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Old 24th December 2012, 04:53 AM   #281
Dancing David
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Sure, but if Frank's not making the point, then I will:

Neurons are a necessary condition, not a sufficient one, for consciousness.
Except you just state that it is insufficient, that is asserting the conclusion, so show us the insufficiency.
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:55 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Obviously. Read Descartes.


My position is precisely what I said: We don't assume we're conscious.
Most people do, I have been down that road.

We generally assume that we are because that is what we are taught.

I generally want people to define it instead of asserting it.
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:57 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Chalk it up to miscommunication then.

A functioning brain would seem to be necessary and sufficient for mind/consciousness. It's possible something besides just a brain is necessary (e.g., experiments might show that brains not attached to some kind of body, if we culd keep them alive, quickly become "non-operational"), but if so, the "something" will turn out to be something biological in nature.
Fair enough then, I do not think you agree with Frank Merton then. Hopefully they will expand as you have.
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Old 24th December 2012, 05:01 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
This thing you claim exists but cannot define or describe? What is there to get?
Well, it now is obvious that you are oblivious to the issue, considering how you express it. I have described it several times -- it is the experience we have of things. I listed examples and even provided a classification scheme. All this plainly goes right over your head.

One's natural assumption is to give participants on these boards the benefit of the doubt, and you seem to have a fairly broad scientific understanding. Yet it is shallow -- perhaps sophomoric is a better word -- seemingly stuck in early twentieth century positivism.

I must say I feel a little like when I try to talk with a committed but informed creationist. They know all the arguments, but don't see it, so committed they are to the mental wall that says species cannot bridge type boundaries. The difference is mainly that they, wanting to convert me, tend to be more friendly. You seem to just want to force me to go away.
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Old 24th December 2012, 05:05 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
it is the experience we have of things.
Those are brain processes.
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Old 24th December 2012, 05:11 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I dare say I don't think it would succeed. I once had views much like yours, although I never was so bull-headed about them. All I can imagine is that you just simply do not get it about qualia. It does take a shift in perspective to realize what people here are talking about, and it seems to me in your unbelievable self-confidence you are not even willing to entertain that as a possibility.
So what should be studied, self report is part of science. The validity of such reports has to be part of the use but what do you want studied that isn't?

The idea of empiricism is used in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and many self report studies.

The issue usually then still comes to metrics and controls leading to effect size.

So if positivism is insufficient, and I am going to have to ponder on that, what exactly would be different? How would that change the investigations?

Ontology is great speculation but it will not make a whit of difference. I would not rule out any hypothesis, but I would want observational agreement from the data. You can have all sorts of a priori thinking, that is great. I want to see it reflected in the data.

Now as to induction, that is a more difficult idea to set in absolutes (I don't like absolutes anyway). Now we do know from the data that the way that the universe behaves is very consistent throughout time. The fine structure constant alpha appears to be the same throughout the observable universe, which means that as far as we can observe back in time the fine structure constant is just that, constant.

I think that usually the issue is when someone make broad statements, newtonian gravity is broadly true, but not true in all circumstances ie those where relativity comes in.

So I am wondering is the issue with induction that you have the overbroad and absolute statements that some people make?
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Old 24th December 2012, 06:54 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
I think that usually the issue is when someone make broad statements, newtonian gravity is broadly true, but not true in all circumstances ie those where relativity comes in.
This is becoming entertaining. For all the science-sounding vocabulary, you don't say much, and what I can make out is flabbergasting. It appears you too don't even know what its about, nor did you understand my point about gravity.

Let me ask you, just what do you think it is about a massive object that causes it to reach out and grab other objects and pull them to it?
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Old 24th December 2012, 07:55 AM   #288
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The answer I would give is 'the seeming force we label as gravity, modeled with Netwon's, Kepler's and Einstein's theories and some of the boson theories"

That question was not really explaining the issue with positivism and induction, now is it? I am somewhat concrete and dense so perhaps you could explain it.

The theory of gravity, whether is be newtons formulation or Einsteins is a model of the observable events in the apparent world.

It is a model not the apparent reality.

So what is the issue about positivism and induction as it relates to science?

I would not be the one to discuss the models of the details of the models. But they are models of the events in the apparent reality, not the reality themselves.

So please elucidate you issues with positivism and induction as they relate to science.

My statements are not 'sciency', they reflect the views of most of the scientific community on this forum, despite whatever notions you may have. This includes some very prominent people in different fields, I myself am just a piker.

I also notice that you did reply to a direct queries as to your beliefs and thoughts
Quote:
So if positivism is insufficient, and I am going to have to ponder on that, what exactly would be different? How would that change the investigations?
...

So I am wondering is the issue with induction that you have the overbroad and absolute statements that some people make?
I am also curious as to the insufficiency of neurons as the basis for consciousness, which I also note you have not expanded upon. I myself belief that it is bodies that exhibit the behaviors of consciousness, but that the primary basis of those behaviors is the neural networks of the various regions of the cortex.

So maybe you could talk more about which of many possible insufficiencies you are referring to?

ETA: The answer to the question!
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:07 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Maybe the biological "something" is brain cells elsewhere in the body -- they have been found all over the place.
Would I be right in assuming you're talking about the peripheral nervous system (sympathetic, parasympathetic, autonomic, & enteric) ?

If so, as I mentioned before, a person can be fully conscious while their brain only has connection to the nervous system above the neck.

If not, please explain what you mean.
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:16 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Is the physical universe a "sufficiently complex system," and, if so, are there in it "theorems" (phenomena) that are true (exist) in the system but cannot be proved (explained)?
I don't think so. As I understand it, Godel's theorems were not true of systems in general, but specifically of formal axiomatic systems of arithmetic.
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:21 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
... Hopefully they will expand as you have.
I expect we'll all expand a little over the 'festive season'. I certainly intend to.

Cheers!
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:27 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I don't think so. As I understand it, Godel's theorems were not true of systems in general, but specifically of formal axiomatic systems of arithmetic.
And proving mathematical theorems is a remarkably poor analogy for how we create and test scientific hypotheses.
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Old 24th December 2012, 09:30 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
And proving mathematical theorems is a remarkably poor analogy for how we create and test scientific hypotheses.
Quite.
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:59 AM   #294
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You are almost certainly right.
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Old 24th December 2012, 11:34 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I expect we'll all expand a little over the 'festive season'. I certainly intend to.

Cheers!
Cheers!
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Old 24th December 2012, 07:41 PM   #296
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa
Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
it is the experience we have of things.
Those are brain processes.

But this description is mental.
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:33 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
You should note that while others are attacking your argument, perhaps in strongly worded terms, it is only you who is attacking the arguer.


Science and critical thinking are neither a bandwagon nor a propaganda technique.
You, sir, or madam, <SNIP>.

Edited by Locknar:  SNIPed, breach of rule 0/rule 12.

Last edited by Locknar; 26th December 2012 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:33 PM   #298
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
You, sir, or madam, <SNIP>.
Edited by Locknar:  Moderated material removed.
Sorry, Frank, I forgot about quarky.
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:48 PM   #299
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I love PixyMisa.

How weird is that?
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Old 25th December 2012, 03:51 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
I love PixyMisa.

How weird is that?
No weirder than how you demonstrate it...
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Old 25th December 2012, 04:45 PM   #301
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Now I would call what you just did a "hack job."
As opposed to your empty rhetoric, I answer your question about gravity as best I could for which you responded
" I asked one a very specific question about the nature of gravity as seen by Newton, and what I got back was an evasion", the issue is that while we can model gravity and there are some great theories about why it follows the inverse of the d2, that is what they are theories about the observed event of gravity in the apparent universe. So too for Einstein and concept of curvature of space time, another very accurate theory. Or at this point the theories about spin-2 gravitons, which have no observational support.

Now why do the object in the universe exhibit this 'negative energy of gravity', I would say that at this time we really don't know.

But i gave you the best response that I knew and you gave me empty rhetoric for honestly answering your question as best I could.



I again ask you to explain and discuss where you think the conversation is deficient. Express your thoughts and ideas.

You leave cryptic phrases like "but I thought the people here knew what is going on in the field", but offer not a clue as to your actual ideas.

So explain to me this
"Assertions of denial are especially unfortunate when one doesn't know what one is denying, and it seems to be that my first idea is right -- that those who don't think there is a problem with the standard physical thinking here just simply haven't gotten it, probably because of brick walls around their minds."

I am open I am willing to read and learn. I don't worry about things being physical or not, for it is a moot point. It could well be godthought, butterfly dreams, dancing energy or brains in vats. I style myself a naturalist, so show me what is behind your doors and windows of perception and language.

You however are opaque and not forthcoming.
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Old 26th December 2012, 07:04 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
The problem with all this is that you haven't established that there is a problem.

Perhaps you should try that?
Are you asking for objective evidence that subjective experience exists?
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Old 26th December 2012, 07:38 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
Well, I will ask again; maybe this time you will have had a chance to look it up.

How does a massive body manage to reach out and pull other massive bodies to it?
I don't know, mu. I have read the theories and I am sure that Sol Invinctus, Edd or Ziggurat might have a better chance than me at an accurate description of what happens.

All i know is that objects appear to fall and that I have created programs (on a Commodore 64) that modeled the planetary motions of two body systems.

My answer is a rather nihilistic one: "they appear to, I don't know why", which comes as a result of my own years of following various spiritual paths, reading and then talks with immaterialists like HammeGK on this forum.

Due to many long years of pondering, meditation,ego destruction and integration, plus many other variables, I reached a personal conclusion, that it doesn't matter. It could angels, it could be consistent illusion, it could be space/time.

The kantian dilemma remains that the noumena are inaccessible directly and solipsism is always an option in the vast array of options. So that left me as a nihilist.

I enjoy all aspects of life and emotions, although they are not the intense obsessive attractors that I used to live with. Some tools speak to my 'spirit/soul' and are wonderful in feeling connection and elation, others are analytical and also have that same result of elation and connection.

I am content with "I don't know". Which is not an evasive answer, it is the most honest that I have.

Things appear one way and may be another. So the emotional answer is that love binds all objects and brings them together, the analytical answer is some unknown event that is theorized and modeled but never know exactly, which leaves the science of approximate models.

That is my best answer.

So how does the critiques of positivism, induction and consciousness come into this?
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Old 26th December 2012, 07:55 AM   #304
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
So how does the critiques of positivism, induction and consciousness come into this?
The first time around on this I got back an evasion; at least you don't do that now. It tells me you don't know where Prague is, and therefore don't speak Czech.

I began to wonder when we talked about positivism, and it dawned on me that you don't really know what that is about either.

The answer is that the massive object doesn't "reach out" and "pull" at all. Newton couldn't answer this either, and so made his "I make no hypotheses" response. All Newton could do is describe what happens, and he did so in terms of forces -- not because that is conceptually correct but because it makes a useful model. It turns out that its a matter of geometry, but this was a few centuries in the future.

My view is that just as Newton had no answer to what seemed something unexplainable, today we have no answer to the nature of qualia. We have to wait for some probably massive change in our paradigm before we will be able to answer, and in the meantime it does us no good to "make hypotheses." (But it also does us no more good to deny that these phenomena exist than we can deny gravity).
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Old 26th December 2012, 08:08 AM   #305
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Originally Posted by annnnoid View Post
One who…through experience…insists that there is no such thing as experience, makes an interesting object for study.
And one who thinks experiences are brain processes is not insisting there's no such thing...
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Old 26th December 2012, 08:16 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Are you asking for objective evidence that subjective experience exists?
As I understand it, pixy has already said that experiences are brain processes, and there is objective evidence for brain processes, so your question seems redundant.

I think the question for Frank was, what is the problem with an experience being a brain process?
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Old 26th December 2012, 08:21 AM   #307
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
... All Newton could do is describe what happens, and he did so in terms of forces -- not because that is conceptually correct but because it makes a useful model. It turns out that its a matter of geometry, but this was a few centuries in the future.
The geometrical description is also a model, but more accurate.
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Old 26th December 2012, 08:42 AM   #308
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I think the question for Frank was, what is the problem with an experience being a brain process?
Just a little introspection is enough to convince the aware that what we call mind is a process going on somewhere, and that we are directly aware of only some of it (hence the notion of subconscious).

Processes are not physical things. We think of them in terms of motion of a medium -- hence sound or water waves. But whatever mind is, it is not a wave, although of course on occasion it gets stuck, these situations are considered abnormal.

Now is the medium that mind happens in what we call "brain," composed of neurons and neurochemicals and perhaps glial cells and so on? That it is possible to pinpoint specific sorts of brain activity (for example, increased oxygen uptake by certain neurons) with specific sorts of mental events, would seem to indicate that it is. Also, of course, common sense tells us that if it is the brain that runs the rest of the body, it is the reasonable place to find mind.

All of this is fine, but leaves the phenomena we have been harping on -- especially the experience of qualia -- in limbo. There is no mechanism -- no way, as Descartes' critics early on pointed out -- for the body to move the mind. An external stimulus enters the eye and the brain processes it and hands up a "qualia." We can study and no doubt will work out all the details of what happens to the various neurons and chemicals and whatever. How does that become the mental experience of blue?

I think the best course now is to "offer no hypotheses," but to also refrain from trying to deny that there is a problem.
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Old 26th December 2012, 09:10 AM   #309
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
The first time around on this I got back an evasion; at least you don't do that now.
I stated essentially the exact same thing, so , huh?
It is the same answer you labelled an evasion, it is expanded somewhat. yet is is teh same in a condensed form.
Quote:
It tells me you don't know where Prague is, and therefore don't speak Czech.
I can never know where Prague is. Those are alls emantic labels applied to events of the humans involved.

An arbol in no more a *tree* than a tree is. Just labels used in idiomatic self reference between communicants.
Quote:


I began to wonder when we talked about positivism, and it dawned on me that you don't really know what that is about either.
I soemwhat familiar what teh idea is that is expresses, teh question specifically was, what is teh issue you have with it.
Quote:

The answer is that the massive object doesn't "reach out" and "pull" at all. Newton couldn't answer this either, and so made his "I make no hypotheses" response. All Newton could do is describe what happens, and he did so in terms of forces -- not because that is conceptually correct but because it makes a useful model. It turns out that its a matter of geometry, but this was a few centuries in the future.

My view is that just as Newton had no answer to what seemed something unexplainable, today we have no answer to the nature of qualia. We have to wait for some probably massive change in our paradigm before we will be able to answer, and in the meantime it does us no good to "make hypotheses." (But it also does us no more good to deny that these phenomena exist than we can deny gravity).
I believe that if you read my statements I am in agreement, all I have stated is that we can observe the apparent neural networks and how the perceptions are created.

What is odd is that is what I stated about the force labelled as gravitation. I stated clearly that it is a label and that the models are models, they are not the nuemena. The issue is again the reification of an apparent process.

While the apparent neural process of what makes 'the perception of blue blue and not a stippled dot or hash pattern of s black and white addition to the visual field' is like not to be resolved as too why 'blue appears as blue', the issue of how the sensations are generated into perceptions seems to be open to investigation. Do you have any ideas about what this paradigm shift in the discussion of consciousness might be.

Did I mention hypothesis, I mentioned descriptive theories.

So what exactly is the issue with empiricism for you?

If I and the vast majority of actual scientists on this forum agree that theories are approximate models, what exactly is your issue with science, positivism and induction? I did not use the term 'laws of nature', as I already know that those are false mental definitions, I did not state that the theories are absolute and correct.

I stated early on the we all could be god thought, so what is this exact point you might wish to make here?
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Old 26th December 2012, 09:17 AM   #310
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I think the best course now is to "offer no hypotheses," but to also refrain from trying to deny that there is a problem.
Hi again, the issue is that so far I have not seen a coherent reason that there is an alleged problem.

Do you mean the one of 'for the body to move the mind'?

We can discuss that if you wish, I can suggest somethings I think, then you can suggest some things that you think.
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Old 26th December 2012, 09:30 AM   #311
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I think I came into the discussion mid-stream, and only responded to things I saw. One of my concerns about science is that many of its "adherents" treat it religiously. Not that they adhere to the latest theories as dogma -- no -- but that the underlying stuff of existence is assumed to be physical and that there is nothing science will not resolve.

Modern physics brings that into question, but who knows. It may depend on how far from its present boundaries science in the future will be able to extend.

My field is languages, and I have seen fads in this field come and go about the relationship of our languages to our mind. Fortunately I'm in the descriptive area, but in the past I worked on AI, until I got disillusioned by the constant hype that surrounded, and still surrounds, the area. There is entirely too much optimism, and hence resources wasted, thinking that we can reproduce mind when we really have no idea what it is.

I think today's modern, introspective, scientist no longer thinks in positivist or even reductionist terms. We seem to have gotten beyond our ability to conceptualize things anyway. I think this is healthier for science.

In the meantime science remains under attack, as it has always been, from forces of superstition and religiosity. Creationism, spiritualism, and so on, have scientific pretensions but in power would destroy today's science just as the Christians destroyed that of the ancient world.

Ok, Frank, just what is your objective. None really but to respond to what is posted and to try to encourage open-mindedness when it is needed.
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Old 26th December 2012, 11:02 AM   #312
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
... whatever mind is, it is not a wave, although of course on occasion it gets stuck, these situations are considered abnormal.
Not sure that you mean by 'stuck', but the mind is the process that 'runs' in the brain.

Quote:
All of this is fine, but leaves the phenomena we have been harping on -- especially the experience of qualia -- in limbo. There is no mechanism -- no way, as Descartes' critics early on pointed out -- for the body to move the mind.
I don't follow that assertion - the mind is the process of the brain in action, which is part of the body, so if a relevant part of the brain changes, the process (mind) changes. Apart from the daily effect of drugs & hormones which affect the brain, so changing the mind, it happens explicitly quite often in neurosurgery where physically or electrically manipulating the brain causes changes in the mind.

Quote:
An external stimulus enters the eye and the brain processes it and hands up a "qualia." We can study and no doubt will work out all the details of what happens to the various neurons and chemicals and whatever. How does that become the mental experience of blue?
All I can tell you is how it appears to be (to me), and that is that our minds are patterns of neural activations flowing across/around the cortex, and the mental experience of the colour blue is the influence on those patterns of the suppression of activity in the yellow-blue axis neurons (and baseline activity from the red-green & black-white neurons) that output from the visual cortex.

Why it is that these patterns of neuronal activity are aware, I don't know, but there doesn't seem to be anything else involved. We can measure those patterns of activity and the influence of external stimuli on them, and we can discover what they mean in different circumstances, and the measured patterns do correspond consistently to reported mental states; but it seems the only way to know what it is like to be that ongoing process of neuronal activations is... when that ongoing process of neuronal activations is you (your awareness).

I don't see how it is possible to explain why certain neural input patterns are subjectively blue, any more than you can describe to me what your own subjective sensations are like without expressing them in terms of what you can only assume are similar subjective experiences that I have (or have had). Does it even mean anything to say that my experience of blue is different to yours? How can we know?
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Old 26th December 2012, 11:22 AM   #313
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Mod InfoDerail re who makes up members on boards such as this has been split out to here: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=250273
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Old 26th December 2012, 12:12 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
I think I came into the discussion mid-stream, and only responded to things I saw. One of my concerns about science is that many of its "adherents" treat it religiously. Not that they adhere to the latest theories as dogma -- no -- but that the underlying stuff of existence is assumed to be physical and that there is nothing science will not resolve.

Modern physics brings that into question, but who knows. It may depend on how far from its present boundaries science in the future will be able to extend.

My field is languages, and I have seen fads in this field come and go about the relationship of our languages to our mind. Fortunately I'm in the descriptive area, but in the past I worked on AI, until I got disillusioned by the constant hype that surrounded, and still surrounds, the area. There is entirely too much optimism, and hence resources wasted, thinking that we can reproduce mind when we really have no idea what it is.

I think today's modern, introspective, scientist no longer thinks in positivist or even reductionist terms. We seem to have gotten beyond our ability to conceptualize things anyway. I think this is healthier for science.

In the meantime science remains under attack, as it has always been, from forces of superstition and religiosity. Creationism, spiritualism, and so on, have scientific pretensions but in power would destroy today's science just as the Christians destroyed that of the ancient world.

Ok, Frank, just what is your objective. None really but to respond to what is posted and to try to encourage open-mindedness when it is needed.
Fair enough
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Old 26th December 2012, 01:18 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Are you asking for objective evidence that subjective experience exists?
I am asking for objective evidence for whatever it is that Frank thinks is a "problem".
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Old 26th December 2012, 02:51 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
I don't see how it is possible to explain why certain neural input patterns are subjectively blue, any more than you can describe to me what your own subjective sensations are like without expressing them in terms of what you can only assume are similar subjective experiences that I have (or have had). Does it even mean anything to say that my experience of blue is different to yours? How can we know?
That depends on how it is different. The brain is not a black box, and visual perception certainly isn't. Depending on the nature and degree of difference and where it originates, it's quite possible that we can tell if your subjective experience of blue is different to mine.

The classic example of this is the reversal of the experience of green and red. The thing is, that has to happen somewhere along the visual perception pathway, and we can identify which stage by correlation with related data. For example, is the McCollough effectWP normal or inverted?
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Old 26th December 2012, 03:36 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That depends on how it is different.
Yes, you're right. It is not necessarily impossible to tell whether they are different - if we can find related data suitable for objective comparison.

We might also assume that the close similarities in architecture and connections make it highly likely that they are similar.

But if they are indistinguishable by external means (unlike red-green reversal), it seems like metaphysical speculation to ask whether they are 'really' the same.
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Old 26th December 2012, 03:53 PM   #318
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Yes. After all, no-one's subjective experience can be identical to anyone else's, so it's a question of what do you mean by "the same", and if you can't relate it back to something testable (even if it's a psychological test, like the Stroop testWP) if it actually means anything at all.
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Old 26th December 2012, 05:11 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Yes. After all, no-one's subjective experience can be identical to anyone else's, so it's a question of what do you mean by "the same", and if you can't relate it back to something testable (even if it's a psychological test, like the Stroop testWP) if it actually means anything at all.
Just at the level of sensation and perception that is true, I belief a friend of mine sees more blue than I do in purples.
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Old 26th December 2012, 05:20 PM   #320
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Just at the level of sensation and perception that is true, I belief a friend of mine sees more blue than I do in purples.
You can certainly test the ability to distinguish between colours, and that varies significantly even among normal trichromats - and has a large cultural component.

People experience colours differently from one another in detectable ways, so the question of whether people experience colours differently from one another in undetectable ways is kind of moot.
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