Hi Craig Weinberg 

Good points, and I very much welcome your sharing of information and
discussion on Peirce, particularly:

1) Peirce said "Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign". 
Fuuny you mention that, because last night I realized the same thing.
This is a serious problem for comp, because IMHO without
a living mind to interpret its calculations, the calculations are
stillborn. More precisely, a computer can only know things by
description (3p), not by acquaintance (1p), a computer having no 1p.
Which means that a computer only has theoretical access to Platonia (3p),
not actual access (1p), so although it can calculate numbers,
it cannot do anything there with those numbers.

On the other hand, semiotics has at least a theoretical 1p
since it has an interprant. 






[Roger Clough], [rclo...@verizon.net]
12/2/2012 
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen

----- Receiving the following content ----- 
From: Craig Weinberg 
Receiver: everything-list 
Time: 2012-12-01, 16:29:07
Subject: Re: Outline for a Semiotic Computationalism


I'm a fan of semiotics as well. Not to be the nit-picking guy but, since we are 
talking about symbols and clear communication, it's not technically true to say 
that Peirce developed semiotics or that Saussure's work is called semiosis. I 
think of semoisis as referring to the actual process by which meaning is 
encoded and decoded in symbolic forms, while semiotics refers to the study of 
that process and its larger issues of interpreters, referents, and 
descriptions. 

According to the wiki, Peirce actually introduced the word semiosis himself, 
and Locke came brought the word semiotics into use before Peirce.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiosis
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/semiotics

I agree that semiotics provides a good framework - a better framework than math 
or physics in my opinion with which to approach consciousness. The problem is 
that it also fails to 'go all the way' and account for the fundamental 
capacities which signs supervene on - namely consciousness itself.

Peirce said "Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign". Properly 
understood, this sentence reveals why no symbol, including those generated by 
processes in the brain or logical functions in a program can possibly be seen 
as a root source of consciousness. The capacity to interpret signs must 
prefigure semiotics, as it must prefigure Turing machines, arithmetic operators 
and numbers, physical forces and fields, quantum states and dynamics, etc.

you said "Comp could in fact provide such sensory signals if the 
numbers of comp are converted to analog form signals
and interfaced to the brain. Presumably this is how 
digital implants work."

If this were true, then there would have to be miniature plum orchards and 
baseball stadiums inside of the brain. At some point there would have to be a 
final decoding which could only be into the form of qualia that we actually 
experience. Otherwise there is metaphysical never-never land where qualia comes 
from.

Since we don't see any constructed qualia in the tissue of the brain - and 
again it's more than digital patterns being converted to analog signals, 
because odors and flavors don't work that way. There is no algebraic 
transformation or topology which inherently has an odor or a feeling. We know 
this because we can't put an odor on a computer screen, no matter how precisely 
the information associated with that aromatic experience is modeled. There is 
an insurmountable gulf between all mathematical models and all direct 
experiences. As Peirce says, signs must be interpreted as such, which means 
intentionality and awareness - whether it is on the human individual level or 
the level of a cell, molecule, machine, etc. No matter what it is, it has to 
have the capacity to participate in the world. 

Digital implants work like a cane works for a blind person. They are prosthetic 
extensions through which the nervous system can adapt and utilize the foreign 
device as an antenna. There is a limit though, just as eyeglasses won't help 
someone who is completely blind, the structures of the brain through which 
support the experience of the individual person as a whole can't be replaced 
without killing off the person. I'm open to other arguments, but none that I 
have heard so far impress me as being plausible.

Craig



On Saturday, December 1, 2012 10:07:06 AM UTC-5, rclough wrote: 
Outline for a Semiotic Computationalism 

Semiotics is the science of symbols developed by CS Peirce.
Everything in the mind used to think is a symbol.

Computationalism or comp is the philosophical view that 
the mind can be emulated by calculations, such as by a 
computer, often using the natural numbers.  

To the semiotician, the world consists of extended things and 
their inextended representations called signs. The physical and
the nonphysical. So not dissimilar to the world of Leibniz.
There are two related branches of the study of signs. One,
called semiotics, is more properly the study of the logic of signs,
is what I shall be addressing, and was developed by CS Peirce. 
The other branch, called semiosis, was developed by Saussure.
It is the study of the application of signs (frequently words 
or language) socially, in the world outside. A basic branch 
of this study involves linguistics and the study of structures 
in language.

So Peirce's semiotics is based on logical mental phenomena,
while Saussure's semioses deals with the use and
meanings of words and phrases socially in the world at large. 
Semiotics, being logical, appears to me to be the proper branch to 
study together with comp.

How could computationalism emulate the brain ?

Peirce is known to have borrowed some ideas from Locke,
the most likely one being Locke's philosophy of mind,
namely that the mind is a blank slate and that all knowledge
is obtained through the senses. 
Comp could in fact provide such sensory signals if the
numbers of comp are converted to analog form signals
and interfaced to the brain. Presumably this is how 
digital implants work. 
So in principle comp could work.
A possibly workable scheme would begin with
comp forming signs or representations in the brain
with electrical signals. Then what ?
Then the life in the brain-- its intelligence-- takes over. 
The resultant thinking would be semiotic: 
the interpretation of such signs and manipulation of them
by this intelligence according to Peirce's logic system. 

eg 

(the Venn overlap of) S1 + S2 = S3

Thus a semiotic computationalism appears at least feasible.

[Roger Clough], [rclo...@verizon.net]
12/1/2012 
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen

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