On 26/06/07, Mark Peaty <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: MP: Your second may shoot me if I waffle..
DN: No, he'll just tickle you until you become more coherent ;) MP: The main reason for the word 'challenge' above is due to the way you were using the word 'sensing' for physical and chemical interactions. DN: Yes, it's difficult to find terms that don't mislead somebody by unintended implication. Let's say that I believe it helps to reduce "physical and chemical interactions" to the logic of 'self-relativity'. Why? Because when we conceptually isolate 'entities' like molecules, atoms, or even quarks or super-strings, the semantics we employ implicitly depend on this 'primitive' logical concept. A simple notion that embodies this is a 'modulated continuum': continuum, because it must be seamless and symmetrical ( i.e. no 'voids'); modulated, because nonetheless this symmetry must somehow be 'broken'. If such 'broken seamlessness' has a flavour of paradox, there's something 'strangely' unavoidable in that. But ISTM that most aspects of our ontology can be intuited by building on (something like) the self-participation of such a modulated continuum. For me, the natural term for this participatory, self-directed, symmetry-breaking is 'self-relativity'. The cool thing about this, is that narratives rooted in such participatory self-relation lend themselves quite interchangeably to 0, 1, or 3-person points-of-view. IOW, whether you want to narrate in terms of (physical) 'action', or (personal) 'sensing', or even (mathematical) 'operations', all can be intuited as built on self-relation. And the distinctive differences between such narratives are then reciprocal perspectives on that self-relativity. This is why I used the term 'sense-action' as a 'bridge' between the 'physical' and 'personal' reciprocals of self-relation. The empirical 'laws' we extract from the consistent features of these relations can in turn be intuited as inheriting from the self-directedness of the original symmetry-breaking: this too, will have 0, 1, and 3-person reciprocity. MP: OK, my 'the brain makes muscles move' is basically a bulwark against 'panpsychism' or any other forms of mystery-making. The term I like is 'identity theory' but like most labels it usually seems to provoke unproductive digressions. DN: Now does it seem possible to you that your notion of 'identity' could be accomplished via 'sense-action' reciprocity? IOW, that 'mind' and 'brain' are reciprocal perspectives on the same structure of self-relations? Panpsychism? Well, brain's perspective is 'psych'; psych's perspective is 'brain'. The 'pan' then depends on how you localise 'psych', and that is a horse of a very different colour. ISTM, very briefly, that 'psych', in the operational sense of a highly-specific set of biospherically-evolved mechanisms for dealing with the environment, is anything but 'pan'. How and 'where' does it then arise? Well, we know from this list alone that theories abound, but nobody knows. This of course won't restrain my speculations! My take would be along the lines that the brain 'hosts' (deliberate ambiguity) 'transduction' that 'renders' information spectrally on a set of virtual 'surfaces'. Metaphorically it's a bit like the telly, (very) loosely, in that the transducer's job is to turn 'signal' into 'message'. But of course there's no-one watching: the 'surfaces' *are* our 'personal worlds'. Such surfaces are the 'medium' of the 1-personal, and the 'messages' it mediates are '3-personal' (always remembering that the medium *is* the message). Also - crucially - the 'surfaces' are *interactive*: messages self-relate, recombine, get re-transduced, and signal flows back into the environment. Now, how the 'transduction-signal' relationship emerges out of computation, EM, chemistry, Bose-Einstein condensate, or GOK* what, I dunno. But if we contemplate this participatively from a self-relating perspective, then we can narrate the story from either 'action' or 'sense' perspectives interchangeably. IOW, things happen in (something like) the 'action' narrative, participatively it feels (something like) the 'sense' narrative, and its 'intentionality' is (something like) self-directedness. And all of this depends ultimately on self-relativity. (* A nurse I used to know told me that doctors would cryptically mark the notes of the most intractable diagnoses: GOK - "God Only Knows") MP: That is to say, all our knowledge _of_ the world is embodied in qualia which are _about_ the world. They are our brains' method of accounting for things. Naive realism is how we are when we 'mistake' qualia for the world they represent. DN: OK, if one's self-relating emerges 1-personally as spectrally-rendered 'surfaces', does this carry for you any taste, sniff, glimmer, rustle, or tingle of 'qualia'? Of course, there's nothing 'external' to compare to the 1-personal, even though 'spectra' does carry an implication of relative modality, range and scale at the 3-personal 'message-level'. And we can exchange 'signal' with others to correlate aspects of our 1-personal worlds. But we can find no 'absolute' sense in which it's 'like anything' to be 1-personal, even for the 1-person. It's non-pareil. But, perhaps, the sort of non-pareil that just might emerge from participating in exquisite complexities of self-relativity. MP: So is the fact that, even if the world 'behind' the appearances is not actually the world _of_ the appearances, many millions of years worth of natural selection pretty much guarantees that for all normal purposes what we see perceive is a very good accounting of what is there. DN: Yes, I would say that the world 'behind' the appearances is a strangely-complex structure 'built' from a network of self-relations, narrated 0-personally; and the world_of_the appearances is that aspect narrated by a 3-personal message-layer mediated at 1-personal surfaces. Globally we can intuit these as different 'takes' on self-relativity, and I guess together you could say they render a reasonable account, taking into account the limitations of the accountants! MP: I am not sure if my formulation actually ties in with Colin Hales's schema, but it agrees on many key points. DN: We should put this to the test. MP: There is at least one behaviourist out there who cannot cope with the fact that his theories have no way of describing WHERE part of the officers' world - which is clearly visible - actually IS. DN: This IMO is what happens when one gets stuck in one narrative to the exclusion of the others. You lose 'reciprocal perspective'. Consequently you can't avoid backing blindly into 'looking glassing': i.e. "using a term in such a way that whatever one means by it, it excludes what the term means". IMO, such an individual will just 'looking-glass' you to distraction. MP: I have a descriptive scheme outlined on some of the pages of my little website which deals with it quite succinctly, but that is another story. DN: I will peruse. Cheers David > <I will try the 'interpolation method' below. Your second may > shoot me if I waffle though :-)> > > David Nyman wrote: > > Mark: > > > > Accepting broadly your summary up to this point............... > > > > MP: But I have to *challenge you to clarify* whether what I write > > next really ties in completely with what you are thinking. > > > > DN: My seconds will call on you! > > > > MP: Consciousness is something we know personally, and through > > discussion with others we come to believe that their experience > > is very similar. > > > > DN: OK, but If you push me, I would say that we 'emerge' into a > > personal world, and through behavioural exchange with it, come to act > > consistently as if this constitutes an 'external' environment including > > a community of similar worlds. For a nascent individual, such a personal > > world is initially 'bootstrapped' out of the environment, and > > incrementally comes to incorporate communally-established recognition > > and explanatory consistencies that can also be extrapolated to a embrace > > a wider context beyond merely 'personal' worlds. > > > MP2: Yes! Well put. > > > MP: This can be summarised as 'The mind is > > what the brain does', at least insofar as 'consciousness' is > > concerned, and the brain does it all in order to make the body's > > muscles move in the right way. > > > > DN: I would say that 'minds' and 'brains' are - in some as yet > > not-fully-explicated way - parallel accounts of a seamless causal > > network embracing individuals and their environment. Depending on how > > this is schematised, it may or may not be possible to fully correlate > > top-down-personal and bottom-up-physical accounts. Nonetheless, ISTM > > more natural to ascribe intentionality to the individual in terms of the > > environment, rather than 'the brain getting the body's muscles to move' > > - i.e. "I move my hand" runs in parallel with a physical account > > involving the biology and physics of brain and body, but both ultimately > > supervene on a common 'primitive' explanatory base. > > > MP2: OK, my 'the brain makes muscles move' is basically a > bulwark against 'panpsychism' or any other forms of > mystery-making. The term I like is 'identity theory' but like > most labels it usually seems to provoke unproductive > digressions. The main reason for the word 'challenge' above is > due to the way you were using the word 'sensing' for physical > and chemical interactions. > I would use 'connection' with effects: action and reaction which > include attraction and repulsion. So I would say effects' rather > than aff'ect [ie stress is on first syllable] but here, as with > everything to do with affect and emotion, common English usage > is not helpful [similarly to the way 'love' in English > translations of the New Testament is used to translate at least > four more precise words of the original Greek]. > > NB: I don't use the word 'supervene'. To me it always gives the > impression that something like a coat of paint is being referred > to. 'Identity' does for me. > > > MP: The answer is that the brain is structured so that behaviours - > > potentially a million or more human behaviours of all sorts - can be > > *stored* within the brain. This storage, using the word in a wide sense, > > > is actually changes to the fine structures within the brain [synapses, > > dendrite location, tags on DNA, etc] which result in [relatively] > > discrete, repeatable patterns of neuronal network activity occurring > > which function as sequences of muscle activation > > > > ...........<snip>......... > > > > Behaviours, once learned, become habitual i.e. they are evoked by > > appropriate circumstances and proceed in the manner learned unless > > varied by on-going review and adjustment. Where the habitual behavioural > > response is completely appropriate, we are barely conscious of the > > activity; we only pay attention to novelties and challenges - be they in > > > the distant environment, our close surroundings, or internal to our own > > bodies and minds. > > > > DN: Your account reads quite cogently, and we may well agree to discuss > > the issues in this way, but crucially ISTM that our accounts are always > > oriented towards particular explanatory outcomes - which is why one size > > doesn't fit all. So let's see if this shoe fits............ > > > MP2: Well, as someone for whom 'standard' means if the collar > fits then the cuffs button round my finger tips ... > one size will never 'fit all' but diversity is good in company > with toleration and healthy scepticism. > I am always keen to point out that we humans are always beset > with a paradox, which _can_ be seen as a kind of duality. What > it amounts to is that we live in a real world, but we live by > means of a description. That is to say, all our knowledge _of_ > the world is embodied in qualia which are _about_ the world. > They are our brains' method of accounting for things. Naive > realism is how we are when we 'mistake' qualia for the world > they represent. But they exist, and that is a key point. So is > the fact that, even if the world 'behind' the appearances is not > actually the world _of_ the appearances, many millions of years > worth of natural selection pretty much guarantees that for all > normal purposes what we see perceive is a very good accounting > of what is there. The fun really starts when we de-construct the > ways in which we see other people and social groups. > > I am not sure if my formulation actually ties in with Colin > Hales's schema, but it agrees on many key points. > > > MP: I have put this description in terms of 'behaviours' because I > > am practising how to deal with the jibes and stonewalling of > > someone who countenance only 'behavioural analysis' > > descriptions > > > > DN: Ahah.... I confess I've had a little peek at your dialogues with a > > > certain individual on another forum, and I think I discern your purpose > > and your problem. All I can say is that we conduct the dialogue a > > little less fractiously on this list. For what it's worth, I probably > > wouldn't expend much more effort on someone with so entrenched a > > position and so vitriolic a vocabulary. <<snip>> > > MP2: Yes, I believe that person's approach to communication has > in fact wasted all manner of good opportunities to sort out the > agreements and congruence between behavioural analysis so-called > and the descriptions arising from other methods of study. I am > trying to formulate a summary of how I see behavioural analysis > descriptions fitting in with 'representational' descriptions of > brain and mind. One major hurdle is how to engage with the > behaviourist view that pretty much all behaviour is just a > response to the external environment. > > I am trying to show how the stimuli from the external > environment come to be internalised in the form of patterns of > brain activity which become surrogates for the original stimuli. > This works in several different ways and in different > directions. For example the behaviour of others becomes part of > the structure of one's world. An example of this would be where > in a military organisation the complete obedience of > subordinates becomes an integral feature of an officer's world. > Raw behaviourist language cannot easily and effectively describe > all that is going on because in effect the officers' environment > is made up of subordinates' behaviours. There is at least one > behaviourist out there who cannot cope with the fact that his > theories have no way of describing WHERE part of the officers' > world - which is clearly visible - actually IS. I have a > descriptive scheme outlined on some of the pages of my little > website which deals with it quite succinctly, but that is > another story. > > > > Best of luck > > > > David > > > > > Regards > > Mark Peaty CDES > > [EMAIL PROTECTED] > > http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/ <http://www.arach.net.au/%7Empeaty/> > > > > David, > > We have reached some > > understanding in the 'asifism' thread, and I would summarise > > that, tilted towards the context of this line of this thread, > > more or less as > > follows. > > > > Existence - > > * The irreducible primitive is existence per se; > > * that we can know about this implies differentiation in and > of > > that which exists; > > * that we can recognise both invariance and changes and > > participate in what goes on implies _connection_. > > > > I am sure there must be mathematical/logical formalism which > > could render that with exquisite clarity, but I don't know how > > to do it. Plain-English is what I have to settle for [and aspire > > to :-] > > > > There are a couple of issues that won't go away though: our > > experience is always paradoxical, and we will always have to > > struggle to communicate about it. > > > > Paradox or illusion - > > I think people use the word 'illusion' about our subjective > > experience of being here now because they don't want to see it > > as paradoxical. However AFAICS, the recursive self-referencing > > entailed in being aware of being here now guarantees that what > > we are aware of at any given moment, i.e. what we can attend to, > > can never be the totality of what is going on in our brains. In > > terms of mind, some of it - indeed probably the majority - is > > unconscious. We normally are not aware of this. [Duh, that is > > what unconscious means Mark!] But sometimes we can become aware > > [acutely!] > > of having _just been_ operating unconsciously and this is > > salutary, once the sickening embarrassment subsides anyway :-0 > > > > For those of us who have become familiar with this issue it is > > no hardship but there are many who resist the idea. The least > > mortifying example that is _easy to see in oneself_ is what > > happens when we look for something and then find it: before we > > find it the thing is 'not there' for us, except that we might > > believe that it is really. Then we find it; the thing just pops > > into view! As mundane as mould on cheese, but bloody marvellous > > as soon as you start thinking about how it all works! > > > > But I have to *challenge you to clarify* whether what I write > > next really ties in completely with what you are thinking. > > I'll try it in point form for brevity's sake. > > > > Behaviour and consciousness - > > * Consciousness is something we know personally, and through > > discussion with others we come to believe that their experience > > is very similar. > > * Good scientific evidence and moderately sceptical common > sense > > tell us is this experience is _intimately and exclusively_ bound > > up with the activity of our brains. Ie the experience - the > > conscious awareness of the moment as well as the simultaneous or > > preliminary non-conscious activity - is basically what the brain > > does, give or take a whole range of hormonal controls of the > > rest of the organism. This can be summarised as 'The mind is > > what the brain does', at least insofar as 'consciousness' is > > concerned, and the brain does it all in order to make the body's > > muscles move in the right way. > > * People's misunderstanding about how we are conscious seems > to > > centre around how mere meat could 'have' this experience. > > * The answer is that the brain is structured so that > behaviours > > - potentially a million or more human behaviours of all sorts - > > can be *stored* within the brain. This storage, using the word > > in a wide sense, is actually changes to the fine structures > > within the brain [synapses, dendrite location, tags on DNA, etc] > > which result in [relatively] discrete, repeatable patterns of > > neuronal network activity occurring which function as sequences > > of muscle activation > > * For practical purposes behaviours usually involve muscles > > moving body parts appropriately. [If muscles don't move, nobody > > else can be sure if anything is going on]. However, within the > > human brain, learning also entails the formation of neuronal > > network activity patterns which become surrogates for or > > alternatives to overtly visible behaviours. Likewise the > > completely internal detection of such surrogate activities > > becomes a kind of surrogate for perception of one's own overt > > behaviours or for perception of external world activities which > > would result from one's own actions. > > * Useful and effective response and adaptation to the world > > requires the review of appropriateness of one's overt behaviour > > and to be able to adjust or completely change one's behaviours > > both at very short notice and over arbitrarily long periods > > depending on the duration of the effects of one's actions. This > > entails responding to one's own behaviours over whatever time > > scale is necessary. > > * Behaviours, once learned, become habitual i.e. they are > evoked > > by appropriate circumstances and proceed in the manner learned > > unless varied by on-going review and adjustment. Where the > > habitual behavioural response is completely appropriate, we are > > barely conscious of the activity; we only pay attention to > > novelties and challenges - be they in the distant environment, > > our close surroundings, or internal to our own bodies and minds. > > > > Who? - > > * The concept of responding to one's own responses being the > > basis of consciousness causes some to complain that this implies > > some kind of infinite regress of observers. What actually > > happens is that internal brain behaviours [discrete network > > activations] occur as surrogates for all the relevant > > environmental features of interest, including one's own body and > > the storyline we are following. Where surrogates for > > environmental features are linked in with surrogates for 'self' > > [body and storyline] and with network activations that stand for > > relationships between those features of environment and self, > > THAT, moment by moment, is something which exists. So there is > > 'something it is LIKE something to be' and that is what it is. > > The registration of novelty and the responses to it, reviewed in > > ceaseless recursive cycles, gives us the basis of subjective time. > > > > I have put this description in terms of 'behaviours' because I > > am practising how to deal with the jibes and stonewalling of > > someone who countenance only 'behavioural analysis' > > descriptions. I am happier recognising that most internal > > behaviours can be called 'representations' - it is much more > > succinct. > > > > > > <<snipped>> > > > > > --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---