On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> Maybe I should try to condense this a bit. The primary disagreement we
> have is rooted in how we view the relation between feeling, awareness,
> qualia, and meaning, calculation, and complexity. I know from having
> gone through dozens of these conversations that you are likely to
> adhere to your position, which I would characterize as one which
> treats subjective qualities as trivial,

They are not trivial.  If they were, our brains would not require billions
of neurons and quadrillions of connections.

> automatic consequences which
> arise unbidden from "from relations that are defined by
> computations".

Yes, as you say below, it is a result of processing.

> My view is that your position adheres to a very useful and widely held
> model the universe, and which is critically important for specialized
> tasks of an engineering nature, but that it wildly undervalues the
> chasm separating ordinary human experience from neurology. Further I
> think that this philosophy is rooted in Enlightenment Era assumptions
> which, although spectacularly successful during the 17th-20th
> centuries, are no longer fully adequate to explain the realities of
> the relation between psyche and cosmos.
> What I'm giving you is a model which picks up where your model leaves
> off. I'm very familiar with all of the examples you are working with -
> color perception, etc. I have thought about all of these issues for
> many years, so unless you are presenting something which is from a
> source that is truly obscure, you can assume that I already have
> considered it.
> >I disagree with this.  Do you have an argument to help convince me to
> change
> >my opinion?
> You have to give me reasons why you disagree with it.
> >There is no change in the wiring (hardware) of the computer, only a
> software
> >change has occurred.
> Right, that's what I'm saying. From the perspective of the wiring/
> hardware/brain, there is no difference between consciousness and
> unconsciousness. What you aren't seeing is that the unassailable fact
> of our own consciousness is all the evidence that is required to
> qualify it as a legitimate, causally efficacious phenomenology in the
> cosmos rather than an epiphenomenology which magically appears
> whenever it is convenient for physical mechanics. This is what I am
> saying must be present as a potential within or through matter from
> the beginning or not at all.

I agree consciousness has effects, and is not an epiphenomenon.

> The next think you would need to realize is that software is in the
> eye of the beholder. Wires don't read books. They don't see colors. A
> quintillion wires tangled in knots and electrified don't see colors or
> feel pain.

I think they can.

> They're just wires. I can make a YouTube of myself sitting
> still and smiling, and I can do a live video Skype and sit there and
> so the same thing and it doesn't mean that the YouTube is conscious
> just because someone won't be able to tell the difference.

There is a difference between a recording of a computation or a description
of a computation, and the computation itself.

> It's not the computer that creates meaning, it's the person who is
> using the computer. Not a cat, not a plant, not another computer, but
> a person. If a cat could make a computer, we probably could not use it
> either, although we might have a better shot at figuring it out.
> >would it concern you if you learned you had been reconstructed by the
> medical
> >device's own internal store of matter, rather than use your original
> atoms?
> No, no, you don't understand who you're talking to. I'm not some bio-
> sentimentalist. If I thought that I could be uploaded into a billion
> tongued omnipotent robot I would be more than happy to shed this
> crappy monkey body. I'm all over that. I want that. I'm just saying
> that we're not going to get there by imitating the logic of out higher
> cortical functions in silicon. It doesn't work that way. Thought is an
> elaboration of emotion, emotion of feeling, feeling of sense, and
> sense of detection. Electronically stimulated silicon never gets
> beyond detection, so ontologically it's like one big molecule in the
> sense that it can make. It can act as a vessel for us to push human
> sense patterns through serially as long as you've got a conscious
> human receiver, but the conduit itself has no taste for human sense
> patterns, it just knows thermodynamic electromotive sense. Human
> experience is not that. A YouTube of a person is not a person.

Right, a youtube video is not a person, but I think silicon, or any
appropriate processing system can perceive.

> >Color is how nerve impulses from the optive nerve feel to us.
> Why doesn't it just feel like a nerve impulse? Why invent a
> phenomenology of color out of whole cloth to intervene upon one group
> of nerve cells and another? Color doesn't have to exist. It provides
> no functional advantage over detection of light wavelengths through a
> linear continuum. Your eyes could work just like your gall bladder,
> detecting conditions and responding to them without invoking any
> holographic layer of gorgeous 3D technicolor perception. One computer
> doesn't need to use a keyboard and screen to talk to another, so it
> would make absolutely no sense for such a thing to need to exist for
> the brain to understand something that way, unless such qualities were
> already part of what the brain is made of.

If red did not look very different from green, to you would fail to pick out
the berries in the bush.

> It's not nerve impulses we
> are feeling, we are nerves and we are the impulses of the nerves.
> Impulses are nerve cells feeling, seeing, tasting, choosing. They just
> look like nerve cells from the point of view of our body and it's
> technological extensions as it is reflected back to us through our own
> perception of self-as-other.
> >Data can be stored as magnetic poles on
> >hard drives and tape, different levels of reflectivity on CDs...
> Data is only meaningful when it is interpreted by a sentient organism.

Yes information must be interpreted by a processing system to become
meaningful, but it doesn't have to be a biological organism.

> Our consciousness is what makes the pattern a meaningful pattern. Read
> a book, put it on tape, CD, flash drive, etc. It means nothing to the
> cockroaches and deer foraging for food after the humans are gone.
> Again, data is in the eye of the beholder, it is an epiphenomon. We
> are not data. We eat data but what we are is the sensorimotor topology
> of a living human brain, body, lifetime, civilization, planet, solar
> system, galaxy, universe. We have a name, but we are not a name.
> >Nearly an infinite number could be constructed, and they are all
> accessible
> >within this universe.  (If you accept computationalism).
> Constructed out of what?

Information and the processing thereof.

> Why can't we just imagine a color zlue if
> it's not different than imaging a square sitting on top of a circle?

Our imagination does not cause the organization of the color processing
centers of the brain to rewire themselves.  If we could rewire our brains we
could experience new colors.

> You're trying to bend reality to fit your assumptions instead of
> expanding your framework to accommodate the evidence.

You are making assumptions of a direct chemical-to-qualia relation built
into the physics of the universe.

> >> >How does it know to stop at a red light if it is not aware of anything?
> >> It doesn't stop at a red light. The car stops at an electronic signal
> >> that fires when the photosensor and it's associated semiconductors
> >> match certain quantitative thresholds which correspond to what we see
> >> as a red light.
> >Sounds very much like a description  one could make for why a person stops
> >at a red light.  There are inputs, some processing, and some outputs.  The
> >difference is you think the processing done by a computer is meaningless,
> >while the processing done by a brain is not.
> You are assuming that the inputs and outputs have any significance
> independent of the processing. The processing is everything.

Exactly, the processing is everything.  That is what I have been trying to
say all this time. :-)

> >> The word processor is just semiconductors which are activated and
> >> control in a pattern we deem meaningful. There is no distinction for
> >> the computer between correct or incorrect spelling, other than
> >> different logic gates being held open or closed.
> >If that is so, then point out where this logic fails: "There is no
> >distinction for a human that is sad or happy, there are dist different
> >collections of neurons either firing or not firing."
> Right, you can't tell from the outside. If we discovered an alien word
> processor in a crashed spaceship then we could not know whether or not
> it is made out of something which understands what it's doing or
> whether it's just an artifact which reflects the function of it's use
> by something else that understands what it's doing. Since we know how
> our own word processors are made however, I have no reason to infer
> that electrified silicon cares whether a word is spelled correctly.
> >Qualia aren't directly connected to sensory measurements from the
> >environment though.  If I swapped all the red-preferring cones in your
> eyes
> >with the blue-preferring cones, then shone blue-colored light at your
> eyes,
> >you would report it as red.
> Right, you don't even need eyes. I can imagine or dream red without
> there being anything there for the senses to measure. What it is
> directly connected to though is the internally consistent logic of
> visual awareness. The universe doesn't pick yellow out of a hat, or if
> it did, where is the hat and what else is in it?
> > The brain interprets the dots and dashes, and creates the
> > experience of blue.  How?  It is certainly very complex,
> It's only complex if you presume that blue is created. It isn't. It's
> primary like charge or spin.

You never addressed the evidence I gave regarding how magenta is an invented

What do you think the world looks like to birds, which are tetrachromats?
Do you think they still see various combinations of reds, greens, blues?
What do you think ultra violet look like to them?  Different brains produce
different sensations, and there are far more possible brains than there are
types of fundamental physical phenomenon.  You won't find a chemical for
cyan, or a particle for turquoise, etc.

> Blue is the human nervous system feeling
> itself visually, just as language is the nervous system feeling itself
> semantically. Blue is incredibly simple.

See this video:

> It's probably what we have in
> common with one celled organisms and their experience of
> photosynthesis dating back to the Precambrian Era. Nerve color is cell
> color.

We can perceive millions of different colors, but there are not millions of
types of neurotransmitters, nor millions of types of neurons.  How does your
theory address this?

> It takes an elaborate architecture of different kinds of cells
> to step that awareness up to something the size and complexity of a
> human being, so the cells are sense-augmented and concentrated into
> organs which share their experience with the sense-diminished cells of
> the cortex.
> >Am I only a lowly adding machine, processing meaningless symbols in the
> way my
> > programming tells me to process them?
> No, no. There's nothing inherently less-marvelous about an a-
> signifying machine of significant complexity compared to something
> that can feel and think. I'm just saying that it's not the same thing.

What, aside from their parts, is different about them?

> Even an imitation can improve upon the original, but we are looking at
> the wrong side of the Mona Lisa to accomplish that if we seek
> consciousness from silicon.

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