On Sep 12, 2:06 am, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 10:29 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
> > On Sep 11, 7:35 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > On Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 4:41 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > > >> The individuals in the crowd [wave]
> > > >> don't need to understand anything about what is going on, they just
> > > >> need to follow the rule.
>
> > > > That is the same thing. Following the rule requires that they are
> > > > 1) capable of knowing the rule
> > > > 2) capable of knowing when the rule applies
> > > > 3) capable of following the action proscribed by the rule
>
> > > > All of these require sense, or sensorimotive perception to be precise.
>
> > > >> The wave is an emergent phenomenon which you
> > > >> can see if you stand back and look at the whole crowd.
>
> > > > It's just as much the individual standing and sitting that emerges as
> > > > a phenomenon of the wave. If it was just bottom up and not top down,
> > > > the wave would be starting and ending in multiple areas at the same
> > > > time and never achieve coherence as a single sweeping wave in one
> > > > direction. It's seen by looking at the whole crowd, but without
> > > > looking at the crowd, there is nothing to participate in. It would
> > > > just be standing up when people around you stand up.
>
> > > All it takes is that everyone consistently stand up and sit down when
> > > either the person to their left or right (for anticlockwise and
> > > clockwise travelling waves) stand up. You could program a group of
> > > quite stupid robots to do it. The people in the crowd are not so
> > > stupid but their intelligence is not necessary for the generation of
> > > the wave.
>
> > They have to be able to sense whether the person standing up is on
> > their left or their right, but without any sense of the wave as a
> > whole, there is no reason to do that. In order for there to be a wave,
> > something has to make sense of it as a wave. There has to be patterns
> > as 'clockwise', succession, reaction, cycle, and imitation being
> > recognized. It can't be accomplished just with a dumb piston.
>
> What about of dumb water molecules, can they not form a wave?  Complex
> things can result from very simple rules, when you have a huge number of
> those simple things interacting with each other.

Water molecules aren't necessarily dumb, and they don't necessarily
'form a wave'. A wave is just one sensorimotive interpretation of what
water or other kinds of matter in certain states do. It is how we
perceive a class of events related to those classes of substance.
There is no actual waveness that physically exists - it's a pattern
recognition that insists in how we make sense of our perceptual niche
of the universe.

To say that complex things can result from very simple rules is true
enough, but it's circular reasoning that distracts from the relevant
questions: What are 'rules' and where do they come from? How are they
enforced? Why would there be a difference between simple and complex
to begin with and what makes one lead to the other but not the other
way around?

>
>
>
> > > >> Similarly with
> > > >> neurons: they each follow simple rules, and they are not aware of the
> > > >> grand picture, which is the emergent phenomenon of intelligence and
> > > >> consciousness.
>
> > > > No, because that would necessitate an entity that was not neurons to
> > > > "stand back and look at the whole". Since there is nobody here but us
> > > > neurons, neurons must in fact facilitate both top down and bottom up
> > > > direction.
>
> > > The system of neurons instantiates an observer, the person.
>
> > Why would it do that on top of already doing everything that the
> > person thinks they are doing? It's superfluous, metaphysical magic.
>
> If they didn't then you would be unaware of the nail you stepped on, or the
> fact that you are hungry or thirsty.  You seem to think we could sleep walk
> through life and be just as successful without consciousness.  (This is a
> belief in zombies)

To me there is no question that awareness is necessary for existence,
living organisms or not. You're conflating awareness in general with
human consciousness, as if it were necessary to have a multi-sensory
technicolor 3D holographic presentation of the universe to be able to
feed yourself or avoid sharp objects. Insects feed themselves and
avoid danger quite successfully without presumably having human
consciousness.

Our immune system or endocrine system, digestive system, etc performs
much more complex tasks than wandering around looking for food without
(presumably) having some fictional GUI to assist it. It's not a belief
in zombies because zombies are in the eye of the beholder. Whether or
not we think something is a zombie has nothing to do with what it
actually experiences. In my model, everything in the universe likely
has some kind of qualitative experience, it's just a matter of the
depth and richness of the sense and motive power involved.

>
>
>
> > > >> There is no spirit of the crowd wave directing the
> > > >> individuals in the crowd, and there is no spirit of consciousness
> > > >> directing the neurons.
>
> > > > Right. The spirit model is a category error because it conceives of
> > > > sensorimotive experience or perception as a substance. It's an ideal
> > > > monism. To understand my model, you have to let go of that aether-
> > > > phologiston-spirit concept and realize that just because there is no
> > > > substance associated with perception does not mean that it isn't as
> > > > real as a substance - it just works differently - it's a different
> > > > topology which arises within and through substance as meaning,
> > > > purpose, consequence, significance, charge, motion, energy, etc.
>
> > > >> The low level behaviour completely accounts for
> > > >> the high level behaviour.
>
> > > > Not at all. The low level behavior has no meaning by itself. The high
> > > > level motive instantiates the low level behavior to a great extent.
>
> > > The low level behaviour has no meaning on its own, but it creates
> > > meaning at a higher level.
>
> > Why would it do that? Why create a higher level at all? Again, it's
> > unscientific speculation.
>
> But sensiormotiveness is not?

Not at all. Sensory and motor are scientific categories of observed
neurological function, and I think they bridge our understanding for
first person phenomenology with neurophysiology. All of our
experiences can, I think, be understood as sensorimotive phenomena in
a very ordinary and concrete way.

>
>
>
> > > There is no downward causation from high
> > > level to low level: that would be magic, and it would be observable as
> > > magic.
>
> > Not at all. It's ordinary cognition. I'm doing it right now by picking
> > words and putting them together to express myself, then typing the
> > keyboard and correcting the typos. I don't have to do this. I'm not
> > compelled by the power of biochemistry like a morphine addict.
>
> So you believe you are non-deterministic?

I think that I am a continuum of phenomena, ranging from almost purely
non-deterministic and subjective to almost completely deterministic
and objective structures...just like everything else in the universe.

> If you are non-deterministic,
> then nothing determines what you do and you are a slave to the roll of a
> die.

Only if you a priori eliminate the possibility of free will and sense.
Then you are left with the options that make no sense and have no free
will.

>
> > There
> > is of course some physiological and neurological correlates to what
> > I'm doing but what you aren't acknowledging is the fact that those
> > correlates are not materially important.
>
> This sounds like a rejection of the mind-brain identity thesis, which is
> what functionalism / computationalism do.

It's a rejection of a simplistic version of the mind-brain identity
thesis in favor of my own sense-essence-existence identity thesis.

>
> > They are not what we care
> > about, which is why you and Bruno think that we can simulate what is
> > important (the logic and cognition) with arithmetic enacted digitally.
> > We don't really care about the factual underpinnings of this
> > conversation - they are irrelevant. What is material is the 'fiction'
> > of the high level self and it's meanings. I should add that it only
> > seems like 'fiction' to us, because that's what we're made of. Just as
> > matter seems solid to us because our bodies seem solid. From a truly
> > objective point of view, an idea or an emotion may be every bit as
> > 'solid' to the universe in general as a bullet or a freight train
> > seems to us.
>
> > You've got it backwards because you are buying into the observations
> > of the self while using them to reject the self in the first place.
> > You are saying that mind cannot move matter because we would see
> > something happening physically that we can't explain. I understand
> > what you're saying completely, but it's a fallacy. The fact is that we
> > do change our own neurochemistry voluntarily, and it is high level to
> > low level, and it is observable is electromagnetic changes emerging
> > from multiple regions in the nervous system simultaneously, not, as
> > you think it does, in a linear chain reaction from neuron to neuron.
> > There are linear chain reactions as well, as there are cascading
> > consequences of our thoughts and feelings, but there is not always a
> > neurochemical reason for thoughts and feelings that make sense in
> > physiological terms. The purpose of this discussion is not a
> > biochemical purpose and it makes no sense as such. It is a semantic,
> > psychological, high level purpose that absolutely directs low level
> > neurological processes (as well as working with the sensorimotive
> > consequences of those electromagnetic processes).
>
> Have you ever played with "The Game of Life" 
> (http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/).

Haha, of course. Thirty years ago. I notice there's been no
improvement since then.

If you select the "Gosper Glider
> Gun" and set speed to fast, you can see the infinite creation of apparently
> self-motivated gliders, which travel forever based on the very simple rules
> of the game.

Actually when I try it that way it goes into a loop after a few
seconds. What you're not able to see is that these 'patterns' are
products of our pattern recognition. We project the sense of progress
onto the pixels. There is no objective pattern there at all. Each
pixel is a meaningless bit turning on or off in isolation. It doesn't
even know it's a bit, it's just synched electromagnetic changes in
semiconductors and a monitor.

> We might ascribe actions to the Gosper Glider Gun, and say it
> is causing lower level effects such as the state changes of cells far
> removed from the gun itself, but this does not mean the gun is violated the
> underlying rules of the system or doing anything unexpected.

Right. High level processes cause lower level effects without
violating the underlying rules of the system. They are making the
rules of the system. When you play a game, you are making new
temporary rules which govern the production of your own
neurotransmitters associated with the emotions of enjoying the game.
If you choose not to play the game then those neurotransmitters will
not be produced. It's up to you, personally. You can say that it's
just the neurotransmitters themselves causing the neurons to produce
them or it's the neurons themselves causing a hallucination of a
person thinking they are playing a game, but honestly, that's absurd.
The brain can make whatever neurotransmitters it wants, it doesn't
need to cook up a game and a player of games as an excuse.

>They are
> simply higher-level more complex behaviors built upon simple rules acting on
> a large number of interacting pieces.
>
Why is that 'simply'? How do you get 'pieces' to 'interact' and obey
'rules'? The rules have to make sense in the particular context, and
there has to be a motive for that interaction, ie sensorimotive
experience.

>
>
> > > >> What? A ligand-activated ion channel opens because it is a protein
> > > >> which changes its shape when a small molecule, the neurotransmitter,
> > > >> lodges in one of its nooks and changes the protein's shape by pushing
> > > >> and pulling at it. If this doesn't happen then the ion channel won't
> > > >> open.
>
> > > > But those neurotransmitters won't be present unless the high level
> > > > experience which is associated with their presence is transpiring. You
> > > > can fake it - you can fool the ion channel with drugs, but you can
> > > > also manipulate the some kinds of neurotransmitter release using only
> > > > your thoughts.
>
> > > No, no, no, you can't. Your thoughts supervene on a chain of physical
> > > events.
>
> > My thoughts *are* the chain of physical events. They determine them
> > and are determined by them.
>
> Craig, can you tell me if you disagree with the following description of
> physical supervience:
>
> "To give a somewhat simplified example, if psychological properties
> supervene on physical properties, then any two persons who are physically
> indistinguishable must also be psychologically indistinguishable; or
> equivalently, any two persons who are psychologically different (e.g.,
> having different thoughts), must be physically different as well.
> Importantly, the reverse does not follow (supervenience is not symmetric):
> even if being the same physically implies being the same psychologically,
> two persons can be the same psychologically yet different physically: that
> is, psychological properties can be multiply
> realized<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_realizability>in
> physical properties."

Yes because it assumes that there is a such thing as two persons who
are physically or mentally indistinguishable. Even one person is not
indistinguishable from themselves from moment to moment. Do they have
the same eyebrow mites crawling around their face? Do they have the
same quadrillion bacteria in their gut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Gut_flora)?

There is of course a strong correlation between physical and
psychological phenomena of a human mind/body, but that correlation is
not causation. Psychological properties can be multiply realized in
physical properties, but physical properties can be multiply realized
in psychological properties as well. Listening to the same song will
show up differently in the brain of different people, and different
even in the same person over time, but the song itself has an
essential coherence and invariance that makes it a recognizable
pattern to all who can hear it. The song has some concrete properties
which do not supervene meaningfully upon physical media.

>
>
>
> > If one element of this chain has no cause - if
> > > neurotransmitter is released somewhere in the brain "because of
> > > thoughts" rather than because of an action potential travelling down
> > > the axon - then that would be experimentally detectable and it would
> > > look like magic (unless it is a quantum level event like radioactive
> > > decay responsible - which would follow strict statistical patterns).
>
> > Action potentials traveling down thoughts *are* thoughts. That's what
> > I've been saying over and over and over. Heads = thoughts
> > (sensorimotive phenomenology), Tails = action potential
> > (electromagnetic physiology). They are the same essential coin seen
> > from two different existential sides. I understand completely what you
> > are saying, and I've heard it many many times before. I get your view
> > completely. I understand your objections.
>
> If you understand this position completely, perhaps you could point out its
> error.

That's what I've been doing. It's error is that it is based upon
observations which disprove the existence of the observe. It seeks to
explain away consciousness by taking order itself for granted and
minimizing the significance of life, awareness, novelty, creativity,
free will, teleology, etc. It's looking at only the tails side of the
coin and saying there is no such thing as 'heads', and the proof is
that if there were a heads side, we would see it in the tails side.

>
> > You don't understand mine at
> > all. You're just stuck repeating the same circular reasoning. You
> > don't understand that your worldview means that you don't exist, and
> > therefore are not entitled to an opinion about anything. Of course
> > neurotransmitters are released because of thoughts. It is
> > experimentally detectable and it does look like magic, except that we
> > call that magic electromagnetism.
>
> If thoughts are just electromagnetism,

They aren't. The sensorimotive experience of thought correlates to
electromagnetism (as time correlates to space and entropy to
significance) but they are not interchangeable. They are two different
existential ontologies that share a third essential ontology.

> and we understand electromagetism
> extremely well, it is perhaps our most solid and best verified of theories (
> seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics), then what in
> theory would prevents us from predicting exactly what a particular brain
> would do in any possible circumstance?

We understand the what and the how of electromagnetism, but to predict
what a brain would do you need to understand the who and the why of
sensorimotive perception. With only half the picture, you only get
half of the predictive power.

>
>
>
> > > >> The structure of the receptor protein determines what neurotransmitter
> > > >> it will respond to, as biochemists have known for many years. How do
> > > >> you propose that it works?
>
> > > > That's correlation, not causation. The cause and effect of anything is
> > > > sense and motive which scales up to perception. The 3-p view of that
> > > > electromagnetism, which scales up to relativity. Biochemistry is
> > > > electromagnetism within the inertial frame scale of cells and
> > > > macromolecules. Sensation is the same thing but from the interior 1-p
> > > > perspective. They are essentially the same thing, but existentially
> > > > (ontologically) polarized.
>
> > > > It works because of what molecules are, what cells are, what organisms
> > > > and their niches do and the sense of how it all fits together. It has
> > > > functional processes and it has essential properties that give rise to
> > > > the functions and the need for the functions.
>
> > > I don't really understand what you're saying but it sounds like you
> > > are sceptical about high school chemistry.
>
> > No, I'm skeptical about a high school level understanding of chemistry
> > being used to disqualify the existence of life, feeling, awareness,
> > sense, and free will.
>
> I don't think Stathis, Bruno or myself are denying any of these things.

Bruno isn't, he's just attributing them to arithmetic - which I
respect, but disagree with because of recent changes in how I think
about it. You and Stathis though, are pure substance monists. Anything
that doesn't show up in a billiard ball model must be magic.

> I don't think it disqualifies the gliders or guns of the Game of Life to admit
> that they are complex phenomena which nonetheless follow from simple rules.
> A lone electron is a simple thing,

It's not a simple thing. It's a simple name for a very complex
phenomenon. The gliders or guns of the Game of Life aren't things at
all in themselves. They're experiences of a people using a GUI.

> but when you have ~10^25 of them confined
> to the size of a human skull moving in immensely complicated shapes and
> patterns no one can use the fact that the electron is simple to disqualify
> the awesome complexity and wonder of the mind.

If the electron truly were simple, and it had only simple physical
functions, then it would disqualify the mind from existing. Nothing
about the physical functions of the brain, neurons, or electrons we
observe suggest the existence of a mind.

>
> > Saying that a structure 'determines' the way
> > something 'responds' has no explanatory power at all. It's taking for
> > granted the ability of structures to 'determine' and 'respond' as if
> > those were logical expectations to have of shapes of matter. It takes
> > for granted that the existence of a thing which has some reason to
> > determine or respond to anything without making that thing explicit.
> > What good is input and output to something that is nothing but input
> > and output? Nothing makes sense without sense itself, and nothing
> > which exists makes no sense.
>
> Take a thermostat and give it the ability to look over and compare its
> current temperature and past temperatures, to attempt to predict the future
> based on the trends and patterns of temperatures, to talk about these
> considerations and its present state, and you will have trouble denying that
> this thermostat really does have sense in the same meaning of the word as we
> do.

I have no trouble denying that. The thermostat element does have sense
of local temperature, and the computer required to record and analyze
statistical trends has sense of being an electronic device opening and
closing circuits according to the natural inclinations of it's
material components to store and discharge current, but the two things
have no sense of each other. The computer doesn't know what
temperature is at all, and the thermostat doesn't know what a computer
is at all.

In contrast, we understand what temperature means to us and why we
care about it. We actually feel something, we have an opinion about
the temperature and what it means in terms of our comfort or planning
our activities etc. The thermostat, even with advanced predictive
computation capacities, has no comparable sense or experience. It has
no general intelligence or ability to question it's programming - it
just blindly takes measurements and plugs them into logic circuitry
without ever knowing what logic is.

>
> I think your theory is the result of assuming awareness is as simple, plain,
> and fundamental as it seems.

My theory is not assuming awareness is simple, it is deducing that
fact after long and careful consideration of the alternatives.

> If instead, you considered this simplicity an
> illusion hiding a vast underlying complexity, you would probably have
> developed a very different theory.

It's the other way around. I started with the assumption that you
have, that naive realism is an illusion hiding a vast underlying
complexity - and it is that, but it is also simple and it must seem
that way for a reason. Once I realized that complexity is no more or
less real or important than the simplicity, and that actually
describing simple experiential phenomena is made meaningless by
complex physical description, I was able to see the issue from both
sides and see how each side distorts and dismisses the significance of
other.

There is no reason to entertain the idea that our native perception is
less real or important than the neurology that exists solely to create
it without a clear explanation of why there would be such an illusion
and how it is manufactured.

>  If consciousness is so simple, why is
> the brain so complex?  If you travelled one centimeter for each neuron in
> your brain you would circle the globe 25 times.

Awareness in general is simple. Human consciousness is an incredibly
complex, deep, and rich elaboration of trillions of experiences and
awarenesses.

>
>
>
> > > >> Well, I don't understand. Can you clearly state, do the neurons
> > > >> respond only to measurable physical stimuli, or do they other things
> > > >> as well?
>
> > > > They respond electromagnetically to electromagnetic changes, which
> > > > induced AND are induced BY sensorimotive experiences. You can measure
> > > > the electromagnetic shadow of the experience, because it's public, but
> > > > it's also a-signifying and generic so it tells you little about the
> > > > sensorimotive content, which is private, signifying, and proprietary.
>
> > > I'm not suggesting you can tell what the experience is by observing
> > > neurons, only that you can tell when and why they fire. Do you think
> > > that sometimes they fire when all the identifiable influences such as
> > > neurotransmitters, transmembrane voltages and so on would imply that
> > > they will not fire?
>
> > There is nothing that suggests they will or will not fire until they
> > are about to fire. If I think of something that makes me mad, someone
> > can look at an fMRI and say "Oh he's thinking of something that makes
> > him mad", but the fMRI can't tell what I'm going to be thinking of ten
> > minutes from now or how it will make me feel. Especially not if I
> > don't want them to.
>
> An fMRI could not, but a model of your brain and surrounding environment at
> the level of QED could, unless you think QED is wrong.

Another false dichotomy. If someone in my surrounding environment
looks at me a certain way, my perception of that presents me with
feelings and possibilities for interpretations of the look and the
feelings. QED has no capacity to address phenomena like that and
therefore fails spectacularly at predicting what I'm going to be
thinking of, yet does not make QED 'wrong'.

>
>
>
> > This view of the psyche as being the inevitable result of sheer
> > biochemical momentum is not even remotely plausible to me.
>
> Why?

Because it doesn't take into account that there is an experience
associated with the psyche which is dynamically changing the
biological momentum from the top down from moment to moment.

>
> > It denies
> > any input/output between the mind and the outside world
>
> There definitely is interaction between the mind and its environment.

Then there can't be any model of prediction based on just biochemical
default behaviors.

>
> > and reduces
> > our cognition to an unconscious chemical reaction.
>
> If I say all of reality is just a thing, have I really reduced it?

It depends what you mean by a 'thing'.

>
> Explaining something in no way reduces anything unless what you really value
> is the mystery.

I'm doing the explaining. You're the one saying that an explanation is
not necessary.

>
> Also, I don't think it is incorrect to call it an "unconscious chemical
> reaction".  It definitely is a "conscious chemical reaction".  This is like
> calling a person a "lifeless chemical reaction".

Then you are agreeing with me. If you admit that chemical reactions
themselves are conscious, then you are admitting that awareness is a
molecular sensorimotive property and not a metaphysical illusion
produced by the brain.

>
> If when you think of a chemical reaction, you think of a test tube filled
> with a liquid and then you equate it with cold, lifeless simplicity, and you
> extend that association to other chemical reactions such as life itself and
> think that life is thereby diminished, it is not the theory that needs
> adjustment but rather the assocations you are making in your mind.

No, I'm seeing it the other way around. I'm saying everything has some
degree of awareness, but that doesn't mean that everything has the
same awareness. Molecules have different properties which make
different kinds of sense in conjunction with other molecules. That is
the same thing as life, just not as elaborate. It's only cold and
lifeless in comparison to ourselves because we've taken our particular
zoological development to a ridiculous extreme.

>
> Machine's aren't cold, calculating, dim-witted, logical, unfeeling, or
> polite.  This is just a personal bias you have developed over a lifetime
> with working with rather simplistic man-made machines.  To think all
> machines are like this is the same mistaking as thinking all chemical
> reactions are dead or unconscious.

You think that I don't know what you're saying, but I do. I thought
that myself for many years. I understand why it's appealing. I get
completely the beauty of how self-similarity and complexity scale up
seamlessly from something which might seem mechanical to us to
something which seems natural, and how it is just the unfamiliarity
that makes it seem different to us. That's all true, but you don't get
that I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fact that
without awareness, no pattern is possible at all. Just because natural
processes can be modeled mechanistically doesn't mean that creating
machines based on those models won't be cold and unfeeling. I think
that any model which tries to work with awareness but does not take
awareness into account is fatally flawed.

>
> > If that were the
> > case then you could never have a computer emulate it without exactly
> > duplicating that biochemistry. My view makes it possible to at least
> > transmit and receive psychological texts through materials as
> > communication and sensation but your view allows the psyche no
> > existence whatsoever. It's a complete rejection of awareness into
> > metaphysical realms of 'illusion'.
>
> I think you may be mistaken that computationalism says awareness is an
> illusion.  There are some eliminative materialists who say this, but I think
> they are in the minority of current philosophers of mind.

How would you characterize the computationalist view of awareness?
What makes the difference between something that is aware and
something that is not? It seems to me to be obscured behind a veil of
general 'complexity'.

>
>
>
> > > >> I understand that you think they respond to mental events,
> > > >> but if mental events supervene on physical events, then we would only
> > > >> observe neurons engaging in predictable, mechanistic behaviour. If, on
> > > >> the other hand, physical events supervene on metal events we would see
> > > >> neurons doing magical things; for example, we would see ion channels
> > > >> opening all by themselves, in the absence of any environmental
> > > >> changes. You might not like it, but that's how magic is defined.
>
> > > > You're mixing the scales of the phenomena. On the level of neurons,
> > > > there are no human beings. Their behavior contributes to a human
> > > > being, like a pixel changing color contributes to an image, but
> > > > neurons themselves are not 'responding' to the totality of the
> > > > experience of the human psyche at any given moment - rather the 1-p
> > > > experience of the neuron itself is a tiny fragment - a monad (like a
> > > > pixel of feeling or awareness) which aggregates to macroscopic scale
> > > > human mental event.
>
> > > > The idea that this cannot be happening or we would see fantastic
> > > > neurological changes under the microscope is to me the same as
> > > > insisting that we cannot watch TV programs because each pixel would
> > > > have to turn into an actor or a stage prop. The fact is that we have
> > > > voluntary control over parts of our body, and through that we exercise
> > > > voluntary control over parts of our world and our life. You might not
> > > > like it, but that is how our reality is defined.
>
> > > The pixels on a TV screen light up due to the current flowing through
> > > them.
>
> > It's not *that* current flows that matters, it's which pixels in which
> > combinations get how much current flow. Of course pixels light up
> > because of physical processes, and neurons grow and change and fire
> > because of biochemical processes. So what? If that were all there were
> > to it, a white TV screen would be the same thing as an image, and a
> > person in a coma would be the same as one who was fully conscious.
>
> > >Every other part of the TV you examine similarly follows
> > > mechanical laws. The atoms in the brains of the people making the TV
> > > program also follow mechanical laws, as do the atoms everywhere else
> > > in the universe. You seem to believe that some atoms somewhere don't
> > > follow such laws,
>
> > No. You believe that's what I believe, despite my telling you over and
> > over and over that your saying that means that you do not understand
> > what I'm talking about.
>
> If the atoms always follow these laws, and we can come to know these laws,
> then in principle a computer programmed to follow these laws can tell us how
> a particular arrangement of atoms will evolve over time.  Do you agree with
> this?

No. If bricks always follow certain laws, and we can come to know
these laws, then in principle a computer programmed to follow these
laws can tell us how a particular pile of bricks will be assembled
over time. Do you agree with that? Can you detect the blueprint of a
future Taj Mahal from the mechanics of how random stones fit together?
Human consciousness is a specific Taj Mahal of sensorimotive-
electromagnetic construction. The principles of it's construction are
simple, but that simplicity includes both pattern and pattern
recognition. Without one, the other cannot exist and without both
there can be no evolution of patterns.

>
>
>
> > >because otherwise their behaviour would be
> > > predictable and you don't think that should be so. Could you point to
> > > any evidence of this?
>
> > Begging the question. Just because I know that gasoline can cause
> > fires doesn't mean I know which houses are going to burn down. It's a
> > false equivalence and a strawman of my position.
>
> > > >> I'm quite happy with a deterministic outlook but even if I were not,
> > > >> that has no bearing on whether reality is in fact deterministic. I
> > > >> would prefer it not to be raining, but my wish does not affect the
> > > >> weather.
>
> > > > But the fact that you can have a wish at all is not supported by
> > > > determinism. It doesn't matter that not all wishes come true - even if
> > > > none ever did, the existence of the ability to wish itself is evidence
> > > > of subjective participation in the cosmos (even if it's just an
> > > > interior cosmos). In my view, we do more than participate in our own
> > > > fantasy, we actually impact the fantasies of others, even those who
> > > > we've never met long after we're dead. It's a little bit of both -
> > > > fantasy and fact. They shape and inform each other. Both play
> > > > different roles in 'reality' and neither can exist without the other.
>
> > > If you think free will is impossible under determinism (and it's a
> > > matter of definition) then at worst you would have to say that i am
> > > deluded about having free will.
>
> > No, I'm saying that it is not possible about having free will, because
> > free will only has to be a feeling of free will. It's like color. It
> > doesn't matter if something is *actually* blue, all that matters is
> > that I see blue. Those subjective experiences of feeling and seeing
> > are absolute evidence that the universe supports that phenomenology at
> > least as a subjective property. Since we don't believe in naive
> > realism, that means that just as the material world we experience
> > through our senses may not exist externally, the feelings we
> > experience as fleeting, esoteric phenomena may be profoundly concrete
> > artifacts outside of our shroud of ignorance.
>
> > > >> Again, you seem to completely misunderstand the concept of a model. A
> > > >> billiard ball does not know the future and does not need to know the
> > > >> future. All it needs to do is follow simple rules consistent with
> > > >> conservation of momentum when other billiard balls hit it. A model of
> > > >> billiard ball behaviour needs to take into account these simple rules,
> > > >> and given any initial state of the billiard balls it can predict
> > > >> future states. You run the model and see how things turn out, just as
> > > >> you hit the billiard balls and see how things turn out.
>
> > > > Which works great for material objects interacting through space. It
> > > > is a catastrophic failure for experiential subjects interacting across
> > > > time. We have already discredited these ideas in the 20th century.
> > > > Behaviorism didn't pan out. Classical mechanics exploded with the
> > > > atom. These kinds of models are only appropriate for certain kinds of
> > > > phenomena. The human psyche is the exact opposite of those kinds of
> > > > phenomena.
>
> > > The parts of the human body that do things, such as send sound waves
> > > through the air, are physical and are moved by physical forces. You
> > > claim that sometimes they are moved by something else, but there is no
> > > evidence for this.
>
> > The evidence is that we speak words from our vocal chords which cannot
> > be located in the body. You cannot examine the brain and vocal chords
> > of a human cadaver and identify anything that it may have uttered.
>
> The words we know how to utter exist as patterns encoded by neurons in the
> brain.

That's not the same thing. Without actually uttering them, they are
not words. A pattern on a DVD is not a movie unless it's played on a
DVD player and watched by a human being. If we found an alien corpse,
there is no way we could extract any words from any patterns in the
brain, nor would we find any mechanism which encodes and decodes any
such 'patterns' into words. You have to live in the brain of the alien
to hear or say the words.

>
>
>
> > > > It's not complicated, it's simplistic. If you put a group of kids in a
> > > > room you can't predict which ones will go on to hit other people, even
> > > > if you know who will hit who first. A billiard ball model only works
> > > > for things that behave like billiard balls. Again, this should be
> > > > considered settled science. You can't reduce everything to abstract
> > > > positions and velocity when you are dealing with the real world, and
> > > > especially with living organisms.
>
> > > You can't reduce consciousness to physical processes, but you can
> > > reduce physical processes to other physical processes, which means
> > > that you can describe how any physical entity will behave entirely in
> > > physical terms, without reference to consciousness.
>
> > You're assuming that behavior isn't driven by consciousness. What
> > evidence do you have of that, other than a priori certainty about the
> > nature of physical processes. My view is just that electromagnetism (a
> > physical process, right?) is sensorimotive (a qualitative experience).
>
> How can a simple thing "electromagnetism" be identical with the seemingly
> infinite possible variations if conscious experience?

Electromagnetism is just a description of how physical substance
relates and reacts to itself. In simple substances, it's simple, in
complex arrangements of substances it's complex. An MRI will show that
our conscious experience is coordinated with electromagnetic activity
in the brain. It's not identical to conscious experience, it's the
back door of conscious experience, but they share an identical common
sense.

>
> E.g., how might red, as seen as one side of electromagnetism be different
> from the electromagnetism involved when seeing blue?

Red or blue can't be seen at all from the electromagnetism side. They
are visual feelings that can be correlated with electromagnetic
wavelength/frequency specifications to typical human optical response
but have no objective visual qualities. The difference between red and
blue, to those who can see them, has to do with how our visual cortex
makes sense of the inside of our retinas and how our retinas read the
electromagnetic patterns of objects within it's sensitivity range.

>
> > That's it. No magic, no woo, just the facts of our own ordinary
> > circumstance rationally extrapolated to the micro and macrocosm.
>
> > > >> The person's neurons are each doing their own dumb bit, unaware of the
> > > >> grand picture, like the people in the crowd wave.
>
> > > > The people in the crowd wave are perfectly aware of the their role in
> > > > creating the wave, and do so intentionally and intelligently with full
> > > > awareness of the grand picture. The sense that each neuron makes is
> > > > like that, participating in a larger sense - which is why you can
> > > > query your memory in natural language. You can just roll a name around
> > > > in your mind to see if it picks up any associations. The exterior of
> > > > the neuron that you see under a microscope is a different side of the
> > > > thing. That's the side that is matter in space and that view exposes a
> > > > completely different agenda which is not sensorimotive but
> > > > electromagnetic.
>
> > > Whether or not the neuron has its own separate awareness, it behaves
> > > in a way describable and predictable in purely physical terms. If it
> > > did not, it would perform magical feats.
>
> > You keep repeating that. It's not true, and it's not what I'm saying.
> > You're just sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling. No
> > biological organism is entirely predictable.
>
> But you said earlier that no violations of physics occur.  Are you saying
> that physical systems themselves are unpredictable?

All systems have a physical side, but predictions based upon purely
physical observations are limited to results which include only
physical outcomes. The closer you get to your own frame of reference,
the less predictable and more subjective it appears to be. Physics is
relative to what you are. It's perception.

>
> > That's why doctors
> > 'practice' medicine but engineers solve problems.
>
> This is a matter of feasibility.  We don't have the ability to predict what
> a Game of Life simulation with 10^25 cells will do, but this doesn't mean
> that there are certain configurations in the game of life that are
> inherently unpredictable.

It doesn't mean that the Game of Life simulation will ever resemble
actual living organisms either. After 30 or 40 years, the Game of Life
has yet to evolve anything.

>
> > There is a
> > difference which arises partly from complexity, but also as a
> > consequence of qualitative differences between different inertial
> > frames. More degrees of freedom, with more non-computational
> > considerations come into play.
>
> What are some examples of these non-computational considerations?

Feeling. Memory. Choice. Imagination. Humor. Emotion. Strategy.
Insight. Vision. Genius.

>
> > It's not magic, but if someone's entire
> > worldview is built on defensively clinging to material literalism,
> > then yes, it seems like witchcraft.
>
> > > > It is a-signifying and generic, but even that is not dumb - it plays a
> > > > role in the overall functioning of the electromagnetic integrity of
> > > > the biocomputer. It can change huge swaths of neuronal connectivity
> > > > all at once, even when it's not reflecting our own sensorimotive
> > > > conscious influence. It's doing all kinds of phenomenally
> > > > sophisticated electrochemical orchestrations which, although much more
> > > > computable and billiard ballable than the peceptual interior, are
> > > > still not 100% modelable as a FSM. It's too plastic and spontaneous -
> > > > too much growing and dying and interacting with an unpredictable
> > > > environment. The model of today cannot anticipate the hormone
> > > > disrupting environmental contaminant of tomorrow, etc.
>
> > > Like the real thing, the model would have to be exposed to the actual
> > > situation and then it will do what it will do.
>
> > Then it's not a model, and it doesn't predict anything.
>
> Our model of how electrons behave and interact has predicted the anomalous
> magnetic dipole moment of the electron and the prediction agrees with
> empirical measurement to 10 significant figures.

That very success is part of the problem. It blinds us to the aspects
of reality which are not related to physical dynamics of matter in
space. We have an awesome hammer so everything looks like a nail to
us.

>
>
>
> > > >> OK, so I say the relationship between consciousness and function is
> > > >> fundamental. Why do you think it is better to say that the
> > > >> relationship between consciousness and substance is fundamental?
>
> > > > I don't say that the relationship between consciousness and substance
> > > > is *more* fundamental than the relationship between consciousness and
> > > > function, I say that awareness *is* the relationship between substance
> > > > and function, and that when that substance is a human brain, and it
> > > > functions to live a human life through a human body, then the
> > > > relationship is what we call consciousness.
>
> > > If I say consciousness is the relationship between function and
> > > substance, and the substance must be of a type to allow the
> > > appropriate function, how is that unsatisfactory for you?
>
> > It's not. You'd be agreeing with me. Only you are assuming that your
> > modeling of the functions is all that would be necessary, whereas I
> > think that the actual functions in the actual substance may be
> > required.
>
> > > >> (Incidentally, once the relationship between consciousness and
> > > >> function is accepted, problems with the physical supervenience thesis
> > > >> do become evident, as Bruno frequently points out).
>
> > > > But when consciousness is understood as the relation between substance
> > > > and function (ie 'sense') then there are no supervenience problems.
> > > > Function is important, but it isn't everything. There is a difference
> > > > between a pile of gold bricks and a pile of mud bricks. They have
> > > > similarities, sure, but they are also different kinds of things with
> > > > different properties and different roles to play in the microcosm and
> > > > in the macrocosm.
>
> > > But I could say that in the case of consciousness, it is the function
> > > that is important, the fact that they are bricks rather than the type
> > > of bricks. What reason have you for rejecting this?
>
> > Because it amputates half of the universe. What reason would you have
> > for accepting it? I can flatten or dissolve a brick, but that doesn't
> > change it's composition. Why would I want to ignore that?
>
> > > > Is any of this making you question your assumptions at all or are you
> > > > completely unchanged in your position?
>
> > > I am completely unchanged in my position. I think you fundamentally
> > > misunderstand the concept of a model and contradict yourself by saying
> > > you don't believe the brain acts contrary to the laws of physics but
> > > that it sometimes does things not due to physical processes.
>
> > I know that you think that I contradict myself. That's because you
> > don't understand what I'm saying. Just because this conversation takes
> > place over physical wires, chips, screens, and neurochemistry doesn't
> > mean that the conversation itself can be meaningfully described in
> > terms of any of those physical structures and processes. The
> > conversation is a human semantic English language written text. It is
> > not something which 'physically' exists, it is a phenomenon which is
> > real but which represents an aspect of the 'insistence' of our
> > personalities. It seems hopeless I guess to go on trying to explain
> > this to you if you aren't open to it. It's up to you. I'll argue my
> > position as long as you want.
>
> You say the meaning of the conversation is contingent on their being humans
> who can understand it.  Might the same be true for the qualia (red, blue,
> hot, cold, pain, pleasure)?  In earlier conversations you said that qualia
> are fundamental physical properties, and a mind could no more perceive a new
> type of color, than a particle physicist create a new type of particle.

 Qualia have no physical properties, they have sensorimotive-
perceptual-experiential properties. A mind can't perceive a new type
of color because color is the mind itself.

> I think the qualia, like the meaning in the conversation is dependent on the
> mind.  It is built up from other lower level phenomena.

Yes! Lower level sensorimotive phenomena. Not neurological structures
but the feelings that insist within and through those structures.

> If you can see how
> experiencing a color such as red, and experiencing meaning in some dark
> squiggles could be analogous, I think this is a step toward seeing what is
> meant by physical supervenience.  It is not as you say, a reductionist view
> of mind, but quite the opposite.

You're going in a good direction but it has nothing to do with
physical properties of atoms or neurons. You just need to see that
it's not the physical dark squiggles which contain the experience of
meaning, it's the synchronized sensorimotive intent of writer and
reader through an arbitrary, but necessary physical medium of
communications. That's not to say that the reader or writer's physical
medium is arbitrary though.

Craig

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