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RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence - Indexing

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  • Ken Brown
    Hi John, I think our points of view are closer than might seem. Despite being an IT worker, I don t believe we are computers. In fact, I don t understand how
    Message 1 of 19 , May 1, 2004
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      Hi John,

      I think our points of view are closer than might seem.

      Despite being an IT worker, I don't believe we are computers. In fact, I
      don't understand how any IT worker can think we are computers because of
      their complete lack of phenomenality, which I see as our essential quality.
      Data is not necessarily digital and, in any case, there are non-digital
      computers. By data, I mean just facts, knowledge, sensations, etc - whatever
      is contained in any system which may be said to process information (in some
      sense of the word) and interacts with its environment. I am not opposing
      any of your statements such as:-
      - "And why should it be? because at ancient times, when humanity's epistemic
      cognitive inventory was even poorer than today"

      - "string theory as a marvel: it is still an outgrow of that ancient
      physics"

      - etc.

      I agree that our concepts are all open to the criticism that they are
      undoubtedly limited by the circumscribed imagination of an evolved savannah
      ape. But to progress at all we have to work with what we can conceive.

      You write: "Wouldn't it be useful - before "conceptual reasoning" - some
      "conseptual
      understanding"?" To me they go together. How do you envisage advancing on
      this?
      Cheers

      Ken



      -----Original Message-----
      From: John M [mailto:jamikes@...]
      Sent: 30 April 2004 13:10
      To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence
      - Indexing



      Ken, thanks for a decent post. Let me eviscerate some words of it
      ^^^^^^
      > ...the IT trade) is that some equivalent must exist in ANY knowledge
      system...<
      M U S T ??? A N Y ??? because YOU cannot imagine a different system? Here
      we go again: we are computers, a bit less perfect.
      ^^^^^
      D A T A? you mean digitalizable, ready for a Turing-Church computation?
      ^^^^^^^
      > Phenomenality is utterly impossible to express in the terms of current
      physics.<
      And why should it be? because at ancient times, when humanity's epistemic
      cognitive inventory was even poorer than today, some thinking homos derived
      an image and calculated it into physics?
      Current is ancient, mended to the newer findings. To jump ahead, you
      mentioned string theory as a marvel: it is still an outgrow of that ancient
      physics, just some good minds were fed up with the obsolescence of the
      "general ideas".
      ^^^^^^^^^
      > structured hierarchies of data, which is fundamental to conceptual
      reasoning.<
      Does it not strike you that a 'hierarchy of DATA" is IT? again,
      tkae the incomplete product (of the mind) and fashion the mind after it.
      Wouldn't it be useful - before "conceptual reasoning" - some "conseptual
      understanding"?
      ^^^^^^^^^
      And after all this, you conclude:
      >This suggests that there is more to the mind
      than bit-diddling. <
      Amen.

      (Is Dr. Bloggs any good? I could use him)

      Cheers

      John Mikes




      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
      To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 7:41 AM
      Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
      intelligence - Indexing


      > Hi John
      >
      > I used a dentist in my example because I'd just been to one and saw no
      > reason why I should be the only one to suffer.
      >
      > The interest of "index" (or "join" or "pointer" to quote other terms used
      in
      > the IT trade) is that some equivalent must exist in ANY knowledge system.
      > It is universally agreed that any knowledge system must contain data but
      it
      > is not often discussed how the data is inter-related, which is necessary
      to
      > its viability.
      >
      > As to your question: ". how does Dr. Bloggs exist in my neurons?", I don't
      > pretend that considering indexes will yield a direct answer. I hold that
      the
      > encoding of Dr Bloggs in the neurons (or whatever) is part of the question
      > of how phenomenality is brought about, which is the Hard Problem itself.
      > Phenomenality is utterly impossible to express in the terms of current
      > physics. My proposal is that the encoding of "Dr Bloggs" is achieved in a
      > non-physical domain with which the physical brain communicates through an
      > interface (or bridge). By "non-physical" I mean "not explicable in terms
      of
      > current physics" (as distinct from "future physics", such as developed
      > string theories).
      >
      > The relevance of indexes in this context is that considerable resources
      are
      > involved in generating and maintaining indexes, interfaces and
      sensorimotor
      > communication. This is quite enough to keep the current physical brain
      fully
      > occupied.
      >
      > I am reading the material on wholism. I broadly agree with the approach,
      for
      > what that's worth. A case in point might be that of the limitations of
      > "neural nets" on computers. These have proved very disappointing in their
      > results when compared with the expectations of thirty years ago.
      > Phenomenality is absent from them and they are limited in their reasoning
      > achievements. Their practical usefulness seems to be limited to tuning the
      > performance of complex systems. They don't seem to spontaneously produce
      > structured hierarchies of data, which is fundamental to conceptual
      > reasoning. This suggests that there is more to the mind than bit-diddling.
      >
      > Cheers
      >
      > Ken
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: John M [mailto:jamikes@...]
      > Sent: 27 April 2004 20:50
      > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
      intelligence
      > - Indexing
      >
      >
      >
      > * Hi, Ken,
      > you made me hostile and biased with your reply, because I hate to go to
      the
      > dentist. Now, without grinding my teeth:
      > how does Dr. Bloggs exist in my neurons? In what Index(ing)?
      >
      > Does he have an MRI or el.potential pattern, or a conformational
      > protein-sideline in a glia cell, or else named "DrBloggs"? or a neuron
      > changed his name by court order into Neur-DrBloggs?
      > If the answer to any of these is YES, we are in business. I would call
      your
      > 'Index' a 'Network' and you may find a solution in the spirit of
      > http://www.douglas.qc.ca/fdg/kjf/62-TAMIK.htm .
      > (Karl Jaspers Forum: Networks of Networks, Sept 2003)
      > That, however, would not recall the name "Bloggs", but reading alonside
      your
      > other index: the telephone directory, the name - as you indicated with a
      > poet - will surface when reading it all. You still have to recall first
      what
      > you want to recall in order to recall it. Index or not. Easy in computers:
      > the terms are digitalized and so identified. Indexed in one sense. Of
      course
      > in this case you also have to "get to it" (somehow - a word I find
      > ubiquitously when reading about mental processes).
      >
      > Just a quick remark on your recent post with Cheers
      > John
      >
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
      > To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 11:46 AM
      > Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
      > intelligence - Indexing
      >
      >
      > > Hi John
      > >
      > > I'm afraid my mail on indexes wasn't as clear as I thought it was when I
      > > wrote it. Here is a simple example of the necessity for an index. There
      > are
      > > two pieces of data:-
      > >
      > > 1) You want to see your dentist, Dr Bloggs, because you have a
      nasty
      > > toothache.
      > >
      > > 2) You have a telephone directory book which gives the number of
      Dr
      > > Bloggs.
      > >
      > > The indexing operation is that which involves your going to the
      directory
      > > and looking up Dentist Bloggs to obtain his number. The linking key is
      > > Bloggs in your mind and Bloggs in the directory. There is conceptually
      an
      > > index from the Bloggs in your brain pointing to the Bloggs entry in the
      > > directory. If that link doesn't exist and can't be made then the two
      items
      > > of data are useless and you will be unable to contact Dr Bloggs.
      > >
      > > One may go on to say that within your mind there is an item of data "I
      > have
      > > toothache" and another item "dentist cures toothache". If the two items
      > > aren't linked by the key "toothache", which is in both items, then you
      > can't
      > > know that you need a dentist. Thus some form of indexing is needed in
      any
      > > knowledge system. As far as I know, the question of indexing has
      received
      > > little attention in the consciousness debate. The well-known statement
      > that
      > > "Every neuron is within seven steps from any other neuron" presumably
      > > concerns indexing and explains why one item of data may be found in so
      > many
      > > different brain regions.
      > >
      > > We sometimes find it difficult to remember a name for, say, the poet who
      > > wrote an ode on nightingales, but when someone gives us a list of
      possible
      > > names we may recognize it immediately. In this case we may say the data
      > was
      > > there but the index was missing.
      > >
      > > Hoping this is a little clearer.
      > >
      > > Cheers
      > >
      > > Ken
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >





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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John M
      Dear Ken, if our views are really that close, I don t know what to say - and the logical conclusion is to shut up. (Just kidding). You mentioned there are
      Message 2 of 19 , May 1, 2004
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        Dear Ken,
        if our views are really that close, I don't know what to say - and the
        logical conclusion is to shut up. (Just kidding).

        You mentioned "there are non-digital computers." ARe you referring to
        "analogs"? I was searching for such and (Google incl) did not get further
        than "an idea". I think the Q-computers with protein PU (if they are already
        functional??) work digitally as well
        maybe in a higher than binary system (my fantasy, only to be confirmed -
        would you?) - which are the 'non-digitals'? Bubble?
        (I only heard the word).

        >... their complete lack of phenomenality, which I see as our essential
        quality.<
        Yes, we are phenomenal. Seriously: I can sense SOME change in the unhumanly
        rigid mechanistic memory of a computer lately,
        if in 'intelligent' systems (AI, AL) connotational subroutines are drawn in
        to a 'recall' and by changing the contents different effects can be
        influencing the formulation of a memory-input.
        Would be funny to use a computer for an eye-witness "who" (?) "remembers
        fallsely" just like a phenomenal human.

        >...But to progress at all we have to work with what we can conceive.<
        Didn't humanity 'progress' into domains which were absolutely
        'unconceivable' before approaching some understandindg? Are
        you not shortchanging 'progress'?

        To your closing question: what I wrote: "...before "conceptual reasoning" -
        some "conceptual understanding"?"
        >To me they go together. How do you envisage advancing on
        > this?
        Do they really? people argue and 'reason' fallsely on concepts they have no
        understanding about - or falsify it willfully. I don't restrict this to
        politics, superstition, or greedy intentions.

        Regards

        John M

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
        To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 7:07 AM
        Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
        intelligence - Indexing


        > Hi John,
        >
        > I think our points of view are closer than might seem.
        >
        > Despite being an IT worker, I don't believe we are computers. In fact, I
        > don't understand how any IT worker can think we are computers because of
        > their complete lack of phenomenality, which I see as our essential
        quality.
        > Data is not necessarily digital and, in any case, there are non-digital
        > computers. By data, I mean just facts, knowledge, sensations, etc -
        whatever
        > is contained in any system which may be said to process information (in
        some
        > sense of the word) and interacts with its environment. I am not opposing
        > any of your statements such as:-
        > - "And why should it be? because at ancient times, when humanity's
        epistemic
        > cognitive inventory was even poorer than today"
        >
        > - "string theory as a marvel: it is still an outgrow of that ancient
        > physics"
        >
        > - etc.
        >
        > I agree that our concepts are all open to the criticism that they are
        > undoubtedly limited by the circumscribed imagination of an evolved
        savannah
        > ape. But to progress at all we have to work with what we can conceive.
        >
        > You write: "Wouldn't it be useful - before "conceptual reasoning" - some
        > "conseptual
        > understanding"?" To me they go together. How do you envisage advancing on
        > this?
        > Cheers
        >
        > Ken
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: John M [mailto:jamikes@...]
        > Sent: 30 April 2004 13:10
        > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
        intelligence
        > - Indexing
        >
        >
        >
        > Ken, thanks for a decent post. Let me eviscerate some words of it
        > ^^^^^^
        > > ...the IT trade) is that some equivalent must exist in ANY knowledge
        > system...<
        > M U S T ??? A N Y ??? because YOU cannot imagine a different system? Here
        > we go again: we are computers, a bit less perfect.
        > ^^^^^
        > D A T A? you mean digitalizable, ready for a Turing-Church computation?
        > ^^^^^^^
        > > Phenomenality is utterly impossible to express in the terms of current
        > physics.<
        > And why should it be? because at ancient times, when humanity's epistemic
        > cognitive inventory was even poorer than today, some thinking homos
        derived
        > an image and calculated it into physics?
        > Current is ancient, mended to the newer findings. To jump ahead, you
        > mentioned string theory as a marvel: it is still an outgrow of that
        ancient
        > physics, just some good minds were fed up with the obsolescence of the
        > "general ideas".
        > ^^^^^^^^^
        > > structured hierarchies of data, which is fundamental to conceptual
        > reasoning.<
        > Does it not strike you that a 'hierarchy of DATA" is IT? again,
        > tkae the incomplete product (of the mind) and fashion the mind after it.
        > Wouldn't it be useful - before "conceptual reasoning" - some "conseptual
        > understanding"?
        > ^^^^^^^^^
        > And after all this, you conclude:
        > >This suggests that there is more to the mind
        > than bit-diddling. <
        > Amen.
        >
        > (Is Dr. Bloggs any good? I could use him)
        >
        > Cheers
        >
        > John Mikes
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
        > To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 7:41 AM
        > Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
        > intelligence - Indexing
        >
        >
        > > Hi John
        > >
        > > I used a dentist in my example because I'd just been to one and saw no
        > > reason why I should be the only one to suffer.
        > >
        > > The interest of "index" (or "join" or "pointer" to quote other terms
        used
        > in
        > > the IT trade) is that some equivalent must exist in ANY knowledge
        system.
        > > It is universally agreed that any knowledge system must contain data but
        > it
        > > is not often discussed how the data is inter-related, which is necessary
        > to
        > > its viability.
        > >
        > > As to your question: ". how does Dr. Bloggs exist in my neurons?", I
        don't
        > > pretend that considering indexes will yield a direct answer. I hold that
        > the
        > > encoding of Dr Bloggs in the neurons (or whatever) is part of the
        question
        > > of how phenomenality is brought about, which is the Hard Problem itself.
        > > Phenomenality is utterly impossible to express in the terms of current
        > > physics. My proposal is that the encoding of "Dr Bloggs" is achieved in
        a
        > > non-physical domain with which the physical brain communicates through
        an
        > > interface (or bridge). By "non-physical" I mean "not explicable in terms
        > of
        > > current physics" (as distinct from "future physics", such as developed
        > > string theories).
        > >
        > > The relevance of indexes in this context is that considerable resources
        > are
        > > involved in generating and maintaining indexes, interfaces and
        > sensorimotor
        > > communication. This is quite enough to keep the current physical brain
        > fully
        > > occupied.
        > >
        > > I am reading the material on wholism. I broadly agree with the approach,
        > for
        > > what that's worth. A case in point might be that of the limitations of
        > > "neural nets" on computers. These have proved very disappointing in
        their
        > > results when compared with the expectations of thirty years ago.
        > > Phenomenality is absent from them and they are limited in their
        reasoning
        > > achievements. Their practical usefulness seems to be limited to tuning
        the
        > > performance of complex systems. They don't seem to spontaneously produce
        > > structured hierarchies of data, which is fundamental to conceptual
        > > reasoning. This suggests that there is more to the mind than
        bit-diddling.
        > >
        > > Cheers
        > >
        > > Ken
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: John M [mailto:jamikes@...]
        > > Sent: 27 April 2004 20:50
        > > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
        > intelligence - Indexing
        > >
        > > * Hi, Ken,
        > > you made me hostile and biased with your reply, because I >>hate to go
        to the dentist. Now, without grinding my teeth:
        >>how does Dr.Bloggs exist in my neurons? In what Index(ing)? > >
        > > Does he have an MRI or el.potential pattern, or a conformational
        > > protein-sideline in a glia cell, or else named "DrBloggs"? or a neuron
        > > changed his name by court order into Neur-DrBloggs?
        > > If the answer to any of these is YES, we are in business. I would call
        your
        > > 'Index' a 'Network' and you may find a solution in the spirit of
        > > http://www.douglas.qc.ca/fdg/kjf/62-TAMIK.htm .
        > > (Karl Jaspers Forum: Networks of Networks, Sept 2003)
        > > That, however, would not recall the name "Bloggs", but reading alonside
        your
        > > other index: the telephone directory, the name - as you indicated with a
        > > poet - will surface when reading it all. You still have to recall first
        what
        > > you want to recall in order to recall it. Index or not. Easy in
        computers:
        > > the terms are digitalized and so identified. Indexed in one sense. Of
        course
        > > in this case you also have to "get to it" (somehow - a word I >>find
        ubiquitously when reading about mental processes).
        > >
        > > Just a quick remark on your recent post with Cheers
        > > John
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
        > > To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
        > > Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 11:46 AM
        > > Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
        intelligence - Indexing
        > > > Hi John
        > > >
        > > > I'm afraid my mail on indexes wasn't as clear as I thought it was when
        I
        > > > wrote it. Here is a simple example of the necessity for an index.
        There are two pieces of data:-
        > > >
        > > > 1) You want to see your dentist, Dr Bloggs, because you have a
        nasty toothache.
        > > >
        > > > 2) You have a telephone directory book which gives the number of
        Dr Bloggs.
        > > >
        > > > The indexing operation is that which involves your going to the
        directory
        > > > and looking up Dentist Bloggs to obtain his number. The linking key is
        > > > Bloggs in your mind and Bloggs in the directory. There is conceptually
        an
        > > > index from the Bloggs in your brain pointing to the Bloggs entry in
        the
        > > > directory. If that link doesn't exist and can't be made then the two
        items
        > > > of data are useless and you will be unable to contact Dr Bloggs.
        > > >
        > > > One may go on to say that within your mind there is an item of data "I
        have
        > > > toothache" and another item "dentist cures toothache". If the two
        items
        > > > aren't linked by the key "toothache", which is in both items, then you
        can't
        > > > know that you need a dentist. Thus some form of indexing is needed in
        any
        > > > knowledge system. As far as I know, the question of indexing has
        received
        > > > little attention in the consciousness debate. The well-known statement
        that
        > > > "Every neuron is within seven steps from any other neuron" presumably
        > > > concerns indexing and explains why one item of data may be found in so
        many different brain regions.
        > > >
        > > > We sometimes find it difficult to remember a name for, say, the poet
        who
        > > > wrote an ode on nightingales, but when someone gives us a list of
        possible
        > > > names we may recognize it immediately. In this case we may say the
        data was there but the index was missing.
        > > >
        > > > Hoping this is a little clearer.
        > > >
        > > > Cheers
        > > >
        > > > Ken
        > > >
        > >
        >
        >
      • Mark Peaty
        on 26/04/2004 Ken Brown wrote: At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms
        Message 3 of 19 , May 2, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          on 26/04/2004
          Ken Brown wrote:

          'At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
          phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
          is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces phenomenality
          in either data or procedures.'

          [MP]
          I think Ken is asking the wrong question. Our phenomenal experience, the
          *subjective* awareness of being here and doing things, is what it is
          like *to be* something or other.
          So saying: "It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans
          produces phenomenality..." misleads any reader. I think the better query
          is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain
          activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
          hearing, and so forth?"

          The fact is we only ever *infer* a similarity of our experiences to
          those of other people. It is a question of belief. A very well justified
          belief, in my opinion, but a belief none the less. Learning about some
          new development in superstring theory is never going to make this
          particular 'Hard Problem' any easier to think about.

          As to whether serial processing Turing machines will ever experience
          phenomenality - i.e. qualia, I tend to think the practicalities of
          adequately modelling a self in its world with sufficient detail and
          timeliness within a digital serial processing system would prevent the
          occurrence of any experience worth writing home about.

          The key point is to decide what you think will be an adequate
          explanation. For my money the explanation is already available:
          Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's model
          of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain and is of
          the brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.

          [Ken Brown]
          Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
          phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
          of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious explanation is
          that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in nature,
          are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
          domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.

          Perhaps an equally parsimonious explanation is that all current scanning
          methods available are too slow and lack the resolution, possibly by
          several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine structure
          of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed features of
          our experience.

          [KB]
          It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
          qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional episodes,
          we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
          neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration of the
          need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
          They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical neuron
          then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
          from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum

          [MP]
          I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; "enlivening
          procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I understand it, the
          parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
          changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
          dendrites. I seem to remember reading somewhere that evidence has been
          found for mechanisms which change gene expression rates within neurons
          and this provides the long term physiological underpinning of the larger
          scale changes in neurons.
          Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain some of
          the essential interaction patterns involved in an experience after those
          patterns have ceased being part of the model of self in the world. That
          this kind of unconscious sustaining activity occurs is demonstrated by
          what can happen last thing in the day as one finally lies down when one
          has been doing something for a long time during the day, which usually
          means one has had to concentrate. For example, after a day of weeding
          couch grass out of flower beds [something which involves fairly dogged
          persistence] I have lain down, shut my eyes, and become aware of
          successive images of couch grass flashing into view. Another example is
          after driving long distance, laying down with eyes shut and seeing
          successive images of seemingly characteristic roadway and verge side
          vegetation, etc., flashing through my mind's eye.

          I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking the
          brain's neural networks to be analogue processes in which the
          simultaneous activation of certain neurons [numbered in the millions or
          billions] at any given moment constitutes the representation of
          something or other, whilst the simultaneous activation of a different
          grouping at another moment constitutes the representation of something
          else. Such different groupings don't have to be completely mutually
          exclusive memberships, in fact it is the membership, by neurons, of
          different groupings which constitutes the association which is the basis
          of so much of what the brain does. The activation of particular
          groupings [neural networks] to the exclusion of other potential
          groupings at a given moment is what allows relevant features of
          experience to occur. Such exclusive activation must involve the mutual
          stimulation of the active neurons through many instances of feedback
          within the network along with the timely inhibition of connections which
          would otherwise blur or change the particulars of the moment.

          More later.

          Cheers
          Mark Peaty

          >
          >
          > I assume that John means that thought doesn't appear to take up any
          > physical
          > volume. If so, I agree. In this context I proffer below the "Neural Index"
          > suggestion.
          >
          >
          >
          > I am writing as an IT database person ruminating on the mind/brain
          > question.
          > Of course, one must be careful when comparing the brain to a computer, but
          > some interesting parallels can be drawn as they are both information
          > processing engines.
          >
          >
          >
          > The brain must possess some sort of structure appropriate for the
          > processing
          > of mental data. Very little processing can be done on a computer's raw
          > input
          > data because it isn't in a form whereby it can be related to other data in
          > the computer. This form is necessary, for example, to detect duplicate
          > items
          > or to find the price of the input article in the price file.
          >
          >
          >
          > The same reasoning applies to the mind. Before incoming sensorimotor data
          > can be properly processed, it must be integrated with existing related
          > data
          > in some sort of mental database, because the raw state of sensorimotor
          > data
          > is not of the form in which the mind works. Thus, as in the IT world, the
          > first thing to happen to the incoming data is its translation into an
          > appropriate mental form, even if only temporarily for use in working
          > memory.
          > Expressed in IT terms, the data must be uploaded into suitably structured
          > distributed mental databases in the brain ("distributed" is specified so
          > that they can function together in parallel). The structure of all
          > databases, mental or IT, must take into account not only data but also the
          > pointers (known in IT as indexes) necessary to link the various data
          > elements. These indexes use a lot of space and processing power in
          > computers
          > and must demand the same of the brain. The structure of a database is
          > realized through the structure of its indexes, which represent the
          > otherwise
          > latent inherent structure of the data. Data is fundamentally useless
          > without
          > some form of indexing. It follows that the appropriate indexes
          > necessary for
          > access to the data must be built before mental processing, such as
          > conscious
          > thinking, can begin. These brain indexes are presumably at least partially
          > realized using the nerves connecting the neurons. Observed Hebbian
          > activity,
          > which causes the thickening of existing dendrites and the creation of new
          > branches, parallels the behavior of indexes in relational databases. The
          > very name "dendrites" indicates their inherent tree structure, another
          > necessity for database index structures.
          >
          >
          >
          > At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
          > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
          > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces
          > phenomenality
          > in either data or procedures. Personally I'm surprised that IT people
          > aren't
          > the first to reject computationalism. Neural nets running on Turing
          > machines
          > contain nothing semantic or phenomenal. Unlike brain matter, they lack
          > modularity and at the atomic (i.e. binary code) level present no rich
          > enigmatic structure. Neural nets have not fulfilled the promises made
          > thirty
          > years ago, even in the area of artificial intelligence.
          >
          >
          >
          > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
          > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
          > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious
          > explanation is
          > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in
          > nature,
          > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
          > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics. They may perhaps emerge from
          > string theories. This proposition fits the approach adopted by
          > Penrose, who
          > believes that an "expanded physics" is necessary to explain consciousness.
          > This still leaves plenty for the visible brain to do:-
          >
          >
          >
          > - Indexing work, as mentioned above.
          >
          > - Interface work in passing data between the visible material and
          > the invisible mental domains.
          >
          > - Interfacing between the brain and the body.
          >
          > - Platform work, supporting and maintaining that part of the
          > brain's activity which is phenomenal.
          >
          >
          >
          > I see no evidence that the material brain necessarily does more than this.
          >
          >
          >
          > The "advanced physics" could emerge from forthcoming string theories,
          > which
          > posit supplementary dimensions of space. This could, for example, perhaps
          > help explain how we can locate touch qualia in space, such as a pain in a
          > finger.
          >
          >
          >
          > To sum up, one is confronted with an apparent contradiction in trying to
          > locate the phenomenal:-
          >
          > - The universe is described using the physical (i.e. current
          > physics).
          >
          > - Yet the physical is limited to that which is now described by
          > biochemistry, quantum physics, electromagnetism and relativity, none of
          > which manifest phenomenality.
          >
          > As Sherlock Holmes remarked, when faced with an improbability and an
          > impossibility, one chooses the former - which in this case implies (to
          > myself at any rate) that there exists a mental domain.
          >
          >
          >
          > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
          > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional
          > episodes,
          > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
          > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration
          > of the
          > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
          > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical
          > neuron
          > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
          > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum.
          >
          >
          >
          > The treatment above is many respects superficial. Should anyone be
          > interested in this approach I have investigated it in more depth
          > elsewhere.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Best Regards
          >
          > Ken Brown
          >
          >

          --
          Regards

          Mark Peaty
          mpeaty@...
          http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty

          4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
          and scientific method;...
          3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
          2 sublime mysteries: motion and repose;
          1 wee rule of thumb: If it can't be put into plain English,
          It prob'ly isn't true
        • John M
          Mark and Ken, there is a Hungarian proverb saying: Circles like cat the hot grits and it ... From: Mark Peaty To:
          Message 4 of 19 , May 5, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            Mark and Ken,
            there is a Hungarian proverb saying: "Circles like cat the hot grits" and it
            came to my mind reading your post:

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Mark Peaty" <mpeaty@...>
            To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Sunday, May 02, 2004 1:01 PM
            Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
            intelligence - Indexing

            Both of you write right and bright things, but not quite...
            [KB]:
            >It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans >produces
            phenomenality in either data or procedures.'<
            Does it PRODUCE it really? or it is an indicator (indexing?)
            So (1:0) goes for KB.
            > [MP]:
            > I think Ken is asking the wrong question.<(1:1)
            > I think the better query is:
            >"How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of >brain activity
            at any given moment ARE the experiences of >touching, tasting, hearing, and
            so forth?"
            ARE they really the *phenomenological* experience? or rather
            the coordinates of the movement of the tool active IN IT?
            Of course Mark is anchored into it:
            [MP]:
            >... For my money the explanation is already available:
            > Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's >model
            of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain >and is of the
            brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating >part of the database.
            I take this as a promise that Mark will identify in the EXISTING
            database of physical measurements the validity of a legal opinion and the
            goosebumps by the beauty of a sunset. And love.
            >
            [KB] goes further:
            > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to >permit the
            phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs >when we compare the colors
            of two objects, for example. I >believe the most parsimonious explanation is
            that all >phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining
            physical in >nature, are invisible to current brain scanning methods since
            >they use domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.
            I may add the ideational "data" (if you insist), which do NOT
            remain physical. I wouldn't invoke speed of scanning in a case
            where scanning has (so far) no substantial basis, or readability.
            >...
            Now comes after the hard problem the hard part: memory.
            >
            > [KB]
            > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal >memory to store
            qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories >of past emotional episodes,
            we simply use enlivening >procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
            neuronal data >into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration of
            the
            > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some >form of
            storage.
            Assumed: the 'qualia' are expressed as 'ordinary neuronal data' of course
            within the units physical examination uses presently. If yes, (what I would
            not 'assume' nor did we ascertain their spatiotemporal(?)- (IS?)
            character),
            > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the >physical
            neuron then we are left with essentially the same >problem - we have just
            moved it from data storage to >procedure storage, such as that in the
            cerebellum...
            A great idea, Ken, to store the 'process' how the memory-item 1./ got into
            our mind and 2./ got acknowledged - please note my omission of "brain" and
            "stored" in this phrase. Mark sure disagrees:
            >
            > [MP]
            > I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; >"enlivening
            procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I >understand it, the
            parsimonious theory is that long term >storage/memory is embodied in the
            changes to synaptic >transmission thresholds and in the layout of dendrites.
            So assumed, with assumed evidence (which I skip here)
            .....
            > Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain >some of
            the essential interaction patterns involved in an >experience after those
            patterns have ceased being part of the >model of self in the world. .....
            > I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking >the brain's
            neural networks to be analogue processes in which >the simultaneous
            activation of certain neurons [numbered in the >millions or billions] at any
            given moment constitutes the >representation of something or other, whilst
            the simultaneous >activation of a different grouping at another moment
            constitutes >the representation of something else.
            [JM] - Constitutes is a hard word. Since what Mark described is the only
            thing we can think of, we assume it 'originated' it.
            The description is likely to occur, just it is only observed "in
            conjunction" I even allow: "simultaneously" to the experience,
            nothing more in "causing it" "providing it" or "constructing an
            experience" - unless somebody can translate the 'physical' into the 'mental'
            PROCESS. An equal sign is not enough. The "groupings" are plausible,
            (meaning: I like it), in regrouping in
            potential-wise ways we may have orders of magnitudes higher speeds and
            variety than measureable in electrical changes. We acknowledge certain
            snapshot-points that stay long enough to be observed, but there may be a
            'fine-matrix' underneath in a different 'quale' with much more to tell us
            than what we so far understand. I would not restrict Nature's posibilities
            to the 2004 status of physical cognitive inventory. Think of the flat Earth.
            >
            >Such different groupings don't have to be completely >mutually exclusive
            memberships, in fact it is the membership, >by neurons, of different
            groupings which constitutes the >association which is the basis of so much
            of what the brain does. >The activation of particular groupings [neural
            networks] to the >exclusion of other potential groupings at a given moment
            is >what allows relevant features of experience to occur. Such >exclusive
            activation must involve the mutual stimulation of the >active neurons
            through many instances of feedback
            > within the network along with the timely inhibition of >connections which
            would otherwise blur or change the >particulars of the moment.
            >
            > More later.
            >
            > Cheers
            > Mark Peaty

            I did not copy most of the preceding text -
            I refer to the archive.
            Nor did I continue with the scores.

            Cheers
            John Mikes
            >
          • Ken Brown
            Thanks for your post of 2 May, Mark. I reply as follows:- [MP] the better query is: How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain activity
            Message 5 of 19 , May 11, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              Thanks for your post of 2 May, Mark. I reply as follows:-

              [MP]
              the better query is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances
              of brain
              activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
              hearing, and so forth?"

              [KHB]

              I'm saying that there isn't any activity visible to us using current methods
              which represents the above experiences. All we see as activity is sensory
              data and pointer/bridging/indexing activity aimed at the mental domain where
              experiences are actually felt. I don't know if that was clear in what I'd
              written.

              I also maintain that it is possible that some of superstring theory's extra
              space dimensions are inherently phenemonal. I see this represented by the
              fact that we feel sensations such as pain in particular locations. These
              qualia need a space component to be felt as such. Since qualia are agreed to
              form the essential of the Hard Problem, situating them in space is not
              trivial.

              [MP]
              So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.

              [KHB]

              In my opinion, updating any database on any Turing machine is an operation
              innocent of any suggestion of qualia/phenomenality.

              [MP]

              all current scanning methods available are too slow and lack the resolution,
              possibly by several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine
              structure of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed
              features of
              our experience.

              [KHB]

              In my view, using the current means of observation (fMRI, etc), even with
              vastly improved resolution and time discrimination, we will never see the
              features of our experiences which take place in another domain.

              [MP]
              the parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
              changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of dendrites.

              [KHB]

              I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
              doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
              identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of material
              neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
              but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any reason
              why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
              through currently invisible dimensions and activity.



              Best Regards

              Ken Brown







              -----Original Message-----
              From: Mark Peaty [mailto:mpeaty@...]
              Sent: 02 May 2004 18:01
              To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence
              - Indexing

              on 26/04/2004
              Ken Brown wrote:

              'At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
              phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
              is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces phenomenality
              in either data or procedures.'

              [MP]
              I think Ken is asking the wrong question. Our phenomenal experience, the
              *subjective* awareness of being here and doing things, is what it is
              like *to be* something or other.
              So saying: "It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans
              produces phenomenality..." misleads any reader. I think the better query
              is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain
              activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
              hearing, and so forth?"

              The fact is we only ever *infer* a similarity of our experiences to
              those of other people. It is a question of belief. A very well justified
              belief, in my opinion, but a belief none the less. Learning about some
              new development in superstring theory is never going to make this
              particular 'Hard Problem' any easier to think about.

              As to whether serial processing Turing machines will ever experience
              phenomenality - i.e. qualia, I tend to think the practicalities of
              adequately modelling a self in its world with sufficient detail and
              timeliness within a digital serial processing system would prevent the
              occurrence of any experience worth writing home about.

              The key point is to decide what you think will be an adequate
              explanation. For my money the explanation is already available:
              Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's model
              of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain and is of
              the brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.

              [Ken Brown]
              Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
              phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
              of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious explanation is
              that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in nature,
              are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
              domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.

              Perhaps an equally parsimonious explanation is that all current scanning
              methods available are too slow and lack the resolution, possibly by
              several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine structure
              of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed features of
              our experience.

              [KB]
              It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
              qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional episodes,
              we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
              neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration of the
              need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
              They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical neuron
              then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
              from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum

              [MP]
              I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; "enlivening
              procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I understand it, the
              parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
              changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
              dendrites. I seem to remember reading somewhere that evidence has been
              found for mechanisms which change gene expression rates within neurons
              and this provides the long term physiological underpinning of the larger
              scale changes in neurons.
              Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain some of
              the essential interaction patterns involved in an experience after those
              patterns have ceased being part of the model of self in the world. That
              this kind of unconscious sustaining activity occurs is demonstrated by
              what can happen last thing in the day as one finally lies down when one
              has been doing something for a long time during the day, which usually
              means one has had to concentrate. For example, after a day of weeding
              couch grass out of flower beds [something which involves fairly dogged
              persistence] I have lain down, shut my eyes, and become aware of
              successive images of couch grass flashing into view. Another example is
              after driving long distance, laying down with eyes shut and seeing
              successive images of seemingly characteristic roadway and verge side
              vegetation, etc., flashing through my mind's eye.

              I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking the
              brain's neural networks to be analogue processes in which the
              simultaneous activation of certain neurons [numbered in the millions or
              billions] at any given moment constitutes the representation of
              something or other, whilst the simultaneous activation of a different
              grouping at another moment constitutes the representation of something
              else. Such different groupings don't have to be completely mutually
              exclusive memberships, in fact it is the membership, by neurons, of
              different groupings which constitutes the association which is the basis
              of so much of what the brain does. The activation of particular
              groupings [neural networks] to the exclusion of other potential
              groupings at a given moment is what allows relevant features of
              experience to occur. Such exclusive activation must involve the mutual
              stimulation of the active neurons through many instances of feedback
              within the network along with the timely inhibition of connections which
              would otherwise blur or change the particulars of the moment.

              More later.

              Cheers
              Mark Peaty

              >
              >
              > I assume that John means that thought doesn't appear to take up any
              > physical
              > volume. If so, I agree. In this context I proffer below the "Neural Index"
              > suggestion.
              >
              >
              >
              > I am writing as an IT database person ruminating on the mind/brain
              > question.
              > Of course, one must be careful when comparing the brain to a computer, but
              > some interesting parallels can be drawn as they are both information
              > processing engines.
              >
              >
              >
              > The brain must possess some sort of structure appropriate for the
              > processing
              > of mental data. Very little processing can be done on a computer's raw
              > input
              > data because it isn't in a form whereby it can be related to other data in
              > the computer. This form is necessary, for example, to detect duplicate
              > items
              > or to find the price of the input article in the price file.
              >
              >
              >
              > The same reasoning applies to the mind. Before incoming sensorimotor data
              > can be properly processed, it must be integrated with existing related
              > data
              > in some sort of mental database, because the raw state of sensorimotor
              > data
              > is not of the form in which the mind works. Thus, as in the IT world, the
              > first thing to happen to the incoming data is its translation into an
              > appropriate mental form, even if only temporarily for use in working
              > memory.
              > Expressed in IT terms, the data must be uploaded into suitably structured
              > distributed mental databases in the brain ("distributed" is specified so
              > that they can function together in parallel). The structure of all
              > databases, mental or IT, must take into account not only data but also the
              > pointers (known in IT as indexes) necessary to link the various data
              > elements. These indexes use a lot of space and processing power in
              > computers
              > and must demand the same of the brain. The structure of a database is
              > realized through the structure of its indexes, which represent the
              > otherwise
              > latent inherent structure of the data. Data is fundamentally useless
              > without
              > some form of indexing. It follows that the appropriate indexes
              > necessary for
              > access to the data must be built before mental processing, such as
              > conscious
              > thinking, can begin. These brain indexes are presumably at least partially
              > realized using the nerves connecting the neurons. Observed Hebbian
              > activity,
              > which causes the thickening of existing dendrites and the creation of new
              > branches, parallels the behavior of indexes in relational databases. The
              > very name "dendrites" indicates their inherent tree structure, another
              > necessity for database index structures.
              >
              >
              >
              > At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
              > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
              > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces
              > phenomenality
              > in either data or procedures. Personally I'm surprised that IT people
              > aren't
              > the first to reject computationalism. Neural nets running on Turing
              > machines
              > contain nothing semantic or phenomenal. Unlike brain matter, they lack
              > modularity and at the atomic (i.e. binary code) level present no rich
              > enigmatic structure. Neural nets have not fulfilled the promises made
              > thirty
              > years ago, even in the area of artificial intelligence.
              >
              >
              >
              > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
              > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
              > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious
              > explanation is
              > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in
              > nature,
              > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
              > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics. They may perhaps emerge from
              > string theories. This proposition fits the approach adopted by
              > Penrose, who
              > believes that an "expanded physics" is necessary to explain consciousness.
              > This still leaves plenty for the visible brain to do:-
              >
              >
              >
              > - Indexing work, as mentioned above.
              >
              > - Interface work in passing data between the visible material and
              > the invisible mental domains.
              >
              > - Interfacing between the brain and the body.
              >
              > - Platform work, supporting and maintaining that part of the
              > brain's activity which is phenomenal.
              >
              >
              >
              > I see no evidence that the material brain necessarily does more than this.
              >
              >
              >
              > The "advanced physics" could emerge from forthcoming string theories,
              > which
              > posit supplementary dimensions of space. This could, for example, perhaps
              > help explain how we can locate touch qualia in space, such as a pain in a
              > finger.
              >
              >
              >
              > To sum up, one is confronted with an apparent contradiction in trying to
              > locate the phenomenal:-
              >
              > - The universe is described using the physical (i.e. current
              > physics).
              >
              > - Yet the physical is limited to that which is now described by
              > biochemistry, quantum physics, electromagnetism and relativity, none of
              > which manifest phenomenality.
              >
              > As Sherlock Holmes remarked, when faced with an improbability and an
              > impossibility, one chooses the former - which in this case implies (to
              > myself at any rate) that there exists a mental domain.
              >
              >
              >
              > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
              > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional
              > episodes,
              > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
              > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration
              > of the
              > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
              > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical
              > neuron
              > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
              > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum.
              >
              >
              >
              > The treatment above is many respects superficial. Should anyone be
              > interested in this approach I have investigated it in more depth
              > elsewhere.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Best Regards
              >
              > Ken Brown
              >
              >

              --
              Regards

              Mark Peaty
              mpeaty@...
              http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty

              4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
              and scientific method;...
              3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
              2 sublime mysteries: motion and repose;
              1 wee rule of thumb: If it can't be put into plain English,
              It prob'ly isn't true







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            • jcull@ozemail.com.au
              Hello All Just a quick reply to this email. The reflections below about activity are profound because in circular cyclical processes of activity that
              Message 6 of 19 , May 11, 2004
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                Hello All

                Just a quick reply to this email. The reflections below about 'activity' are profound because in circular cyclical processes of activity that generates 'experience' there is no end or starting point. Iow, we cannot point to a space and say that this experience started here or that a particular component started the experience as we are dealing with relations of activity among components and activity in pathways. Thus to be more precise it would be clearer to distinguish in terms of 'correlations of activity' that are not just taking place in the brain but in the body as a whole which includes the brain.

                With thanks...sincerely
                Jane Cull
                >
                > From: "Ken Brown" <kbrown@...>
                > Date: 12/05/2004 7:28:39
                > To: <MindBrain@yahoogroups.com>
                > Subject: RE: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence - Indexing
                >
                > Thanks for your post of 2 May, Mark. I reply as follows:-
                >
                > [MP]
                > the better query is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances
                > of brain
                > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                > hearing, and so forth?"
                >
                > [KHB]
                >
                > I'm saying that there isn't any activity visible to us using current methods
                > which represents the above experiences. All we see as activity is sensory
                > data and pointer/bridging/indexing activity aimed at the mental domain where
                > experiences are actually felt. I don't know if that was clear in what I'd
                > written.
                >
                > I also maintain that it is possible that some of superstring theory's extra
                > space dimensions are inherently phenemonal. I see this represented by the
                > fact that we feel sensations such as pain in particular locations. These
                > qualia need a space component to be felt as such. Since qualia are agreed to
                > form the essential of the Hard Problem, situating them in space is not
                > trivial.
                >
                > [MP]
                > So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                >
                > [KHB]
                >
                > In my opinion, updating any database on any Turing machine is an operation
                > innocent of any suggestion of qualia/phenomenality.
                >
                > [MP]
                >
                > all current scanning methods available are too slow and lack the resolution,
                > possibly by several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine
                > structure of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed
                > features of
                > our experience.
                >
                > [KHB]
                >
                > In my view, using the current means of observation (fMRI, etc), even with
                > vastly improved resolution and time discrimination, we will never see the
                > features of our experiences which take place in another domain.
                >
                > [MP]
                > the parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
                > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of dendrites.
                >
                > [KHB]
                >
                > I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
                > doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
                > identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of material
                > neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
                > but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any reason
                > why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
                > through currently invisible dimensions and activity.
                >
                >
                >
                > Best Regards
                >
                > Ken Brown
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Mark Peaty [mailto:mpeaty@...]
                > Sent: 02 May 2004 18:01
                > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence
                > - Indexing
                >
                > on 26/04/2004
                > Ken Brown wrote:
                >
                > 'At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
                > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
                > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces phenomenality
                > in either data or procedures.'
                >
                > [MP]
                > I think Ken is asking the wrong question. Our phenomenal experience, the
                > *subjective* awareness of being here and doing things, is what it is
                > like *to be* something or other.
                > So saying: "It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans
                > produces phenomenality..." misleads any reader. I think the better query
                > is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain
                > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                > hearing, and so forth?"
                >
                > The fact is we only ever *infer* a similarity of our experiences to
                > those of other people. It is a question of belief. A very well justified
                > belief, in my opinion, but a belief none the less. Learning about some
                > new development in superstring theory is never going to make this
                > particular 'Hard Problem' any easier to think about.
                >
                > As to whether serial processing Turing machines will ever experience
                > phenomenality - i.e. qualia, I tend to think the practicalities of
                > adequately modelling a self in its world with sufficient detail and
                > timeliness within a digital serial processing system would prevent the
                > occurrence of any experience worth writing home about.
                >
                > The key point is to decide what you think will be an adequate
                > explanation. For my money the explanation is already available:
                > Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's model
                > of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain and is of
                > the brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                >
                > [Ken Brown]
                > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
                > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
                > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious explanation is
                > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in nature,
                > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
                > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.
                >
                > Perhaps an equally parsimonious explanation is that all current scanning
                > methods available are too slow and lack the resolution, possibly by
                > several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine structure
                > of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed features of
                > our experience.
                >
                > [KB]
                > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
                > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional episodes,
                > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
                > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration of the
                > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
                > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical neuron
                > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
                > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum
                >
                > [MP]
                > I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; "enlivening
                > procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I understand it, the
                > parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
                > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
                > dendrites. I seem to remember reading somewhere that evidence has been
                > found for mechanisms which change gene expression rates within neurons
                > and this provides the long term physiological underpinning of the larger
                > scale changes in neurons.
                > Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain some of
                > the essential interaction patterns involved in an experience after those
                > patterns have ceased being part of the model of self in the world. That
                > this kind of unconscious sustaining activity occurs is demonstrated by
                > what can happen last thing in the day as one finally lies down when one
                > has been doing something for a long time during the day, which usually
                > means one has had to concentrate. For example, after a day of weeding
                > couch grass out of flower beds [something which involves fairly dogged
                > persistence] I have lain down, shut my eyes, and become aware of
                > successive images of couch grass flashing into view. Another example is
                > after driving long distance, laying down with eyes shut and seeing
                > successive images of seemingly characteristic roadway and verge side
                > vegetation, etc., flashing through my mind's eye.
                >
                > I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking the
                > brain's neural networks to be analogue processes in which the
                > simultaneous activation of certain neurons [numbered in the millions or
                > billions] at any given moment constitutes the representation of
                > something or other, whilst the simultaneous activation of a different
                > grouping at another moment constitutes the representation of something
                > else. Such different groupings don't have to be completely mutually
                > exclusive memberships, in fact it is the membership, by neurons, of
                > different groupings which constitutes the association which is the basis
                > of so much of what the brain does. The activation of particular
                > groupings [neural networks] to the exclusion of other potential
                > groupings at a given moment is what allows relevant features of
                > experience to occur. Such exclusive activation must involve the mutual
                > stimulation of the active neurons through many instances of feedback
                > within the network along with the timely inhibition of connections which
                > would otherwise blur or change the particulars of the moment.
                >
                > More later.
                >
                > Cheers
                > Mark Peaty
                >
                > >
                > >
                > > I assume that John means that thought doesn't appear to take up any
                > > physical
                > > volume. If so, I agree. In this context I proffer below the "Neural Index"
                > > suggestion.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > I am writing as an IT database person ruminating on the mind/brain
                > > question.
                > > Of course, one must be careful when comparing the brain to a computer, but
                > > some interesting parallels can be drawn as they are both information
                > > processing engines.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > The brain must possess some sort of structure appropriate for the
                > > processing
                > > of mental data. Very little processing can be done on a computer's raw
                > > input
                > > data because it isn't in a form whereby it can be related to other data in
                > > the computer. This form is necessary, for example, to detect duplicate
                > > items
                > > or to find the price of the input article in the price file.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > The same reasoning applies to the mind. Before incoming sensorimotor data
                > > can be properly processed, it must be integrated with existing related
                > > data
                > > in some sort of mental database, because the raw state of sensorimotor
                > > data
                > > is not of the form in which the mind works. Thus, as in the IT world, the
                > > first thing to happen to the incoming data is its translation into an
                > > appropriate mental form, even if only temporarily for use in working
                > > memory.
                > > Expressed in IT terms, the data must be uploaded into suitably structured
                > > distributed mental databases in the brain ("distributed" is specified so
                > > that they can function together in parallel). The structure of all
                > > databases, mental or IT, must take into account not only data but also the
                > > pointers (known in IT as indexes) necessary to link the various data
                > > elements. These indexes use a lot of space and processing power in
                > > computers
                > > and must demand the same of the brain. The structure of a database is
                > > realized through the structure of its indexes, which represent the
                > > otherwise
                > > latent inherent structure of the data. Data is fundamentally useless
                > > without
                > > some form of indexing. It follows that the appropriate indexes
                > > necessary for
                > > access to the data must be built before mental processing, such as
                > > conscious
                > > thinking, can begin. These brain indexes are presumably at least partially
                > > realized using the nerves connecting the neurons. Observed Hebbian
                > > activity,
                > > which causes the thickening of existing dendrites and the creation of new
                > > branches, parallels the behavior of indexes in relational databases. The
                > > very name "dendrites" indicates their inherent tree structure, another
                > > necessity for database index structures.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
                > > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
                > > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces
                > > phenomenality
                > > in either data or procedures. Personally I'm surprised that IT people
                > > aren't
                > > the first to reject computationalism. Neural nets running on Turing
                > > machines
                > > contain nothing semantic or phenomenal. Unlike brain matter, they lack
                > > modularity and at the atomic (i.e. binary code) level present no rich
                > > enigmatic structure. Neural nets have not fulfilled the promises made
                > > thirty
                > > years ago, even in the area of artificial intelligence.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
                > > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
                > > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious
                > > explanation is
                > > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in
                > > nature,
                > > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
                > > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics. They may perhaps emerge from
                > > string theories. This proposition fits the approach adopted by
                > > Penrose, who
                > > believes that an "expanded physics" is necessary to explain consciousness.
                > > This still leaves plenty for the visible brain to do:-
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > - Indexing work, as mentioned above.
                > >
                > > - Interface work in passing data between the visible material and
                > > the invisible mental domains.
                > >
                > > - Interfacing between the brain and the body.
                > >
                > > - Platform work, supporting and maintaining that part of the
                > > brain's activity which is phenomenal.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > I see no evidence that the material brain necessarily does more than this.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > The "advanced physics" could emerge from forthcoming string theories,
                > > which
                > > posit supplementary dimensions of space. This could, for example, perhaps
                > > help explain how we can locate touch qualia in space, such as a pain in a
                > > finger.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > To sum up, one is confronted with an apparent contradiction in trying to
                > > locate the phenomenal:-
                > >
                > > - The universe is described using the physical (i.e. current
                > > physics).
                > >
                > > - Yet the physical is limited to that which is now described by
                > > biochemistry, quantum physics, electromagnetism and relativity, none of
                > > which manifest phenomenality.
                > >
                > > As Sherlock Holmes remarked, when faced with an improbability and an
                > > impossibility, one chooses the former - which in this case implies (to
                > > myself at any rate) that there exists a mental domain.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
                > > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional
                > > episodes,
                > > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
                > > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration
                > > of the
                > > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
                > > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical
                > > neuron
                > > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
                > > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > The treatment above is many respects superficial. Should anyone be
                > > interested in this approach I have investigated it in more depth
                > > elsewhere.
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Best Regards
                > >
                > > Ken Brown
                > >
                > >
                >
                > --
                > Regards
                >
                > Mark Peaty
                > mpeaty@...
                > http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty
                >
                > 4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
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                > 3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
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              • Mark Peaty
                I think Ken and I have reached our agree to differ point :-) 12 May - Ken Brown wrote: [KHB] I guess I m saying that this type of neural correlate of
                Message 7 of 19 , May 12, 2004
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                  I think Ken and I have reached our 'agree to differ point' :-)

                  12 May - Ken Brown wrote:

                  [KHB]

                  I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
                  doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
                  identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of material
                  neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
                  but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any reason
                  why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
                  through currently invisible dimensions and activity.

                  MP:
                  I think this is the nub of the matter. Ultimately the question of qualia
                  comes down to the experience of *being* something or other. I.e., an
                  identity: 'I am'. And the something or other has to *be somewhere* or
                  other. Neuronal coalitions don't 'contain' phenomenality but they do
                  embody it [well that's obviously my story which I stick to]. The reason
                  I choose to accept the *activity* of neuronal coalitions as the
                  embodiment of dynamic logical structures which constitute mental
                  contents - including motor sequences - is because I think Gerald Edelman
                  and others have provided sufficient theoretical explanation. That is to
                  say: they tell how neuronal coalitions [aka: cell assemblies,
                  repertoires, singularities, ... ] can exhibit the various kinds of
                  activity needed e.g. association, exclusion, clumping/subsumption,
                  learning, denotation/intentionality, and causal efficacy to make muscles
                  move. There is also plenty of reasonable explanation of how the system
                  has evolved.

                  Furthermore there are plenty or reasons to believe that our clear and
                  focussed consciousness at any given moment is a process very restricted
                  in scope yet we tend to believe otherwise because the focus flits
                  quickly from feature to feature of our world. This means that whilst our
                  universe of potential discourse and potential perception may be
                  *potentially* infinite, what actually occurs in or as our clear
                  conscious experience is nowhere near as much as we normally believe to
                  be the case. My point in saying this is that the information bearing
                  potential of the synapses, dendrite structures and so forth is certainly
                  not *necessarily* insufficient to embody the representations of world
                  and self features which actually figure in conscious experience. We just
                  do not remember everything, and most of what we think and do, what we
                  see even, is habitual. That is we do what we already know how to, we see
                  what we already believe, and we think mostly old thoughts. Consciousness
                  is really only the description of novelty.

                  The best parsimonious explanation of consciousness, in the sense of its
                  logical structure, is for it to be the connection of representations of
                  world features to the current representations of self. In general terms
                  it is this process which it is something like to be. Is there something
                  it is like to be a representation of something other than my self? Who
                  knows? I infer it is like something to be a model of your brain's model
                  of self.

                  The reason I reject quantum stuff as being especially important other
                  than as the general background of existence at the smallest size, is
                  because thermal agitation at 37°C is what keeps everything going. It
                  seems to me highly unlikely that any structures within cells are immune
                  to this so why assume that the brain has evolved to be dependent on
                  processes that require super cold temperatures to become visible? The
                  atomic and molecular scale events involved in ion channel activity, the
                  activity of synapses, and the activity of all the intra cellular
                  messenger molecules involved in maintaining or adjusting the shapes of
                  dendrites and the critical features of synapses and so forth, all depend
                  on thermal agitation as the basic moving force as they drift and jostle
                  down their chemical inclines. As for 'currently invisible dimensions and
                  activity', I think there is a vast amount of spatial and temporal fine
                  structure yet to be disclosed within the physical entities we already
                  know about. But that is once again an assertion about information
                  content and capacity. Only time and empirical investigation will give us
                  the answers to this.

                  Cheers,
                  Mark Peaty

                  > Thanks for your post of 2 May, Mark. I reply as follows:-
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  > the better query is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH
                  > instances
                  > of brain
                  > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                  > hearing, and so forth?"
                  >
                  > [KHB]
                  >
                  > I'm saying that there isn't any activity visible to us using current
                  > methods
                  > which represents the above experiences. All we see as activity is sensory
                  > data and pointer/bridging/indexing activity aimed at the mental domain
                  > where
                  > experiences are actually felt. I don't know if that was clear in what I'd
                  > written.
                  >
                  > I also maintain that it is possible that some of superstring theory's
                  > extra
                  > space dimensions are inherently phenomenal. I see this represented by the
                  > fact that we feel sensations such as pain in particular locations. These
                  > qualia need a space component to be felt as such. Since qualia are
                  > agreed to
                  > form the essential of the Hard Problem, situating them in space is not
                  > trivial.
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  > So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                  >
                  > [KHB]
                  >
                  > In my opinion, updating any database on any Turing machine is an operation
                  > innocent of any suggestion of qualia/phenomenality.
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  >
                  > all current scanning methods available are too slow and lack the
                  > resolution,
                  > possibly by several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine
                  > structure of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed
                  > features of
                  > our experience.
                  >
                  > [KHB]
                  >
                  > In my view, using the current means of observation (fMRI, etc), even with
                  > vastly improved resolution and time discrimination, we will never see the
                  > features of our experiences which take place in another domain.
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  > the parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied
                  > in the
                  > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
                  > dendrites.
                  >
                  > [KHB]
                  >
                  > I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
                  > doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
                  > identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of
                  > material
                  > neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
                  > but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any
                  > reason
                  > why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
                  > through currently invisible dimensions and activity.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Best Regards
                  >
                  > Ken Brown
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Mark Peaty [mailto:mpeaty@...]
                  > Sent: 02 May 2004 18:01
                  > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
                  > intelligence
                  > - Indexing
                  >
                  > on 26/04/2004
                  > Ken Brown wrote:
                  >
                  > 'At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
                  > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
                  > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces
                  > phenomenality
                  > in either data or procedures.'
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  > I think Ken is asking the wrong question. Our phenomenal experience, the
                  > *subjective* awareness of being here and doing things, is what it is
                  > like *to be* something or other.
                  > So saying: "It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans
                  > produces phenomenality..." misleads any reader. I think the better query
                  > is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain
                  > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                  > hearing, and so forth?"
                  >
                  > The fact is we only ever *infer* a similarity of our experiences to
                  > those of other people. It is a question of belief. A very well justified
                  > belief, in my opinion, but a belief none the less. Learning about some
                  > new development in superstring theory is never going to make this
                  > particular 'Hard Problem' any easier to think about.
                  >
                  > As to whether serial processing Turing machines will ever experience
                  > phenomenality - i.e. qualia, I tend to think the practicalities of
                  > adequately modelling a self in its world with sufficient detail and
                  > timeliness within a digital serial processing system would prevent the
                  > occurrence of any experience worth writing home about.
                  >
                  > The key point is to decide what you think will be an adequate
                  > explanation. For my money the explanation is already available:
                  > Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's model
                  > of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain and is of
                  > the brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                  >
                  > [Ken Brown]
                  > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
                  > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
                  > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious
                  > explanation is
                  > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in
                  > nature,
                  > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
                  > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.
                  >
                  > Perhaps an equally parsimonious explanation is that all current scanning
                  > methods available are too slow and lack the resolution, possibly by
                  > several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine structure
                  > of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed features of
                  > our experience.
                  >
                  > [KB]
                  > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
                  > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional
                  > episodes,
                  > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
                  > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration
                  > of the
                  > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
                  > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical
                  > neuron
                  > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
                  > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum
                  >
                  > [MP]
                  > I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; "enlivening
                  > procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I understand it, the
                  > parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
                  > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
                  > dendrites. I seem to remember reading somewhere that evidence has been
                  > found for mechanisms which change gene expression rates within neurons
                  > and this provides the long term physiological underpinning of the larger
                  > scale changes in neurons.
                  > Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain some of
                  > the essential interaction patterns involved in an experience after those
                  > patterns have ceased being part of the model of self in the world. That
                  > this kind of unconscious sustaining activity occurs is demonstrated by
                  > what can happen last thing in the day as one finally lies down when one
                  > has been doing something for a long time during the day, which usually
                  > means one has had to concentrate. For example, after a day of weeding
                  > couch grass out of flower beds [something which involves fairly dogged
                  > persistence] I have lain down, shut my eyes, and become aware of
                  > successive images of couch grass flashing into view. Another example is
                  > after driving long distance, laying down with eyes shut and seeing
                  > successive images of seemingly characteristic roadway and verge side
                  > vegetation, etc., flashing through my mind's eye.
                  >
                  > I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking the
                  > brain's neural networks to be analogue processes in which the
                  > simultaneous activation of certain neurons [numbered in the millions or
                  > billions] at any given moment constitutes the representation of
                  > something or other, whilst the simultaneous activation of a different
                  > grouping at another moment constitutes the representation of something
                  > else. Such different groupings don't have to be completely mutually
                  > exclusive memberships, in fact it is the membership, by neurons, of
                  > different groupings which constitutes the association which is the basis
                  > of so much of what the brain does. The activation of particular
                  > groupings [neural networks] to the exclusion of other potential
                  > groupings at a given moment is what allows relevant features of
                  > experience to occur. Such exclusive activation must involve the mutual
                  > stimulation of the active neurons through many instances of feedback
                  > within the network along with the timely inhibition of connections which
                  > would otherwise blur or change the particulars of the moment.
                  >
                  > More later.
                  >
                  > Cheers
                  > Mark Peaty

                  <<snipped>>

                  --
                  Regards

                  Mark Peaty
                  mpeaty@...
                  http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty

                  4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
                  and scientific method;...
                  3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
                  2 sublime mysteries: motion and repose;
                  1 wee rule of thumb: If it can't be put into plain English,
                  It prob'ly isn't true



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ken Brown
                  Hi Mark, Your post argues your point of view cogently. Nevertheless, I’ll stick with mine. Referring to your last post:- [MP] There is also plenty of
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 21, 2004
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Mark,

                    Your post argues your point of view cogently. Nevertheless, I’ll stick with
                    mine. Referring to your last post:-



                    [MP]

                    There is also plenty of reasonable explanation of how the system
                    has evolved…….

                    ……exhibit the various kinds of activity needed e.g. association, exclusion,
                    clumping/subsumption, learning, denotation/intentionality, and causal
                    efficacy to make muscles move………

                    [KHB]Regards

                    In my opinion you seem to be saying that because this could all conceivably
                    be done by a biological computer it MUST be done by a biological computer.
                    This is not true, as is demonstrated by Searle’s Chinese Room argument,
                    among others. There is nothing qualian/phenomenal about the processes going
                    on in a biological computer. What you are doing is producing a biological
                    robot which does the same thing as us but without phenomenality/qualia –
                    which ain’t us.



                    [MP]

                    ………Neuronal coalitions don't 'contain' phenomenality but they do
                    embody it……

                    [KHB]

                    Do this mean that any type of biological activity and/or electro-magnetic
                    activity embodies consciousness? If not, what distinguishes an electic motor
                    from a brain? Or me waving a magnet? What is the encoding algorithm for
                    phenomenally hearing a middle “C”? As no-one can even demonstrably begin to
                    break the phenomenality code, it is reasonable to say that the encoding may
                    not take place in the visible material domain (there are plenty of
                    propositions on what the code may be, but no-one has produced anything
                    generally accepted).



                    [MP]

                    The reason I reject quantum stuff as being especially important other
                    than as the general background of existence at the smallest size, is
                    because thermal agitation at 37°C is what keeps everything going. It
                    seems to me highly unlikely that any structures within cells are immune
                    to this so why assume that the brain has evolved to be dependent on
                    processes that require super cold temperatures to become visible?

                    [KHB]

                    The quantum stuff is entirely visible at large sizes. Astromoners need
                    Quantum Theory (QT) to explain what’s going on in the universe. Your PC
                    needed the application of QT to produce the basic chip design. Biochemical
                    reactions can only be explained through QT. It may be said that all
                    chemistry is applied physics. What I’m saying is in line with what Roger
                    Penrose says (he mentions that QT may not be sufficient to explain
                    consciousness). Edelman is a biochemist (I believe). Penrose deals with the
                    rich enigma of the fundamental realities of our universe as expressed in
                    physics, which drives biochemistry.



                    [MP]

                    As for 'currently invisible dimensions and activity', I think there is a
                    vast amount of spatial and temporal fine structure yet to be disclosed
                    within the physical entities we already know about.

                    [KHB] I’m sure you’re right in saying there is much more to be found at the
                    finest structure level (lower than the Planck length), but the current
                    mainstream string theories posit about seven more dimensions. There is
                    nothing phenomenal about the current four. It would be surprising if the new
                    dimensions had no perceptible importance to us. I therefore suggest that
                    perhaps some of them contain phenomenality. The Hard Problem already exists
                    as something weird going on between one’s ears. It gets even harder when one
                    reflects on the mechanisms needed in detecting the postioning in space of a
                    quale, such as a pain in the knee, so the extra space dimensions may be
                    useful. All I’m saying, and it may well be wrong, is that the new dimensions
                    open the possibility of partly explaining qualia.



                    Cheers,

                    Ken





                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Mark Peaty [mailto:mpeaty@...]
                    Sent: 12 May 2004 17:56
                    To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits intelligence
                    - Indexing



                    I think Ken and I have reached our 'agree to differ point' :-)

                    12 May - Ken Brown wrote:

                    [KHB]

                    I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
                    doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
                    identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of material
                    neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
                    but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any reason
                    why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
                    through currently invisible dimensions and activity.

                    MP:
                    I think this is the nub of the matter. Ultimately the question of qualia
                    comes down to the experience of *being* something or other. I.e., an
                    identity: 'I am'. And the something or other has to *be somewhere* or
                    other. Neuronal coalitions don't 'contain' phenomenality but they do
                    embody it [well that's obviously my story which I stick to]. The reason
                    I choose to accept the *activity* of neuronal coalitions as the
                    embodiment of dynamic logical structures which constitute mental
                    contents - including motor sequences - is because I think Gerald Edelman
                    and others have provided sufficient theoretical explanation. That is to
                    say: they tell how neuronal coalitions [aka: cell assemblies,
                    repertoires, singularities, ... ] can exhibit the various kinds of
                    activity needed e.g. association, exclusion, clumping/subsumption,
                    learning, denotation/intentionality, and causal efficacy to make muscles
                    move. There is also plenty of reasonable explanation of how the system
                    has evolved.

                    Furthermore there are plenty or reasons to believe that our clear and
                    focussed consciousness at any given moment is a process very restricted
                    in scope yet we tend to believe otherwise because the focus flits
                    quickly from feature to feature of our world. This means that whilst our
                    universe of potential discourse and potential perception may be
                    *potentially* infinite, what actually occurs in or as our clear
                    conscious experience is nowhere near as much as we normally believe to
                    be the case. My point in saying this is that the information bearing
                    potential of the synapses, dendrite structures and so forth is certainly
                    not *necessarily* insufficient to embody the representations of world
                    and self features which actually figure in conscious experience. We just
                    do not remember everything, and most of what we think and do, what we
                    see even, is habitual. That is we do what we already know how to, we see
                    what we already believe, and we think mostly old thoughts. Consciousness
                    is really only the description of novelty.

                    The best parsimonious explanation of consciousness, in the sense of its
                    logical structure, is for it to be the connection of representations of
                    world features to the current representations of self. In general terms
                    it is this process which it is something like to be. Is there something
                    it is like to be a representation of something other than my self? Who
                    knows? I infer it is like something to be a model of your brain's model
                    of self.

                    The reason I reject quantum stuff as being especially important other
                    than as the general background of existence at the smallest size, is
                    because thermal agitation at 37°C is what keeps everything going. It
                    seems to me highly unlikely that any structures within cells are immune
                    to this so why assume that the brain has evolved to be dependent on
                    processes that require super cold temperatures to become visible? The
                    atomic and molecular scale events involved in ion channel activity, the
                    activity of synapses, and the activity of all the intra cellular
                    messenger molecules involved in maintaining or adjusting the shapes of
                    dendrites and the critical features of synapses and so forth, all depend
                    on thermal agitation as the basic moving force as they drift and jostle
                    down their chemical inclines. As for 'currently invisible dimensions and
                    activity', I think there is a vast amount of spatial and temporal fine
                    structure yet to be disclosed within the physical entities we already
                    know about. But that is once again an assertion about information
                    content and capacity. Only time and empirical investigation will give us
                    the answers to this.

                    Cheers,
                    Mark Peaty

                    > Thanks for your post of 2 May, Mark. I reply as follows:-
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    > the better query is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH
                    > instances
                    > of brain
                    > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                    > hearing, and so forth?"
                    >
                    > [KHB]
                    >
                    > I'm saying that there isn't any activity visible to us using current
                    > methods
                    > which represents the above experiences. All we see as activity is sensory
                    > data and pointer/bridging/indexing activity aimed at the mental domain
                    > where
                    > experiences are actually felt. I don't know if that was clear in what I'd
                    > written.
                    >
                    > I also maintain that it is possible that some of superstring theory's
                    > extra
                    > space dimensions are inherently phenomenal. I see this represented by the
                    > fact that we feel sensations such as pain in particular locations. These
                    > qualia need a space component to be felt as such. Since qualia are
                    > agreed to
                    > form the essential of the Hard Problem, situating them in space is not
                    > trivial.
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    > So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                    >
                    > [KHB]
                    >
                    > In my opinion, updating any database on any Turing machine is an operation
                    > innocent of any suggestion of qualia/phenomenality.
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    >
                    > all current scanning methods available are too slow and lack the
                    > resolution,
                    > possibly by several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine
                    > structure of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed
                    > features of
                    > our experience.
                    >
                    > [KHB]
                    >
                    > In my view, using the current means of observation (fMRI, etc), even with
                    > vastly improved resolution and time discrimination, we will never see the
                    > features of our experiences which take place in another domain.
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    > the parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied
                    > in the
                    > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
                    > dendrites.
                    >
                    > [KHB]
                    >
                    > I guess I'm saying that this type of neural correlate of consciousness
                    > doesn't exist in my opinion. In what follows, you are giving a nomical,
                    > identity view of consciousness, saying that the physical mapping of
                    > material
                    > neurons directly yields qualia, QED. I don't subscribe to this personally,
                    > but I could be wrong of course. My objection is that I don't see any
                    > reason
                    > why neuronal coalitions should contain phenomenality unless they embody it
                    > through currently invisible dimensions and activity.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Best Regards
                    >
                    > Ken Brown
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: Mark Peaty [mailto:mpeaty@...]
                    > Sent: 02 May 2004 18:01
                    > To: MindBrain@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [Mind and Brain] Article: Memory bottleneck limits
                    > intelligence
                    > - Indexing
                    >
                    > on 26/04/2004
                    > Ken Brown wrote:
                    >
                    > 'At this point, however, we come up against the Hard Problem - how are
                    > phenomenal data and indexes represented in physical terms in the brain? It
                    > is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans produces
                    > phenomenality
                    > in either data or procedures.'
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    > I think Ken is asking the wrong question. Our phenomenal experience, the
                    > *subjective* awareness of being here and doing things, is what it is
                    > like *to be* something or other.
                    > So saying: "It is not evident how the activity we see in brain scans
                    > produces phenomenality..." misleads any reader. I think the better query
                    > is: "How the hell are we going to pin down WHICH instances of brain
                    > activity at any given moment ARE the experiences of touching, tasting,
                    > hearing, and so forth?"
                    >
                    > The fact is we only ever *infer* a similarity of our experiences to
                    > those of other people. It is a question of belief. A very well justified
                    > belief, in my opinion, but a belief none the less. Learning about some
                    > new development in superstring theory is never going to make this
                    > particular 'Hard Problem' any easier to think about.
                    >
                    > As to whether serial processing Turing machines will ever experience
                    > phenomenality - i.e. qualia, I tend to think the practicalities of
                    > adequately modelling a self in its world with sufficient detail and
                    > timeliness within a digital serial processing system would prevent the
                    > occurrence of any experience worth writing home about.
                    >
                    > The key point is to decide what you think will be an adequate
                    > explanation. For my money the explanation is already available:
                    > Consciousness is what it is like to be the updating of the brain's model
                    > of self in the world. This all takes place within the brain and is of
                    > the brain. So any quale *is* the process of updating part of the database.
                    >
                    > [Ken Brown]
                    > Obviously indexes relating phenomenal data must exist to permit the
                    > phenomenal processing of the data, which occurs when we compare the colors
                    > of two objects, for example. I believe the most parsimonious
                    > explanation is
                    > that all phenomenal data and procedures, while remaining physical in
                    > nature,
                    > are invisible to current brain scanning methods since they use
                    > domains/dimensions as yet unclear in physics.
                    >
                    > Perhaps an equally parsimonious explanation is that all current scanning
                    > methods available are too slow and lack the resolution, possibly by
                    > several orders of magnitude', to allow observation of the fine structure
                    > of changes in interaction patterns which embody the detailed features of
                    > our experience.
                    >
                    > [KB]
                    > It is sometimes advanced that we don't need a phenomenal memory to store
                    > qualia. It is suggested that to recall memories of past emotional
                    > episodes,
                    > we simply use enlivening procedures to transform ordinary stored physical
                    > neuronal data into conscious qualian states. This omits consideration
                    > of the
                    > need to hold the enlivening procedures themselves in some form of storage.
                    > They must be present somewhere and if that somewhere is the physical
                    > neuron
                    > then we are left with essentially the same problem - we have just moved it
                    > from data storage to procedure storage, such as that in the cerebellum
                    >
                    > [MP]
                    > I think this is an instance of the wrong question again; "enlivening
                    > procedures" sounds a bit like vitalism to me. As I understand it, the
                    > parsimonious theory is that long term storage/memory is embodied in the
                    > changes to synaptic transmission thresholds and in the layout of
                    > dendrites. I seem to remember reading somewhere that evidence has been
                    > found for mechanisms which change gene expression rates within neurons
                    > and this provides the long term physiological underpinning of the larger
                    > scale changes in neurons.
                    > Short term memory is effected by the brain's ability to sustain some of
                    > the essential interaction patterns involved in an experience after those
                    > patterns have ceased being part of the model of self in the world. That
                    > this kind of unconscious sustaining activity occurs is demonstrated by
                    > what can happen last thing in the day as one finally lies down when one
                    > has been doing something for a long time during the day, which usually
                    > means one has had to concentrate. For example, after a day of weeding
                    > couch grass out of flower beds [something which involves fairly dogged
                    > persistence] I have lain down, shut my eyes, and become aware of
                    > successive images of couch grass flashing into view. Another example is
                    > after driving long distance, laying down with eyes shut and seeing
                    > successive images of seemingly characteristic roadway and verge side
                    > vegetation, etc., flashing through my mind's eye.
                    >
                    > I think Ken's concern with indexing can be answered by taking the
                    > brain's neural networks to be analogue processes in which the
                    > simultaneous activation of certain neurons [numbered in the millions or
                    > billions] at any given moment constitutes the representation of
                    > something or other, whilst the simultaneous activation of a different
                    > grouping at another moment constitutes the representation of something
                    > else. Such different groupings don't have to be completely mutually
                    > exclusive memberships, in fact it is the membership, by neurons, of
                    > different groupings which constitutes the association which is the basis
                    > of so much of what the brain does. The activation of particular
                    > groupings [neural networks] to the exclusion of other potential
                    > groupings at a given moment is what allows relevant features of
                    > experience to occur. Such exclusive activation must involve the mutual
                    > stimulation of the active neurons through many instances of feedback
                    > within the network along with the timely inhibition of connections which
                    > would otherwise blur or change the particulars of the moment.
                    >
                    > More later.
                    >
                    > Cheers
                    > Mark Peaty

                    <<snipped>>

                    --
                    Regards

                    Mark Peaty
                    mpeaty@...
                    http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty

                    4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
                    and scientific method;...
                    3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
                    2 sublime mysteries: motion and repose;
                    1 wee rule of thumb: If it can't be put into plain English,
                    It prob'ly isn't true



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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                  • Mark Peaty
                    Ken, loath as I am to argue too long, there are a few key points worth clarifying. 1 when I say fine structure I am not, definitely NOT, talking about
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 23, 2004
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Ken,
                      loath as I am to argue too long, there are a few key points worth
                      clarifying.

                      1 when I say 'fine structure' I am not, definitely NOT, talking about
                      quantum level stuff, never mind 'Plank length' or smaller. I am talking
                      about the details of neural connectivity, for example *which* dendrite
                      connects *exactly where* by means of *what kind of* synapse and exactly
                      *what current level* of transmission threshold. This level of structural
                      integration and interaction cannot be observed except for, say, some
                      very limited sampling at a given moment with electrodes detecting the
                      states of perhaps a dozen or so neurons out of an actual population
                      numbering many billions!
                      Fine structure at this level may also include electromagnetic effects
                      such as capacitance and oscillations of small local em fields which,
                      possibly, might manifest as harmonic resonance capable of modulating the
                      patterns of the membrane depolarisations which built the em fields in
                      the first place. [The last bit is pure speculation of course.]

                      2 [KB] '....seem to be saying that because this could all conceivably
                      be done by a biological computer it MUST be done by a biological
                      computer...'
                      [MP] no, what I am saying is that this is clearly all deeply and
                      inextricably linked to the operation of a biological computer - the
                      human brain - because all that we know of what people think and do comes
                      as the result of muscle movement [with maybe some pheromonal exceptions
                      :-]. I.e. people talk and people do, and we infer their inner lives from
                      the movements of their muscles and the consequences of these movements.
                      Occam's razor guides me to accept the simplest hypothesis which is that
                      the brain is where all the key stuff is happening and this key stuff IS
                      the changing states of the brain.

                      3 [KB] 'There is nothing qualian/phenomenal about the processes going
                      on in a biological computer.'
                      [MP] This is simply an assertion of belief not a demonstration of
                      anything. I believe the opposite to be the case. I think one should be
                      careful, though, about how one uses the term computer in this context.
                      Biological brains, and the ganglia with which insects and so forth make
                      do, are massively parallel analogue systems not digital serial
                      processors. Certainly the transmission of waves of depolarisation along
                      dendrites, axons and terminal filaments looks a bit like serial
                      processing but thoughts, sensing, movement programs, etc., at any given
                      moment are the evolution of dynamic logical structures composed of
                      umpteen billions of neuron firings. They have more in common with
                      weather patterns or patterns of traffic movement in a big city than with
                      IBM compatible programs or whatever.

                      4 [KB] 'The Hard Problem already exists
                      as something weird going on between one's ears.'
                      [MP as an aside,] Well I reckon the real Hard Problem for most people is
                      to recognise their own naive realism. And this is hard, for all of us,
                      because human brains evolved in contexts where naive realism is the
                      truly practical way of functioning.
                      [KB] 'It gets even harder when one
                      reflects on the mechanisms needed in detecting the positioning in space of a
                      quale, such as a pain in the knee, so the extra space dimensions may be
                      useful.'
                      [MP] I think Steven Lehar's comic strip rendition of functionally
                      isomorphic volumetric gestalt modelling** shows, in principle, how 3D
                      physical location can be represented within another physical medium
                      which retains the topological/topographic relationships of the object
                      even though the medium itself is bent, stretched or compressed. [His on
                      line essays flesh out the ideas considerably.***] The experience of pain
                      in your knee - which probably arises from traumatic variation to the
                      condition of the knee causing variations in signals along afferent
                      neurons - is a particular kind of change in that part of your body
                      image being connected to your brain's model of self [as opposed to being
                      suppressed and not included in the model of self in the world because
                      something more interesting or important was happening].
                      ** http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/cartoonepist/cartoonepist38A.html
                      *** http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/webstuff/book/chap1.html#ANALOGICAL

                      I don't agree with everything that Steve Lehar is saying about 3D
                      volumetric representation. It seems very reasonable however to agree
                      that the representation of the physical location of something with a
                      physical location, such as a lesion in your knee, occurs at and as
                      another physical location which is part of a topologically congruent
                      map. That is to say the painfulness of a pain can be represented by
                      activation of certain cortical and subcortical areas but the location of
                      the pain can be represented by another area of the cortex, ie the place
                      where body image is held. As long as the activation within the two areas
                      is linked and occurs as a single object it will be your 'pain in the
                      knee'. And as long as this object is linked into your brain's current
                      story of self in the world, you will be conscious of the pain. There is
                      no more need for quantum descriptions here than there is for
                      understanding, say, how your blood flows.

                      Cheers,
                      Mark Peaty

                      On 21/5/2004, Ken Brown wrote:

                      > Hi Mark,
                      >
                      > Your post argues your point of view cogently. Nevertheless, I'll stick
                      > with
                      > mine. Referring to your last post:-
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [MP]
                      >
                      > There is also plenty of reasonable explanation of how the system
                      > has evolved.......
                      >
                      > ......exhibit the various kinds of activity needed e.g. association,
                      > exclusion,
                      > clumping/subsumption, learning, denotation/intentionality, and causal
                      > efficacy to make muscles move.........
                      >
                      > [KHB]Regards
                      >
                      > In my opinion you seem to be saying that because this could all
                      > conceivably
                      > be done by a biological computer it MUST be done by a biological computer.
                      > This is not true, as is demonstrated by Searle's Chinese Room argument,
                      > among others. There is nothing qualian/phenomenal about the processes
                      > going
                      > on in a biological computer. What you are doing is producing a biological
                      > robot which does the same thing as us but without phenomenality/qualia -
                      > which ain't us.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [MP]
                      >
                      > .........Neuronal coalitions don't 'contain' phenomenality but they do
                      > embody it......
                      >
                      > [KHB]
                      >
                      > Do this mean that any type of biological activity and/or electro-magnetic
                      > activity embodies consciousness? If not, what distinguishes an electic
                      > motor
                      > from a brain? Or me waving a magnet? What is the encoding algorithm for
                      > phenomenally hearing a middle "C"? As no-one can even demonstrably
                      > begin to
                      > break the phenomenality code, it is reasonable to say that the
                      > encoding may
                      > not take place in the visible material domain (there are plenty of
                      > propositions on what the code may be, but no-one has produced anything
                      > generally accepted).
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [MP]
                      >
                      > The reason I reject quantum stuff as being especially important other
                      > than as the general background of existence at the smallest size, is
                      > because thermal agitation at 37°C is what keeps everything going. It
                      > seems to me highly unlikely that any structures within cells are immune
                      > to this so why assume that the brain has evolved to be dependent on
                      > processes that require super cold temperatures to become visible?
                      >
                      > [KHB]
                      >
                      > The quantum stuff is entirely visible at large sizes. Astromoners need
                      > Quantum Theory (QT) to explain what's going on in the universe. Your PC
                      > needed the application of QT to produce the basic chip design. Biochemical
                      > reactions can only be explained through QT. It may be said that all
                      > chemistry is applied physics. What I'm saying is in line with what Roger
                      > Penrose says (he mentions that QT may not be sufficient to explain
                      > consciousness). Edelman is a biochemist (I believe). Penrose deals
                      > with the
                      > rich enigma of the fundamental realities of our universe as expressed in
                      > physics, which drives biochemistry.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [MP]
                      >
                      > As for 'currently invisible dimensions and activity', I think there is a
                      > vast amount of spatial and temporal fine structure yet to be disclosed
                      > within the physical entities we already know about.
                      >
                      > [KHB] I'm sure you're right in saying there is much more to be found
                      > at the
                      > finest structure level (lower than the Planck length), but the current
                      > mainstream string theories posit about seven more dimensions. There is
                      > nothing phenomenal about the current four. It would be surprising if
                      > the new
                      > dimensions had no perceptible importance to us. I therefore suggest that
                      > perhaps some of them contain phenomenality. The Hard Problem already
                      > exists
                      > as something weird going on between one's ears. It gets even harder
                      > when one
                      > reflects on the mechanisms needed in detecting the postioning in space
                      > of a
                      > quale, such as a pain in the knee, so the extra space dimensions may be
                      > useful. All I'm saying, and it may well be wrong, is that the new
                      > dimensions
                      > open the possibility of partly explaining qualia.
                      >
                      > Cheers,
                      >
                      > Ken
                      >
                      <<snipped>>

                      --
                      Regards

                      Mark Peaty
                      mpeaty@...
                      http://www.geocities.com/markpeaty

                      4 dire necessities: compassion, democracy, ethics
                      and scientific method;...
                      3 great certainties: death, taxes and entropy;
                      2 sublime mysteries: motion and repose;
                      1 wee rule of thumb: If it can't be put into plain English,
                      It prob'ly isn't true



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