On 12/22/2012 5:10 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
On 12/22/2012 1:21 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
On 12/22/2012 11:36 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
As to how computation might lead to consciousness, I think it helps to
with a well-defined definition of consciousness. Take dictionary.com
"awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings,
Well what is awareness? dictionary.com <http://dictionary.com> defines
dictionary.com <http://dictionary.com>'s simplest non-circular
knowledge is simply "information".
As discussed earlier, you can have information in the Shannon sense,
is just measure over different possible messages. For it to be
*about* something, to be knowledge, it has to be grounded in the
ability to act.
Right. But how do you define act? I think changing states within the
I don't. That leads to the paradox of the conscious rock.
I disagree. There is no *process *within the rock that gives any indication that it
"has information of its own existence, sensations, thoughts, or surroundings".
How did "of its own existence" get in there? Does a spider have to have knowledge of it's
own existence to recognize a fly? A rock has internal states that change via chemical
reactions, crystal formation, cosmic ray strikes, etc.
The computations, if you can call them that,
That's the point; how do you call some processes knowledge and not others. My answer is
that they inform actions - at least potentially.
are only the simplest linear operations of particle collisions, there are no stable
structures and no long running coherent computations.
Do you not deny that a paralyzed person can be conscious (as is the case with total
locked-in syndrome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locked-in_syndrome )?
I'm not sure. "Total locked-in syndrome" seems to still admit interaction by visual
perception. Of course the person has memories and knowledge that were formed in the past
and were derivative of action. I think that if an infant suffered total lock in they
would never learn to think as normal humans do. What knowledge is built into an animal is
built in by the interactions of natural selection. So I still think knowledge is grounded
in interaction with environments - that the idea of disembodied, and hence isolated
consciousness is ultimately incoherent.
The states within only have meaning by virtue to external actions and
Who is the judge of externality? Why can't the independent modules in the brain be
considered actors in a larger environment? This seems to lead to a "turtles all the way
up" situation, where there have to ever greater levels of external observers or
actions. What if our whole universe were a computer emulation, would that make us into
zombies because the giant computer has no external actions?
The whole evolutionary advantage of having a 'within' is that the brain can
and anticipate (e.g. 'simulate') the external world as part of its decision
Yes brains and consciousness evolved so we can better interact with the world, but that
doesn't mean interaction with the external world is necessary for consciousness. We
evolved the ability to perceive pleasure for (eating, sleeping, mating, etc.), but we
can achieve pleasure directly (using direct brain stimulation or drugs) without needing
to eat, sleep, mate, etc.
I don't think I've met a materialist who rejects the idea that a brain in the vat could
Suppose you copied someone's brain, like Bruno's doctor, and put it in a vat with not
neural input/output? I don't think it would really be conscious very long. I expect it
would either think no thoughts at all or it would become trapped in loop.
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