David, (and Stathis?)
I appreciate David's 1,2,3, variations on the *"it's or "our",* but you
just destroyed my position with
*"I should perhaps emphasise that purely for the purposes of the
argument I'm assuming brain = mind to be a one-for-one correlation."*
Well, not entirely.
If WE cannot desipher the 'meanings' ('context') of our brainwork how can an
alien observer do it? Or better: if we *need** *the
*"historic and current context of experience and action" *
what 'meanings will the alien decipher in THEIR context and action in THEIR
Do the aliens base the world on human numbers?
On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 8:33 AM, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/8/24 Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com>:
> >> In the example of the alien brain, as has been pointed out, the
> >> context of meaning is to be discovered only in the its own local
> >> embodiment of its history and current experience. In Stathis' example
> >> of *our* hypothesized observation of the alien's behaviour - whether
> >> simulated or 'real' - any meaning to be found is again recoverable
> >> exclusively in the context of either its, or our, historic and current
> >> context of experience and action. It is obvious, under this analysis,
> >> that information taken-out-of-context is - in that form - literally
> >> meaningless. The function of observable information is to stabilise
> >> relational causal configurations against their intelligible
> >> reinstantiation in some context of meaning and action. Absent such
> >> reembodiment, all that remains is noise.
> > Wouldn't the meaning (to the alien) still be there if the brain did
> > its thing without us understanding it, creating its own context? You
> > can divide it into two interacting parts, one the brain proper, the
> > other the virtual environment. The brain finds meaning in and
> > interacts with the environment, but to an outside observer it all just
> > looks like noise.
> Yes, exactly - that's what I intend by: "any meaning to be found is
> again recoverable exclusively in the context of either its, or our,
> historic and current context of experience and action". "Either its
> or our" here splits into:
> 1) Any meaning available to the alien would be situated in terms of
> its locally embodied historic and current interpretative context.
> 2) Any meaning recoverable by an observer would be bounded by her own
> historic and current interpretative context.
> 3) No meaning is recoverable outside the foregoing interpretative contexts.
> *I should perhaps emphasise that purely for the purposes of the
> argument I'm assuming brain = mind to be a one-for-one correlation.
> Having said all this, it is interesting to reconsider your formulation
> "the brain did its thing without us understanding it, creating its own
> context". What is it about *being* the brain that causes this context
> to be self-referentially available, but hides it beyond possibility of
> recovery from 'observation'? Again this is the crux of the question
> that Peter poses. If one hold that *all* the information is in
> principle available to external observation, how could the foregoing
> be true? And indeed, if one consistently follows an eliminativist
> path, one cannot consistently hold it to be true; rather one must hold
> that colour-deprived Mary, because of the extraordinary scope of her
> 'objective knowledge' of colour, has in fact no surprises in store
> when she finally 'sees redly'.
> Can this be made plausible? Well, oddly, if I try this for size in
> the form of a gedanken experiment, I can find one - and only one - way
> to make it so. It is to conclude that - given Mary, for the
> experiment to be viable, must possess the intrinsic capacity for
> colour vision - her interpretation of the objective data is so
> complete that it permits her to *imagine redly*. IOW the
> meaning-in-context for Mary - the immediate local effect of
> stimulation of her retinas by red-wavelength light - is in fact
> recoverable in the context of her locally available interpretative
> capacities, just as it will be again when she finally leaves the
> > --
> > Stathis Papaioannou
> > >
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