On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>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> wrote: >>> > On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Rex Allen <rexall...@gmail.com> >>> 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. >>> >> >> 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 >> > > 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' >> and 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. 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 experience should develop experiential > dimensions as magical emergent properties? > > >> >> 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. >>> >> >> 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. >> > > It's not. The data of an mp3 file is interacted with in the same way by a > computer whether it is formatted as something we can see or hear, but the > computer has no experience of either one. Blindsight also shows that qualia > is not an inevitable result of interaction. > > I agree with what Max said (two years ago!): > > > "Information requires interpretation. The magic isn't in the bits. > The magic is in the interpreter." > Max's post was 23 hours ago. It is Rex Allen's post from two years ago that you and Brent are quoting and responding to. Note that I too agree with that bit about the interpreter of information being needed for information to have any objective meaning. Jason -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.