Re: Qualia and the Galactic Loony Bin

Harvey Newstrom (
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 19:09:14 -0400

It seems to me that the brain is no longer functional. The scenario is similar to a dismantled PC where the human manually predicts what the PC output would look like, and then prints that out put on a piece of paper and tapes it to the front of the PC. Is the PC still running Windows? Just because the system is getting input and output, the PC is still dead. Humans are predicting the results and rearranging the brain or PC to look like it is in that state. There is no program running in either example.

I guess one key test here is that you couldn't ask this brain to tell you a secret that only it knows and no one else knows. The only output can come from the brains running the simulation, not the brain supposedly being run. It is clear that the decisions are being made by the people running the experiment. The brain in question is not experiencing anything.

Suppose I replace all the neurons with pieces of yarn. Everybody then sends input to their piece of yarn on schedule. Would anybody argue that these pieces of yarn now constitute a conscious brain?

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://> <> Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.