Re: Qualia and the Galactic Loony Bin

Harvey Newstrom (
Mon, 21 Jun 1999 15:51:00 -0400

On Monday, June 21, 1999 8:43 am, Mark <> wrote:
> Harvey Newstrom [] wrote:
> >Suppose I replace all the neurons with pieces of yarn. Everybody then
> >input to their piece of yarn on schedule. Would anybody argue that these
> >pieces of yarn now constitute a conscious brain?
> If the output is identical to that of the brain its modeling, then the
> entire system is effectively a 'conscious' brain.

The problem is not that you are failing to model the human brain correctly. The more obvious point is that other human brains are being used to model the dismantled brain. The dismantled brain is no longer functioning, and other brains have replaced its function. This is the same as if the brain died, and other brains are now doing its job. They also remember how the original brain would have acted, and they keep the dead brain alive in their memories.

I see no part of this scenario that makes me feel that the dismantled brain is any more alive than any other dead brain. Basically, people are pretending that the dead brain is still alive, and they have divided up that dead brain's functions among a lot of people, each who do the function for the dead brain and give the dead brain credit. Put all these things together, and it looks like the dead brain is really functioning.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://> <>