On 30 Jul 2011, at 04:35, Craig Weinberg wrote:
On Jul 29, 3:51 pm, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
That made it non Turing emulable. So you postulate the negation of
You could at least be agnostic.
By postulating non-comp you refer to something unfathomable as a
primitive element in your theory, without showing how it put light on
the mind body problem.
Let me say this now and then I'll come back and respond to the Q&A
Here are some of the propositions of my SEE hypothesis:
1. Involuted continuum of universal sense: That the mind/body problem
is understood to be a manifestation at the scale of a human being of a
principle of private/interior-public/exterior relations common to all
phenomena in the cosmos. The appearance of the problem arises due to
the private nature of subjectivity, preventing it from being perceived
in the public-exterior realm*.
So you assume that there is a cosmos, that there is inner experiences,
and some quasi panpsychic link between them. That is also like
assuming a solution of the mind-body problem at the start.
I don't see how this could explain what is cosmos and matter, what is
mind, and what is the nature of the relations between them.
2. Sensorimotive phenomenology: The interior of our own mind is
familiar to us personally, as well as through psychology
I don't think neurology has put any light on the "interior of our
minds". Only on its possible low level implementation.
What is missing is a concept which can unite these
scientific and vernacular taxonomies. That concept is sensorimotive
phenomenology. Recognized as a natural physiological division of labor
within the nervous system, and characterizing afferent and efferent
nerves by their apparent function to receive perception and transmit
instructions electromagnetically to and from the body to the brain,
SEE considers sensorimotor experiences are the interior correlates of
electromagnetism in the nervous system and the elemental indivisibles
of all human perception, experience, thought, meaning, language, etc.
Note the use of the form sensorimotive is used intentionally as apart
from sensorimotor, since motive experience is the engaged intention to
act, and when that act is physically possible, only then are there
consequences realized in the voluntary muscles of the body as motion
or motor activity. Likewise sensory experience begins where physical
activity leaves off, so that it is the interpretation of the world and
the self that is sensorimotive rather than any activity which could be
easily detected from the outside.
It looks like dualism, with a substantialization of the soul.
3. Extension and Limits of Sensorimotive phenomenolgy: Since the
private* world of the subject is limited to the natural scope and
scale of what the subject is, it is entirely probable that the cosmos
we can examine around us is the tip of the iceberg, concealing a
proprietary subcosmos within every atom, flea, planet, etc. It is
difficult to guess how these worlds might coalesce and scale up, but
the nature of sensorimotive phenomena is such that it extends through
and beyond physically discrete forms, or be absent in forms we might
be familiar with.
Going from 2 to 3 is unclear. It looks to me like adding marmalade to
A ceramic pot may have a sensorimotive integrity within the ceramic
molecular matrix, but it may not have a sensorimitive dimension as a
whole. It doesn't know it's a vase, it just knows about how it feels
to be cemented together, to be wet, etc.
Likewise a picture of Mickey
Mouse doesn't have any Mickey Mouse experience going on.
That's very plausible indeed.
If you make a
topiary of Mickey Mouse, you have only hedges experiencing normal
hedge realities - sun, water, soil, and Edward Scissorhands over
there, but no Mickey and no Mouse. If you have 10,000 people all wear
different colored T-Shirts and stand in an arrangement to make an
image of Mickey Mouse as seen from the air - those people have not
taken on any qualities of any animated character themselves. They are
aware only of human interactions, participating in a social event.
4. Simulation of sensorimotive phenomena. Like the Mickey Mouse or
topiary, human beings have learned how to express their ideas,
thoughts, and feelings through physical mediums accessible to the
body. We articulate linguistic sense through the motor apparatus of
our vocal chords and their associated efferent nerves. We paint,
sculpt, clip hedges, choreograph dancers, direct films, etc to
superimpose our private* teleology upon an exterior medium. Clay, ink
and paper, masonry, civilization, etc. The critically important
insight is that by using a cave to paint our bison upon, we are
relating to the the pigment we drew with as a symbol/metaphor rather
than the literal cave and mineral powder we use to paint it. We see
our own experience now. Our friends can see and admire this icon and
admire or hate it by their qualitative reaction to the semiotic piece.
They could relate to the technique, the bison and it's associations,
the shared memory of the hunt, their feelings about the artist, etc
etc. What is not happening is that a bison is being created in a two
dimensional form on a wall of a cave.
For obvious reasons, a bison
cannot be two dimensional and made of paint.
Sure. By definition a bison is three dimensional. But a two
dimensional computer (that exists) can emulate a three dimensional
computer, in which bison can evolve and eat grass.
Note that no other animal
will likely be able to even recognize that the paint is in the shape
of a bison, and that the cave and the paint is likely unaware of any
of the goings on in the human world, however there may be both a
geological and molecular sensorimotive experience - one that is much
slower and faster than we can perceive as part of the the crust of the
Earth, and the other much smaller and faster as interleaved molecular
5. Application of the limits of sensorimotive phenomena to the
question of artificial intelligence: My aim here is not to burst
anyone's bubble regarding hope for technology, cybernetics,
transhumanism, or the like. I do think that these things may be
achievable but I no longer assume that they can be achieved in the way
that most scientists are approaching it currently. Fans of Classical
Digital mechanism (or Classical Computationalism, or just comp per
Bruno) are absolutely justified in their enthusiasm for the
flexibility of digital functionality to simulate human-like semiotic
production to a great extent, and to surpass it in many areas.
My objection to the strong form of comp, what I might call digital
fundamentalism, is not rooted in any kind of sentimental defense of
the sanctity of biology or anthropomorphic religiosity. I have no
special desire to be constrained by the body's mortality or "the
heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to". I
am merely correcting a small but important oversight, which I seem to
be able to see with simple clarity but which others seem less
convinced. The oversight of comp is that it presumes that awareness is
a logical function which must be produced rather than a property of
Awareness/consciousness is an attribute of person. It is not an
attribute of a machine/body, still less a physical property of
We have good reason to assume this is the case
because we can suffer deterioration in awareness, unconsciousness,
You say so, without even using your assumption.
Our consciousness is quite fragile compared to the robust
physical systems around us and we see that small changes in
functionality of the brain have tremendous effects upon human well
Small change in any machine can make them crash.
The key insight is that it is not consciousness itself which is
fragile and special, it is the level of elaboration of consciousness -
The problem consists in linking the solid consciousness with the
the towering interiority of millions of years of evolution which has
specifically developed the human brain to disproportionately elaborate
sensorimotive power beyond physiological necessity. That is fragile
indeed. Or it would be if there weren't seven billion of us. This
minor oversight on the part of comp, generates the assumption that
were it not for the brain's physical organization, consciousness would
not exist, and the conclusion that anything with the brain's logical-
functional architecture would necessarily produce human consciousness.
The word "function" is very tricky. Either you see a fnction
extensionally as a set of input-output (behavior), or you see a
function intensionally (note the "s"; it is not a spelling mistake!)
as a set of recipe to compute or to process some activity (leading to
output of not). Comp needs the two notions, and the second one is used
(sometimes implicitely) in the notion of substitution level. A copy of
a brain is supposed to preserve a local process, not a logical function.
What SEE recognizes, through insight into the role of privacy in
sensorimotive phenomena, is that individual reality tunnels are blind
to other reality tunnels which do not resemble their own. There may be
an inversely proportional relation between isomorphism and
sensorimotive blindness (call it AAD - Atrophic Agency Detection)
which mercifully sequesters relevant frames of reference through a
taxonomy which SEE calls perceptual relativity so we don't have to
worry about how each footstep affects the geology, and microbiology of
each square inch of underfoot real estate. For people, we can call
this merciful sensorimotive inhibition 'sanity'. Too much inhibition
however, can have consequences as well. One who is overly medicated or
impaired can be robotic and overly theoretical in their approach.
Unfeeling and reactionary. This is the flaw in digital reasoning.
On the contrary, digital mechanism open us to stop in reducing machine
and numbers to their appearance.
What you say is "machine are stupid", so *you* take mechanism as a
reductionist view of human.
What I say is "human are intelligent/conscious", so mechanism opens up
to the idea that machine can be intelligent/conscious.
I don't follow either your theory that medication can lead people to
be theoretical. If *that* is true, tell me the name of the medication,
and I will suggest this to some students.
fails to appreciate the role of feeling in making human sense,
My whole life is a fight to recognize the importance of feeling, not
just in human, but in the whole cosmos creation.
investing full faith in transhuman computation without admitting that
there is a significant difference between what we inscribe
symbolically and the organism that can do the inscribing and decoding.
Machine do make that difference already. This is explained in full
details in some papers. Of course some amount of computer science
needs to be studied.
It sees this difference as a minor fracture which can be sutured up
with VFM (Very Fancy Math) sometime in the perpetually receding
horizon of the future.
Not at all. It has been done and verified, in the frame of the theory
(I am not saying that the theory, comp, is true, of course).
In the mean time we will get better and better toys. I have no real
trouble with all of that, except that if we really care about
understanding what the cosmos actually is,
Yes, that is the goal. Understanding what is the cosmos, where it does
come from, what does it hurt, etc.
and what we actually are,
then I have no qualms about pointing out that the difference between
an abstract machine algorithm and a living organism is an
insurmountable gap. It's mistaking the menu for the meal, the Mouse
for the crowd, etc.
You are confusing a menu, with a program running relatively to some
What a machine is, is the opposite of
sensorimotive phenomena. Is there no room in arithmetic for it's own
You might try to clarify this, and give arguments.
An uncomputable non-infinity which is anchored in ordinary
experience rather than illuminated technosis? Instead of addressing
this failure of math to find 'reality',
The point is that it does not fail on that. Once you accept the idea
that you are a finite machine, arithmetic explains where the coupling
consciousness/realities come from. It even explains why we feel that
there is an insurmountable gap, and why that gap has a very special
shape and its role in the apparition of the cosmos.
comp concludes that it is
reality which has no reality.
That would be a contradiction. Comp concludes only that physical
reality emerges from addition and mutiplication. The proof is
constructive (just look in the 'head' of any universal machine) and so
it leads to a testable physics. It explains already very werid feature
of the empiric observable reality (indeterminacy, non-locality, non-
cloning, non-booleanity, symmetry at the bottom, etc.).
Above all it leads to a precise mathematical theory of qualia and
feeling, *and* of quanta and measurement/interaction. A lot of works
I may be reductionist in my view on what
'machines' are able to experience, but I am quite generous in my views
on what machines can enable us to experience.
Yes machines, in the 3p sense, cannot have experience. Nor can a human
brain, or anything conceived in a 3p view. But machine have natural 1p
views on themselves, and it is the 1p which is subject to experience.
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