On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Jul 28, 4:29 am, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
> > We have made the big discovery of the universal digital machine, and
> > we do have good reason to find highly plausible that a brain is a
> > biological universal machine.
> I agree, but the brain is also more a lot more than that because it
> hosts human experience. A machine cannot have an experience, it is the
> container, it is that which is experienced, but it has no capacity to
> experience anything as an abstract design. A silicon chip can
> experience that machine, but it experiences it as a single large
> molecule. Maybe we make a giant cell out of a mutant jellyfish and
> superimpose the machine on that - then you get a different range of
> possible experiences and sensitivities.
Materials don't have experiences, minds have experiences.  I think you have
taken reductionism to an extreme, and are trying to explain perceptions and
thoughts in terms of the periodic table.  If the material is important to
perceptions, you must show how the material creates macroscopic effects
which manifest as different behavior for the mind.  You would have to show
that the words "I see yellow" bubble up from effects of carbon to affect the
evolution of the neural network (since the utterance comes from neural
signals).  This seems magical to me, and against what is known about
neurology.  Neurons are known to be affected by other neurons, they are not
not known to be affected by neurons own feelings which stem from the
feelings of the atoms which compose them.

I think your hypothesis can be disproved by an argument  from information
How many states can a carbon atom be in?
How many experiences can a human mind have?
The latter is much larger than the former.  Therefore the feelings of carbon
atoms cannot be the explanation of human experience.  If the range of
possibilities for some phenomenon is large, then that phenomenon must be
explained in terms of something having at least that many states.  You
cannot say something with 1,000,000 possible states is explained by
something with only 5 possible states.  Lets only consider the human visual
experience.  Let's assume a person can see roughly a million colors and a
million pixels.  This is equivalent to 1,000,000^1,000,000 possible visual
experiences.  For this range of experiences to be possible, there must be
some physical system having at least this many possible states.  It won't
come from something small, unless you consider the combination of a large
number of individual components as one large state (but this is
anti-reudctionist).  This leads to the idea that a mind or a perception is a
large structure of inter-related pieces, not individual atoms or molecules.

> > To assume the contrary leads to the need to introduce non Turing
> > emulable element in the brain, and we have no clue at all if that
> > exist, nor any clue why this would put any light on the mind-body
> > problem.
> I do have a clue that it exists. I am it. I live it. Yellow is not
> Turing emulable and I can imagine yellow anytime I want.

Just because you don't know how the experience of yellow is emulated doesn't
mean it is not emulable.


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