On 9/20/2012 9:08 AM, Roger Clough wrote:
Hi Craig Weinberg  ,

Because consciousness at the most is not physical
and at the least it is a verb rather than a noun,
that fellow below, in his search for consciousness,
is like the early spanish explorers searching
for the lost seven cities of gold.

 Hi Roger,

    I disagree. He has found a piece of the map.

Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen

----- Receiving the following content -----
From: Craig Weinberg
Receiver: everything-list
Time: 2012-09-20, 08:27:01
Subject: Re: Bruno's Restaurant

On Thursday, September 20, 2012 2:28:05 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM, Craig Weinberg  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:

Here is a video presentation by one of the authors: 

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 

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 

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 

We took the road less traveled and that road may only allow one traveler per 

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 

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 

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 

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".




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