On Jan 29, 10:57 am, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> 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
> >> these."
> >> 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
> > statement:
> > "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?

Well of course they are linked. As for the problem of zombies, I of
course have to agree that they seem absurd. But to me the zombie
argument elides the real question, which is the explanation for why
there is anyone home to find the zombies absurd. Why aren't zombies
having this discussion? In the traditional materialist worldview,
there is nothing to explain that. We observe that we aren't, in fact
zombies and then the materialist observes that the his/her predictions
would be the same if there were no consciousness and so s/he loses
interest in the issue and effectively shrugs and says "oh well". But
there are some problems, though I expect you'll have little truck with
them. I could, for  instance, refer you to a study of near death
experiences in the Lancet in which a person in cardiac arrest and
flatlining on the EEG was able to report the presence of a pair of
sneakers on a high window ledge of the hospital during an OBE which he
would have no way of knowing were there. There is a huge amount of
evidence along these lines that consciousness does not in fact
supervene on the physical brain. Other evidence, for instance, comes
from LSD research conducted in the fifties (see Stanislav Grof's
work). Of course there's also vast and incontrovertible evidence that
consciousness, under normal conditions, does supervene on brain state
and structure, so we are left with an anomaly that in most cases is
resolved by denying the evidence of the exceptions. This is not all
that hard to do when the evidence is to be found  in consciousnesses
of subjects rather than 'instruments' and cannot easily be subjected
to controlled experimental trials. But even a single personal
experience can override the weightiest scientific authority - as
Galileo looking through the telescope and seeing 'impossible'
mountains on the moon. So one can have a personal conviction that
'something is wrong with the conventional view' without necessarily
being able to present conceptual or experimental proof for one's
conviction. Therefore, I prefer to keep reminding people that
something utterly central to their existence - in fact the defining
feature to that existence: our awareness of it - remains without an
explanation. Even the estimable David Deutsch - arch rationalist and
materialist - concedes that we have no explanation for qualia. We only
differ in our belief as to how far-reaching the revisions to our
understanding will have to be in order to achieve that explanation.
Maybe Bruno has found it, but for the reasons I am trying to explicate
in this thread, I'm not convinced yet.

BTW, while I am with Craig in intuiting a serious conceptual lacuna in
the materialist paradigm, that doesn't necessarily enamour me of his
alternative. His talk of 'sense making' seems to me more like a 'way
of talking about things' than a theory in the scientific or
philosophic sense. It doesn't really seem to explain anything as such,
but more to put a lot of language around an ill defined intuition.
Sorry Craig if that wrongs you, but like others, I would like to hear
something concrete your theory predicts rather than just another
interpretive slant on the same data.

> Brent
> >> I wanted to discuss this issue in another thread
> >>http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list/t/a4b4e1546e0d03df
> >> but at the present the discussion is limited to the question of
> >> information is basic physical property (Information is the Entropy) or not.
> >> Evgenii

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