On 9/1/2011 8:02 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
On Sep 1, 7:52 pm, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
On 9/1/2011 3:45 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
without reference to a soul, then your analogy is wrong - it is not like a
shadow. If it is like a shadow then it's behavior must differ from that
physics and chemistry and in spite of your denials are you assuming a violation
physics by an immaterial mind or soul.
Physics and chemistry have no predictions about the brain's behavior.
Sure they do. Cool it off and it stops working. Stimulate a neuron and ion
on it's axon and a electro-chemical pulse is transmitted. Add a cholinesterase
and the synapse stops working - or the whole brain if you add very much.
Those aren't predictions, they're observations. We would have no way
of knowing that should be axons or ion channels based upon properties
of molecules alone. The whole idea of a neuron or a cell is outside of
the scope of what could be anticipated by mathematical chemical
There is no physical law which makes human brains an inevitable
consequence of organic chemistry.
No, but they are probable consequence of evolution.
There isn't really a such thing as a probable consequence of
'evolution' in general. Evolution is a reverse engineering analysis of
heredity. Organisms in specific evolutionary niches being selected for
their fitness relative to their niche. A human brain is not a probable
consequence of anything, it's not even a possible consequence of
anything other than the precise historical events which lead to it's
development. It's not as if human brains will just pop up if you don't
vacuum the floor often enough.
We can only look at what has evolved
biologically and understand what it is in physical-chemical terms, but
those terms by no means explain what the brain is for.
Sure they do. A brain is a bunch of interacting neurons. You can trace it's
development just like you can trace the development of legs or wings or hearts
kidneys. Do you pretend we don't know what those organs are for?
Those organs are for the life of the organism as a whole. They cannot
be explained in non-biological terms of groups of atoms and molecules,
any more than a movie can be understood in terms of video compression
What you are telling me is that either color television is magic or it
has to show up on a black and white TV. I reject that false dichotomy.
Physics and chemistry alone are not sufficient to understand the
relation between the self and the brain. Any presumption that they
could be represents a fanatical reductionism propped up by circular
Maybe, maybe not. It's not a presumption; it's a working hypothesis that
chemistry are sufficient to explain the physical and chemical processes of the
That no soul or spirit is needed to provide libertarian free will. Maybe
that's not true
- but to simply assert it's not true, as you do, seems more like fanaticism to
So what physical or chemical process specifically causes libertarian
free will? Can it make a fire hydrant have free will? What is the
minimum criteria to instantiate this physical process?
I'm not just asserting that it's not true, I'm explaining over and
over why it's not true and giving straightforward analogies to help
make the point.
The problem is that the shadow is not what is determining the motion.
It's the palm tree in it's environment of wind, rain, birds, etc. Same
thing with the brain, although it's bi-directional. We are influenced
by our brain and vice versa, so we are each other's shadow side. Our
feelings and experiences alone determine how our brain will behave in
part, and that's the part that cannot be emulated by computation
without being able to live our life from our subjective point of view.
The other functions that the brain is doing could maybe be deduced
from the status of the rest of the body and emulated with greater
success, but that too may be a naive reduction of the brain's
relationship with the body.
That's not to say you can't make a recording of the brain activity of
someone and have some success playing it back on another - just as a
computer playing an mp3 of a Mozart symphony doesn't need to know how
to emulate the activity of a philharmonic orchestra, but they are two
very different things. The computer is not it's own user. The brain
You're not answering my questions though.
I know we have different feelings about different things, I'm asking
you why anything has any feelings at all, and is a feeling a physical
thing or not?
There are different ways of answering a "why?" question. In this case, one
answer is that
feeling is a physiological response to the environment. We have such responses
they are, or were, advantageous in survival and reproduction and hence selected
evolutionary process. This explains why we have lots of tacticle sensors on
where we can react to things, and not so many in our digestive tract where our
are limited. Feelings are physical, but they are not things (i.e. objects)
changes in things, e.g. hormones released into the blood stream.
That doesn't explain anything.
It explained why we have lots of feeling on the outside as compared to the
does your soul-theory have to say about it - skin cells have more sensiormotive
I have no soul-theory. My hypothesis posits a primitive sensorimotive
topology to physics with specific characteristics.
We don't feel anything outside of our body directly, we feel our body
tissues feelings through our nervous system's feelings, of which we
are a part. We are the feelings of our nervous system. All of our
feeling and sensation is on the inside of our nervous system, but the
nature of sensation is such that what is doing the sensing imitates
that which is being sensed.
We have tactile feelings which correspond to our skin receptors,
visual feelings which correspond to our retina, aural feelings from
our inner ear, etc. We have lots of other senses as well, kinesthetic,
vestibular, olfactory, gustatory, but also cognitive sense, emotional
sense, moral sense, common sense, social senses, etc etc. It's all
different kinds of pattern recognition drawing on different
extractions of sensorimotive experience.
Again, our stomach digests things, our
immune system handles much more complex and important tasks related to
our survival and reproduction without our feeling anything.
You switch back and forth.
No, I don't but it's completely understandable that most people are
going to think that I am, because it's a new concept entirely.
On the one hand you assert that brain cells feel things
because it's inherent in biological cells. Now you assert cells of the immune
don't feel anything. How do you know they don't? How do you know the brain
Whenever you mention magic, then I know you aren't understanding what
I mean. I don't mind the accusation (because it's exactly the kind of
sentimental and unscientific objection that my model predicts from
substance monism), but it tells me that I might not be communicating
the idea well. I intentionally avoid controversial areas of
consciousness - near death experiences, psychic awareness, ESP, etc,
because they are not necessary to my hypothesis. I only deal with
ordinary human experience reproducible under typical conditions of
The concept is:
Yes - brain cells feel things because it's inherent in biological
Cells that are not part of the brain feel things too, but we don't
feel them because we aren't the feelings of those cells, we are the
feelings of the cells of certain regions of our brain.
So we are the feelings of the cells. Are we also the thoughts of the cells? The values
of the cells? The thoughts of the cells?
part is that nervous system cells are specially engineered to de-
emphasize their own sense so that it is translucent to the sense of
the body and of the outside world through the sense organs of the
But those sense organs are cells too. What is this "sense of the body" that is different
from the sense of the cells?
Just like a computer is like a giant silicon molecule, the
nervous system exploits the electrolytic aspects of biology to make
the equivalent of a giant cell process of the entire organism.
So yes, it is tricky, but it would be tricky to describe a system that
you are in fact part of. You can't treat it like a voyeur studying it
in an anatomy class. Our cells have private experiences, but our
nervous system's private experiences (our lives) are only based upon
amplifications of some kinds of feelings of some groups of cells.
Right; the ones that correspond to computations of actions and memories.
feel our tongue, we taste what our taste buds taste, but we don't feel
or taste our kidneys. Our kidneys do though. Not in our nervous
system's qualia of flavors and tactile sensation probably, but in very
precise physiological-biochemical qualia.
But you've given no reason for why we taste but we don't feel the feelings of our
kidneys. I have given an explanation in terms of the evolutionary functionality. We can
decide to spit out something that tastes bad. We don't have that kind of control over out
kidneys so there's no advantage in evolving feelings of kidney function.
Or it's easily explained by as a result of evolving a self-image to do the
relevant to action.
Self-image? Is that another metaphysical abstraction that somehow
lives inside of particle physics and chemistry?
It's an abstraction of a human brain - but not of all brains.
no mechanical advantage, nor is there *any* possibility that feeling
can arise from physical evolution. As you say, they are not objects,
so they cannot evolve. 'Changes' in hormones in a blood stream don't
just decide that they are a 'feeling'. There is no 'they'. A change
isn't a thing that feels. It's only the cells themselves, or the
tissues they make up that could possibly feel these changes. The
appeal to 'changes' and 'responses' as sense agents is metaphysical.
The need for agents to sense feelings is metaphysical - it is spiritualism.
And the idea of feelings without an agent to feel them is somehow less
metaphysical? That's funny. Or, I guess I should say - there is
funnyness...somewhere. Or nowhere? Anywhere?
You're making stuff up again. I didn't say materialism was not metaphysics -
it is. But
so is your theory.
If you admit it's metaphysics than I don't have a problem with it.
Then it is truly a matter of taste. The only difference then is that I
see my metaphysics as a direct antipode to physics in a precisely
comprehensible symmetry, while you are okay with a more ad hoc
metaphysics of information and models, connections, forces, etc. I'm
cool with that, I'm just presenting another way to tie it all together
so it makes sense as a whole without any loose ends.
But you are presumably asking about feelings as emotions: thoughts of joy or
satisfaction or anxiety.
No, you had it right before. I'm asking about sensation and the
interpretation of sensation (which I call feeling). Interpretations of
what I call feelings are what I would call emotions, and the
interpretation of emotions are what I call thoughts.
These are the same physiological changes sensed at the level of
consciousness in humans and put into an inner narrative. Evidence for this is
that various drugs can produce these feelings independent of other changes in
There is a physiological side of emotion and an experiential side,
just like everything else. You can manipulate emotions
physiologically, and you can manipulate physiology emotionally. It's
bi-directional: bottom up AND top down.
Really? Can you will yourself to be sad, happy, satisfied? I don't think so.
Of course you can. If you imagine something terrible happening to
someone you care about, you will yourself to be sad. Some people do it
for a living, they are called actors. Sorry to be snide, I don't mean
it to you personally, I'm just responding to the lameness of substance
But that's not just willing. That's recalling or imagining some interaction
environment. Drugs can make you happy or sad without any reference to the
But recalling or imagining environmental references can make you happy
or sad without any drugs. It's symmetrical (non) supervenience.
But neither one is simply willing yourself to be happy or sad.
What are the implications of this for the robot/android whose artificial neural
brain produces human like behavior? Well it's obvious that a silicon based
respond to LSD or oxycontin like a human one. And similarly the silicon brain
respond to an EMP that an real brain won't even notice.
Right, which is why we know from the start that a silicon brain can
never emulate ALL of the behaviors of a natural brain.
The question then is whether this
shows the artificial and human brains instantiate different qualia even when
behavior is the same or only when there are these different responses to the
It's not that the inability to respond in the same way as a natural
brain equals different qualia, but it certainly should be an indicator
that it very well could, especially if we think that qualia is related
to electrochemical processes. Mainly we have no reason to imagine that
a silicon brain has any other qualia beyond that inherent in it's
physical manufacture and operation.
We have an excellent reason to imagine that. Namely the same reason we imagine
as we did for millenia without knowing what was inside of them (or ourselves).
We imagine others do because they are walking around in the same
bodies we are.
But they are not all the same. Do you think dogs have qualia? Chimpanzees?
Sure, everything has qualia. They probably overlap and underlap:
A=dogs, B= chimpanzees, C=chimpanzees who have been abused, etc.
Then what determines what qualia they have. The neurons in the brains of dogs and humans
are almost identical. So must it not be the number and the way they are organized that
accounts for the difference?
We can have sex with them and make babies. What does a
baby silicon brain look like? Not as cute probably.
Not as cute as what? Have you seen a babies brain? How do you know babies
I'm comparing a silicon brain to a baby, not to a baby's brain (since
a computer has no other body than it's silicon hardware). How do I
know babies don't have silicon brains? Um, I guess because we would
have heard that neurologists had noted that when they do surgery on
babies they find computers in there instead of brains.
That would only apply to baby's whose brains have been operated on - the subset who's
brains were not working right. So your belief that normal babies don't have silicon
brains is based on their behavior.
It doesn't learn to feel like a
person, just as your computer doesn't learn how to see you through the
monitor. It's not alive. It has as much qualia as a shoe.
Unsupported and unreasoned assertions. Dogma of spiritualism.
So you think that your computer is looking at you through the monitor
and will learn to recognize your face eventually? Somehow my pointing
out the absurdity of that is spiritualism??
My computer can see me through a camera and it recognizes my face as a security
No, your computer can't see anything.
Sure it can. It collects photons, forms an image, interprets it and acts on it. That's
what we call "seeing".
It wouldn't know the difference
between your face and a flash drive with the right software plugged
into the usb where the camera is supposed to be.
And you wouldn't know the difference between me posting this and a chatbot
"The most environmentally friendly diet is cannibalism."
--- George Tucker
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