Toward a Science of Consciousness 1998

Jim Carr jac at
Mon Apr 27 08:29:53 EST 1998

jac at (Jim Carr) writes:
| tonmaas at (Ton Maas) writes:
| } According to neurophysiologists Varela & Maturana consciousness is
| } restricted to autopoietic systems - which by definition produce their own
| } organization by an evolutionary process not unlike "tinkering". Seems like
| } the conscious computer will have to invent itself from scrap in order to
| } ever attain consciousness :-)
| patrick at (Patrick Juola) writes:
| >Unfortunately, this definition is immediately and trivially incorrect.
| >Individual humans do not evolve; evolution is a process restricted to
| >populations.  An individual human (which I assume is conscious) is
| >largely a copy of prior humans -- and so a sufficiently detailed copy
| >of a human organism should also be conscious, by a similar process.
| Largely, but part of that "copy" is a brain that is a work in progress 
| whose structure is not wholly dictated by genetics.  Although not 
| evolution in the strict sense of evolutionary biology, the brain 
| does change and adapt.  A 'sufficiently detailed copy' would have to 
| include those rules that allow the 'tinkering' the previous posted 
| noted was important. 

patrick at (Patrick Juola) writes:
>But that's part of the "fine enough detail" described above.  

 It was not clear to me if you were agreeing or disagreeing with 
 the previous thoughts.  It seemed like you were doing both. 

>So are you suggesting that we've had conscious computers since 1986?

 Although I did know a mind reading card reader well before that, no 
 computer comes close the the complexity required duplicate the self 
 organizing processor that is the brain. 

 James A. Carr   <jac at>     | Commercial e-mail is _NOT_       | desired to this or any address 
 Supercomputer Computations Res. Inst.  | that resolves to my account 
 Florida State, Tallahassee FL 32306    | for any reason at any time. 

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