On Oct 11, 8:45 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:27 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> If you simulate a neuron, then you predict what the neuron will do
> >> given certain inputs. The model of the neuron does not include the
> >> inputs.
> > No. Your claim is that all inputs must also be neurological. You say
> > over and over that neurons can only fire in response to other neurons.
> > I have shown that it is not true and now you are being dishonest about
> > your position throughout this conversation. I may be crazy but I don't
> > have Alzheimers (yet).
> Whether a neuron fires or not depends on its present state and the
> inputs, and the most important inputs are from other neurons and from
> sense organs.

Why would the inputs from other neurons and sense organs be any more
important that the spontaneous activity within the neurons themselves?

>The model of a neuron does not include the inputs. A
> larger model of a network of neurons includes inputs and outputs from
> all the neurons in the network but does not include external inputs.

Without any external inputs, and without any recognition of internal
spontaneous activity, what is it that this closed circuit of neurons
would be inputting and outputting that would be worth modeling?

> >> The simulation is not the same as the object being simulated but it
> >> can come arbitrarily close to any 3-P observable aspect of the
> >> object's behaviour.
> > I would agree as far as the simulation of objects, but not of
> > subjects. That's what this whole thread is about - me asserting that
> > there is likely a primitive, irreducible ontology of subjectivity and
> > you and others denying that such a thing is possible. Bruno's
> > conclusion is that both objectivity and subjectivity supervene upon an
> > arithmetic primitive ontology, (which I have agreed with in the past
> > and would probably continue to agree with if I were Bruno and had his
> > facility with arithmetic concepts), whereas I conclude that arithmetic
> > is actually a subject, but a particular subject - the essentializing
> > of objectivity...it is a powerful way of way of making sense, but
> > there are other kinds of sensemaking and qualia such as symmetry and
> > succession, presence and absence, etc, which form the foundation upon
> > which arithmetic realism depends.
> > What is your position though? It seems to be that consciousness and
> > life are not real for you on any level. Your cogito seems to be "Ion
> > channels open therefore something thinks that it thinks, therefore it
> > is not'. You're welcome to your opinions of course, but I find it hard
> > to take this worldview seriously in light of our ordinary experience
> > and the findings of neurology. We understand that high level processes
> > to in fact influence low level processes. I offer a hypothesis which
> > models those dynamics. We observe that much of the activity in the
> > brain is in fact spontaneous, and not cyclical or dependent upon
> > external neurological inputs for firing - that neurons are in fact
> > living organisms capable of autonomous and synchronized
> > intentionality.
> > Your solution seems to be to hide in a cave of pre-scientific
> > incuriousity. Content to let our entire lives as we experience them
> > natively to be sequestered in a never-never land that is neither
> > physical nor spiritual. Your assumptions paint conscious subjects as
> > epiphenomenal non-objects, orphaned from reason, science, or any
> > possibility of understanding.
> > Further, they deny their own self-invalidation without justification,
> > so that somehow these thoughts of exclusively deterministic
> > epistemology are themselves immune from their own critical purview. It
> > is to say that all thought is 'simply' neurology - except this
> > thought. This is the one special magic thought which disqualifies all
> > others. It is a philosophy that appeals to many, for obvious reasons,
> > as it provides the sense of certainty and safety which we crave. The
> > truth is that is thought is 'simply' the mirror image of new age
> > religiosity, but owing more of it's spirit to the Inquisition.
> I really can't understand your emotional objection to the idea that
> consciousness may be epiphenomenal and supervenient on mechanistic
> processes. It doesn't worry me or affect my behaviour; why should it?

If consciousness were epiphenomenal and supervenient on mechanistic
processes, you would not have a choice whether or not to worry. You
would have no opinion, and there could be no such thing as an opinion.
My objection is that it's a nonsensical position.

> >> The scientific consensus in neuroscience is that there is physical
> >> basis for everything that happens in the brain.
> > The brain is physical, so everything that happens in the brain is by
> > definition physical. There is scientific consensus that brain events
> > correlate to subjective events but there is no such consensus that
> > subjective intentions do not cause physical events. Indeed common
> > sense would dictate that we are the ones subjectively choosing our
> > words here, since they are not floating around in our ion channels.
> Physical events in my brain lead me to choose the words and on top of
> this process is the subjectivity of choice.

What do you mean by 'me'? Your whole position is that it is impossible
for your brain to lead anything except itself to do anything except
what it has to do by physical law. Where does a 'subjectivity of
choice' come in? Where is it located? What is it made out of? How does
it relate to the brain?

> >>A neuron will only
> >> fire if its biochemistry requires it to fire.
> > I agree. But it's biochemistry requires electromagnetism, and I am
> > saying that electromagnetism *must* have a subjective, sensorimotive
> > ontology (otherwise our subjectivity could not be closely correlated
> > with it). I don't believe in a never never land of Cartesian theater -
> > feeling can only be electromagnetic and electromagnetism can only be
> > feeling. They are the same thing, only viewed from 1-p vs 3-p.
> What is this "electromagnetism" you have mentioned several times? The
> action potential generates an electromagnetic field and some theories
> of consciousness hold this to be important, is that what you mean?

An action potential is just a word for the electromagnetic change
within the cell membrane which passes on to other cells.

> It's not mainstream neuroscience but in any case, electromagnetic
> fields are well-understood physical phenomena, probably more easily
> modelled mathematically than biochemistry is.

Do you agree that neurological activity corresponds to human
Do you agree that neurological activity is chemical and electrical
Do you agree that chemical and electrical activity are both forms of
electromagnetic activity?
If so, then it is not possible that human perceptions are not in some
way electromagnetic.

> >>This is not something
> >> that is stated explicitly because it's too obvious to state, like
> >> saying you think with your brain rather than your liver. Specific
> >> papers look at specific mechanisms behind neural activity. For
> >> example,
> >>http://jp.physoc.org/content/305/1/171.long
> >> investigates cerebellar Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, which can be
> >> spontaneously active. The basic principle behind a spontaneously
> >> excitable cell is that the threshold potential for voltage activated
> >> ion channels is lower than the resting membrane potential.
> > That just means that the ion channels are dependent upon
> > electromagnetic conditions, which I've already explained is the case.
> > But what are those conditions dependent upon. What do you think is
> > meant by the term 'spontaneous'?
> There are two types of ion channels, voltage-dependent and
> ligand-dependent. The votage-activated ones open when the potential
> difference across the membrane is at a certain level:
> the electric
> field generated as a result of this potential difference changes the
> shape of the ion channel, which is a transmembrane protein, and this
> opens the channel to allow the specific ion to pass through.

What changes the potential difference in the first place? What relates
any of that to our subjective experience?

> Ligand-activated ion channels open when a specific neurotransmitter
> binds. The transmembrane potential changes as a result of ion fluxes:
> potassium is more concentrated inside the cell so when potassium ion
> channels open potassium ions exit leaving the inside more negative,
> while sodium is more concentrated outside the cell so when sodium
> channels open sodium ions enter making the inside more positive. The
> sodium and potassium fluxes are responsible for depolarisation, the
> action potential and repolarisation. There can't be an action
> potential without these ion fluxes, there can't be ion fluxes without
> the ion channels opening and closing, and the ion channels can't open
> and close without the appropriate voltage or neurotransmitter
> stimulus. Spontaneously active neurons have voltage-activated ion
> channels that open at the cell's resting potential.

All of these processes supervene upon the spontaneous changes to
electromagnetic conditions. You are talking as if the brain is just a
sponge which fills up with electrolytes and discharges them regularly
without any control over the process. If you can move your finger
deliberately, then that means that the neurons associated with that
movement are also being depolarized intentionally - through sentience
and actively engaged teleology, not just passive inertia. You don't
have to keep reciting neurology 101 to me, I can read Wikipedia too.

> >> Voluntary breathing involves signals from the motor cortex, while
> >> involuntary breathing involves the brainstem. In general, if you are
> >> aware of your actions and can modify them according to your
> >> cognitions, the actions are voluntary. This has nothing to do with
> >> whether the underlying neurological events are deterministic. A low
> >> level analysis of someone performing a voluntary action would show the
> >> neurons in his brain firing exactly as the biochemistry dictates.
> > You are confusing correlation with causation. What causes the signals
> > in the motor context? What does it mean that "you are aware of your
> > actions and can modify them according to your cognitions"? Who is
> > 'you'? What is 'aware'? How do 'cognitions' get into the brain?
> > You are trying to hide the gaping hole in your assumptions by focusing
> > on the middle of the chain of neurological events which we both agree
> > upon and distracting from the beginning and ending of the chain where
> > we disagree. You do this because you are incorrect and hope to confuse
> > the issue. The only relevant issue is where the chain of events
> > begins. You claim that all events must begin and end in the brain. My
> > view is that some events begin and end in the brain, using the subject
> > as an instrument to accomplish biological-evolutionary functions, and
> > some events begin and end in the psyche, using the brain and body as
> > instruments to accomplish psychological-sociological functions. My
> > view makes perfect sense, while yours is incomplete and denies
> > ordinary reality.
> So at some point the psyche, not being the normal neural mechanisms,
> acts on the neurons and starts off the chain of events. Can you
> describe this further? What exactly happens in the neuron at the
> molecular level when the psyche acts?

The neural mechanisms of a particular region of the brain are the
'shadow' of the psyche - the 1-p / 3-p inflection point, like a 2D
Flatland slice of a 3D object (I assume you are familiar with this.
http://www.wardrobe-dweller.org.uk/Flatland.htm) which contains only a
small fraction of the phenomenology which intersects that 'plane'.
Whether those mechanisms are 'normal' or not depends how 'normal' the
subject feels. At no time will anything impossible occur on that 2D
plane, but the overall pattern of the 2D phenomena over time is
influenced by the progress of the 3D phenomena as it is revealed
dynamically over time, one moment at a time.

When the psyche acts it works like an electrical transformer or
rectifier. Let's say that I am making a list of things that I like and
I decide that I like the Red Sox. What happens is that my feeling of
attraction to a (3D) complex of images, ideas, associations, and
experiences (baseball, Red, Boston, etc) manifested publicly (2D) as a
change in the charge of thousands of neurons at once in different
regions of the brain. It's like clenching and relaxing your fist. The
fingers move, the fingernails move with them, the dirt under the
fingernails moves with the fingernails, the atoms in the dirt move,
etc. It's all one energy event with a multitude of related
electromagnetic aspects and consequences.

It's not really important though. Neither of us know enough about
neurology to have a meaningful discussion about this in detail. I'm
just sketching one hypothesis of how the general principles of my idea
might play out physiologically.


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