• tom
    1.5k
    What other types of activity?SteveKlinko

    It depends on how the particular universal computer is constructed. There are many ways to do that.
  • jkg20
    220

    The way we gain knowledge about emergence, in our context, is by learning how small groups of neurons form certain networks. And then we learn how these small networks form progressively larger networks. And the process continues until we can reliably detect and demonstrate how the global properties of conscious experience emergence from these mesoscopic (and higher) degrees of freedom.
    Sorry, but that sounds like a long winded way of saying that we gain knowledge about emergence by assuming there is emergence.
    At some point the explanation has to move from "look, all these patterns (everso complicated to produce) are correlated with conscious experience" to "look, all these patterns produce conscious experience" (or if you prefer, "look,consciousness emerges from all these patterns"). It's the move from the one to the other that that seems to require that the hard problem already be solved.

    A slight later edit: I understand that you think we are a long way from solving the hard problem (to be honest, I think even the idea that there is a hard problem already requires accepting a lot of questionable metaphysics, but that's a different topic). My point is just that what that Seth and co are actually doing is showing us that such and such neural patterns are regularly correlated (although far from perfectly - the important results he talks about in the video you linked to are statistical it seems to me) with such and such consicous experiences. Correlation is not causation, but it seems to me at least that the idea of emergence has a causal dimension.
  • Belter
    80


    In my opinion, brain is the biological mechanism (neuronal system) that permits individuals to have a mind. The relationship between them looks like instrumental. Brain is that with we think. "Causes" of the mind states are related with the conditions in which they are produced, modulated, etc. For example, an emotion can be caused by other mental state (e.g. a thought) and by physical one (e.g. a drug).
  • Uber
    147
    I agree that correlation is not causation, and that having neural correlates alone is not enough to solve the problem. But I also remain convinced that the more knowledge we gain about the physical processes of the brain, the more we get closer to actually solving it. Reaching the second leap you talked about is possible, if not under emergence, then under some new framework altogether.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    This force has traditionally been called the life force. I prefer call it the entropic force, since it is a force that is generated by entropy.
    Links to the research on this supposed fifth force would be useful please. Entropy in physics, as I understand it anyway, isn't a thing itself that can generate anything, it is just a measure of how much thermal energy in a given system is not available for conversion into work.
  • Marcus de Brun
    417

    There is a contradiction between your equation of life force and entropy. Entropy is a tendency towards disorder. The singular mystery of life is that it contradicts entropy and is defined as a contrary tendency towards molecular cellular tissue organ system species and ecological order.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Not my definition, but in any case, I'm not sure life contradicts entropy. It doesn't contradict the second law of thermodynamics (at least not obviously) since we are not usually dealing with isolated systems when we are dealing with living creatures and their physiology.
  • SteveKlinko
    250
    Science has made tremendous progress with regard to measuring, scanning, probing, mapping, and understanding the Brain. But that all goes to solving the Easy Problem of Consciousness. Science has not even made an attempt to solve the Hard Problem because they don't even know where to start. Nobody knows where to start. People confuse the act of solving the Easy Problem with solving the Hard Problem. There is an expectation that when the Brain is completely mapped and totally understood that the Hard Problem will magically be solved. This is a false expectation if you truly understand the Hard Problem.

    I like to take one particular aspect of Conscious experience and stick with it. I like to study the experience of the color Red. We know that there is specific Neural Activity happening when there is a Conscious Red experience. All I ever ask is, given the knowledge we have about the Red Neural Activity, how on Earth do we have that Conscious Red experience? The Red Neural Activity is the Easy Problem. How we have a Red Conscious experience is the Hard Problem.

    If you think about the Red experience itself you will get closer to understanding the Hard Problem. The Redness of the Red exists only as a Conscious experience. The Redness is a Property of a Conscious experience. Imagine that, a Conscious experience has a Property. This means that the Redness is a thing in itself that exists somehow in our Conscious Minds. There is no Redness in the Physical world. What is Redness made out of? Is it made out of Matter? Is it made out of Energy? is it some aspect of Space? It is some aspect of the Conscious Mind. Science can not explain the Red experience that we have. There is zero progress toward understanding it. The Hard Problem in this case can be stated as a question: What is the Conscious Red experience? Get away from the Neurons and think about Conscious experience itself.
  • wellwisher
    163


    There is a huge misunderstanding, when it comes to entropy. Entropy is a variable, in chemistry, that can be measured in the lab. Decades of measurements have shown that entropy is a state variable. What that means is that for a given state of matter, there is constant amount of measured entropy. For example, liquid water at 25C and 1 atmosphere pressure has an entropy of 6.6177 J ˣ mol-1 ˣ K-1. This number is not random, but is a constant, that is measured the same by all labs. This is a standard in science.

    Descriptions of the atomic and molecular details behind entropy get very nebulous and are often assisted with random assumptions. However, when measured, it is a constant for that state. It is very similar to the concept of dark energy, which is more than likely connected to entropy. We have never seen dark energy in the lab, to know exactly what it is. We infer dark energy indirectly from observations and measurements. Entropy is the original dark energy.

    I am not claiming I can explain the nuts of bolts of entropy. However, I am claiming that since it is a state variable; constant for any given state of matter, changes of state; temperature, pressure, concentration, etc., will release or absorb a fixed amount of measurable entropy. The amount released or absorbed will be the difference between the two states.

    When you talk about osmosis, the spontaneous movement of the water toward the solute side of the membrane is altering the state of the solute side; concentration is getting lower. The pressure is decreasing on one side of the membrane and increasing on the other side; two new states appear. The entropy values on both sides are changing with the states, making internal energy available for pressure; entropic force. The pressure, in turn, is part of the new states for the entropy.

    There is another form of entropy, connected to information entropy, such as when transmitting data signals over long distances. This type of entropy is random, because information is not a state variable. We can't heat up a beaker of data and have the data rearrange itself consistently for that temperature; new repeatable fixed state of data measured by all labs. Language and information does not work like matter.The exception is the brain and life, where states of matter imply chemical information. This is another key to consciousness.

    The entropic force is a liquid state affect. The movement of the water is not something that can occur in the solid state. In the solid state, all motion is frozen; except some electrons. The entropic force in the liquid state is also contingent on segregation, in terms of what can move in the liquid, so we can regulate the entropic force vector. This allows repeatable precision by life.

    Evolution in terms of the second law and the entropic force implies movement to states of higher and higher entropy. This is not random, but has a sense of direction, in terms of the new states. The trick is knowing how to define the states, so entropy in each state is constant. The problem with the modern life sciences, is they can't define the proper states without water, so entropy appears random and the entropic force vector seems to cancel to nothing. Water is the moving force.
  • Marcus de Brun
    417
    Not my definition, but in any case, I'm not sure life contradicts entropy. It doesn't contradict the second law of thermodynamics (at least not obviously) since we are not usually dealing with isolated systems when we are dealing with living creatures and their physiology.MetaphysicsNow

    You can be certain that life contradicts entropy.
    Entropy -> Chaos
    Life -> Order

    There is no equivocation here.

    M
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Entropy is just a measure of the energy of a system that is not available for conversion into work. That at least is the initial basic physical description, and it is consistent with the idea that it is a state variable. Measures/state variables are not the kinds of things that are susceptible to contradiction - propositions/theories/laws and so on are the kinds of things that can be contradicted. Life does not contradict the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (which is the principle law concerning entropy) since when we are considering life, we are not considering isolated systems, and the 2nd law concerns isolated systems.
  • Wayfarer
    6.5k
    You can be certain that life contradicts entropy.
    Entropy -> Chaos
    Life -> Order
    Marcus de Brun

    Google 'negentropy'.
  • Uber
    147
    The existence of life does not contradict the 2nd law, which in one of its many (many) variations states that the combined entropy of the system and the surroundings will always increase in an irreversible process. Ordered systems like life can arise as an efficient mechanism of increasing the overall entropy of the Universe. Michael Russell's theory is based on this very idea: that life is a low-entropy biochemical pathway for hydrogenating carbon dioxide, which leads to more entropy overall. Life is not unique as a system that can replicate, assemble, and grow. There is a whole field of physics called active matter physics that studies lifelike systems that are not life. There was an astounding experiment back in 2012 or so where vortices in a uniquely turbulent fluid started replicating spontaneously. Other systems have since been found with very ridiculous properties that closely approximate life.

    I think physicists could state the fundamental idea of life more elegantly: life is a dissipative thermodynamic system that aims to avoid equilibrium with the rest of the world (since equilibrium represents death for us). It takes in energy from outside, uses some of it to maintain internal order, then dissipates the vast majority of the absorbed energy back to the environment. At the end of this process, the total entropy of the organism and the environment has actually increased. Of course our internal order doesn't last forever and eventually we die. Second law still stands.

    Come on now Marcus, you can do better than this.
  • Uber
    147
    Incidentally my favorite version of the 2nd law does not involve entropy at all, largely because entropy is one of the most abused and misunderstood concepts in the history of science. Marcus has provided an example of that abuse in this thread. This is the best way to think about the 2nd law: heat and energy flows can never be entirely converted into mechanical work. MetaphysicsNow hinted at this definition above.

    Now it's more obvious that life does not violate the 2nd law. Most of the energy consumed by living things ends up as waste and heat (dissipation). Only a small fraction of it actually gets converted into work, like the motion of our muscles. The efficiency of muscles themselves is about 20%, roughly meaning that around 20% of the chemical energy stored in ATP molecules actually becomes the motion of the muscle. The rest is lost as heat.
  • wellwisher
    163
    Physics is mostly based on solid and gas state analogies. Gravity is about gases and solid dust becoming compressed into solid and gaseous planets and stars. Chemistry primarily deals with the liquid state, which has unique properties not found in solids and gases. The liquid state is not as common in the universe, as gases and solids. Physics left it out in terms of bulk modeling.

    The entropic force is not everywhere, but is restricted to the liquid state. The standard four forces are connected to gas, solid and liquid. The entropic force is not. Physics is not equipped to deal with liquid properties like the entropic force, using on a theoretical framework designed for gas and solid analogies. But it is real and easy to show in the lab. Life is 20% solid state and 80% liquid state allowing the life force. The solid is needed to help direct the force vector.

    Say we wanted to modeled the universe as a huge liquid, dark energy would be connected to the entropic force. In this model, the universe would need a semi permeable membrane analogy; solid, that allows selective movement, to generate an entropy force that expands the universe.

    A liquid allows surface tension and pressure to exist side by side; glass of water open to the air. The surface tension is connected to the entropic force; dark energy, while the pressure is connected to gravity and matter.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    Consciousness is a chimera, residue stemming from a gross misunderstanding of what it is to be human - as opposed to just being an animal. It is not an opposite situation. It is a comparitive one. The only difference is complexity of thought and belief.

    Get thought and belief right, and the 'problem' between conscious experience and physiological sensory perception(brain) is solved(dissolved) as an unintended consequence.
  • SteveKlinko
    250
    Consciousness is a chimera, residue stemming from a gross misunderstanding of what it is to be human - as opposed to just being an animal. It is not an opposite situation. It is a comparitive one. The only difference is complexity of thought and belief.

    Get thought and belief right, and the 'problem' between conscious experience and physiological sensory perception(brain) is solved(dissolved) as an unintended consequence
    creativesoul
    Explain to us what we have to do with our Thoughts and Beliefs to solve the Problem (I'm assuming the Hard Problem).
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    What, do you want a thesis? Not going to happen.

    I'm just nudging you in the right direction.

    It's not a matter of monism vs. dualism. It's a matter of neither being adequate. It's a matter of how it's been talked about. Change the path and you'll end up in a different place.

    Start by geting thought and belief right... ontologically, I mean. All thought and belief consists entirely of correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or the creature itself(it's state of 'mind'; mental state).

    "Consciousness" is nothing more than a namesake given to various forms of complex thought and belief and/or it's effects/affects.
  • Marcus de Brun
    417
    one small breech in the dam and an eager philosopher rushes to the spot and sticks his head in the hole. For a time the job is oxo, until the next crack appears and another rushes to apply his head to the same problem. The catastrophe will apparently be avoided for as long as we have a supply of philosophers to use their heads and protect us all from the truth.

    Let's take our heads from the cracks and return to the water. The entropy of contained or uncontained processes is equally contingent upon mind. It (entropy) is equally contingent upon temporality. Therefore the interacting a priori are time and mind. When Descartes proved the existence of thought he equally proved the existence of time. These are the universal building blocks. An appropriate understanding of the relations here, must be completed before one applies ones head to the dam and speculates upon the dirty stuff that is matter and the ephemeral 'laws' that night pertain to its interactions.
  • SteveKlinko
    250
    What, do you want a thesis? Not going to happen.

    I'm just nudging you in the right direction.

    It's not a matter of monism vs. dualism. It's a matter of neither being adequate. It's a matter of how it's been talked about. Change the path and you'll end up in a different place.

    Start by geting thought and belief right... ontologically, I mean. All thought and belief consists entirely of correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or the creature itself(it's state of 'mind'; mental state).

    "Consciousness" is nothing more than a namesake given to various forms of complex thought and belief and/or it's effects/affects.
    creativesoul

    When you say this you imply that you have some deep insight into Consciousness. You very well might be right. But you have to provide us with better explanations than that we have to get our Thinking Right. A Thesis is not necessary but a Paragraph would be helpful.
  • Uber
    147
    So, this was all a bunch of nonsense that means virtually nothing and did not substantially address any of the points raised against your original argument. Cool.
  • Marcus de Brun
    417


    Not certain which argument you are referring to. My original and current point is that mind or consciousness has not been shown to arise from material interactions and the inverse is most likely the case. Objects that interact at an atomic and even sub atomic level must be conceived or perceived to do so. The interactions between matter and its relations to entropy involve a quantum leap out of the subject that is consciousness and into the realm where a material self has been assumed.

    I believe the relations between mind and matter are difficult to comprehend because an appropriate theory of mind has yet to be formulated. Such a theory would be dependent NOT upon mind matter interaction nor matter matter interactions, such speculations are based upon the presumptive notion of an 'I' or material self and thenceforth upon an assumed objective material reality. I am not saying that material reality does not exist, I am merely saying that we have only the uncorroborated testimony of mind to vouch for this and at best we are not getting the full truth. Mind or thought exists, we can be certain of this much. However to jump from mind to matter without a sound theory of mind is to begin with an enormous assumption that leads to a Universe of material assumption.

    We can be certain the mind exists, and when this was proven to be such, Descartes has also inadvertently proven that there must equally be conditionalities for the existence of mind. These conditions have hitherto been believed to be material, but they are clearly not, and they (material conditions) have not been uncovered. I believe this is because we are continually looking in the wrong place (matter) As such it is inconsequential if entropy is positive or negative and if it is contradicted by material life processes.

    It is likely that the sole conditionality that must contain mind is a temporal one and not a material one. Again I am not saying that material existence is not real, I am saying that it is merely a byproduct of the mind and mind conditionalities. The conditions that contain thought or mind are at least temporal and if this is true then we have something definite to work with vis the relations between thought and time. A million philosophers have spent an ocean of ink upon the relations between thought and matter, and this approach is futility incarnate.

    I have a suspicion that material reality is produced as a consequence of the relationship between thought and time. I have written an paper on the subject and if permitted to do so I will publish it here under the article's section. I don't pretend that it has all the answers but I think it begins to ask some of the right questions, and I would be grateful for some Philosophical input.

    I don't know about you but I am bored senseless with the never-ending debate about mind-matter and would love to see the question take a new direction without material assumptions. Let the physicists have their entropy it may well be just another entertaining delusion.
  • Uber
    147
    Not really interested in that debate Marcus, sorry. But you should look up a few things on entropy, for fun if nothing else.
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    What, do you want a thesis? Not going to happen.

    I'm just nudging you in the right direction.

    It's not a matter of monism vs. dualism. It's a matter of neither being adequate. It's a matter of how it's been talked about. Change the path and you'll end up in a different place.

    Start by geting thought and belief right... ontologically, I mean. All thought and belief consists entirely of correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or the creature itself(it's state of 'mind'; mental state).

    "Consciousness" is nothing more than a namesake given to various forms of complex thought and belief and/or it's effects/affects.
    — creativesoul

    When you say this you imply that you have some deep insight into Consciousness. You very well might be right. But you have to provide us with better explanations than that we have to get our Thinking Right. A Thesis is not necessary but a Paragraph would be helpful.
    SteveKlinko

    There is no such thing as some deep insight into consciousness. It's nothing more than a bunch of different notions throughout human history based upon the idea that humans, and thus human minds were somehow different than animal minds in some special kind of way. There's nothing special about it. It's a matter of complexity, and that's it.

    All thought. All belief. All statements. All meaning. All of these things consist entirely of mental correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or the agent(creature) itself. The only difference is in the complexity of the correlations.
  • SteveKlinko
    250
    There is no such thing as some deep insight into consciousness. It's nothing more than a bunch of different notions throughout human history based upon the idea that humans, and thus human minds were somehow different than animal minds in some special kind of way. There's nothing special about it. It's a matter of complexity, and that's it.

    All thought. All belief. All statements. All meaning. All of these things consist entirely of mental correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or the agent(creature) itself. The only difference is in the complexity of the correlations.
    creativesoul
    I think most people recognize that animals probably have some kind of Conscious existence and experience similar to what humans have. So how would you explain the Conscious Red experience using your Correlations drawn between 'Objects' of physiological sensory perception ... proposition?
  • tom
    1.5k
    I think most people recognize that animals probably have some kind of Conscious existence and experience similar to what humans have.SteveKlinko

    That is just an example of the typical anthropomorphizing that people do. There is no evidence that animals possess qualia, and let's hope robots don't either.

    If animals can create "what-it-is-like" knowledge, then what stops them creating any other kind of knowledge?
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    ...So how would you explain the Conscious Red experience using your Correlations drawn between 'Objects' of physiological sensory perception ... propositionSteveKlinko

    I wouldn't. That notion is utterly meaningless to me personally. That said...

    If you would like, you can explain to me what you mean by "Conscious Red experience", and perhaps I could translate into my framework afterwards. As it stands, I'm sure that whatever you say will consist of the aforementioned correlations.
  • SteveKlinko
    250
    If you would like, you can explain to me what you mean by "Conscious Red experience", and perhaps I could translate into my framework afterwards. As it stands, I'm sure that whatever you say will consist of the aforementioned correlations.creativesoul
    We don't even need to consider Correlations. I'm talking about the Red experience itself. How does the Red experience happen in the Conscious Mind? What is it? What experiences it?
  • creativesoul
    3.1k
    What is the Red experience? What does it consist of? Apple pies consist of their ingredients. What are the ingredients of a Red experience?
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