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Meeting David Chalmers
Thread Created at Oct 9th 2009, 9:04:43 am | Started by john locke
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john locke replied 14 years ago (Oct 19th 2009, 5:32:52 am)
Brent says "The nature has phenomenal properties theory is clearly a subset of the brain identity theory. Within this model, there is not just a 'causal relationship with qualia', you can actually causally detect the cause and effect behavior of whatever it is that also subjectively has the phenomenal properties. The theory also predicts we will even be able to see, causally, and behaviorally, how all this is 'bound together' and abstractly discover how the mind thinks about and answers such a question as "What is red like" and how it knows the difference between red and green and so on." As IT theory has too many faults to be a viable scientific theory, I suggest we need to expand our concept of the natural world, as Bernard Carr and I do, to include the brain (with its NCCS) and phenomenal consciousness (with its qualia). The investigations you refer to are all about NCCS themselves: they say nothing about the relation about NCCS and qualia—as A.J. Ayer pointed out many years ago.
Grey replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 9:53:17 am)
John asks what is a digital/frequency circuit and notes that anything that is computable can be computed. Don't get me wrong, I am not attacking that position (That the brain is computable), I am simply taking a short-cut, via Analog Circuits to implement a specific implicit memory cell architecture. The question is not "Is it computable" it is. The question is, is it economic to use software to compute it? I think it might not be all that economical to base the simulation too heavily on parallel processing systems made of sequentially programmable computers and software. But I am still moving in that direction, in case it is. Usually Hardware is fossilized software, so by skipping the software step, I can go to hardware implimentation, without needing to go through the software implementation stage. If you know someone who wants to simulate my ideas in software, I am willing to talk to them, but face it, with my income limitations it is going to be a while before I can get the simulation programmed. Of course it is also going to be a while before I can get the circuit I have characterized bread boarded and pattented. Whether that patent is worth anything also depends on whether the patents it depends on , are held by people who want too much for the per-unit licensing. Oh, the digital/frequency thing, I am using a frequency tag on the individual implicit memory cells, so that they can be filtered. These days you can integrate digital with analog circuits really easily, so I think it might be practical.
Stathis replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 9:21:36 am)
Grey wrote, "Since then I have realized, that mostly this argument is a paper tiger, dependent on the idea that we are going to program a computer system to replace the brain. The computer system we use, will probably either include a Virtual Machine that works differently from the standard software, and thus eliminates any demand that software works only one way, and/or has completely different circuits that work using a completely different architectural approach, which is what I personally am working on. "Don't worry it will still be implemented in silicon, although I am currently trending towards a hybrid digital/frequency based circuit and away from strict adherence to Digital architectures." What is a "digital/frequency based circuit"? By the Turing principle, anything that is computable can be computed by a Turing machine, which means effectively it can be computed by a digital computer with enough memory.
Stathis replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 7:44:34 am)
Brent, I would say that the binding problem and the qualia problem would, mysteriously, be taken care of if the nuts and bolts problem is taken care of. This is why I previously used the example of aliens who have no idea whether or in what way humans are conscious repairing damaged brains. If they do a good job the human will behave as he did before the injury, and he will also be conscious in the same way as he was before the injury (even though the aliens will still have no idea about this). There are only two ways the above scenario could be wrong. The first way is that neurons incorporates processes that are not computable. The aliens would then only succeed if they replaced like with like; a computer model of a neuron simply wouldn't behave in the same way as the biological original. I think you have indicated you don't believe this, but if you do believe it, on what evidence? The second way the above scenario could be wrong is if the external behaviour of the human would be the same but the qualia different. That would mean that you could be blind but behave as if you were normally sighted and believe that you were normally sighted. You would be a partial zombie, in other words. But you have indicated that if you were a partial zombie, you would know about it. The simplest and least weird solution would therefore seem to be that it is possible to emulate brain function, and that the qualia will thus also necessarily be emulated.
Stathis replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 6:27:49 am)
Richard wrote: "You go on to talk about "functionally equivalent analogue" neuron replacement which is a different argument. I agree that replacing neurons with functionally equivalent devices makes no odds. My argument is that digital computers cannot achieve functional equivalence with neurons: there is no program that can emulate the brain's functioning." By "functionally equivalent" I mean that in the first instance external behaviour will be the same. You replace part of the visual cortex of someone who has had a head injury with an electronic visual cortex and he declares that he can see just the same as before and behaves in every way just as before. I would say in that case that he *can* see just as before. The alternative is very weird: that he is a partial zombie and hasn't noticed, or that he is blind and struggling to tell us but observes in horror as his mouth, seemingly of its own accord, declares that everything is fine. Perhaps you are saying that no computer would even in theory be able to copy the function of a neuron well enough to be equivalent in this sense as a replacement part? Maybe, but conventional belief has it that neurons work using chemistry and chemistry is computable, even if it isn't practically computable with current technology. You need to have a good reason to claim otherwise. "I remain firmly of the belief that computational functionalism is false and suggest we agree to differ." That's where this discussion might end but I don't think we're at an impasse yet.
Grey replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 6:05:04 am)
Somehow my message on page 2 got overlooked.... No matter. The way I read the argument 1. Either you don't believe that anyone can program software that has a phenomenal nature, because the Phenomenality, involves some Psychic aspect that won't transfer over to silicon via a program. A valid belief, but only a belief because you haven't defined that psychic something except by its effect... ie. Phenomenalism, but somehow it is verbotten to try like it is verbotten to explain F=M*A, which is something that Physicists would be puzzled to find blocking them. 2. Or, you believe that it is possible with a good enough model, to capture, any function of the brain, even those functions formerly thought to be psychic, either by replacing neurons with silicon, which while possible would require a silicon equivalent to a neuron that we don't have yet, or by figuring out how the brain actually works, and building an analog, or emulation/simulation of it. (Emulation if we want to have an exact analog that acts with all the right signals, and Simulation if we are willing just to have a model that "Works Alike". I realized these two basic camps existed back when I was very young, and realized that the basic test for solving the problem was to let the silicon mages, loose to do their worst. At least that way we would know where the brain and mind models were different, and therefore what psychic part was missing, if only by elimination. Are you really sure that it would be phenomenalism that was missing, or are you just buying the majority view? Since then I have realized, that mostly this argument is a paper tiger, dependent on the idea that we are going to program a computer system to replace the brain. The computer system we use, will probably either include a Virtual Machine that works differently from the standard software, and thus eliminates any demand that software works only one way, and/or has completely different circuits that work using a completely different architectural approach, which is what I personally am working on. Don't worry it will still be implemented in silicon, although I am currently trending towards a hybrid digital/frequency based circuit and away from strict adherence to Digital architectures. Have I defined a direct replacement for the neuron in silicon? Well no, I had no need to. All we are really interested in modeling is the data processing regime in the brain, and that is mostly related to signals that pass through the brain. So all I modeled was the signal regime of the neuron. Further because transistors work in a completely different manner than neurons, implementing a transistor based element meant I had to understand what the neurons were doing in groups of different types of neurons, and implement THAT function instead of the neuron function. By doing this interpretation, I have clearly moved away from an Emulation, towards a simulation. The guys that are doing the emulations are tying up hours and hours of large computer time, down in CERN, and have big buck supporters, I am a welfare bum, working alone as yet, and can't afford more than about $5.00 at any one point to invest in my work, (Which is partly why people keep claiming I am arm waving) So let us talk about my first circuit. Does it deal with the requirements of Phenomenalism? Well No, But it does group data together into a Data-Cloud when scaled up to arrays. I have long since been informed that I can't call the Data-Cloud concept a Quale, because it doesn't fit the Phenomenalist mind set of what a Quale is supposed to be. However the nature of the data cloud is that it tends to cluster elements from all over the brain into "Functional Clusters" if only by linking them to a frequency tag so that the data can be filtered. It is this frequency tagging that makes my first circuit a hybrid digital/frequency circuit. Am I arm waving, or just really bad at transferring my highly abstract thoughts, into English so that other people can understand them... Experience seems to suggest the latter effect, I have written 5 books that no one else can read.
Stathis replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 6:04:52 am)
john locke wrote: "I would reprhase this. Neither the brain, nor any whole or part replacement of it, could be said (if we reject IT) to either "possess" or "lack" qualia. The brain is in causal relationship with qualia (sensations. etc).It is a part of a larger representational (communication) mechanism. It is however possible that an otherwise functionally perfect replacement of a whole or part of a brain, would fail to act as a target for psi influences that (it is postulated) normally interact with a normal brain (under this theory). In which case one would expect the subject to have a hemianopia not a denial syndrome would one not? However, this matter is complicated by the fact that the construction of phenomenal events and much of our visual knowledge are functions of different parts of the brain (vide associative agnosia and blind sight)" This is consistent with the assertion that IF the replacement part left the system's external behaviour unchanged THEN the system's consciousness would also be unchanged.
Brent_Allsop replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 5:25:08 am)
John said: "Neither the brain, nor any whole or part replacement of it, could be said (if we reject IT) to either "possess" or "lack" qualia. The brain is in causal relationship with qualia." The nature has phenomenal properties theory is clearly a subset of the brain identity theory. Within this model, there is not just a 'causal relationship with qualia', you can actually causally detect the cause and effect behavior of whatever it is that also subjectively has the phenomenal properties. The theory also predicts we will even be able to see, causally, and behaviorally, how all this is 'bound together' and abstractly discover how the mind thinks about and answers such a question as "What is red like" and how it knows the difference between red and green and so on. The theory predicts that you will be able to model such material interactions though with some significant amount of difficulty and inefficiency (i.e. it is always easier and more efficient to tell the truth, than to concoct lies and to use the real natural thing, than to try try to emulate some significant and intelligently binding behavior with discrete transistors and abstract representations or models of such.) And we believe this is exactly what nuts and bolts researchers are already successfully doing - watching whatever it is that has the phenomenal properties. It's all the same stuff, predicts this theory. They just can't yet see what is all important because they are not yet looking for it in the right way - thinking that behavioral properties and abstract representations of such are all that matters. And as I have been saying, this theory also predicts, falsifiably so, that they will run into significant problems once they start to replace neurons with anything other than precisely whatever it is that has the particular phenomenal properties currently being used by the brain (surely, it could be something as simple as a particular neurotransmitter, that has red, which we already know causally just about everything about it.). And all of this is part of what it means to eff the ineffable or to as Ramachandran describes it: 'connect two brains with a bundle of neurons". Brent Allsop
john locke replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 4:09:07 am)
Brent says: "To expect that the original phenomenal property or fundamental property can be taken from abstract representations, or that fundamental phenomenal properties would arise from any abstract representation, regardless of what matter is representing it, is just the wrong and backwards way to think about it." Here I fully agree with Brent.
john locke replied 14 years ago (Oct 18th 2009, 4:04:59 am)
Stathis said "But maybe it's a zombie?" What is your definition of a zombie? "Then consider the case where part of the brain is replaced with a functional equivalent. The whole brain would then behave from an external observer's point of view as per normal, since the replacement part is functionally equivalent; but if the replacement lacks qualia,..." I would reprhase this. Neither the brain, nor any whole or part replacement of it, could be said (if we reject IT) to either "possess" or "lack" qualia. The brain is in causal relationship with qualia (sensations. etc).It is a part of a larger representational (communication) mechanism. It is however possible that an otherwise functionally perfect replacement of a whole or part of a brain, would fail to act as a target for psi influences that (it is postulated) normally interact with a normal brain (under this theory). In which case one would expect the subject to have a hemianopia not a denial syndrome would one not? However, this matter is complicated by the fact that the construction of phenomenal events and much of our visual knowledge are functions of different parts of the brain (vide associative agnosia and blind sight) "Is "The Walls of Plato's Cave" available online?" Alas no: it is even out of print but a used copy turns up every now and then on Amazon.com