On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> >They are not trivial. If they were, our brains would not require billions
> >of neurons and quadrillions of connections.
> Trivial in the technical sense of not being as real as the objective
> mechanics which are associated with them. You are saying that it's
> only the high quantity of neurons and connections between them that
> makes them real rather than the other way around.
Not just their quantity, but the relationships of their connections to each
> To say that
> subjective qualities are non-trivial would mean acknowledging that it
> is the subjective qualities themselves which are driving cells,
> neurons, organisms, and cultures rather than just mechanism. You are
> saying that hydrogen is non-trivial but yellow is one of an infinite
> number of possible colors. I'm saying that the visible spectrum is as
> fundamental and irreducible as the periodic table, even though it may
> require a more complex organic arrangement to realize subjectively.
> >Yes, as you say below, it is a result of processing.
> Processing isn't an independent thing, it's what things do.
This is functionalism, it is what things do that matters, not what they are
> In the
> context of input>processing>output, then processing stands for
> everything in between input and output: processing by whatever
> phenomenon is the processor.
You are defining the process as everything that happens in the middle, but
how much of that everything is relevant to the outcome? If a neuron
releases 278,231,782,956 ions instead of 278,231,782,957 is that going to
be relevant to how the mind evolves over time, or what qualia are
experienced? What about neutrinos passing through the head of the person,
are those important to the model of the brain? I think you would find that
a lot of the processes going on within a person's head is irrelevant to the
production of consciousness. In an earlier post you mentioned hemoglobin
playing a role, but if we could substitute a persons blood with some other
oxygen rich solution which was just as capable of supporting the normal
metabolism of cells, then why should the brain behave any differently, and
if it does not behave differently how could the perception of yellow be said
to be different? The mind experiencing the sensation of yellow isn't going
to say or do anything different if its outputs are the same. The two minds
would contain the same information, and thus there is nothing to inform the
mind of any difference in perception.
> >> quintillion wires tangled in knots and electrified don't see colors or
> >> feel pain.
> >I think they can
> Based upon what?
My belief that dualism, and mind-brain identity theory are false, and the
success of multiple realizability, functionalism, and computationalism in
resolving various paradoxes in the philosophy of mind.
> Can cartoons see feel pain? Why not?
Cartoons aren't systems that receive and update their state and disposition
based upon the reception and processing of that information.
> >>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
> >of a computation, and the computation itself.
> Yellow is not a computation. Discerning whether something is a
> different frequency of luminosity than another is a computation,
> correlating that to a sensory experience is a computation, but the
> experience itself is not a computation. I can give you coordinates for
> a polygon and you can draw it on paper or in your mind but giving you
> the wavelength for a shade of X-Ray will not help you see it's color
> or create a color. It doesn't matter how complex my formula is. Color
> cannot be described quantitatively.
It is more than a one dimensional quantity, I agree. It is a value of
rather high complexity and dimensionality existing in the context of your
neural network. Since your neural network is highly complex, the effects
the perception has (what it takes to define it) is likewise highly complex.
I think the primary reason you have come to your conclusions, while I have
come to mine, is that you think qualia such as yellow are simple, while I
think the opposite is true. If visual sensations were so simple, why would
30% of your cortex be devoted to its processing? This is a huge number of
neurons, for handling at most maybe a million or so pixels. How many
neurons do you think are needed to sense each "pixel" of yellow?
> It's not a matter of waiting for
> technology to get better, it's a matter of understanding the
> limitations of the exterior topology of our universe.
> >Right, a youtube video is not a person, but I think silicon, or any
> >appropriate processing system can perceive.
> I think that anything can perceive, whether it's a processing system
> or not. Not human perception, but if it's matter, then it has
> electromagnetic properties and corresponding sensorimotor coherence.
> All matter makes sense.
So would you say a rock see the yellow of the sun and the blue of the sky?
It just isn't able to tell us that it does?
> It's just that the sense the brain makes
> recapitulates a specific layer cake of organic molecular, cellular
> biochemical, somatic zoological, neuro anthropological, and
> psychological semiotic protocols which are not separate from what they
> physically are. You can't export the canon of microbiological wisdom
> into a stone unless you make the stone live as a creature. It's not
> third party translatable. If it were, then every rock and tree would
> by now have learned to speak Portuguese and cook up a mean linguine
> with clams.
> >If red did not look very different from green, to you would fail to pick
> >the berries in the bush.
> That's a fallacy. First you're reducing red or green to a mechanical
> function of visual differentiation.
That is the reason for seeing different colors is it not? What defines red
and green besides the fact that they are perceived differently?
> Such a definition of color does
> not require conscious experience or vision at all. The bush and the
> berries could just look like what they taste like. Why create a
> separate perceptual ontology?
That would be confusing, I couldn't tell if I were looking at a bush or
eating. I wouldn't know the relative position of the bush in relation to
myself or other objects either.
> You're also reverse engineering color to
> match the contemporary assumptions of evolutionary biology. We have no
> reason to suspect that selection pressure would or could conjure a
> color palette out of thin air.
We have some reason. There are species of monkeys where all the females are
trichromatic, and all the males are dichromatic. When the first trichromats
evolved, did their brains and senses not conjure up a new palette which
never before existed?
> A longer beak, yes. Prehensile tail,
> sure. You've already got the physical structure, it just gets
> exaggerated through heredity. Where is the ancestor of red though?
The first being which had both senses capable of distinguishing different
frequencies of light, and a brain capable of integrating those differences
into the environmental model of that being. It is likely that this being
did not perceive red light in the same way we do, it is even possible you
don't perceive red in the same way I do. For all we know, your brain may be
the ancestor of red as you know it. Two people can taste the same thing,
and one person likes it while the other dislikes it, just like two people
can read the same book and like it or dislike it. It depends on the
structure of their brains.
> >Yes information must be interpreted by a processing system to become
> >meaningful, but it doesn't have to be a biological organism.
> Systems don't interpret information, they just present it in different
> ways. It makes no difference to a computer whether a text is stored as
> natural language, hexadecimal bytes, or semiconductor states.
If it were just stored in memory passively, it makes no difference, but if
the computer attempted to parse or otherwise process the data then the
format it is in does become important to the proper processing of that
> There is
> no signifying coherence on the computer level, it's just an array of
> low level phenomena being used to simulate and reflect high level
> organic sense. You might be able to build chemo-electronic inorganism
> which feels and has meaning, but my sense is that it would end up
> being no more controllable than biological entities. What we want out
> of a processing system - reliability, obedience, precision, etc, is
> precisely what is lost when we want to traffic in meaning beyond
> digital certainties.
> >> Constructed out of what?
> >Information and the processing thereof.
> You cannot construct a color out of information,
What do your qualia do? They inform you. Do you have an example of
anything that is informative but is not information?
> any more than you can
> construct dinner out of information. Color is concrete sensory
> experience - ineffable, idiopathic, self-revealing. There is no
> information there, no recipe, it's an ontological prerequisite of
> biological visual sense.
> >> 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
> >could experience new colors.
> If color is purely a mental phenomenon, then why should it require any
Our imagination and thoughts do not give us the ability to completely
reprogram ourselves. If they did, people would corrupt their minds or put
them into unusable states by thinking certain thoughts. Minds would crash
in the same way our computers so regularly do.
> We can only experience new colors if there are new colors to
> experience. Color could just as easily be as finite and specific as
> the periodic table and emerge at the subatomic level.
You mentioned earlier that light frequency is a linear value. Why then just
three primary colors?
> We may well be
> able to see new colors with gene patches or neurotherapies, but it
> doesn't change the fact that those colors too must be either be part
> of a larger fixed ontology of possible colors or part of a dynamic
> color creation schema. Either way it's metaphysical unless you model
> sense as a function of matter.
I would say qualia are a function of minds, which are a function of
processing, which is a function of matter. (which Bruno would add is really
a function of arithematic)
> >You are making assumptions of a direct chemical-to-qualia relation built
> >into the physics of the universe.
> It's not an assumption, it's an intentional hypothesis.
If you think the primary colors are fundamental, then to explain colors such
as pink, you must add the concept of information and quantity to the
fundamental primary colors. For example, pink = 2 parts blue, 2 parts red,
1 part green. So this quantitative information is a necessary component of
the experience of pink. Once you get to this point, you might as well
abandon the fundamentalness of the primary colors, they are just markers
corresponding to activity of different neurons.
> >You never addressed the evidence I gave regarding how magenta is an
> All colors are invented. Just not by us. Magenta, brown, beige, grey,
> etc are further evidence that color is not simply visible
> electromagnetism - it is the sensorimotor interior of
> electromagnetism. It makes sense to us that black should be the
> absence of light and white should be the presence of all wavelengths.
> That sense runs through both sides of vision - the optical exterior
> and the perceptual interior. It doesn't have to be that way. Black
> could look like orange and White could like like red-orange and we'd
> still be able to tell the difference. Black vs white though makes a
> specific visual sense to us. To anything that can see it.
> >See this video:
> Ugh. Minsky is wrong. Just because there are more steps involved in
> perception doesn't bring the mechanism of neural spikes or ion pumping
> any closer to the experience of perception. He's using complexity as a
> veil. "Your poor little minds just haven't figured it out yet." It's
> not complex, it's just looking at the phenomenon from the wrong end.
> He doesn't see that perception doesn't have to correlate to the
> mechanics of the brain directly, they both can correlate to different
> sided of an underlying noumenon. Watch David Chalmers instead. His
> insights make much more sense to me:
I will watch the video soon.
> >We can perceive millions of different colors, but there are not millions
> >types of neurotransmitters, nor millions of types of neurons. How does
> >theory address this?
> I'm not suggesting a one to one correspondence of neurotransmitters to
> colors. I'm saying that the sense of the visual spectrum as we know it
> is an innate potential of human neurology at the brain level. It may
> arise at a lower level - maybe at the level of photosynthesis or the
> level atoms - perhaps at a higher level of astrophysical coherence;
> nebula etc. Maybe it's woven into the story of the cosmos itself, in
> the fabric of what separates literal fact from metaphorical meaning.
> >What, aside from their parts, is different about them?
> What's the difference between you reading this and being in a coma?
That's the wrong question to ask, when a person in a coma
is functionally very different from a person who is conscious. This
functional difference is absent between a Turing emulation of a brain and a
brain. They would both be similarly capable.
> What if I could offer the chance for you to have a perfect body, which
> will not age or die, which will have powerful extensions of physical
> ability, but there is one catch. You will never be able to experience
> a single moment that is not filled with blinding, shrieking pain. You
> will perceive yourself to be terrifyingly ugly and your world will be
> filled only with the most revolting odors and noises. You will find
> that you are able to eat and reproduce quite successfully, only your
> experience of it will be as gagging and writhing in interminable
> nausea. All you would have to comfort you in your unending,
> pleasureless misery will be the knowledge that to the outside world
> you will appear to be a fantastic human being, successful in all
> areas, even that thought however, will repulse you and fill you with
> bottomless dread.
> I'm assuming that you would agree that such a deal would not be worth
> it, but can you explain why? Why privilege one set of patterns over
> another? That's what consciousness gives us. Sensorimotive
> participation. A way to perceive qualitative differences and feel like
> we can choose to move toward or away from them. This is the basis of
> life as much as ATP or DNA, but an entirely different topology:
> forward and back, high/low, right and wrong, pain and pleasure,
> presence and absence. See?
Were those smart sweepers not "sensorimotive" in their attraction toward the
food particles? Did you try running that simulation?
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