Hi Craig Weinberg 

I seem to be a voice crying in the wilderness. So be it, but...

When you say "Here I present ", how or where does the "I" fit into your 
philosophy ?

You cannot have thinking or consciousness or intelligence or perception withut 

Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him 
so that everything could function."
----- Receiving the following content ----- 
From: Craig Weinberg 
Receiver: everything-list 
Time: 2012-09-08, 09:10:48
Subject: Alice and Wittgenstein: Materialism, Functionalism, and Comp

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 

I came up with this thought exercise in response to this lecture: 

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 
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? 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?r does it? Does it literally ?ave 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.

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