On Thursday, September 20, 2012 2:28:05 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>
>
>
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
>> 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.
>>>
>>
>>
> I was right, it was this book:
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Consciousness-Matter-Becomes-Imagination/dp/0465013775
>  
>
> Here is a video presentation by one of the authors: 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgQgfb-HkQk
>  
> I think you might like him.
>

Yes, I have seen him before. I think he is on the right track in that his 
model is panpsychist and that he sees the differences between assemblies 
and integrated wholes. Where he goes wrong, (as do most) is at the 
beginning where he assumes "information" states as a given rather than 
breaking that down to the capacity for afferent perception. Nothing can 
have an information state unless it can be informed. Once you have that 
capacity (sense), you already have consciousness of a primitive sort. Just 
as the camera can be divided, so too can the diode. He is arbitrarily 
considering the diode to be an integrated whole with two states, but it too 
as an assembly which we have manufactured.

The whole line of reasoning that stems from the assumption that information 
is an independently real phenomenon is incompatible with shedding light on 
consciousness. Assuming information is great for controlling material 
processes and transmitting experiences, but there isn't anything there so 
it can't create experiences. You already need to be able to read the CD as 
music to play the information on the CD as music. No amount of 
sophisticated encoding on a CD can make you hear music if you are deaf.

To us the diode seems like one thing with two functional states, but that's 
like saying that Tokyo has two states by averaging out the number of green 
traffic lights versus red traffic lights. Function is an interpretation, 
not an objective fact.


> 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. 
>>
>
> And you might as well say neurons are only aware of neurotransmitters. 
>  Why do you reduce programs to silicon, but you not reduce human thoughts 
> to the squirted solutions of neurotransmitters?  It seems there is an 
> inherent bias in your reasoning and or arguments.
>

Because we know for a fact that our consciousness correlates with neural 
activity (not caused but correlates) and we know that computers not only 
show no sign of having a consciousness that resembles that of any 
biological organism, but I understand that the behavior of computers of any 
degree of sophistication plainly reveals the precise absence of any 
biological personality traits and the presence of non-cohering 
impersonality.
 

>  
>
>> 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'.
>>
>
> If neurons don't care about what happens in the nucleus, then we could in 
> theory replace atoms with some exotic form of matter, which still contains 
> a positively charged center of the same mass, but is otherwise not made of 
> protons or neutrons, and we could use these to build normal molecules and 
> cell structures, even entire brains.  And despite the different 
> constitution, would behave just like any other brain made of normal matter. 
>  Do you agree?
>

No, I don't think so. For the same reason that I can't make a model of a 
cell out of magnetic pellets and expect it to grow and divide and drink 
water. There is no reason to assume that this universe would suddenly 
support an alternate chemistry and alternate biology.  It's possible, if we 
stumble on something that happens to work, but we don't really know.

 
>
>>
>>
>>> 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. 
>>
>
> How does is this relevant?
>

How is it not? It establishes that fundamental and permanently insoluble 
differences between organic and inorganic substances routinely exist and 
are obvious and ordinary, requiring no special claim to support. It is the 
counterclaim that requires some backup.
 

>  
>
>> Same goes for silicon intelligence being able to feel. 
>>
>
> This does not follow.
>

Of course it does.
 

>  
>
>> The divergence between us and silicon is just too fundamental to be 
>> bridged - like reptile and mammal.
>>
>
> Mammals came from reptiles.
>
> And machines come from us.
>

Machines come from plastic and silicon, not from our bodies. If machines 
came from our bodies, we could not control them. They would be useless to 
us as machines.
 

>  
>
>>  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.
>>
>
> They are not all lying, nor are their speech centers damaged.  The normal 
> links between different areas in their brain are broken or have 
> become dysfunctional.
>

If they are not lying, then they do not have visual qualia.
 

>  
>
>>  
>>
>>>
>>> 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.
>>  
>>
>
> I think receiving the knowledge of information is a type of qualia, 
> although less vivid than an audio or visual experience is.
>

I would say that it is not personal qualia until the experimenter asks the 
questions and they experience knowing the answers. It is qualia on the 
sub-personal level, but not on the personal level. That is the link that 
has been severed, between levels, not necessarily between steps in a linear 
process.
 

>  
>
>>
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>>>  
>>>> 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.
>>
>>
> It needs to distinguish pawns from rooks, whether or not it calls them 
> anything.
>

No, it doesn't. You need to distinguish pawns from rooks. It need only 
distinguish the activity of one chain of transistors and another. The whole 
thing could be run on an abacus instead. Does the abacus know what a pawn 
is?

 
>
>>
>>> 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. 
>>
>
> Maybe they are right, except for you, who might happen to be the only 
> conscious person in the world.
>

That is a good example of something that seems like it could be true on an 
intellectual level, but under typical states of consciousness seems to be 
clearly untrue. Since we have the sense to turn one sense against another, 
we can create all kinds of possible seeming impossibilities.
 

>  
>
>> 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.
>>
>
> So you see that the "rigidity of silicon" can be used as a basis for 
> implementing non-rigid systems.  Just like the rigidity of physical law and 
> atomic interactions can be used to implement the "sweet salty wet stinky 
> goo" of life.
>

The rigidity of silicon may only be one obvious symptom of its nature. 
Another property of silicon may be a huge sign on its atomic forehead that 
says "Do not let this molecule participate in any living being". 

Craig

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