On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 11:35 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> It does mean you could replicate World War II if you replicate the
>> complex arrangement of matter. It does not mean you would necessarily
>> understand it if you replicated it, any more than a photocopier
>> understands the image it is copying. But if the photocopier were
>> technically very good, the copy could be arbitrarily close to the
>> original in the opinion of anyone who *did* understand it. Similarly,
>> if you replicated World War II to a close enough tolerance the
>> observers inside the replication would understand it and an external
>> observer would understand it.
> Your view assumes that time is a generic plenum of duration, while I
> understand that it is precisely the opposite. Time is proprietary and
> unrepeatable subjective content. Experiences can be inspected and controlled
> publicly to a limited extent but no single event or collection of events can
> be repeated in the absolute sense since all events are eventually
> intertwined causally with all others. You want to make this about
> arrangements of matter but it is about experiences of time.

Where do you get the idea that subjective events cannot repeat? It
seems another thing that you've just made up, with no rational

>> Matter is, indeed, not absolutely important for mind. What is
>> important is the functional arrangement of matter. If this is
>> replicated, the mind is replicated.
> By that assumption, if I arrange styrofoam balls in the shape of the
> molecules of a cheeseburger, then a gigantic person would be able to eat it
> and it would taste like a cheeseburger. If that were true, then we should
> see the same arrangements over and over again - giant ants the size of a
> planet, etc. Arrangement is only important because of the properties of what
> you are arranging. If you arrange inert blobs, then all that you can ever
> get is larger, more complex arrangements of inert blobs. No mind is present
> in arrangement.

Before we move to styrofoam balls, it's problematic that you don't
even accept  the modest assumption that the same matter in the same
configuration will yield the same behaviour and same subjective
states, such as they may be.

>> This happens in the course of
>> normal physiology, whereby all the matter in your body is replaced
>> with different matter from the food you eat, but you still feel that
>> you are you.
> That's because your lifetime is made of subjective experience, and
> experience is publicly accessible in a limited way as forms and functions.
> Your view confuses the vehicle of life with a producer of life.

If your lifetime is made of subjective experiences, the matter in your
body seems essential for these experiences to be realised. Disrupting
the form of this matter disrupts the experiences, while swapping the
matter for different matter in the same form does not.

>> But why would a complex experience require a complex arrangement of
>> matter?
> It doesn't require it, that is just the inevitable embodiment of it. If you
> want to play baseball, you play on a baseball diamond. The baseball diamond
> doesn't conjure baseball players to the field out of the aether (only in the
> dreams of Kevin Costner and functionalists does 'Build it and they will
> come." work out.).

But it does seem, at the very least, that building a person out of
matter builds the experiences. Use the same matter but disrupt the
form - no experiences; use different matter and keep the form -

> The experience is primary, and why is to allow complex interactions and
> experiences as a kind of trellis to extend aesthetic qualities. If the
> experience supervenes on arrangement then you have to explain why there is
> any experience there to begin with, what it is, and how it comes to attach
> itself to 'arrangements'. You can't do that, but nobody can because it's
> incorrect.

Can you explain what use there is for bodies, why experience is
attached to them and disrupting the body disrupts the experience?

>> The influences going back billions of years are just the means to
>> create organisms now alive.
> Why do you think that there is a "now"? What causes it and where does it
> come from? Aren't the organisms now alive just the means to create organisms
> which will live in the future?

The organisms now alive purport to create organisms in the future, but
they might all be wiped out. The universe doesn't care and has no
purpose or function.

>> It took billions of years of evolution to
>> create cars, but if a car randomly fell together from scrap iron and
>> so on in the exact form of a Toyota Corolla, it would function exactly
>> the same as a Toyota Corolla despite never seeing the inside of a
>> Toyota factory.
> That's because the Toyota doesn't feel like anything. If it did, then it
> would not feel like a Toyota since it had never been inside of a Toyota
> factory. It would, in the absence of other cars, roads, garages, etc feel
> like a collection of scrap iron would feel.

But the car should function like a normally built car despite its
unusual origin, and similarly a human constructed in this way should
function like a normal human unless (a) he lacks consciousness and (b)
consciousness has a direct effect on matter. I guess you claim (a) and
you sort of claim (b) (but back off if pushed), although you have no
basis for these beliefs.

>> But you have stated repeatedly and forcefully that I am using a straw
>> man argument when I say you believe that consciousness is causally
>> efficacious and therefore should be observed to be so in experiment!
> Consciousness is causally efficacious and it is observed to be so in every
> experiment already. It is not interpreted that way because nobody yet
> suspects that matter itself is literally nothing but the public face of
> private nested experiences. We keep looking for a Lapis Medicorum - some
> kind of active ingredient which translates the functioning of forms into
> sensory experience, but we will never find it because forms and functions
> are already nothing but sensory-motor experiences as experienced from a
> distance.

If consciousness is separately causally efficacious then we would see
consciousness causing things to happen in neurons not explained by the
normal laws of physics. That is what it means to be separately
causally efficacious! If consciousness is merely supervenient then no
anomalous physical effects would be observed. The movement of my arm
is entirely explicable in terms of biochemical processes, and wanting
to move my arm supervenes on these processes. This is more or less
equivalent to you saying "the will to move your arm is the biochemical
processes". On the other hand, if wanting to move my arm causes my arm
to move directly then that would result in observation of anomalous
physical effects.

>> What you don't understand is that free will is defined differently by
>> different people, both philosophers and laypeople.
> I know that, but that doesn't mean that there is not a clear and singular
> understanding which they are missing.

They're not misunderstanding anything if they choose to define it a
certain way and make this definition explicit. Only if they contradict
themselves is there a problem.

>> There is not just
>> one definition. You choose your own definition, which is OK, but you
>> paint yourself into a corner because you are forced to say that free
>> will does not exist once you understand that
>> neither-determined-nor-random is impossible.
> I'm not just picking my own fun definition, I am proposing a total
> reinterpretation of physics. Within that reinterpretation, how we view free
> will is indeed flexible and actually impacts your participation in the
> outside world, but that is only possible if we understand that at the root,
> the nature of physics allows that very flexibility because free will is the
> very fabric of nature.

Sure, physics allows free will, but only if free will is defined so as
to be compatible with physics.

>> But if the world is determined by spiritual powers those spiritual
>> powers make decisions that are either determined - fixed for all time,
>> i.e. fatalism - or random - not fixed, not predictable, fickle.
> That's up to the spiritual powers. They decide whether to stick to their
> word as law or to make laws of their changing whims. It's no different than
> a king. Some kings are capricious and cruel, some are enlightened, some are
> the former at some times and the latter in others. The king doesn't have to
> choose when he is crowned whether his decisions are fixed for all time or
> unpredictable - that's kind of the important thing about being the king, you
> get to 'have it your way'.

How would the king know if his decision was determined or not? You
seem to have an incredibly naive faith here. "I feel my decisions are
not determined, therefore it beyond all doubt that I am right."

> The king is neither determined nor random, he is intentional or
> unintentional. Determined or random are both opposite poles of
> unintentional. The more that we argue about this, the more obvious to me it
> is that my view is absolutely correct, and that yours is clearly lacking any
> realism or deep consideration. Why is it the law that intention must be
> unintentional?

Intentional and unintentional have absolutely nothing to do with
determined or random. Whether something is determined or random has to
do with causality.

>> I wonder if you are
>> mixing up your cats and dogs when you claim that it is obvious that
>> our brains are neither determined nor random.
> Our brains are going to appear determined or random but if you try to
> reproduce a brain based on that, it will not match the behavior of a human
> brain over time, because our intention is constantly changing the behavior
> of the brain. The appearance of the brain is not the territory of
> consciousness, it is the roadmap.

If there is a direct effect of consciousness on the brain there is no
evidence of it. All the evidence we have suggests that the brain
follows the rules of physics, and if that is the case, reproducing a
brain on this basis will reproduce the brain behaviour.

>> The existence of determinism and randomness does not require
>> scientific investigation, like God, the Devil or consciousness
>> directly acting on matter. They exist insofar as the universe exists
>> and there is at least one change in it, for that change must a priori
>> be either determined or random. If you don't agree then you probably
>> have a different understanding of these words.
> If the first change in the universe has nothing before it, then it cannot be
> determined, and if it is random then it exists in meaningless isolation. Why
> can't you conceive of intention? You are using it every waking moment, all
> of your life. You are choosing what words to use, what ideas to express,
> based on your personal preference. You are using your brain and fingers and
> keyboard to extend your private agenda into the public world. No complex
> arrangement of particles cares about that, they are doing mechanical
> routines, shadowing your intentions and intensity. It goes the other way too
> - you can get tired, and those complex arrangements can pile up instructions
> in some queue, and that puts you on the receiving end...still, there is no
> tiredness unless there is an aesthetically motivated participant to feel
> tired. A machine is not motivated and not aesthetic, so it can know no
> tiredness and will work until it breaks itself any time it is set to do so.

I could ask you similar questions: why is it that you are incapable of
conceiving that non-mind organised in the appropriate way gives rise
to mind? Why do you deny that you have intention, consciousness and
free will when you are obviously just a machine made of atoms? This is
not really an argument, it is rhetoric, but it is as good as your

Stathis Papaioannou

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