On 10/23/2012 6:33 PM, Max Gron wrote:

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 
    > 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.

I think that's a failure of imagination. From what I know about quarks and electrons I can infer that they will form atoms and in certain circumstances on the surface of the Earth they will form molecules and some of these can be molecules that replicate and evolution will produce complex reproducing organisms these will evolve ways of interacting with the environment which we will call 'seeing red' and 'feeling pain' and some of them will be social and evolve language and symbolism and will experience emotions like anger.

    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

    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.

That's right. The meaning, the what is represented, is given by interaction (including speech) with the environment (including others). So only a computer with the ability to interact can seem intelligent and therefore conscious and only one that interacts intelligently with people (a robot) can have human-like intelligence that we can infer from behavior.


    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 
    > 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.


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.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msg/everything-list/-/5qUx0EZywoUJ.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to