On Jun 14, 4:46 am, "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> Of course all that is true, but it doesn't explain why neurons in the cortex
> are the ones giving rise to qualia rather than other neurons or indeed
> peripheral sense organs.

Well, you might as well ask why the engine drives the car and not the
brakes.  Presumably (insert research programme here) the different
neural (or other relevant) organisation of the cortex is the
difference that makes the difference.  My account would run like this:
the various emergent organs of the brain and sensory apparatus (like
everything else) supervene on an infrastructure capable of 'sense-
action'.  I'm (somewhat) agnostic about the nature of this
infrastructure: conceive it as strings, particles, or even Bruno's
numbers.  But however we conceptualise it, it must (logically) be
capable of 'sense-action' in order for activity and cognition to
supervene on it.  Then what makes the difference in the cortex must be
a supremely complex 'mirroring' mode of organisation (a 'remembered
present') lacked by other organs.  To demonstrate this will be a
supremely difficult empirical programme, but IMO it presents no
invincible philosophical problems if conceived in this way.

A note here on 'sense-action':  If we think, for example and for
convenience, of particles 'reacting' to each other in terms of the
exchange of 'forces', ISTM quite natural to intuit this as both
'awareness' or 'sensing', and also 'action'.  After all, I can't react
to you if I'm not aware of you.  IOW, the 'forces' *are* the sense-
action.  And at this fundamental level, such motivation must emerge
intrinsically (i.e. *something like* the way we experience it) to
avoid a literal appeal to any extrinsic source ('laws').  Kant saw
this clearly in terms of his 'windowless monads', but these, separated
by the 'void', indeed had to be correlated by divine intervention,
since (unaware of each other) they could not interact.  Nowadays, no
longer conceiving the 'void' as 'nothing', we substitute a modulated
continuum, but the same semantic demands apply.


> On 14/06/07, Colin Hales <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > Colin
> > This point is poised on the cliff edge of loaded word meanings and their
> > use with the words 'sufficient' and 'necessary'. By technology I mean
> > novel artifacts resulting from the trajectory of causality including human
> > scientists. By that definition 'life', in the sense you infer, is not
> > technology. The resulting logical loop can be thus avoided. There is a
> > biosphere that arose naturally. It includes complexity of sufficient depth
> > to have created observers within it. Those observers can produce
> > technology. Douglas Adams (bless him) had the digital watch as a valid
> > product of evolution - and I agree with him - it's just that humans are
> > necessarily involved in its causal ancestry.
> Your argument that only consciousness can give rise to technology loses
> validity if you include "must be produced by a conscious being" as part of
> the definition of technology.
> > >    That assumes that complexity itself (organisation of information) is
> > the
> > >    origin of consciousness in some unspecified, unjustified way. This
> > >    position is completely unable to make any empirical predictions
> > >    about the
> > >    nature of human conscousness (eg why your cortex generates qualia
> > >    and your
> > >    spinal chord doesn't - a physiologically proven fact).
> > > Well, why does your eye generate visual qualia and not your big toe?
> > It's because the big toe lacks the necessary machinery.
> > Colin
> > I am afraid you have your physiology mixed up. The eye does NOT generate
> > visual qualia. Your visual cortex  generates it based on measurements in
> > the eye. The qualia are manufactured and simultaneously projected to
> > appear to come from the eye (actually somewhere medial to them). It's how
> > you have 90degrees++ peripheral vison. The same visual qualia can be
> > generated without an eye (hallucination/dream). Some blind (no functioning
> > retina) people have a visual field for numbers. Other cross-modal mixups
> > can occur in synesthesia (you can hear colours, taste words). You can have
> > a "phantom big toe" without having any big toe at all....just because the
> > cortex is still there making the qualia. If you swapped the sensory nerves
> > in two fingers the motor cortex would drive finger A and it would feel
> > like finger B moved and you would see finger A move. The sensation is in
> > your head, not the periphery. It's merely projected at the periphery.
> Of course all that is true, but it doesn't explain why neurons in the cortex
> are the ones giving rise to qualia rather than other neurons or indeed
> peripheral sense organs.
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou

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