On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> It is obviously possible that intentional comes from non-intentional,
>> since that is what actually happened.
> It could not have happened unless the potential for intention was inherently
> present from the start. The cosmic recipe book already has a page for it at
> t=1.

Yes, the potential for consciousness must be present in matter, and it
is realised when it is arranged in an appropriate way. Why do you
think organising the matter is the thing that makes a difference?

>> If you claim that protons,
>> neutrons and electrons are intentional (or have the potential to
>> become intentional, which is trivially obvious) then what is your
>> objection to machines, which are composed of the same protons,
>> neutrons and electrons as people, also being intentional?
> Because intentionality can only come from within, it cannot be imposed from
> an exterior agenda. The recipe for increased human intentionality is a
> history of experience over billions of years. Because it is a relative
> measure, there always seems to be the same amount of intentionality in the
> universe, but each new iteration of it becomes more 'alive' and
> 'conscious'...the divide between chance and choice widens, and along with
> it, I suggest personal investment, significance, realism, agony and ecstasy,
> powers of discernment, strategic focal length, expanded sensory aperture
> ranges, etc.
> The machine takes the top slice of the tip of the iceberg, and transplants
> it onto an iceberg shaped piece of styrofoam. It is a rootless imitation of
> human logic as it is conceived by human logic - devoid of realism, sense,
> significance, etc, it has only the superficial trappings of human-like
> presence. What it lacks however, can be made up for in other ways. The
> styrofoam iceberg can be made as large or small as we like. It can sit in
> the desert or outer space. It can do mind numbing calculations for a billion
> years without ever getting bored. It is an impersonal organization of
> primitive proto-sentience, but that is exactly what makes it a powerful tool
> to us instead of a predator/competitor. If it were actually alive and
> self-interested, there is little doubt in my mind that we would be
> exterminated by such a new player in our ecological niche. Introduce an
> all-powerful species into a biome and see what happens.

We are indeed at risk from intelligent machines smarter than us, even
if they have originally been programmed to help us. As for the rest of
what you said, I don't see how it answers the question of why
biological but not electronic or mechanical beings can be conscious
given that they are made of the same stuff with the same capacity of

>> If there is nothing in your brain that will explain your driving to
>> Georgia then you won't drive to Georgia. I didn't think even you would
>> disagree with that.
> Yes I would disagree with that. If an alien neuroscientist looked at a human
> brain, there is no way to tell what 'Georgia' is. There are cells,
> molecules, folded tissues, coordinated activity on every level of
> description, but no Georgia, and no clue on Wednesday of where it planned
> Tuesday to go on Thursday.

The alien would not be able to tell what your concept of "Georgia" was
but he would be able to tell what you were actually intending to do,
i.e. to drive in a southerly direction until you had reached a
particular landmark.

>> I can't fathom how you think all the cells in your body will mobilise
>> when you decide to move your arm without this being either a chain of
>> causation or a seemingly magical event.
> I know, that's the problem. You can't fathom it. Just witness it. Behold, it
> is happening. You type your comments as sentences>words>letters/keystrokes,
> not as assemblies of twitches, grammar, and disconnected syllables.

What I can't fathom is how you think that just because there is a lot
of complex movement doors open without being pushed, and then say this
isn't magic.

>> You've tried to explain it but
>> all I get is "it just happens spontaneously, and it isn't magic". That
>> does not seem an adequate explanation.
> It happens spontaneously because you are physically real, except not a body
> in public space, but as a private time in life/consciousness. The relation
> is like an LCD display, twisted into perpendicular polarization dynamically.
> It doesn't matter which end of it you twist, the result is the same. If you
> feel excited from an experience or thought by your choice, you produce
> epinephrine, if someone shoots you up with epinepherine, you feel excited
> and whatever experience you are having becomes an exciting experience.

I'm not sure what that means, but you still haven't explained how you
think doors open without following any physical law and claim this is
not magic.

>> The brain must
>> have a certain tolerance to physical change or it wouldn't be able to
>> work properly. Thousands of neurons can die, for example, with
>> seemingly little or no change in cognition.
> You assume that no change in cognition means no change in anything's
> experience. I don't make that mistake. I don't assume that I am the only
> life going on in my body or brain.

Things can change physically without necessarily changing
consciousness, but consciousness cannot change without the requisite
physical change.

>> On the other hand, your
>> mind cannot change without your brain changing unless you believe in a
>> non-physical mind which can work independently of the brain.
> We don't know this at all, but I don't have a problem with it either way.
> The more research that comes out on how psychedelics quiet the brain, how
> glial cells cause intelligence in mice, on NDEs, the more I would not bet on
> mind supervening on brain - but again, I don't need to even go there. It is
> sufficient to see that all of our qualia is not present in the brain, so
> that whatever dependence there is does not necessarily extend beyond gross
> access to physiological services. The brain is a vehicle for a person (and
> subpersons, superpersons, whatever).

But psychedelics, glial cells and the physiological changes associated
with NDE's are all consistent with consciousness supervening on
physical events.

>> Plans control the brain in the way a program controls a computer.
> No. Programs are inscribed into a computer from a programmer. This browser
> program is not going to make any plans of its own.

The analogy is that a plan is a high level phenomenon, like a program.

>> The
>> program exists in the mind of the programmer and the computation
>> occurs in the mind of the computer (whatever that may or may not
>> mean),
> That's the key point though. If I'm right, then there is no mind of the
> computer. There is a digital recording of parts of a human mind's
> intentions. There's a big difference from the computer's point of view, but
> not as much from ours.

You can't say a priori that the computer has no mind. Certainly the
observation that the computer was programmed by someone else does not
establish its mindlessness as an a priori fact.

>> but at the bottom level, the parts of the computer do not move
>> unless pushed in a causal chain.
> As opposed to a human brain and mind which is constantly moving, pushing
> itself and outward, creating new causes - propping them up, tending to them
> dutifully, promoting them over a lifetime intentionally.

No, the parts of the brain do not move unless pushed in a causal
chain. This is a very basic point, universally accepted by almost
every scientist in every field. In the extract from Chalmer's book you
posted, this corresponds with the assertion that the physical domain
is causally closed.

>> How does this answer the question of whether a computer may have
>> subjectivity?
> It explains that there is a plausible way of modeling subjectivity so that
> individuality cannot be duplicated. Experience is based on private time, not
> bodies in space. Every moment of private time can only happen once, as each
> moment contains a holographic sense of all other moments in that life, and
> perhaps in all of time.

If my brain state were repeated exactly then it seems sensible to
assume my mental state would also be repeated exactly. And even if
not, I still don't see what that has to do with computers having
subjectivity. Are you saying that computer states can repeat exactly,
unlike brain states? Then why wouldn't that just mean that computer
mental states would repeat?

>> It is magic if something happens without any physical cause. How else
>> would you define magic?
> I define magic as an intentionally constructed illusion. Everything else is
> just physics we don't understand yet.

What you define is a trick, not real magic. Real magic is where
something happens contrary to physics - not just the known laws but
any laws. People know that TV is not magic even though most people
don't know how TV works, because they assume that it does work
according to some physical laws.

>> Both tickling and talking physically affect the brain.
> But tickling causes laughter as a consequence of a-signifying tactile
> stimulation. Talking does not cause laughter. Using speech or writing to
> create or communicate a thought which is funny causes laughter - the
> experience of understanding the signifying content of the joke cause the
> laughter.  The physicality of the former is important and causal but an
> irrelevant  medium in the latter. The result is the same, and it is
> physiological and emotional, but there are two opposite directions to take
> to get there.

The experience of understanding the joke causes laughter, but this
experience supervenes on a series of brain states which are causally
closed. This is analogous to the hardware/software distinction with
computers. On one level it is correct to say that the computer behaved
as it did due to its programming, but we know that at the basic level
its behaviour is determined by the physical processes on which the
program supervenes. It is not possible for the program to magically
cause currents to flow in the computer circuits, but you seem to
believe (or half believe, because you deny that this would be magic)
that this is what happens in the brain.

Stathis Papaioannou

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