On Sep 5, 10:39 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 4:05 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Nothing really new has turned up in the physics underlying the brain
> >> in over a century,
>
> > I'm assuming you're just being thoughtlessly condescending here and
> > not actually saying that physics has not changed in 100 years, or that
> > the brain has some separate physics that anything else. You're not
> > telling me that MRIs don't count as something new, or that quantum
> > theories of consciousness are not the result of recent interpretations
> > of physics.
>
> Many discoveries have of course been made in neuroscience in the past
> hundred years, eg. mapping brain function and working out its
> neuropharmacology, but all these discoveries are consistent with
> old-fashioned chemistry. This is in contrast to advances in astronomy,
> for example. It isn't possible to explain how the sun shines without
> nuclear physics.

Since we haven't found the nuclear physics equivalent of explaining
consciousness through physics or 'old fashioned chemistry', every
discovery in biology, genetics, neuroscience, information science,
theoretical physics, psychology, pharmacology, etc potentially
redefines our understanding of the 'physics underlying the brain'.

>
> >> a subject reasonably well-understood even in the
> >> nineteenth century. However, it is possible that something
> >> fundamentally novel will turn up at some future point.
>
> > That's a strawman of scientific innovation. It wasn't that General
> > Relativity 'turned up' at some point, or that it came to Einsteins
> > attention because of some new kind substance that defied Newtonian
> > mechanics - it was just his making a newer, greater sense out of
> > existing perceptions.
>
> General Relativity was something new and it made predictions that
> differed from those of classical mechanics. Roger Penrose believes
> that quantum gravity is important in brain function and that when the
> theory of quantum gravity is eventually discovered it will be found to
> be not computable, which is why he thinks computers will forever be
> incapable of brainlike intelligence. As it stands, this idea is not
> self-contradictory, but there is no good evidence in its support.

I'm with Penrose on everything of his that I've read or heard. I think
he's probably right about quantum gravity being important to brain
function, but I think that quantum gravity itself will only be
understandable as an aspect of perceptual relativity.

>
> >>In that case,
> >> the brain will still follow the laws of physics, just laws that we
> >> previously didn't know about.
>
> > Right. Sensorimotive interiority is what those laws will look like.
>
> That doesn't sound like a physical law, being a rule describing how
> matter or energy will behave in a particular situation.

It doesn't sound like a physical law because our conception of matter
and energy is missing the ability for matter and energy to participate
in their own existence.

> A true theory
> of consciousness will, if consciousness affects behaviour, describe
> how it will cause ion channels to open where chemistry predicts they
> will remain closed.

Mine does that. Sensorimotive phenomena within the psyche is the same
thing as electromagnetic induction, only seen from the 'inside' or
'throughside'. Since ion channels can be either open or closed,
chemistry can't have an opinion on local causes, let alone massively
synchronized general causes that we see in the nervous system. Ion
channels opening and closing are just the physical shadow of the
sensorimotive processes which they host (and vice versa, our
consciousness is the psychic shadow of neurochemistry - they are the
same thing essentially but opposite things existentially).

Consciousness is not understandable as a physical mechanism, it can
only be described as first hand experience (which by definition cannot
be 'physical', or else you get homunculus recursion). It can cause
events in the brain which have physical, mechanistic patterns, just as
software logic can 'cause' consequences in semiconductors, but there
is no theory of semiconductor engineering which identifies how logic
itself could force transistors to open or close. The logic of software
and psyche *is* the activity of the hardware, only seen from 1-p
instead of 3-p.

> And even short of actually discovering these laws,
> it should be obvious that ion channels are in fact opening contrary to
> the laws already known.

I don't know how many ways I can reassert that this whole notion of
consciousness violating any kind of 'laws of physics' is a red
herring. It's not what I'm saying. My explanation is much deeper than
that. I am saying that the laws of physics are a set complement to
subjective 'laws' - they are the opposite. Where physics is about
discrete, generic electromagnetic objects in public spaces interacting
through probabilistic entropy, consciousness is about compact
(cumulatively entangled), proprietary sensorimotive subjects in
private times interacting through teleological significance. That
symmetry is the important element. That is what sense is, and sense is
what the entire cosmos is.

By focusing on a particular layer of the physical microcosm (ion
channels) and trying to shove the totality of the psyche into it, you
can never get any meaningful result. It's like trying to understand
the history of cinema by looking at the behavior of pixels on a
monitor when watching YouTubes. The information is not accessible at
that level.

Not only is it not accessible, but applying the information that is
accessible (recurring patterns of pixel color and intensity,
electronic behaviors of the technology which produces them, software
handlers of the Web Browser) would be catastrophically misleading and
would in fact become an insurmountable obstacle to ever understanding
what movies are, why they exist, what is worthwhile about them, how
they are written, directed, and produced, etc.

>
> >> The brain's behaviour will still be
> >> computable and therefore the brain's consciousness will still be
> >> computable if the new laws are computable.
>
> > Some aspects of the brain's behaviors are computable, but others never
> > have been and maybe cannot be.
>
> >>If the new laws are not
> >> computable it might still be possible to make artificial brain
> >> components using non-computational devices, and consciousness would
> >> still be preserved.
>
> > I agree. I think it will likely have to be more based upon tissue
> > replication than logical emulation is all.
>
> We would have to work out what the non-computable component of the
> cell is and replicate it.

The non-computable component of the cell is the same as the non-
computable component of every physical system - only more so.

> Are real numbers required for consciousness?

Consciousness is not a computation. For something to seem conscious to
us, all that is required is that is seems to be like us.

> We might then need an analogue computer. Is quantum randomness
> important? Then put an unstable radioisotope into the artificial
> neuron. Are there tiny black holes in the microtubules? Then find out
> a way to make and insert tiny black holes.

It's easier to just make a brain out of stem cells.

>
> >> In a sense it is true that particle physics does not explain human
> >> experience, and this is what Chalmers called the "Hard Problem" of
> >> consciousness. It does not just apply to known physics, it applies to
> >> any naturalistic theory of consciousness. If we show that the brain
> >> contains dark matter, and the dark matter is responsible for
> >> consciousness, it is still possible to say, "But when I see dark
> >> matter, I don't see thoughts and feelings". And you can make that
> >> observation in response to any theory at all.
>
> > That's why we have to have a theory which lets consciousness be what
> > it is and not have to be described in terms which are completely
> > foreign to it. Consciousness is experience. Perception, pattern
> > recognition, sensation, thought, feeling... That's what it is, that's
> > what it does, and that's what it's made of. You can correlate them to
> > external physical patterns, and you can understand their precise
> > relation, and you can use one to drive the other, but you can't make
> > the interior of one thing be the exactly same as the exterior of
> > something else. Something that feels like we do is probably going to
> > be a lot like we are.
>
> It doesn't really explain consciousness to say it is fundamental to
> matter

Why not? Doesn't physics explain matter by saying it is fundamental to
the universe? Why would the ability for the universe to experience
it's own existence (or aspects of it) not be fundamental?

> or fundamental to function and I don't see why one should a
> priori be preferred over the other as an explanation.

Function and awareness are the same thing essentially, but viewed from
opposite vantage points existentially. This is the main idea of my
hypothesis, yet I'm not seeing any sign that you understand what that
means. It means that there isn't ever going to be a functional recipe
for human consciousness, just as a shadow of a fruit tree is never
going to actual fruit. The shadow is an aspect of what the tree is in
relation to visual perception and optics, not something that is being
actively produced within the tree and excreted in a particular shape
on the ground.

Craig

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