Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine

Expand Messages
  • Telmo Menezes
    Jochen, I have no problem with the emergence of *intelligence* from neurons. My problem is with the equation of intelligence with consciousness. It can be
    Message 1 of 17 , Jan 27, 2008
      Jochen,

      I have no problem with the emergence of *intelligence* from neurons. My problem is with the equation of intelligence with consciousness. It can be argued that we can have intelligence without consciousness. Consider deep blue playing chess, for example. Is it intelligent? What about algorithms that can learn and adapt? My personal opinion is that consciousness is a different problem. A bit like gravity in modern physics: current scientific models fail to explain them.

      Also, how can we be sure that ant farms are not consciousness? What about dogs? Is consciousness a matter of degree like intelligence? Or is it a mysterious property of human beings? Questions and more questions...

      Best regards,
      Telmo Menezes.

      On 1/27/08, Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...> wrote:


      If you compare the brain with an ant colony, then the neurons
      would be the ants, the antennae and phenormones would be
      neurotransmitters and neuromodulators (such as GABA and
      Acetylcholin, Dopamin, etc.). Yet there is an important
      difference: the ant colony is not self-aware and has no
      consciousness.

      We know from neuroscience that billions of jabbering and
      flickering neurons are responsible for the work of our
      minds: they are in all animals responsible for the ability
      to control the body, i.e. without them no animal would
      be able to act and to recognize s.th.. For higher
      primates this includes the ability to speak and the
      ability to recognize ourselves in various ways.

      Consciousness is not a property of a single neuron, it
      can not be found at the level of a single cell. A single
      water molecule is not wet, too, and a single word is not
      eloquent. It emerges from the collective interaction of
      many units.

      -J.


    • Russ Abbott
      On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me
      Message 2 of 17 , Jan 27, 2008
        On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about.  Either it's "just" emergence, which doesn't provide a satisfying explanation for our subjective experience, or it's something else, which obviously doesn't explain anything.

        The problem with subjective experience is that we all have it. It seems so real. Emergent phenomena don't quite have that quality of personal immediacy. Yes we see ant colonies doing their things. That's real. But it doesn't have the sting of a pin prick. It seems to me that it's at the level of understanding how qualia can seem as real as they do that we're stuck.

        The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion.  But that's no answer.  Other than saying that we are built so that we experience these emergence effects as subjective experience it doesn't seem like much of an explanation.  Perhaps that's the best we will be able to do.

        -- Russ

        On Jan 27, 2008 9:00 AM, Telmo Menezes <telmo@...> wrote:

        Jochen,

        I have no problem with the emergence of *intelligence* from neurons. My problem is with the equation of intelligence with consciousness. It can be argued that we can have intelligence without consciousness. Consider deep blue playing chess, for example. Is it intelligent? What about algorithms that can learn and adapt? My personal opinion is that consciousness is a different problem. A bit like gravity in modern physics: current scientific models fail to explain them.

        Also, how can we be sure that ant farms are not consciousness? What about dogs? Is consciousness a matter of degree like intelligence? Or is it a mysterious property of human beings? Questions and more questions...

        Best regards,
        Telmo Menezes.



        On 1/27/08, Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...> wrote:


        If you compare the brain with an ant colony, then the neurons
        would be the ants, the antennae and phenormones would be
        neurotransmitters and neuromodulators (such as GABA and
        Acetylcholin, Dopamin, etc.). Yet there is an important
        difference: the ant colony is not self-aware and has no
        consciousness.

        We know from neuroscience that billions of jabbering and
        flickering neurons are responsible for the work of our
        minds: they are in all animals responsible for the ability
        to control the body, i.e. without them no animal would
        be able to act and to recognize s.th.. For higher
        primates this includes the ability to speak and the
        ability to recognize ourselves in various ways.

        Consciousness is not a property of a single neuron, it
        can not be found at the level of a single cell. A single
        water molecule is not wet, too, and a single word is not
        eloquent. It emerges from the collective interaction of
        many units.

        -J.





        --
        -- Russ Abbott
        _____________________________________________
        Professor, Computer Science
        California State University, Los Angeles
        o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/
      • Glen Sizemore
        ... From: Russ Abbott Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com Date:
        Message 3 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
          --- On Sun, 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

          From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...>
          Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
          To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Sunday, January 27, 2008, 12:39 PM

          RA: On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about. 

          GS: Well, that all depends on what you mean by "how that comes about." If you mean we do not know what is going on physiologically you are more than correct. But, of course, we can barely account for habituation of the gill-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia in any complete physiological way. But there is another sense to "how [it] comes about" that is more accessible; I believe we can elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables that give rise to the sorts of phenomena to which you are alluding. The secret lay in the procedure referred to as "drug-discrimination."
        • Russ Abbott
          Would you elaborate. I d like to understand what you mean when you say that drug-discrimination can help elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables. ... --
          Message 4 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
            Would you elaborate. I'd like to understand what you mean when you say that drug-discrimination can help elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables.

            On Jan 28, 2008 11:57 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@...> wrote:



            --- On Sun, 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

            From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...>
            Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
            To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Sunday, January 27, 2008, 12:39 PM

            RA: On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about. 

            GS: Well, that all depends on what you mean by "how that comes about." If you mean we do not know what is going on physiologically you are more than correct. But, of course, we can barely account for habituation of the gill-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia in any complete physiological way. But there is another sense to "how [it] comes about" that is more accessible; I believe we can elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables that give rise to the sorts of phenomena to which you are alluding. The secret lay in the procedure referred to as "drug-discrimination."




            --
            -- Russ Abbott
            _____________________________________________
            Professor, Computer Science
            California State University, Los Angeles
            o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/
          • Jochen Fromm
            ... It is an illusion, yes, but an illusion which comes close to a real thing. I think it is an answer. If someone believes that he has a self or a soul (i.e.
            Message 5 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
              > The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion
              > But that's no answer.

              It is an illusion, yes, but an illusion which comes close
              to a real thing. I think it is an answer. If someone believes
              that he has a self or a soul (i.e. if he takes the metaphors
              "the mind is an entity" and "a soul is a person" for real),
              he makes a mistake, but it is small mistake which makes
              life much more comfortable and easier.

              This is not really spectacular, and most people don't care
              about it because they don't think about it. You get used
              to everything, to the fact that you exist or to the fact
              that you don't exist, only the moment where you think
              about the problem will irritate you perhaps a bit.

              For self-consciousness it is the single, short moment
              which creates the extraordinary experience, but it
              taks a life-time for a whole 'self' to appear (including
              a personality, a character, an identify, etc.).
              The emergence of the 'self' is a bit like the emergence
              of a shadow without object. Properties of the object
              appear in form of hard-coded connections and combinations,
              although the object itself is not there. I like to call
              it "shadow emergence". It is like the emergence of a real
              thing where only the shadow of the thing appears, not
              the thing itself.

              Plato has described a similar situation in the
              beginning of his famous "Allegory of the cave",
              see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave
              Perhaps everything important has already been said..
              Already the Buddhists knew that the existence of
              a self is an illusion. And who can surpass Descartes'
              words 'I think therefore I am' ?

              The core problem of self-consciousness has indeed something
              to do with qualia: we recognize ourselves and ask "what
              sort of thing is this" ? This is me? Qualia comes from
              Latin meaning "what sort" or "what kind". This is exactly
              the problem for self-consciousness: What sort of process
              is going on ? What kind of thing or 'essence' is it? The
              problem is not only that we experience consciousness, it
              is that an observer experiences something which part of
              the observer itself.

              This sounds a bit like recursion. It would be wonderful
              if we could identify some kind of fractal pattern or
              strange attractor responsible for the feeling of
              self-consciousness. At least there is some kind of
              chaotic whirl involved in the neural flow of information,
              indicated by the confusion caused by self-consciousness.

              Sometimes a single word can cause a kind of self-
              awareness or self-consciousness. In the words of Vygotsky:
              consciousness can be reflected in certain words as
              the sun in a drop of water, for example in the words
              I or self, the words which bring ourselves into the
              center of our own attention.

              -J.
            • Russ Abbott
              ... What dose it mean to say it is an illusion? An illusion implies the ability to have illusions. So it doesn t make sense to me to say that awareness is an
              Message 6 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
                On Jan 28, 2008 1:19 PM, Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...> wrote:

                > The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion
                > But that's no answer.

                It is an illusion, yes, but an illusion which comes close
                to a real thing. I think it is an answer. If someone believes
                that he has a self or a soul (i.e. if he takes the metaphors
                "the mind is an entity" and "a soul is a person" for real),
                he makes a mistake, but it is small mistake which makes
                life much more comfortable and easier.

                .


                What dose it mean to say "it is an illusion?" An illusion implies the ability to have illusions. So it doesn't make sense to me to say that awareness is an illusion. The experiencing of the illusion is awareness. Not quite Descartes, but close.

                -- Russ
              • Telmo Menezes
                Russ, I am only willing to accept that intelligence emerges from neurons. I do have a problem with the idea of consciousness emerging from neurons for the
                Message 7 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
                  Russ,

                  I am only willing to accept that intelligence emerges from neurons. I do have a problem with the idea of consciousness emerging from neurons for the reasons you state in your message. For the rest, I agree with what you say.

                  I am not even sure that we will ever be able to address consciousness scientifically because I can't imagine a way to measure or even test for its presence. The only consciousness I am able to experience is my own, I only assume that people around me have one. I have no way to logically or experimentally prove anyone or anything else is conscious nor do I have a way to prove you that I am. Maybe this is meant to remain a pure philosophical question? (the ultimate one?)

                  I also find the idea of consciousness as an illusion to be circular reasoning.

                  Best regards,
                  Telmo Menezes.

                  On 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

                  On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about.  Either it's "just" emergence, which doesn't provide a satisfying explanation for our subjective experience, or it's something else, which obviously doesn't explain anything.

                  The problem with subjective experience is that we all have it. It seems so real. Emergent phenomena don't quite have that quality of personal immediacy. Yes we see ant colonies doing their things. That's real. But it doesn't have the sting of a pin prick. It seems to me that it's at the level of understanding how qualia can seem as real as they do that we're stuck.

                  The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion.  But that's no answer.  Other than saying that we are built so that we experience these emergence effects as subjective experience it doesn't seem like much of an explanation.  Perhaps that's the best we will be able to do.

                  -- Russ



                  On Jan 27, 2008 9:00 AM, Telmo Menezes <telmo@...> wrote:

                  Jochen,

                  I have no problem with the emergence of *intelligence* from neurons. My problem is with the equation of intelligence with consciousness. It can be argued that we can have intelligence without consciousness. Consider deep blue playing chess, for example. Is it intelligent? What about algorithms that can learn and adapt? My personal opinion is that consciousness is a different problem. A bit like gravity in modern physics: current scientific models fail to explain them.

                  Also, how can we be sure that ant farms are not consciousness? What about dogs? Is consciousness a matter of degree like intelligence? Or is it a mysterious property of human beings? Questions and more questions...

                  Best regards,
                  Telmo Menezes.



                  On 1/27/08, Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...> wrote:


                  If you compare the brain with an ant colony, then the neurons
                  would be the ants, the antennae and phenormones would be
                  neurotransmitters and neuromodulators (such as GABA and
                  Acetylcholin, Dopamin, etc.). Yet there is an important
                  difference: the ant colony is not self-aware and has no
                  consciousness.

                  We know from neuroscience that billions of jabbering and
                  flickering neurons are responsible for the work of our
                  minds: they are in all animals responsible for the ability
                  to control the body, i.e. without them no animal would
                  be able to act and to recognize s.th.. For higher
                  primates this includes the ability to speak and the
                  ability to recognize ourselves in various ways.

                  Consciousness is not a property of a single neuron, it
                  can not be found at the level of a single cell. A single
                  water molecule is not wet, too, and a single word is not
                  eloquent. It emerges from the collective interaction of
                  many units.

                  -J.





                  --
                  -- Russ Abbott
                  _____________________________________________
                  Professor, Computer Science
                  California State University, Los Angeles
                  o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/


                • Russ Abbott
                  Is anyone familiar with the *Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness * conferences? ... -- --
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jan 28, 2008
                    Is anyone familiar with the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness conferences?

                    On Jan 28, 2008 2:32 PM, Telmo Menezes <telmo@...> wrote:

                    Russ,

                    I am only willing to accept that intelligence emerges from neurons. I do have a problem with the idea of consciousness emerging from neurons for the reasons you state in your message. For the rest, I agree with what you say.

                    I am not even sure that we will ever be able to address consciousness scientifically because I can't imagine a way to measure or even test for its presence. The only consciousness I am able to experience is my own, I only assume that people around me have one. I have no way to logically or experimentally prove anyone or anything else is conscious nor do I have a way to prove you that I am. Maybe this is meant to remain a pure philosophical question? (the ultimate one?)

                    I also find the idea of consciousness as an illusion to be circular reasoning.

                    Best regards,
                    Telmo Menezes.

                    On 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

                    On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about.  Either it's "just" emergence, which doesn't provide a satisfying explanation for our subjective experience, or it's something else, which obviously doesn't explain anything.

                    The problem with subjective experience is that we all have it. It seems so real. Emergent phenomena don't quite have that quality of personal immediacy. Yes we see ant colonies doing their things. That's real. But it doesn't have the sting of a pin prick. It seems to me that it's at the level of understanding how qualia can seem as real as they do that we're stuck.

                    The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion.  But that's no answer.  Other than saying that we are built so that we experience these emergence effects as subjective experience it doesn't seem like much of an explanation.  Perhaps that's the best we will be able to do.

                    -- Russ



                    On Jan 27, 2008 9:00 AM, Telmo Menezes <telmo@...> wrote:

                    Jochen,

                    I have no problem with the emergence of *intelligence* from neurons. My problem is with the equation of intelligence with consciousness. It can be argued that we can have intelligence without consciousness. Consider deep blue playing chess, for example. Is it intelligent? What about algorithms that can learn and adapt? My personal opinion is that consciousness is a different problem. A bit like gravity in modern physics: current scientific models fail to explain them.

                    Also, how can we be sure that ant farms are not consciousness? What about dogs? Is consciousness a matter of degree like intelligence? Or is it a mysterious property of human beings? Questions and more questions...

                    Best regards,
                    Telmo Menezes.



                    On 1/27/08, Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...> wrote:


                    If you compare the brain with an ant colony, then the neurons
                    would be the ants, the antennae and phenormones would be
                    neurotransmitters and neuromodulators (such as GABA and
                    Acetylcholin, Dopamin, etc.). Yet there is an important
                    difference: the ant colony is not self-aware and has no
                    consciousness.

                    We know from neuroscience that billions of jabbering and
                    flickering neurons are responsible for the work of our
                    minds: they are in all animals responsible for the ability
                    to control the body, i.e. without them no animal would
                    be able to act and to recognize s.th.. For higher
                    primates this includes the ability to speak and the
                    ability to recognize ourselves in various ways.

                    Consciousness is not a property of a single neuron, it
                    can not be found at the level of a single cell. A single
                    water molecule is not wet, too, and a single word is not
                    eloquent. It emerges from the collective interaction of
                    many units.

                    -J.





                    --
                    -- Russ Abbott
                    _____________________________________________
                    Professor, Computer Science
                    California State University, Los Angeles
                    o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/





                    --
                    -- Russ Abbott
                    _____________________________________________
                    Professor, Computer Science
                    California State University, Los Angeles
                    o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/
                  • Red Neuron
                    ... From: Jochen Fromm To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 10:19:20 PM Subject: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jan 29, 2008


                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Jochen Fromm <Jochen.Fromm@...>
                      To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 10:19:20 PM
                      Subject: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine

                      > The "emergence" answer is that it's all an illusion
                      > But that's no answer.

                      It is an illusion, yes, but an illusion which comes close
                      to a real thing. I think it is an answer. If someone believes
                      that he has a self or a soul (i.e. if he takes the metaphors
                      "the mind is an entity" and "a soul is a person" for real),
                      he makes a mistake, but it is small mistake which makes
                      life much more comfortable and easier.
                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


                      Hold on a moment. I get ya...
                      Its a complex system - it has many systems and parts.

                      You can't look for nerve center - there are a few specialized ones, and you havent' had a situation to experience one access for whole of you. That is maybe not true... going to sleep can affect whole of you and you still exist.

                      Treating experiences as illusions on another side of the story, is partially my point. Why stop an experience? Maybe you don't have the right reason to stop an experience. The width is larger part of you in opposition to narrow sensing.

                      Few Scots placed stones in circle - and we see a circle even though within one type of mathematical reasoning the circle doesn't exist. I claim it is very bad mathematical reasoning. People chose to do so and to have life defined and controlled somehow.

                      We could divide time domain into seconds and count every other second so that every other second is when you exist and every even second is when you don't exist. If I now expand on the fractal nature of universe and mind, I say that more phenomena is like that existing only sometimes than not.

                      For monkeys brain is developed for at most 3-4 year, while in humans at least 20 and more. In that time the leading idea for the mind is "knowledge". However, if you look at all the people they are fundamentally unsure whether they exist and whether their self, memories, need... is relevant or beautiful. At what point did the effect-self become bad or unsustainable? Why don't you know it is relevant?



                      Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.
                    • Glen Sizemore
                      ... From: Russ Abbott Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com Date:
                      Message 10 of 17 , Feb 2, 2008
                        --- On Mon, 1/28/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

                        From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...>
                        Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
                        To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Monday, January 28, 2008, 3:19 PM

                        RA: Would you elaborate. I'd like to understand what you mean when you say that drug-discrimination can help elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables.

                        GS: Sorry about the late response. In drug discrimination (DD) an animal is injected with either drug (say, cocaine) or vehicle. If the drug was injected, one response (say, pressing the left-hand lever) produces food. If vehicle was injected, then the other response produces food. After training, animals will reliably report when they are drugged. This shows that animals can report subjective events. My contention (in keeping with the Lashley-Wade hypothesis) is that such arrangements PRODUCE the awareness, rather than merely "training the animal to report that of which it is already aware." That contention is controversial.


                        On Jan 28, 2008 11:57 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@ yahoo.com> wrote:








                        --- On Sun, 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@ GMail.com> wrote:

                        From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@ GMail.com>
                        Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
                        To: CAS-Group@yahoogrou ps.com
                        Date: Sunday, January 27, 2008, 12:39 PM

                        RA: On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about. 

                        GS: Well, that all depends on what you mean by "how that comes about." If you mean we do not know what is going on physiologically you are more than correct. But, of course, we can barely account for habituation of the gill-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia in any complete physiological way. But there is another sense to "how [it] comes about" that is more accessible; I believe we can elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables that give rise to the sorts of phenomena to which you are alluding. The secret lay in the procedure referred to as "drug-discrimination ."



                        --
                        -- Russ Abbott
                        ____________ _________ _________ _________ ______
                        Professor, Computer Science
                        California State University, Los Angeles
                        o Check out my blog at http://russabbott. blogspot. com/
                      • Russ Abbott
                        On Feb 2, 2008 4:06 AM, Glen Sizemore wrote: In drug discrimination (DD) an animal is injected with either drug (say, cocaine) or
                        Message 11 of 17 , Feb 2, 2008
                          On Feb 2, 2008 4:06 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@...> wrote:

                          In drug discrimination (DD) an animal is injected with either drug (say, cocaine) or vehicle. If the drug was injected, one response (say, pressing the left-hand lever) produces food. If vehicle was injected, then the other response produces food. After training, animals will reliably report when they are drugged. This shows that animals can report subjective events.

                          Nice experiment -- and nice results.  Animals can "report" their subjective experience.

                          My contention (in keeping with the Lashley-Wade hypothesis) is that such arrangements PRODUCE the awareness, rather than merely "training the animal to report that of which it is already aware." That contention is controversial.

                          What sort of experiment would answer this question? 

                          Also, I'm confused about the significance of the Lashley-Wade hypothesis. In another news group you summarized it as saying, "we do not discriminate a stimulus until we have had discrimination training." What does that mean?  Is it saying that we don't notice differences unless they make a difference to us? If applied to the drug experiment, are you saying that the rats never "noticed" their drug-induced subjective experience until they were rewarded for doing so? 

                          That does seem to be characteristic of human self-awareness. We become aware of something that we had not been aware of previously.  What prompts the new awareness may differ from situation to situation, but a new awareness is almost by definition an awareness of something one might have been aware of at any time but that one hadn't noticed.  Isn't that tautological?

                          -- Russ


                          On Feb 2, 2008 4:06 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@...> wrote:



                          --- On Mon, 1/28/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

                          From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...>
                          Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
                          To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Monday, January 28, 2008, 3:19 PM

                          RA: Would you elaborate. I'd like to understand what you mean when you say that drug-discrimination can help elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables.

                          GS: Sorry about the late response. In drug discrimination (DD) an animal is injected with either drug (say, cocaine) or vehicle. If the drug was injected, one response (say, pressing the left-hand lever) produces food. If vehicle was injected, then the other response produces food. After training, animals will reliably report when they are drugged. This shows that animals can report subjective events. My contention (in keeping with the Lashley-Wade hypothesis) is that such arrangements PRODUCE the awareness, rather than merely "training the animal to report that of which it is already aware." That contention is controversial.

                          On Jan 28, 2008 11:57 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                          --- On Sun, 1/27/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@ GMail.com> wrote:

                          From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@ GMail.com>
                          Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
                          To: CAS-Group@yahoogrou ps.com
                          Date: Sunday, January 27, 2008, 12:39 PM

                          RA: On an abstract level I agree with Telmo that saying that consciousness emerges from neurons does not lead to a theoretical problem. The problem it seems to me is that we experience consciousness. The "hard" problem is all about qualia, which is subjective experience. We don't have any way of explaining how that comes about. 

                          GS: Well, that all depends on what you mean by "how that comes about." If you mean we do not know what is going on physiologically you are more than correct. But, of course, we can barely account for habituation of the gill-withdrawal reflex in Aplysia in any complete physiological way. But there is another sense to "how [it] comes about" that is more accessible; I believe we can elucidate some necessary ontogenic variables that give rise to the sorts of phenomena to which you are alluding. The secret lay in the procedure referred to as "drug-discrimination ."

                          --
                          -- Russ Abbott
                          ____________ _________ _________ _________ ______
                          Professor, Computer Science
                          California State University, Los Angeles
                          o Check out my blog at http://russabbott. blogspot. com/




                          --
                          -- Russ Abbott
                          _____________________________________________
                          Professor, Computer Science
                          California State University, Los Angeles
                          o Check out my blog at http://russabbott.blogspot.com/
                        • Glen Sizemore
                          ... From: Russ Abbott Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com Date:
                          Message 12 of 17 , Feb 4, 2008
                            --- On Sat, 2/2/08, Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...> wrote:

                            From: Russ Abbott <Russ.Abbott@...>
                            Subject: Re: [CAS-Group] Re: Shadow emergence - the ghost in the machine
                            To: CAS-Group@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Saturday, February 2, 2008, 3:05 PM

                            On Feb 2, 2008 4:06 AM, Glen Sizemore <gmsizemore2@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                            >GS: In drug discrimination (DD) an animal is injected with either drug (say, cocaine) or vehicle. If the drug was injected, one response (say, pressing the left-hand lever) produces food. If vehicle was injected, then the other response produces food. After training, animals will reliably report when they are drugged. This shows that animals can report subjective events.

                            >RA: Nice experiment -- and nice results.  Animals can "report" their subjective experience.

                            GS: I sometimes put "report" in quotes, but when I do so, I usually do so for humans as well as animals. The argument is that a non-human animal's operant response in these circumstances is the functional equivalent of the human's response. See, for example:

                            An animal model of the interpersonal communication of interoceptive (private) states. Lubinski D, Thompson T.

                            Pigeons were taught to interact communicatively (i.e., exchange discriminative stimuli) based on 1 pigeon's internal state, which varied as a function of cocaine, pentobarbital, and saline administration. These performances generalized to untrained pharmacological agents (d-amphetamine and chlordiazepoxide) and were observed in the absence of aversive stimulation, deprivation, and unconditioned reinforcement. The training procedure used in this study appears similar to that by which humans learn to report on (tact) their internal environments and may be construed as a rudimentary animal model of the interpersonal communication of private events.

                            Lubinski D, Thompson T. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. 1987 Jul;48(1):1-15.

                            >GS: My contention (in keeping with the Lashley-Wade hypothesis) is that such arrangements PRODUCE the awareness, rather than merely "training the animal to report that of which it is already aware." That contention is controversial.

                            >RA: What sort of experiment would answer this question?

                            GS: Actually, there is a paper relevant to DD per se, and it suggests the strong form of the Lashley-Wade hypothesis is NOT correct (they obtained a gradient - see explanation below - in the absence of discrimination training. However, the gradient became much steeper when subsequent discrimination training was provided). In other realms, the results are mixed. The way relevant experiments are done (or, at least, the first step) is to reinforce behavior in the presence of some stimulus only - that is, responding is not allowed to occur and go unreinforced in the absence of the stimulus or in the presence of some other stimulus. Reinforcing behavior in the presence of one stimulus does not constitute "discrimination training" - as I implied, discrimination training occurs when responding is allowed to occur and go unreinforced in the absence of the training stimulus or in the presence of some other stimulus. After responding is reinforced (on an
                            intermittent schedule - usually a variable-interval schedule) the stimulus is varied along some dimension (the new stimuli are present only briefly and no reinforcers are delivered - this does not constitute discrimination training, it is thought, because the response is reinforced on an intermittent schedule, and the duration that the new stimuli are present is shorter than the longest inter-reinforcement interval under the VI schedule). If responding does not diminish when stimuli are different from the training stimulus (i.e., a flat gradient), we say that the animal does not distinguish among the stimuli. If there is an inverted U-shaped gradient that is peaked in the vacinity of the training stimulus, then we would say that the animal does distinguish among the stimuli despite there being no discrimination training. Flat gradients have sometimes been obtained in the absence of discrimination training, but so have peaked gradients. When the latter
                            occurs, researchers sometimes argue that the animal's history outside of the operant chamber produced the discrimination. Consequently, one way that this issue is examined is by restricting the histories of the subjects. For example, Peterson reared ducklings in monochromatic (sodium) light and reinforced key-pecking in the presence of a key-light illuminated with that color. When the wavelength of the light was varied, the gradient was flat. However, there have been failures to replicate this finding. I think that these are difficult experiments, and I'm not sure what is going on. I still have some sympathy for the L-W hypothesis, for a couple of related reasons. I think that - especially with complex stimuli - the results would generally be different. Indeed, even with discrimination training, animals appear not to distinguish the complex stimuli until there have been many, many exemplars. Relatedly, we must, it appears, learn to see (and, no doubt,
                            to perceive in other ways). I think these issues are closely related to the issue of the L-W hypothesis. In one interesting experiment, kittens were reared in in darkness except for brief times in the experimental apparatus. The apparatus consisted of a circular room (painted with black and white vertical stripes) in which was located a carousel. One kitten of a pair was placed in a box on one side of the carousel and its legs stuck out the bottom. When it walked around the carousel turned. Mounted on the other arm of the carousel, however, was another box in which was placed another kitten. This kitten's legs, however, did not stick out of the bottom of the box. Thus, one kitten's visual stimulation was a function of its own behavior. The "passive kitten" however, was exposed to stimuli that, at least to some extent, did not change as a function of its own behavior. In various sorts of perceptual tests the passive kittens did not appear to perceive
                            depth well - they di not react to objects approaching their faces and they walked out onto the glass in the classic "visual cliff" test. Again, these are complicated issues and I think they are all tied up with each other.

                            >RA: Also, I'm confused about the significance of the Lashley-Wade hypothesis. In another news group you summarized it as saying, "we do not discriminate a stimulus until we have had discrimination training." What does that mean?  Is it saying that we don't notice differences unless they make a difference to us? If applied to the drug experiment, are you saying that the rats never "noticed" their drug-induced subjective experience until they were rewarded for doing so?

                            GS: Yes. 

                            >RA: That does seem to be characteristic of human self-awareness. We become aware of something that we had not been aware of previously.  What prompts the new awareness may differ from situation to situation, but a new awareness is almost by definition an awareness of something one might have been aware of at any time but that one hadn't noticed.  Isn't that tautological?

                            GS: I'm not sure I see tautology, but I'm not exactly sure what you are saying. You seem to have summarized my argument, however. I think you may be arguing something else here. You are talking about someone "not noticing" something that they do, in fact, discriminate under certain circumstances. That is not the same thing as I am arguing. I am saying that there are no circumstances in which the person distinguishes the stimulus until they have been exposed to discrimination training. That is, when we train a discrimination we are NOT simply training the animal to report some stimulus dimension of which it is already aware, we are actually producing "the awareness."
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.