On Aug 17, 6:38 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 3:51 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> 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.
> Good, so you agree that the idea of a partial zombie is absurd! So do
> you now have an alternative explanation for what would happen if a
> fuctionally identical part were substituted into your visual cortex,
> where visual qualia occur?

You have missed the point of last several hundred sentences I've
written. There is no such thing as a functionally identical part that
is not the genuine part. Any substitution potentially affects qualia,
to what degree depends on the degree in isomorphism of the substitute,
both logically and materially. Also visual qualia do not occur in the
visual cortex, they occur in a person's awareness, through the
interiority of the visual  cortex + (the interiority of) the retina +
(the i) of the eye + (i) the body's external environment + the
exterior projection of congnitive and emotional associations
contributed by other brain regions interiorities.

> You would behave normally and tell everyone
> that your vision had not changed, since the information reaching the
> rest of your brain, including your language centre, would be the same.
> That's what "functionally identical" means.

Then functionally identical is a meaningless tautology, as I have
explained several time. My answer is always going to be the same each
time I read this misguided non-thought non-experiment. You're just
saying 'if everything is the same, how can it be different', and
glossing over my correct insistent that everything cannot be the same
unless it is the genuine original. Even the original is not the same
from year to year, so why is a plastic appliance developed over a few
years in a lab based on two dimensional logic going to feel the same
as a million living cells resulting from 4 billion years of multi-
dimensional experiential evolution?

> >> 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.
> The inputs are light, sound, temperature, touch, taste and smell.
> Sense organs convert environmental stimuli into electrical signals,

Environmental stimuli are already electromagnetic signals. We don't
convert them, we become them, to the extent that our hardware is able.
Then we try to make our environment more like what we want and need -
our own sensorimotive experience insists that we do that. That is as
much a part of what life is as any biochemical definition. Life is
nothing less than an experience of living, despite any attempts to
convince ourselves that life might really be no different than math.

> since like computers brains can't directly access the world.

But unlike computers we have inputs from our selves. Our opinions and
desires, experiences and wisdom. Our style, perspective, and
proprietary character. This what cannot be modeled logically.

> >> 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.
> The functional description of the neuron also includes its position in
> relation to other neurons. An electronic circuit is made up of a small
> number of components, but they perform different roles depending on
> circuit topology.
> There is a difference between voluntary and involuntary experience and
> the difference is that you feel responsible for one but not the other.

 That you feel responsible for one and not the other is a function of
being able to feel at all. That is not achieved by neuron position or
circuit topology. Feeling is dependent upon what makes up the circuit.
What is it a circle of? A circle of live burning cats feels something,
a circle of transistors does not...not in a shrieking, horrifying,
unforgettably traumatizing way anyhow. Transistors made of inorganic
material doesn't feel - it detects. Burning cats feel AND detect.

> >> > 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.
> It may be better to say the act of observation *is* the qualia.

Qualia isn't an act, it's a sensorimotive experience of sense-making.
Observation is just one kind of sense making. Feeling or being is

> >> > 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).
> Nonsense. The physical laws determine what your brain does.

What physical law determines how you are going to respond to this? Is
your opinion from a different part of the Law of Thermodynamics than
mine? How do you explain our difference of opinion using brain
chemistry alone? It's a throwback to 19th century materialism. 'It is
all one great machine with subordinate parts'. The billiard ball model
was sunk with Einstein and Heisenberg, Freud and Jung, Picasso and
Stravinsky. The 20th century happened.

> >> 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.
> The stuffed animal and the telephone are not good simulations.

Neither is a computer. But I really don't know if you are ever going
to be able to see that. You might try something though.

> >> 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
> > whole.
> A physical law is a rule or set of rules which determines what a
> system will do under given circumstances.

What law governs 'sets of rules'?

>The gravitational attraction
> between two bodies is different if they are further apart, but that
> doesn't mean that they do not follow a consistent physical law!

They don't follow a physical law, they just do what they can depending
on what they are. Our observations of what they do can be summarized
by our understanding, which we call a physical law.

>On the
> contrary, the classical law of gravitation says that the force between
> them varies inversely as the square of the distance. Similarly, a
> molecule in a beaker of water may behave differently compared to the
> same molecule in a cell, but both molecules follow exactly the same
> chemical laws, which take into account temperature, pH, osmolality,
> concentration etc.

That has nothing to do with the psyche of a human being and it's
expression through the tissue of a human brain, body, and lifetime.

> >> 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.
> To an external observer the knee functions normally and to the owner
> it functions normally, since he may truthfully tell you that he feels
> exactly the same as he did before he got arthritis. Of course the
> artificial joint is different: it's made of metal, it shows up very
> opaque on X-ray, there is a scar over it. But these differences do not
> affect function.

If he breaks his artificial knee, he won't experience the same pain as
if he broke his original knee. That is a function. The difference
means that it does not 'function normally'. He can take a 3/4" drill
and put a hole straight through his patella five inches and not feel a
damn thing. That is not 'functioning normally'. Why not admit it?

> >> > 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.
> No, the radioactive decay is truly random,

What makes you an authority on what is truly random?

>while the behaviour of the
> crowd is just difficult to predict, unless as Brent pointed out
> radioactive decay or other quantum events are amplified to make it
> truly random also.

Why would the behavior of a crowds at many different baseball games be
any easier to predict than radioactive decay?

> > 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.
> Molecules in a live brain behave differently because the environment
> is different, but molecules everywhere in the universe still follow
> exactly the same physical laws.

Of course, molecules do what molecules do. Minds do things to
molecules, molecules do things to minds. It's not really debatable.


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