Instigator / Pro
0
1476
rating
4
debates
25.0%
won
Topic

Consciousness is an emergent property of matter

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
15
Sources points
0
10
Spelling and grammar points
0
5
Conduct points
0
5

With 5 votes and 35 points ahead, the winner is ...

DrChristineFord
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Science
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
12,000
Contender / Con
35
1532
rating
2
debates
100.0%
won
Description
~ 488 / 5,000

"Emergence" occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own. These properties or behaviors emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole. For example, culture is an emergent behavior of individual people working together, anthills are an emergent property of individual ants working together.

My goal is to show that consciousness is an emergent property of matter. If this is true then it is theoretically possible to build consciousness.

Round 1
Pro
Forfeited
Con
Pro has the burden of proof here, so we can't really start until he comes back.

The biggest challenge for his argument, I think, is the idea that consciousness is an observable property.  If we are to build a conscious machine, at what point can we be certain that it is conscious?  Already we have machines that are self-referential and or sensitive to their environment.  They are not conscious though - or are they?  Without a clear and operational definition of consciousness, it is impossible to say.

I don't think that consciousness is observable in that way.  I'm looking forward to seeing my opponent's arguments to the contrary.



Round 2
Pro
Forfeited
Con
How can we know that consciousness exists?

Here's one way.  An entity has consciousness if:
1. It is human.
2. It is not unconscious.

In short, consciousness is a human quality.  Other entities are deemed to have consciousness on the basis of their similarity to humans: dogs, chimpanzees etc.  Snakes, spiders, oysters are more iffy.  Conversely, humans deemed to be without consciousness are those that are less like the prototype, on the edges of humanity.  A conscious machine, one would imagine, would have to be recognizable as humanlike in some way.

If humanlike is a property, it resides in the comparison.  It belongs to the observer.  So do anthills and culture, of course.  Pro could no more build an anthill or a culture than he could a conscious machine.  At best he could build something that ressembled those things.  






Round 3
Pro
Forfeited
Con
so sad
Round 4
Pro
Forfeited
Con
Forfeited