- ... one categorization over another and keeping only that perspective is there? I agree. I always try to see things from different perspectives, just to makeMessage 1 of 202 , Nov 1, 2005View Source
> Daniel: "there's no reason we should limit ourselves to pickingone categorization over another and keeping only that perspective is
I agree. I always try to see things from different perspectives,
just to make sure I have things as right as I can, but I don't dwell
much on perspectives I find totally alien. For example, I couldn't
see things from the viewpoint of a religious fundamentalist no
matter how hard I tried. Reasoned thought is the primary driver of
my mind, while theirs is fixed belief, and I cannot adjust to that
viewpoint anymore than an electric motor can run on gasoline.
> DT: "Ideas and things 'created by sentient rational minds' wouldbe no different that pearls or leaves."
I see a difference, but that is only my opinion. I do not disagree
with your viewpoint, I simply prefer mine. :)
> DT: "What is your conception of changing sets of data flowingthrough a computer?"
Artificial. It was created by sentient minds and would not
otherwise exist in nature without sentient minds. Interestingly, a
computer is an attempt of human mind to imitate itself in rough
materials. It will be interesting to see what happens if/when
people finally create sentient machines!
> DT: "You have a completely physical and material notion of this doyou not?"
I think so.
> DT: "I was under the impression you were a materialist and, if so,had assumed you had the same concept of human brains and minds and
the data (ideas) on them. If not, I'll await clarification and
No correction needed, but I will try to clarify. Yes, I consider
myself a materialist, but it is possible you may not think I am.
While I do believe that rational sentient minds are completely
natural (i.e. a product of the natural universe) and spring solely
from a material source (i.e. the physical brain), I consider them in
a separate class by themselves, because they are so totally unlike
anything else in the universe. I do mean to imply I think that
minds are 'magical' in any regard, but I think they are so unique
that they deserve to be set apart from the rest of the universe.
What makes them special and different is their ability to change
themselves. A sentient mind as the ability to look inward and
regard itself, and it has the power to change things as it sees
fit. This is different from pearls and leaves, which are basically
automated processes. A tree cannot decide to change the shape and
color of its leaves, and an oyster will always produce a pearl if
sand finds its way into its shell.
Now I suspect you might ask me about computers again, as I suspect
you believe the human mind to be little more than a very
sophisticated organic computer. I don't see it that way though. To
me, a computer is only an automated machine that runs software
commands written by someone else. Even if a computer is so
sophisticated that it can make very complicated and shrewd
decisions, it is still ultimately only following sets of
instructions written for it by someone else. For me, this is not in
the same class as a sentient mind, which as the capacity to think
for itself. Sadly, many people choose not to utilize this wonderful
feature very often.
- DT Strain wrote: Possibly, but it still seems like an overly complex explanation for something that ordinary macro-level complex neuralMessage 202 of 202 , Nov 21, 2005View Source
DT Strain <dtstrain@...> wrote:
Possibly, but it still seems like an overly complex
explanation for something that ordinary macro-level
complex neural networks can probably achieve (I'll
address your examples below).
We also need to consider this:
When you say "introspection" it sounds like what a lot
of people mean by self awareness or even
consciousness. This is a functionality in that you're
talking about the ability of a system to analyze
itself in a very robust way.That is correct, it is trying to explain self-awareness. Self-awareness is unique in that it does not make much sense in terms of strictly mechanical explanations. The idea of a self-collapsing wavefunction gets around that though.
This is quite a different issue from *qualia*. Qualia
is the "experience" we have. It means that there is
"something it is like" to be a human/complex system of
Imagine a brain-like machine that was so complex it
could behave just like us, and even have the ability
to monitor its own internal states and be self aware.
It's quite easy to think that this structure could be
introspective and conscious, but experience no
"qualia".Wouldn't that machine be very similar to the non-conscious telephone tag system though?
Back to our subject...
-IF we are speaking of introspection/self awareness,
then it seems simpler computational models than QM can
likely achieve this.Well QM is not complex per se it is just different. A self-collapsing wavefunction is actually simple in concept it is just that due to the classical formulation of mathematics we use it is not describable in such a simple fashion. Like trying to make a raft out of toothpicks. Making a raft is simple but making one out of toothpicks is very complicated.
"-IF we are, on the other hand, speaking of qualia,
then it seems that QM doesn't answer anything for us.
Even if introspection was somehow achieved by mutually
self collapsing wave functions interacting with one
another, how do collapsing wave functions and
indeterminate phenomena ever create *qualia*? It
seems as difficult to comprehend as the question of
how more classical systems can create qualia."
Well qualia are not quite as difficult to explain in concept than consciousness itself. Qualia include a form of introspection and whereas this may be difficult to understand in the same way as consciousness the primary problem is to understand self-awareness which qualia is based in. Once consciousness is understood, things that have conscious elements in them like qualia and emotions are at least parameterized.I have toyed with the idea of explaning them with wavefunctions within wavefunctions but that is mostly speculation at this point.
> [supernatural tampering with quantum states being
possible] would be true strictly empirically speaking.
> However, I think rationalistic considerations could
> rule that out anyway due to irresolvable
> interactionism paradoxes.
I have no idea what you're talking about here, but it
sounds interesting. Are you saying that the
supernatural>natural nexus within quantum randomness
model I outlined creates paradoxes?
(by the way, I DO NOT believe that model is true, but
it's a very wild and unlikely possibility)I have heard of it before, although I disagree with it. Although on the same token I think that something similarly wild is likely. Basically my argument is an epistemological one that takes issue with all dualistic systems. If one (natural) reality is coded by set of rules and another (supernatural) reality is coded by another set of rules. Then either they are consistent with each other and can interact and thus mutual form a larger set of rules and therefore really be part of the same system (monism), or they must not be consistent and thus must lead to contradictions which would disallow the existence of such a dualistic system.
> I have heard of [consciousness as an emergent
property] and I think it probably
> explains alot of the details of consciousness
> however, I don't think that one can make a
> consciousness exclusively from complex deterministic
Ah, but there is an important point about adaptive
highly complex systems that I don't know if you are
aware of (or at least appreciating). And, here is
where I must differ with René...
"There is a point at which complex systems become so
complex, that there is no way to compute their future
activity - even in principle. This means, for all
empirical purposes, even a complex system built on
deterministic functions can *become* indeterminate.
Mind you, I do not mean indeterminate like the weather
or a die roll is. It's not indeterminate because it's
simply too hard for us to compute - it actually IS
indeterminate by its nature: truly non-deterministic.
So, we actually can't compute what a brain will do
even if we knew all there is to know about its
beginning state. Even if we used every particle in
the universe as a giant computer and we computed the
formulas for longer than the lifetime of the entire
universe, the answer could not be calculated. The
only way to compute what a highly complex system will
do, is to actually use the system itself as the
computer by observing how it plays out."
I do not know how such a system is possible without quantum indeterminism.
> There is the unity of identity problem, basically
> we know that "we" exist as a distinct thing and not
> an aggregate of things.
We do? The Buddha would say that this is just an
illusion. That understanding that we are "empty" and
only an aggregate, to let go of notions of the self,
is the key to enlightenment.
While I'm not one to buy into any and all
spiritual-talk, it seems to me there is a lot of truth
in this view when we look at what we know about
physics. The concept of "we" as a distinct thing is
probably an illusion created by the aggregate
coordination of particles so as to aid with
understanding our state in our environment (and
therefore survival).Well, I do think that something pretty weird would happen in terms of consciousness if they did not differ by their independent experiences and were thus all defined by the same wavefunction. However, at this state these entangled consciousnesses would still be self-aware. Simply from introspection I don't agree with the alternative. It really boils down to Descartes irrefutable premise: "I think therefore, I am."
> Along these lines think of a telephone game
> involving a billion people where each person is told
> to send and recieve messages just as neuron would or
> several neurons would. No matter how many billions
> of people joined into this game you couldn't really
> say that the telephone network was self-aware at
> some point because it had gotten complex enough.
"Are you sure? I'm not.
I know it sounds strange - crazy even, but consider
what I was asking about qualia above. If we know that
one complex structure can result in qualia, then
wouldn't this beg the question of whether or not other
complex structures could?"Well that begs the question though are our brains only complex and not quantum?
We know from looking at brain injuries and their
effects that there is such a thing as varying levels
of consciousness. Consciousness philosopher David
Chalmers has proposed that consciousness may be an
irreducible law of the universe. This would mean
that, wherever sufficiently complex physical
structures exist that carry information in the right
manner, that qualia is the result. This would be a
basic law, like gravity, and therefore there would be
no further explanation than "just because". It would
be just a fact of how the universe operates.I somewhat agree with this as I buy into a form of neutral monism. However, I agree with this on the level of quantum gravity. As part of this I think that such a mind created like this is more of a different order of mind than our own. I might associate it with what Stoics refer to as the Logos.Our minds are at least in some manner somewhat independant although obviously emergent and therefore somewhat connected to it.
:If so, could this mean that feedback systems like
thermostats are, on some VERY low level, conscious or
experience qualia to some degree? Might there be
something it is like" to be a thermostat? I don't
know but I can't rule it out.
If so, then we shouldn't expect thermostats or
large-scale telephone networks to exhibit the same
level OR the same type of consciousness that
biological organisms do. It's possible that the
entire planet earth as a system may be conscious.
However, it would be such an alien type of
consciousness that we could never "talk to it" or
recognize it as the familiar sort we enjoy. Most
likely, we would only be able to "figure out" that
it's conscious by coming up with a mathematical
description of consciousness and then checking our
observations of the earth's activity against that
If we did find that it met those qualifications, AND
if Chalmers' thoughts on qualia being a law of the
universe are correct, then there would indeed be
"something it is like" to be the earth, mind-boggling
though that may be.Right, although to understand the introspection involved here I would have to conclude that it could only be understood in the context of an Ubermind or Logos rather than our own, as by itself we can't understand just why it would be self-aware in the intuitive sense.~Johanan Raatz
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