On Jul 11, 8:08 pm, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> Not just their quantity, but the relationships of their connections to each
> other.

Ok, but you are still privileging the exterior appearances of neurons
over the interior. You are saying that experience is a function of
neurology rather than neurology being the container for experience.
I'm saying it's both, and causality flows in both directions.

> This is functionalism, it is what things do that matters, not what they are
> made of.

Not what things do, but what they are able to do (and detect/sense/
feel/know) based upon what they are.

> 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.

What we get as waking consciousness is an aggressively pared down
extraction of the total awareness of the brain and nervous system, not
to mention the body. There are other forms of awareness being hosted
in our heads besides the ones we are familiar with.

 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?

It's a matter of degree. As Bruno says 'substitution level'. Synthetic
blood is still organic chemistry, it's not a cobalt alloy. Your still
hanging on to the idea that what you think the nervous system is doing
is what denotes consciousness. I'm saying that it is the nervous
system itself which is conscious, not the logic of the 'signals' that
seem to be passing through it.

> >> 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 wires time travel, become invisible or omnipotent also, or just
perceive color?

> > 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.

Sure they are. Cartoons receive their shape based upon the changing
positions of colored lines and points.

> 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?

Your computer is 100% devoted to processing digital information, yet
the basic binary unit could not be simpler. Yellow is the same. It
doesn't break or malfunction. Yellow doesn't ever change into a never
before seen color. It's almost as simple as 'square' or a circle. I
agree that the depth of the significance we feel from color and the
subtlety with which we can distinguish hues is enhanced by the
hypertrophied visual cortex. With all of those neurons, why not a
spectrum of a thousand colors, each as different and unique as blue is
to yellow?

I don't think neurons are needed to sense yellow, they are just
necessary for US to see yellow. I think cone cells probably see it,
protozoa, maybe algae sees it.

> 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?

No, I would say that inorganic matter maybe feels heat and
acceleration. Collision. Change in physical state. Just a guess.

> That is the reason for seeing different colors is it not?  What defines red
> and green besides the fact that they are perceived differently?

What defines them is their idiosyncratic, consistent visual quality.
Red is also different from sour, does that mean sour is a color? You
don't need color to tell berries from bush. It could be accomplished
directly without any sensory mediation whatsoever, just as your
stomach can tell the difference between food and dirt. (Not that the
stomach cells don't have their own awareness of their world, they
might, just not one that requires us to be conscious of it)

> 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 trying to justify the existence of vision in hindsight rather
than explaining the possibility of vision in the first place. Again,
omnipotence would be really convenient for me, it doesn't mean that my
body can magically invent it out of whole cloth.

> 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?

I can't know that, but I suspect that there is only one visible schema
experienced by living things on this planet with different levels of
discrimination. That is exactly the case with tetrachromat humans,
they don't see a pure color that is invisible to everyone else, they
just make finer distinctions between our trichromat colors. Possibly
life forms evolved in different solar systems would have a different
palette altogether if the star(s) are significantly different than our

> > 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.

Meh, that's just an appeal to uncertainty. It doesn't explain what red
was before it was red nor why the fact that it cannot be conceived
doesn't make it different from something physical like a beak for
which an ancestral form can easily be imagined.

> 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
> information.

If that were true, then unplugging your monitor would change the
content of the internet. Regardless of the form a computer presents
it's data to us in, it is processed the same way to itself, machine
language, bytes.

> What do your qualia do?  They inform you.  Do you have an example of
> anything that is informative but is not information?

There is no physical change in an object to indicate whether or not it
is meaningful to someone or not. Information is not a thing, it is a
part of speech. Yellow has different meanings to different people in
different contexts, yet it is yellow regardless. It informs but it is
not information. It is concrete visual experience of a living organic
being. Information is what yellow might represent to you or to a
social group or culture.

> You mentioned earlier that light frequency is a linear value.  Why then just
> three primary colors?

Don't know. That's more of a cosmological question. The ontology of
awareness is not only mysterious, it is mystery itself.

> 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)

I could go along with that, except that I would say that mind is the
processing of matter elaborated to an organic-somatic-neurological
degree. It could be arithmetic beneath all that, but I would say
beneath arithmetic is sense.

> 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.

I don't think that primary colors are fundamental, just irreducible. I
only bring them up to distinguish in my examples between new colors
that would be profoundly different from anything we have every
conceived and colors which are trivially different such as those that
tetrachromats can see. I'm not tied to the primacy of our colors, they
are just like prime numbers, not divisible by other colors in our

> Were those smart sweepers not "sensorimotive" in their attraction toward the
> food particles?  Did you try running that simulation?

No I didn't run the simulation but I think I get the idea. Cellular
automata, John Conway's Game of Life, etc. No, the smart sweepers have
no sense of their environment or feel any motive in pursuing their
targets. It's the same thing as painting a face on a volleyball and
using it as puppet. The puppet isn't conscious. The simulation doesn't
know it's a simulation, it just knows about executing microprocessor
instructions over and over.

On Jul 11, 8:08 pm, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:29 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

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