On Aug 24, 3:01 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote: > On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 7:13 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote: > >> Well yes, "functional equivalence" does depend on the function you are > >> talking about. The function I am talking about for neurons is the > >> ability to stimulate other neurons. An artificial neuron should > >> stimulate the neurons to which it is connected with the same timing as > >> the biological neuron it replaces. It doesn't have to be exactly the > >> same, just close enough. > > > The ability to stimulate other neurons is not that hard. We can use > > transcranial magnetic stimulation to do that already. The problem is > > not with augmenting the brain with additional resources, it's with > > replacing the parts of the brain that are actually who we are. You can > > have input and output (maybe) emulation, but there's nothing in the > > middle doing the feeling, experiencing, and understanding the meaning > > of those inputs and outputs. That feeling is what determines the > > outputs. There's no external 'timing' that controls our thoughts and > > actions and those of our neurons, the timing arises out of first hand > > experience - voluntary choices about unpredictable situations and > > conflicting priorities. > > Where does the "feeling" that you claim determines the outputs come > from? Can you make it clear whether you believe there is another > substance in the brain other than the chemicals we know about?
Feeling doesn't come from a substance, it's the first person experience of energy itself. Substance is the third person presentation of energy patterns. If you turn it around so that feeling is observed in third person perspective, it looks like determinism or chance, while substance has no first person experience (which is why a machine, as an abstraction, can't feel, but what a machine is made of can feel to the extent that substance can feel.) Whether there are other substances in the brain that we haven't discovered yet is not the point. There might be, but so what. It's not the mechanism of brain chemistry that feels, it's the effect that mechanism has on the cumulatively entangled experience of the brain as a whole, as it experiences with the cumulatively entangled experiences of a human life as a whole. > >> If it's possible to reproduce basic neuronal function as described > >> above without neurotransmitters then it should be possible to > >> reproduce consciousness without neurotransmitters, as explained many > >> times. > > > I know it's been explained many times, because I have explained just > > as many times why it's not true. There is no such thing as a 'basic > > neuronal function', but if there were, it would be made of > > neurotransmitters. It's a living organism withing the context of a > > massive civilization of living organisms, so what you suggest is like > > saying that if it's possible to reproduce basic human function then it > > should be possible to reproduce the major cities of the world without > > humans. > > Do you think it's possible to reproduce the function of anything at all? It's possible to reproduce functions of everything, but there is no such thing as *the* function of something. To reproduce *all* possible functions of something is to be identical to that thing. If the reproduction even occupies a different space then it is not identical and does not have the same function. Think about it. If you have one ping pong ball in the universe, it has one set of finite states (which would be pretty damn finite). If you have another ping pong ball exactly the same there is a whole other set of states conjured out of thin air - they can smack together, roll over each other, move together and apart, etc. BUT, the original ball loses states that it never could have anticipated. True solitude becomes impossible. Solipsism becomes unlikely as the other ball becomes an object that it cannot not relate to. What you're not factoring in is that 'pattern' is a function of our pattern recognition abilities. Even though you firmly believe that our experience is flawed and illusory, somehow that gets set aside when you want to prove that logic is different. Your faith is that the logical patterns that we understand *are* what actually exists, rather than a particular kind of interpretation contingency. You think that A=A because it must by definition... but I'm pointing out that it's your definition that makes something = something, and has no explanatory power over A. In fact, the defining = can, like the second ping pong ball, obscure the truth of what A is by itself. This is critical when you're looking at this level of ontological comparison. Describing awareness itself cannot be accomplished by taking awareness for granted in the first place. First you have to kill "=" and start from nothing. > >> Neurons will do the same thing over and over again, if they are in the > >> same initial state and receive the same inputs. A neuron is a finite > >> state machine. Given certain inputs at the dendrites, it either will > >> or will not send an action potential down its axon. The trick is to > >> work out the state transition table describing its behaviour. > > > People will do the same thing over and over again too, given similar > > initial state and inputs, but that doesn't mean that makes a person > > what it is. Behaviorism is important to understanding some aspects of > > of what people or animals or neurons do, but it tells us nothing about > > how they feel. A pen and paper are finite state machines too, but they > > have infinite possible outputs together. Figuring out the alphabet of > > the languages of neurons is great, but it doesn't get you any closer > > to replacing the speakers of that language with a timing belt and a > > spark plug. > > Figuring out the internal dynamics of the neuron will tell you when > the neuron will fire in response to any given stimulus. You seem to be > saying that it won't, Right, it won't. Just like figuring out the internal dynamics of a router won't tell you when something is going to happen on the internet. A neuron by itself is just a specialized cell. >because some non-physical influence which is the > basis for feelings may come along and make it fire in an unpredictable > way. The cell is a living organism that has sensitivities to particular molecules and electromagnetic states of it's own molecules and those of other cells. It is a machine on the outside, but an anti-machine on the inside. As such it's 'behavior' is a constant flux between predictable and unpredictable. If you isolated it and test it in linear, deterministic contexts, then, like a router unplugged from the internet, you will probably see default FSM behaviors - cycling through sending keep alive packets and waiting for ack packets. It has nothing to do with being able to predict the content of the internet. Do you really think that it is possible to come up with a computer program that will tell you exactly what you are going to do and say five years from now? >This would be something amenable to experimental verification, > since you just need to show that sometimes a neuron (or other cell, I > assume they all have this vital essence) It's only seems like a vital essence to us, because it's more similar to us than a dead cell. To the universe there is no particular preference, I would imagine. > will do things apparently > miraculously, not in accordance with the known laws of nature. That's only in your world where my argument has to be wrong because it contradicts yours. To me, that living things do what they want to do sometimes is an ordinary fact - it is the law of nature. > Surely > if such amazing things happened someone would have noticed and it > would be common scientific knowledge. It is common scientific knowledge. It's why biology, neurology, and psychology are different from physics, and why they are different in a particular way which respects the different laws of nature which apply to cells, brains, and minds as opposed to bowling pins and silicon. > >> But your brain would be convinced that this ersatz vision was real, > >> since it would be getting the same signals in the same sequence from > >> the artificial visual cortex. For example, your language centre would > >> be forced to say that your vision was perfectly normal. > > > You're assuming that the 'language center' is a monolithic logical > > device rather than a community of tens of millions of autonomous > > living entities. They aren't forced to say anything. They aren't > > getting the same signals, at best they are getting tv screen images > > instead of windows to the outside world, but more likely is that there > > is nothing left in the visual cortex to make any images at all. The > > rest of the brain gets pre-digested nutrient sludge instead of > > expertly prepared meals. We can't tell the difference from the > > neurology, just like we can't tell the difference between the color of > > x-rays and the color of gamma rays, but that doesn't mean that the > > brain can't tell the difference. > > You do understand that a neuron fires in response to another neuron to > which it is connected via synapses? You do understand that you're argument is condescension? > The neurons in the language centre > (and everywhere else) would be getting the same signals from the > artificial cortex as they would normally get, so they would fire in > the same sequence as they normally would, so the muscles involved in > speech would get the same signals they normally would, so you would > say the same things you normally would. That's the same fallacy three times. There is no "same". You cannot make an artificial router that produced the 'same' signals as the internet does. You are seeing the brain as some kind of clockwork orange of replaceable parts. It's not like that. It's a giant sense organ. It thinks, chooses, and feels because what it is made of can also, in it's own contextual version, think, choose, and feel. The 'signals' are just what we can detect through a machine which does not have the ability to do those things - it just gives you the white light, not the spectrum of what's going on inside the 'signals'. You cannot reproduce a prism of signals with white light signals, even though they will both look the same on a black and white monitor. > > >> In that case, > >> how do you know that right now that you don't have GPS-like qualia > >> rather than the normal ones? > > > These 'how do you know you're not blind now?' kinds of questions are > > silly to me. It just means that you don't take consciousness seriously > > and value third person views over the first person source of those > > views in all cases and at all times. How do you know we're having a > > conversation on the internet? How do you know that you exist? Meh. > > Sophistry. We don't have to know what our experience is in objective > > terms, if it had any. That doesn't stop us from being able to tell if > > we've gone deaf or blind. > > > We know from our experience that sound qualia is different than visual > > qualia. We know from accounts of synesthesia that these qualia are not > > hardwired to the sense organs and that in fact optical stimulation can > > be interpreted through the qualia of flavor, etc. This should give us > > a clue that there is a qualitative difference which is independent > > from function, otherwise we should not be able to notice the > > difference between tasting food and seeing sound - the sense it makes > > would be the same. It's not just an automatic property of the universe > > that a wavelength of light automatically looks like something instead > > of tastes like something. The wavelength of light in fact, has no > > external properties whatsoever. It's all about how the receiver > > interprets the transmitter. > > Of course I agree that if you have qualia, you know you have qualia. > That is why I think it is impossible to make an artificial device that > replicates the normal pattern of neuronal firings without also > replicating the part those neurons play in consciousness. I agree, but you are assuming that there is a such thing as a normal pattern of neuronal firings. I'm saying, as are others here, that we don't know what we're looking at. a does not = A. A router by itself is not the internet. The collected works of Shakespeare (or Dan Dennett if you like) are not emulable by simulating one of his neurons 'firing pattern' any more than your career path can be predicted by the 'firing pattern' of your arms and legs. > If you > could, then the qualia would change without you realising. It's a > reductio ad absurdum argument. It's the argument that you are asking me for. I know that's absurd, but you're asking my how do I know that I'm not blind or not seeing through GPS. > > Why do you think that mind is mindless? That it senses nothing? The > > visual cortex is made of neurons just like the optic nerve and the > > prefrontal cortex (not the exact same neurons or types of neurons, but > > still neurons). If any of them sense or make sense then they all make > > some kind of sense. You would not be forced to describe memories which > > you could no longer visualize, but you could find that you have access > > to that information if the prosthetic was done well. How well the > > prosthesis is done would determine what form that information would be > > in - whether it would feel remote and command line based, or whether > > it would be a super enhanced visual-esque modeling laboratory. I'm not > > sure that you could get actual vision out of it though. You would need > > new stem cells in there I think to specialize in feeling color and > > shape. > > But if the artificial visual cortex sends the same neural signals to > the rest of the brain, how could the rest of the brain notice that > anything was different? Because what you think is the 'signals' is not the only thing going on. There's a civilization in there. Thousands of substances are being produced and consumed. Do you really think that is necessary to make a blob of grey jello send and receive electrical signals alone? If that were the case then lightning strikes over the millennia might have evolved into an atmospheric consciousness by now. There could be simple cells of continuous electrical storms hovering over areas of the ocean, reproducing and having lives. f I recorded your activities from a telescope in the Andromeda galaxy, and studied the computer enhanced cartoon of what you do, I would make assumptions about your physical environment because that's what I see through a telescope. I might say that your normal working state is to sit in a chair, so that chair makes you work, or your bed is a resting state of your signal pattern. Substance monism assumption is, like behaviorism a thoroughly discredited strawman of existence and awareness. It's a plug to fill the gaping hole in it's hypothetical voyeuristic world view held together by the logic of the conscious human ego. It is the ultimate anthropomorphism hiding behind the facade of de-anthropomorphism. > >> >> It seems to me that biology is sufficient since if you exactly > >> >> replicate the biology, you would replicate awareness. > > >> > That's not the case. An identical twin is close to a biological > >> > replicate the awareness is not at all 'replicated'. They will share > >> > some personality traits but are by no means the same person. My own > >> > dad has an identical twin who has a very different personality and > >> > life path than he has, so I can verify that. > > >> If two identical twins differ mentally, then obviously this is because > >> they differ physically in their brain configuration. My mental state > >> is different today than it was yesterday, and there is less difference > >> between my brain on two consecutive days than there would be between > >> the brains of identical twins. > > > If I impersonate someone, does that obviously mean it's because I have > > changed my physical brain configuration? > > Yes, of course! How could you change your mental state if your brain > state stays the same? That's circular reasoning. How is it that you think that my mind is only the brain but the brain is not my mind? Also you're confusing your levels of computation. We were talking about changes to the hardware of the brain - identical twins, genetics, and now you're conflating hardware with software ('brain states'). With conjoined twins, who have the same genes in the same body, which by your reasoning should produce the same brains. How would you explain that the production of a brain from the same genes is never the same, yet you say the production of a 'signal pattern' from a neuron is going to be the same from neuron to neuron. In other words, in conjoined twins, you have two brains formed from genetically identical neurons, grown in the same body, yet the character of the people who develop through those neurons is verifiably and significantly different. > >> > What biology gives you is access to awareness. Two computers can have > >> > the same hardware, but entirely different contents on their HD and > >> > entirely different users who put that content there. > > >> A change in content on the HD changes the computer physically. > > > But the change does not emerge from the HD or computer itself. It is > > caused by the actions of the user for the user's natural language > > semantic reasons, not for computer scientific reasons. > > It's the same with a brain or computer. The environment acts on > brain/computer state S1 at time T1 and results in brain/computer state > S2 at time T2. Why does the 'environment' get to act but brains and computers can only react? Substance monism has it backwards. It is the subject who chooses, determines, and acts. If it weren't, how could anything feel like it were doing so? What would be the mechanical advantage of that? Both the brain and the computer are sensitive (and insensitive) to their environment in different specific ways. It is the user of the brain and the computer which interprets S1 (T1 is part of S1, not some independent reality) and determines whether or not there will be an S2 and what that will be, based upon their accumulated experienceS and the inherent qualities which they have preferred to use to integrate them. > >> No, I think awareness happens when certain types of information > >> processing happen. > > > Haha. What is information without awareness? > When signals from the environment are processed, for example when an > animal sees some food and through a series of neural events moves > towards the food and starts eating, that is associated with awareness; > at least when the animal is human, probably for other animals as well. 'Seeing' is awareness. What kind of neural events move an animal towards food and why does it invent us to pretend that we are aware of that fact? So I ask again: What is information without awareness? > >> My opinions are determined by biochemical processes. If the > >> biochemistry in my brain were different then my opinions would be > >> different. Where's the problem with that? > > > The problem is that you are a blind powerless puppet of microscopic > > masters you have no connection with, and your every thought and > > experience is a meaningless delusion. You have not explained why this > > conversation exists biochemically, or how 'you' come to 'imagine' that > > you are 'participating' in it. > > If I am the result of these biochemical reactions how does it make > sense to say that I am a puppet? It's like saying I have no power > because I am being pushed around by myself. There is no separate "I" > to be pushed around. What 'result'? You are saying biochemical reactions in, biochemical reactions out. Where in biology do you find yourself? Why is there even a question about it? If your experiences were biological, then you would find them under a microscope. Since you do not, then they must either be metaphysical solipsistic 'emergent properties' in Platonia, or biochemistry itself must feel, see, and have free will. My view explains that biochemistry resolves that by realizing the fundamental dynamic of sense as the most elemental principle of the cosmos. Biochemistry does feel, but that feeling scales up qualitatively over time on the inside as the complexity scales up across space quantitatively on the outside. That's how it works. That's why you don't find a homunculus in a Cartesian Theater, or communities of talking rocks. We can't see the interiority of external phenomena for the same reason that we can't see the externality of our own psyche...because interiority is how the cosmos creates the ontology of privacy. I wish there was some way to put my understanding of this in a physical form and then you could just install it in your brain, but I can't. You have to reason it out for yourself. > >> >> (a) Release of dopamine from Neuron A triggers an action potential in > >> >> Neuron B which causes Muscle C to contract which causes Hand D to > >> >> rise, > > >> > What caused Neuron A to release the dopamine in the first place? > >> > Nothing in the brain - it was caused by an event in the mind, or, more > >> > accurately an experience of the Self, which constellates as many > >> > overlapping events on different levels of sensation, emotion, and > >> > cognition. That's the reason the neuron fires, because something is > >> > happening to us personally. The neuron has no reason to fire or not > >> > fire on it's own. It doesn't care, it just wants to eat glucose and > >> > participate in the society of the other neurons. > > >> Neuron A was triggered to fire by the other neurons or sense organs to > >> which it is connected. There are also some neurons which fire > >> spontaneously (eg.http://www.jneurosci.org/content/20/24/9004.full.pdf). > >> But even the > >> spontaneously firing neurons do so because that is their the way their > >> biochemistry makes them behave. They don't suddenly start doing > >> bizarre and magical things. A table will move across the room because > >> it's pushed or it may move across the room by itself if there is an > >> earthquake, but it won't just move across the room by itself, with no > >> external force. > > > Of course they don't need to do anything bizarre or magical. No more > > than the internet needs to do anything bizarre to host new and > > undreamed of content forever. Just because the alphabet is 26 letters > > does not limit in any way what can be expressed with them. Human > > consciousness is the equivalent of the collected works of Shakespeare > > every second, and that's just the novelty. Every minute hour, day, and > > week produce their own irreducible meta experiences which optimize and > > deprive different neurological trends in the brain, dictating what is > > pruned and what is beefed up. You can't simulate that any more than > > you can make a foot by filling a shoe with plaster. > > If the neurons won't do anything magical then their behaviour is > defined by their biochemistry You keep going back to that. It's like Linus' security blanket. Biochemistry is just what we have figured out so far based upon a particular set of tools and particular logical approach which has been developed recently by domesticated primates. It doesn't define what living organisms are or what they are capable of. You want to be right. You want it to be 'my way or the highway'. I'm trying to show you that is is not your way and it is not the highway. There's other ways, you have only to be interested in them. and is thus in theory predictable and > can be modelled on a computer. They have a very wide repertoire of > behaviour because they constitute a very complex system. The 26 > letters of the alphabet can only be used in 27^n different sentences > of n or fewer letters (27 rather than 26 because we include a space as > another symbol). That is a lot of possible sentences, but it is not > infinite. Why are assuming n is not infinite? Circular reasoning. You are inserting a limit and then citing the consequences of that limit as proof that it's not unlimited. This is why I say that sooner or later an computer brain reveals that it's not a natural brain, because in the fullness of time the infinity of n exhausts the finite isomorphism of functionalism. If the isomorphism is inexhaustible then there simulation can only be the genuine instance - it is the original. (As Stephen might say, the original is the best possible simulation of what it is). >Similarly, the brain has a very large number of possible > thoughts, but not an infinite number. For it to have an infinite > number of thoughts it would need to be infinite in extent. Your network connection doesn't have infinite bandwidth. Does that mean that you are going to run out of internet eventually? The substance monist view of thought is a strawman. It's a delusion where the brain is a sealed can of cellular automata. Discrete patterns which can be isolated and reproduced. Nothing could be more opposite of the truth. > >> >> (b) Release of dopamine from Neuron A generates a desire to lift one's > >> >> hand up, the dopamine then triggers an action potential in Neuron B > >> >> which is experienced as the intention of lifting one's hand up, and > >> >> Neuron B stimulates Muscle C to contract which is experienced as one's > >> >> hand actually rising. > > >> > Great. So we are dopamine puppets from a neuron puppet master. It's > >> > not a legitimate possibility. If it were there would be no reason for > >> > anything like a 'desire' to be generated. It's completely superfluous. > >> > If Neuron A can trigger Neuron B without our help, then it surely > >> > would. It's like saying that maybe your thermostat has a DVD player in > >> > it that plays excerpts from the Wizard of Oz and then it turns on the > >> > furnace and then the house is warmed up which makes the DVD player > >> > choose a different scene of the movie. > > >> "Neuron A can trigger Neuron B without our help" - what does that > >> mean? Do you think that we exist separately from our neurons, deciding > >> whether this one or that one will trigger? The self is just the > >> collection of neurons, acting together. > > > We don't exist separately from our neurons, but we only know that > > because we are alive. If you look at a brain, there is nothing about a > > neuron's behavior that necessitates the existence of some human entity > > making decisions and living a 'life'. You take that to mean that there > > is no entity, whereas I see that as not an option, and that in fact, > > the self is not a collection of neurons but a collection of neuron > > feelings. We are what the brain feels of the body and the body feels > > of the world. It correlates to the actions of the neurons, but only to > > some extent. Maybe 40%. Most of what goes on the neuron level has > > nothing to do with 'us' and most of what goes on in our lives has > > nothing to do with biochemistry. We remain ourselves even when we > > change our diet radically, walk through powerful magnetic fields, get > > electrocuted, etc. > > True, most of what the neurons do does not directly manifest as > consciousness; but all of what we experience as consciousness is due > to what the neurons do. Not what they do, but what they feel. Detecting something is easy. Your skin detects light, but feels it as warmth. To see light, we need to feel it with our eyes. If we could see with our skin, then we wouldn't need eyes. Neurons feel both warmth and see light - and hear and think, etc. but as a group. It's like the internet. There are at least seven layers of conversation going on in this internet exchange. Only one of those layers is accessible physically - Layer 1, wires, chips, electronic components. Nothing above that is comprehensible in physical terms alone. Reproducing switches, routers, SANs, servers, etc wonn't give you anything more than warm metal unless you understand not only packets and tcp/ip, authentication, http, web browsers, and this particular group, but you have to understand users and people and why they created and use the internet in the first place. The idea that substance monism is invested in is that what we experience on the internet is due to what the transistors do. That's true in the most literal sense, but if the universe were that literal then there would be no other sense possible...which is ironically the most fantastically delusional fantasy of all. It is 'let's pretend that we aren't REALLY in the universe, and let's pretend that there is no meaning in the universe except for anything that would support the idea that it has no meaning'. It just can't accept that there aren't little particles of light and sound tucked away somewhere in the brain decides that the light and sound are an illusion, but somehow necessary anyhow. And that these illusions are 'information' but they can only be biochemistry. It's a mess. > > >> > I'm only continuing with this for the benefit of you or anyone else > >> > who might be interested in reading it. There is nothing in your > >> > arguments that I have not considered many times in many many long > >> > discussions. It's all very old news to me. It does help me communicate > >> > my view more clearly though so I don't mind, just don't get frustrated > >> > that I'm not going to ever go back to my (our) old worldview. I think > >> > that I mentioned that I used to hold the same views that you have now > >> > only a few years ago? It's almost correct, it's just inside out. > > >> It seems that you have an emotional reaction to the idea that you are > >> no more than the biochemical reactions in your body. But not wanting > >> something to be true does not make it untrue. > > > Not at all. I know that you think that's true, because otherwise you > > can't make sense of my position, but trust me, I have thought that the > > universe was a simulation since I was five years old. It's only been > > in the last five or ten years that I've seen the limitations of that > > position. We are no more than the biochemical reactions in your body, > > but you seem to have an emotional reaction to the idea that biology > > and chemistry are real things having real experiences rather than > > mathematical 'reactions'. > > > You can't have it both ways. Either cells are alive and have sense or > > we are not made of cells. If you insist that what we are is > > 'collections' of the actions of cells, then you have to explain what > > is collecting them and how that collection gives rise to sense from > > something that has none whatsoever. Collections and information are > > metaphysical ideas. You can't find them on the periodic table, so > > where do you find them? > > The observation is that we are made of matter and that we have > feelings; therefore, putting matter together in a particular way can > result in feelings. Feelings to who? Where? If they aren't a physical precipitate that can be collected in a test tube, and they aren't metaphysical logics in Platonia, then from where does this 'result' emerge and where does it physically play out? It's like saying that putting pixels together in a particular way can results in TV shows. It can be interpreted in a way that would be legally true, but the understanding is completely false. TV is produced top down, not bottom up. It doesn't arise spontaneously from a pool of FSM pixel possibilities. Neurons work the same way. The ones we like to use are us. We push them around like beads on an abacus when we want. The abacus does things back to us in response. >It perhaps isn't unreasonable to speculate that > there might be something other than matter causing the feelings, such > as an immaterial soul, but there isn't any evidence that such a thing > exists. There can't be evidence that interiority exists, because existence and insistence are mutually exclusive. It's like this: http://www.stationlink.com/art/dualism5.jpg http://www.stationlink.com/art/SEEmap2.jpg The problem is that substance monism identifies existence as the sole criteria of reality. That truncates half of the cosmos - the half in which you participate directly. It's very tricky because you are the thing that wants evidence so that you would not naturally consider the wanting of evidence itself as a thing. But from a more objective perspective, of course it is. You can't see your own participation as an object because you can't get outside of yourself, but that's no reason to assume that the universe doesn't see it, doesn't feel it, isn't made of it. The universe does fiction. It makes shit up. We are the evidence. Here's more: http://s33light.org/post/3424866201 http://s33light.org/post/3391830214 Craig -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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