> So you are saying the special something which causes
> consciousness and which functionalism has ignored
> is the electric field around the neuron/astrocyte.
> But electric fields were well understood even a
> hundred years ago, weren't they? Why couldn't
> a neuron be simulated by something like a SPICE model?
> Even if there is some new
> physics involved, once the equations are worked
> out then either with pencil and
> paper or with the aid of a computer you should
> be able to model the neuron: given
> starting parameters, work out what it is going to
> do in future. Do you disagree that this would be possible?
> Stathis Papaioannou

Yes. I disagree.

The problem is in the statement:

> But electric fields were well understood even a
> hundred years ago, weren't they?

NO! they are _not_ understood (explained) they are only described. The
descriptions do not say what an electric field is. They do not predict an
electric field. They do not say WHY maxwells equations are what they are.
There is no real explanation! No true 'understanding'.

Nothing - I repeat - NOTHING is explained by science at this stage. All
there is is a whole bunch of mathematical models describing how things
'appear' (eg quantum mechanics). This is not 'what they are'. Making wave
its arms about like a model does not create "what they are". If there are
properties innate to the 'stuff' involved in a situation X they waving
stuff around like the model of situation X does not does not implement
those properties.

This is a fundamental blockage in thinking. Everybody in physics and maths
thinks that equations drive things. Bollocks. They merely describe.

I've just spent a month writing about this very thing. It's making me very
grumpy and frustrated that something 300 years old and really obvious
still hasn't sunk in. The universe is NOT made of model/descriptions of
its appearances!

It's made of something that, in the right circumstances, delivers
appearances(to a suitably equipped agent made of it) and it behaves like
it does within those appearances when you look with the appearance
generator thus implemented (a brain). Models of the appearance are just
models of appearances! They are very predictive but are completely devoid
of all causality. Making a machine run as per the models won't do it.

It's doesn't mean we can't achieve what we want in an artefact (pain) - it
just means that functionalist dreaming isn't enough.

I found this today:
"The Explicit Animal" Raymond Tallis. He goes through the issues really
well and trashes functionalism properly.

My preoccupation with electric fields is that they have correlated
perfectly with everything I have thrown at them for 5 years and they
predict everything. The trick is to understand the kind of universe that
expresses something that looks like electric fields run by Maxwells
equations - NOT to run models according to maxwell's equations.



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