On Saturday, March 23, 2013 7:05:59 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> 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 would it be? What does arranging have to do with the possibility of 

> Why do you 
> think organising the matter is the thing that makes a difference? 

I don't think that. Sense organizes itself as matter in order to keep track 
of different experiences. 

> >> 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 
> consciousness. 

Consciousness is not a mechanism, it is a story of stories. Not every story 
is of the same quality. Matter reflects this, as we are tied to very 
specific kinds of matter to support our lives. The Earth is not made of 
food for us and almost all of the rest of the universe is not made of 
anything that will allow our lives to continue. This is the actual 
condition of our existence, and I think it deserves more consideration than 
any theory about what should or should not develop a human quality of 
consciousness. The other factor is how completely unlike living beings 
machines actually are. They are unlike in ways which have not diminished at 
all in the history of their development. 

The two of these clues together, combined with my understanding of 
consciousness as an unbroken story ruled by themes of superlative/heroic 
singularity, leads me to guess that there is actually a very good reason 
why consciousness can't come out of a can - even a monumentally 
sophisticated can. It has to do with symbols vs reality, and map vs 
territory. I have explained this over and over, but just because a stuffed 
animal looks like a bear to you, doesn't mean that it isn't just a nylon 
bag filled with styrofoam. Once you understand that the premise of 
consciousness as function or form is faulty, then you can see why a 
collection of forms is not going to tap into the history of some organism 
that you happen to be familiar with.

> >> 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. 

There is nothing in neuropeptides or ion channels that signifies a 
southerly direction or a particular landmark. There are only molecules, 
cells, and tissues.  They are incapable of signifying anything, just as a 
TV set is incapable of producing a TV show. This doesn't mean some special 
non-physical thing is going on, it just means that your view of physics is 
a toy model of reality that is a priori inadequate to detect the 
possibility of consciousness.

> >> 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. 

They are being pushed, by us. We get pushed by them too. It's not magic, 
it's who and what we are. We are the who, why, and when, and our body is 
the reflected public consequence of that: the what, how, and where. The 
symmetry of perceptual relativity is what ultimately defines physics itself.

> >> 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. 

We don't always *follow* we also *lead*. It's the same physical law either 
way, but we can choose to some extent how it is applied locally. That is 
what we are - local determiners of physical law. We are judge, jury, 
plaintiff, and defendant. The law works for us as much as we work for it - 
we are embedded participants, not processes or puppets. This is what life 
is all about.

> >> 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. 

Things can change physically without necessarily changing *your personal 
consciousness* but not without changing some consciousness or experience on 
some level. Matter is inseparable from experience, but that does not mean 
it is inseparable from *human* experience. If you assume that all 
experience is human experience, then the universe outside of Earth in the 
last million years is an unexperienced blank. This is the most outrageous 
anthropomorphism in my opinion, and even though you are able to completely 
accept the idea that our experience is a simulation bearing little 
resemblance to 'reality', you have not yet followed that premise to its 
logical conclusion that you would have no valid sense of experiences 
outside of your own species. If you take consciousness seriously, it makes 
perfect sense that our experience would minimize experiences on other 
scales of an unfamiliar nature. If we look at the universe as from an 
absolute perspective - describing it in a way in which nothing at all is 
left out, then we have to imagine it as a single instant, in which every 
experience is present in some sense.

> >> 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. 

They are all consistent with significant experience resulting from absent 
physical activity rather than the presence. Some even claim NDEs during 
complete absence of brain activity.

> >> 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. 

A program is only a high level phenomenon to the programmer. The machine 
does not know or care that it has been programmed, and it certainly will 
never figure out how to reprogram itself. A program converts an external 
high level motive into a low level, dumb influence. The program itself is 
dumb as well. It is a script, a sign, through which a relation between 
smart users and programmers are engaged with each other through a powerful, 
but inanimate storage medium.

> >> 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. 

Sure I can, because I understand exactly why it probably can't have one.

> Certainly the 
> observation that the computer was programmed by someone else does not 
> establish its mindlessness as an a priori fact. 

No, but until we find a person who has been programmed by a computer, we 
aren't obliged to give the assumption of computer mindfulness much 

> >> 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. 

Semantic experience and voluntary will are part of the causal chain. They 
push the brain.

> This is a very basic point, universally accepted by almost 
> every scientist in every field.

I know, it is a monumental failure which is threatening the future of the 
quality of all human life. This is our last chance to correct the error.

> In the extract from Chalmer's book you 
> posted, this corresponds with the assertion that the physical domain 
> is causally closed. 

The physical domain is causally closed, but everything is physics - 
especially feelings, thoughts, meaning, free will, etc. They are the 
private end of physics which operates top down and oriented from the 
interior out. What you think is physics is the tail end - the public range 
of physics which operates bottom up and outside in. Your view requires that 
you exist in some metaphysical domain as an unexplained illusory voyeur in 
a universe of causally closed mechanisms. I used to think that too, but 
know I can't believe how I ever did, it is so obviously a pathological 
model. You're in this separate room...making commentaries about this 
universe in which you can never participate, yet you have an illusion that 
you do because it helps the machine...

All I can tell you is that logic can only see logic. To examine reality and 
consciousness, you need consciousness and free will.

> >> 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.

It does seem sensible, but I think it is absolutely wrong. It only seems 
sensible because our human consciousness, as part of its human limitations, 
elides all kinds of fine differences. We think that we walk in the same 
stream twice, but of course we don't. Nothing can be the same as anything 
else because it occupies a different place in the cosmos. Identical twins 
are not identical. Two coin flips don't have the same exact odds, because 
nothing can be completely insulated from everything else in the universe.

> 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? 

Even computer states don't repeat exactly from an absolute measure, but 
their tolerance for repetition is a clue to their relative unconsciousness. 
A computer is always made of physical matter, so it always has some sense 
experience, but if it isn't made of something biological then it 
can't/won't make the leap to that level of experience. It's not something 
that I would expect, but it appears to be the case. The key is 
understanding that function is not experience. Something can function as a 
pet but it is only a pet rock.

> >> 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. 

The idea of real magic is imaginary. Anything that happens is physics, 
whether you understand it or not.

> 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. 

People also know that they have free will, but some people assume that it 
must violate some physical law because their idea of physics only includes 
how very large and very small samples of matter work.

> >> 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. 

That's a contradiction. If the joke causes laughter, then the brain states 
are not causally closed w/r/t the experience of the joke.

> This is analogous to the hardware/software distinction with 
> computers. 

No, that's a failed analogy. Software only exists if it satisfies an 
expectation for a user. Otherwise there is only hardware cycling through 
meaningless configurations.

> 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.

But we also know that the program supervenes on the programmer's sense and 
intentions more than it does even the physical process. The programmer's 
intention can be ported to numerous physical devices so that software does 
not supervene on any particular physics. As long as something behaves like 
a countable object, it can host a program. This is why Pinocchio can't 
become a real boy - his body is only a vehicle for the lowest level of 
physical sense interactions - binary distinctions and unitary motive. 
Living creatures need much more sophisticated capacities. 

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. 

The program *is* the flow of current in the computer circuits. The 
difference is that the computer circuits have no user, and no user 
interface, but the brain does. We have consciousness which turns our brain 
into a glove for our will.

Your view is bizarre to me because if you follow it through logically it 
makes any kind of self-directed action impossible. It is a radically 
truncated view of zoology, where the only meaningful difference between a 
jellyfish and a person is the shape of the body. Even the simple innovation 
of voluntary muscles seems beyond the conception of this theory. All 
muscles are involuntary, only some come with built in illusions of choice.


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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