On Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 9:56 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

Qualia are not possible in a world defined purely by function unless
qualia supervene on function. A motor, machine or computer could have
qualia, since humans qualia and humans are made of the same stuff as
motors, machines and computers. If humans are not defined purely by
function (whatever that means) then motors, machines and computers may
also not be defined purely by function. If humans contain an
undetectable ingredient that confers on them the possibility of qualia
then motors, machines and computers may also have this undetectable
ingredient.

> 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.

It doesn't seem to me to answer anything. I could equally well say
that aesthetic qualia exist because they necessarily occur when
certain functions are implemented, and assert that this is just a
brute a brute fact as you assert ad hoc that "existence is synonymous
with qualia".

>> 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.

It is possible to conceive that qualia necessarily supervene on
certain functions. It is even possible that qualia supervene on every
function, or panpsychism. Why this should be so is the Hard Problem.

>> "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".

So? Information is more like mind in that it is intangible,
supervenient on the physical but not identical to the physical.

> 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.

But you claim that it is impossible to conceive of consciousness
supervening on function. A religious person would claim that it
impossible to conceive of consciousness as residing anywhere other
than in the spiritual realm. Both your positions seem to essentially
be based on the argument from incredulity: see, this lump of coal is
inert and dead, how could anything derived from it possibly have
feelings?


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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