JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Reply
Old 26th December 2012, 07:39 PM   #321
annnnoid
Muse
 
annnnoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: canada
Posts: 889
Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
…when we really have no idea what it (mind) is.


It is somehow confusing that you state this position so categorically. That we have ‘no idea’ what mind is. Confusing…because ‘mind’ is us. Obviously it is somewhat contradictory to insist that you have ‘no idea’ what you are. Something…quite obviously …has a very good idea what you are…because that ‘something’ functions as you.

What is interesting about this problem…and this problem only…is that this thing that we are apparently so massively ignorant of is ourself. This is the one exception to the Kantian dilemma. We get to experience the thing under examination directly. No approximations. No models. And...apparently...no idea what it is.

So many here seem to do their utmost to pretend that the phenomenon under examination is….elsewhere. I am curious how anyone can come to any conclusion but that the thing under examination is itself (maybe there is a Cartesian theater after all...but there's an audience as well)!

Of course…how does one examine one’s own condition? Obviously…that is already done relentlessly and comprehensively at every level of scientific investigation. The question, though, is simply…if the thing being examined is our own condition…why, exactly, is it that we are so ignorant of it? What are the implications of an intellectual deficiency of such dimensions? Is there some equivalent functional deficiency (dysfunction)? We either do not know what we are…or we cannot describe what we are. Can such massive ignorance / incompetence be....benign? Either situation reeks of something. What?

Perhaps you are not entirely accurate in your assessment. Perhaps we do not have ‘no idea’…perhaps we have at least ‘some idea’. But why do we not have a complete idea? Why are we so ignorant of what our own condition actually is? Why this split between ‘what we are’ and our ability to describe what we are? Is it because we don’t know what’s there? Is it because we can’t recognize what’s there? Is it because there isn’t anything to describe?

So…on the one hand…it would appear that we have no idea what mind is. Being a linguist with an AI background…I would be interested to hear why you come to this conclusion….seeing as how you are obviously not ignorant of the implications of so significant a statement. Just a note...but there is an AI functionary who frequents these boards who would, I am sure, come to the exact opposite conclusion.

On the other hand…it would appear that some area of our condition is the exact opposite of ignorant. ‘It’ IS what we are. Quite obviously…we are in very close proximity to ‘what we are’. Presumably it is something of some kind of significance. What variety of ‘thing’ do you suppose we are ignorant of…and do we need to find out why, before we can find out what?

Originally Posted by Frank Merton View Post
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.

‘….beyond our ability to conceptualize…’ What does this mean (in relation to science)…and why is it healthier?
__________________
What I get from….you.
Comes…and goes.
Like finding a cure
Then getting sick again.
annnnoid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 04:16 AM   #322
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
Originally Posted by annnnoid View Post
So many here seem to do their utmost to pretend that the phenomenon under examination is….elsewhere. I am curious how anyone can come to any conclusion but that the thing under examination is itself (maybe there is a Cartesian theater after all...but there's an audience as well)!
I would say that the cartesian theater is more like multiple playhouses interacting with each other, parts of the brain interacting with other parts of the brain. So perhaps more like a huge circus side show area.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 04:50 AM   #323
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
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.
Is there any evidence that there is such a thing as a subjective experience? I don't ask to be awkward. I suspect you mean something quite specific by "subjective". Surely you would claim that everything that is subjective is, at least theoretically, objectively knowable? There is no aspect of the subjective that is private to me, or to you?
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 05:57 AM   #324
annnnoid
Muse
 
annnnoid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: canada
Posts: 889
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Is there any evidence that there is such a thing as a subjective experience? I don't ask to be awkward. I suspect you mean something quite specific by "subjective". Surely you would claim that everything that is subjective is, at least theoretically, objectively knowable? There is no aspect of the subjective that is private to me, or to you?

….I suppose…theoretically…anything at all is possible. Just depends on the theory. I think some expansion on the issue of subjective experience might be in order though. It is, quite obviously, a significantly greater issue than merely “can you adjudicate what I see?” (and at present, there are significant limits to even that minimal endeavor).

Subjective is ‘who you are’. It is that you prefer your toast just so with that particular variety of stuff upon it, it is that you enjoy the missionary position in the evening and the reverse on weekends, it is a style of haircut, a manner of speech, a choice of wife, a depth of love, a degree of compassion, a color on the walls, the toilet paper just so, a community spirit, a dimension of vision, an understanding of loyalty, honor, and dignity … or not. It is dysfunction, function, maturity, immaturity, wisdom, hope, faith, purpose, meaning and all they are…or are not.

It is all these…and a million others…all combined in any moment in a mystery of ways. That we ‘see a red ball’ is not even the tip of the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

To objectively 'know' my subjective experience...is to be as I am (...how do you like your coffee?).
__________________
What I get from….you.
Comes…and goes.
Like finding a cure
Then getting sick again.
annnnoid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 06:09 AM   #325
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by annnnoid View Post
To objectively 'know' my subjective experience...is to be as I am (...how do you like your coffee?).
Surely the claim is that the only problem with you "knowing" my subjective experience is the complexity of the task? Is there something special about a subjective experience that renders it particularly inaccessible to objective knowledge. I can't "know" everything about a weather system either.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 06:34 AM   #326
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Is there any evidence that there is such a thing as a subjective experience? I don't ask to be awkward. I suspect you mean something quite specific by "subjective". Surely you would claim that everything that is subjective is, at least theoretically, objectively knowable? There is no aspect of the subjective that is private to me, or to you?
Depends on what you mean by private.

You can (in principle) examine a person's brain in arbitrary detail and come up with a complete map of their mind, their consciousness, their experiences. You can then map those experiences onto your own mind if you choose. But they won't be the same experiences, because your brain is not the same as theirs.

If you experience the colour blue differently from me, for example, we can tell (again, in principle), because that's your physical brain creating a different mapping of visual stimuli.

As I noted, we already know from psychological studies that people do experience colours differently, that there's a signficant cultural and environmental bias to it. There was one example of a psychologist who was very careful never to discuss the colour of the sky with his infant daughter; when she was old enough to grasp the question, she informed him that the sky was white.* You and I probably agree that it is blue, that it's obviously blue, and there's a physical reality to that, but our perception of it is also partly cultural.

* RadioLab episode Colors.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO

Last edited by PixyMisa; 27th December 2012 at 07:34 AM.
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 07:19 AM   #327
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
You can (in principle) examine a person's brain in arbitrary detail and come up with a complete map of their mind, their consciousness, their experiences. You can then map those experiences onto your own mind if you choose. But they won't be the same experiences, because your brain is not the same as theirs.
Why would it be necessary to map the experience onto another brain? Do you mean uploading it in some way?
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 07:23 AM   #328
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
As I noted, we already know from psychological studies that people do experience colours differently, that it there's a signficant cultural and environmental bias to it. There was one example of a psychologist who was very careful never to discuss the colour of the sky with his infant daughter; when she was old enough to grasp the question, she informed him that the sky was white.* You and I probably agree that it is blue, that it's obviously blue, and there's a physical reality to that, but our perception of it is also partly cultural.

* RadioLab episode Colors.
I certainly wouldn't presume to say private definitions, categories etc... aren't part of the thinking of other people on the thread, but I don't see the importance myself.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 07:31 AM   #329
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
There is also the power of science in numbers, while the 'subjective' experince may not be quantified on a scale using measuring device, there is still the ability to survey and talk to people about their subjective experience. This has led to CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and such means as a way of desensitizing people to panic attacks and coping with depression.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 07:33 AM   #330
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Why would it be necessary to map the experience onto another brain? Do you mean uploading it in some way?
Well, any understanding of another person's mental processes is some sort of mapping of their brain onto yours. The point, I guess, is that even if you upload their experience into your brain somehow you still need a mapping because your brains are different; there's no way to access precisely what it is like to be them, even though everything is normal, comprehensible (if complex) physical processes.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 07:39 AM   #331
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Well, any understanding of another person's mental processes is some sort of mapping of their brain onto yours. The point, I guess, is that even if you upload their experience into your brain somehow you still need a mapping because your brains are different; there's no way to access precisely what it is like to be them, even though everything is normal, comprehensible (if complex) physical processes.
Why do I need to map somebodies mental processes onto my own in order for them to be understandable? I don't need to do this to understand quantum mechanics.

Last edited by shuttlt; 27th December 2012 at 07:50 AM.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 08:00 AM   #332
Frank Newgent
Philosopher
 
Frank Newgent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,381
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Well, any understanding of another person's mental processes is some sort of mapping of their brain onto yours. The point, I guess, is that even if you upload their experience into your brain somehow you still need a mapping because your brains are different; there's no way to access precisely what it is like to be them, even though everything is normal, comprehensible (if complex) physical processes.

It's all inter-subjective, Pixy.
__________________
Disturbances of the semantic reactions in connection with faulty education and ignorance must be considered as sub-microscopic colloidal lesions - Alfred O. Korzybski
Frank Newgent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 08:23 AM   #333
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,201
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Why do I need to map somebodies mental processes onto my own in order for them to be understandable? I don't need to do this to understand quantum mechanics.
You have to interpret their rendering of their subjective sensation(s) in terms of your own. You can map the colour of something, e.g. blue, from their sensorium to yours because you have a common reference for blue - the sky, perhaps. If you ask someone to describe some experience, they have to provide you with common references, typically by saying "It's like what X feels/looks/tastes/sounds like...", where X is a common referent. If you have no common experiential references, you have no way of grasping their experience, because you have no direct access to their sensorium. You may know what they did, but you don't know how it felt. That is subjectivity; what it is like to you, what it is like to others.
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...

Last edited by dlorde; 27th December 2012 at 08:25 AM.
dlorde is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 08:51 AM   #334
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
You have to interpret their rendering of their subjective sensation(s) in terms of your own. You can map the colour of something, e.g. blue, from their sensorium to yours because you have a common reference for blue - the sky, perhaps. If you ask someone to describe some experience, they have to provide you with common references, typically by saying "It's like what X feels/looks/tastes/sounds like...", where X is a common referent. If you have no common experiential references, you have no way of grasping their experience, because you have no direct access to their sensorium. You may know what they did, but you don't know how it felt. That is subjectivity; what it is like to you, what it is like to others.
But how it felt is just neurons, connections and other physical stuff. Obviously it's all very complicated, but I don't see why I would need to have your mind mapped onto mine to understand your subjective experience any more than I have to be forced through a defraction grating to understand quantum mechanics. Either the brain/mind/consciousness is at least notionally objectively knowable, or it isn't.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 09:06 AM   #335
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Why do I need to map somebodies mental processes onto my own in order for them to be understandable? I don't need to do this to understand quantum mechanics.
Understanding is a map.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 10:04 AM   #336
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Understanding is a map.
OK. But understanding your consciousness is no different to understanding quantum mechanics? You could, in theory write it all down? There is no special thing that actually exists called subjective experience? Everything that you are is objective. You have no subjective experience any more than a weather pattern does. We might call the data that is specific to you "subjective", but that is an artifact of language. You just have objectively properties that are either difficult or easy to determine.

The map thing strikes me as over stated. Presumably objects and categories exist withing your own head. I could be colour blind, or be looking at the brain of an animal that perceives colours that we can't. There is nothing in my experience that I can map that to. Is that a bound on my understanding? I know that your internal category of blah maps to such and such frequency range, or even more abstractly, such and such input from your retina. I don't need to map your emotional states to my own to be able to talk about how they work for you. Call your emotions A, B, C.... D32.... what ever. If you meant that there had to be some kind of strict mapping, then I strongly disagree.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 10:23 AM   #337
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
OK. But understanding your consciousness is no different to understanding quantum mechanics? You could, in theory write it all down? There is no special thing that actually exists called subjective experience? Everything that you are is objective. You have no subjective experience any more than a weather pattern does. We might call the data that is specific to you "subjective", but that is an artifact of language. You just have objectively properties that are either difficult or easy to determine.
Subjective experience is something the brain does (or any suitably programmed computer); it's reflective - self-referential - information processing. And weather patterns don't do that. There are distinct behaviours that are possible with this type of information processing that are not possible without it.

Edit: Oh, and the reason I bring up the map thing is because there is no magical shortcut to understanding someone else's experiences. Because it's all just physical processes, you have to understand it the same way you understand any physical process, even though you are such a process. Hope that makes sense to you.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO

Last edited by PixyMisa; 27th December 2012 at 10:24 AM.
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 10:39 AM   #338
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Subjective experience is something the brain does (or any suitably programmed computer); it's reflective - self-referential - information processing. And weather patterns don't do that. There are distinct behaviours that are possible with this type of information processing that are not possible without it.

Edit: Oh, and the reason I bring up the map thing is because there is no magical shortcut to understanding someone else's experiences. Because it's all just physical processes, you have to understand it the same way you understand any physical process, even though you are such a process. Hope that makes sense to you.
Surely the map is a red herring then. If it's just a physical process, you understand it as a physical process.

Could you explain what a subjective experience is. I know what I mean by the words. I just don't know what you mean. Presumably a sufficiently complex computer could have one. It's all just data and rules for manipulating the data though, which I guess is in a sense also data. Is subjective experience just a particular pattern of data then? Your subjective experience of being you is just data. There is no experience of being you that could not be written down as a monumentally huge equation and a huge bunch of inputs? I could write it all down on a huge piece of paper (I guess a regular stationary shop would not stock this size) and it would be conscious in the same way you are? I know some people who think this, or at least thought this once.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 10:45 AM   #339
Frank Newgent
Philosopher
 
Frank Newgent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,381
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Subjective experience is something the brain does (or any suitably programmed computer); it's reflective - self-referential - information processing. And weather patterns don't do that. There are distinct behaviours that are possible with this type of information processing that are not possible without it.

Edit: Oh, and the reason I bring up the map thing is because there is no magical shortcut to understanding someone else's experiences. Because it's all just physical processes, you have to understand it the same way you understand any physical process, even though you are such a process. Hope that makes sense to you.

That "it's all just physical processes" takes place in mental, inter-subjective space.
__________________
Disturbances of the semantic reactions in connection with faulty education and ignorance must be considered as sub-microscopic colloidal lesions - Alfred O. Korzybski
Frank Newgent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 10:48 AM   #340
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,201
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
But how it felt is just neurons, connections and other physical stuff. Obviously it's all very complicated, but I don't see why I would need to have your mind mapped onto mine to understand your subjective experience any more than I have to be forced through a defraction grating to understand quantum mechanics. Either the brain/mind/consciousness is at least notionally objectively knowable, or it isn't.
Hmm. Either we have different understandings of the semantics of 'understanding' in this context, or you're one of those p-zombies we hear so much about
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...
dlorde is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 11:13 AM   #341
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Hmm. Either we have different understandings of the semantics of 'understanding' in this context, or you're one of those p-zombies we hear so much about
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.

Last edited by shuttlt; 27th December 2012 at 11:16 AM.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 11:58 AM   #342
Fudbucker
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,423
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.
And now we're getting into the "hard problem".

We can suppose we have similar subjective experiences because we're "built" pretty much the same.

But suppose we have a computer that passes every Turing Test we throw at it. Does that mean it has subjective experiences? How would we prove it? What evidence, other than what it tells us, would we have access to? Even if we assume it has experiences, what would those experiences be like? How would we ever know how the machine experiences the color blue or fulfillment or anger or happiness? Or are the answers to these questions, in principle, unknowable?
Fudbucker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 12:44 PM   #343
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
And now we're getting into the "hard problem".

We can suppose we have similar subjective experiences because we're "built" pretty much the same.

But suppose we have a computer that passes every Turing Test we throw at it. Does that mean it has subjective experiences? How would we prove it? What evidence, other than what it tells us, would we have access to? Even if we assume it has experiences, what would those experiences be like? How would we ever know how the machine experiences the color blue or fulfillment or anger or happiness? Or are the answers to these questions, in principle, unknowable?
You have "subjective experiences" that are somehow not objectively accessible? Prove it! - Not that this is a new request in the thread :-)
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 12:49 PM   #344
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Surely the map is a red herring then. If it's just a physical process, you understand it as a physical process.
That is the map.

Quote:
Could you explain what a subjective experience is.
Reflection.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 12:50 PM   #345
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,201
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.
Ah, I see where you're coming from. Yes, the concept of 'subjective experience' is a convention that encapsulates the state of being a sentient process; so 'subjective experience' doesn't reference the 'bunch of systems with self-reflexive features', but what they combine to do.
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...
dlorde is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 12:53 PM   #346
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
And now we're getting into the "hard problem".
Doesn't exist.

Quote:
We can suppose we have similar subjective experiences because we're "built" pretty much the same.
Well, that and we can actually communicate them.

Quote:
But suppose we have a computer that passes every Turing Test we throw at it. Does that mean it has subjective experiences? How would we prove it?
Yes. Computers that can't even begin to tackle the Turing Test have subjective experiences.

Quote:
What evidence, other than what it tells us, would we have access to?
It's a lot easier than with humans, because computers don't complain so much when you open them up to look inside. And you can reset their state and run the same conditions over and over.

Quote:
Even if we assume it has experiences, what would those experiences be like?
From what perspective?

Quote:
How would we ever know how the machine experiences the color blue or fulfillment or anger or happiness? Or are the answers to these questions, in principle, unknowable?
If it runs a reflective subroutine on the routine sensing the colour blue, it is experiencing the colour blue.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO

Last edited by PixyMisa; 27th December 2012 at 12:54 PM.
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 01:19 PM   #347
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That is the map.


Reflection.
Fine. I know Reflection. There is nothing special about understanding anybody elses subjective experience any more than there is in understanding a ball rolling down an inclined plane.

Last edited by shuttlt; 27th December 2012 at 01:44 PM.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 01:32 PM   #348
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Ah, I see where you're coming from. Yes, the concept of 'subjective experience' is a convention that encapsulates the state of being a sentient process; so 'subjective experience' doesn't reference the 'bunch of systems with self-reflexive features', but what they combine to do.
What they combine to do is objective behaviour. "Subjective" carries with it the implication, at least for some people, that there is something special that has to be experienced to be known. In fact what we mean is there is some data in your head that is being processed by your brain, which has some differences to my brain. The only significance comes in the interesting way "subjective" things deal with the external world. It's a black box with inputs and outputs. The contents of the box are complicated, but essentialy arbitrary, until some kind of significance is imposed on them from without.

Last edited by shuttlt; 27th December 2012 at 02:10 PM.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 02:50 PM   #349
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: A floating island above the clouds
Posts: 24,220
Anyone posted this yet?

Executive summary: Stop trying to define things narrowly, or worse, philosophically, and get your asses busy studying the NCCs - the Neural Correlates of Consciousness.

Once that is well-mapped, then we can move on to how conscious experiences arise from inanimate matter.


Quote:
We can state bluntly the major question that neuroscience must first answer: It is probable that at any moment some active neuronal processes in your head correlate with consciousness, while others do not; what is the difference between them? In particular, are the neurons involved of any particular neuronal type? What is special (if anything) about their connections? And what is special (if anything)about their way of firing? The neuronal correlates of consciousness are often referred to as the NCC. Whenever some information is represented in the NCC it is represented in consciousness.

In approaching the problem, we made the tentative assumption (Crick and Koch, 1990) that all the different aspects of consciousness (for example, pain, visual awareness, self-consciousness, and so on) employ a basic common mechanism or perhaps a few such mechanisms. If one could understand the mechanism for one aspect, then, we hope, we will have gone most of the way towards understanding them all.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?

Last edited by Beerina; 27th December 2012 at 02:52 PM.
Beerina is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 03:02 PM   #350
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rural England
Posts: 4,814
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.
Physical matter is devoid of subjective knowledge, even the matter forming the brain. It is an emergent phenomena which experiences events and has knowledge. This phenomena is the mind and you experience existing entirely through the prism of this subjective knowledge. Indeed you can only be conscious of subjects.

One has to break free of this yoke of the subjective to understand existence beyond the mind.

Last edited by punshhh; 27th December 2012 at 03:05 PM.
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 03:04 PM   #351
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Rural England
Posts: 4,814
Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
That "it's all just physical processes" takes place in mental, inter-subjective space.
Pixy wouldn't understand a physical process if it jumped up and stubbed his toe

Last edited by punshhh; 27th December 2012 at 03:05 PM.
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 03:16 PM   #352
shuttlt
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,641
Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Physical matter is devoid of subjective knowledge, even the matter forming the brain. It is an emergent phenomena which experiences events and has knowledge. This phenomena is the mind and you experience existing entirely through the prism of this subjective knowledge. Indeed you can only be conscious of subjects.

One has to break free of this yoke of the subjective to understand existence beyond the mind.
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.
shuttlt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th December 2012, 04:53 PM   #353
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,201
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Anyone posted this yet?
It seems quite relevant - in the section on "The Problem of Qualia", they cover some of the ground we've been traversing:
Quote:
The reason that visual consciousness is largely private is, we consider, an inevitable consequence of the way the brain works. (By "private," we mean that it is inherently impossible to communicate the exact nature of what we are conscious of.) To be conscious, we have argued, there must be an explicit representation of each aspect of visual consciousness. At each successive stage in the visual cortex, what is made explicit is recoded. To produce a motor output, such as speech, the information must be recoded again, so that what is expressed by the motor neurons is related, but not identical, to the explicit representation expressed by the firing of the neurons associated with, for example, the color experience at some level in the visual hierarchy.

It is thus not possible to convey with words the exact nature of a subjective experience. It is possible, however, to convey a difference between subjective experiences -- to distinguish between red and orange, for example. This is possible because a difference in a high-level visual cortical area can still be associated with a difference at the motor stage. The implication is that we can never explain to other people the nature of any conscious experience, only, in some cases, its relation to other ones.

Is there any sense in asking whether the blue color you see is subjectively the same as the blue color I see? If it turns out that the neural correlate of blue is exactly the same in your brain as in mine, it would be scientifically plausible to infer that you see blue as I do. The problem lies in the word "exactly." How precise one has to be will depend on a detailed knowledge of the processes involved. If the neural correlate of blue depends, in an important way, on my past experience, and if my past experience is significantly different from yours, then it may not be possible to deduce that we both see blue in exactly the same way (Crick, 1994).
Not sure whether this helps shuttlt though.
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...
dlorde is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 03:40 AM   #354
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
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.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 03:42 AM   #355
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
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.
Well this is where one of the people who supports the vague problem of consciousness will have to step up and explain. Some of us are Mind-Zombies as well, we look like we have minds, act like we have minds, but don't.

__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 03:45 AM   #356
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
And now we're getting into the "hard problem".

We can suppose we have similar subjective experiences because we're "built" pretty much the same.

But suppose we have a computer that passes every Turing Test we throw at it. Does that mean it has subjective experiences? How would we prove it? What evidence, other than what it tells us, would we have access to? Even if we assume it has experiences, what would those experiences be like? How would we ever know how the machine experiences the color blue or fulfillment or anger or happiness? Or are the answers to these questions, in principle, unknowable?
What applies to one applies to all, people assume that they have subjective experiences. I would say that they have perceptual events and cognition they interpret as subjective experience and then assume that is what they are.

The issue is that people assume that they have subjective experiences.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 03:48 AM   #357
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
You have "subjective experiences" that are somehow not objectively accessible? Prove it! - Not that this is a new request in the thread :-)
Hence the vague problem of consciousness.

Many people say "prove that machine has subjective experience" to which you counter "apply the same logic to your own events".

Then it goes downhill from there.

"But I am conscious"
"I have qualia"
"I know I am conscious"
"That is a stupid thing to ask"
"It is obvious"
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 03:51 AM   #358
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,897
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Fine. I know Reflection. There is nothing special about understanding anybody elses subjective experience any more than there is in understanding a ball rolling down an inclined plane.
I agree in principle, but the patterns of neural development and fuzzy programming that seem to lead to brain events almost guarantee that we will have very subtle differences in the way those events unfold. It means that each person is likely to have unique elements and then mostly common elements.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 07:50 AM   #359
Frank Newgent
Philosopher
 
Frank Newgent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,381
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.

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.
__________________
Disturbances of the semantic reactions in connection with faulty education and ignorance must be considered as sub-microscopic colloidal lesions - Alfred O. Korzybski
Frank Newgent is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2012, 08:01 AM   #360
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,710
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Fine. I know Reflection. There is nothing special about understanding anybody elses subjective experience any more than there is in understanding a ball rolling down an inclined plane.
There's nothing special about it, no. But it is complicated.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:49 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.