[http://canonizer.com/support_list.asp?nick_name_id=243 James Carroll] and I have been continuing our productive debate between Material and Functional property dualism on the Mormon Transhumanist e-mail list.
As usual, I'm having a hard time fully understanding competing theories to my own, and I sense James having the same problem with my theory. So I figured I could try to describe to him how I might create or simulate a "Functionalist Property Dualism" world within a basement world that adheres to the rules of Material Property Dualism. I noticed that imagining such simulations, that operate within a basement world that behaves according to the rules predicted by Material Property Dualism, is the way I try to think of other theories, so I thought this might be a good way to improve communication between two people like us with very different working theories.
So, James, let's start in a basement world that follows the rules of Material Property Dualism, and within that world, let me attempt to create a simulation of a world that follows Functional Property Dualism rules, as I currently believe you imagine them to be.
We want to do what would be required to build a similar phenomenal strawberry picking device to the one described above. But, since this one would be in a simulated FPD world, we want to describe the differences.
The previous robot had a 1K x 1K x 1K 3D array of neuron like structures which, if these neurons fired Glutamate in their downstream synapses, it would experience a redness quale at that voxel location, while if it fired Aspartate, it would experience greenness at that voxel location, since it was the Glutamate and Aspartate that had these redness and greenness phenomenal properties.
However, it is argued that in the FPD world, a string of bits could produce a redness quale experience. So let's say that we design this simulation to have, instead of a 3D array of neurons firing either glutamate or Aspartate, there are simply abstract string arrays that can contain a simple string value formatted as: "Magic:0xRRGGBB", where RR is a hex value from 00 to FF representing the level of redness color, and GG, and BB are the same for greenness and blueness.
James admits he's not sure how any set of ones and zeros could result in an experience of a redness quale, he just claims he has proven it must be so. But in a simulated world you can alter the rules any way you want to make any theoretically possible reality. So that is exactly what we wire into this simulated FPD world. Since this simulated FPD world is running within a MPD world, it follows the assumption that you can't get something from nothing. In other words, just as you can't store information, without having something physical to represent it with, you can't have a phenomenal property, without something that has the phenomenal property. So, in order to have something that can experience a redness quale in the simulated FPD world, some additional stuff needs to be added to the simulation, to match up a string like "Magic:0xFF0000" that exists in the simulation, and wire in a real set of neurons in the basement world that fire Glutamate resulting in the redness quale experience that we need to exist in this FPD world. We do it in a way so that no matter what is representing the string "Magic:0xFF0000", whether it is simulated silicon, or simulated neurons, or even bear cans, the simulation hardware detects this "Magic:0xFF0000" string, and harness a set of neurons firing glutamate in the basement world, producing a true redness quale experience in the simulated world.
Now, let's say there are two brains running in this functional property dualism world. They both propose two theories as to the way their world is operating and what is responsible for their phenomenal redness and greenness experiences. One proposes Material Property Dualism â€“ predicting the only way to get redness, is to have the right matter. He predicts that silicone can't have a redness property. The other is predicting functional property dualism, that anything that has the correct set of ones and zeros, will result in the redness quale experience they are both capable of experiencing.
So, they take their instruments, and start probing the makeup of these simulated brains and examining just how it is they work. Of course as predicted by the functional property dualists, they discover that any time they see the abstract string of "magic:0xFF0000", the brain experiences a point of redness qualia experience. This happens no matter what part of the brain it is working on, and no matter what that part of the brain is representing that string with â€“ anything from a paper tape with the right bits on it, to a set of magnetic characters represented by bits of properly oriented ferrous material, and so on â€“ will all produce a spot of redness quale experience (thanks to the magic wired into this simulated world).
So, the brain predicting Functional Property Dualism shows to the other brain, this objective, demonstrate-able to both discovery, and says: I told you so, our world is a functional property dualist world. And the Material Property Dualist brain admits, yes, you are definitely right, I was wrong. I thought it would require effing magic, to achieve this, but low and behold, that is just what we see in reality, apparent effing magic, for any time we have a string like "Magic:0xFF0000", no matter what is being interpreted as representing that string. Who, but you, could have thought such?
And the mistaken brain then abandon's the material property dualist camp, and starts supporting the functional property dualist's camp, and very much enjoys finally effing all his experiences with everyone else's brain, in their newly enhanced effing brains and finally grounded abstract communications.
So, my question is, does such a simulated FPD world, work the way you are predicting our world operates, in a FPD way? If not why and how must it be different? And of course, if it is different, can you describe how you might do the reverse, and simulate a MPD world, where the MPD brain can be the one that turns out to be right? All so that I might better understand with more completeness, just what it is you understand the set of FPD rules to be?