On Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 12:18 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> Where do you get the idea that subjective events cannot repeat? It
>> seems another thing that you've just made up, with no rational
>> justification.
>
>
> Subjective events cannot  literally repeat for the same reason that
> historical events cannot literally repeat and you cannot step into the same
> river twice. All conditions are constantly changing so that it is impossible
> for every condition to be reproduced in a given frame of experience because
> what frames private experience is the relation with every other experience
> in the history of the universe, and to an eternity ahead.

My current experience is due to the current configuration of my brain,
and the current configuration of my brain is due to the preceding
configurations. The current configuration is due to the preceding
configurations because of the deterministic causal chain which you
discount. But even without this causal chain, if the current
configuration repeats due to chance at some future point, the
experience would repeat. The causal chain is significant only insofar
as it reliably brings about the correct configuration for experiences.
A car mechanic is only significant insofar as he reliably fixes a
problem with the car, but if the same operation were performed
accidentally by a chimpanzee playing with the engine, the car would
run just as well.

>> 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.
>
>
> There is no "same". There is "seems the same" by some standard of sensory
> interpretation. Configurations of matter don't yield any subjective states,
> any more than configurations of TV sets yield TV programs. The TV sets are
> built so that the programs can be watched. They have no meaning or use
> otherwise.

But the same configuration of electronics fed the same signal would
produce the same TV program. If the configuration is different and/or
the signal is different the program would be different.

>> Disrupting
>> the form of this matter disrupts the experiences, while swapping the
>> matter for different matter in the same form does not.
>
>
> If you swap the matter in a TV set for cheese, it won't work, even if the
> cheese is in the same configuration. Maybe the TV set is constructed only of
> certain materials for good reasons, or maybe you can make a TV set out of
> cheese, but it receives different (more cheesy?) programs.

If you swap the matter in a TV set for different matter of the same
type the TV will work the same. You can do this blindly, knowing
nothing about TV's and it will just work. If you know something about
TV's you can swap out components for components of different type but
equivalent function and it will work the same.

>> But it does seem, at the very least, that building a person out of
>> matter builds the experiences.
>
>
> Says who? Has someone assembled a living person from scratch yet? Have we
> even cloned an adult into another adult without growing it first from a
> zygote?

We know that the person is the same regardless of the origin of the
matter in their body. We know that the entire person is rebuilt from
alternative matter over the course of normal metabolism and they
remain the same person. We know that replacing components in a person
with artificial analogues, proteins and other small molecules, leaves
the person unchanged, and we know that molecules that arise naturally
are exactly the same in every respect we have been able to determine
as their artificial analogues. We have created bacteria with
artificial DNA which function normally. We have not yet created an
entire organism from scratch but if we did and it didn't work that
would be a staggering scientific puzzle implying that something
magical is going on, and you would expect that there would be some
evidence of this in the other experiements we have done.

>> Use the same matter but disrupt the
>> form - no experiences; use different matter and keep the form -
>> experiences.
>
>
> What different matter are you talking about? Can you use DNA made out of
> laundry soap?

If laundry soap contains all the elements needed to make DNA you
should be able to make DNA from it. Artificial DNA is made from
various chemicals ultimately derived, I guess, from petroleum and
minerals mined from the ground and ammonia synthesised from
atmospheric nitrogen.

>> 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.
>
>
> Then by that definition, we cannot be part of the universe since we are
> nothing but cares, purposes, and functions.

We are part of the universe but we are not identical to the universe.
The whole does not necessarily have all the properties of the parts
and the parts do not necessarily have all the properties of the whole.
The fact that a person is conscious but the chemicals in his body are
not conscious is an example of this. You may find this staggering and
incredible but it is commonplace.

>> 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.
>
>
> I don't back off of (b). You don't understand that my position is that
> matter represents the public interaction of sense. All that matter does is a
> direct effect of sense experience on some level and scale. Sense experience
> cannot literally be repeated because sense is ontologically defined as "that
> which cannot be repeated", i.e. absolute negentropy or pure signal. I try
> not to have any beliefs, I have conjectures and hypotheses.

It's good to have hypotheses but you need to at least propose
experiments that will test your hypotheses.

>> 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.
>
>
> Asked and answered: http://multisenserealism.com/the-competition/
>
>>
>> That is what it means to be separately
>> causally efficacious!
>
>
> Who said anything about "separately"? You aren't getting it. I am saying
> that consciousness (sense, really, not talking about human quality
> consciousness here), is the *only thing in the universe that can ever cause
> anything*. Once you have sensory-motor definitions and distinctions, then
> you can have unintentional consequences on some levels for some participants
> while executing the intentional interactions on other levels. If I want to
> move my arm, my brain changes and my arm moves. This is more fundamental
> than all of the laws of physics put together.

If consciousness directly affects matter, that means there should be
anomalous physical effects. If consciousness is merely supervenient,
no such anaomalous effects should be evident. If there are no
anomalous physical effects, that means consciousness does not
directly, or separately, or in a top-down way affect matter. What you
want to see is a physiological process that science tells us should
not occur suddenly and spontaneously occurring - so you could point to
it and say that that is consciousness doing it. Otherwise there is no
evidence to an external observer of consciousness playing any causal
role at all.

>> 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,
>
>
> Except for the reason why those biochemical processes are initiated in the
> first place.
>
>>
>> and wanting
>> to move my arm supervenes on these processes.
>
>
> No more than your driving the car to the store supervenes on the proper
> function of an engine, transmission, etc. Seen from the other way, the car
> clearly supervenes on your ability to drive and motivation to do so to go
> anywhere. If you can't see that, I don't think that anyone could ever make
> you understand - maybe if you had TMS to revive the dormant right hemisphere
> of your brain.

The car moving has an additional causal factor - me as the driver. It
is not a causally closed physical system. If I am included along with
all the influences on me that is a causally closed physical system,
and every state transition of that system is entirely explicable in
physical terms. If a state transition occurs that cannot be explained
in physical terms then that would be consistent with top-down
causation from consciousness. Without evidence of such state
transitions occurring, consciousness is merely supervenient with no
separate or direct or top-down causal efficacy of its own.

>> 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.
>
>
> There is no 'causes my arm to move', it isn't a mechanical process, it is a
> single instantaneous gesture on the personal level. On the sub-personal
> level, there are chain reactions among tissues and cells, but on that level,
> the person cannot be detected. My view suggests a Multi-sense realism. The
> world of cells exists in a different time gauge than the world of persons.
> What is happening among cells is like what is happening among human bodies -
> social interaction, productivity, etc. What you see through a microscope is
> the view from above, it is missing all of the semantic content.

But you ought to see when you look down a microscope cells suddenly
doing stuff that science cannot explain; ion gates opening for no
apparent reason, electric fields appearing out of nowhere, and so on.
If these things only happen due to the normal causal factors then the
whole organism functions in the machine-like manner you abhor.

>> 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."
>
>
> If you defer your decisions to sub-personal influences then you simply push
> the problem down a level. How do you know that any level of determinism is
> not intentional? Why is your faith in unintentional phenomena which seem
> intentional any less naive than mine? You not only aren't seeing the forest
> for the trees, you aren't even seeing the tree for the cracks in the bark.
> There is no possibility of any such feeling as "I feel my decisions...X" in
> a universe which is purely unintentional. There are no decisions, just
> events flowing one randomly or reflexively into the next. Where are you
> getting your assumption from that intentional seeming "decisions" could
> exist under determinism?

You do believe that the fact that you feel your decisions are not
determined means they are in fact not determined. I am simply stating
what you repeatedly assert. You have not shown that this true a
priori, but you treat it as if it is.

>> Intentional and unintentional have absolutely nothing to do with
>> determined or random. Whether something is determined or random has to
>> do with causality.
>
>
> And causality has to do with intentional and unintentional. You can change
> the words all you want, but you cannot possibly account for the feeling of
> intention in a deterministic universe. There is no argument there, only
> misdirection and distraction.

You continually insist that this is self-evident, or true a priori,
when it is not. Shouldn't other people see it if it self-evident?

>> If there is a direct effect of consciousness on the brain there is no
>> evidence of it.
>
>
> The brain exists for no purpose but to support and serve consciousness.
> Without consciousness, there can be no brain. What more evidence could you
> want?

If consciousness supervenes on brain activity then consciousness does
not directly affect brain activity. The reason for the supervenience
thesis in the first place is that consciousness is not directly
observable.

>> 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.
>
>
> All evidence we have suggests that we don't exist. Consicousness can only be
> studied because we take our word for it that we are here and we feel here
> and we feel there. It will be physics that has to change to accommodate the
> sophistication of consciousness, not reality that changes to accommodate
> physics. Don't you know that in 50 years everything that we think we know
> now in physics will be quaint anachronisms? Remember a few years ago when
> the entire universe was made of matter and energy, and now it's made of dark
> energy?

The physics relevant to the brain has not really changed in over a
century. Nevertheless, it is possible that new physics will be
discovered explaining hitherto unknown brain functions. But what won't
change is the scientific method: hypothesis, testing of hypothesis,
modification of hypothesis.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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