getting past emergentism

Alex Green dralexgreen at
Fri Apr 20 15:08:05 EST 2001

Arthur T. Murray <uj797 at> wrote in message > >
> > WingHorse:
> >>> Do you really mean to say that data-streaming-inwards is
> >>> the same as consciousness?
> >> ATM:
> >> No.  What the brain-mind _does_ with the "data-streaming-inwards"
> >> is consciousness.
> >>>
> >>> Even if you do, how do you equate data-streaming-inwards
> >>> with self-recognition?
> >> ATM:
> >> Please see the various "Mentifex" brain-mind diagrams online at
> >> -- an original model
> >> of the mind.
> >>
> >> Incoming data are shunted orthogonally into the semantic memory,
> >> where conceptual nerve fibers hold the concepts behind the data
> >> by gathering together all the associative tags that define concepts.
> >>
> >> The concept of self grows in depth and breadth along with all
> >> the other concepts of non-self, of other, of the external world.

This is fine if you define "concept of self" as a classification process.
Classification engines can have this sort of concept, my mailer has "concept
of country" in it.

> >
This reference confirms the above comment:
> Self is primitive core concept no. 50 in the AI Standards at
> (proposed).
> In the Artificial Mind, words in the auditory memory channel
> are associatively linked to lexical fibers in the
> semantic memory channel for the control of English words,
> and to concept fibers in the deep "Psi" mindcore.
> Concepts build up by the accretion of associative tags.
> The mindcore #50 concept of "self" is tagged to all sensory
> and conceptual knowledge about the self of the organism,
> and to lexical items such as "I" and me" which the self
> uses both to think and to communicate about itself.
> The main criterion for the assessment that an entity has a
> sense of self is the ability of the entity to discuss itself.

Have you have defined "self" according to a particular set of attributes
based on an artificial model and then extended this to humanity?

> In the JavaScript Artificial Mind, but not yet in Mind.Forth,
> there is in the "Oldconcept" module (discussed online at
> -- for Mind.Forth)
> a snippet of code which has been commented with the remark that
> "// This code has a bearing on emerging consciousness:" because
> the two if-clauses shunt incoming personal pronouns to either
> "self" or "other" as concepts, depending on who is speaking.
> Therefore, the JS AI Mind already correctly differentiates
> between "you" addressing it and itself addressed as "you."

I think it is here that two completely different understandings arise.  In
one understanding consciousness is our own experience of it, in the other
understanding consciousness is your mechanical definition of it.  Most
people understand consciousness to be their own experience so before you can
lay claim to having discovered anything about consciousness you must prove
that what you have defined is the same as everyone else experiences.

> ATM:
> >> To perceive self amid the various streams of data, and to
> >> succumb to the illusion that the self is conscious, is
> >> in fact to _be_ conscious -- because consciousness is the
> >> illusion of consciousness.
> >
> > There seems to be a flawed syllogism in this paragraph.
> > Also, you have not specified why consciousness is an illusion,
> > in the first place.  It may be, but it may not be, or both,
> > depending on what criteria you are using.
> ATM:
> Consciousness is an illusion because an intense vortex of
> associative processing becomes aware of itself as a mind,
> as a subjective ego calling itself "I" and having both
> waking states and dream-states.  The process is an illusion
> because nothing epiphenomenal is really happening; only
> information is being routed, and rapidly, as if in a whirlwind.
> When the mind perceives its own consciousness, it is perceiving
> the trickery that wherever it looks or listens, it sees or
> hears something.  A virtual light goes on, Rene':  Cogito, ergo sum.
Developing a machine that claims it is conscious seems fairly
straightforward but building one that can really do the trick is very
different and, if it were possible, should be illegal.

Have you considered that everything you see is derived from a copy of
sensory information in your brain?  Try looking at this screen, are you
"fooling yourself" that you can see it?  Is it an illusion?  You have two
choices, you can deny your observation or accept it.  If you accept that you
can see this screen, what configuration of nerve cells and fibres could
provide the impression that it is distant from you, eg:projected?  As time
passes, what "wiring" could give you the feeling of continuity that you

I think what you are doing is very interesting from an engineering viewpoint
in the same way as object oriented development was interesting after SSADM
but you seem to be making claims that your systems are the same as certain
natural systems when in truth they are mimicking nature.

> >
> >>> I have visited your websites and find nothing that in any way
> >>> duplicates or even resembles cognition, much less "consciousness."
> >> ATM:
> >> A limited form of rudimentary cognition occurs in the
> >> Artificial Mind
> >
> > Cognition may "process" information, but not all
> > information-processing is cognition.  One (of many)
> > distinctions is that cognition uses information for IDEA,
> ATM:
> Let us call the associative interrelations among concepts
> the "idea."  Mind.Forth and the JS AI Mind preserve such
> "ideas" as temporal clusters of associative tags.
> Conversations with the Artificial Mind reactivate its ideas.
> As a novice programmer I confess that my three AI variants
> (in Amiga ARexx, Win32Forth, and Internet Explorer JavaScript)
> still have difficulty keeping concepts straight because of
> hard-to-control shiftings in the spreading-activation levels,
> but I remain confident that the Mentifex AI programs are on the
> right track and are based on sound neuroscientific principles.

Try looking up "zombies" in philosophical areas of the web.  I am sorry to
say that the claims you are making are well known.  Some philosophers in
this area maintain links to zombie sites to have a good laugh!  Try
Professor Chalmer's site for example:
> > a metaphysical entity (there is not so much as a nutrino's
> > worth of mass-energy in an idea).  Machines cannot distinguish
> > one idea from another, or idea from nonidea (thing, or res).
> ATM:
> Thank you for the Latin; I have a degree in Latin and Greek.
> > The way current flows through any information-processing
> > machine "discerns" from among strictly physical phenomena---
> > such as sound waves or circuit-breaking keystrokes;
> > such as patterns of light photons and no or few such photons---
> > via physical current shifters, and, if the machine's programmer
> > has accommodated it, it mechanically takes "appropriate" actions.
> > In a very specious way, this can SEEM to resemble organismic
> > (see below) thought and behavior.  But it takes the observing
> > human to grasp the IDEA(s) involved.  (True) cognition, whether
> > at  "conscious" or "unconscious" levels, grasps IDEAs.
> ATM:
> And a mentifex-class AI grasps IDEAS by assigning their
> associative tags to concepts linguistically mediated by
> verbs in most cases, and in future (I hope) by prepositions, etc.
> The original theory of the Mentifex AI design was created in
> (q.v.).
> [...]
> > No, I do not mean "biological" or "corporeal," and that sort
> > of view is just what is wrong with so-called "cognitive science."
> > An organism---perhaps even a nucleotide, but certainly at the next,
> > or viral, level---can do more than process information; it seems
> > to be able to "think"; i.e., to get ideas.  An organism is a
> > psychobiological entity.  But it would take too long here to
> > trace the factually available but ignored evidence for this.
> >
> >> Please also see
> >> -- Assoc. for the Scientific Study of Consc.;
> >> -- Consciousness Studies
> >>
> >> All the various Mentifex webpages present an original theory of mind.
> >
> > I will look them up, but based on the info  (only info)
> > you have so far presented, the theory is not of mind,
> > but of infomation-processing, alone. Just because  the
> > hand shovel or bull-dozer can do many of the tasks that
> > a human with only hands and limbs can do, and more of it
> > in shorter time, does not mean that the hand shovel or
> > bull-dozer IS a human limb with hands. Likewise, with our
> > current technology, machines can be made to process
> > information to just about any end that humans might
> > wish their brains could do, but this does not mean that
> > such machines are brains; most especially, they are not minds,
> > for it still takes humans to grasp the IDEAs output by the machine.
> ATM:
> Or it takes another machine running similar AI software.
> Thank you for the discussion.
> Arthur T. Murray
> --
> : consciousness;
> -- Home Page;
> : Mind.Forth AI;
> : Mind.REXX AI.

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list