so any final theory must include laws of this variety.

Of course, at this stage we have very little idea what the relevant fundamental theory will look like, or what the fundamental psychophysical laws will be. But we have reason to believe that such a theory exists. There is good reason to believe that there is a lawful relationship between physical properties and conscious experience, and any lawful relationship must be supported by fundamental laws. The case of physics tells us that fundamental laws are typically simple and elegant; we should expect the same of the fundamental laws in a theory of consciousness. Once we have a fundamental theory of consciousness to accompany a fundamental theory in physics, we may truly have a theory of everything. Given the basic physical and psychophysical laws, and given the distribution of the fundamental properties, we can expect that all facts about the world will follow. Developing such a theory will not be straightforward, but it ought to be possible in principle.

This view is entirely compatible with a contemporary scientific worldview, and is entirely naturalistic. On this view, the world still consists in a network of fundamental properties related by basic laws, and everything is to be ultimately explained in these terms. All that has happened is that the inventory of properties and laws has been expanded, as happened with Maxwell. Further, nothing about this view contradicts anything in physical theory; rather, it supplements this theory. A physical theory gives a theory of physical processes, and a psychophysical theory tells us how those processes give rise to experience.

To capture the spirit of the view I advocate, I call it naturalistic dualism. It is naturalistic because it posits that everything is a consequence of a network of basic properties and laws, and because it is compatible with all the results of contemporary science. And as with naturalistic theories in other domains, this view allows that we can explain consciousness in terms of basic natural laws. There need be nothing especially transcendental about consciousness; it is just another natural phenomenon. All that has happened is that our picture of nature has expanded. Sometimes 'naturalism' is taken to be synonymous with 'materialism', but it seems to me that a commitment to a naturalistic understanding of the world can survive the failure of materialism. (…) Some might find a certain irony in the name of the view, but what is most important is that it conveys the central message: to embrace dualism is not necessarily to embrace mystery."


(Chalmers, David J. The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. pp. 124-25 + 127-28)
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#28  Postby Chili » October 12th, 2017, 11:17 am

He's not asking the main question that should come to mind, at least for someone presuming to base his ideas on science.

How does he - and especially how does *science* - *know* that any given individual is conscious in the first place?

If you take out references to people and instead replace with mentions of Zeus in the clouds causing weather, the passage is no more ore less internally consistent, except then we modern people would find it absurd. He believes others are conscious, for whatever good or bad (unscientific) reasons. Ancients believed that deities caused weather.

(Neuro)Science is simply this: attempt to explain what you can measure (behaviors - including reports and interactions) in terms of other things you can measure - transient environmental inputs and internal biological processes.

If consciousness doesn't *do* anything, that means that there is no empirical evidence of it.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#29  Postby Consul » October 12th, 2017, 11:36 am

Chili wrote:He's not asking the main question that should come to mind, at least for someone presuming to base his ideas on science.

How does he - and especially how does *science* - *know* that any given individual is conscious in the first place?

If you take out references to people and instead replace with mentions of Zeus in the clouds causing weather, the passage is no more ore less internally consistent, except then we modern people would find it absurd. He believes others are conscious, for whatever good or bad (unscientific) reasons. Ancients believed that deities caused weather.

(Neuro)Science is simply this: attempt to explain what you can measure (behaviors - including reports and interactions) in terms of other things you can measure - transient environmental inputs and internal biological processes.

If consciousness doesn't *do* anything, that means that there is no empirical evidence of it.


Chalmers' naturalistic dualism is an ontological theory of consciousness, and as such it is not meant to determine empirical criteria, i.e. scientifically detectable and observable signs or symptoms, for the presence or absence of consciousness in an individual.
By the way, speaking of empirical criteria, introspection is an empirical source of belief-justification and knowledge too.
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Re: Some Questions about P-Zombies Hypothesis

Post Number:#30  Postby Chili » October 12th, 2017, 11:40 am

There are all kinds of beliefs one can have without slapping the label of "science" on the results. It seems to me that somewhere he should have addressed a rejection of solipsism. Otherwise he can be referring always to his own unavoidable experience (science or no science) consciousness. I would love to see him pressed on solipsism and "other minds" or to find where he may have addressed these things already. No luck yet. I've been asking around here and there for a few years.
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