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24 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

No thought problem provides a proof, as the thought problem has embedded assumptions which are not challenged by an actual test, where the assumptions might not hold. The explicit assumption that is ...
Dcleve's user avatar
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15 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

This appears to be a rephrasing of Chalmers' "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1996) paper. Given your 12.5K score on Philosophy Stack Exchange, I presume you are familiar with ...
nir's user avatar
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12 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

Neurons are examples of nanites themselves. They are tiny physical entities obeying the laws of physics. If the subject should report any weird sensations, you would have to conclude that your nanites ...
Niels Holst's user avatar
6 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

I've encountered this idea. I've also encountered its inverse. In essence, this is the same mistake as the philosopher zombie mistake; the result is assumed. However this time it is theoretically a ...
Joshua's user avatar
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4 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

First, I want to say that the thing you want to conclude is something I agree with, i.e. that consciousness is substrate-independent. However, the question isn't whether this is true but whether the ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
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2 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

I would say that the assumptions under which the experiment operates prevent it from proving independence of substrate, core to the experiment is the assumption that this: The nanites are close ...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
2 votes

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

Your assumptions are very strong and essentially affect the outcome. Thomas Breuer has shown that from the point of view of any observer, a system properly containing himself (such as his brain) does ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 390
1 vote

Does the "gradual brain replacement" thought experiment prove consciousness is independent of substrate?

"If they even noticed they were fading out [and becoming a P-zombie], we would be able to detect those thoughts" seems incompatible with the other assumptions. Suppose: There is no extra-...
Kaia's user avatar
  • 130

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