What is Science (6). Can we simulate consciousness?

Epistemology tries to answer the question of knowledge;

  • What is knowledge?
  • How is knowledge acquired?
  • What do people know?
  • How do we know what we know?

The first question is really difficult. Someone – an engineer or scientist perhaps – would disagree and he would answer that knowledge is very simple to demonstrate; knowledge is the experience we acquire from our every day  with the outside world, what we call Nature. The more sophisticated and elaborated is this experience the more valuable it is.  In epistemology some philosophers will call this knowledge the “knowledge how” and they will ask “what about the so-called ‘knoweledge that’?”
consciousness problemFor example; 1+1=2 Do we know that by experience, belief or it is the way our mind works? Or the phrase ‘the sky is blue’ what kind of knowledge is contains? How it is different from the phrase ‘the sky has a color’? How do we know that blue means exactly the same thing for everybody? Experience is subjective, we cannot fully experience someone else’s experience. In philosophy this is described by “Qualia”

Qualia” singular “quale” (Latin pronunciation: [ˈkwaːle]), from a Latin word meaning for “what sort” or “what kind,” is a term used in philosophy to describe the subjective quality of conscious experience. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the redness of an evening sky. Daniel Dennett writes that qualia is “an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us.” The importance of qualia in philosophy of mind comes largely from the fact that they are often seen as posing a fundamental problem for materialist explanations of the mind-body problem. Much of the debate over their existence hinges on the definition of the term that is used, as various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain properties. Daniel Dennett coined the terms qualophiles for philosophers who believe in qualia; and qualophobes for those who don’t. – Wikipedia

Can we ever know anything about subjective concsiousness? Some scientist answer that we can try through simulation;

A subtler possibility is that we explain the ineffability itself. One example of this is a framework for thinking about natural and artificial information processing systems developed by Aaron Sloman and Ron Chrisley. They want to explain “the private, ineffable way things seem to us” by explaining how and why the ineffability problem arises at all. Their virtual machine (the CogAff architecture) includes processes that classify its own internal states. Unlike words that describe common experiences (such as seeing red in the world) these refer to internal states or concepts that are strictly not comparable from one virtual machine to another – just like qualia. If people protest that there is “something missing”; the indefinable quality, the what it’s like to be, or what zombies lack, their reply is that the fact that people think this way is what needs explaining, and can be explained in their model.  –

Can subjective experience be simply modeled by internal state classification of a program? Hard question.




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