• RogueAI
    620
    keeping my fingers crossed that consciousness turns out to be a mathematical patternTheMadFool

    How on Earth can mathematical patterns be consciousness? Why should someone take that as a serious possibility? Also, if that's the case, there should have been evidence of it by now. Consciousness and mathematical patterns have existed for a very long time. Why has there not been any proof the two are causally connected (or the same thing)? I don't think any proof will be forthcoming and this problem is just going to get more and more acute.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    How on Earth can mathematical patterns be consciousness? Why should someone take that as a serious possibility? Also, if that's the case, there should have been evidence of it by now. Consciousness and mathematical patterns have existed for a very long time. Why has there not been any proof the two are causally connected (or the same thing)? I don't think any proof will be forthcoming and this problem is just going to get more and more acute.RogueAI

    The short answer (to your questions): I don't know.

    The long answer: I'm working with the hypothesis that consciousness is some kind of pattern, to take a physicalist stance, in matter-energy. We already have a pretty good idea that matter-energy and mathematical patterns are connected in a very initmate way (physics, chemistry). I then just put two and two together and came to the conclusion that consciousness could one day be expressed as a formula. Speculation of course, nothing definitive.
  • RogueAI
    620
    The short answer (to your questions): I don't know.

    The long answer: I'm working with the hypothesis that consciousness is some kind of pattern, to take a physicalist stance, in matter-energy. We already have a pretty good idea that matter-energy and mathematical patterns are connected in a very initmate way (physics, chemistry). I then just put two and two together and came to the conclusion that consciousness could one day be expressed as a formula. Speculation of course, nothing definitive.
    TheMadFool

    Personal incredulity aside, I think this runs into a Mary's Room problem. If an experience can be expressed mathematically, then if a blind person knew the right maths/numbers, they could deduce, from the math alone, what it's like to see (and also what it's like to be a bat, if they know the right math). Doesn't that seem wrong? I don't see someone blind can know what it's like to see without having the experience of seeing.

    And then of course, there's the issue of what kind of substrate the pattern is being run on, and how would you go about verifying if it's substrate-dependent or not? How would you test that mathematical pattern X,Y,Z is a conscious moment? I can see how you can claim that a conscious moment has a mathematical correlate, because we can express the physical brain state assosciated with the conscious brain state mathematically, but then you're back to the causal problem.

    But I will grant you that you can correlate mental states with numbers. That is significant.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Personal incredulity aside, I think this runs into a Mary's Room problem. If an experience can be expressed mathematically, then if a blind person knew the right maths/numbers, they could deduce, from the math alone, what it's like to see (and also what it's like to be a bat, if they know the right math). Doesn't that seem wrong? I don't see someone blind can know what it's like to see without having the experience of seeing.RogueAI

    I did consider that angle. Maybe we're missing something very important. Suppose we do manage to discover the mathematical formula for consciousness but then what does that mean? Does it relate the state of consciousness with the variables energy, charge, etc.? My understanding of science gives me the impression that, yes, the mathematical formula for consciousness is going to be as general as that. The upside is consciousness will no longer have to be organic i.e. it can be replicated on other kinds of media. The downside is specific, particular consciousnesses won't be possible. I guess this all squares with my intuition that specific/particular consciousnesses, like yours or mine, are a function of what consciousness is processing. So, while consciounsess itself maybe generic, common to all, an individual one can be created by feeding it specific thoughts.

    Mary's room issue plays a central role in my personal view regarding all things mind. I recall mentioning in another conext the difference between comprehension and realization. I don't know how true this is but geniuses are supposed to feel equations, arguments, whatnot i.e. they're capable of getting a very personal, subjective experience when they encounter objective but profound arguments and elegant equations - the words, "profound" and "elegant" reflect that aspect of realization as opposed to mere comprehension. So, yeah, although Mary's Room argument suggests that getting an objective account of the color red is missing the subjective experience of red, my take on it is, a person who's in the habit of realizing instead of just comprehending will, by my reckoning, be able to experience red just by reading up all the information available on red. I hope all this makes sense at some level.
  • RogueAI
    620
    Yeah, that made sense. Perhaps an objective math formula can bring about a state of synesthesia in a blind person so that their processing of the equation brings about a mental state that is similar enough to seeing so that they know what seeing is like. Although, in that case, some kind of experience is still necessary for knowing what seeing is like- the formula, if there is one, would simply act as a bridge allowing the blind person to make a "what is it like" realization about seeing without ever seeing. I don't know how much sense that made.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Yeah, that made sense. Perhaps an objective math formula can bring about a state of synesthesia in a blind person so that their processing of the equation brings about a mental state that is similar enough to seeing so that they know what seeing is like. Although, in that case, some kind of experience is still necessary for knowing what seeing is like- the formula, if there is one, would simply act as a bridge allowing the blind person to make a "what is it like" realization about seeing without ever seeing. I don't know how much sense that made.RogueAI

    You read my mind! :up:

    If I may be allowed some further speculation, the mind seems to be capable of so much more than we give it credit for. The "...bridge..." you mentioned in re a vision-impaired person is exactly the metaphor I'm looking for. The mind can, if we allow it to, bridge the gap between objective knowledge and the subjective knowledge that it allegedly lacks. Reminds me of phenomenology whose goal is, if memory serves, to bring descriptions up to the level of experience
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    keeping my fingers crossed that consciousness turns out to be a mathematical pattern — TheMadFool
    How on Earth can mathematical patterns be consciousness?
    RogueAI
    The technical mathematical calculations of IIT are way over my head. But, I think 's wording of the relationship -- seeming to identify Consciousness with Mathematical patterns -- has the direction of perception backward. Patterns (forms), mathematical or otherwise, are what we are conscious of. Patterns are the external "objects" that our subjective Consciousness interprets as meaningful, including mathematical values & social relationships.

    IIT is a novel way of thinking about Consciousness, which gives the impression of scientific validity in its use of mathematics. But it still doesn't tell us what Consciousness is, in an ontological sense. Since Consciousness as a computative process is meta-physical, we can only define it with metaphors -- comparisons to physical stuff. And Mathematical Logic may be as good an analogy as we can hope for. But the big C is not simply a pattern itself, it's the power (ability) to decipher encoded patterns (think Morse code). That's why I say it's a form of generic Enformation (EnFormAction) : the epistemological power to create and to decode Forms into Meaning. :smile:

    Can Integrated Information Theory Explain Consciousness? :
    So, although IIT is a useful theory for understanding “C” for scientific purposes, it doesn’t really answer the “hard” philosophical questions, such as “how and why do we experience subjective qualia?”
    http://bothandblog7.enformationism.info/page80.html

    Consciousness :
    Literally : to know with. To be aware of the world subjectively (self-knowledge) and objectively (other knowing). Humans know Quanta via physical senses & analysis, and Qualia via meta-physical reasoning & synthesis. In the Enformationism thesis, Consciousness is viewed as an emergent form of basic mathematical Information.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page12.html
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    ↪TheMadFool's wording of the relationship -- seeming to identify Consciousness with Mathematical patterns -- has the direction of perception backward. Patterns (forms), mathematical or otherwise, are what we are conscious of. Patterns are the external "objects" that our subjective Consciousness interprets as meaningful, including mathematical values & social relationships.Gnomon

    Excuse me! In my defense, the current mathematical, scientific and neuroscientific paradigms can't seem to be able to get the study of consciousness off the ground sans a plausible model one of which is consciousness, thoughts to precise, are so-called brain states. To my knowledge brain states are generally construed to be patterns in the neural network. It remains a matter of debate whether such neural network patterns can be captured in a mathematical formula or not but I'm sure there's a neat little math trick you can employ as a workaround. I'm fairly confident, based on the history of Newton' & Leibniz's calculus, that if the aforementioned task seems impossible, all that would be needed is a brand new mathematical tool that'll do the job in a manner of speaking.
  • Gnomon
    1.5k
    all that would be needed is a brand new mathematical tool that'll do the job in a manner of speaking.TheMadFool
    Some mathematicians & physicists, have advocated the "new science" of Cellular Automata, as a way to go beyond Analytic and Algorithmic methods in the search for knowledge. Unfortunately, as a path to new knowledge, CA may not appeal to analytical and reductive thinkers, because it is ultimately "undecidable". Stephen Wolfram, in his book, A new Kind of Science, advocates CA as a way to study complex systems, such as Minds, that are resistant to reductive methods. In other words, the new methods, including IIT, take a more holistic approach to undecidable and non-computable questions, such as "what is it like to be a bat?". :smile:


    Penrose argues that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine, which includes a digital computer.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Mind

    Cellular Automata :
    The Game of Life is undecidable, which means that given an initial pattern and a later pattern, no algorithm exists that can tell whether the later pattern is ever going to appear.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_Game_of_Life

    A New Kind of Science :
    Wolfram argues that one of his achievements is in providing a coherent system of ideas that justifies computation as an organizing principle of science. For instance, he argues that the concept of computational irreducibility (that some complex computations are not amenable to short-cuts and cannot be "reduced"), is ultimately the reason why computational models of nature must be considered in addition to traditional mathematical models.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Kind_of_Science
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