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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:49 AM   #121
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Now you are just simply being rude, and not responding at all.
Uh huh, sure , you could ask questions about what I meant.

You do just assume you are conscious. It is a label you just assume applies to the events you experience.

The rest just means you have idiomatic assumptions about the use of the words 'mean' and 'know' that you just again assume have a comparable usage to us and when confronted on that, you have an issue.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 11:15 AM   #122
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Vanya, one of the GH members, has posted this link which I listened through and think it fits in here.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...ennium/266134/
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Old 22nd December 2012, 11:50 AM   #123
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Reading through this thread....

First, put me in the "neuroscience" camp. As the neuroscientist interviewed recently on NPR's Science Friday said... "Consciousness is what brains do."
Call me a reductionist or whatever... Seems to me the way to discovering how it is that the brain "does" consciousness lies in the scientific method.

I don't quite get what Frank is all about... Proposing some sort of Dualism as some have suggested? Some sort of Spiritual dimension? Some sort of non-physical universal consciousness or Akashic Record? Dunno.
All of that seems the veriest nonsense to me.

All of this business over "qualia".... I looked up a couple of "philosophy of science" types on Wiki, as well as discussions of that term... Seems to me that those involved in the discussion on that level cannot even agree what it is that the word means or is trying to describe. "What is the experience of experience", perhaps?

Might come to the view that since those involved in the study cannot even agree on the meaning of the term, then perhaps it's not a particularly useful term, and might well be abandoned.
Some have attempted to define consciousness as an emergent property of increasingly-complex brain structure and interconnectivity.
I think that's likely to be the right track... It's pretty obvious that in looking at other animals, we see increasing evidence of consciousness as brains increase in size and complexity. Higher mammals exhibit self-awareness, experience emotion, engage in communication, recognize each other and communicate to one degree or another.
This increases along with complexity, as we see our cousins the great apes exhibiting the greatest degree, as opposed to say, dogs and cats or bunny rabbits.

There is no doubt a lot to learn... Some years ago I read The Three-Pound Universe and The Origins Of Consciousness and a few others geared to laymen like myself. One thing I found of interest is that we have learned more about the brain in the last 20 years or so than we have in all of previous history....
Give us another 20 years....
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:32 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by shuttlt
That all depends on what you mean. If you are saying anything about behaviour or infomation processing, then I feel quite confident that you are wrong. It seems to me there are two things you could be saying:
Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I'm not saying anything beyond that we don't know.
But surely you can take that position about anything? There is always the possibility of some unknown unknown turning up. Perhaps a new Einstein will come along and overthrow all the physics that has allowed the interplantary exploration of the past decades.

Originally Posted by shuttlt
This is in my opinion a possible but hard-to-swallow answer. The only change I would make to what you say is that it would be a breaking of known science (I hate the obsolete expression "Laws of physics -- they aren't really laws but repetitively confirmed observations).
If all you are saying is that perhaps some new bit of physics will turn up then I don't see where you are going. Say a ball is thrown towards me, I see it, decide to catch it and then catch it. Is there anything about that that you think couldn't, in theory, be completely understood using physics alone with sufficient knowledge of the structure of my brain, the light bouncing off the ball etc. etc. etc.? Clearly a complete understanding would be insanely complex, but I don't see why, in principle, a theory of mind would be required to account for my seeing the ball, deciding to catch it and my catching it. Are you claiming you think there is more to the chain of events than a whole bunch of, in themselves mundane, interactions between atoms and so forth any one of which could, again in theory, be accounted for by physics?

Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Your second choice is irrelevant. My emotional state has little to do with how I perceive colors.
My bad for picking emotion. I thought I was being clever. Clearly I was wrong.

Last edited by shuttlt; 22nd December 2012 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:53 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No. It doesn't lead to dualism, it assumes dualism.
There is nothing dualistic about a p-zombie. It is nothing but behaviour. I think we may be in fact saying much the same thing, at least in part. The experience (perhaps qualia is the right word, perhaps it isn't) of being alive and being conscious feels deeply incompatible with a behaviourist explanation. It strongly feels dualistic. Dualism just pushes the problem elsewhere and doesn't really solve anything.

It seems to me that you solve the problem by saying that there is in fact no such thing as a non-pzombie. For myself, all I say is that the experience I have isn't something that I would anticipate based on a behaviourist account. I offer no explanation for this, behaviourist or otherwise.

As I say, I believe I agree with you that dualism is do kind of solution and yet the experience of being conscious...

In some ways I feel like some guy who sees a light in the sky and you tell me there is no light. I then say, "OK, perhaps I'm hallucinating". You then tell me, that no, I am not seeing a light either in my mind or with my eyes. It's all very well to say that the light in the sky is in fact Venus or something, but to say that I'm wrong and I'm not seeing anything seems very strange. It may possibly be that I am misinterpreting something about behaviourism or my experience, but as you keep saying, the experience itself appears to be logically impossible. I find the whole thing interesting. I make no claims beyond that.


Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No. My point is that dualism is necessarily logically inconsistent.
I am not satisfied with dualism as an answer to everything. The problem that I have is the position that I am logically comfortable will seems to me to contradict my own observations. I don't insist that my own interpretations of my observations are infallible. What puzzles me more than anything is that there seems to be nothing in your experience of being alive that appears surprising given what we both agree is the only sound logical position to take.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 01:04 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Might come to the view that since those involved in the study cannot even agree on the meaning of the term, then perhaps it's not a particularly useful term, and might well be abandoned.
Some have attempted to define consciousness as an emergent property of increasingly-complex brain structure and interconnectivity.
I think that's likely to be the right track... It's pretty obvious that in looking at other animals, we see increasing evidence of consciousness as brains increase in size and complexity. Higher mammals exhibit self-awareness, experience emotion, engage in communication, recognize each other and communicate to one degree or another.
This increases along with complexity, as we see our cousins the great apes exhibiting the greatest degree, as opposed to say, dogs and cats or bunny rabbits.
It is very easy to explain what you mean if you are saying there is nothing but behaviour. It is very hard to explain what you mean if you are saying something different, since generally I think language refers to behaviours and objects. Even emotions have associated behaviours. Describing something concisely that is neither an object than one could in principle point to, nor the behaviour of such an object is very hard and, I think, mainly involves saying what it isn't. Personally I would take it from all the verbage that has been expended that an attempt is being made to communicate something that is very hard to communicate. Whether it is a correct notion or not is something else.

Your explanation is again an account of how the behaviour of self-consciousness, the behaviour of emotion etc... comes about and is implemented. I do not think behaviour is what is being discussed.

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Old 22nd December 2012, 02:01 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
Vanya, one of the GH members, has posted this link which I listened through and think it fits in here.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...ennium/266134/
I just read the first few dozen comments. So far a lot of "the Pope is the world's greatest theologian. How could he have 2 billion followers if he didn't know what he was talking about. Stupid athiests etc..."
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Old 22nd December 2012, 02:11 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I beg to differ on this; one needs to be loud if one is to get answers. We seem to be agreed we don't know. Is there anything more to be said?

Well one thing more. Various outre explanations have been offered. I assure you we are better off admitting ignorance than going down those roads.

By the way, I appreciated your strike-out; I had almost brought up homunculi in my efforts to convey the issue but decided not to because so many around here are so eager to misinterpret.
Not me, btw.

I'm sitting back, watching the show.

Kind of cheerleading for your team, I'll admit.

If only because of an innate disdain for arrogance...which frequently manifests here as "NO".

Well,
Here's "YES".
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:26 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
The term I would use is "sentient being," which I suppose probably differs from "conscious being." Any creature that experiences its environment via qualia (rather than, say, just living in it and dealing with things via reflexes) would be sentient. Consciousness would be more limited to beings that have a mental awareness. The two are interconnected and no doubt evolved together, with no clear boundaries. However, consciousness is much more limited to, shall we say, higher mammals and in particular to human beings.

I don't understand you here.

My objective, although that is too strong a word, since all I'm doing is posting opinions in the hope of refining them, is to raise doubts about the prevailing, and, I think, rather arrogant, reductionism and physicalism. The irony may be that I'm describable that way too, as I can't see the possibility of alternatives.

Still, at the present time (and I can see no solution on the horizon), there is no way to physically explain the fact that we experience the world.
Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Not if you refuse to look at the evidence and would rather believe in things beyond this world.
Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I resent what you say and the false assumptions behind it. Prove where I have done any such thing.
Hilited the parts where you clearly say there's no way to physically explain the world, if you can't explain it physically then you must be explaining it with something beyond this world.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:46 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Of course colors are encoded. They would have to be. There is an association between what we see and the light entering our eyes.

The details of the code are interesting, but not relevant to the question -- how does the firing of this particular set of nerves (coded, say, to report blue and suppress yellow, or whatever) end up as the sensation of blue in our head?

I must admit I am somewhat entertained by certain others on this board who don't even make an effort to understand the problem, but just engage in fanatical denials.

I will admit that the issue is deeply disturbing: to the point of bringing the entire scientific enterprise, or at least the assumption of universal cause and effect, into some doubt. I also expect that there will someday be found a perfectly good rational insight that deals with it.
The "how' is the details.

You seem determined to make it some great mystery.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:59 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Not me, btw.

I'm sitting back, watching the show.

Kind of cheerleading for your team, I'll admit.

If only because of an innate disdain for arrogance...which frequently manifests here as "NO".

Well,
Here's "YES".
Why do you think "NO" is arrogant?


If you asked me if my car could go 300 MPH and I said 'no' would that be arrogant?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 05:02 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I will admit that the issue is deeply disturbing: to the point of bringing the entire scientific enterprise, or at least the assumption of universal cause and effect, into some doubt. I also expect that there will someday be found a perfectly good rational insight that deals with it.
Personally I would be very interested for Frank to expand on why he things there is an indication of causality breaking down. Is there a reason to suppose that the interaction between neuron A and neuron B is not as causal (in so far as quantum mechanics allows, naturally)?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 05:12 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Why do you think "NO" is arrogant?


If you asked me if my car could go 300 MPH and I said 'no' would that be arrogant?
Quarky did not say that "NO" is arrogant. He said that it was a manifestation of arrogance. Giving an example of a "no" that you don't think is arrogant doesn't seem to me to wholly address the post.

Personally I'd say that some of the responses were unnecessarily and unhelpfully terse. If you are talking about the maximum speed of a car, brevity is appropriate. When you are talking about consciousness where there is often a considerable degree of uncertainty in peoples meaning, it can be somewhat unhelpful.

Would it have been helpful if I had responded to your post with nothing but "no"?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 05:16 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
There is nothing dualistic about a p-zombie. It is nothing but behaviour.
I think the point is that they appear identical and behave identically to normal people, but have no conscious experience, qualia, or sentience. This implies dualism by suggesting conscious experience, qualia, & sentience are 'optional' and quite independent of any behavioural (functional) aspects.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 05:37 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I think the point is that they appear identical and behave identically to normal people, but have no conscious experience, qualia, or sentience. This implies dualism by suggesting conscious experience, qualia, & sentience are 'optional' and quite independent of any behavioural (functional) aspects.
I understand how dualism gets into the conversation of p-zombies. I was trying to say that I thought p-zombies themselves weren't the issue in terms of dualism. The issue is in our own experience of ourselves. In saying p-zombies imply dualism and are therefore logically impossible we are surely saying that our own experience of ourselves implies dualism and is therefore wrong. Perhaps you don't feel there is anything about your own experience of yourself that is more than one would expect having read a textbook on physics and a textbook on neurology. My own experience of myself is more than I would have expected from physics and neurology. I can't win the million based on that and if you don't find the subjective experience of being conscious is more than the automata I would have expected then I am all but at a loss to explain it further.

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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:13 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
In saying p-zombies imply dualism and are therefore logically impossible we are surely saying that our own experience of ourselves implies dualism and is therefore wrong.
No, it's saying that positing p-zombies implies that our own experience of ourselves is dualistic.

Quote:
Perhaps you don't feel there is anything about your own experience of yourself that is more than one would expect having read a textbook on physics and a textbook on neurology. My own experience of myself is more than I would have expected from physics and neurology.
In my experience, textbooks on physics and neurology don't cover the experience of self, so I wouldn't expect to learn about it from them.

I've already said I can't explain how physics and neurology give rise to a sense of sentience, but I know they do. I can't explain how someone has made a programmable computer from the patterns generated by the rules of Conway's Game of Life, but I know they have.

Quote:
I can't win the million based on that and if you don't find the subjective experience of being conscious is more than the automata I would have expected then I am all but at a loss to explain it further.
Sorry, I can't parse this. Perhaps you could rephrase it more coherently?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:34 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Quarky did not say that "NO" is arrogant. He said that it was a manifestation of arrogance. Giving an example of a "no" that you don't think is arrogant doesn't seem to me to wholly address the post.

Personally I'd say that some of the responses were unnecessarily and unhelpfully terse. If you are talking about the maximum speed of a car, brevity is appropriate. When you are talking about consciousness where there is often a considerable degree of uncertainty in peoples meaning, it can be somewhat unhelpful.

Would it have been helpful if I had responded to your post with nothing but "no"?
Yes.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:46 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
There is nothing dualistic about a p-zombie. It is nothing but behaviour.
No, that's wrong. It's behaviour coupled with a lack of behaviour.

A P-zombie is defined as exhibiting all the outward behaviour of a conscious being without actually being conscious. That means that it can discuss in depth the nature of its experiences without having any experiences. The definition assumes that the two are perfectly separable. (And yes, perfectly, because the whole idea is that a P-zombie cannot be distinguished from a conscious being by its outward behaviour.)

That's dualism.

Quote:
The experience (perhaps qualia is the right word, perhaps it isn't) of being alive and being conscious feels deeply incompatible with a behaviourist explanation. It strongly feels dualistic. Dualism just pushes the problem elsewhere and doesn't really solve anything.
To me, it feels like reflection. I really don't understand why you think it feels dualistic.

Quote:
It seems to me that you solve the problem by saying that there is in fact no such thing as a non-pzombie.
I'm pointing out that the concept is logically inconsistent - either in itself, or in its foundational premises.

Quote:
For myself, all I say is that the experience I have isn't something that I would anticipate based on a behaviourist account. I offer no explanation for this, behaviourist or otherwise.
That's an argument from ignorance. I've already given you a behavioural explanation.

Quote:
In some ways I feel like some guy who sees a light in the sky and you tell me there is no light. I then say, "OK, perhaps I'm hallucinating". You then tell me, that no, I am not seeing a light either in my mind or with my eyes. It's all very well to say that the light in the sky is in fact Venus or something, but to say that I'm wrong and I'm not seeing anything seems very strange. It may possibly be that I am misinterpreting something about behaviourism or my experience, but as you keep saying, the experience itself appears to be logically impossible.
No.

Quote:
I am not satisfied with dualism as an answer to everything. The problem that I have is the position that I am logically comfortable will seems to me to contradict my own observations.
It doesn't.

Quote:
What puzzles me more than anything is that there seems to be nothing in your experience of being alive that appears surprising given what we both agree is the only sound logical position to take.
That's because it's quite clear - at least now, following the work of Hofstadter and Dennett and many others - how consciousness can arise under strict behaviourism. There's a lot of detail to be discovered, but there is no epistemic gap, and the philosophers have been sidelined for good.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:57 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
In my experience, textbooks on physics and neurology don't cover the experience of self, so I wouldn't expect to learn about it from them.
I didn't intend to imply that they did. Allow me to rephrase. Given a good grasp of physics there should be nothing going on in brains, minds and consciousness that is, at least in principle, inexplicable.

Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I've already said I can't explain how physics and neurology give rise to a sense of sentience, but I know they do.
I don't think I am asking you to explain how it happens. All I am asking is whether the feeling of being sentient feels subjectively like an anomolous experience given that all that is really happening is physics? It seems to me that most of what is said is just a loop of "dualism is false, therefore everything involved in brains and minds and consciousness is just the behaviour of the physical properties of brains, therefore any example I give that I subjectively struggle to account for is just the behaviour physical properties of brains." I get this. None the less, what it feels like to be sentient isn't what I would have expected given that it's nothing but the behaviour of the physical properties of my brain.

If I say that something feels anomolous it doesn't help if its pointed out that it's incompatible with the agreed account of the way things work. I know it is. That's why it feels anomolous.

This is the JREF and we all know people can be mistaken about their interpretation of their experiences. What I find curious is that right now I'm not clear that anybody else has such an anomolous experience. Off the top of my head the explanations for this are:

1. None of you are having the experience. I kind of doubt this one.
2. You know something I don't about science/philosophy/neurology/ whatever that renders the experience non-anomolous.
3. You are having the experience but don't realize that I'm referring to it due to the difficulty in talking about subjective experiences.

Perhaps there are others?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 06:58 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No, that's wrong. It's behaviour coupled with a lack of behaviour.

A P-zombie is defined as exhibiting all the outward behaviour of a conscious being without actually being conscious. That means that it can discuss in depth the nature of its experiences without having any experiences. The definition assumes that the two are perfectly separable. (And yes, perfectly, because the whole idea is that a P-zombie cannot be distinguished from a conscious being by its outward behaviour.)

That's dualism.


To me, it feels like reflection. I really don't understand why you think it feels dualistic.


I'm pointing out that the concept is logically inconsistent - either in itself, or in its foundational premises.


That's an argument from ignorance. I've already given you a behavioural explanation.


No.


It doesn't.


That's because it's quite clear - at least now, following the work of Hofstadter and Dennett and many others - how consciousness can arise under strict behaviourism. There's a lot of detail to be discovered, but there is no epistemic gap, and the philosophers have been sidelined for good.
You wish.

(No)
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:04 PM   #141
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Has anyone checked out the Ray Kurzweil book "Building A Mind" or whatever it is called?

I have it but I haven't started reading it yet. I suspect it goes a long way to answering the whole consciousness question.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:10 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No, that's wrong. It's behaviour coupled with a lack of behaviour.

A P-zombie is defined as exhibiting all the outward behaviour of a conscious being without actually being conscious. That means that it can discuss in depth the nature of its experiences without having any experiences. The definition assumes that the two are perfectly separable. (And yes, perfectly, because the whole idea is that a P-zombie cannot be distinguished from a conscious being by its outward behaviour.)

That's dualism.
OK. I wouldn't have called having a subjective experience a behaviour, but I don't want to get hung up on definitions. What is there about experiences that couldn't perfectly well be discussed without having any, at least logically? I presume that you would say that anything that was capable of doing this would necessarily actually have experiences. Fine, but doesn't this just reduce down to dualism is false therefore....

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
To me, it feels like reflection. I really don't understand why you think it feels dualistic.
This I think is the stumbling block.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That's an argument from ignorance. I've already given you a behavioural explanation.
It isn't argument from ignorance. I'm not arguing. I'm not saying that your explanation is incorrect and incomplete. I am saying that the subjective experience isn't what I would have expected given your explanation. Repeatedly telling me that I am wrong doesn't help.

Originally Posted by SHUTTLT
I am not satisfied with dualism as an answer to everything. The problem that I have is the position that I am logically comfortable will seems to me to contradict my own observations.
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
It doesn't.
It's strange. Being told that doesn't really help.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That's because it's quite clear - at least now, following the work of Hofstadter and Dennett and many others - how consciousness can arise under strict behaviourism. There's a lot of detail to be discovered, but there is no epistemic gap, and the philosophers have been sidelined for good.
No
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:13 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't think I am asking you to explain how it happens. All I am asking is whether the feeling of being sentient feels subjectively like an anomolous experience given that all that is really happening is physics? It seems to me that most of what is said is just a loop of "dualism is false, therefore everything involved in brains and minds and consciousness is just the behaviour of the physical properties of brains, therefore any example I give that I subjectively struggle to account for is just the behaviour physical properties of brains." I get this. None the less, what it feels like to be sentient isn't what I would have expected given that it's nothing but the behaviour of the physical properties of my brain.

If I say that something feels anomolous it doesn't help if its pointed out that it's incompatible with the agreed account of the way things work. I know it is. That's why it feels anomolous.
But what evidence do you have that it feels anomalous? Don't you need feelings of non-sentience to compare with, to make that judgement?

Here is where I think folks like you go astray: you compare your feeling of sentience to what you assume it feels like to be a toaster, and conclude that the feeling of sentience is anomalous.

What you should be doing is comparing your feeling of sentience to the feeling of another bipedal biological organism with an exaflop control system that is fed environmental data via *extremely* high granularity visual, audio, chemical, and touch sensor systems and organized according to an associative memory/inference model.

Don't know what all that means? Well, once you do, I think you might find that the "anomaly" of sentient experience doesn't seem so anomalous. You might start to take the position of "what else would it feel like to be such an organism?"
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:33 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
But what evidence do you have that it feels anomalous? Don't you need feelings of non-sentience to compare with, to make that judgement?
I don't think so. Neither you, nor I, nor Daniel Dennett can know whether any other thing is actually conscious or not. I make no claims about what is and isn't conscious. I only say that that there is a thing it feels like to be conscious isn't what I would have expected based purely on behaviour. If that arrises out of it, it seems quite surprising.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Here is where I think folks like you go astray: you compare your feeling of sentience to what you assume it feels like to be a toaster, and conclude that the feeling of sentience is anomalous.
Toasters lack information processing capabilities in any meaningful sense so it would be quite a leap to be able to imagine that. Close would simply be not-existing. Maybe that's the same thing :-) None the less all you saying is that consciousness must arrise out of all this behaviour. I'm not saying it doesn't. I'm saying that it's a mystery to me how information processing could turn into the subjective experience of consciousness. That's what I mean by anomolous. If you want to tell me that it's obvious to you that one should expect information processing to turn into the subjective experience of consciousness then I'm interested to here more.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
What you should be doing is comparing your feeling of sentience to the feeling of another bipedal biological organism with an exaflop control system that is fed environmental data via *extremely* high granularity visual, audio, chemical, and touch sensor systems and organized according to an associative memory/inference model.
It doesn't help.
1. How do I know it is conscious?
2. If it is conscious then I find that equally surprising as my own consciousness and for identical reasons.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Don't know what all that means? Well, once you do, I think you might find that the "anomaly" of sentient experience doesn't seem so anomalous. You might start to take the position of "what else would it feel like to be such an organism?"
It would either feel like something, or it wouldn't. More than that I believe is impossible. I can't imagine what it would subjectively feel like to be HAL any more than you can.

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Old 22nd December 2012, 08:10 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I only say that that there is a thing it feels like to be conscious isn't what I would have expected based purely on behaviour.
That statement above is the key.

What would you expect, based purely on behavior?

I'm guessing you don't really have answer to that, which is where my argument lies. How can you say its not what you expected when you can't say what you expected?

Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
If you want to tell me that it's obvious to you that one should expect information processing to turn into the subjective experience of consciousness then I'm interested to here more.
This statement alone isn't specific enough, which is why I mentioned an organism similar to a human. It is obvious to me, now that I have studied the topic for a decade, that we should expect certain types of information processing to turn into certain types of the subjective experience of consciousness. In particular, the type of information processing that is similar to what happens in our brains can be expected to turn into the type of subjective experience of consciousness that we humans seem to share.

The "why" becomes self-explanatory when the information processing patterns are studied and understood.

Of all the papers I have read this one puts the most together, I really recommend reading it and trying to understand each part. Once you do you should have a drastically different view of this subject: http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~mpsha/ShanahanAISB05.pdf
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:22 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
OK. I wouldn't have called having a subjective experience a behaviour, but I don't want to get hung up on definitions. What is there about experiences that couldn't perfectly well be discussed without having any, at least logically?
The P-zombie can discuss its own experiences without having any, and, by definition, will discuss them in exactly the same way as someone with subjective experiences.

As I said, this assumes that consciousness (or experience) is completely separable from the outward behaviours associated with consciousness (or experience). That's dualism.

Quote:
I am saying that the subjective experience isn't what I would have expected given your explanation.
Why not? What exactly is there about subjective experience that doesn't follow from reflection?

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It's strange. Being told that doesn't really help.
It's not strange in the least.

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No
Sorry, that only works when you're right.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:25 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't think so. Neither you, nor I, nor Daniel Dennett can know whether any other thing is actually conscious or not.
Of course we can. Consciousness, if it means anything at all, allows for outward behaviours that equivalent unconscious systems cannot produce. If those behaviours are observed, the system in question is conscious.

And a corollary of that is that consciousness as defined in terms of P-zombies is meaningless.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:27 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
You wish.
No. What I might wish has nothing to do with it.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:33 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Personally I would be very interested for Frank to expand on why he things there is an indication of causality breaking down. Is there a reason to suppose that the interaction between neuron A and neuron B is not as causal (in so far as quantum mechanics allows, naturally)?
I don't think quantum mechanics is involved -- that would be at a scale of magnitude far smaller than the scale of brain activity.

We are back to the business of whether you "get it" or not, and for the moment at least I'm tired of repeating myself. Let me just say that neuron A and neuron B can talk to each other all they like, the whole thing in a highly causal way, and it doesn't create subjective sensations in our mind.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:36 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
The "how' is the details.

You seem determined to make it some great mystery.
Because it is a mystery, and probably a great one.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:45 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
We are back to the business of whether you "get it" or not, and for the moment at least I'm tired of repeating myself. Let me just say that neuron A and neuron B can talk to each other all they like, the whole thing in a highly causal way, and it doesn't create subjective sensations in our mind.
Evidence?

Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Because it is a mystery, and probably a great one.
Evidence? That you personally do not understand it does not make it a mystery, much less a great one.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:17 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
We are back to the business of whether you "get it" or not, and for the moment at least I'm tired of repeating myself. Let me just say that neuron A and neuron B can talk to each other all they like, the whole thing in a highly causal way, and it doesn't create subjective sensations in our mind.
Based on this it is possible we are in partial agreement. I would say I don't see why it would create subjective sensations rather than it doesn't. But otherwise, I have nothing to disagree with in the above paragraph.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:25 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Of course we can. Consciousness, if it means anything at all, allows for outward behaviours that equivalent unconscious systems cannot produce. If those behaviours are observed, the system in question is conscious.
So Daniel Dennett says. My limited understanding of this is that this is not an opinion that has been universally accepted in philosophy. Perhaps my understanding of current philosophical opinion is skewed but I thought that at least one criticism of Dennett's views, and hence your views, was that they take all the aspects of consciousness that philosophers weren't particularly interested in, claim it is all there is and then walk away.

I can see why it would be a popular scientific position to take. He claims that contrary to appearences consciousness is a problem that is accessible to science.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
And a corollary of that is that consciousness as defined in terms of P-zombies is meaningless.
My problem isn't with the corollary. I do not accept that which it is a corollary of.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:27 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
As I said, this assumes that consciousness (or experience) is completely separable from the outward behaviours associated with consciousness (or experience). That's dualism.
I don't care. If the experience of consciousness didn't pose logical problems I'm not sure it would have been half so much interest to philosophers.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Why not? What exactly is there about subjective experience that doesn't follow from reflection?
All of the behaviour follows from it. None of the stuff that Dennett says doesn't exist does.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:22 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Based on this it is possible we are in partial agreement. I would say I don't see why it would create subjective sensations rather than it doesn't. But otherwise, I have nothing to disagree with in the above paragraph.
Ok, although that seems to me a distinction without any difference.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:43 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't care. If the experience of consciousness didn't pose logical problems I'm not sure it would have been half so much interest to philosophers.
Now maybe its my turn to quibble a little with how you say something, without disagreeing with it.

You refer to the experience of consciousness as posing logical problems. On its own, I don't think it does. It is just there, something we note and talk about.

Where logical problems arise, if they do, is when you try to wedge it into the sort of world where the only possible science is what the positivists insist on.

A few messages back I said that perhaps someday a neat insight will clarify it all for us. Actually, I doubt that. I think there are aspects of existence that are not knowable ("provable") from within, and, there in all probability being no without, are therefore not knowable. Consciousness looks like such a thing.

Of course this means that if I am right the debate will go on forever. We could someday figure it out, but if it is not "figure-out-able," then we never will, but will never be able to prove it either. It will be the same as whether or not the physical universe is infinite in extent. If it is not, we conceivably might one day know this, but if it is, we can never be quite sure the boundary is not just over the next hill.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:52 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I just read the first few dozen comments. So far a lot of "the Pope is the world's greatest theologian. How could he have 2 billion followers if he didn't know what he was talking about. Stupid athiests etc..."
Do you mean the comments that followed the long article? I didn't read them, and cannot remember any reference to the Pope in the essay itself. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 04:06 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by SusanB-M1 View Post
Do you mean the comments that followed the long article? I didn't read them, and cannot remember any reference to the Pope in the essay itself. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
The comments
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Old 23rd December 2012, 04:48 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
So Daniel Dennett says. My limited understanding of this is that this is not an opinion that has been universally accepted in philosophy.
So?

Quote:
Perhaps my understanding of current philosophical opinion is skewed but I thought that at least one criticism of Dennett's views, and hence your views, was that they take all the aspects of consciousness that philosophers weren't particularly interested in, claim it is all there is and then walk away.
Name one.

Quote:
I can see why it would be a popular scientific position to take. He claims that contrary to appearences consciousness is a problem that is accessible to science.
Contrary to what appearances?

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My problem isn't with the corollary. I do not accept that which it is a corollary of.
I know that. But you have presented no reason for your position.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 04:49 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't care.
You don't care whether arguments are logically consistent or not? (Remember, dualism either posits an inconsistent universe, or is inconsistent itself. Either way, it's a one-way trip down a rabbit hole of nonsense.)

Quote:
All of the behaviour follows from it. None of the stuff that Dennett says doesn't exist does.
Name one. Show me that Dennett says it doesn't exist. Show me that it does.
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