Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Wyman
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Wyman » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:17 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Impenitent wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
How?
You might as well ask me what the implications are of a pencil writing all by itself. What would it write? Answer nothing.
Image

-Imp
If you think that is some kind of answer, you are mistaken.


It's a circular argument if I've ever seen one.

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8364
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:15 pm

Wyman wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Impenitent wrote:
Image

-Imp
If you think that is some kind of answer, you are mistaken.


It's a circular argument if I've ever seen one.

Boom tada.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:28 pm

Wyman wrote:
Londoner wrote:I think it would be better if we avoided saying we 'see the visualized triangle'. To visualize something is not to see it.
That is a good way to put a distinction I tried to make earlier - that visualizing/imagining is not the same as seeing. There is, among other things, a voluntary/involuntary distinction. But raw_thought will only continue to hammer away at his notion that we must be able to see something inside the brain as a reductio ad absurdum of materialism. In which case, it may also be a reductio ad absurdum of materialistic explanations of memory, understanding and any higher functions of the brain.
That doesn't change the fact that an image of a visualised thing does exist in a person's mind. It happens in reality, not just theoretically.

Consider a building visualised by an architect. The image definitely exists within the architect's mind before eventually becoming a physical entity. I don't see any reason to dismiss this interesting phenomenon, nor to rush to draw critical inferences of materialism from it. Materialism is not antithetical to information theory, and the latter would seem applicable, at least in part, to the ideas raised in the OP.

I like the thread's premise because I don't understand where mental objects exist, nor the nature of their existence.

User avatar
Trajk Logik
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:35 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Trajk Logik » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:38 pm

Greta wrote:
Wyman wrote:
Londoner wrote:I think it would be better if we avoided saying we 'see the visualized triangle'. To visualize something is not to see it.
That is a good way to put a distinction I tried to make earlier - that visualizing/imagining is not the same as seeing. There is, among other things, a voluntary/involuntary distinction. But raw_thought will only continue to hammer away at his notion that we must be able to see something inside the brain as a reductio ad absurdum of materialism. In which case, it may also be a reductio ad absurdum of materialistic explanations of memory, understanding and any higher functions of the brain.
That doesn't change the fact that an image of a visualised thing does exist in a person's mind. It happens in reality, not just theoretically.

Consider a building visualised by an architect. The image definitely exists within the architect's mind before eventually becoming a physical entity. I don't see any reason to dismiss this interesting phenomenon, nor to rush to draw critical inferences of materialism from it. Materialism is not antithetical to information theory, and the latter would seem applicable, at least in part, to the ideas raised in the OP.

I like the thread's premise because I don't understand where mental objects exist, nor the nature of their existence.
You answered the first part of your question in the first sentence of your own post - mental objects exist in a person's mind. Where does a person's mind exist? Where else but in their own head. Do you not have a sense of being located in your head? Does not the world appear located relative to your head, and more specifically - relative to the front of your head because you can't see in back of your head? Does not the information in your mind include the location of things relative to the location of your head - always? IF the mind is not located in the head, then there needs to be a REALLY good explanation as to why it certainly appears that way.

Imagining your mother as opposed to seeing her is very different. Imagining a building before it is built, or visualizing your mother does not have nearly as much detail or vividness as actually seeing them in front of you. The distinction between a visual memory an a raw visual is easy to discern, and there needs to be a really good explanation for this distinction.

The nature of the objects of the mind are raw and known to us. That isn't the problem. The problem is, "what is the relationship between the nature, or substance, of mental objects and everything else? Is there a difference? If so, then what is it?"

David Swift
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by David Swift » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:23 pm

raw_thought wrote:
I agree. If I visualize a triangle there is no physical triangle in my brain. My neurons do not fire in a triangular shape etc. This is a huge problem for the eliminative materialist. Since an EM believes that only matter exists he has only two options. 1. There is a physical triangle in your brain or 2. It is impossible to visualize a triangle. Some may object that the triangle is an illusion. That does not work. For qualia perception is the reality. In other words it is a fact that I am visualizing a triangle and can see a triangle.
There is a third option: the Epicurean mind concept holds that the triangle must be seen in the eye by exciting the rods and cones from the back with energy sourced from the brain. It helps to close our eyes when visualizing triangles because outside light overpowers and conflicts with inside memories. Hume said that sight and hearing are feelings. If true then consciousness is also a feeling, but the 'hard problem', using the Hippocratic mind concept, assumes that we are conscious of sight. However, why aren't we conscious of everything we see? Each day, we must see tens of thousands of things without any consciousness of them. The Epicurean concept holds that we are conscious of pleasure or pain, and they too are feelings felt coincidentally with some of our feelings of five senses sensations. Conscousness, like all feelings, is a feedback loop that makes us aware of important sensations.
In my view, Leibniz was looking at the wrong part of the mill. He should have looked at the raw materials and products that's where the feelings exist.

Wyman
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Wyman » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:04 pm

Trajk Logik wrote:
Greta wrote:
Wyman wrote: That is a good way to put a distinction I tried to make earlier - that visualizing/imagining is not the same as seeing. There is, among other things, a voluntary/involuntary distinction. But raw_thought will only continue to hammer away at his notion that we must be able to see something inside the brain as a reductio ad absurdum of materialism. In which case, it may also be a reductio ad absurdum of materialistic explanations of memory, understanding and any higher functions of the brain.
That doesn't change the fact that an image of a visualised thing does exist in a person's mind. It happens in reality, not just theoretically.

Consider a building visualised by an architect. The image definitely exists within the architect's mind before eventually becoming a physical entity. I don't see any reason to dismiss this interesting phenomenon, nor to rush to draw critical inferences of materialism from it. Materialism is not antithetical to information theory, and the latter would seem applicable, at least in part, to the ideas raised in the OP.

I like the thread's premise because I don't understand where mental objects exist, nor the nature of their existence.
You answered the first part of your question in the first sentence of your own post - mental objects exist in a person's mind. Where does a person's mind exist? Where else but in their own head. Do you not have a sense of being located in your head? Does not the world appear located relative to your head, and more specifically - relative to the front of your head because you can't see in back of your head? Does not the information in your mind include the location of things relative to the location of your head - always? IF the mind is not located in the head, then there needs to be a REALLY good explanation as to why it certainly appears that way.

Imagining your mother as opposed to seeing her is very different. Imagining a building before it is built, or visualizing your mother does not have nearly as much detail or vividness as actually seeing them in front of you. The distinction between a visual memory an a raw visual is easy to discern, and there needs to be a really good explanation for this distinction.

The nature of the objects of the mind are raw and known to us. That isn't the problem. The problem is, "what is the relationship between the nature, or substance, of mental objects and everything else? Is there a difference? If so, then what is it?"
I see things in front me, not in my head. This is bc my eyes are on my head. I feel touch at my fingertips. If my eyes were on my fingertips then I would probably see and imagine things there.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:02 am

Trajk Logik wrote:
That doesn't change the fact that an image of a visualised thing does exist in a person's mind. It happens in reality, not just theoretically.

Consider a building visualised by an architect. The image definitely exists within the architect's mind before eventually becoming a physical entity. I don't see any reason to dismiss this interesting phenomenon, nor to rush to draw critical inferences of materialism from it. Materialism is not antithetical to information theory, and the latter would seem applicable, at least in part, to the ideas raised in the OP.

I like the thread's premise because I don't understand where mental objects exist, nor the nature of their existence.
You answered the first part of your question in the first sentence of your own post - mental objects exist in a person's mind. Where does a person's mind exist? Where else but in their own head. Do you not have a sense of being located in your head? Does not the world appear located relative to your head, and more specifically - relative to the front of your head because you can't see in back of your head? Does not the information in your mind include the location of things relative to the location of your head - always? IF the mind is not located in the head, then there needs to be a REALLY good explanation as to why it certainly appears that way.
Fair enough. But the point remains the image is still rendered in the mind. We can speak and exchange information and alter those images, and all this imagery seems to occur on a metaphysical level. I find it perplexing because "in the mind" does not necessarily equal "in the brain" or "just behind the eyes", as it seems. Experiments have shown that we are readily fooled by the body transfer illusion.

If we accept that the triangle is in the head, where might it reside and in what form? One possibility would be that the triangle exists as an abstract "seed" form in the brain, akin to 1s and 0s in a PC (albeit using a different "machine language", one that will ideally be learnt) so that the triangle may be a small holographic projection from those bits. But where is that projection? It's not going to come up on a brain scan but perhaps will appear on a dream recording machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MElU0UW0V3Q.

I don't know, of course. Just bouncing ideas.
Last edited by Greta on Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

raw_thought
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:16 pm
Location: trapped inside a hominid skull

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:43 am

Londoner wrote:I think it would be better if we avoided saying we 'see the visualized triangle'. To visualize something is not to see it.
OK, You believe that you cannot visualize a triangle.

raw_thought
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:16 pm
Location: trapped inside a hominid skull

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:46 am

raw_thought wrote:
Wyman wrote:
raw_thought wrote:" Calling different hypotheses 'silly' and insisting that images are 'not physical' is neither argument nor valid empirical support."
Wyman
Yes, I think it is silly to say that when I visualize a triangle what I am seeing is my neurons firing in a triangular form. * So you can see your neurons without special equipment?
* or are you saying that we see atoms or subatomic particles that are triangular in shape? What physical thing do we see when we visualize a triangle?Since ( at least to me ) it seems silly to say that we see atoms or neurons firing, what physical triangle are we seeing? Or are you saying that we cannot visualize anything?
Where did this 'special equipment' caveat suddenly come from? You've never mentioned that before. Curious
You claimed that when we see a visualized triangle it is possibly physical. I am saying that that is only possible ( in your scenario ) if we can see it without special equipment. I am also saying that it is silly to say that one can see neurons ( firing in a triangular form and/or even subatomic particles that have the triangular shape) without special equipment.
In other words , if we can see the visualized triangle without special equipment that implies that we can see the visualized triangle without special equipment. That I find silly. Can you see your neurons and/or subatomic particles without scientific equipment?

raw_thought
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:16 pm
Location: trapped inside a hominid skull

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:06 am

raw_thought wrote:
Londoner wrote:I think it would be better if we avoided saying we 'see the visualized triangle'. To visualize something is not to see it.
OK, You believe that you cannot visualize a triangle.
I was not trying to be cute. My point is, is that you do have the image of a triangle when you visualize it and that is different information ( what a triangle looks like ) then a untirangular form that is embedded in the brain. Please lets not go back to giraphants ( my explanation to the objection that one must first know what a triangle is before one can decide to visualize it) I really hate repeating myself!

User avatar
Trajk Logik
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:35 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Trajk Logik » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:48 pm

Greta wrote: Fair enough. But the point remains the image is still rendered in the mind. We can speak and exchange information and alter those images, and all this imagery seems to occur on a metaphysical level. I find it perplexing because "in the mind" does not necessarily equal "in the brain" or "just behind the eyes", as it seems. Experiments have shown that we are readily fooled by the body transfer illusion.
What body transfer experiment has ever shown that a person doesn't feel like they are located atop of a pedestal of a body? Even if you are able to fool someone with a VR machine that they have a different body, they would still feel like they are located in the head of that fake body. Rubber hands only work if you put the hand next to their real one and stimulate it the exact same way, or else it doesn't work.

Here's an experiment you can try. Touch your thumb and index finger one one hand together. Now close your eyes. Now move you hand about, up and down, side-to-side, and around. Pay special attention to the LOCATION of the tactile sensation of your fingers touching. Notice how the location, (and we all know location is always RELATIVE) of the sensation moves around and is ALWAYS located relative to the head. So it's not just vision that gives us a sense that we are located in our heads, but our other senses place us there as well. Why would it be useful to have a consistent location that everything else is located relative to? What would it be like if we didn't have this consistent location that everything else is located relative to?
Greta wrote:If we accept that the triangle is in the head, where might it reside and in what form? One possibility would be that the triangle exists as an abstract "seed" form in the brain, akin to 1s and 0s in a PC (albeit using a different "machine language", one that will ideally be learnt) so that the triangle may be a small holographic projection from those bits. But where is that projection? It's not going to come up on a brain scan but perhaps will appear on a dream recording machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MElU0UW0V3Q.

I don't know, of course. Just bouncing ideas.
The problem here is that you haven't realized that your visual field is just a model, and an imperfect one at that. What you see isn't how it really is. This means that when you look at someone's brain, you are experiencing an imperfect model of their mental activity, or processes. You can never get out of this model and therefore never experience someone's mental processes as they experience them. You only experience a model. When you look at their brain activity on a computer screen you are looking at a model, not the real brain, and the model provides information about some state of the brain. This is no different from how we model the world in our minds. We don't experience the world as it is. We experience a model of it and to complain about the inaccessibility of other models is to not understand the nature of your own model.

I explained this a while back in this thread. You can never leave your own mill and you can only see other mills from the outside and only from within your own mill. So other models are out there, it's just you can only model their process of modeling the world and that model is the brain and it's activity.

David Swift
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by David Swift » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:40 pm

Trajk Logik wrote:
Here's an experiment you can try. Touch your thumb and index finger one one hand together. Now close your eyes. Now move you hand about, up and down, side-to-side, and around. Pay special attention to the LOCATION of the tactile sensation of your fingers touching. Notice how the location, (and we all know location is always RELATIVE) of the sensation moves around and is ALWAYS located relative to the head. So it's not just vision that gives us a sense that we are located in our heads, but our other senses place us there as well. Why would it be useful to have a consistent location that everything else is located relative to? What would it be like if we didn't have this consistent location that everything else is located relative to?
Have you considered that your eyes are in your head? Yes, we experience our sensations of hand movements relative to our eyes; it's called hand to eye coordination. We learn that in our cribs and it allows us to touch things where they are instead of where we see them, which is in our eyes. It's a practical and necessary skill for dealing with outside reality. Because our brains continuously edit our memories, including how we learned things, it gives rise to what I call the 'stereoscopic illusion' the belief that we see things where they are instead of in our eyes. Stereoscopic vision and, with far off objects, their perceived size and our clarity of vision tip us off as to their actual location, but we always see everything in our eyes. By the way, this also gives rise to the belief that we can share observations, seeing exactly the same thing at the same time. Objectivity is an illusion - all our observations are subjective and private.

David Swift
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by David Swift » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:22 pm

Silence? Thinking about it? OK, here's something else to think about.
Londoner wrote:
I think it would be better if we avoided saying we 'see the visualized triangle'. To visualize something is not to see it.
If you rule lines to form small squares on paper and number them sequentially, you can draw a triangle over them. Recording the numbers covered by the lines of the triangle will allow you to reproduce the triangle on similarly lined and numbered paper. That's how the Epicurean mind concept explains visualization. The rods and cones of your eyes are the squares and the brain records the numbers. You reproduce the memory of triangle the same way a CD player reproduces music. Your ears are the site of hearing music in the same way your eyes are the site of visualizing a triangle.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:41 am

Trajk Logik wrote:
Greta wrote: Fair enough. But the point remains the image is still rendered in the mind. We can speak and exchange information and alter those images, and all this imagery seems to occur on a metaphysical level. I find it perplexing because "in the mind" does not necessarily equal "in the brain" or "just behind the eyes", as it seems. Experiments have shown that we are readily fooled by the body transfer illusion.
What body transfer experiment has ever shown that a person doesn't feel like they are located atop of a pedestal of a body? Even if you are able to fool someone with a VR machine that they have a different body, they would still feel like they are located in the head of that fake body. Rubber hands only work if you put the hand next to their real one and stimulate it the exact same way, or else it doesn't work.
There are some interesting, more advanced experiments in this area using goggles that make people's locus of self feel like it's behind the person but I'm happy to let this line of chat go in favour of "looking for the triangle" :)
Trajk Logik wrote:
Greta wrote:If we accept that the triangle is in the head, where might it reside and in what form? One possibility would be that the triangle exists as an abstract "seed" form in the brain, akin to 1s and 0s in a PC (albeit using a different "machine language", one that will ideally be learnt) so that the triangle may be a small holographic projection from those bits. But where is that projection? It's not going to come up on a brain scan but perhaps will appear on a dream recording machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MElU0UW0V3Q.

I don't know, of course. Just bouncing ideas.
The problem here is that you haven't realized that your visual field is just a model, and an imperfect one at that. What you see isn't how it really is. This means that when you look at someone's brain, you are experiencing an imperfect model of their mental activity, or processes. You can never get out of this model and therefore never experience someone's mental processes as they experience them. You only experience a model. When you look at their brain activity on a computer screen you are looking at a model, not the real brain, and the model provides information about some state of the brain. This is no different from how we model the world in our minds. We don't experience the world as it is. We experience a model of it and to complain about the inaccessibility of other models is to not understand the nature of your own model.
I agree with all of that, aside from the claim that I didn't realise it. That is not the point. The point is: where physically are these imperfect mental models within the stuff of reality? In the mind? That means in the brain. Where in the brain? That's my perception of the thread's conundrum.

David Swift
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:47 pm

Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by David Swift » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:29 pm

Greta wrote:
I agree with all of that, aside from the claim that I didn't realise it. That is not the point. The point is: where physically are these imperfect mental models within the stuff of reality? In the mind? That means in the brain. Where in the brain? That's my perception of the thread's conundrum.
What evidence do you have that the mind is in the brain? It seems to me that, that assumption has stymied any real advance in psychology for more than two thousand years. Time to wake up and consider alternatives.
The mind has been developed by evolution, albeit unwittingly, to produce homeostasis until reproduction. In that cause, it selects behavior in response to current reality using a four-step, two-stage algorithm. That algorithm selects on the basis of most pleasure/ least pain as reflexively felt in our evaluative sense organs.
Philosophy owes more to science than rehashing the same old concepts over and over. Who cares how many angles can dance on the head of a pin?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests