On 10/24/2012 3:11 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2:52:06 PM UTC-4, Brent wrote:

    On 10/24/2012 7:56 AM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
    On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:21:23 AM UTC-4, Brent wrote:

        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> 
            > On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Rex Allen <rexall...@gmail.com> 
            >> But I also deny that mechanism can account for consciousness 
            >> 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" 
            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 
            can be represented by quarks and electrons arranged in particular
            ways, and that by changing the structure of this arrangement over 
            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 
            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 
        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 
        molecules that replicate and evolution will produce complex reproducing
        organisms these will evolve ways of interacting

    It's not a failure of imagination, it's recognition of magical thinking.

        with the environment which we will call 'seeing red' and 'feeling pain' 
        some of them will be social and evolve language and symbolism and will
        experience emotions like anger.

    Not even remotely possible. How does a way of interacting with the 
environment come
    to have an experience of any kind, let alone something totally 
unprecedented and
    explainable like 'red' or 'pain'. It is like saying that if you begin 
counting to
    infinity at some point the number is bound to turn purple.

    That's Bruno's theory. :-)  Wasn't it you who, in a different post, 
    that everything is definable in terms of it's relations to other things.  
So purple
    is definable in terms of being seen and on a continuum with blue and violet 
and a
    certain angle and spacing on an optical grating and so on.

Not me. The relations among colors define an aesthetic order which maps to quantitative principles, but colors themselves are not defined by anything except the experience that they present. For human beings at least, colors are more primitive than numbers.

    This is a failure of skeptical imagination. I can see exactly the 
assumption you
    are making, and understand exactly why you are making it, but can you see 
that it
    does not automatically follow that a machine which functions without 
    should develop experiential dimensions as magical emergent properties?

    I'm with John Clark on that - if a machine functions intelligently it's 
    and it's probably conscious.  Nothing magical about it.

It's completely magical. Saying that it isn't doesn't explain anything. If people stop at a stop sign, and then they are glad because oncoming traffic would have resulted in a wreck, does that mean that the intelligently functioning stop sign is conscious? There is no function which can conceivably require an experience of any kind...unless you can think of a counterfactual?

You have an exaggerated standard of explanation. Is there any function which can conceivably require gravity? No, GR 'explains' by showing a precise relation between the metric of spacetime and the distribution of matter. But it doesn't 'require' it. If intelligence of a certain level is always found to be accompanied by reports of consciousness, then we hypothesize that intelligent actions are a sign of consciousness. The difference between that and your fiat assignment of 'sense' to everything, is that it points a way to produce consciousness and possibly to test for it.


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