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Old 28th December 2012, 09:01 AM   #361
Mijin
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
If it runs a reflective subroutine on the routine sensing the colour blue, it is experiencing the colour blue.
No, it isn't.

I could write you a program say 20 lines long that would have one thread that reads pixel values from an image, and another thread that monitors the first and declares "I have seen blue!" at appropriate times. But it is no more experiencing anything than a program that prints "Ouch!" when you hit the space bar. It's just a short set of syntactic operations; there's no room for an alternative perspective or layer here.

I don't think there's any magic to consciousness, but there's rather more to it than self-reflective syntax. From an AI and neuroscientific perspective it is a fascinating problem, I really don't understand why some people are determined to handwave it.
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:26 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
No, it isn't.
Yes it is.

Quote:
I could write you a program say 20 lines long that would have one thread that reads pixel values from an image, and another thread that monitors the first and declares "I have seen blue!" at appropriate times. But it is no more experiencing anything than a program that prints "Ouch!" when you hit the space bar. It's just a short set of syntactic operations; there's no room for an alternative perspective or layer here.
That is an alternative perspective or layer. By definition.

Quote:
I don't think there's any magic to consciousness, but there's rather more to it than self-reflective syntax.
Such as?
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:34 AM   #363
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:39 AM   #364
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:46 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
That reminds me: "ideas are just patterns in the brain". From what point of view do you compare the idea "ideas are just patterns in the brain" with what "ideas are just patterns in the brain" represents? ie compare concept with reality.
I am not sure, would you expand your question? The events labelled as brain process in semantic exchange are symbols for the actual events of the brain itself?
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Old 28th December 2012, 10:08 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't mean to be flippant, but one of the problems I have with this story is the same as the underpants gnomes in South Park. To misquote them:

Step 1. Objective stuff happens in the brain... atoms move about in a quantum kind of a way, neurons do stuff, photons hit the retina, time passes.
Step 2. Magic happens.
Step 3. Consciousness.

If consciousness is just a human invented term for a whole bunch of patterns that happen to occur in nature that humans find interesting and have grouped together under one term to talk about, fine. If not, could you expand on step 2.
Yes, step 2 is life.

Can you tell me how a non living thing experiences something?

I would also like to point out that consciousness is distinct from mind. All living things are conscious to a point, but only more advanced life forms have mind.
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Old 28th December 2012, 10:15 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
And so are you. Please show me objective evidence that some special thing called "subjective experience" exists. It's an arbitrary convention created by humans to lump together a bunch of systems with self-reflexive features (as Pixy has been explaining). It is not a thing or a process in and of itself.
It seems that you believe in a "consciousness of the gaps", no matter how detailed a mechanism you're shown you can always say that that's not enough, there must be something else.
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Old 28th December 2012, 11:41 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That is an alternative perspective or layer. By definition.
No, it isn't. A program is a set of syntactic operations, by definition. If you wish to call it something else, such as an experience, then that's an alternative layer, or perspective.

Quote:
Such as?
Such as all the features of consciousness. The red I am seeing right now has certain qualities that syntactic operations alone do not have.
Of course I thoroughly expect that one day we'll be able to map these operations to qualia. But that day is not today, as no such mapping exists.
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Old 28th December 2012, 07:13 PM   #369
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The mystery of consciousness -- as explained by Sam Harris.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/t...-consciousness
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/t...nsciousness-ii
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Old 28th December 2012, 08:19 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Yes it is.
No, Pixy, it's not.

That's because you don't even have a theory for blue.

Not even in human brains, much less machines.

You can study the organic machine all you like, and you might discover the neural correlates of blue, but the NCs of blue are not blue.

Let's take a common case... a human being looking up at a clear daytime sky.

There is no blue in the wavelength of the light.

There is no blue in the retinal activity.

There is no blue in the neural activity.

Blue cannot be deduced from any of that.

Now, because of how our brains are built, under those circumstances most of our brains will perform blue.

But of course, we can also alter our brains so that they perform something else entirely, perhaps not even color.

And of course our brains can (and do) perform blue without any exposure to light at all.

So no, all that organic machinery is not, in itself, blue. Blue happens as a result of it, but neither you nor anyone else, at the present moment, can explain why.

And because of that, no one has any idea how to make a machine perform blue.

That is simply a hard cold fact.
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Old 28th December 2012, 08:25 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Of course I thoroughly expect that one day we'll be able to map these operations to qualia. But that day is not today, as no such mapping exists.
But even if we map it, we're still not there.

Knowing all the NCCs (neural correlates of consciousness) still would not explain why those neural states are correlated with various experiences.

Everyone actually working in the field accepts this, and understands that we currently have no basis even for a theory of why any given NCC is associated with a given experience, and not a different experience, or no experience at all.

The AI crowd on this board have simply adopted a long-disproven definition of consciousness and are using that to assert that they're studying consciousness when in fact they're doing no such thing.

And they get to deny that this is what they're doing because they only read about machines (ETA: and non-conscious brain processes) and know next to nothing about the current state of brain science when it comes to consciousness.

For them, if you can get the machine to respond differently to various wavelengths of light, then you've given it the experience of color. Which is, of course, self-serving nonsense.
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Last edited by Piggy; 28th December 2012 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 28th December 2012, 08:34 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
That first article is pretty good until he lobs this bomb:

"I believe that this notion of emergence is incomprehensible"

He has absolutely no basis for that assertion.

We've figured out tricky stuff before. There's no reason to simply brush aside the possibility that we will eventually figure out how the brain manages to produce a "point of view".
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Old 28th December 2012, 08:35 PM   #373
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Originally Posted by Dancing David
Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
That reminds me: "ideas are just patterns in the brain". From what point of view do you compare the idea "ideas are just patterns in the brain" with what "ideas are just patterns in the brain" represents? ie compare concept with reality.
I am not sure, would you expand your question? The events labelled as brain process in semantic exchange are symbols for the actual events of the brain itself?

Should the idea that ideas are nothing but patterns in the brain be nothing but a pattern in the brain, then how do you go about comparing this idea with reality... as the only reality you experience (in knowing such an idea is only a pattern in the brain)... is this pattern in the brain?

Don't know if i could state it more clearly. Makes no difference... just for fun.

Still, it reminds me of my first point:

Originally Posted by Dancing David
Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
That "it's all just physical processes" takes place in mental, inter-subjective space.
Which is physical, there is no kantian meta whatever.

Two quotes up you referred to "semantic exchange". One quote up I referred to an idea which "takes place in mental, inter-subjective space". Far as I can tell we're both talking about the same thing.

Am I wrong about this?
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:04 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
That first article is pretty good until he lobs this bomb:

"I believe that this notion of emergence is incomprehensible"

He has absolutely no basis for that assertion.

We've figured out tricky stuff before. There's no reason to simply brush aside the possibility that we will eventually figure out how the brain manages to produce a "point of view".

I’d say Harris most certainly has some basis for that assertion. I think you are reading his conclusion from a rather narrow perspective.

The notion of emergence describes the movement from the condition of non-being to the condition of being. Comprehension of this situation would require an experience of non-being. That’s what comprehension is. Understanding the phenomenon in question. Not merely describing objective conditions…but the fact of the matter. The fact of the matter (hypothetically) is that at point A there is non-being…and at point B there is being. Being…subjective reality…consciousness…is the phenomenon in question.

They may be necessarily metaphysical questions…but ‘why there is something as opposed to nothing’ and ‘why there is something that has the ability to recognize itself as something’ are the two most intractable questions currently under consideration. I doubt they are merely questions like any other that will be solved because “we’ve figured out tricky stuff before”.
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:14 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by annnnoid View Post
I’d say Harris most certainly has some basis for that assertion. I think you are reading his conclusion from a rather narrow perspective.

The notion of emergence describes the movement from the condition of non-being to the condition of being. Comprehension of this situation would require an experience of non-being. That’s what comprehension is. Understanding the phenomenon in question. Not merely describing objective conditions…but the fact of the matter. The fact of the matter (hypothetically) is that at point A there is non-being…and at point B there is being. Being…subjective reality…consciousness…is the phenomenon in question.

They may be necessarily metaphysical questions…but ‘why there is something as opposed to nothing’ and ‘why there is something that has the ability to recognize itself as something’ are the two most intractable questions currently under consideration. I doubt they are merely questions like any other that will be solved because “we’ve figured out tricky stuff before”.
Emergent properties are not all that complicated, actually.

I agree that the question "Why is there anything rather than nothing?" is likely unsolvable.

But there's no clear reason to believe that continued study of the brain will never produce a workable theory of consciousness.
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:48 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
No, it isn't.
Yes it is.

Quote:
A program is a set of syntactic operations, by definition.
Sure.

Quote:
If you wish to call it something else, such as an experience, then that's an alternative layer, or perspective.
Which is precisely what the reflective subroutine provides.

Quote:
Such as all the features of consciousness. The red I am seeing right now has certain qualities that syntactic operations alone do not have.
Evidence?
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:49 PM   #377
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
No, Pixy, it's not.
Yes it is.

Quote:
That's because you don't even have a theory for blue.
For subjective experience, you mean? Reflection.
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:52 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Everyone actually working in the field accepts this, and understands that we currently have no basis even for a theory of why any given NCC is associated with a given experience, and not a different experience, or no experience at all.
We don't have a detailed and specific operational theory mapping human neural activity human consciousness. But we do have a basis for such a theory, and you've been provided with it.

Quote:
The AI crowd on this board have simply adopted a long-disproven definition of consciousness and are using that to assert that they're studying consciousness when in fact they're doing no such thing.
Evidence for any of that?

Quote:
And they get to deny that this is what they're doing because they only read about machines (ETA: and non-conscious brain processes) and know next to nothing about the current state of brain science when it comes to consciousness.
Or any of that?

Quote:
For them, if you can get the machine to respond differently to various wavelengths of light, then you've given it the experience of color.
Completely and irredeemably wrong. That is precisely what we've said is not the case.
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Old 29th December 2012, 12:39 AM   #379
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The PM/Dennett philosophy sub-routine

Dumb down the definition of consciousness to basic syntax to eliminate the all too human semantic complexity associated with consciousness.
Play dumb to any objections that humans are more interesting than that by asking for evidence.
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Old 29th December 2012, 01:20 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
No, Pixy, it's not.

That's because you don't even have a theory for blue.

Not even in human brains, much less machines.

You can study the organic machine all you like, and you might discover the neural correlates of blue, but the NCs of blue are not blue.

Let's take a common case... a human being looking up at a clear daytime sky.

There is no blue in the wavelength of the light.

There is no blue in the retinal activity.

There is no blue in the neural activity.

Blue cannot be deduced from any of that.

Now, because of how our brains are built, under those circumstances most of our brains will perform blue.

But of course, we can also alter our brains so that they perform something else entirely, perhaps not even color.

And of course our brains can (and do) perform blue without any exposure to light at all.

So no, all that organic machinery is not, in itself, blue. Blue happens as a result of it, but neither you nor anyone else, at the present moment, can explain why.

And because of that, no one has any idea how to make a machine perform blue.

That is simply a hard cold fact.
Agreed. You and I probably experience blue in the same way (unless your brain is much different than mine, but we can objectively measure that). A machine "performing blue" is information that is "priviliaged", like internal quantum states.
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Old 29th December 2012, 05:04 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
The PM/Dennett philosophy sub-routine

Dumb down the definition of consciousness to basic syntax to eliminate the all too human semantic complexity associated with consciousness.
Play dumb to any objections that humans are more interesting than that by asking for evidence.
The Vague Problem of Consciousness:
-insist that common definitions of medicine and neurology are incomplete
-make philosophical statements about science
-insist there is some undefinable quality that exists
-refuse to explain what that quality is
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Old 29th December 2012, 05:05 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Should the idea that ideas are nothing but patterns in the brain be nothing but a pattern in the brain, then how do you go about comparing this idea with reality... as the only reality you experience (in knowing such an idea is only a pattern in the brain)... is this pattern in the brain?

Don't know if i could state it more clearly. Makes no difference... just for fun.

Still, it reminds me of my first point:




Two quotes up you referred to "semantic exchange". One quote up I referred to an idea which "takes place in mental, inter-subjective space". Far as I can tell we're both talking about the same thing.

Am I wrong about this?
Close, I shall ponder.
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Old 29th December 2012, 05:48 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
The Vague Problem of Consciousness:
-insist that common definitions of medicine and neurology are incomplete
-make philosophical statements about science
-insist there is some undefinable quality that exists
-refuse to explain what that quality is
Indeed.
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Old 29th December 2012, 05:51 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Agreed. You and I probably experience blue in the same way (unless your brain is much different than mine, but we can objectively measure that).
Nope. We know that different people experience colours in significantly different ways. You can test this, for example, by asking people with normal vision but different cultural backgrounds to distinguish between colours.

Quote:
A machine "performing blue" is information that is "priviliaged", like internal quantum states.
Evidence? More than that, evidence that such a thing is even possible?
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Old 29th December 2012, 06:55 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
The Vague Problem of Consciousness:
-insist that common definitions of medicine and neurology are incomplete
-make philosophical statements about science
-insist there is some undefinable quality that exists
-refuse to explain what that quality is
David if you insist that art is irrelevant to any coherent discussion on consciousness I am afraid you will have excluded most of consciousness in your discussion.
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Old 29th December 2012, 07:04 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
But even if we map it, we're still not there.

Knowing all the NCCs (neural correlates of consciousness) still would not explain why those neural states are correlated with various experiences.
I agree, and I think your summary (and Harris') is very good.

I was just saying we don't even know the NCCs yet. Let alone actually tackling the hard problem. So I am puzzled why some people are so keen to make claims like "We know that it's just the conviction 'I have seen blue'" or "If it runs a reflective subroutine on the routine sensing the colour blue, it is experiencing the colour blue".
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:21 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
It seems that you believe in a "consciousness of the gaps", no matter how detailed a mechanism you're shown you can always say that that's not enough, there must be something else.
You have me wrong. I intended all my posts to be taken as representative of positions I hold or believe. I don't think I have my heart set on one explanation of consciousness. The true explanation is what it is and the experience is what it is. I would like free will to exists, but I'm not going to defending it purely because of that.

I said earlier on that I found the exprience of consciousness, or more precisely - that there is an experience of consciousness surprising. That's because I don't see how it can be compatible with other things I believe. Many of those beliefs are fairly close to Pixy's. Which are in turn similar to beliefs that people I studied AI with held many years ago. I'm certainly wrong somewhere. I don't feel any need to arbitrarily come to a decision about where that is.
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:26 AM   #388
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Does this thread reduce down to:

Person A: My experience of consciousness is that there are aspects that can not be reduced to that which can be objectively observed.
Person B: Please provide objective evidence for this phonomena that can not be objectively observed.

Does anybody who disagrees with Pixy think something different to this? If that's what people mean, then I don't see the purpose of Pixy's/PersonB's question.
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:37 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
David if you insist that art is irrelevant to any coherent discussion on consciousness I am afraid you will have excluded most of consciousness in your discussion.
Further strawmen? Surely you can do better than continuing to make false dichotomies and false accusations.
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:38 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Does this thread reduce down to:

Person A: My experience of consciousness is that there are aspects that can not be reduced to that which can be objectively observed.
Person B: Please provide objective evidence for this phonomena that can not be objectively observed.

Does anybody who disagrees with Pixy think something different to this? If that's what people mean, then I don't see the purpose of Pixy's/PersonB's question.
The purpose is to trick people into accepting the PM law because if they don't they believe in a magic bean.
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:43 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Further strawmen? Surely you can do better than continuing to make false dichotomies and false accusations.
Which artist accepts that his inner life's highest expression is simply the result of the clunking cogs of a big machine?

Which artist could even bother to proceed with their art if it was what they believed?

You better get your conscious machines to believe in some rubbish otherwise they will fail the Turing test for sure.
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:31 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Let alone actually tackling the hard problem.
I am puzzled that you seem to think there's a Hard Problem. (As opposed to just a hard problem, the sort of thing we tackle every day.)

See David's point on Vague Problem Consciousness.
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:37 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Does this thread reduce down to:

Person A: My experience of consciousness is that there are aspects that can not be reduced to that which can be objectively observed.
Person B: Please provide objective evidence for this phonomena that can not be objectively observed.

Does anybody who disagrees with Pixy think something different to this? If that's what people mean, then I don't see the purpose of Pixy's/PersonB's question.
Person A is making an argument from ignorance and/or incredulity. Person B is trying to get them to present a rational, evidence-based argument.
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Old 29th December 2012, 10:48 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
...

I am puzzled why some people are so keen to make claims like "We know that it's just the conviction 'I have seen blue'" or "If it runs a reflective subroutine on the routine sensing the colour blue, it is experiencing the colour blue".
That's because you may not be a logical hard materialist or even a logical immaterialist.

If the statement that confuses you is wrong their worldview collapses.
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Old 29th December 2012, 11:02 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
I am puzzled that you seem to think there's a Hard Problem. (As opposed to just a hard problem, the sort of thing we tackle every day.)
There is, of course, no distinction between a 'hard problem' and a 'Hard Problem'. The hard problem of consciousness means exactly what it says. Perhaps it will be solved tomorrow. But I doubt it.

Quote:
Person A is making an argument from ignorance and/or incredulity.
I think I agree with you. For that wording.

Person A should just say something more like "I have subjective experiences". That does not claim that such things cannot be described objectively. And it is still the case that person B is asking for objective evidence of subjective states which is close to what the hard problem of consciousness *is*.

Last edited by Mijin; 29th December 2012 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 29th December 2012, 01:37 PM   #396
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What ever person A's argument is based on, if somebody more or less explicitly says that they believe the type of consciousness they are talking about is either outside of todays, or any, objective explanation, asking for objective proof is either foolishness or trollery.

For myself, I don't see right now how any objective explanation of the actual experience of being consciousness is possible without some kind of a "step 2: magic happens" hand waving. Right now that seems to be stuff about maps and emergent properties. Equally, I don't see how a reductive/Pixy world view can be false.

Incidentally, I agree that it is argument from incredulity. Knowing that doesn't change anything. What is one supposed to do, provide objective evidence that something is beyond objective analysis? Asking for such a thing is foolishness or trollery.

Last edited by shuttlt; 29th December 2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 29th December 2012, 02:55 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
The Vague Problem of Consciousness:
-insist that common definitions of medicine and neurology are incomplete
-make philosophical statements about science
-insist there is some undefinable quality that exists
-refuse to explain what that quality is
Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
David if you insist that art is irrelevant to any coherent discussion on consciousness I am afraid you will have excluded most of consciousness in your discussion.
Where did he insist that art is irrelevant? Where does he even use the word art?
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Old 29th December 2012, 08:04 PM   #398
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
There is, of course, no distinction between a 'hard problem' and a 'Hard Problem'. The hard problem of consciousness means exactly what it says. Perhaps it will be solved tomorrow. But I doubt it.
So-called "Hard Problem Consciousness" is explicitly dualistic, and hence, inherently inconsistent. At best it's meaningless.

Quote:
I think I agree with you. For that wording.

Person A should just say something more like "I have subjective experiences".
Sure.

Quote:
That does not claim that such things cannot be described objectively. And it is still the case that person B is asking for objective evidence of subjective states which is close to what the hard problem of consciousness *is*.
Objective evidence of subjective states includes the ability to discuss them. (Just as objective evidence of pain includes screaming and thrashing about under appropriate stimulation.)

How can you talk about how an experience feels without having any? And that's not a rhetorical question.
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Old 29th December 2012, 08:08 PM   #399
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
What ever person A's argument is based on, if somebody more or less explicitly says that they believe the type of consciousness they are talking about is either outside of todays, or any, objective explanation, asking for objective proof is either foolishness or trollery.
When someone has abandoned reason and evidence, trying to help them back to reality is trolling?

Quote:
For myself, I don't see right now how any objective explanation of the actual experience of being consciousness is possible without some kind of a "step 2: magic happens" hand waving.
Reflection.

Seriously. Think about it. And tell me what there is about subjective experience that isn't answered by that explanation.

Quote:
Incidentally, I agree that it is argument from incredulity. Knowing that doesn't change anything.
It means their argument is based on a logical fallacy, and is worthless.

Quote:
What is one supposed to do, provide objective evidence that something is beyond objective analysis?
No. What one is supposed to do is realise one is wrong and change one's mind.

Quote:
Asking for such a thing is foolishness or trollery.
You couldn't be more wrong. Well, okay, seeing what some people post in these threads, you could be a heck of a lot more wrong. You can chalk that one up to rhetorical effect.
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Old 29th December 2012, 09:14 PM   #400
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
So-called "Hard Problem Consciousness" is explicitly dualistic, and hence, inherently inconsistent.
This is your misconception. The Hard Problem of Consciousness is just a statement of the problem.

Sure, the Hard Problem leads some people towards Dualism but it is not inherent to the problem at all.

Quote:
Objective evidence of subjective states includes the ability to discuss them. (Just as objective evidence of pain includes screaming and thrashing about under appropriate stimulation.)
I'm confused by this however. In this thread you have asked several times for objective evidence. Now you're saying that just seeing someone screaming and thrashing about is objective evidence of pain

Of course the reason I have not given objective evidence of subjective states is that I did not believe this is possible at this time. To me, someone thrashing about is not in itself evidence of a subjective state any more than my hypothetical program printing "Ouch!" on a screen is.

For various reasons I assume that the behaviour of other people (and animals) is correlated with subjective states, as it is with my own mind.

Last edited by Mijin; 29th December 2012 at 09:41 PM.
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