On 7/17/2013 10:13 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
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.

Exactly so. But that's what Craig is trying to deny. By saying the correlation is arbitrary, he thinks that implies that it could only be physically realized by a god or some agent inserting it "by hand" and so a computer could only have it by a human programmer inserting it and that would be "arbitrary".


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