On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 1:50:47 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM, Craig Weinberg
> > wrote:
>> I think that comp is almost true, except for when applied to
>> consciousness itself, in which case it is exactly false. I wasn't asserting
>> it so much as I was illustrating exactly why that is the case. Does anyone
>> have any common sense analogy or story which makes sense of comp as a
>> generator of consciousness?
> I'll give this a shot.
> Imagine there is a life form with only the most simple form of qualia. It
> can only experience two states of being: pain and the absence of pain.
> Further, let's say this creature has, say 10 semi-independent regions in
> its brain, each responsible for different functions but also each is
> connected to every other, to varying degrees. Each can affect any other
> region in various ways.
> When the creature is in a state of pain, each of the 10 regions of the
> brain are notified of this state. (This is communicated from the
> creature's pain receptors to all other parts of its brain).
> The awareness of this state has different effects on each region, and the
> regions in turn affect the creature's thoughts and behaviors. For example,
> one region begins telling the other regions of the brain to do whatever
> they can to make it stop. Another region expresses the associated
> behaviors and thoughts that pertain to stress and anxiety. A third region
> of the brain might increase the readiness or propensity to flee, hide, cry
> for help, or scream. The states of the various regions have cascading and
> circular affects on other regions, and the entire focus of the brain may
> quickly shift (from what it was thinking before) to the single subject and
> pursuit of ending the pain. Taken to the extreme, this effect might become
> all-encompassing, or even debilitating.
> In the above example, the perception of pain is described in terms of
> information and the effect that information has on the internal states of
> processes in the brain. The presence of the information, indicating pain,
> is through a very complex process, interpreted in numerous ways by
> different sub-agents in the brain to yield all the effects normally
> associated with the experience.
> Try this little experiment from your own home: close your eyes and slowly
> begin to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Pay particular attention
> to the feeling as it crosses the threshold from mere feeling into pain.
> Concentrate on what it is that is different between that perception (of
> the light pinch) and the pain (of the string pinch). You may find that it
> is just information, along with an increasing anxiety and desire to make it
> stop. Experiments have found that certain people with brain damage or on
> certain drugs can experience the pain without the discomfort. There is a
> separate part of the brain responsible for making pain uncomfortable!
What you have then is 10 regions of the brain (are they self categorized?
formally partitioned? who knows there are a such thing as brain regions
besides us?) which have no experience or qualia whatsoever, yet can detect
"notifications" of a presumably epiphenomenal "state" of "pain".
If the brain is doing all of the work, why does the top level organism have
some other worthless abstraction layer of "experience" when, as blindsight
proves, we are perfectly capable of processing information without any
conscious qualia at all.
Information is very close to consciousness, but ultimately fails to sustain
itself. The pixels on your screen have no way to detect each other or
process the image that you see as a coherent gestalt, and the processor
behind the graphics generation has no way to detect the visual end result,
and if it did, it would be completely superfluous. Your graphics card does
not need to see anything.
To me it makes more sense to see information as nothing but the semiotic
protocols developed by perceptual participation (experience) to elaborate
and deepen the qualitative richness of those experiences. Of course, the
protocols which are maps of one level of experience are the territory of
another, which is what makes it confusing to try to reverse engineer
consciousness from such an incredibly complex example as a Homo sapien.
Our pinch is a continuum of sensory, emotional, and cognitive interaction
because we are made of the qualia of hundreds of billions of neurons and
billions of lifetimes of different species and substances. That only means
our pain can seem like information to us, not that all pain arises from
information processing. Information does not concretely exist as an
independent entity. There are forms which can be used to inform if they are
intentionally treated that way, as a map, but nothing is just a map by
itself. Every map is A territory (not THE territory). being used by another
'territory' as a map. I might use a piece of paper with ink on it (a
territory) as a map because the ink is printed in a pre-configured protocol
which I can learn to read easily as part of the intended audience of the
map, or which I can learn to read even if I wasn't intended as an audience.
Logic circuits don't do that. They don't care about learning. They store
the recordings of our intentions, and reproduce them in a trivial and
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