Hi Craig!

    Forgive me but could you elaborate on....

On 7/11/2011 10:08 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
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
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.
How does this "causality flows in both directions " work? I have a model of something that has that kind of feature, but I am curious about yours.
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.
How, exactly, are you defining identity as implicit in your question here? To say that X is X, as in the phrase "...what they are ...", is to assume that you known what X is exactly, no? Is this public or private information?

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.
Are you taking into account, for example, decoherence? Are you assuming a classical or quantum world?

  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.

What difference in kind is there between a component that is equivalent in function *and* is integrable with the system to be substituted? To say that it is made of cobalt alloy would be merely an argument from illicit substitution of identicals!

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?

How is the specification of wires relevant to the claim? But, Jason, which dualism are you regretting and why? There are more than one!

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.

Umm, are you not implicitly assuming cartoons in the process of generation where the constructors of the cartoons have, as available information, 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.
From whence obtains meaning? Is the yellow an illusion or some phantom to bewitch the mind? How do you know what yellow is like from the first person aspect of an algae? I don't think that they do not, but exactly how could they, in your opinion?

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.

How could you know if you could not act that question to the rock? So the question become whether or not communication is possible with you and a rock. Where the specifics of a language and the attributions of meanings to the objects of experience the result of a computation? If not, what determined them? If they are not determined then how are they different from noise?

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.
"Idiosyncratic" http://www.thefreedictionary.com/idiosyncratic " A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group." What determined or selected that group from the universe of all similar entities? If that selection process is not equivalent to some computational process then it is indistinguishable from noise, aka, some random process! (Please do not involve some form of a "god in the gap" argument!)

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.

As in "I think therefore I was!" as opposed to the a priori "I think therefore I am"? Omnipotence would not solve the problem of computation here! Not only would you need infinite physical resources, but you would also need infinite time to perform the computation, or else you have to admit a random process caused it to be the only case of colors that you experience!!! The dichotomy is not false!
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

What is your source of that information? To "suspect that "..." is to bet that "..." is true. How different is that from what Bruno is talking about with the "Yes, Doctor"? You seem to be using Bruno's definition of /Theaetetian/ conception of knowledge without even acknowledging it! What is holding you back?

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.

Seriously, Craig, you are asking for too much! A lack of an explanation that you can understand is not evidence of falsehood! How do you know that you understand the idea? At best you can bet that you are correct; you can not be certain. Yes, you can have certainty that X is X and that it cannot contradict its own existence, but what can this tell you of the properties of X? Knowledge of the "truth values" of questions about the properties of X implies that you can process the meaning of X is {a, b, c, ...} statements. How exactly do you "process meanings"? You use your brain. If that brain is hardwired from DNA to process some range of frequencies as "red" then guess what, u will see red when some EMF excitation stimulated some rod or cone in the retina of your eye... All of this physical process involves work that generates entropy. So there is a physical aspect to this.

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
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.

Why are you demanding a change in the object to coincide with an act that makes meaningful that that object, for example, is red? The change is in the mind of the observer, but that observer is not some kind of entity that floats disembodied from the world of stuff which in which that object interacts! If you observe a thing, you interact with it, by definition! So do not claim that "there is no physical change in the object"! You are arguing for the a priori asignation of properties to objects in themselves. Why? How is this different in kind from claiming a priori synthetics?

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.

    obscurum per obscurius?

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.
I agree, but we need to show necessitation of the "organic-somatic-neurological". That is just 'level of substitution" specifications! And what exactly defined "sense" as in "beneath arithmetic is sense"? Whose "sense"? Are you claiming that Consciousness is prior to Existence?

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
What is the difference between fundamental and irreducible? The example you are giving about colors, in that they are like prime numbers, is contingent on the metric that the other colors in our spectrum define! T o say that X is relatively prime to Y is not a proof that X is not divisible by Z. You are not showing a difference in kind that would specify a categorical difference.

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.

Why is that? Because the Romba does not have a subroutine in its program that generates a model of the room and a model of a Romba in it that is updated and corrected by information that the physical Romba system would acquire via sonar whatever subsystems.
    Check out these robots! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehno85yI-sA



You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to