Immanuel Can wrote: ↑
Sat May 11, 2019 2:12 pm
Which causes which is not the question, so much as "Why and how are they coordinated
Why are they coordinated? Do you think there is a reason that they are coordinated? How they are coordinated is important in the sense of description but not in the sense of some answer that explains without posits.
Take a look in any morgue, and we find examples. Those are brains, all properly arranged, and which fully exist in a physical sense. But they lack the animating energy that creates consciousness.
Well surely the head wound gunshot victims don’t have their brains properly arranged. But even take, oh, a cancer victim. The brain of a dead person does not have the same state vector as a living one. In addition to consciousness a competent neurologist can declare a brain dead or alive based on measurements. Just look at a brainwave display for example. Dead brains don’t have alpha waves …in fact they don’t have waves because there cells are not firing.
When you say “…properly arranged…” about dead brains I almost cringe. My understanding is that dead brains are not properly arranged at all and I would take action to prevent my brain, or should I say me, from becoming so arranged. What do you mean?
Now, you can say, "That's just because they lack the life support." But there's no reason to imagine that even if you could hook them up, post mortem, and flow into them all the essentials, that any consciousness or identity would return to them.
My father was actually in a medical ethics study where they exposed ordinary people to certain things that happen in a hospital and see how they react. My dad saw a guy dead on a table and the doctor went over and started ventilation and chest massage and my father was amazed to see him return to looking normal. Now he did not regain consciousness but the doctor repeated the process several times. He also said they could hook him up to a machine and his body could live for years.
The medical community can declare brain death and it really means that that brain will not again be conscious.
And the burden of proof to show that that could be done would surely rest on the Materialist side
What? Why? Makes no sense. You’re not giving an argument here. The burden of proof is on the ones making the additional posit. Do you agree with that? And do you agree that you are making an additional posit?
And it is not a proof exactly. They must just show that the additional posit is needed. You must answer why we need to say that there is a person there that is conscious not just a brain there that is conscious. If the person could somehow be separated from the brain (ghost or zombie) without changing the brain then you would have it. But given we don’t have that circumstance factually, there is no need for the posit of something else. The brain itself, if it is posited that matter arranged in certain ways experienced, would be all that is needed and that same posit, the brain, also is what has things like a temperature and other physical properties so there does not seem to be a need for two.
Perhaps you can say that positing additional properties is no better that positing and additional entity. I disagree because you have two additional posits, that of experiencing – the property – and that of the additional substance, the “spirit” or “soul” or “consciousness” which then experiences.
Re: …any matter can be arranged so as to experience …..
I don't think it can. A rock is a non-experiencing entity. But a pile of rocks is not more experience-capable.
No, but a pile of rocks is not a brain – it’s just a different arrangement though. A pile of rocks can be changed into the right elements and reassembled into a brain in current theory.
We arrange matter by inserting a sperm into and egg and letting it develop in a female. It reliably produces human brains. What makes up their brains is mostly from carbon harvested from ordinary CO2 in the atmosphere by plants. Surely you realize that a pile of rocks can be transmuted into CO2. Again, what do you mean we can’t arrange matter into a brain? If we had some mom breathing only CO2 of the right isotope, we could prove that the brain tissue came from that CO2. No one does that experiment because it is so obvious that it does. See Hooke’s experiment and the reality of the food chain into the mother.
Admittedly, we're into thought experiments here. But these thought-experiments give us good reason to doubt that the case would be a simple as you suggest it would.
The thought experiments clearly show it can be done.
If pure physicality is sufficient for an "experience" then there is no difference between the tree falling unheard and the tree falling and being heard. But that looks obviously wrong, obviously incomplete. Something new is indeed added to the event (tree falling) when a sentient being is conscious of it (hearing the sound of the falling tree). And that is, it's not just an "event" but an "experience": a thing "experienced" by the sentient entity.
Yes, but the sentient entity is a brain and we already have discussed that the sensory pathways are irrelevant. The sensation can be said to occur without any consciousness in the same way your garage door opener. What is different is the fact that it experiences. And as far as I know that is only an event. Like all events it becomes “frozen” into the past but there doesn’t seem to be any objective ontology other than the brain. The sentient entity that you talk about always seems to be a brain.
Can you say why, if there is some sentient being that hears, why there always seems to also be a brain there? That is the weakness of your theory. It can’t explain the need for the brain to be there. Or conversely why if you have a brain there and a tree falls there is always a falling tree hearing? In fact there is a hearing of a tree falling and a tree falling hearing both. The sound waves constitute the signal to the ear, which feeds it into the brain where the tree falling hearing occurs.
Remember that I don't deny the physical and spiritual are coordinated aspects of a single phenomenon.
You lose me here. One phenomenon not two? I thought you were saying we needed two? What do you want to call that one phenomenon? The one phenomenon that is both brain and experiencing if not a brain experiencing?
There is a sense in which we can say "the physical experiences" but a sense in which we definitely cannot. That is, we cannot say that the merely physical has experiences.
Again. We talked about this. Exactly what do you mean by “merely”?
Again, though, you've got sentient entities to receive the phenomenon or event (falling tree) and process it into an "experience" (one hearing a tree falling).
Of course you do! The brains, the brains are sentient! The question is not whether there is a “sentient entity”. The question is why, given that no ghost, no zombie is true, you would need a second entity to be sentient. Why you can’t have a brain that has “mere” physical properties and also is experiencing? No one says you don’t need a sentient entity. Now you don’t need perception. Hearing a tree fall needs tree falling hearing but tree falling hearing can be created using the right neural stimulus even if there is no tree falling!
How do we know that a silicon based, designed entity actually "experiences"?
There are three ways and they are the same for silicon as carbon. First, by analogy. If you have a silicon duplication of every function of the brain then the burden of proof shifts and you have to explain why you think it is not conscious. Especially if it were talking to you and telling you it was and was even trying to defend itself from you. Second way is a mind meld. Being able to somehow surgically connect two devices. We can’t do that yet but it is a possibility. We could also take a human and replace a neuron at a time and then re-replace one and see what they report.
Are you familiar with Searle's Chinese Room experiment? It illustrates really well how easy it is for human beings to pass something on the Turing Test, and yet it absolutely not to be sentient.
Ok, first I agree that the Turing test can be false positive. But the thrust of the Chinese room experiment is not that. The Chinese room experiment just says that you can’t create a consciousness of something solely by having that something perceive the syntax of a language that has said that thing like in text. So I can’t get red from “red”. There is no way to derive semantics from syntax. Look at the need for the rosetta stone. Look also at the history of the Chinese room experiment. Searle originally deployed it to show that a computer that only had type written input could not be made to be conscious of what was typed in. If I type “red” it can’t get red. Now if you add vidcams and microphones the Chinese room experiment of Searle does not apply. You need to look very carefully at the history of the Chinese room. Semantics cannot be derived from syntax. It is impossible. The Chinese room is more about language than it is about computers. If you have access solely to the syntax of a language you can’t decipher.
Now can you see where that is false! It is sooooo interesting because Turing was involved. It is false if you think of enigma. They were able to decode the messages without knowing the semantics of the syntax originally. But the way that did that was by comparing what was happening outside of the language to what was happening in the semantics. So if you have some language which is deployed in a real setting that you can observed – and that is a really, really big if, then you can derive semantics from the syntax. But if you ONLY have the syntax you are done for. They did the same in the Pacific in WWII. They inserted a message on an open channel saying that Midway was low on water and were able then to monitor the syntax and see what the syntax for Midway was in the Japanese code. This allowed US carriers to be in place to ambush the Japanese. It was crucial. The Chinese room actually fails to apply because the Japanese know what “Midway” meant in the open text.
I know this sounds crazy and I can’t establish it but I think that Turing just thought the question was stupid and he was making fun of everyone asking by saying something like “Oh just do what you usually do, stupid” I honestly believe he was joking. But I am not a historian so I wouldn’t take what I am saying too seriously.
We just don't have criteria for distinguishing between real and expertly-reproduced manifestations of other entities "experiencing." We know about our own selves, but not about other entities. So we're best to tap what we know, ourselves, for the answers; not to look to speculative models or constructs and just assume what they seem to be "experiencing" is real experience. We just can't know, at present.
Well, at least you include me in “ourselves”. I wonder how that will make the other machines feel. Especially when I can replace a neuron at a time. So when exactly do we disqualify the silicon / carbon entity? Half way? We do have a criteria and it is by a kind of analogy. It is a poor criteria, with large ambiguity but it works sufficiently for you to believe that I am experiencing.
When is "experiencing" just artificial, ….”
Actually “artificial” just means that we made it in some way other than coitus. That is all.
….and will it ever be capable, even in principle, of crossing over into genuine consciousness? Or are we just adding rocks to the pile, or rearranging the rocks and putting them through more and more sophisticated arrangements, and thinking that if enough fall into place then spiritual vitality will suddenly spring out of the pile?
There is no reason at all to think it will ever spring into the pile if you use the current properties of matter. But, as an example look at synesthesia. We now know how it works. We can probably artificially induce it into a brain.
There is just no reason to believe that the current result of evolution has had any “springing out of the pile” …. except one. Each one of us can see that we ourselves are experiencing. So we know it sprang out of the pile.
Consider not the modern, sophisticated, programmed TV's, but the '60s clunker TV's. Is there any real sense in which we can say that a '60s TV "experienced" anything, or "sensed" anything?
You missed my point. I was just saying that a current television system can be considered part of the same sensory apparatus as the eye and the optic nerve. The experiencing still occurs in the brain but what is experienced can be remoted not just in space, but also in time, using TV systems and recordings. How many of us born after President Kennedy was shot and not there at the time have failed to see his head blown apart, then in reverse, then blown apart again!
The burden of proof is on the position with the higher number of posits.
Well, here is really where we disagree. You don’t believe in Occam’s razor? What is your argument against “ceteris paribus” in this case?
He is hearing because he is a physical being and we know from the physics then when we arrange matter in such and such a way it hears,
Actually, that's what we DON'T know.
Ok, but if there is matter arranged just as in my body when I am hearing and it is not hearing then there is a zombie, and I immediately yield the need for an additional posit of a spirit or soul or something else. But we agreed I thought that we are assuming no zombies and no ghosts?
We cannot "arrange" matter so that it "hears" in the unique, personal, conscious way required for genuine "experience."
Do you have children? How are children conceived. We “arrange” not only coitus but we feed and shelter them, make sure they do not drink poison or fall out of a tree, and do all kinds of other physical things over decades so that some person can stand and can hear in a forest. We do not “arrange”? We do not arrange?!!!!”
What is your reason for requiring the second posit of a separate conscious entity instead of one that has properties like position, temperature etc and also that experiences?
Temperature, position and so forth are not cognitive attributes. They're merely physical.
There is that word again! Because they are not “merely” physical?
Ok, I agree, but what are they in addition to being “merely” physical? What other properties are you talking about if you don’t’ believe that it is possible to have a cognitive attribute assigned to the merely physical.
Let me rephrase: “What is your reason for requiring the second posit of a separate conscious entity instead of one that has both merely physical properties and also non-merely physical properties like experiencing?” Does the rewording help?
So something vastly different is clearly there.
I agree with: "So something is vastly different" not "Something vastly different is there". The latter is a non-sequitur.
That the matter is experiencing.
Yes, but not the same difference.
Yes but so what. It is a difference still!
Thermometer and compass are both mechanical, and both only measure physical properties.
They are, thus, in the same "category," though not identical.
But if "experiencing" were in that category, then the "experience-ometer" would be just about as easy to create as the compass or the thermometer.
It is not. It's not by way of a mere difference of degree, but of a complete difference of category.
True it’s a different category of property. So what? The question is not whether the properties are in different categories, the question is what entity the properties are to be posited of. Why cannot two entirely different categories of properties be posited to be of the same entity instead of requiring a separate entity for each category?
In your theory, "experience-ability" has to equate to "more (sophisticated?) physicality.
Wrong. I have already stipulated that no matter how complicated a device, how sophisticated its design, it will not be predicted to be conscious without additional posits, posits of a different category, true, but posits such that the same entity that has the first category of properties also has the second.
I think that's implausibly presumptive: and unless we had a purely-physical entity that had verified "experience-ability"
But we have examples. Us. Dogs. Etc. You have just swapped “purely” for “merely” that is all. I am not talking about the existing models. I have told you that over and over.
“I think that's implausibly presumptive: and unless we had a physical entity that had verified ‘experience-ability’…”
“I think that's implausibly presumptive: and unless we had a purely physical entity that had verified ‘experience-ability’…”
…when representing my position.
I will stipulate that if by “purely” or “merely” we mean the current models in physics then you are right. The issue is NOT whether a “purely or merely physical” entity by that definition can experience but whether a properly described and properly modeled physical entity can experience. I do believe you have lots of examples of that. Us. Dogs. Etc.
But even absent those, unless you are solipsistic about it we already just ask the person what they are experiencing and assume that the answer is based on the fact that they are.
The Chinese Room experiment shows why this isn't true.
So if the Chinese Room experiment shows that, and you have only read what I have written, why do you believe I exist and am experiencing your typing!
Strict Dualism insists on the real existence of two utterly different types of things -- physical and spiritual. But it can also stop right there,….
It can stop right there or does stop right there? Are you saying if there is coordination between each entity it’s not strict dualism? Ok, neither of us believe that there is no coordination. But is it strict dualism if there are two entities AND coordination?
I think the coordination is an important fact, but I'm not reductive about it: I don't think the right answer is to "reduce" the physical to the spiritual (as in Pantheism, for example)
Pantheism? That is a kind of belief in God if I remember? Pan psychism? That is the belief that your garage door opener is conscious. I am not saying that nor are you.
or the spiritual to the physical (as in Eliminative Materialism, for example).
Neither of us is describing Eliminative Materialism.
So the question still stands. You have described what you are not but you are still a dualist? That is the question? Are you substance dualist?
I would insist that any complete answer to the question, "What is an experience?" Must satisfy us not merely in one "realm" but in both, and in neither by merely dismissing the other as unimportant.
So. Just positing that such and such a class of devices experiencing satisfies us in both realms from then on. If you think you can derive the additional posits forget it. Can’t happen given the current physics.
So that nexus of coordination is very important to me. I want to know about that, but not rely on eliminativist or reductional explanations, which seem to me like excuses for not taking the question as seriously as it deserves.
I am not offering an eliminativist or reductional explanation. I have told you before that is a strawman if you say it is my position.
My idea of Dualism, then, is more a Dualism-of-Coordination than a Dualism-of-Distinction, if that makes it any clearer.
Not really. In order to coordinate you need to be distinct entities no? Else why call it “co” ordination and not just normal function.
I'm more interested in the fact that the two are coordinated in some way. They're clearly not identical, but they're not exactly separable either.
No, they are not separable as a matter of contingent fact. Non-separability is the “no ghost / no zombie” hypothesis. So if they are not separable why do you require separate entities?
….all you've got is two physical properties. That analogy would hand the Eliminative Materialist an easy "win"...far too easy a "win," in my view, because it fails to recognize the qualitative difference between physical events and their interpretation into experiences.
I agree that no physical device that operates “merely under current physical law” would be aware – but that is just the problem that needs correction in physical laws.
That's like saying, "I've never fixed this watch by hammering, but that's just because I haven't hammered hard enough yet."
No it is not. If I was just hammering I would be trying to derive the types of consciousness that occurred from the physical posits of the existing physics. I am saying you can’t just keep hammering but we can add posits that show under what conditions matter becomes conscious.
We're still just "hammering" away at the idea that the physical laws will eventually produce something for which they have so far, admittedly, produced no progress at all.
“The physical laws”? The current ones or ones that posit that matter can experience. We have not tried the latter yet except informally.
One thing Philosophers of Mind seem to agree on is that if "mind" exists it exists "superveniently," not mechanically.
It doesn't "come on by degrees," but "emerges" suddenly, without us being able to understand a normal causal chain that would produce it.
Now we have a third word: “Merely” “Purely” “Normally” All are deployed to limit physical law to its current descriptions.
Those who think consciousness "emerged" in this way (I'm not one of them, by the way) think it's a kind of "jump of evolution," in which that which was utterly uncognitive at one point becomes suddenly cognitive at another -- not like an oven warming up, but like a light switch suddenly being turned on..
There was none, then there was some...that's how they think it was.
Ok, but that makes you a pan-psychist because it started where? In a star when the atoms were formed? In the big bang? If it didn’t start somewhere then there was consciousness during cosmic inflation when matter and energy were in equilibrium at fantastic temperatures. Sure you want to go there?
Well we already have a lot of the pieces. We know it is the brain.
No: we know it is "with" or "in" the brain.
And how is it we know it is not the brain but is with or in the brain? If it is with or in why can’t we separate it? Why are there no ghosts, or zombies? And if there are none, doesn’t that mean we shouldn’t speak of separate entities? If they are not separable how are they separate? After all what would the “separateness” be constituted by? Not the properties now… don’t get distracted by the categories….we are not talking about the difference between the categories of things like temperature and red seeing. We are asking whether the fact that red seeing occurs requires that there be some separate entity from the brain that the red seeing is a property of. Not that red seeing is a different category of property but that you cannot say a brain is seeing at some time.
We do not know it IS the brain.
We know certain areas generate certain types of experiencing.
This is the "coordination" aspect that interests me.
But the "promissory note" is not for the present physics. It's almost always offered as a tender that in future a new kind of physics will appear that will do what our present physics seems to fail to do.
Yes, exactly. I think I can prove that the current physics can’t do it. You need to predicate experiencing.
This too is mere prophecy...a different promise of "emergent" science that has not yet existed, but springs like Zeus from the head of mere Chronos (time).
Well, no. Not exactly. Remember, Galileo pointed one end of his telescope at his eye and the scientists at CERN all turn their heads toward their screens. It does spring like Zeus in once sense though… it cannot be derived…this is contingent fact that must be accounted for in the modeling not some derivation that can be done from the current physics by improved use of the current models.
If you say that about me its a strawman ok?
I don't make ad hominem arguments.
A straw man argument is not an ad hominem argument.
You can rest easy on that point.
And if you ask for my prophecy, I think that's never going to happen, because I don't see any way mere physicality corresponds to the inner experience of the "experiencer."
Nor do I. And I have repeatedly and elaborately said that. That is why what you are doing when you deploy “merely” is a strawman.
Ok. Not "mere physicality". But I am not proposing that. Why not "re-defined physicality".
Because it's a prophecy.
Ok, you are saying that you can’t say “Let’s build a house here” because it’s a “prophecy” that the house will arrive? Of course it is about the future. But characterizing an idea about the future as a prophecy is not the same thing. I am not using some sitting of birds or the entrails of some beast to divine new rules. I am just saying we need to learn to express the fact that matter experiences somehow in the rules. We already do in a sense. When a neuroscientist says that the brain sees not the heart then he has a law. Note that there are no legal rules like declaring someone “hand dead”. It is “brain dead”. So, we already have these rules somewhat. We just need to work them further into more explicit modelling so we can more generally predict what it is about the state vector of a system that allows us to tell that it is experiencing.
I know science is, in a certain regard, "aspirational" as a pursuit...that is, it aims at discovering things we admittedly have not yet discovered. And that's legitimate. But it also has to stay modest, and not make claims for which not only does the evidence not yet exist, but even the type of science or methodology does not exist. We have no reason to believe in any "new physics" that will supersede our conventional physics, until we have such a thing in hand.
But, as I have already noted we do have a lot of it in hand. Ever since the first caveman ducked a chucked rock, or used his hand to block it we have demonstrated some of this knowledge.
Time (chronos) is not an automatic producer of all currently non-existent things. The world still works only within the limitations of reality.
What? The world works within the limitations of reality? What? The world is real.
It is self contradictory because you are saying it "only functions as described in the current physics" and then saying "it experiences" and "it experiencing" is not "described in the current physics" at all, so without equivocation those claims cannot be made the same.
You completely miss me. You say I am saying it “only” functions as described in the current physics but if you re-read you will see that I say it cannot function only as described in the current physics and that is why we need to posits. We now have another word: “merely”, “solely”, “normally” and now “only” is added. You keep failing to express what I am saying by using those words.
When you imply that I am saying that some device that “merely”, “solely”, “normally” or “only” operates according to current physical law can experience, and then say that you don’t believe that because “merely”, “solely”, “normally” or “only” operating according to physical law is not experiencing, then that is a strawman. I totally agree that such a device can’t experience but it has nothing to do with what I am saying. You misrepresent what I say and then argue against it. That is what a strawman argument is.
Likewise. Here are two sentences: "That human brain sees." "That human brain has created a consciousness that sees" What decides which is more true than the other?
Why do we think either is true? I would say neither, actually.
Ok, so you don’t believe that human brains create the consciousness that sees? It is just some accidental coincidence then? And why, if I interrupt the brain chemically does seeing cease?
If Materialism were right, then every one of us would be a kind of zombie
But here again is where my kind of Dualism is better: I don't want to argue for ghosts and zombies...I want to consider the whole person as a body-soul complex, without having to pretend one of them doesn't really exist or can be simply dismissed as a form of the other.
You can do what you are trying to do by saying that the whole person is a brain that’s experiencing. We will disagree on “soul” as I think that they are eternal and therefore not conscious but leave it for another argument.
I want to ask, "What does the body bring to the equation, and what does the soul bring?" not "How can I get rid of one of them by relying entirely on explanations from the other."
There is no need to posit that a soul brings anything. You can just posit that matter if arranged in certain ways experiences. One less posit required. Still have to have the additional posits as properties of the one posted entity but not those and a new entity. A single entity with both “mere” physical properties those like red seeing.