On 19 October 2013 01:34, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be <javascript:;>>
wrote:

>> We don't know this for sure, but it goes against every scientific
>> observation. If a subjective experience is supervenient on the
>> underlying physical process then the observable brain changes can all
>> be attributed to this underlying physical process.
>
>
> The subjective experience cannot be supervenient on the underlying
physical
> process *only*. It can only be supervenient with some abstract type that
the
> underlying physical process can incarnate locally. This made eventually
the
> "underlying process" itself supervenient on infinities of computations (or
> perhaps more general abstract processes in case comp is false).
> Of course we can see only one process, as we cannot feel the
differentiation
> of the computations supporting us. But comp predicts that we can detect
them
> indirectly below or substitution level, and that is arguably confirmed by
> the quantum nature of matter.
> As far as commenting Craig's point, this remark does not make your comment
> non valid.
> I put it for the general interest.

I understand your argument, but there will still be a consistent appearance
of physical processes underlying consciousness.

>> If not, then the
>> observable brain changes cannot all be attributable to the underlying
>> physical process; i.e., a miracle will be observed. But no miracles
>> have actually been observed.
>
>
> OK.
>
> l make another remark below.
>
>
>
>>
>>> 7) that neuronal activity is not also associated with microphenomenal
>>> experiences which are subconscious to us at the personal level. (The
>>> article
>>> at the top of the thread shows that the opposite is true, in the sense
>>> that
>>> we can access and control individual neuron behaviors strictly through
>>> direct subjective attention).
>>
>>
>>> The next assumption I think takes a turn from the relatively innocuous
to
>>> the ideologically biased.
>>>
>>> To say "The brain processes associated with A *cause* the brain
processes
>>> associated with B." doesn't really work. Let's say that some alien
>>> neurologist thinks that the world financial markets are the activity of
a
>>> global brain. She observes that certain numbers that come out of the
>>> NASDAQ
>>> are associated with the construction of new suburban houses. Having
>>> access
>>> to a precision magnetic stimulation instruments, she is able to change
>>> the
>>> numbers in the NASDAQ computers, and sure enough, most times the
expected
>>> effect materializes. She concludes therefore, as you would in her
>>> position,
>>> that the market indicators associated with the real estate development A
>>> *cause* the market indicators associated with commercial development
>>> months
>>> later (B). This view assumes that the actual participants in the
economy,
>>> and the actual conditions of their experienced lives are not
functionally
>>> necessary to transform A into B.
>>
>>
>> If the alien neurologist is wrong she is wrong about details. She is
>> not wrong about the fact that the building of new houses in the
>> suburbs is caused by antecedent physical events.
>>
>>> In the same way, we could say that a drug like cocaine changes brain
>>> activity to match that of a person who was living a very exhilarating
>>> life,
>>> and by the logic that you are suggesting, as long as the drug supply did
>>> not
>>> run out, the person's life would eventually have to change automatically
>>> to
>>> match the enhanced brain activity.
>>
>>
>> The cocaine may cause a feeling of exhilaration but it will not cause
>> all the other thoughts, memories, achievements etc. of an exhilarating
>> life. The two situations have different physical antecedents and a
>> different result.
>>
>>> By underestimating the role of consciousness, and overlooking its
obvious
>>> significance in creating and shaping its activities *through* the brain,
>>> rather than activities *of* the brain, you wind up with a worldview in
>>> which
>>> no form of consciousness could plausibly exist. For that reason, the
>>> hypothesis you assume must be abandoned with prejudice. Not only should
>>> we
>>> resist falling back on the whole set of hypotheses which fail to account
>>> for
>>> consciousness in any way, but I recommend that we start from the polar
>>> opposite assumption, in which the association of brain states A and B
are
>>> not the relevant causes, but are actually the event horizon of a
>>> completely
>>> different set of causes which are impersonal but intersect the personal,
>>> sub-personal, and super-personal ranges of awareness. It is like the
stop
>>> motion video that I linked, where impossible things seem to happen
>>> without
>>> any camera tricks.
>>>
>>> There will always be a plausible chain of causality to explain how A
>>> becomes
>>> B, but it is wrong. If we look at traffic patterns of a city, we can
>>> imagine
>>> that a flood of people leaving a parking lot is not leaving a concert at
>>> the
>>> same time, but just a statistical inevitability because of the nature of
>>> how
>>> traffic events are distributed around cities. It's a perfectly
reasonable
>>> and scientific view, and it may be statistically successful even in
>>> predicting these parking lot evacuations accurately. It's still the
wrong
>>> way to look at it. It still doesn't work if you try put a thousand cars
>>> in
>>> the middle of the desert and expect them to build a city.
>>
>>
>> That you can't exactly account for the physical cause of something
>> doesn't mean it isn't there. Traffic patterns like weather patterns
>> are entirely due to the motion of atoms bumping against each other.
>> They can be roughly, but not precisely predicted. The lack of, or
>> indeed impossibility of precision does not mean they are magic.
>>
>>> Can you see how modeling nature from the outside in has a big hole in
it,
>>> and why that hole would be a catastrophic mistake to overlook when
>>> studying
>>> consciousness?
>>
>>
>> No account of consciousness is needed in explaining behaviour.
>
>
> Here I disagree. We can recover, possibly, all behavior, just by applying
> physical laws. But this will not provide an explanation.
>
> If we detect atomic bombs on a far away planet, the explanation will need
to
> invoke fear and thus consciousness.
>
> For the same reason than to explain why some computer win or lost a game,
we
> will need higher level concept, despite a low level can account for the
> whole game activity. It will not been an explanation.
>
> Likewise, if a person kills another person, and is asked to *explain* why
he
> did that, nobody will understand an explanation like "I did it because I
am
> obeying to schroedinger equation. The explanation will have to rely on
> higher level notions, and some might rely on consciousness, or mental
token.

OK, if you lack an account of consciousness you don't fully explain the
behaviour, but you can still fully predict the behaviour (to the physical
limits imposed by physics). If you observe an unfamiliar system in general
there is no way to decide if it is conscious or not.

>> No
>> account of consciousness is needed in explaining the weather either,
>> even though for all we know, weather patterns have associated
>> subjective experiences too alien for us to guess at.
>
>
> I think you need consciousness to explain a lot of humans activity, even
if
> comp and/or physicalism is correct. Like you need the concept of (first)
> person to explain the appearance of physical laws, all this despite the
> additive-multiplicative structure of the numbers can account for
everything,
> including consciousness.
>
> An ontological reduction, even if correct, is not an explanation, which
> might need higher level features, may be in some necessary ways.
>
> Computationalism illustrates this well. It gives an ontological reduction
> (all what exists is 0, s(0), s(s(0)), etc. and the only laws are addition
> and multiplication), but it prevents the reduction of the person to any of
> this. Person are abstract high level entity having a partial autonomy,
will,
> responsibility, etc.
>
> This is important to avoid the elimination of persons and consciousness
> which is, notably,  a consequence of maintaining both materialism and
> computationalism.
>
> Bruno
>
>
>
>>
>>>> This is according to the scientific
>>>> account of nature. If the scientific account of nature is wrong then
>>>> the scientist would look at the physical processes B and declare that
>>>> there must be some supernatural influence,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Not supernatural, just transmeasurable. How would the scientist presume
>>> to
>>> speak for nature? A terrible scientist if you ask me. "Whatever doesn't
>>> fit
>>> in my microscope is supernatural". This is the problem. We already have,
>>> with our own consciousness, a better window into neuroscience than any
>>> instrument could possibly give us. Not that the perspective of a
>>> non-human
>>> system is not valuable, of course it is, but nothing about the brain
>>> would
>>> be worth the effort were it not for our own subjective appreciation of
>>> what
>>> it does. No fMRI machine has the faintest idea what a brain is or why is
>>> has
>>> to generate images of it. From the perspective of non-humans, the brain
>>> is
>>> food, or a source of energy, or just a blob of decaying ooze.
>>
>>
>> The scientist might be wrong about what exactly goes on in the brain
>> but is probably not wrong in the assumption that the only influences
>> on brain behaviour are physical ones.
>>
>>>> as he cannot explain how
>>>> they come about given the antecedent A and the laws of physics.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> IMO, there are can be no 'laws' of physics. There is only sense.
>>> Incidents
>>> and co-incidents of orderly 'seems like'.
>>
>>
>> The "laws" are just observed regularities.
>>
>>
>> --
>> Stathis Papaioannou
>>
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>
>
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
>
>
>
>
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Stathis Papaioannou


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