On 4/10/2013 1:36 PM, Terren Suydam wrote:
This is close to an idea I have been mulling over for some time... that the source of the phenomenological feeling of pleasure is in some way identified with decreases in entropy, and pain is in some way identified with increases in entropy. It is a way to map the subjective experience of pain and pleasure to a 3p description of, say, a nervous system.

You will just further muddle the meaning of entropy.

Damage to the body (associated with pain) can usually (always?) be characterized in terms of a sudden increase in entropy of the body.

Consider dribbling some liquid nitrogen on your skin. Hurts doesn't it. But the entropy of your body is (locally) reduced. The pain comes from neurons sending signals to your brain. They use a tiny amount of free energy to do this which increases the entropy of your body also. Your brain receives a few bits of information about the pain which represent an infinitesimal decrease in entropy if your brain was in a state uncertainty about whether your body hurt.

Perhaps this is also true in the mental domain, so that emotional loss (or e.g. embarrassment) can also be characterized as an increase in entropy of one's mental models, but this is pure speculation.

It hardly even rises to speculation unless you have some idea of how to 
quantify and test it.

The case is even harder to make with pleasure. It would be weird if it were true, but so far it is the only way I know of to map pleasure and pain onto anything objective at all.

Damasio proposes that pleasure and pain map into levels of various hormones as well as neural activity.


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