On Sunday, November 28, 2010 5:19:08 AM UTC+10:30, Rex Allen wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 7:40 PM, Jason Resch 
> <jason...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote:
> > On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Rex Allen 
> > <rexall...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote:
> >>
> >> But I also deny that mechanism can account for consciousness (except
> >> by fiat declaration that it does).
> >>
> >
> > Rex,
> > I am interested in your reasoning against mechanism.  Assume there is 
> were
> > an] mechanical brain composed of mechanical neurons, that contained the 
> same
> > information as a human brain, and processed it in the same way.
> I started out as a functionalist/computationalist/mechanist but
> abandoned it - mainly because I don't think that "representation" will
> do all that you're asking it to do.
> For example, with mechanical or biological brains - while it seems
> entirely reasonable to me that the contents of my conscious experience
> can be represented by quarks and electrons arranged in particular
> ways, and that by changing the structure of this arrangement over time
> in the right way one could also represent how the contents of my
> experience changes over time.
> However, there is nothing in my conception of quarks or electrons (in
> particle or wave form) nor in my conception of arrangements and
> representation that would lead me to predict beforehand that such
> arrangements would give rise to anything like experiences of pain or
> anger or what it's like to see red.
> The same goes for more abstract substrates, like bits of information.
> What matters is not the bits, nor even the arrangements of bits per
> se, but rather what is represented by the bits.
> "Information" is just a catch-all term for "what is being
> represented".  But, as you say, the same information can be
> represented in *many* different ways, and by many different
> bit-patterns.
> And, of course, any set of bits can be interpreted as representing any
> information.  You just need the right "one-time pad" to XOR with the
> bits, and viola!  The magic is all in the interpretation.  None of it
> is in the bits.  And interpretation requires an interpreter.
> SO...given that the bits are merely representations, it seems silly to
> me to say that just because you have the bits, you *also* have the
> thing they represent.
> Just because you have the bits that represent my conscious experience,
> doesn't mean that you have my conscious experience.  Just because you
> manipulate the bits in a way as to represent "me seeing a pink
> elephant" doesn't mean that you've actually caused me, or any version
> of me, to experience seeing a pink elephant.
> All you've really done is had the experience of tweaking some bits and
> then had the experience of thinking to yourself:  "hee hee hee, I just
> caused Rex to see a pink elephant..."
> Even if you have used some physical system (like a computer) that can
> be interpreted as executing an algorithm that manipulates bits that
> can be interpreted as representing me reacting to seeing a pink
> elephant ("Boy does he look surprised!"), this interpretation all
> happens within your conscious experience and has nothing to do with my
> conscious experience.
> Thinking that the "bit representation" captures my conscious
> experience is like thinking that a photograph captures my soul.
> Though, obviously this is as true of biological brains as of
> computers.  But so be it.
> This is the line of thought that brought me to the idea that conscious
> experience is fundamental and uncaused.
> > The
> > behavior between these two brains is in all respects identical, since the
> > mechanical neurons react identically to their biological counterparts.
> >  However for some unknown reason the computer has no inner life or 
> conscious
> > experience.
> I agree that if you assume that representation "invokes" conscious
> experience, then the brain and the computer would both have to be
> equally conscious.
> But I don't make that assumption.
> So the problem becomes that once you open the door to the "multiple
> realizability" of representations then we can never know anything
> about our substrate.
> You *think* that your brain is the cause of your conscious
> experience...but as you say, a computer representation of you would
> think the same thing, but would be wrong.
> Given that there are an infinite number of ways that your information
> could be represented, how likely is it that your experience really is
> caused by a biological brain?  Or even by a representation of a
> biological brain?  Why not some alternate algorithm that results in
> the same *conscious* experiences, but with entirely different
> *unconscious* elements?  How could you notice the difference?
> > Information can take many physical forms.
> Information requires interpretation.  The magic isn't in the bits.
> The magic is in the interpreter.
> Rex 

The brain might be (it's impossible, I assume it's probable) wired in a 
lab, and there are electrical signals in my brain that connect my mind to a 
seperate brain in my body, is also the cause of me having been born, and 
functions somewhat scary to other people and the whole world is 
reconsidering that I'm a decent human being (except my friend Nick Irving, 
by which case he already knows I'm decent). However, experience is sensed 
by bodily senses through electrical signals in the brain, and impulses in 
the heart, though the soul pervades in another universe or dimension, 
though it's the human mind (mostly the subconscious) that creates reality. 
The chemistry of the right data so to speak creates a blissful/pleasant 
sensation, that's pleasant reality, and it can be against everything 
negative a human in the outside would comment about you, in fact, brought 
up in a universe where other people gave them a hard time and not yourself, 
people can pick anyone by chance to start a dispute or opposition. When, 
however, the sensations are stimulated, the enjoyment involved in it is the 
cause of your happiness (highly idealised), by being highly idealised as 
such it's up to you in your own consciousness and has no connection to any 
science or lab experiment. It's experience alone with the thinking mind 
(exercising empiricism, i.e. subjective impressions) that as proper 
philosophical experience and analysis, that makes for a good life using 
logic, or rationalism (reason). A good life is the exercise of both logic 
and wisdom that makes for happiness, that makes for feeling what you want, 
etc, it can't be known as to whether there's any brain in any jar, but 
magic is found through wisdom alone, for the philosophy of solipsism is the 
elixir of life. Evidence and proof is from the subjective experience, this 
subjective experience is sensations, emotional feelings, and like, 
enjoyment, pleasure, pain, toughness, importance, dignity, etc, these are 
proof of opinion which science can't analyse, there's no reason to prove an 
opinion by science, for science has nothing to do with it, but the thought 
process is scientific in that it's evidence of human experience by feeling.

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