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

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

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

Post by Belinda » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:57 am

Greta, Cifford Geertz Chapter 3 : The Growth of Culture and the Evolution of Mind in his book :The Interpretation of Cultures explains layers upon layers of brain-mind activity accruing with the evolution of human cultures.

1973 Basic Books, New York. Paperback.

It's a big book and requires close attention , is scholarly, it's well written ,and not obscure or technological.

I began at the beginning however I think the chapters possibly can be read as separate essays.

The hard problem of consciousness would I guess be developed layers of awareness which include the idea of oneself, other selves, and insight into self's thoughts and feelings.

The claim is not that other animal's brains are undeveloped but that humans' brain development in the anatomical sense is inseparable from culture.

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

Post by SteveKlinko » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:49 pm

Greta wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:54 am
SteveKlinko wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:17 am
Alexanderk wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:08 pm
"Suppose that there be a machine,the structure of which produces thinking,feeling and perceiving; imagine this machine enlarged but preserving the same proportions, so that you could enter it as if it were a mill. This being supposed, you might visit its inside; but what would you observe there? Nothing but parts which push and move each other , and never anything that could explain perception."
Leibniz,Monadology, sect.17

"I think (Jonathan Shear) Leibniz's point applies not only to phenomenal experience but to many of the things whose explanation poses, according to Chalmers, only "easy" problems. I (Jonathan Shear) will confine my remarks in this paper to phenomenal experience, but if I am right, they apply to a much broader range of phenomena."

"Our skulls house machines of the sort Leibniz supposes. Although we nowadays liken the brain more often to a computer than to a mill, his point remains. If we could wander about in the brain (a la the movie Fantastic Voyage), we could measure electrical impulses rushing along axons and dendrites, ride neurotransmitters across synapses, and observe all the quotidian commerce of neurobiological life. We still would have no clue why those physical events produce the experience of tasting chocolate, of hearing a minor chord, of seeing blue.David Chalmers calls the problem of explaining why physical processes give rise to conscious phenomenal experience the "hard problem of consciousness"."

-Jonathan Shear, Explaining Consciousness:The Hard Problem

I would like you to express your own opinion on this subject.
Yes, it's so simple to see that the Hard Problem exists, but I have been arguing for a long time with Physicalists who say that there is no such thing as Consciousness in the first place so the Hard Problem doesn't exist. They say Consiousness is an Illusion. They say the Hard Problem is therefore solved and we don't need to think about it anymore. It was refreshing to read your post.
I have been checking a line of thought that consciousness comes in layers of control.

First is basic uncontrolled responses that are chemically or mechanically based - that of simple creatures. Then there is the capacity to control responses, deferring rewards and strategising. Then there is the human layer, where we control our controls - rather than just gaining experience to improve our responses like other animals, we have the capacity to shape or change our natural responses. This makes us much more adaptable than other species; when conditions change, if their conditioned responses aren't enough, then they die out. Human, on the other hand, can shape their responses to suit the situation. Just as animals with the ability to strategise had an advantage over simpler animals, humans have an advantage due to their ability to shape and change their strategies, and create new ones.

It's early days yet, so my ideas above are not yet clearly developed - they are still a bit garbly but hopefully not impenetrably so.
I like to stick with one simple problem and that is as follows ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Conscious Red experience happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

If you can put together an answer to this question you will have solved the Hard Problem of Consciousness.

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

Post by Belinda » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:00 pm

SteveKlinko wrote:
I like to stick with one simple problem and that is as follows ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Conscious Red experience happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

If you can put together an answer to this question you will have solved the Hard Problem of Consciousness.
The neural activity is translated into symbols. What we call "consciousness" is an awareness which is not direct like for instance the sentience of what our muscles and joints are doing, and which other animals also feel, but is indirectly made up of symbols. The symbolic systems which we humans feel make sense to us because our species has evolved alongside cultures. Cultures are symbolic systems.

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

Post by Greta » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:18 am

SteveKlinko wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:49 pm
Greta wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:54 am
SteveKlinko wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:17 am
Yes, it's so simple to see that the Hard Problem exists, but I have been arguing for a long time with Physicalists who say that there is no such thing as Consciousness in the first place so the Hard Problem doesn't exist. They say Consiousness is an Illusion. They say the Hard Problem is therefore solved and we don't need to think about it anymore. It was refreshing to read your post.
I have been checking a line of thought that consciousness comes in layers of control.

First is basic uncontrolled responses that are chemically or mechanically based - that of simple creatures. Then there is the capacity to control responses, deferring rewards and strategising. Then there is the human layer, where we control our controls - rather than just gaining experience to improve our responses like other animals, we have the capacity to shape or change our natural responses. This makes us much more adaptable than other species; when conditions change, if their conditioned responses aren't enough, then they die out. Human, on the other hand, can shape their responses to suit the situation. Just as animals with the ability to strategise had an advantage over simpler animals, humans have an advantage due to their ability to shape and change their strategies, and create new ones.

It's early days yet, so my ideas above are not yet clearly developed - they are still a bit garbly but hopefully not impenetrably so.
I like to stick with one simple problem and that is as follows ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Conscious Red experience happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

If you can put together an answer to this question you will have solved the Hard Problem of Consciousness.
Steve, I prefer not to stick with "one simple problem" because the problem is, by definition, "hard" :)

Jokes aside, the issues raised by the Mary's Room thought experiment are complex, and at the time I was referring more to the gradual emergence of humanlike consciousness rather than qualia. It is a bizarre problem. Why should a particular dynamic pattern of neuronal activity correlate with an experiential state? We cannot even imagine the connection.

Come to think of it, what is an experiential state anyway? It's often said that consciousness "feels like something" but that just suggests a metaphor - a metaphor with what? It feels like ...? What does that something feel like? Seemingly only other states, which is circular, and perhaps reflects the fact that, whatever is going on with qualia, feedback is fundamental to it.

So I have much sympathy with the idea that qualia is what it feels like to process energy. However, this ostensibly leads to a panpsychic conclusion, although not so far-fetched when once considers the exponential differences between the complexity of the living and nonliving, the intelligent and the vegetative. Maybe there's more minimal senses of being than we realise?

I feel it's significant that, during early gestation, the blastocyst has three layers - inner, middle and outer - and the brain is the only major organ that stems from the outer layer, the ectoderm (along with nerves and skin), while all others grow from the innermost layer, the endoderm. So the brain is literally, physically, "the outside brought inside".

So we input all manner of forms from the outside world, which results in particular dynamic patterns of neuronal activity which determines our responses. If qualia is what it feels like to process energy (and presumably the information it carries as well) then that sense of being stems from a hugely complex array of processes, each one adding a little more detail to the sense of experience. I see all of the body systems being involved with qualia (since they all process energy and info), with the digestive and respiratory systems deserving special mention along with the brain.

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

Post by SteveKlinko » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:38 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:00 pm
SteveKlinko wrote:
I like to stick with one simple problem and that is as follows ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Conscious Red experience happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

If you can put together an answer to this question you will have solved the Hard Problem of Consciousness.
The neural activity is translated into symbols. What we call "consciousness" is an awareness which is not direct like for instance the sentience of what our muscles and joints are doing, and which other animals also feel, but is indirectly made up of symbols. The symbolic systems which we humans feel make sense to us because our species has evolved alongside cultures. Cultures are symbolic systems.
So I should write the question like this ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Symbol for Red happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

SteveKlinko
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:52 pm
Contact:

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

Post by SteveKlinko » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:45 pm

Greta wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:18 am
SteveKlinko wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:49 pm
Greta wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:54 am

I have been checking a line of thought that consciousness comes in layers of control.

First is basic uncontrolled responses that are chemically or mechanically based - that of simple creatures. Then there is the capacity to control responses, deferring rewards and strategising. Then there is the human layer, where we control our controls - rather than just gaining experience to improve our responses like other animals, we have the capacity to shape or change our natural responses. This makes us much more adaptable than other species; when conditions change, if their conditioned responses aren't enough, then they die out. Human, on the other hand, can shape their responses to suit the situation. Just as animals with the ability to strategise had an advantage over simpler animals, humans have an advantage due to their ability to shape and change their strategies, and create new ones.

It's early days yet, so my ideas above are not yet clearly developed - they are still a bit garbly but hopefully not impenetrably so.
I like to stick with one simple problem and that is as follows ... Given:

1) Neural Activity for Red happens.
2) A Conscious Red experience happens.

How does 1 produce 2?

If you can put together an answer to this question you will have solved the Hard Problem of Consciousness.
Steve, I prefer not to stick with "one simple problem" because the problem is, by definition, "hard" :)

Jokes aside, the issues raised by the Mary's Room thought experiment are complex, and at the time I was referring more to the gradual emergence of humanlike consciousness rather than qualia. It is a bizarre problem. Why should a particular dynamic pattern of neuronal activity correlate with an experiential state? We cannot even imagine the connection.

Come to think of it, what is an experiential state anyway? It's often said that consciousness "feels like something" but that just suggests a metaphor - a metaphor with what? It feels like ...? What does that something feel like? Seemingly only other states, which is circular, and perhaps reflects the fact that, whatever is going on with qualia, feedback is fundamental to it.

So I have much sympathy with the idea that qualia is what it feels like to process energy. However, this ostensibly leads to a panpsychic conclusion, although not so far-fetched when once considers the exponential differences between the complexity of the living and nonliving, the intelligent and the vegetative. Maybe there's more minimal senses of being than we realise?

I feel it's significant that, during early gestation, the blastocyst has three layers - inner, middle and outer - and the brain is the only major organ that stems from the outer layer, the ectoderm (along with nerves and skin), while all others grow from the innermost layer, the endoderm. So the brain is literally, physically, "the outside brought inside".

So we input all manner of forms from the outside world, which results in particular dynamic patterns of neuronal activity which determines our responses. If qualia is what it feels like to process energy (and presumably the information it carries as well) then that sense of being stems from a hugely complex array of processes, each one adding a little more detail to the sense of experience. I see all of the body systems being involved with qualia (since they all process energy and info), with the digestive and respiratory systems deserving special mention along with the brain.
I understand Processing Information or Processing Data but what exactly do you mean when you say Processing Energy?

Belinda
Posts: 2806
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

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

Post by Belinda » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:30 pm

Feels like is no metaphor. Feels like my finger joints are supply moving. Feels like my bottom is pressing against the chair. Feels like the sunlight is too bright ; feels like more comfortable now the curtain is drawn across the window.

Feels like I perceive light effects. Feels like happy that not demented and good old brain-mind can make meanings from effects of the light.

I feel no problem with 'feels like'.

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