Re: Dreaming On

From: Flammarion <>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 08:49:39 -0700 (PDT)

On 28 Aug, 17:07, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> Flammarion wrote:
> > On 28 Aug, 02:27, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> >> Flammarion wrote:
> >>> On 21 Aug, 21:01, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> >>>> Flammarion wrote:
> >>>>> Do you think that if you scanned my brain right down to the atomic
> >>>>> level,
> >>>>> you still wouldn't have captured all the information?
> >>>> That's an interesting question and one that I think relates to the
> >>>> importance of context.  A scan of your brain would capture all the
> >>>> information in the Shannon/Boltzman sense, i.e. it would determine which
> >>>> of the possible configurations and processes were realized.  However,
> >>>> those concerned about the "hard problem", will point out that this
> >>>> misses the fact that the information represents or "means" something.
> >>>> To know the meaning of the information would require knowledge of the
> >>>> world in which the brain acts and perceives, including a lot of
> >>>> evolutionary history.  Image scanning the brain of an alien found  in a
> >>>> crash at Roswell.  Without knowledge of how he acts and the evolutionary
> >>>> history of his species it would be essentially impossible to guess the
> >>>> meaning of the patterns in his brain.  My point is that it is not just
> >>>> computation that is consciousness or cognition, but computation with
> >>>> meaning, which means within a certain context of action.
> >>> But figuring out stored sensory information should be about the
> >>> easiest part of the task. If you can trace a pathway from a red
> >>> sensor to a storage unit, the information in the unit has to mean
> >>> "this is red".
> >>> What is hard about the Hard Problem is *not* interpretation or
> >>> context.
> >> I'm not so sure about that - maybe "more is different" applies. "This
> >> is red" is really a summary, an abstraction, of what the red sensor
> >> firing means to the alien.  To a human it's the color of blood and has
> >> connotations of violence, excitement, danger.  To an alien with green
> >> blood... from a planet with red seas...?  If you knew all the
> >> associations built up over a lifetime of memories and many lifetimes
> >> of evolution maybe the 'hard problem' would dissolve.
> > Not at all. That theory predicts that some entirely novel sensation--
> > one which
> > has not built
> > up any associations --should be easy to describe. But it isn;t. And in
> > fact
> > describing associations is a lot easier than describing the core
> > phenomenal feel.
> Does "that theory" refer to more-is-different?  ISTM that
> more-is-different implies exactly what you point out.  It's easier to
> describe a sensation that has lots of associations because describe it
> in terms of the associations; whereas a completely novel sensation is
> impossible describe.

if that is so, it negates the claim that the HP is nothing more than
the difficulty of describing meanings and associations
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Received on Sat Aug 29 2009 - 08:49:39 PDT

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