On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote: > I have been using the term 'aesthetic' a lot lately in specifying the > qualitative aspects of consciousness, and I feel like it clarifies one of > the core issues. The Hard Problem of Consciousness is confusing to people > whose mindset is innately compelled to define consciousness as a collection > of functions in the first place. It therefore comes out nonsensical when > philosophers like David Chalmers talk about questioning why there is such a > thing as 'what it is like' to have an experience, since for the > functionalist, 'what it is like' to perform a function is simply the > self-same set of events which comprise the function.
Not really, since Chalmers himself has provided the best argument in support of functionalism. > Maybe it helps to define 'what it is like' in more specific terms, which I > think would be scientifically described as private sensory-motive > participation but informally can be understood as aesthetic phenomena. The > key is to notice the asymmetric relation between aesthetics and function in > that function can improve aesthetics, but aesthetics can *never* improve > function. The Hard Problem then becomes a problem of how to explain > aesthetics (aka qualia) in a universe of functions which can neither benefit > by them nor physically generate them as far as we can tell (unless there is > a miniature kitchen near our olfactory bulbs baking microscopic apple pies > whenever we remember the smell of apple pie). The Hard problem does not pertain to whether qualia are useful or can be generated. It is taken as a given that they can be generated, since they are in fact generated, and their usefulness or otherwise is irrelevant. The Hard Problem pertains to why qualia should exist at all given that it is possible to conceive of a universe just the same, except lacking qualia. > The fact that aesthetics are not possible to explain in terms of a function, > but that functions can be conceived of aesthetically is unfamiliar and those > who have that innately functional mindset will balk at the notion of > aesthetic supremacy, but this is the future of science - letting go of the > familiar, or in this case, rediscovering the literally familiar (ordinary > consciousness) in an unfamiliar way (as the fabric of existence). > > When we talk about consciousness then, what we really mean is the aesthetic > experience of being and doing, of perceiving and participating. This > experience is extended publicly as spatio-temporal form-functions (STFF), > but those phenomena are not capable of appreciating themselves. Just as a > puppet can be made to seem to walk and talk like a person, forms can be made > to interact by hijacking their natural low-level aesthetics to represent our > high-level expectations. The letters on this screen are just such an > example. I am using a lot of technology to generate contrasting pixels on > your video screen, which you will experience as letters, words, and > sentences. > > Each level of description - as typeface, spellings, grammars, evoke > aesthetic micro-experiences. The closer these descriptions get to your > native scale - the personal scale, the more that your personal experience, > feelings, and understanding influences the aesthetics of all of the > sub-personal experiences within reading the language. What you see of the > letters is because of your experience of learning to read English, not > because of any special power that these words have to project meaning. By > themselves, these words and letters do nothing to each other. They are > figures for use in human communication - they have no functional aspect, > i.e. they are *only* aesthetic. This is why a computer has no use for human > languages, or even programming languages. Computation requires no figures or > forms of any kind, nor can it produce any forms or figures without borrowing > some kind of STFF (with u in the middle, heh) from the 'real world'. > Otherwise there is a only the anesthetic concept of pure function - which is > the exact opposite of representation by form, image, or quality, but is > non-presentation through quantity. > > Computation, or 'Information Processing' is the unconscious number crunching > of automated, logical functionality. Information lacks aesthetic presence by > definition - it is a purely conceptual understanding of instructed variables > in motion. If there is a capacity for aesthetic appreciation to begin with, > then computation can extend it and improve it. If there is no such capacity, > then there is certainly no justification for adding it into computation, as > automatic function cannot benefit in any way by appreciation of its own > activity. "Information lacks aesthetic presence by definition". So you say. I could also say that matter lacks aesthetic presence by definition, or anything in the universe lacks aesthetic presence by definition, and consciousness must therefore come from the spiritual realm. -- Stathis Papaioannou -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.