On 12/20/2012 6:17 AM, Telmo Menezes wrote:
Hi Roger,

    I accidentally sent the previous email before
    I was done, sorry. Please consider this more complete version
    of the intended whole:
    Hi Telmo,
    Those images in the videoclips, while still remarkable,
    probably were constructed simply by monitoring
    sensory MRI signals just as one might from a video camera,
    and displaying them as a raster pattern, artificially
    converting the time voltage signal into a timespace signal.


Ok. We're not even sure what we're looking at. The brain is a gigantic^n kludge. We are seeing stuff happening in the visual cortex that can be meaningfully mapped to images. This stuff correlates with what the subject is seeing, but in a weird way.

Hi Telmo,

As I was watching the brain scan image video I noticed a lot of weird text like stuff mixed into the image. What was that? Artifacts?

So we can speculate that we're watching, for example, a pattern matching process taking place. The most spectacular thing for me is when we see the anticipation of the ink blot explosion. That's something you wouldn't get from a video camera (but you could get from a computer running a sophisticated AI).

    Perception of the moving image from a given perspective
    by the brain might take place in the following way :
    1) FIRSTNESS (The eye). The initial operation in processing the
    raw optical signal is reception of the sensory signal.
    This is necessarily done by a monad (you or me),
    because only monads see the world from a given
    perspective.


In my opinion you are conflating intelligence and consciousness. I see two separate issues:

1) The human being as an agent senses things, assigns symbols to them, compares them with his memories and so on. The brain tries to anticipate all possible futures and then choses actions that are more likely to lead to a future state that it prefers. This preference can be ultimately reduced to pain avoidance / pleasure seeking. In my view, the fundamental pain and pleasure signals have to be encoded some how in our DNA, and were selected to optimise our chances of reproduction. All this is 3p and can be emulated by a digital computer. Some of it already is.

2) There is a "me" here observing the universe from my perspective. I am me and not you. There's a consciousness inside my body, attached to my mind (or is it my mind)? I suspect there's one inside other people too, but I cannot be sure. This is a 1p phenomena and outside the realm of science. It cannot be explained by MRI machines and clever algorithms - although many neuroscientists fail to realise it. This mystery is essentially what makes me an agnostic more than an atheist. If there is a god, I suspect he's me (and you). In a sense.

You can have 1 without 2, the famous zombie.

I disagree! The very act of fulfilling the requirements of 1 "connects it to" the #2 version of itself. The isomorphism between 1 and 2 is just a fact of how logical algebras can be represented as spaces (sets + relations) and vice versa! What gets glossed over is that Human beings (and any other physical system that has the potential to implement a universal machine) are not static structures. The logical algebra that represents them cannot be static either, it has to evolve as well. Think of how you would model a neural network X as it learns new patterns.... The propositions of your logical algebra for X would have to be updated as the learning progresses, no?

    This is not a visual display, only  a
    complex sensory signal.
    2) SECONDNESS (the hippocampus ? the cerebellum? ).
    The next stage is intelligent processing of the
    optical signal and into a useable expreswion of
    the visual image.
    (From the monadology, we find that each monad
    (you or me) does not  perceive the world directly,
    but is given such a perception by the supreme monad
    (the One, or God). This supreme monad contains
    the ability to intelligently construct the visual image
    from the optical nerve signal)
    3) THIRDNESS (cerebrum ?) Knowing this visual expresson
    by the individual monad according to its individual perspective.
    This perspective is somehow coordinated with motor muscles
    (left/right,
    etc.), but I question that this is an actual 2D or 3D "display,"
    such as in the videoclips. (The videoclips are another matter
    as they are artificialy constructed.)


I agree with you, but maybe videoclips can still be created from there. If the neural network contains a piece of information A, and this information can be represented by image B, there has to be a function f: A -> B. Of course finding this function (and/or computing it) might be incredibly hard.

It is helpful to see function f: A -> B as a Functor and not a plain jane function. Maybe a presheve is a better model.

    If there is an actual or simulated display then we are
    faced with Dennett's problem: the infinite regress of
    spectators, spectators of spectator, etc.


Ok, but here we're back to 1p.

We defeat Dennett by showing that the regress cannot occur when there are physical resources required by the computations for each level of the recursion. We can cutoff recursions in our algorithms with code: if count of loops is 10, stop. But physical systems can not count, they just run out of juice after a while....

    But if there is no display, we do not need an observer self,
    and are possibly ending up with Michael Dennett's materialist
    concept of the self. This might be called epi-phenominalism.
    The self is simply an expression of the brain.


I don't believe it is just an expression of the brain (I suspect you don't either), but part of the reason why I don't believe is 1p, so I cannot communicate it (can I?). I don't know. I tried at dinner parties and got funny looks.

I do think that the consciousness is an expression of the brain *and* all of its environment that molds its behavior. It is silly to think that skin is the boundary that a mind associates with! We cannot forget causal closure in our reasoning about 1p! Telmo, can't you see that the defining characteristic of 1p is that one cannot communicate it? Only I can know exactly what it is like to be me. So I can infer or bet that you have a "what it is like to be Telmo" but I cannot know it, by definition and this relation is symmetrical between any pair of conscious entities.


    I do not at present know the answer.


    Consider dual aspect monism! It works!

--
Onward!

Stephen

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