On 18 July 2013 14:34, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> 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.

I did use the term "rational" perhaps inappropriately. I meant that
some aesthetic choices have evolutionary utility and others not.
Nevertheless, all aesthetic choices must be determined by the physics
of our brain, unless they are determined by something else, such as an
immaterial soul.

Stathis Papaioannou

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