On Friday, April 19, 2013 6:01:21 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
>
> On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> 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. 


I am suggesting that the Hard problem be improved by clarifying the current 
form: "Why is there anything that it is like for X to occur" to "Why do 
aesthetic phenomena exist?" 

Qualia are generated, but only by other qualia. By pointing out that qualia 
can have no possible function, I am clarifying that in a universe defined 
purely by function, that qualia cannot be possible. What this means is that 
the universe cannot be defined purely by function. It cannot be a motor, 
machine, computer, zombie, or set of all arithmetic truths. 

This answers the Hard problem. The answer is that aesthetic qualia exist 
because existence itself is synonymous with qualia. Functions are explained 
by qualia, but qualia are not explainable by functions.


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. 
>

It's not that it is possible to conceive of a universe lacking qualia, it 
is that it is impossible to conceive of a function for qualia, and it is 
impossible to conceive of a non-circular justification for the possibility 
of qualia in a universe driven purely by function. If we define pain as 
that which motivates a certain set of behaviors, we must ask why that set 
of behaviors needs some magical aesthetic decoration to be initiated, 
rather than the way that every other function in the universe would work - 
by simple Laws of Physics.
 

>
> > 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. 
>

Matter does not lack aesthetic presence. Matter always has a physical form 
- solid, liquid, gas, or plasma. Information has no physical form as it is 
conceived. Whatever acts as a sign that can be controlled and read is 
"information". 

The 'spiritual realm' jab has nothing to do with anything except the need 
to make my points seem associated with irrationality. I am talking about 
physics and ontology, not spirituality.

Craig


>
> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 
>

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