thanks for your reflections (I think this is the 8+th or so list we exchange ideas on
since 1988 when our friendship started on Prodigy) and I - sort of - agree with Bruno's
questioning about 'inertia. I think I have an idea to come closer to it: if you include
into that darn Ccness (whatever one identifies it with) MY condition of a
"response" to information, that would change the course of the 'thing going
on'. I am willing to identify the unchanged 'course' (in whatever sense) with the
'inertia' of the system. (I am glad you did not include 'entropy production' into the
phenomenon.) Maybe I misread you completely.
Gedankenexperiments are the pits. When somebody runs out of reason and still wants to
save face, constructs one upon impossibilities, to prove a point - within the
impossibilities, with impossibilities. They are tempting and tickling, just consider how
much astray your example directed the conskiderations by the fabulous "demon",
or the 80 year maze about the EPR fantasy. Latin:
Si nisi non esset, perfectus quilibet esset (IF there wouldn't be an 'if' or an 'unless' , everything would be perfect). This list spent tons of braingrease on teleportation fantasies, it looks worse than discussing religion.
I condone to throw in a 'strange' idea and draw conclusion - back to reality (i.e. the reasonable topics of the discussion) but goin g into minute details of a fantasy is too much for me. Granted: sometimes good minds arrive at good conclusions in reasonable sidelines by the exercise. Another proverb (this time Hungarian): a blind han may also find a grain.
My main objection is based on 'reasonable' conclusions drawn upon "unreasonable" conditions and applied to "general" considerations. But if it makes people happy, so be it.
The falling branch? I had no problem with that, it is semantic: what do you call "sound"? I call so
what I (or others) sense from those 'physical' occurrences which may be totally present in an unattended
forest - NOT causing the sensation called 'sound'. No "IF, however" or "unless".
You asked: ".. is data 'storage' alone, a sufficient requirement for
Of course not. It was for me a 'maybe' in 1992, not even a 'requirement'. But
if you include it - don't forget that my stance is an ignorance about what to
call Ccness. Memory is likely to be includable in the choice one selects for
the composition of that odd concept - and many others.
About the "coma-to-death" transition with a femtosecond of unobservable sentience? I wish that
should be our biggest puzzle. I like to call such situations "a typical case of a
"SOWHAT".. We may ask the angels dancing on the pinhead.
And again: I appreciate the excerpt from your preceding post copied below your
Have a good day, my friend
----- Original Message -----
From: James N Rose
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 3:17 AM
Subject: Re: The Meaning of Life
You made excellent points, which I'm happy to
reply to ..
John M wrote:
> --- James N Rose <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> > ...
> > Make it easier -- a coma patient, inert for decades,
> > re-wakes alone in
> > a room, registers its situation and in an instant -
> > dies. Would that
> > moment qualify for 'conscioueness'?
> and how would WE know about 'that moment'? does the
> coma-patient push a button to register? If there is a
> "conscious machine" (human or humanoid?) he is not
> alone. So the 'gedankenexperiment' (as all of this
> kind do) fails. Jamie left out HIS version of Ccness,
> to better understand his points. (E. g.:
Actually, gedankenexperiments have been rather successfully
important - eg Maxwell's Demon.
And at the end of my post, I -did- define my version of
CCness: every/any event that embodies a 'change of inertia'
is definable as a primitive form of both moment of action
-and- event of self-environment interaction .. even and
especially when it is environment-with-itself.
But, John, to get back on track with your dispute points...
remember the 19th century query .. 'if a tree falls in a
forest and no (human) is there to hear it, is there sound?'
Same question, different venue.
If -you- have a sentient moment and no one else is around
to acknowledge or affirm or recognize it, are you existentially
'conscious'? According to your standard, no. Your own
self-awareness of 'being' is not sufficient.
But - I do note that you allow for pan-sentience (a concept
liberally considered for a few decades in the field
of consciousness studies).
> > I put it to the list that there are several factors
> > that are implicit
> > and explicit to the notion of consciousness .. which
> > we humans mis-identify
> > and mis-weight. They involve more than the human
> > arrogance that 'our'
> > sentience is the gauge to measure any/all
> > other-sentience against.
> Earlier, when I felt an obligation to identify what
> "I" am talking about when I say: Consciousness(?) I
> generalized the concept to ANY sensitivity in ANY
> aspect, (as acknowledgement (and?) response to (any)
> information (meaning any difference that transpires) -
> so Hans Morawetz's teddy bear can indeed have
> 'consciousness' . I called that a universal
> (pan-)sensitivity to escape 'psycho' as in
> Jamie continues about his coma-experiment:
> > The questions arise .. could a true 'sentience' have
> > existed in that brief
> > span of time? I.e, "what is the shortest time span
> > of sentient (self)other
> > awareness necessary, to "qualify" for consciousness?
> after the excellent extension of the term from human
> udeational restrictions Jamie falls back into physics
> of measurable scales. I allow timeless fulgurations,
> but cannot condone the restricted content of simply
> 'awareness' (except for the anestesiologists, who
> indeed include into the term an observed response.
Why not? And why challenge my mention of a time parameter?
"Duration" is a conditional necessity if one is to get past
the question you pose later on .. is data 'storage'
alone, a sufficient requirement for 'consciousness? Thats
and important question and it includes books in a library-
where the data is effectively 'inert' and not actively
differentiating - sufficient to make-a-difference.
Consciousness, as I note of it, requires transfers/
transforms of data/energy - not simply 'storage'
of states. Duration events and intensity/field events.
> I find the simulacron-pair of consciousness and life
> 'close', at least none of them is identified in a
> widely acceptable content (callable: meaning).
> (Hal Ruhl was the only lister who responded lately to
> my question about 'what do we look at (think of) when
> we say "life", (I owe him a thankful response,) all
> others in dozens of posts satisfied themselves with
> the 'meaning' discussion without identifying what we
> should relate those 'meanings' to.
> > Whether human-or-not, 'situational awareness',
> > becomes a parameter for consciousness, as well.
> ---(Amen, for one aspect of it)---
ok then. and this is important, because
here in simplest form , is CCness:
(dynamic) 'situational awareness'.
> > -time
> > -memory/continuity
> > -reactive/interactive capacity
> > ... etc.
> > not just in human terms, but allowed in a spectrum
> > of extent,
> > from just-greater-than-zero to some full-functional
> > (for that
> > system) capacity.
> > When you take the raw parameters criteria, and
> > shrink them
> > down to their minimalist extents -- so that all the
> > BASIC
> > CONDITIONS of 'sentience' are met/present - whether
> > for a
> > femto-second or 2 days or a billion years; whether
> > capable
> > of acting-on-awareness or not, or, only capable of
> > self-registry
> > of received-information; and so on .. we reach a
> > point in
> > the existential scenario when 'computation' falls
> > away as being
> > 'too complex' in the conditions-spectrum.
> > What we reach in this paring-away scenario - are
> > qualia of
> > existence necessary to meet MINIMALISTS conditions
> > for
> > sentience-of-some-sort. Which would not have to be:
> > sentience-of-OUR-sort.
> > In the final existential analysis for 'what is
> > sentience/
> > consciousness' - it become the smallest, shortest
> > contingient
> > situation for an-aspect OF existence to REGISTER
> > that some
> > Batesian "difference that makes a difference" -- is
> > co-present.
> Is "sentience" a standing alone phenomenon? IMO it
> requires a chain of processing response-continuation
> to qualify as sentience.
careful :-) "chain of processing" is time durational :-))
NOW, John, would you happen to recall my 1997 ICCS
presentation defining Complexity? :-)
Complexity (emergent) is "a chain of processing
response-continuation" !!! :-)))))
Isn't -that- a tweak of the establishment's nose??!?! :-)))
Complexity is a sample - of consciousness.
> The impact of a photon is not
> (yet) sentience. And the famous Bateson phrase, due to
> a thinking Brit, is more than I need, because a stored
> (acknowledged) difference may not result in a 'making'
> of additional difference (e.g. memory) and yet it
> qualifies for information. Storage may be sort of a
> response without 'making' a difference.
> > In the final existential analysis of primary qualia
> > of the
> > universe, I preffered in 1996 that the most
> > FUNDAMENTAL
> > dynamic change in this universe is some/any CHANGE
> > OF INERTIA
> > from a fixed sameness.
> > This puts the formative, functional, primal
> > qualiatative aspect
> > of sentience/consciousness right in the very fabric
> > of the cosmos.
> > It is -not- complex or human consciousness -- which
> > emerges later.
> > But it is the primal foundation-presence and qualia
> > on which
> > emerged forms of consciousness rely - in order for
> > those complex forms
> > to exist, as they do.
> > Food for thought, ladies and gentlemen, food for
> > thought.
> > Jamie Rose
> > Ceptual Institute
> > 4 Jan 2007
> John Mikes
5 Jan 2007 12:15AM PST
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