> > I think that Matter-Energy and Sense-Motive are dual aspects of the
> > same thing. If you are talking about the brain only, then you are
> > talking about matter and energy, but no person exists if you limit the
> > discussion to that. The matter and energy side of what we are is just
> > organs. There is no person there. The brain is not responsible for
> > consciousness anymore than your computer is responsible for the
> > internet. It is the necessary vehicle through which human level
> > awareness is accessed.
> Would you say, at least, that the brain is responsible for behavior?
In the sense that buildings, streets, highways, and real estate are responsible for a city's behavior.
> This conversation was originally on the topic of artificial intelligence,
> so whatever it is in us that leads to physical changes which manifest as
> third-person observable behavior, do you believe that to be entirely
> influenced by physical and (in theory) detectable matter/energy/fields?
I'm not saying that though. We *are* the physical changes. Third person and first person seem to us to be separate because the first person end is the 'head' end. You are saying that I think 'whatever it that is our head leads to physical changes which manifest as our tail' and you are trying to get me to see that it makes more sense to say that it is our tail which is responsible for the existence of the head - that the head is what the tail needs to lead it to food and reproduction. That's not my position though. I'm saying head-tail mind-body are a function of the symmetry of sense.
As far as fields being detectable - detectable by what? I have no problem detecting humor, irony, style, beauty...to a human being these are detectable energy fields, only higher up on the monochord/chakra-like escalator of qualitative interiority/significance. The universe for us is much more readily detectable by us as a combination of fiction and fact than it is in terms of matter/energy/fields. Those things are a posteriori ideas about the universe of our body, as verified by consensus of inanimate objects interacting. That is only half of the universe - the tail half which is the polar opposite of awareness. It is the perspective from which no life, order, meaning or significance can be detected.
> If not, what mechanism do you theorize mediates between mental and physical
> events? Is it one way or two way? If two way (or if as you often say it
> is just the other side of the coin) then why not say it is physical?
I do say it's physical. Physical feelings, physical stories, physical personalities and identities - all physical, but not as objects in space, as experiences through time. There is no mechanism that mediates spacetime-matter-energy with timespace-sense-motive, they are the same thing except the more something is you or is like you, the more it seems to you like the latter instead of the former.
> If such a mechanism exists, it must conform to some set of laws, some rhyme
> or reason, as otherwise how could the mental world (or side) so reliably
> control our physical actions, and how do the sensations picked up from
> physical sensors (retinas, nerve endings) so reliably make their way into
> our mind?
The 'mechanism' is sense. It doesn't conform to laws but it develops habits which become as laws to those who arise out of them. It's only a mechanism when the insider looks outside. What we are doing now is looking outside as the insider's exterior and finding it lacking any trace of the insider, concluding that the insider is an illusion. When the insider looks inside however, there is more animism than mechanism. Sense experience and meaning. On the outside, the nerves are literal fibers and cells. On the inside 'nerve' is strength, courage, self-legitimizing ontology. They are part of the same thing but don't correlate one-to-one, they correlate as the whole history and potential future of the universe twisting orthogonally into an event horizon of a whole universe of 'here and now'
> If there is a separation between the mental and physical worlds,
> there must be reliable rules that govern any interaction between the mind
> and the physical world, and the interaction must be two way. How then, can
> they rightly be called two separate worlds?
Exactly, they are not separate except to the participant. We are the head looking at our tail, but objectively, if we were not a head, we would see both head and tail are the body with two ends, each being everything that the other is not. If there were rules, then the rules would need rules. What makes the rules? Where to they come from and what mechanism do they use to rule?
As you say, and we agree, the interaction must be two way, but no external rules are required to govern the interaction, because both mind and body are, on one level, the same thing (essentially) and symmetrically anomalously opposite things on another level (existentially). This symmetry recapitulates the division itself, as the essential level is monadic and undifferentiated (like a dream which freely mixes literal and metaphorical realism) and the existential level is the tail end, where head and tail appear to be strictly delineated. It's not just a simple fold of dualism, it's [monism/(monism/dualism)], and it is involuted as well, so that the brain and body are characters in our life while our lives exist through the vehicle of the brain.
> > > You are mistaking our approximations and inferences concerning the
> > natural
> > > laws for the natural laws themselves.
> > No, you are mistaking the interaction of concretely real natural
> > phenomena with abstract principles which we have derived from
> > measurement and intellectual extension.
> Regardless of who is making the mistake, above you seem to agree with
> my premise that there are real natural phenomenon.
It's all real natural phenomena. Thermodynamics, electromagnetism, general relativity, sensorimotive perception. All fundamental in the universe, but sensorimotive is like the light source, the others are reflections and shadows.
> > > Before there were any humans, or any
> > > life, there must have been laws that the universe obeyed to reach the
> > point
> > > where Earth formed and life could develop.
> > Before there was matter, there were no laws that the universe obeyed
> > pertaining to matter, just as there were no laws of biology before
> > biology.
> This is an interesting way of looking at things: that the capabilities of
> natural phenomenon change as it develops more and more complex states of
> being. However, I think the potentiality for those capabilities was there
> from the beginning, and the determination of whether or not such
> potentialities existed in the primordial universe could in theory, have
> been made by a sufficiently great intelligence that had a proper
> understanding of the natural phenomenon.
If we see our understanding of time and causality as nothing but a consequence of our participation-perception within the universe as an instantiation of particular senses, then the 'beginning' of the universe might be the same thing as the 'end' of the universe objectively speaking. The novelty and capability are emerging from the middle, as a diffraction between the two ends of bottom-up nothingness and top-down everythingness. It's only our ontological bias in being heads of a human tail that we see the chain of causality beneath us as literal and clear, and the possible futures as obscured. I agree, these potentials have to exist 'in the beginning', but I don't see them as laws so much as lowest common denominator sense protocols, which maybe have some aspects that are eternal and autopoietic, but among them is the eternal aspect of generating novelty. Sense is like an Ouroboros of universally consistent law and irreducible novelty. A head full of Tao and a tail that wags in physics.
> > The universe makes laws by doing. It isn't only a disembodied
> > set of invisible laws which creates obedient bodies.
> What did the universe have to do to set the speed of light?
I think that the speed of light is really the latency of space. If you have an outermost inertial frame of 'everythingness-nothingness' then it is the ultimate background. Any deviation from that - ie, when some part of that (essential) totality is masked (existentially) into a temporal event-experience that casts a spatial-material shadow, those shadows and experiences have a natural sequence which reflects their order in relation to the totality. The object-event has a spatiotemporal MAC address in the inside and an IP address on the outside (figuratively...I don't think they have a literal number, rather the sense relation is the irreducible reality, but we can understand it using arithmetic triangulation). The speed of light then, or c, is not a speed at all, it is absolute velocity itself. Experience ('energy' or 'signal' received/detected/projected) without being condensed as matter (volumes of relatively static phenomenology in space). All the universe has to do to set the speed of light is to slow part of itself down long enough for it to see where it came from and know the difference.
> > Laws are not
> > primordial.
> If not laws, then what?
Sense. Not a perfect word, but not bad I think: See my post on defending sense: http://s33light.org/post/24159233874
> > You have to have some kind of capacity to sense and make
> > sense before any kind of regularity of pattern can be established.
> You might need sense to notice the pattern, but patterns exist that we are
> unaware of. If this were not the case, there would be no room for
Absolutely there are patterns we as human beings are unaware of, but there can't be a pattern that nothing whatsoever is aware of or can detect or interact with.
> > Something has to be able to happen in the first place before you can
> > separate out what can happen under which conditions. The reality of
> > something being able to happen - experience - possibility - prefigures
> > all other principles.
> I'm not opposed to the idea that possibility or experience could in some
> sense be more fundamental, but I don't see how this could change the fact
> that we observe matter and energy to always follow certain rules, and find
> evidence (when we look at stars and galaxies very far away) that these laws
> have been in effect long before life on Earth arose.
I don't deny the observations of physics at all, I just think that we are looking only at half of the story and assuming the other half must be the same. All I'm saying is that the other half is the same on one level, but the opposite on the other. Just like we use an array of meaningless colored pixels to produce visual media, the semantic experience through time is orthogonal to the a-signifying topology in space. Think of the universe as a giant TV screen where each pixel is a tiny TV screen also, each with it's own remote control.
> > > Do you agree that such natural
> > > laws exist (regardless of our human approximations of them)?
> > No.
> So you deny there are any natural laws? This might explain why some people
> find it difficult to carry on conversations with you.
I believe that we infer natural laws based on our perceptions of the world of our body, and that those are certainly reliable for our body, but my imagination seems to obey no natural laws other than sense-motive conceivability. My imagination could conceive of physics and physical laws, but physics can only conceive of toy models of imagination.
> > It has nothing to do with human approximations though. If an
> > audience cheers it is not because there is a law of cheering they are
> > following, it is because they personally are participating in a
> > context of sense and motive which they and their world mutually push
> > and pull. The understanding of when cheering happens and under what
> > conditions it can be produced is an a posterior abstraction. We can
> > call it a law, and indeed, it is highly regular and useful to think of
> > it that way, but ultimately the law itself is nothing. It is a set of
> > meta-observations about reality,
> Are our observations not reflections of something that is true?
Sure, but there are interior observations which reflect truths also. We can explain both with interior truths, but exterior truths can't really explain anything, they can only account for things.
> > not an ethereal authoritative core
> > around which concrete reality constellates and obeys. Laws come from
> > within. Human laws from within humans, atomic laws from within atoms,
> > etc.
> So then natural laws come from nature. Earlier you said natural laws don't
They don't exist, they insist. They are not imposed externally, the external behaviors are the spacetime embodiment (temporally and qualitatively flattened) sense experiences which accumulate as habits through timespace (signficance, inertial frames).
> > The formal system doesn't exist until some sentient being
> > intentionally brings it into existence.
> That's fine. The question is whether you believe that a sentient being, in
> theory, is capable of developing such a formal system and in it, a
> codification of the natural laws that govern the behavior of brains and
Some behaviors yes definitely. Most behaviors maybe. All behaviors, we'll have to see. There maybe a feedback loop, like a 'law of conservation of mystery'. What we see in science now with things like the increasing placebo effect and the rollback of antibiotic potency, may suggest that in some way civilization will always be chasing it's own tail, even if it's up a spiral staircase. Gödel says to me the same kind of thing in a way, no model can completely describe that which models it.
> > Bugs Bunny requires a
> > cartoonist to draw him. Bugs is a formal system that is capable of
> > describing rabbit behaviors as they are but he doesn't exist
> > 'there' ('he' insists 'here' instead).
> > > Note that I have not made any statement to the effect that "an abstract
> > > rabbit is the same as a physical rabbit", only that natural laws that the
> > > matter and energy in (a rabbit or any other physical thing) follow can be
> > > described.
> > You aren't factoring in the limitation of perception. Think of a young
> > child trying to imitate an accent from another language. To the child,
> > they perceive that they are doing a pretty good job of emulating
> > exactly how that way of speaking sounds. To an adult though,
> > especially one who is a native speaker of the language being imitated,
> > there is an obvious difference.
> If in every experiment we conduct, we find an accordance between physical
> experiments and predictions made by our acquired understanding of the
> natural laws then this would hold true to an emulation of a human brain.
> If there were any difference between reality and the the physical
> emulation, it would indicate to us that our model was incomplete.
The model is only complete in the 3-p bottom up sense. It can't explain how the top-down 1-p subject can orchestrate many disparate neurological changes simultaneously. At a certain point, the 3-p model reaches levels of the system where the model doesn't say one way or the other what the charge or polarization should be at any particular time - whether that's at the quantum-microtubule level, or ion channel, synapse, whatever, it is the gap which our preferences and voluntary impulses use to drive the physical end of the computation.
> You seem to believe that no matter what progress is made, we can never
> understand all the natural laws that govern brains and bodies.
I don't know about never, but the problem with natural laws that govern brains and bodies is that they don't address experience and significance, which are the only purpose of brains and bodies. If the physical laws do not bridge the Explanatory Gap and solve the Hard Problem then they cannot be a complete understanding of natural laws that govern brains and bodies. People have tattoos and piercings on their bodies. Are those bodily changes predicted by physics? Can a sufficiently complete model of the brain predict what tattoos they will have? The self, the body, our lives, and the universe only seem separate to us from our here-and-now business-as-usual 21st century Western minded waking consciousness. Lose a little sleep for a few days, and the separation gets wobbly. That is what the universe is made of. Symmetric sense oscillations of novelty and recursion, literal and metaphorical, inner and outer.
> > This is where we are in our
> > contemporary belief that we have accounted for physical forces. I
> > think that we are looking at a pre-Columbian map of the world and
> > trying to ignore the shadowy fringes of consciousness with names like
> > 'entanglement', 'dark energy', 'vacuum flux' etc. We are in the dark
> > ages of understanding consciousness as we have not yet discovered
> > sense. We use sense to try to make sense of a universe that we have
> > closed one eye to. Physics is a toy model of reality.
> > > > > D. that mathematics can be simulated to any degree of precision by
> > > > > algorithms
> > > > Precision only determines the probability that a particular detector
> > > > fails to detect the fraud of simulation over time. It says nothing
> > > > about the genuine equivalence of the simulation and the reality.
> > > It sounds like you accept that mathematics can be simulated to any degree
> > > of precision by algorithms, but your objection is that without absolutely
> > > perfect precision, the simulation will eventually diverge from the object
> > > being simulated in some noticeable way.
> > It depends what the algorithms are running on. If you use a physical
> > material that is ideal for precision and accuracy, then you are using
> > the worst possible material for biological sensation, which would need
> > to be optimized for volatility and ambiguity.
> Precision and accuracy are exactly what is needed to emulate the subatomic
> particles that compose our "ambiguous and volatile" brains.
They don't compose our brains, they compose molecules. Molecules compose cells, cells compose tissues>organs>bodies. They don't reduce completely. The cellular agenda is not described by individual molecular interactions. Each layer has it's own perceptual inertial frame of unique-but-sensible qualia. The higher up you go, the less they reduce.
> > > I think this is a valid
> > > objection. However, I don't see this objection serving as the basis for
> > > Colin's argument against artificial general intelligence. Let's say we
> > > have a near perfect simulation of the physics of Einstein's brain running
> > > in a computer. It is near-perfect, rather than perfect, because due to
> > > rounding errors, it is predicted that there will be one neuron misfire
> > > every 50 years of operation. (Where a misfire is a neuron that fires
> > when
> > > the actual brain would not have, or doesn't fire when the actual brain
> > > would not have). Maybe this misfire causes the simulated brain to
> > develop
> > > a wrong idea when he would have otherwise had the right one, but who
> > would
> > > argue that this simulated Einstein brain is not intelligent? Perhaps it
> > > has an IQ of 159 instead of the 160 of the genuine brain, but it would
> > > still be consider an example of AGI. If you don't like the 1 error every
> > > 50 years, then you can double the amount of memory used in the floating
> > > point numbers (going from 64 bits to 128 bits per number), and then you
> > > make the system have a precision that is 2^64 times finer, so there would
> > > not be a deviation in the simulation during the whole life of the
> > universe.
> > That would be true if complexity was what gives rise to awareness,
> Remember, I am not talking about awareness above, only behavior.
Behavior isn't of much interest to me. That's the Easy Problem. Not my department.
> Do you
> think any machine could approximate Einstein's behavior to such a degree
> that his friends, family, and colleagues could not tell the difference?
Yes, but only because the sum total of all perceptions of friends, family, and colleagues are a fraction of the interior reality. Not only that, but the perceptions of those on the outside cast a shadow of misrepresentation of the interior reality. The Einstein that we know includes a lot of projections conjured from the collective unconscious that had little to do with the reality he experienced of himself and his own life. Who we know is a postage stamp. Who his friends knew was a movie.