On Aug 16, 9:38 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 2:35 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> A computer needs I/O devices such as keyboards and screens if it is to
> >> interact with its environment.
> > No, it doesn't. We need keyboards and screens if We are to interact
> > with a computer. The computer already does interact with it's own
> > environment. It's input is electric current and it's output is
> > magnetic changes to semiconductors and heat.
> The brain needs sensory organs and muscles if it is to interact with
> its environment in an intelligent way. That it consumes oxygen and
> glucose and produces heat and CO2 is interaction but not the sort that
> we are interested in here.

The sense organs and muscles are needed for us to interact with our
body's environment. We can think, feel, remember, and imagine, be
fully conscious without using sense organs or muscles.

> >> If it doesn't then that would allow for the possibility of partial
> >> zombies, which means you could be one now and not know it, which means
> >> being a partial zombie (if coherent) is not distinguishable from full
> >> consciousness and not a problem.
> > I am a partial zombie now, and so are you, and yes, you don't know it.
> > Unless you are actively experiencing every possible experience that
> > you can at the same time, you are only partially aware. A brain made
> > of artificial neurons would likely be able to experience something,
> > but not what a natural neuron brain would experience, because its not
> > the same thing.  It's not a problem because when it is time to
> > experience other kinds of awareness than we do at the moment, we can,
> > but the silicon brain likely cannot.
> You misunderstand what I mean by "partial zombie". You would be a
> partial zombie if your visual cortex were replaced by a machine so
> that you thought you could see, behaved as if you could see, but in
> fact lacked visual qualia. If you think that is possible, then you
> could be blind right now. Are you sure you aren't blind and simply
> deluded in your belief that you have visual qualia?

No, you misunderstand what qualia is. If you think you can see, you
have visual qualia, period. You are seeing something. Whether that
something corresponds to what you should see out of your eyes is
irrelevant. If you think you cannot see, you are blind. If you think
you can see, you are not a partial zombie. A zombie acts like they can
see when they navigate the terrain, but they have no experience of
vision. They are guided as if by remote control. They are automatons.

> >> > I'm not talking about computation, I'm talking about the implications
> >> > of biological realities of the nervous system. It does you no good to
> >> > compute the amount of plaque building up in your arteries if your
> >> > computation has no way to remove it. You would have to have the
> >> > machine itself pretend to die and then fool the glia into thinking
> >> > they already cleaned it up. It's just dumber and dumber.
> >> But if it is possible to compute when a neuron will fire
> > In some cases it is, in some cases it is not possible. If the neuron
> > is involved in initiating shivering, then you can compute that it will
> > fire in relation to skin temperature. If it is involved instead with
> > changing your opinion about the simplicity of neuroscientific
> > simulation, then there is no way to predict that.
> If you take any neuron you can predict when it will fire given the
> inputs. What is the difference between a neuron involved in shivering
> and a neuron involved in deciding between tea or coffee?

The difference is that you don't have the inputs and you can never
have them. They are interior to the person rather than relative to the
skin on the person's body.

> >> that would
> >> allow the creation of an artificial neural network which would drive
> >> other neurons and muscles in the same way as a biological neural
> >> network would. It would be like any other artificial body part which a
> >> person might have and not notice.
> > If that were true, there would be no distinction between voluntary and
> > involuntary movements or consciousness and unconsciousness. You are
> > making sense a kind of nonsense, and consciousness a kind of
> > unconsciousness - which of course is precisely inverted of what we
> > must realize is true.
> There is a distinction between voluntary and involuntary since you
> feel responsible for one but not the other. However, there is no
> biochemical difference in the function of the neurons, only perhaps a
> difference in where they are located and how many are involved in the
> different processes.

Exactly. But instead of realizing that this means that the functional
description of the neuron is not sufficient to explain the reality of
voluntary vs involuntary experience, you want to play with partial
zombies and asking whether I might be blind and not know it.

> >> >> > If the former case is true, the replacement cell body may not be able
> >> >> > to produce the organic sense required to modulate the functions of the
> >> >> > cell in it's native improvisational mode so that it will neither fool
> >> >> > surrounding tissues nor perform the critical experiential function in
> >> >> > between inputs and outputs which would form the meat of perception and
> >> >> > awareness. If the latter case is true, there is no way to tell whether
> >> >> > the metaphysical requirements form instantiating high level awareness
> >> >> > could be satisfied by the design of the replacement. The exact
> >> >> > mechanism by which dumb I/Os are translated into nonphysical emergent
> >> >> > properties would have to be fully understood in order to accomplish
> >> >> > substitution by engineering.
> >> >> Do you understand this:
> >> >> (a) everything in the universe follows physical laws;
> >> >> (b) these physical laws are computable
> >> > I understand that you believe that, but I think the worldview that
> >> > understanding arises from is obsolete.
> >> > Because we have qualitative experiences which are not reducible to
> >> > computation, and that is an undeniable fact with epistemological
> >> > validity equal to or exceeding that of physics, either:
> >> > (a) Not all physical laws are completely computable or
> >> > (b) our qualitative experiences are not physical or
> >> > (c) The terms 'computable' and 'physical' are meaningless because they
> >> > include everything.
> >> > I choose (a). Obviously our experiences of qualia like yellow and pain
> >> > are not meaningfully computable, and would have no conceivable place
> >> > in a cosmos that was purely computational.
> >> I'm not asking if qualia are computable, only if the observable
> >> behaviour of matter is computable.
> > Huh? I observe qualia and qualia are the only possible way of
> > observing anything.
> You can't observe a neuron's or another person's qualia, only their behaviour.

I'm talking about my own qualia. I observe it.

> > You said "(a) everything in the universe follows physical laws;"
> > This means to me that you are excluding qualia from the universe or
> > you are saying that physical laws include qualia. Which is it?
> Physical laws determine how matter behaves

Unless that matter is inside my brain, in which case my subjective
will can and does supersedes physical law (and vice versa).

> and qualia occur when
> matter behaves in a particular way. It isn't possible to "compute
> qualia" in the sense that if I simulate a bat's brain I will know how
> it behaves but not how it feels. However, the simulation will know how
> it feels.

Not if it's made of wire and and glass it won't. A stuffed animal
doesn't feel like an animal. A telephone doesn't feel like a friend's
voice. Simulations don't feel - they are designed intentionally to
make us feel as if they feel, and that is all.

>This last claim isn't obvious but it follows from the brain
> replacement thought experiment we have been discussing given the
> conceptual incoherence of partial zombies.

Which claim? Do you choose (a), (b), or (c) from my list?

> >> That means it would be possible to
> >> model on a computer what the behaviour of a collection of matter will
> >> be over time, given initial conditions. For a billiard ball that would
> >> be easy, for a weather system or human more difficult, but possible.
> > It's just circular reasoning. You're defining matter's behavior as a
> > priori purely computable. You're assuming that matter exists and
> > nothing else does rather than seeing that matter and perception are a
> > continuum which is deterministic on one end and voluntarily
> > participatory on the other.
> Do you imagine that an atom in a brain follows different, uncomputable
> laws compared to an atom somewhere else?

It depends on what you mean by different. Does a planet orbiting a
star follow a different path when that star is in the center of a
galaxy verses when it's on a spiral arm? Yes and no. The atom follows
the same laws relative to the neurotransmitter molecule it's a part
of, but the neurotransmitter's synthesis has been instantiated by a
sensorimotive experience on the organism level. The existence of that
atom's relationship to the other atoms would not be computable based
upon the mechanics of the chemistry alone.  Being part of that
molecule is only one of millions of possibilities. It takes a
different, uncomputable preference to explain the situation as a

> >> >> So you are saying either that cells disobey the laws of physics or
> >> >> that there are certain laws of physics that are non-computable, but
> >> >> that only you know about them.
> >> > I suspect that fully half of the laws of physics are unknown and non-
> >> > computable. They may be understandable though, through metaphor and
> >> > direct experience. These consequences of these  laws are known by
> >> > everything that has awareness, which may be every physical phenomenon
> >> > to some extent or another. I'm not saying that I 'know about them' or
> >> > that 'Only I know about them' at all, I'm only pointing to their
> >> > existence as the possible solution to the mind-body problem, quantum
> >> > uncertainty, cosmology, and the crisis of post-modernity.
> >> Strictly speaking, quantum randomness is uncomputable, but a random
> >> process can be modelled by a pseudorandom process,
> > Like a brick can be modeled by a painting of a brick. It's not really
> > a painting of a brick, it's just a painting that looks like what we
> > see of a brick with our eyes from a single static perspective.
> > Objectively speaking, there is no such thing as a model. We model with
> > things but the things themselves are not modeled. Like awareness,
> > feeling, thought, and experience, fire, or flight, randomness cannot
> > be modeled, it can only be replicated.
> The model is required to reproduce the behaviour. To make an
> artificial knee joint you need to know how a natural knee join
> functions, what stresses it is likely to be subjected to and so on.
> You can't just insert a picture of a knee joint and expect the patient
> to walk; but a patient will be able to walk with a knee joint made of
> completely non-physiological materials.

The patient will be able to walk, but the natural knee no longer
exists. The joint has no feeling. Only one aspect of it's behavior has
been reproduced. If you were a cartilage cell in that joint, you would
now be dead, which is what you would be if you replaced your brain
with non-physiological materials.

> >> or else a true
> >> source of randomness such as radioactive decay can be used.
> > That's backwards too. Radioactive decay isn't a source of
> > 'randomness', randomness is just our understanding of a category of
> > processes which includes radioactive decay. Randomness doesn't exist
> > as a concrete, independent entity in the cosmos.
> Radioactive decay is truly random. There is no way to be sure when an
> atom is going to decay even if you have all of the information and
> unlimited computing power,

Then it's random to us. You would say the same if you looked at the
behavior of a crowd at a baseball game if you didn't understand the
game. You can assess probabilities of cheering, but couldn't predict
the precise times and intensities of cheers.

> although you can calculate the probability
> that it will decay. On the other hand, with a classical system you can
> be sure how it is going to behave if you have all the information,
> even though chaotic effects make exact prediction a practical
> impossibility.

It's just because the classical system is closer to our PRIF so we can
identify with the sense that it makes more directly.

> >> Also, real
> >> numbers are not in general computable, so if the world is continuous
> >> rather than discrete it would not be computable; however, every
> >> physical process will have a level of engineering tolerance, so
> >> infinite precision arithmetic would not be required and for practical
> >> purposes the world would still be computable. Any other ideas as to
> >> what could be uncomputable?
> > It's not a matter of precision, it's a matter of trying to make up out
> > of a complex configuration of down. It's futile by definition.
> Your definition. You haven't explained the unique non-computable force
> that makes atoms in a brain behave differently to atoms everywhere
> else in the universe.

Atoms behave like atoms. Molecules in a live brain behave differently
than those in a dead brain. What is this force? Cumulative
entanglement. Significance. Negentropy. Sense.


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