> We all (excuse me to use 1st pers form) are well educated smart people and
> can say something upon everything. It is a rarity to read:
> I was wrong you are right - period.


You're right! Every time I post on these topics I *know* I'm wrong: I
just don't know how specifically, but I keep doing it in the hope that
someone will show me. Trouble is, there's something about this area
that resists us - we seem doomed to come at it all wrong (particularly
in those moments when we think we've got it right!) It's the struggle
that fascinates us, I suppose.


> I have the feeling that we are discussing words. Everybody tries how to
> 'make sense' of them, in a personal "taste".
> Colin expressed it in his usual sophisticated ways, Ben more
> comprehensively, in many more words. The fact is: we observe the observer
> (ourselves) and want to describe it to others.
> The American 'slang' comes to mind: Consciousness Smonciousness - do we get
> anywhere with it? whether a device 'looks at' or we see if somebody
> understands what he sees?
> During the early 90s I gave up thinking ABOUT consciousness, it seemed a
> futile task with everybody speaking about something else. Now I see a
> reasonable topic behind it: "ourselves" - the object with which I struggle
> lately to identify (for myself about myself, which is the crux of the
> problem). I see no point to explain it to others: they will not get the
> 'real' image (only the interpreted (their) 1st person view of me).
> We all (excuse me to use 1st pers form) are well educated smart people and
> can say something upon everything. It is a rarity to read:
> I was wrong you are right - period. (I cannot keep my mouse shut either).
> Happy debating!
> John M
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Benjamin Udell" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <everything-list@googlegroups.com>
> Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:29 PM
> Subject: Re: evidence blindness
> Colin, Stathis, Brent,
> 1. I think we need to distinguish a cybernetic, self-adjusting system like a
> sidewinder missile, from an inference-processing, self-_redesigning_ system
> like an intelligent being (well, not redesigning itself biologically, at
> least as of now).
> Somehow we're code-unbound to some sufficient extent that, as a result, we
> can test our representations, interpretations, our systems, habits, and
> "codes" of representation and interpretation, rather than leaving that task
> entirely to biological evolution which tends to punish bad "interpretations"
> by removal of the interpreter from the gene pool.
> There's something more than represented objects (sources), the
> representations (encodings), and the interpretations (decodings). This
> "something more" is the recipient, to whom falls any task of finding
> redundancies and inconsistencies between the message (or message set) and
> the rest of the world, such that the recipient -- I'm unsure how to put
> this -- is the one, or stands as the one, who deals with the existential
> consequences and for whom tests by subjection to existential consequences
> are meaningful; the recipient is in a sense a figuration of existential
> consequences as bearing upon the system's design. It's from a design-testing
> viewpoint that one re-designs the communication system itself; the recipient
> role in that sense is the role which includes the role of the
> "evolutionator" (as CA's governor might call it). In other words, the
> recipient is, in logical terms, the recognizer, the (dis-)verifier, the
> (dis-)corroborator, etc., and verification (using "verification" as the
> forest term for the various trees) is that "something more" than object,
> representation, interpretation. Okay, so far I'm just trying to distinguish
> an intelligence from a possibly quite vegetable-level information processs
> with a pre-programmed menu of feedback-based responses and behavior
> adjustments.
> 2. Verificatory bases are nearest us, while the entities & laws by appeal to
> which we explain things, tend to be farther & farther from us. I mean, that
> Colin has a point.
> There's an explanatory order (or sequence) of being and a verificatory order
> (sequence) of knowledge. Among the empirical, "special" sciences (physical,
> material, biological, human/social), physics comes first in the order of
> being, the order in which we explain things by appeal to entities, laws,
> etc., "out there." But the order whereby we know things is the opposite;
> there human/social studies come first, and physics comes last. That is not
> the usual way in which we order those sciences, but it is the usual way in
> which we order a lot of maths when we put logic (deductive theory of logic)
> and structures of order (and conditions for applicability of mathematical
> induction) before other fields -- that's the ordering according to the bases
> on which we know things. The point is, that the "ultimate" explanatory
> object tends to be what's furthest from us; the "ultimate" verificatory
> basis tends to be what's nearest to us (at least within a given family of
> research fields -- logic and order structures are studies of reason and
> reason's crackups; extremization problems in analysis seem to be at an
> opposite pole). Well, in the end, "nearest to us" means _us_, in our
> personal experiences. Now, I'm not talking in general about deductively
> certain knowledge or verification, but just about those bases on which we
> gain sufficient assurance to act (not to mention believe reports coming from
> one area in research while not putting too much stock in reports coming from
> another). We are our own ultimate points of reference. Quine talks somewhere
> about dispensing with proper names and using a coordinate system spread out
> over the known universe. Which universe? The one we're in. As a practical
> matter, the best answer to the question "which planet is Earth" is "the one
> we're on." What's more, we do have experiences bearing upon our experiences.
> We get into that sort of multi-layered reflexivity -- and I don't mean just
> in an abstract intellectual way. Experiences vary in directness, firmness,
> reliability, etc., among other things. In these senses and more, Colin is
> right.  One unmoors oneself from personal experience only at grave risk.
> 3. The problem is that it seems possible to distinguish verification,
> verificatory experience, etc., from consciousness. We learn sometimes
> unconsciously, we infer conclusively yet sometimes unconsciously, etc., we
> test and verify sometimes unconsciously, non-deliberately, etc. "Reasoning"
> is what we can call conscious inference. Testing doesn't have to be fully
> conscious and deliberate any more than interpretation does. The point is, is
> the system of a nature to learn from that which tests the system's
> character, its design, structure, habits, etc.? Learn, revise itself, etc.,
> consciously or unconsciously. Any time one enters a situation with
> conjectures, expectations, understandings, memories, one is testing them and
> even testing one's ways of "generating" them, testing oneself, aside from
> one's having some overriding purpose of verification -- one may have some
> very different purpose in the given situation. And it's really quite as if
> we have experience unconscious as well as conscious. Maybe there's a
> question of the definition of the word "experience" as including the idea of
> consciousness, but the point is that, when we look at the things that make
> for a genuinely intelligent process, we find in our own experience that
> consciousness is associated with its working very intelligently in some
> respects, but not associated in every case with its working. Indeed there
> are persistent cases of intelligent, inferential processing going on
> unconsciously. Even leaving aside the phenomenon of somewhat autistic
> musical prodigies, and leaving aside the complex and not entirely conscious
> dynamics of interpersonal relationships, I think most of us have heard of
> Poincare's discussion of unconsciously working on a problem till, in a
> moment of unexpected illumination, the solution came to him, as he stepped
> onto a bus. Well, I don't really know what to make of this
> distinguishability between consciousness and verificatory experience which
> may be conscious or unconscious, as regards what Colin is saying, but it
> does seem a real question.
> Best, Ben Udell
> (P.S. Also, there is perhaps more than one "flavor" of
> less-than-consciousness -- there's a difference between slowly,
> unconsciously working on a problem, and lightning-quick though sometimes
> iffy insights which one has, one "knows not how." -- and while one can
> suppose that the latter are simply the outcomes of the former, I think that
> the latter can interact with each other in a darting and hard-to-follow way
> that's like the extreme opposite of the former. End of digressive
> postscript.)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Colin Hales" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> To: <everything-list@googlegroups.com>
> Sent: Saturday, August 26, 2006 9:09 PM
> Subject: RE: evidence blindness
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: everything-list@googlegroups.com [mailto:everything-
> > [EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Brent Meeker
> > Sent: Sunday, August 27, 2006 9:49 AM
> > To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> > Subject: Re: evidence blindness
> >
> >
> > Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
> > >>the fact that intelligent behaviour is third person observable but
> consciousness is not.
> > >>
> > >>Stathis Papaioannou
> > >
> > >
> > > OK. Let me get this straight. Scientist A stares at something, say X,
> with consciousness. A sees X. Scientist A posits evidence of X from a third
> person viewpoint. Scientist A confers with Scientist B. Scientist B then
> goes and stares at X and agrees. Both of these people use consciousness to
> come to this conclusion.
> > >
> > > Explicit Conclusion : "Yep, theres an X!"
> > >
> > > Yet there's no evidence of consciousness?.... that which literally
> enabled the entire process? There is an assumption at work....
> > >
> > > and
> > >
> > > Are NOT identities.
> > >
> > > When you 'stare' at anything at all you have evidence of consciousness.
> >
> > A SIDWINDER missile 'stares' at the exhaust of a jet aircraft. Does that
> make it conscious?
> This is a mind-blowingly irrelevant diversion into the usual weeds that
> fails to comprehend the most basic proposition about ourselves by an
> assumption which is plain wrong. You presume that the missile stares and
> then attribute it to humans as equivalent. Forget the bloody missile. I am
> talking about YOU. The evidence you have about YOU within YOU.
> Take a look at your hand. That presentation of your hand is one piece of
> content in a visual field (scene). Mind is literally and only a collection
> of (rather spectacular) phenomenal scenes.
> Something (within your brain material) generates the visual field in which
> there is a hand. You could cognise the existence of a hand _without_ that
> scene (this is what blindsight patients can do - very very badly, but they
> can do it). But you don't. No, nature goes to a hell of a lot of trouble to
> create that fantastic image.
> You have the scene. Take note of it. It gives you ALL your scientific
> evidence. This is an intrinsically private scene and you can't be objective
> without it! You would have nothing to be objective about.
> Close your eyes and tell me you can be more scientific about your hand than
> you could with them open. This is so obvious.
> To say consciousness is not observable is completely absolutely wrong. We
> observe consciousness permanently. It's all we ever do! It's just not within
> the phenomenal fields, it IS the phenomenal fields.
> Got it?
> Colin Hales

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