Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

DRS_IsAnIdiotAsWellAsStupid DRS_IsAnIdiotAsWellAsStupid at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 15 16:04:38 EST 2004


"Eray Ozkural exa" <erayo at bilkent.edu.tr> wrote in message
news:fa69ae35.0402151239.53570361 at posting.google.com...
> "AlphaOmega2004" <OmegaZero2003 at yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:<59dd837546b2b1f4ee6231123f513845 at news.teranews.com>...
> > "Eray Ozkural exa" <erayo at bilkent.edu.tr> wrote in message
> > news:fa69ae35.0402121807.4090deb8 at posting.google.com...
> > > I don't support that position, either. One does not need to be
> > > "eliminative" to be  materialist.
> >
> > It does help when you have to have a bowel movement though.
> >
> > ;^))
> >
> > Seriously, there are conceptions of mind/brain_processes that rely
totally
> > on time_as_primary; synchronization theories etc. The notion that brain
> > experiences all environmental events in their past, the synchrony  (or
lack
> > thereof) of neuronal group firings *as* representational vehicles. Etc.
etc.
> >
>
> Empirical data seems to suggest that "timing" is all there is to
> information in the neural code, see the Flynculus threads!
>
> > >
> > > Omega might have something to say on Churchland, I'm curious of what
> > > he thinks.
> >
> > I have always liked Pat's take on several issues. Her Computational
Brain
> > (with Terry Sejnowski - one person in the field who deserves every
> > accolade...)  IMHO, set a standard for turning philosophical meanderings
> > into empirically-verifiable hypotheses and hard data (based on ANN
> > observations). Modelling neurobiological structures with computational
> > structures has provided a great deal of insight into how brain
categorizes
> > and communicates between NGs - two essential characteristics of what it
> > means to be a mind - or cognizing entity. Cognition of difference ( the
> > function that co-operates with or operates just before actual
> > categorization) is of material primacy to consciousness; separating self
> > from non-self as the second-most (and secondly-adopted) function of
brain.
> > E.g., infants prior to a few months develop the ability to cognize
> > difference in the environment; thence they develop the cognition of
> > self-other differences as part of the development of their selves -
their
> > self-consciousness follows.
>
> Do you observe how that elates "difference" as a first class abstract

Yes!

That seems to be primary - a process of "seeing" thence "cognizing"
difference.


> concept, not unlike what Lester suggests? (This is not to say I agree
> with his arguments, only that difference could be treated more
> carefully)
>
> Minsky also argues that much of subjective experience is a direct
> consequence of analysis of differences, i.e. if the input is static
> subjective experience dissolves, both in reactive and reflective
> states. There may be a subtle issue of knowledge and experience here,
> but I cannot quite pin it down.

And the meditative arts teach just such a dissolution of difference (at
least the cognition of part) such that all that is left is the cognizing
instrument - pure consciousness.

>
> > But back to Churchland: her stand on materialsm (based on the reduction
of
> > phsychological facets of mind/brain to physiological/computational
> > mechanisms) is well-taken as far as it goes in "eliminating" the "spooky
> > stuff" like souls and spirits (and with them - the elimination of the
> > Cartesian/dualist conundrums).  Note that she admits that this is an
> > hypothesis (in good standing - one which I agree with - as I have not
seen
> > any disembodied minds yet), but strong enough to proceed as though it
were a
> > fact of nature - a particularly strong position philosophically.
>
> That is well taken, indeed.
>
> >
> > In reading some of her other position papers, I understand that her
top-down
> > reductionist approach does *not* mean that bottom-up appraches are not
> > important.  She has an engineering/reverse-engineering bent - so it is
> > natural for her to assume the reductionist approach - take it apart and
see
> > how the components work and constitute the whole (with more emphasis on
the
> > former than the latter - which IMO has some problems - one of which is
that
> > the notion of emergence is relegated to the back burner, whereas I think
it
> > should be front and center, as reductionism tends to eliminate
*information*
> > and is a lossy process (as I have discussed before.)
>
> I have a problem with such theories when they don't lead to a
> mathematical insight. I try to back up my arguments with some small
> complexity "fact" / "hypothesis", if you recall how I presented a
> mathematical interpretation of the irreducibility of mental processes.

Then the recent characterization (computional) of thought by Eric B. Baum is
up your ally and follows on Churchland's work.

>
> Regards,
>
> --
> Eray Ozkural





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