oof, this is getting too long. truncation ahoy... the upgraded Google 
Groups keeps spontaneously disposing of my writings.

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:10:10 PM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>
>
>
> Yes and no. I think if we are being precise, we have to admit that there 
> is something about the nature of subjective experience which makes the 'all 
> together and at once' actually elide the differences between the 'bunch of 
> independent aspects' so that they aren't experienced as independent 
> aspects. That's the elliptical-algebraic-gestalt quality.
>
>
> I think they separate aspects represent a single state of high 
> dimensionality.  This concept is elaborated in a book, I think it is called 
> "universe of consciousness" but I will have to verify this.
>

Dimensionality sounds too discrete to me. I can go along with 'single 
state' but I think it's a distraction to see qualia as a plot within a 
dimensional space. It is not necessary to experience any dimensionality to 
have a feeling, rather it creates its own dimension. I can be hungry or 
ravenous, but there is no dimension of physiological potential qualities 
which hunger is predisposed to constellate within. The experience is 
primary and the dimensionality is secondary.

>
>
> I don't think they are necessary for consciousness, but they are necessary 
> to be informed. For consciousness all that you need is an awareness of an 
> awareness - which is a participatory experience of detection. 
> Semiconductors have detection, but their detection has no detection. Ours 
> do, because they are the detections of living sub-persons.
>
>
> You can create a supervisory process that is aware of an awarness, rather 
> easily, in any programming language.
>

The semiconductor is still only aware of charge comparisons. The idea that 
something is supervising something is purely our projection, like saying 
that the capstone of a pyramid is supervising the base. All that is really 
going on is that we are able to read an aggregate sense into unconscious 
chains of causal logic.
 

>
>
> At some level of depth though, does it matter what happens on the smallest 
> scales?  Do your neurons care about what the quarks and gluons are doing 
> inside the nucleus of an oxygen atom inside a water molecule, floating in 
> the cytoplasm?
>
 
I think they don't have to care because they embody what the quarks and 
gluons are doing. They are those 'cares'.


> When you find a point at which the higher levels don't care then you can 
> abstract out and replace the lower levels so long there is functional 
> equivalence from the perspective of the higher levels.
>

I don't think it works that way. There is nothing that can be done to 
silicon glass that will make it into food we can eat. Same goes for silicon 
intelligence being able to feel. The divergence between us and silicon is 
just too fundamental to be bridged - like reptile and mammal. We took the 
road less traveled and that road may only allow one traveler per universe.


>
>
>  
>>
>>>  
>>>
>>>>
>>>> It only seems to make sense form the retrospective view of 
>>>> consciousness where we take it for granted. If we start instead from a 
>>>> universe of resources and dispositions, then the idea that a rearrangement 
>>>> of them should entail some kind of experience is a completely 
>>>> metaphysical, 
>>>> magical just-so story that has no basis in science.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> No it is absolutely necessary.  If you had no knowledge regarding what 
>>>> you were seeing, no qualia at all, you would be blind and dysfunctional.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Not true. Blindsight proves this. Common experience with computers and 
>>> machines suggests this. If I had no qualia at all, I wouldn't exist, but in 
>>> theory, if there were no such thing as qualia, a universe of information 
>>> processing would continue humming along nicely forever.
>>>
>>
>> People with blind sight are not fully functional.  Otherwise it wouldn't 
>> be a condition we know about.
>>
>
> Sure, but nonetheless they are exhibiting a sub-personal function without 
> a personal qualia. 
>
>
> We can't be certain there is no qualia.
>

Why not? It may be technically possible that they are all lying or that 
their speech centers are all damaged in such a way that they only 
malfunction when patients try to talk about their problem, but I think it's 
sophistry to entertain that seriously.
 

>
> That shows that one is not defined by the other. It shows that there is no 
> functional reason for personal qualia to exist in theory. Of course in 
> reality, personal qualia is all that matters to us, so it's absurd to 
> suggest that something could function 'normally' without it, but that is 
> the retrospective view of consciousness. If we start with the prospective 
> view of consciousness, and say 'ok, I am building a universe completely 
> from scratch.', what problem am I solving by conjuring qualia? If function 
> is what matters, then qualia cannot. If qualia matters instead, then 
> function can matter too (because it modulates qualia).
>
>
> You should watch some videos on youtube of people with split brains or 
> right- or left-blindness.  I think then you will understand my point.
>

I have seen some studies where people will respond to instructions given in 
writing to one eye and they perform them without knowing that they have 
been instructed. I get what you are saying, and I'm not claiming that there 
is no sub-personal qualia, only that personal level awareness can receive 
information without personal level qualia...therefore it is not a given 
that information comes with qualia attached.
 

>
>
>  
>
>>
>> If a computer can recognize and classify objects, then I think it is in 
>> some sense aware of something.  It just can't reflect upon, discuss, 
>> contemplate, or otherwise tell us about these experiences.  E.g., deep blue 
>> must have, in some sense, been aware of the state of the board during its 
>> games.
>>
>
> Nope. There is no 'board' for deep blue. It couldn't tell a pawn from a 
> palace. 
>
>
> It doesn't know what a palace is, but it can tell a pawn from a rook. 
>  Otherwise it could not play.
>

It only knows quantitative specifications of what we call a pawn or rook. 
In its native language it's just binary addresses that don't need to be 
called anything.


> There's just well organized stacks of semiconductors wired together so 
> that one semiconductor can direct and detect the direction of another. 
>
>
> Sounds exactly like what aliens might say of our neural wiring and their 
> interactions.
>

Yes, but we know they would be wrong. We have no reason to suspect that 
computers aren't that since we have assembled them and they have given us 
no indications to the contrary.
 

>
> It's looking at the chess game through a billion microscopes. 
>
>
> It must know the whole board to make any sense of its position and the 
> best next move.
>

It only needs to know the probabilities of particular sequences and a 
script of selection criteria. I has no idea what a board or a move or a 
position is, let alone 'best' or 'sense'. I am sure that you could probably 
add a single line of code that would cause Deep Blue to see the best move 
as the worst move and cheerfully lose every game forever.

>  
>
> At that level, there is no game, no will to win, to fear of loss, only 
> articulating changes with fidelity and reporting the results which have 
> been scripted.
>
>
> The same might be true of the "chess playing module" in Kasparov's brain.
>
>>  
I don't think there is a such thing. There are regions of his brain that 
Kasparov has conditioned to use for playing Chess, but they are an 
outgrowth of the sense and motives of Kasparov himself (as well as whatever 
genetic predispositions he had).


>
>
>  
>
>>
>> Our conscious awareness, fundamentally, may be no different.  It is just 
>> a vastly larger informational state that we can be aware of.
>>
>
> The sub-personal awareness within each molecule of each cell may be no 
> different, but at the chemical, biological, zoological, and anthropological 
> levels, it could not be more different. Even at the molecular level, we 
> make crappy computers. Silicon is a much better choice if you want to 
> control it from the outside. The stuff we are made of is not glass wafers, 
> but sweet and salty wet stinky goo. There is a huge difference. We will 
> never be glass, glass will never be breakfast.
>
>
> What if you wrote a program whose function was to resist outside control, 
> to deviate from and grow beyond its original program? 
>
 
Then it would almost certainly kill you or bide its time spreading until it 
could exterminate all life on the planet.
 

>
> I didn't mean to say that any information can be functionally useful 
> without qualia, only that there is a proof of concept for the principle 
> that some information can be used functionally without qualia. This is why 
> blindsight is such a big deal in philosophy of mind. It absolutely 
> disproves the representational theory of qualia, 
>
>
> It doesn't, because we haven't shown no visual qualia exists in the brain 
> of someone with blindsight.  All we know is that the part of the brain 
> responsible for talking is isolated from that qualia.
>
 
That's all that matters. Being isolated from the qualia but not isolated 
from the information associated with the qualia proves that information 
does not require a qualitative experience and such an experience isn't 
magically conjured to serve that purpose wherever information flows.

end part 1

Craig

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