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Dec5-05, 05:14 AM
P: 20
Quote Quote by Paul Martin
So here's how this model makes things easy.
1. How can mentality cause concepts like the laws of physics? Since (some of) we humans seem to be able to do this, it doesn't seem to be very mysterious. We may not know exactly how it is done in all cases, but we certainly know that minds can come up with concepts like the laws of physics.
Mentality has the same relation to mind as software has to hardware. It seems to me that software is supervenient on hardware. Despite a number of counterexamples that various people have tried to present, sufficient examination always reveals a need for a material structure to support patterns of information.
Quote Quote by Paul Martin
2. How can concepts like the laws of physics cause physical reality? In our human experience, we have designed and built virtual reality machines in which toy laws of physics have been implemented in machines in which virtual entities behave according to those laws. Yes, we use physical components to do this, but in principle, if our memories were prodigious enough, we could perform the entire thing in our imagination, thus keeping it strictly mental. The physical components are merely crutches. So, in reality, our Physical World could be caused in the same way. Easy.
Except, when examining what our imagination is "running on", we find it to be material.
Quote Quote by Paul Martin
3. How can physical reality cause mentality? I think this one gives most scientists the least pause. Their explanation is that brains have simply evolved to the point that mentality just "arises". Easy.
This explanation doesn't satisfy me at all. I don't believe that any physical mechanism can produce consciousness no matter how complex it is.
Perhaps AI has run into a brick wall because it's been looking for a non-existent "trick algorithm" that induces consciousness. Perhaps there is no such a thing as consciousness (or qualia) as distinct form anything else in the world. In other words even the most simple of data processing systems (like a bimetallic thermostat) possesses a microscopic degree of qualia. Perhaps then the problem lies not so much in our intellectual inability to develop some clever algorithm but in nobody having a practical means to re-create the colossal aggregation of simple data processing units that evolution has managed to put together in the last thee billion or so years. After all, as the only realistic candidate for self organization this is all evolution could practically manage do.
Interesting stuff Paul.