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What is dynamic / geometric / observational?
Thread Created at Nov 10th 2007, 9:39:32 pm | Started by Jo Edwards
Number of Post in this thread: 6
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Jo Edwards replied 16 years ago (Nov 13th 2007, 1:38:57 pm)
No, Brent, I fear you have still entirely missed the essential metaphysical/logical point about the complementary accounts of physics. Remember that I said that dynamic accoounts are applications of, ie instantiations of operation of, rules. They are not abstact models. The complementarity/duality has nothing to do with contrasting 'physical examples' or 'real instances' with abstactions. It has to do with real instances described in two mutually exclusive ways. It is the general prinicple of which Bohr's complementarity is the most unavoidable example. However, Bohr's complementarity was not new. The inventors of physics knew all about it. Students of the human mind from Plato to William James have always known about it. We had just lost their insight through the Chinese whispers of the modern schoolroom.
Brent_Allsop replied 16 years ago (Nov 13th 2007, 1:28:38 am)
Stathis asked: "this is starting to look like a mailing list debate. Is this appropriate for the Canonizer, in the interest of hammering out a camp statement or statements?" From my POV, I think this is very appropriate. That is why we didn't use a simple talk or "discussion" page like wikipedia uses for its articles. This kind of extensive debate can happen here, in another notes group, or for that matter, in the vestibule of a church with your bishop. But to me, the important thing is that once you have had such a debate, you summarize and concisely state what was covered after it is all over. And the POV camp statements are the place for this. If it ends up that you agree, you will both be in the same camp, if it ends up that you disagree, you will both enter and support two sibling competing camps. And the next time the issue comes up when someone new comes on the set, everyone can quickly get up to speed and make some real progress. Once you have a concise summary, and a repository for such, this can give all debates some formal structure, memory, and a real goal to focus on - i.e. the final concise statements of belief. A similar thing occurs with peer review journals, but that is just way to hard, slow, and ivory tower based to be able to make any quick progress on things as new scientific data is streaming at us so fast. And the worst part, it is impossible to get any idea of how many people are in any particular camp, or want things a certain way. How do you know if you are reading just another crappy peer reviewed article in some Psyche journal, or one that everyone agrees could dramatically change the thinking on all this? Without such polling or Canonizing ability we all end up using our own terminology our own way which ends up being a huge mess for everyone and no one can communicate. For example, it seems to me that Jo is using some terminology here that I think is very misleading and even mistaken for me and my world, and this is why I couldn't initially understand what he was saying. Jo had to finally say: "Dynamic accounts of space and time are the applications of rules that predict observations, such as: Newton's F=ma or s=vt or Schrodinger's equation. Nothing in these accounts *has* an appearance; but their function is to *predict* appearances. The distinction is simple, crucial, but rarely understood." For me, a better term than "Dynamic accounts" would just be "abstracted model". And the usage of "appearance" is just completely confusing to me because appearance could involve the entire complex and controversial perception process. At first I'm thinking, Is he talking about how our knowledge in our brain of something we are apprehending is? Or maybe the way the surface of something reflects 700 nm light at the other end of the perception process?" After Jo further explained things, I finally translated this into what I consider a much better way to say it which is that an appearance is just a physical insanitation or real example of what the model or abstracted theory represents (regardless of how accurate the particular abstract model is.). Jo, have I successfully translated your terminology into mine? Or am I still missing something important? Of course, I likely use my terminology because of my computer background which always uses terms like abstract models and instantiations of such. While Jo is obviously very educated in the history of all this and many other things, which I am completely ignorant of. So in his school of thought, this is surely the better language to use. But then the question is, which one is the best for the most people? And if we could easily determine (canonize if you will) this we could finally communicate much more effectively and quickly right? If 80% of the people think Jo's way of saying this is better, then I'd sure like to know this, so I could better communicate to this crowd, and know what they are talking about the first time around. But of course, in my POV, I don't believe this to be the case. So, if my translations of what Jo is saying here is sufficient, and I'm not missing something important, would it make sense to create another topic on just this terminology to find out for sure which terminology most people like best when talking about "Dynamic Accounts" vs "Appearance"? If I'm by far in the minority, I'll repent and change as soon as I can know such. I'll get started on some verbiage on such a topic to try to get this particular terminology Canonized. Brent Allsop
Stathis replied 16 years ago (Nov 12th 2007, 3:55:40 pm)
Jo, Thank-you for your detailed post. I have a conceptual difficulty when you say "We all agree that our experiences seem to be all together..." and then later "neuroscience now makes it highly unlikely that there is a single subject 'me' in a brain". Sure, the machinery generating consciousness is distributed over space and time, but that is quite different to saying that consciousness is distributed over space and time. With consciousness, what seems and what is are one and the same. BTW Brent, this is starting to look like like a mailing list debate. Is this appropriate for the Canonizer, in the interest of hammering out a camp statement or statements? Stathis
Jo Edwards replied 16 years ago (Nov 12th 2007, 2:14:30 pm)
Dear Brent, Dynamic accounts of space and time are the applications of rules that predict observations, such as: Newton's F=ma or s=vt or Schrodinger's equation. Nothing in these accounts *has* an appearance; but their function is to *predict* appearances. The distinction is simple, crucial, but rarely understood. Geometric accounts are tricks we use to reassure ourselves that our dynamic accounts are valid. We imagine that a ball thrown in the air forms a series of 'stills' with the ball in different places and that we can also do a 'time-lapse' which shows the ball having a 'path' which is a parabola. We can use these accounts to check dynamics because our brains carry unconscious machinery which is capable of checking these stills and time-lapses (with unbelievable accuracy for sportsmen and musicians) and giving us the feeling 'yup, that's how it is'. Of course before Galileo the machinery sometimes said something different – which shows that it is programmed by schoolroom learning as well as experience. Experiential accounts are just experience – seeing a ball. (The space we see the ball in is quite different from the space metric of the dynamic rules. They might seem the same but if you consider them carefully you find glaring incompatibilities.) The trouble is that our experiences also involve beliefs and concepts and can only be discussed in language, so that it might be argued that we can only ever discuss accounts which are heavily tainted with, if not swallowed up by, the geometric approach or similar 'bridging accounts'. The dynamic/experiential duality is so fundamental to physics that it is difficult to say more. What is more difficult is dealing with the many hybrid, bridging, generally geometric accounts. The endless debate over interpretations of quantum theory is really just a failure to understand the mess you get into if you do not see these accounts for what they are. When I say fading qualia is not problem I mean that each time you replace a cell you replace an entire experience of the world. This has nothing to do with a spot on a strawberry. I am not sure why you put cell in scare quotes. Cells are biological realities: nothing else. The idea that each cell deals with a separate piece of the picture is as far as I am aware baseless and would serve no computational purpose. The whole point of having cells where many inputs come together to generate an output is that they handle *many* bits of data. What would be the point of a cell handling just 'one red spot'. If red was in the left hemisphere and green in the right then nothing would have the experience of both, because nothing can be in both places at once. Nothing in any known computational system can have access to signals in two different places. Whatever things in our heads are aware of red and green, they have to be single receiving units so cannot be in both hemispheres. What seems so sad is that this was clear to people in the seventeenth century and widely discussed in the nineteenth but now we seem to be back to a medieval view. Something or somethings in my head is/are aware of both red and green. The medieval view is that there is only one such something and it is me or my soul. Since Leibniz's time it has been clear that this assumption has no rational basis, and won't work. This relates to Stathis's point. There is often confusion between the two meanings of unified. Unification can mean 'joining together' in some way. It can also mean 'creating a single thing'. A publisher unifies pages into a book but that does not mean there is only one copy of the book. We all agree that our experiences seem to be all together, although it is not clear what the alternative would be. On the other hand, we have no evidence to support the idea that there is only one copy of such an experience in a head at one time. We have no reason to think that there is only one subject or 'me' in this sense. This comes as a surprise to people, but it has been discussed for centuries and neuroscience now makes it highly unlikely that there is a single subject 'me' in a brain. Biological systems do not work like that, for good survival reasons. It is very easy for non-neuroscientists to assume that neuroscience is steadily working towards an account of a single subject spanning both hemispheres. However, I doubt you will find anything in the conventional neuroscience literature that actually proposes a viable hypothesis along these lines. The only proposals I am aware of are 'fringe' science accounts which may be courageous and interestingly wrong but which I suspect would have been picked to pieces in a few minutes in academic circles in the nineteenth century. I am afraid to say that to become a student of consciousness one has to read the historical literature, as in any subject. One cannot just work with intuitions. Things have crashed because twentieth century neurologists never got taught any basic metaphysics (in the sense of the word that Newton and Leibniz used). Probably the best account of all the background issues is William James's Principles of Psychology (1890). However, as he admits, James bottles out of a solution (twice) so you have to draw your own conclusions. If you want my conclusion try my book (it will come up on Google/Amazon) - it is short and sweet as these books go.
Stathis replied 16 years ago (Nov 11th 2007, 7:30:58 am)
Brent, I find this statement of Jo Edward's remarkable: "You talk of unification of phenomenal properties into a single consciousness across two hemispheres, yet I know of very few people who overtly suggest this occurs, nor seen any evidence that it does." Certainly *my* consciousness seems to be unified. Have I been a freak of nature without knowing it all these years?
Brent_Allsop replied 16 years ago (Nov 10th 2007, 9:39:32 pm)
Folks, This is a reply to a message posted by Jo Edwards in the forum on his camp here: http://test.canonizer.com/thread.asp/23/11/1/2#2 Instead of replying in that camp forum, I am posting this reply here in the topic forum in hopes to reach a larger audience about what we are working on. -------------------- Dear Jo, Can you help me understand what you mean by the following? * "dynamic account" * "geometric account" * "observational account" * the term "aware" when you say: "each cell is aware separately". * "the dynamic account of the world cannot have any appearance" You said: " The fading qualia story is no problem since each time you replace a cell you lose that awareness, but the others remain the same." This sounds like what I talk about when such a "cell" that represents a spot on a red strawberry, when it is replaced with silicon, will result in the same spot on the strawberry not having the same phenomenal property. Surely, there is consciousness in our left hemisphere composed of such "cells", perhaps with red phenomenal properties. Also, there is consciousness in our right hemisphere composed of additional "cells" - say that are green. Are you saying that we can't be aware of both of these and there phenomenal differences across hemispheres? Thanks, Brent Allsop