On Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:34:19 AM UTC-4, Brent wrote:
>
>  On 7/17/2013 8:48 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>  
> On 17 July 2013 05:37, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com> <javascript:> 
> 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.
>

Your correlation between the roundness of 'ou' vs 'i' is not bad at all. I 
was considering that you might be right on that for some time. There are 
other words which support that hypothesis. Boobs come to mind. I think that 
this kind of onomotopoeic relation is legitimate part of the answer - 
however, it is not the whole solution. The B sound and the K sound have the 
same soft and hard association but the way the mouth moves does not suggest 
that visually - it feels that way when you say it though. B feels softer 
than K. This goes back to the original point. Aesthetics of first person 
experience drive the computation, not the other way around. A computer, 
knowing nothing about what it is like to say "B" (it uses a screen or a 
speaker, not vocal chords and lips) has no way to map B to softness. 

Craig


> Brent
>  

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