On Jun 14, 3:47 am, Colin Hales <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> 4) Belief in 'magical emergence' .... qualitative novelty of a kind
> utterly unrelated to the componentry.

Hi Colin

I think there's a link here with the dialogue in the 'Asifism' thread
between Bruno and me. I've been reading Galen Strawson's
"Consciousness and its place in Nature", which has re-ignited some of
the old hoo-hah over 'panpsychism', with the usual attendant
embarrassment and name-calling.  It motivated me to try to unpack the
basic semantic components that are difficult to pin down in these
debates, and for this reason tend to lead to mutual incomprehension.

Strawson refers to the 'magical emergence' you mention, and what is in
his view (and mine) the disanalogy of 'emergent' accounts of
consciousness with, say, how 'liquidity' supervenes on molecular
behaviour.  So I started from the question: what would have to be the
case at the 'component' level for such 'emergence' to make sense (and
I'm aiming at the semantics here, not 'ultimate truth', whatever that
might be).  My answer is simply that for 'sensing' and 'acting' to
'emerge' (i.e. supervene on) some lower level, that lower level must
itself 'sense' and 'act' (or 'grasp', a word that can carry the
meaning of both).

What sense does it make to say that, for example, sub-atomic
particles, strings, or even Bruno's numbers, 'grasp' each other?
Well, semantically, the alternative would be that they would shun and
ignore each other, and we wouldn't get very far on that basis.  They
clearly seem to relate according to certain 'rules', but we're not so
naive (are we?) as to suppose that these are actually 'laws' handily
supplied from some 'external' domain.  Since we're talking 'primitives
here', then such relating, such mutual 'grasping', must just *be*.
There's nothing wrong conceptually here, we always need an axiomatic
base, the question is simply where to situate it, and semantically IMO
the buck stops here or somewhere closely adjacent.

The cool thing about this is, that if we start from such primitive
'grasping', then higher-level emergent forms of full sense-action can
now emerge organically by (now entirely valid) analogy with purely
action-related accounts such as liquidity, or for that matter, the
emergence of living behaviour from 'dead matter'.  And the obvious
complexity of the relation between, say quantum mechanics and, say,
the life cycle of the sphex wasp, should alert us to an equivalent
complexity in the relationship between primitive 'grasp' and its fully
qualitative (read: participatory) emergents - so please let's have no
(oh-so-embarrassing) 'conscious electrons' here.

Further, it shows us in what way 'software consciousness' is
disanalogous with the evolved kind. A computer, or a rock for that
matter, is of course also a natural emergent from primitive grasping,
and this brings with it sense-action, but in the case of these objects
more action than sense at the emergent level.  The software level of
description, however, is merely an imputation, supplied externally
(i.e. by us) and imposed as an interpretation (one of infinitely many)
on the fundamental grasped relations of the substrate components.  By
contrast, the brain (and here comes the research programme) must have
evolved (crucially) to deploy a supremely complex set of 'mirroring'
processes that is (per evolution) genuinely emergent from the
primitive 'grasp' of the component level.

>From this comes (possibly) the coolest consequence of these semantics:
our intrinsic 'grasp' of our own motivation (i.e. will, whether 'free'
or not), our participative qualitative modalities, the relation of our
suffering to subsequent action, and so forth, emerge as indeed
'something like' the primitive roots from which they inherit these
characteristics.  This is *real* emergence, not magical, and at one
stroke demolishes epiphenomenalism, zombies, uploading fantasies and
all the other illusory consequences of confusing the 'external
world' (i.e. a projection) with the participatory one in which we are



> Hi,
> >> COLIN
> >> I don't think we need a new word....I'll stick to the far less
> ambiguous
> >> term 'organisational complexity', I think. the word creativity is so
> loaded that its use in general discourse is bound to be prone to
> misconstrual, especially in any discussion which purports to be
> assessing
> >> the relationship between 'organisational complexity' and consciousness.
> > What sort of misconstruals do you mean? I'm interested...
> > 'organisational complexity' does not capture the concept I'm after.
> 1) Those associated with religious 'creation' myths - the creativity
> ascribed to an omniscient/omnipotent entity.
> 2) The creativity ascribed to the act of procreation.
> 3) The pseudo-magical aspects of human creativity (the scientific ah-ha
> moment and the artistic gestalt moment).
> and pehaps...
> 4) Belief in 'magical emergence' .... qualitative novelty of a kind
> utterly unrelated to the componentry.
> These are all slippery slopes leading from the usage of the word
> 'creativity' which could unexpectedly undermine the specificity of a
> technical discourse aimed at a wider (multi-disciplinary) audience.
> Whatever word you dream up... let me know!
> >> COLIN
> >> The question-begging loop at this epistemic boundary is a minefield.
> [[engage tiptoe mode]]>> I would say:
> >> (1) The evolutionary algorithms are not 'doing science' on the natural
> world. They are doing science on abstract entities whose relationship with>> 
> the natural world is only in the mind(consciousness) of their grounder
> -
> >> the human programmer. The science done by the artefact can be the
> perfectly good science of abstractions, but simply wrong or irrelevant
> insofar as it bears any ability to prescribe or verify
> claims/propositions>> about the natural world (about which it has no 
> awareness whatever). The
> usefulness of the outcome (patents) took human involvement. The
> inventor>> (software) doesn't even know it's in a universe, let alone that it
> participated in an invention process.
> RUSSEL> This objection is easily countered in theory. Hook up your
> > evolutionary algorithm to a chemsitry workbench, and let it go with real
> chemicals. Practically, its a bit more difficult of course, most likely
> leading to the lab being destroyed in some explosion.
> Lots o'fun! But it might actually create its own undoing in the words
> 'evolutionary algorithm'. The self-modification strategy was preprogrammed
> by a human, along with the initial values. Then there is the matter of
> interpresting measurements of the output of the chemistry set...
> The system (a) automatically prescibes certain trajectories and (b)
> assumes that the theroem space natural world are the same space and
> equivalently accessed. The assumption is that hooking up a chemistry set
> replicates the 'wild-type' theorem prover that is the natural world. If
> you could do that then you already know everything there is to know (about
> the natural world) and there'd be no need do it in the first place. This
> is the all-time ultimate question-begger...
> > Theoretical scientists, do not have laboratories to interface to,
> though, only online repositories of datasets and papers. A theoretical
> algorithmic scientist is a more likely proposition.
> A belief that an algorithmic scientist is doing valid science on the
> natural world (independent of any human) is problematic in that it assumes
> that human cortical qualia play no part in the scientific process in the
> face of easily available evidence to the contrary, and then doubly assumes
> that the algorithmic scientist (with a novelty exploration -theorem
> proving strategy-programmed by a human) somehow naturally replicates the
> neglected functionality (role of cortical qualia).
> >> (2) "Is this evolutionary algorithm conscious then?".
> >> In the sense that we are conscious of the natural world around us? Most
> definitely no. Nowhere in the computer are any processes that include all>> 
> aspects of the physics of human cortical matter.
> > ...
> >> Based on this, of the 2 following positions, which is less vulnerable
> to
> >> critical attack?
> >> A) Information processing (function) begets consciousness, regardless
> of
> >> the behaviour of the matter doing the information processing (form).
> Computers process information. Therefore I believe the computer is 
> conscious.>> B) Human cortical qualia are a necessary condition for the 
> scientific
> behaviour and unless the complete suite of the physics involved in that
> process is included in the computer, the computer is not conscious. Which
> form of question-begging gets the most solid points as science?  (B)>> of 
> course. (B) is science and has an empirical future. Belief (A) is
> religion, not science.
> >> Bit of a no-brainer, eh?
> > I think you're showing clear signs of carbon-lifeform-ism here. Whilst I
> can say fairly clearly that I believe my fellow humans are> conscious, and 
> that I beleive John Koza's evolutionary programs
> > aren't, I do not have a clear-cut operational test of
> > consciousness. Its like the test for pornography - we know it when we
> see it.
> This is touching the flame - right there - where i claim this is not the
> case. Everything we are is mediated through cortical qualia. In the one
> and only case - the act of doing science - this argument is not valid.
> Science evidences qualia (it does not say what they are, merely that they
> exist)
> This is the cultural blind we inhabit. Cortical qualia are all and ONLY
> evidence of _everything_ and is subjectively delivered. We cannot have it
> both ways. We cannot live and do science using it for all evidence and
> then either (a) deny it or (b) claim it present in another person/artifact
> with the same ability as we declare something pornography (an arbitrary
> belief). Let the object itself demonstrate science. be scientific about
> it. This is the only place any consistency can be invoked and the major
> source of inconsistency in our own behaviour as scientists.
> Like I said earlier: everything is evidence of something and scientists
> are no exception - they are evidence of something and that something is
> cortical qualia.
> The scientific act and the existence of scientists is the slim crack in
> the cultural blind through which we can end the chronic failure.
> >It is therefore not at all clear to me that some n-th
> generational
> > improvement on an evolutionary algorithm won't be considered conscious
> at some time in the future. It is not at all clear which aspects of human
> cortical systems are required for consciousness.
> You are not alone. This is an epidemic.
> My scientific claim is that the electromagnetic field structure literally
> the third person view of qualia. This is not new. What is new is
> understanding the kind of universe we inhabit in which that is necessarily
> the case. It's right there, in the cells. Just ask the right question of
> them. There's nothing else there but space (mostly), charge and mass - all
> things delineated and described by consciousness as how they appear to it
> - and all such descriptions are logically necessarily impotent in
> prescribing why that very consciousness exists at all.
> Wigner got this in 1960something.... time to catch up.
> gotta go....
> cheers
> colin hales

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