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naasking comments on Zombies Redacted - Less Wrong Discussion

33 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 July 2016 08:16PM

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Comment author: naasking 27 July 2016 01:08:49PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure in what way it's unjustified for me to have an intuition that qualia are different from physical structures

It's unjustified in the same way that vilalism was an unjustified explanation of life: it's purely a product of our ignorance. Our perception of subjective experience/first-hand knowledge is no more proof of accuracy than our perception that water breaks pencils.

Intuition pumps supporting the accuracy of said perception either beg the question or multiply entities unnecessarily (as detailed below).

Nothing you said indicates that p-zombies are inconceivable or even impossible.

I disagree. You've said that epiphenominalists hold that having first-hand knowledge is not causally related to our conception and discussion of first-hand knowledge. This premise has no firm justification.

Denying it yields my original argument of inconceivability via the p-zombie world. Accepting it requires multiplying entities unnecessarily, for if such knowledge is not causally efficacious, then it serves no more purpose than vital in vitalism and will inevitably be discarded given a proper scientific account of consciousness, somewhat like this one.

I previously asked for any example of knowledge that was not a permutation of properties previously observed. If you can provide one such an example, this would undermine my position.

Comment author: UmamiSalami 27 July 2016 03:28:59PM *  1 point [-]

It's unjustified in the same way that vilalism was an unjustified explanation of life: it's purely a product of our ignorance.

It's not. Suppose that the ignorance went away: a complete physical explanation of each of our qualia - "the redness of red comes from these neurons in this part of the brain, the sound of birds flapping their wings is determined by the structure of electric signals in this region," and so on - would do nothing to remove our intuitions about consciousness. But a complete mechanistic explanation of how organ systems work would (and did) remove the intuitions behind vitalism.

I disagree. You've said that epiphenominalists hold that having first-hand knowledge is not causally related to our conception and discussion of first-hand knowledge. This premise has no firm justification.

Well... that's just what is implied by epiphenomenalism, so the justification for it is whatever reasons we have to believe epiphenomenalism in the first place. (Though most people who gravitate towards epiphenomenalism seem to do so out of the conviction that none of the alternatives work.)

Denying it yields my original argument of inconceivability via the p-zombie world.

As I've said already, your argument can't show that zombies are inconceivable. It only attempts to show that an epiphenomenalist world is probabilistically implausible. These are very different things.

Accepting it requires multiplying entities unnecessarily, for if such knowledge is not causally efficacious

Well the purpose of rational inquiry is to determine which theories are true, not which theories have the fewest entities. Anyone who rejects solipsism is multiplying entities unnecessarily.

I previously asked for any example of knowledge that was not a permutation of properties previously observed.

I don't see why this should matter for the zombie argument or for epiphenomenalism. In the post where you originally asked this, you were confused about the contextual usage and meaning behind the term 'knowledge.'