On 7/17/2013 8:48 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
On 17 July 2013 05:37, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

On Monday, July 15, 2013 6:32:28 PM UTC-4, Brent wrote:
On 7/15/2013 2:30 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:

Would this kind of universality of human sense-making be likely if the
connections between words, shapes, and feelings were purely computational?


Why not?  Being a broken line vs a differentiable line is a computable
property.  The difference between "k" sounds and "b" sounds is computable.
So I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Or are you asking how "k" came to
be associated with "broken line" or how the written letter "k" was
associated with the phonetic sound of "k"?

I'm saying that a computer which is programmed to differentiate between the
phonemes of 'ki-ki' and 'bou-ba' would have zero chance of associating
either of them with the curvy figure or the pointy figure without some
arbitrary link being provided programmatically. This suggests that there
exists within human experience purely aesthetic, elemental associations
which are synthetic a priori rather than arrived at mechanically. A computer
can't tell that there is anything inherently curvy about the sound of bouba,
but a person can.
There's nothing inherently "curvy" about bouba. It's just an
accidental of our programming. Intelligent aliens may have completely
different aesthetics, although there may be commonalities if it could
be shown that thinking a particular way has survival value. For
example, there is a correlation between symmetry and beauty because
(it is speculated) asymmetry is associated with disease, and your
genes won't do as well if you choose a diseased mate. But other
aesthetic preferences probably have no rational basis.

I'm not sure what you mean by "rational" or what Craig means by "arbitrary". I think "kiki" is sharp and abrupt and "bouba" is smooth and cruvy because of the way we have to move our mouths to make those sounds. This is an accident of evolution. Whales, for example would make the sounds differently and this might create a different sound/shape correlation for them. Does that mean that the human correlation is not rational or is arbitrary? It seems to me it is empirical.

Brent

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