Here I present another metaphor to encapsulate by view of the relation between consciousness, information, and physicality by demonstrating the inadequacy of functionalist, computationalist, and materialist models and how they paint over the hard problem of consciousness with a choice of two flavors of the easy problem.
I came up with this thought exercise in response to this lecture: http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2012/05/zoe-drayson-the-autonomy-of-the-mental-and-the-personalsubpersonal-distinction/ Consider "Alice in Wonderland" Let's say that Alice is trying to decide whether she can describe herself in terms of being composed of the syntax of the letters, words, and sentences of the story from which she emerges, or whether she is composed of the bleached and pressed wood pulp and ink that are considered page parts of the whole book. The former I would say corresponds to the functionalist view of Alice as "roles and realizers", while the materialist view of Alice corresponds to the mereological "parts and wholes". To extend the metaphor to computationalism I would make the distinction between functionalism and computationalism as the difference between the string of English words being equivalent to the story of Alice (functionalism) and the same thing but with the capacity for the string of words to translate themselves into any language. - Materialism = pages in a book, - Functionalism = English words in sentences (literature), - Computationalism / Digital Functionalism = Amazon Kindle that translates literature into any language (customized literature). Although this distinction between comp and functionalism does, I think, make comp superior to either functionalism or materialism, it is still ultimately the wrong approach as it takes the story and characters for granted as an unexplained precipitate of linguistic roles and grammatical realizers. This is Searle, etc. The symbol grounding problem. In this respect, comp and functionalism are equivalent - both wrong in the same way and in the way that is orthogonal/perpendicular to the way that materialism is the wrong approach. What must be understood about consciousness, and about Alice, is that nothing means anything without the possibility of perception and participation to begin with in the universe. There is, to my way of thinking, zero possibility of perception or participation experiences emerging from either as that relies on a free lunch where either the paper and ink, the words and sentences, or the bits and bytes can spontaneously illustrate Alice and her world, as well as spontaneously invent the concept of illustration itself - of color and shape, of the lilt of her voice, the relation of those things to each other and how they are presented not as separate aspects being related but as a whole character. If we want to understand Alice as she is, not as she thinks of herself in terms of the pages, words, or bytes of her story, then I think we need to begin with the reality of Alice as 'the given'. We don’t have to believe that she is anything more than a character or that her life is anything other than a story, but if the character and story were really the ground of being for Alice, then the book of pages (brain hardware) and the language typed through those pages (cognitive software) both make sense as ways of stabilizing, controlling, and reproducing aspects of the story. The book is what makes Alice in Wonderland a publicly accessible artifact and the words are what mediate from the public spatial sense to the private temporal sense. To extend this a bit more, we could say that the private *motive* to open the book, read the words, and imagine the characters and scenes in the story are what bind the symbols to the private sense experience. *Body needs the book, mind needs the words, but story needs the willing self*. The story is not bytes or words or turning pages, it is intentionalized interior sensorimotive experience and nothing else. The map is not the territory. What this means is that all of the levels discussed in the lecture are not personal or sub-personal at all, but rather they are different aspects of the impersonal: impersonal (surface-topological) and impersonal (syntactic-operational). I propose a whole other indispensable half of this picture of consciousness and experience of which to paraphrase Wittgenstein, we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent. *We can however, listen*. We cannot speak about the personal, but we can know what it is to be a person. We can realize ourselves directly, as an autonomous presence without converting ourselves into an external appearance or function. We can let human experience be human experience on it's native level, in it's native language, and nothing less. We are not merely aggregates of bytes and cells nor fragments of inevitable evolutionary algorithms of speciation, we are also irreducibly people with irreducibly human bodies. We propagate a conscious experience directly into our environment of our own (quasi-free) will, out of our own anthropological sense and motive. Of course the sub-personal and super-personal levels inform and influence our every choice and desire, but that doesn't negate the fact that there is a something personal to which these choices and desires actually refer. The psyche, to continue with the Alice in Wonderland metaphor, has a protagonist - an Alice. It has other characters too, and themes, and a plot, etc…or does it? Does it literally ‘have a plot’, or are stories more of an experience with multiple frequency layers of events, memories, and expectations? These are the kinds of considerations we would have to make if we want to look at what consciousness actually is scientifically. Maybe it is better not to try to do that, or maybe it shouldn't be the concern of science. I am okay with that. But we should not be confused about what we are doing when we work with the vehicles and shadows of consciousness - the names and numbers, substances and functions. If we lose the realism of the self, then we will make books that publish their own empty stories, written by focus-group algorithms about the wonders of algorithms and emptiness and self-publishing books. Craig -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msg/everything-list/-/SXpTCPKU4REJ. 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