Philosophical Positions

Black's spheres

  • Previous position: The spheres are distinguished by a property called "identity". Each ball has a distinct identity, so there are two spheres.
  • Current position: These spheres are so identical that if one had an eye and looked up, it would see "the other one"'s eye looking back at it, batting its eyelashes at the exact same time, etc. Clearly these are one ball. I guess I think "identity" alone isn't a property.


Chinese Rooms

  • Previous position: Chinese rooms are conscious. Regardless of the goofy mechanism, if I'm talking to a room and say "What did I say my name was again? What was the second question I asked you?" and it actually responds correctly, that thing's conscious. Specifically the consciousness is located in the algorithm as represented by the Chinese rulebook inside the room. My brain's just a collection of algorithms written in wetware anyway. What's the difference?
  • Current position: The fact that the Chinese room can respond instantaneously without reflection makes it seem like it's not cogitating. So I feel like there's no cognition. I instinctively feel like it can't be conscious because of this. I still haven't figured out how to go back and rationalize this with any good argument.

Ant colonies