Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why Computers Can't Feel Pain

Mark Bishop is one of the few defenders of the thesis that computationalism is false. "Computationalism" is the idea that if you created a computer that accurately reproduced the calculations performed in your brain as you experience color, the computer would actually see color-- that is, have a subjective experience of color. The computer would be a conscious observer.
He points out how this leads to panpsychism: the idea that everything is conscious, including rocks. If you want to avoid panpsychism, you have to also give up the idea that mere computation is responsible for conscious experience.

Why Computers Can't Feel Pain


mike said...

I'm not sure which conclusion I'm less uncomfortable with: either there's something fundamentally unpredictable but not random (how could you possibly distinguish?), or everything is conscious and likely in pain.

D said...

I think qualia and free will are linked, but why do you think its necessarily so? Couldn't it be the case that only animals have qualia even if determinism were true?