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machine brains

lesterzick at earthlink.net lesterzick at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 9 19:57:10 EST 1999

How many animals read, write, and hold discussions on the nature of
consciousness? Perhaps they are animals for a reason.

Regards - Lester

In article <36C03711.83184E0C at mich.com>,
  Michael Edelman <mje at mich.com> wrote:
> William Thomas wrote:
> > I agree with Michael, however in my original message I was just laying out
> > some rhetorical questions to point out that brains, organisms, and quasi
> > organisms all function quite comfortably without any need for consciousness.
> > The thing I really wanted to stress was not to get hung up on what is or is
> > not conscious when thinking about designing a brain because:
> >
> > A.   The soul, or consciousness, if real, is separate from the brain. This
> > is obvious, because there is no structural difference between our brains and
> > the brains of major primates that would account for the function of a soul.
> > Now, if the soul crowd was interested in dishing out consciousness and souls
> > to all the primates, it would be a different story, however I don't think
> > they are ready to do that.
> If you're equating "soul" with concisousness,  well, it's certainly clear that
> humans aren't the only ones with conciousness. But "soul" is a metaphysical
> concept, ill-defined and not really available for analysis, even compared to
> something as vague as "conciousness". Hence I don't think it's a terribly
> productive line of inquiry.
> Conciousness itself may be a seperate thing from brain- the strong dualist
> but then you're back into metaphysics again. I don't think it's something that
> exists apart from the organism, but rather a property that arises simply given
> complex enough organism. How exactly that happens is the big question. I
> it is a consequence of an organism's ability to plan- i.e., to create an
> internal model of the world and its place it it- but that still involves a lot
> of question begging.
> -- mike

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