Re: Conscious of the hard problem

Harvey Newstrom (
Tue, 22 Jun 1999 23:31:05 -0400

On Tuesday, June 22, 1999 9:14 pm, O'Regan, Emlyn
<> wrote:

You have redefined the experiment to include the assumptions that the brain is alive, the neurons are alive, they trigger by their own volition, and that their messages are being communicated between them. Given these assumptions, the brain would be alive.

My objection was to the idea of externally providing stimulus to neurons that were no longer capable of triggering by themselves. The original example also had humans doing the brain modelling for the neurons, because they could not communicate or cooperate by themselves. In this example, the humans were dictating what the "brain" would do. Thus, they are providing the consciousness, not the brain.

In your redefined example, the brain functions without dictation from the humans. It can come up with independent thoughts. It therefore is alive. The previous example got extremely ludicrous when it turned out that the dead neurons could be replaced with pieces of yarn, and the claim was that the yarn-brain was still conscious.

I agree that both scenarios produce identical consciousness. I claim that one is a program of consciousness being run by the brain, while the other is a program of consciousness being run by a committee of humans.