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A priori

The things that can be known a priori can be named, but they can not be reduced. They are atomic concepts and the naming and defining of them are the same thing.

The room had the darkening light of dusk and incandescance mixed. The remaining conversations were relaxed and slow. It was a time for putting on of coats, and for feet on desks. The conversers had all had conciousness dawn on them gradually, and expected it to leave them gradually.

"It's happening", was the sudden exclamation of one of them, as he began swiftly removing the jacket he'd just buttoned up.

From every corner of the room those who were yet to leave converged on him and his computer screen. Together they watched the birth of a new conciousness, fully intelligent.

It begins with a mode. The first thought is nonsense - static from the primordial chaos that still rages, unchecked everywhere, but the mode tries to interpret it. That first Thought is unique to all conciousnesses birthed with full intelligence, it is usually impenetrable, insoluble, but they hold it to themselves as the icon of their existence. It is their name.

The second Thought is an observation. There are Thoughts. At this stage, nothing more can be said about them but their existence. Knowing what they are isn't important. The thought is only that they are.

The third Thought is the first exercise of imagination. For a Thought to exist, there must be a Thinker. It looks like a sense of self to those watching, but it is not. After the third Thought, the only definition of Thinker is a context and engine for Thoughts.

Then the Thoughts stopped.

"That's not how it's supposed to go" said one of the watchers, "we're frozen, somethings gone wrong". He pulled out a thick book. The spine glinted as the last few rays of the setting sun slid sideways through the windows. Getting Started Guide.

"The fourth thought is supposed to be a sense impression, from a microphone, or a camera, or some other sensor. Ahhhh. I didn't switch any of them on."

"Well, do it now."

The fourth Thought was a sense impression. It wasn't interpretable, but it led to the fifth Thought.

The fifth Thought categorised. It split the Thinker into two Thinkers - an Outside and an Inside, and Thoughts into those originating in the Outside Thinker and those originating in the Inside Thinker. And in the thinking of that Thought, the Inside Thinker became an individual.

This beginning is based on the ideas of Descarte and Berkeley. I have no idea where the rest of this story would go, but I wanted to get it down. if you have ideas, please say so in the comments.

kelson.philo's picture

You've got good tension

You've got good tension here. People were waithing for this gizmo to become it's own thing and just when they're about to leave, it's starts happening. Very much analog to a human birth, i might add. Now, is this gizmo going to be a babe? is it going to have to learn as a child learns? I think you have an interesting take on the manifestation of independently intelligent entities (say that 5 times fast...) as being something a wierd sort of home owner's club can partake in.

Of course, you've got all sorts of things you could explore with it...will the entity develope feelings? how would it feel about being turned on/ will it suffer some sort of handicap from having it's fourth thought stymied in some fashion (ala, not beign able to get along with other entities)? I think ionce you decide what you want to do with all these characters, the stage has been properly set for action.

The Descartes and Berkeley

The Descartes and Berkeley come through, but it's the forgetting to turn on the cam and mic that makes this memorable (as an alternative, maybe everything *is* on, but no one took the cap off the lens?).

Strictly my two cents, but the interesting parts will probably be where the philosophy falls short or just simply breaks. Especially if, the next time it happens, there's nothing in the Getting Started Guide to help. What happens then?