An argument for abortion

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 8th, 2017, 7:42 pm

Spiral Out wrote:You'll have to define specifically what 'consciousness' is in relation to your argument. I do have my own definition of consciousness that would agree with your argument, but I'm curious about what you think consciousness is. I'm pretty sure it's not as stringent as my own.
I am guessing that you limit your definition of consciousness to self-consciousness? My definition of consciousness includes all phenomenological experience.

I'll give you my conception of what consciousness is. I'd also like to hear yours.

On a universal scale I think that information precedes matter. Information is more fundamental as it is possible to imagine a universe without matter, but not one without information. We generally think that information emerges from the dynamic relations of matter in space-time, but really I think the reverse is the case. In this view, matter is a stable configuration of information that you can imagine as being stuck in a loop, partially susceptible to perturbations. However, importantly, its existence is no more real than other forms of information, only more stable, substantial, and less complex.

The brain attempts to model these configurations of information and in doing so, replicate their essential structure. When the brain creates such models, it reduces a system's informational complexity down to essential dynamics, where they become substantial and stable representations. These forms of information, like matter, can be conserved over time due to the storage capability of the brain and the hierarchical loops that allow their instantiation to persist. Unlike matter, the exotic and high dimensional representations of brain models offer more complex informational structures to matter and thus have many different qualities. However, their existence is assured by the same mechanism, only one is ontologically objective, the other ontologically subjective.

In relation to the original argument, the thalamocortical loop is the foundational loop for integrating bottom up and top down information in the brain. This loop is generally agreed to be necessary for consciousness, and much of neuroscientific research into consciousness analyses this and related circuits. The thalamocortical loop is very late to develop, not being developed with substantial connectivity until late into the second trimester. Therefore, I believe no significant consciousness is possible up until this point.

User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 8th, 2017, 7:45 pm

Newme wrote:You lost me when you equated a human life to a machine. People who attempt to morally justify killing a child (developing human) tend to engage in mental gymnasic logical fallacies. Ie: Emotional reasoning: If you WANT the child, then you refer to him/her as they are - LIFE with inherent value. If you DON’T want the child, you refer to him/her as “parasite” or part of machinery. How convenient to redefine the unethical act of murder to make you feel better.
I was equating two forms of consciousness, with only the vessel being switched. Do you think a machine would not deserve rights if it were consicous, purely on the basis that it is a machine?

Chili
Posts: 355
Joined: September 29th, 2017, 4:59 pm

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Chili » November 8th, 2017, 7:49 pm

Kathyd wrote: The same applies to abortion. It might be nature's or God's will to "call someone home", but that is not something the surgeon is supposed to be concerned with.
If there were some fertilized eggs in a freezer, would you save 80 of them and let one grown person die?

User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 8th, 2017, 7:56 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
Greta wrote: note: I also find the comparison of consciousness to computer programs expressed in the OP to be quite naïve. There is no evidence that a disembodied consciousness can exist and then such a flawed position is used to argue against itself
The consciousness is embodied in a machine, perhaps it is a perfect replication of a human brain using metal and silicon instead of flesh. I believe that consciousness is generated by the machinery of the brain, therefore I see no reason why such an artificial brain contraption wouldn't also produce consciousness. Nothing about this conclusion is naive. It is necessarily inductive, but substantively so.

User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 8th, 2017, 8:01 pm

Kathyd wrote:An argument for abortion which uses an analogy to compare a human being to a computer can only be made by someone who lacks conscience.

My main argument against abortion would be that it is an inherently unconscionable act. But what is the value of this argument if the other party has no conscience?

To me, your argument isn't sufficient because it either entirely dismisses, or does not take into account at all, the fact that the developing embryo is human and will eventually, given favorable conditions, form into a being like ourselves. And we are were once just like that embryo.

What would your position on abortion be if you were the embryo under discussion? We all know what it would be, and this particular fact is an important one to consider when considering the issue of abortion, much more important than the consideration of whether or not the embryo is conscious yet or not.
I have never been an embryo, just like I've never been a sperm, just like I've never been the collection of food my father ate that was reconstitued into that sperm, just like I've never been the cosmic dust that started the universe. I am my consciousness, my body is just a vessel. The embryo is this empty vessel until it is conscious and then generates a self.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 6958
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Greta » November 8th, 2017, 10:46 pm

Sackoftrout wrote:
Burning ghost wrote: (Nested quote removed.)
The consciousness is embodied in a machine, perhaps it is a perfect replication of a human brain using metal and silicon instead of flesh. I believe that consciousness is generated by the machinery of the brain, therefore I see no reason why such an artificial brain contraption wouldn't also produce consciousness. Nothing about this conclusion is naive. It is necessarily inductive, but substantively so.
I'm pretty sure that's BG's comment rather than mine.

User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 8th, 2017, 11:12 pm

Greta wrote:I'm pretty sure that's BG's comment rather than mine.
Ah sorry about that.

Burning ghost
Posts: 2211
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Burning ghost » November 8th, 2017, 11:25 pm

Sackoftrout wrote:
Burning ghost wrote: (Nested quote removed.)
The consciousness is embodied in a machine, perhaps it is a perfect replication of a human brain using metal and silicon instead of flesh. I believe that consciousness is generated by the machinery of the brain, therefore I see no reason why such an artificial brain contraption wouldn't also produce consciousness. Nothing about this conclusion is naive. It is necessarily inductive, but substantively so.
Unsubstantiated nonsense. I am tired of hearing people use the analogy of computer and brain as if its a hard fact. There is no evidence for this, but it is a useful analogy. Regardless it is an ANALOGY.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Sackoftrout
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: June 4th, 2017, 11:58 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Sackoftrout » November 9th, 2017, 8:35 am

Burning ghost wrote: Unsubstantiated nonsense. I am tired of hearing people use the analogy of computer and brain as if its a hard fact. There is no evidence for this, but it is a useful analogy. Regardless it is an ANALOGY.
The evidence is that computers are theoretically capable of performing any computation that a brain can. So functionally, they can be made to be identical. Also, as I just described, if you really wanted, you could make a machine that is isomorphically identical to a human brain, both structurally and functionally, with the only difference being the material it is made from.

Please expound on your point of view a little more, I'd like ot fully understand why you object to this.

Burning ghost
Posts: 2211
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Burning ghost » November 10th, 2017, 2:03 am

Sackoftrout -

The onus lies with you to prove a computer can be conscious and that you can create a brain from inorganic matter that produces the same functioning as an organic brain. You will have to rely on a supposition that has sparse evidence to back it up, merely theoretical evidence.

Nature has not shown as answer to this so I dispute any theory that says otherwise. Theoretically ANYTHING is possible.

A very oversimplified model of the brain is about where we are at. I am not going to dispute the use of mathematical models.

If you insist that the brain is a computer (which I am hoping you are not) then you'll find no-one you'll agree with this other than as an analogy, much like we say a City is like a Human Body. It is a useful analogy and helps people understand the machinations of a city from a new perspective, but it is a limited analogy not some empirical truth.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 6958
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: An argument for abortion

Post by Greta » November 10th, 2017, 2:26 am

I rather like Christof Koch's idea of how future machines may be conscious - and I agree with his points about simulation technologyreview.com/s/531146/what-it-w ... conscious/

Post Reply