[split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
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25-10-2017, 03:12 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2017 03:16 AM by Mathilda.)
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 01:56 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(25-10-2017 01:43 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  Your question is too vague.

So...

No explanation. No theory.

There are lots of explanations and theories about how the brain works. There are whole journals and conferences devoted to this subject at each level. You are asking questions that cannot be easily answered in a single post on a discussion forum so you can then say that it cannot be explained. This is intellectually dishonest of you.

You are also ignoring posts where people do explain why.

So .. a quick run down.

We know that the brain is made up of neurons that communicate with each other using electochemical signals. We know what functionality is lost when there is damage to different parts of the brain. We know that disruption to how the neurons communicate can cause specific loss of function. For example I have multiple sclerosis and scans have shown a lesion in the C1 section of my spine caused by demyelination. I have experienced first hand the loss of functionality from this.


There are many different parts of the brain and you aren't even specifying exactly what functionality you want to know about. Do you want an explanation for an abstract concept such as justice? A mental representation for what we see? Logical chains of inference? Intentionality? Each of these have a different explanation because they use different parts of the brain. You are deliberately using equivocation so we don't know what you want explained so you can say that it cannot be explained.

It is on a par with demanding an explanation for how something completely unspecified can work. Such a vague question can only be answered using a general explanation and I gave that to you.
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25-10-2017, 03:27 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  You are also ignoring posts where people do explain why.

That's not an explanation. That's the genetic fallacy.

I assume that humans developed whatever they can do through evolution. That still doesn't answer my question. I am not being dishonest; I am waiting for a genuine explanation.

(25-10-2017 03:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  So .. a quick run down.

We know that the brain is made up of neurons that communicate with each other using electochemical signals. We know what functionality is lost when there is damage to different parts of the brain. We know that disruption to how the neurons communicate can cause specific loss of function. For example I have multiple sclerosis and scans have shown a lesion in the C1 section of my spine caused by demyelination. I have experienced first hand the loss of functionality from this.

Right, that's all clear.

(25-10-2017 03:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  There are many different parts of the brain and you aren't even specifying exactly what functionality you want to know about. Do you want an explanation for an abstract concept such as justice? A mental representation for what we see? Logical chains of inference? Intentionality? Each of these have a different explanation because they use different parts of the brain.

Any of them would be fine.

(25-10-2017 03:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  You are deliberately using equivocation so we don't know what you want explained so you can say that it cannot be explained.

You are accusing me of various things. I am asking for any clear answer you can give. None seems to be forthcoming.

(25-10-2017 03:12 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  It is on a par with demanding an explanation for how something completely unspecified can work. Such a vague question can only be answered using a general explanation and I gave that to you.

No, I think the question is clear. How can an experiencing subject have any experience which is not experienced as an electrochemical event? We know that the brain has only these, yet experiencing subjects have a phenomenal world.

If you'd prefer to address one of the different experiential qualities that people have, you can start with color. Or choose any one you are comfortable with. If you don't want to type it out I promise to look at any link you give to a respectable journal or web site.

The comparison to virtual reality breaks down when you realize that VR works because at the end of the long chain there is a person (an experiencing subject) who is conscious of the emissions. So comparisons to VR just delay the inevitable.
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25-10-2017, 03:43 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:27 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  No, I think the question is clear. How can an experiencing subject have any experience which is not experienced as an electrochemical event? We know that the brain has only these, yet experiencing subjects have a phenomenal world.

Your question is still undefined. You may think it is clear but it is obvious that no one else does.

First define what you mean by 'experiencing' or 'experience'.
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25-10-2017, 03:55 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:43 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  First define what you mean by 'experiencing' or 'experience'.

Suppose you open your eyes and you see color.

There is no color in nature. Only vibrations. The vibrations go in your eyeballs. The eyeballs send an electrochemical signal. The brain reacts electrochemically. Yet you see color.

What happens between those last two sentences?
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25-10-2017, 04:17 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:43 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  First define what you mean by 'experiencing' or 'experience'.

By the way, the note you put on my "reputation" list is untrue.

I am intellectually honest. No one here has answered my question, and you seem not to have understood it.

A few have been honest enough to suggest the only reasonable response is "we don't know."

It is a widely-known issue in philosophy and brain science. Daniel Dennett wrote a book attempting to answer it. If his explanation is true, it has the unfortunate side effect of making all human consciousness an illusion. It is extreme reductionism, of a type which other people on this forum reject. It would also make all observational science unreliable.

The issue has been discussed at least since the time that Isaac Newton decreed that qualities are not in nature but in the mind. This was an enormous metaphysical change which we are still coming to terms with. Kant is the one who articulated the issue for philosophy.
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25-10-2017, 04:18 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:55 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(25-10-2017 03:43 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  First define what you mean by 'experiencing' or 'experience'.

Suppose you open your eyes and you see color.

There is no color in nature. Only vibrations. The vibrations go in your eyeballs. The eyeballs send an electrochemical signal. The brain reacts electrochemically. Yet you see color.

What happens between those last two sentences?

You are aware of seeing colour. This is consciousness. There are various theories about what consciousness is. For me I don't see consciousness as a hard problem at all.

Take a stimulus / response agent such as a sea slug. You poke it, it reacts. Poke it again, it reacts. It is part of a sensory motor loop where it senses the environment, processes a response and performs an action.

Now imagine instead a stimulus / response agent that had two senses, it senses the environment but also senses its own internal state. It can then process the information from both senses and act more intelligently. You then have rudimentary consciousness.

The problem with your question though that there is no single seat of consciousness in the brain because different parts of the brain perform different functions and you can be conscious of many different forms of neural function.

Take the act of seeing, such as in your example. This is still an incredibly complex operation. A large part of the brain is directly involved in processing vision directly, and up to 2/3 of the brain indirectly involved. Yet you are not conscious of each and every step. I could show you an apple and you would just see the end result of an apple. You are not conscious of all the processing required to make that representation regardless of its position, size, rotation, colour, brightness and whether it is moving, still, partially hidden etc.

From what I remember from reading a paper about it 20 years ago, it is theorised that a representation is built up from the bottom-up by pattern matching features that are commonly associated with each other when the signals bounce back and forth between the later visual processing areas and the thalamus which acts like an AI blackboard system to decide what the brain is seeing.

This is why very subtle and completely unexpected features can sometimes not be noticed until being explicitely pointed out. The thalamus acts as a window focusing on a sea of information from our senses to make it salient which we deem to be conscious awareness.
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25-10-2017, 04:31 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 04:17 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  By the way, the note you put on my "reputation" list is untrue.

I am intellectually honest. No one here has answered my question, and you seem not to have understood it.

I am prepared to remove it if I find that I was mistaken.

(25-10-2017 04:17 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  A few have been honest enough to suggest the only reasonable response is "we don't know."

You are asking incredibly hard and vague questions and you are unlikely to find a specific answer from a discussion forum because these are still active areas of research. That does not mean to say that the questions are not being answered though. There are many theories about how different parts of the brain work. I certainly am not aware of most of them. Take echo-location with spiking neural networks for example. I know a person who has produced models of this but would have to go off and read his papers to explain it myself. Even if all of this was known down to the smallest detail (it isn't), it would still be difficult to explain.

What we do know though is that consciousness is affected by the functioning of our neurons and can be stopped completely using anesthetic.
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25-10-2017, 04:38 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 04:31 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  it would still be difficult to explain.

Right, well, you're still not approaching an answer. The brain does lots of complex things in lots of areas and then [magic pixie dust] we see color.

And it appears that even if we do manage to chart every event in every synapse, the process is the same, with the same magic pixie dust.

But I won't call you dishonest for assuming that one thing can magically turn into another. I'm sure you believe that.
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25-10-2017, 04:45 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2017 04:51 AM by Mathilda.)
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
For fuck sake! Completely ignore my post about the thalamus why not. It is because of this kind of behaviour that I gave you the negative rep.

Whatever anyone says, no matter how detailed, you will still repeat the same mantra that it cannot be explained. You're like a creationist demanding yet another missing link no matter how many are presented to him.
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25-10-2017, 08:42 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2017 09:31 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(25-10-2017 03:55 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  Suppose you open your eyes and you see color.

There is no color in nature. Only vibrations. The vibrations go in your eyeballs. The eyeballs send an electrochemical signal. The brain reacts electrochemically. Yet you see color.

What happens between those last two sentences?

Simple questions sometimes require simple answers, so here goes my attempt.

Your brain not only automatically processes information but also automatically represents such information symbolically to the conscious part of the brain. Color is exactly such a preverbal, symbolic representation. When color perception evolved, animals couldn't interpret mere electrochemical signals meaningfully.

However, if your question was really, "Why do we experience qualia?" then the answer is that we are our bodies and not just our consciousness. Experiences happen to us.

Does one of these explanations answer your question? If not, please tell me why.
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