On Dec 13, 12:59 pm, Joseph Knight <joseph.9...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 9:47 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
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> > On Dec 13, 8:53 am, smi...@zonnet.nl wrote:
> > > I explained my argument on this here:
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> > >http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.4472
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> > > Saibal
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> > As with Bruno's argument, the problem I have is not with the
> > reasoning, it's with the beginning assumptions. You say
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> > "According to the computationalist theory of the mind, conscious
> > experiences are
> > identified with computational states of algorithms [1, 2]. This view
> > is the logical
> > conclusion one arrives at if one assumes that physics applies to
> > everything, including
> > us."
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> > I disagree completely. There is nothing logical about identifying
> > conscious experiences with computational states. Pain is not a number.
> > Blue is not a an algorithm which can be exported to non-visual
> > mechanism. It's false. A hopelessly unrecoverable category error which
> > is nonetheless quite intellectually seductive.
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> It is a falsifiable hypothesis that has not been refuted (so far). You
> can't just declare it to be false. In fact, you commit several category
> errors/several straw men in the space of a couple of sentences. No
> computationalist would claim that "pain is a number", for example.

It is refuted by the experience of subjectivity itself. There is no
evidence to suppose that subjectivity is a form of computation, nor is
there anything to suggest that computation in itself could or would
generate anything like consciousness. What would a computationalist
claim that pain is?

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> > I agree that physics applies to everything, including us, which is why
> > the logical conclusion is:
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> > 1.  What and who we are, our feelings and perceptions, apply to (at
> > least parts of) physics. It goes both ways. The universe feels. We are
> > the evidence of that.
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>  Dennett would call this a deepity. It is trivially true on one reading,
> and incredibly important (but false) on another.

I'm talking about the trivial truth. Not suggesting that panpsychism,
just that obviously feeling is a physical possibility in this
universe.

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> > 2. Feeling is not a computation, otherwise it would be unexplainable
> > and redundant. If physics were merely the enactment of automatic
> > algorithms, then we would not be having this conversation. Nothing
> > would be having any conversation. What would be the point? Why would a
> > computation 'feel' like something?
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> > 3. Physics is feeling as well as computation. We know that we can tell
> > the difference between voluntary control of our mind and body and
> > involuntary processes. My feeling and intention can drive
> > physiological changes in my body and physiological changes in my body
> > can drive feelings, thoughts etc. If it were just computation, there
> > would be no difference, no subjective participation.
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> > 4. Computation is not primitive. It is a higher order sensorimotive
> > experience which intellectually abstracts lower order sensorimotive
> > qualities of repetition, novelty, symmetry, and sequence.
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> What? <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_computation>

What does the theory of computation have to do with the concrete
phenomenology of computation? I'm saying 'computers are arrays of
semiconductor materials arranged to conduct electrical current in a
dynamic and orderly fashion', and you're pointing me to references to
Boolean algebra.

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> > When we
> > project arithmetic on the cosmos, we tokenize functional aspects of it
> > and arbitrarily privilege specific human perception channels.
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> Entirely possible, but irrelevant. That wouldn't make arithmetic any less
> important or real.

It does when you are talking about arithmetic being universal or
primitive. It's not that arithmetic isn't part of realism, it's that
there are so many other senses which are equally universal and
justifiable as primitive.

> You would have to try another tactic to make arithmetic
> "not real", just as saying "sets are abstractions" has nothing to do with
> the importance or reality of set theory.

Arithmetic, like everything in the universe, is real in some senses,
unreal in others, and everything in between. I think that truth is
more primitive and universal than truths within arithmetic.

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> > 5. Awareness is not primitive. Awareness does not exist absent a
> > material sensor. Some might argue for ghosts or out of body/near death
> > experiences, but even those are reported or interpreted by living
> > human subjects. There is no example of a disembodied consciousness
> > haunting a particular ip address or area of space.
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> > 6. Sense is primitive. Everything that can be said to be real in any
> > sense has to make sense.
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> Talk about arbitrarily privileging specific human perception channels.

I'm not talking about human sense or even biological sense. Everything
that is real has to be detectable or intelligible to something.

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> > The universe has to make sense before we can
> > make sense of it. The capacity for being and experiencing inherently
> > derives from a distinction between what something is and everything
> > that is it isn't. The subject object relation is primary - well
> > beneath computation. Subjectivity is self-evident. It needs no
> > definition statement and no definition statement can be sufficient
> > without the meaning of the word 'I' already understood. If something
> > cannot understand 'I', it cannot ever be a subject. I cannot be
> > simulated, digitized, decohered, or reduced to an 'identification with
> > computation'. I may be computation in part, but then computation is
> > also me. Arithmetic must have all the possibilities of odor and sound.
> > Numbers must get dizzy and fall down.
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> > 7. Mistaking consciousness for computation has catastrophic
> > consequences. It is necessary to use computation to understand the
> > 'back end' of consciousness through neurology, but building a
> > worldview on unrealism and applying it literally to ourselves is
> > dissociative psychosis. Even as a semi-literal folk ontology, the
> > notion of automatism as the authoritative essence of identity has ugly
> > consequences. Wal Mart. Wall Street. The triumph of quanitative
> > analysis over qualitative aesthetics is emptying our culture of all
> > significance, leaving only a digital residue - the essence of generic
> > interchangeability - like money itself, a universal placeholder for
> > the power of nothingness to impersonate anything and everything.
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> I can buy that.
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> > Just
> > as alchemists and mystics once gazed into mere matter and coincidence
> > looking for higher wisdom of a spiritual nature, physics and
> > mathematics now gazes into consciousness looking for a foregone
> > conclusion of objective certainty. It's a fools errand.
>
> I'm glad we have you to tell us these things!

Sarcasm doesn't make me wrong.

>
> Your position is legitimate, in that it is perfectly fine to deny
> computationalism. But you have no argument, so there is no reason to take
> you seriously.

To announce that someone 'has no argument' without any specific
counter-arguments is meaningless to me, and the addition of the
condescension that follows reveals the unscientific nature of the
pseudo-criticisms of my position. To summarize, to my seven points,
your objections are that

You say computationalism is falsifiable and has not been disproved.
You say I make straw man fallacies but fail to specify them.
You admire Dan Dennett's mystical skepticism.
You cite a definition of the word computation as an authoritative
source to disqualify my observation of the the reality which that word
addresses.
You say that my interpretation about the failure of arithmetic
universality is irrelevant because you consider set theory to be real
also.

Which of these qualifies as a case against any of the points that I
make? Did I miss something?

Craig

Craig

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