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usualgerman  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Not a Parrot

It’s called the “hard problem” for a reason. Consciousness and free will are extremely hard to provide good definitions for, and in fact there are good philosophical arguments on how we — Humans — may not really have either one. Now if we can’t be sure that WE are conscious, that WE have the ability to exercise free will, is really not possible to make coherent arguments about whether anyone or anything else does. It ends up something like arguing about souls — and it’s amazing how groups of living things we didn’t historically see as “equal to us” were seriously considered to maybe not even have a soul. There are historical arguments during the pre-civil war era arguing about whether Black people had souls. We argue in much the same way about animals — are animals “conscious” which TBH is a stand in for the discussion people don’t want to have about rights. If you can deny souls or the modern equivalent of consciousness to a being whether it’s an amoeba, a cow, a robot, an alien or a human, then you don’t have to give them rights.

My interaction on the topic is fairly shallow. Mostly reading about it, although I’ll admit that science fiction has shaped my thinking as well.

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