On 1/28/2012 3:15 PM, Pierz wrote:
On Jan 28, 11:04 pm, Evgenii Rudnyi<use...@rudnyi.ru> wrote:
On 26.01.2012 07:19 Pierz said the following:
As I continue to ponder the UDA, I keep coming back to a niggling
doubt that an arithmetical ontology can ever really give a
satisfactory explanation of qualia. It seems to me that imputing
qualia to calculations (indeed consciousness at all, thought that
may be the same thing) adds something that is not given by, or
derivable from, any mathematical axiom. Surely this is illegitimate
from a mathematical point of view. Every mathematical statement can
only be made in terms of numbers and operators, so to talk about
*qualities* arising out of numbers is not mathematics so much as
numerology or qabbala.
Here of course is where people start to invoke the wonderfully
protean notion of emergent properties . Perhaps qualia emerge when
a calculation becomes deep enough.Perhaps consciousness emerges from
a complicated enough arrangement of neurons. But I ll venture an
axiom of my own here: no properties can emerge from a complex system
that are not present in primitive form in the parts of that system.
There is nothing mystical about emergent properties. When the
emergent property of pumping blood arises out of collections of
heart cells, that property is a logical extension of the properties
of the parts - physical properties such as elasticity, electrical
conductivity, volume and so on that belong to the individual cells.
But nobody invoking emergent properties to explain consciousness in
the brain has yet explained how consciousness arises as a natural
extension of the known properties of brain cells - or indeed of
matter at all.
Let my quote Jeffrey Gray (Consciousness: Creeping up on the Hard
Problem, p. 33) on biology and physics.
"In very general terms, biology makes use of two types of concept:
physicochemical laws and feedback mechanisms. The latter include both
the feedback operative in natural selection, in which the controlled
variables that determine survival are nowhere explicitly represented
within the system; and servomechanisms, in which there is a specific
locus of representation capable of reporting the values of the
controlled variables to other system components and to other systems.
The relationship between physicochemical laws and cybernetic mechanisms
in the biological perspective on biology poses no deep problems. It
consist in a kind of a contract: providing cybernetics respects the laws
of physics and chemistry, its principles may be used to construct any
kind of feedback system that serves a purpose. Behaviour as such does
not appear to require for its explanation any principles additional to
Roughly speaking Gray's statement is
Biology = Physics + Feedback mechanisms
Yet even at this stage (just at a level of bacteria, I guess there is no
qualia yet) it is unclear to me whether physics includes cybernetics
laws or they emerge/supervene. What is your opinion to this end?
What are "cybernetics laws"? Can they be written down like the Standard Model Lagrangian
or Einstein's equation?
I think it's clear that in approaches such as Gray's, which are based
on a conventional materialist ontology, any laws invoked must
ultimately rely on/emerge from physical laws. In fact, that's clear in
Gray's qualifier "providing cybernetics respect the laws of physics
and chemistry". "Respects" in this clause means that cybernetics must
be subservient to physics, therefore emergent from it. However the
laws of physics do not include cybernetic laws - the fundamental
equations of physics are actually reducible to a handful of equations
you can write down on a couple of sheets of paper. In terms of the
point I am making regarding qualia, Gray's argument is one variant on
the theme of the type of reasoning I object to. It's all there in the
"Behaviour as such does not appear to require for its explanation any
principles additional to these."
The issue isn't explaining behaviour, it's explaining consciousness/
qualia. These approaches always end up conflating the two, their
proponents getting annoyed with anyone who isn't prepared to wish away
the gap between them.
But most people seem to think that the two are linked; that philosophical zombies are
impossible. Are you asserting that they are possible?
I wanted to discuss this issue in another thread
but at the present the discussion is limited to the question of
information is basic physical property (Information is the Entropy) or not.
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