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Old 05-22-2019, 12:58 PM
Half Man Half Wit's Avatar
Half Man Half Wit is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I was sentence-by-sentence restating the post to which I was replying. Which sentence did I restate incorrectly?
Everything except for the first, basically.

Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
Only if you believe Chalmers. I proposed above that novel emergent properties can develop in the interconnections and/or states of lower-level components that were not found in any form in the components themselves.
Given the lower level properties and their arrangement, do the emergent properties follow necessarily? If I fix the base facts, do I fix the emergent facts, or are there more facts left to fix?

If the former, you don't get the sort of emergence you claim, because then, the emergent facts follow from the base facts---and for every emergent fact, you can state the precise way it follows from the base facts. Thus, that's the story you need to at least provide some plausibility argument for in order to have your claim of the emergence of consciousness be contentful.

If the latter, then the base facts don't determine the emergent facts. Then, of course, consciousness just might come 'round at some point. Somehow, for basically no reason. But also, it's no longer the case that fixing the physical facts ('particles, fields, and their arrangement') fixes all the facts, and physicalism is wrong.

It's not a matter of believing Chalmers or not. He's not stating this out of the blue; he's just clearly articulating what the options are. There's no middle ground. You either eat the cake, or keep it.

I note that you're avoiding my cited quote about the important role of computational theory in cognitive science.
I've never doubted the role of computational theory in cognitive science. The problem is just that the model doesn't imply the character of the thing modeled, so computationalism just amounts to a category error. Just because you can model the solar system with an orrery doesn't mean gravity works via wires and gears.

And really, you shouldn't start accusing others of avoiding things.

Also, Dreyfus developed a very bad reputation in the AI and cognitive science communities early on that he was never able to shake, despite apparently some level of vindication of a few of his ideas in later years. I can tell you first-hand that contempt for Dreyfus is still prevalent in those communities.
And that's supposed to be arguing for what, exactly? Because computer science people have sour grapes with Dreyfus, you can't criticize computationalism...? Seriously, I can't figure out what your aim is in bringing this up again and again.

What is that computation, you ask? Let's ask a hypothetical intelligent alien who happens to know nothing about number systems. The alien's correct answer would be: it's performing the computation that produces the described pattern of lights in response to switch inputs.
OK, so it's actually just the physical evolution that you want to call 'computation' for some reason. And me computing sums using the device isn't computation. In that case, as I pointed out, you're not defending computationalism, but identity theory physicalism. Combined with your notion of strong-but-not-really-that-strong emergence, you don't really have any consistent position to offer at all.

"You could do it by computer" as a synonym for "trivial" sounds like something Dreyfus would have said!
Well, thanks!

Of course "surprise" by itself isn't a criterion for much of anything, but surprise in the sense that properties that we explicitly denied could emerge from certain processes, like high intelligence or strong problem-solving skills, if and when they actually emerge does mean that we have to re-evaluate our beliefs and assumptions.
It means we were wrong, that's it. It's hard to see how chess, or Jeopardy, translated to simple Boolean logical rules. But the fact that you can do it by computer simply demonstrates that it does; that what next move to make in a game of chess is equivalent to tracking through some ungodly-huge Boolean formula that one could explicitly write down.

Nobody can be in any doubt about that. There's no mystery about how chess-playing emerges in computers, and that's precisely because we understand how the lower-level properties lead to the chess-playing behavior. Getting a computer to play chess means we understand how that sort of behavior comes about, whereas even if a computer were conscious, we still wouldn't have the faintest clue about how consciousness comes about. We have no idea how consciousness reduces to some Boolean formula, some program, some algorithm. Blithely positing that 'it emerges' simply sweeps our ignorance under the rug, where the only thing we can do that has any hope of getting us ahead on the problem is meeting it head-on.

That's where we need to re-evaluate our beliefs and assumptions.