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

Post by Greta » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:40 am

raw_thought wrote:Yes, the brain has its own language, instead of letters and words its neurons firing. However, that does not bridge the explanatory gap. The fact remains that there is a triangular form ( otherwise we could not visualize triangles) that has no physical form. The neurons do not fire in a triangular shape etc. My response to Hobbes Choice , above your post explains further.
Basically what I said was EVEN IF the information is embedded that has no impact on the argument. * Saying that our visualized triangle is identical to neurons firing ( but not in a triangular form ) is like saying that holding a CD of Mozart ( yes Mozart's music is embedded in the CD) is the same as hearing Mozart's music.
In other words there is the form of the visualized triangle ( if there wasn't then visualizing triangles would be impossible) but it has no physical form. There is nothing physical in the brain that is triangular and corresponds to the visualized triangle.
* if the triangle is embedded in a non-triangular form has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
Yes, like everyone else, I have no good answer for the explanatory gap.

A couple of side notes, though:

1. As with the brain, there is nothing physically triangular in machine language that describes a triangle if it's not rendered on a screen either - at least not ostensibly so.

2. Re: Leibniz's statement in your OP: "Nothing but parts which push and move each other , and never anything that could explain perception". Given his belief systems, I take him as suggesting that, if we do exist within a larger conscious system, all we'd ever see are balls in the sky moving around. So consciousness can't be found by examination of entities in themselves, but perhaps in the dynamic relationships within and between entities.

I am comfortable with Chalmers's dualism for now. Maybe a sense of being is intrinsic to the universe? Maybe that sense of being filters through material entities more or less depending on their organisation? I do think we greatly underestimate the complexity of that which we consider to be minimally conscious or unconscious, eg. deep sleep, which involves largely truncated external sensing but a multitude of internal senses and responses. I don't think that consciousness is entirely gone during deep sleep, it's just that we don't notice it, just as we can't visually notice the bacteria on and around us. In each case, only sensitive equipment can reveal "insignificant" phenomena.
raw_thought wrote:My seminar paper at university ( concerning "Quining Qualia" ) was well received. I showed that Dennett's argument is circular. 1. Qualia is partly defined as ineffable. 2. Dennett shows that qualia are ineffable. 3. Nothing ineffable can exist. 4. therefore qualia cannot exist...In other words, the ineffable is impossible because the ineffable is impossible.
In the above quote, Dennett is basically saying that pain does not hurt etc.
Agreed. DD strikes me as playing an atheist "good cop" role in the current culture wars, hoping to "attract more flies with honey than with vinegar". An enormous amount of reality is ineffable, at least currently so. Even energy cannot be satisfactorily defined beyond its functionality.

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

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:45 am

" but perhaps in the dynamic relationships within and between entities. "
I disagree. If there is no awareness , then there is no relationships that we are aware of.

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

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:48 am

PS; I like how you refer to Daniel Dennett as DD! I used to work with the differently disabled! LOL
Don't we all? LOL I was a supervisor at a mental health clinic. I probably learned more from those crazy SOBs then they did from me! LOL

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

Post by osgart » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:32 am

what in the brain knows a triangle?
What in the brain can pull up an image in their mind by will?
Where in the brain is the field of consciousness?
Is it quantum or absurdly enough classical?
Is it local or non local?
Is it even physical at all?
Dark energy is transparent and untouchable. maybe we are made of that.
To me consciousness is ethereal and thus untouchable and unseeable.
There seems to be a sub level of reality and its qualitative.

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

Post by Wyman » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:26 pm

raw_thought wrote:One creates a physical object in the shape of a triangle when one visualizes a triangle?
What is your definition of a 'physcial object?' A quon?

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

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:31 pm

Are you saying that a quon has a triangular shape?

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

Post by Wyman » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:04 pm

raw_thought wrote:Are you saying that a quon has a triangular shape?
I meant gluon, but anyway - why would the triangle need to be composed of one fundamental particle and not a complex of such particles? My point is, you have no better basis for claiming that such 'mental' images are not physical than I have of saying that they are physical. I have a working hypothesis that such phenomena can be explained by scientific method since it has done an infinitely better job at explaining things than the thousands of anti-scientific hypotheses promulgated by philosophers over the centuries; which when totaled up have an exact score on any measurement system you may choose of: 0. I think a dualistic account of consciousness you and many other philosophers propose is destined for that same dust bin of history. It is a relic of the seventeenth century when science was just getting its start and Descartes was taking a shot in the dark at a theory of the universe and the mind's place in it. Things have progressed a great deal since then but sadly, much of philosophy has not.

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

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:25 pm

I never specified the size of the physical triangle in your brain that you hypothesize. So you are saying that when we visualize a triangle we create an actual physical triangle in our brain?

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

Post by raw_thought » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:29 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
raw_thought wrote:Dennett at least has the guts to take his proposition ( that qualia do not exist ) to its absurd conclusion, that pain does not hurt. Or at least he says stuff like that. If he believes it or not is another story.
It's one thing to say qualia do not exist, but poke him in the eye and ask him "does that hurt you bearded tosser??"
??????????????????? Follow the argument please. I did not threaten Dennett. I made the point that he says stupid things like, pain doesn't hurt. If one does not believe in qualia, one thinks that pain does not hurt. Qualia is subjective feeling.
The fact that Dennett would avoid pain shows that he believes in qualia.

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

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:35 pm

raw_thought wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
raw_thought wrote:Dennett at least has the guts to take his proposition ( that qualia do not exist ) to its absurd conclusion, that pain does not hurt. Or at least he says stuff like that. If he believes it or not is another story.
It's one thing to say qualia do not exist, but poke him in the eye and ask him "does that hurt you bearded tosser??"
??????????????????? Follow the argument please. I did not threaten Dennett. I made the point that he says stupid things like, pain doesn't hurt. If one does not believe in qualia, one thinks that pain does not hurt. Qualia is subjective feeling.
The fact that Dennett would avoid pain shows that he believes in qualia.
I think that is what I am saying.

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

Post by Wyman » Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:20 pm

raw_thought wrote:I never specified the size of the physical triangle in your brain that you hypothesize. So you are saying that when we visualize a triangle we create an actual physical triangle in our brain?
Yes, more or less. You are trying to push me to make a scientific hypothesis concerning how consciousness works, which of course I do not have. But yes, I believe that consciousness (and qualia) are subject to physical explanation. I do not know that for sure, as no one knows at present. But I'd put money on it against the hypothesis that qualia defy physical explanation in principle.

I think that qualia are like words - when you confuse speaking via words with speaking about words, all kinds of confusions arise. Similarly when you talk of qualia as 'things.' Is walking a 'thing' composed of legs and motion and feet, etc.? Is speaking a thing? Now, I would say that the audible or written words are things involved in speaking, just as are the mouth, the larynx, etc. These are all physical 'things.' Qualia are like the meanings of words or sentences in this analogy - philosophers sometimes think that meanings are like immaterial 'halos' surrounding words or sentences. Personally, I like Wittgenstein's interpretation of meaning as being better explained as use. Language is an activity in which words are used - like chess where chess pieces are used. There are no halos or hocus-pocus. This is, or is on the path of, pure physicalism and nominalism.

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

Post by raw_thought » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:38 pm

Yes, I know what you believe. Now, show me how the following syllogism is invalid or based on false assumptions.
1. it is possible to visualize a triangle. ( I think that is beyond dispute).
2. Either the triangle is physical or it is not.
3. It is obviously not physical as there is nothing physical that is in a triangular shape in the brain that is created by visualizing a triangle. Any scientist will tell you that you do not cause your neurons to fire in a triangular shape ( or that you create a subatomic particle that is triangular ) when you visualize a triangle.
4. therefore, the visualized triangle cannot be physical.
What do you disagree with 1, 2 or 3? Or do you believe that 4 does not follow from 1,2 and 3?
Last edited by raw_thought on Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by raw_thought » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:56 pm

We are talking about experiences ( and even the experience of meaning * ) , not descriptions of what meaning is. [ My response to your statement " You confuse speaking via words with speaking about words" Wyman ] What you are talking about is definitions of meaning. It is like talking about the rules of grammar one must obey when saying, " that apple tastes good " rather then what that apple tastes like. It is like saying that the ink pattern " Pepsi tastes like Coke" is all we need to experience to know what Pepsi tastes like. One must have experienced the taste of Coke before that sentence has any meaning. [ paradox of analysis, Meno...scroll back for paradox of analysis and Meno links ]
" Qualia are like the meanings of words or sentences in this analogy."
Wyman
So a dictionary is full of qualia? Not descriptions of quales but actual quales. Yes, I know that you were talking metaphorically. My point is that " meaning is use" ( I am a great admirer of Wittgenstein. However, he was not a logical positivist. Your understanding of that phrase is a common misunderstanding) does not bridge the explanatory gap, even as a metaphor.

* http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/a ... gy_web.pdf Meaning is itself based on qualia. Suppose I define 2 as 1+1. Those are only ink patterns until perceived by a conscious being. Similarly , an "on" light switch is useful. It tells us that the light is on. However, it would be absurd to say that the light switch in the "on" position knows that the light is on. I think that purpose ( use ) and meaning are two different concepts. The purpose ( which is arbitrary) of a dog is to protect humans. The meaning of a dog is necessary , a mammal that barks etc.
Last edited by raw_thought on Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:58 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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

Post by raw_thought » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:46 pm

Note that to say that qualia are possible only in more complicated machines ( then an "on" light switch ) fails as Leibniz's mill demonstrates. No matter how complicated a brain is, no physical triangle is created when one visualizes a triangle. That is the explanatory gap that most academically validated philosophers are concerned about.
To ridicule https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Searle and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Chalmers http://consc.net/chalmers/ etc as believing in halos, hocus-pocus, etc is mere ad hominums. It does not address the very real explanatory gap.
Last edited by raw_thought on Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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

Post by raw_thought » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:51 pm

"I believe that consciousness (and qualia) are subject to physical explanation."
Wyman
My question is more specific then that. My question is, " when one visualizes a triangle is a physical triangle created in the brain"?
My triangle argument is a more precise version of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_argument
I used a triangle because it is more mathematical then what color feels like. Cognitive Phenomenology!!!
BTW Hobbes and Wyman, I admire both of you. But philosophy is war! LOL! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtckVng_1a0

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