Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

Alex Green dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Feb 17 04:31:37 EST 2004


"AlphaOmega2004" <OmegaZero2003 at yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<2b87008a9fd70789cb534988f584011a at news.teranews.com>...
> I think the conceptual error these guys make is that one cannot explain the
> psychological terminology by reference to neuropsychological concepts.
> 
> These are *all* bona fide *ways* of conceptualizing a space that is
> multi-dimensional in the broadest sense.  TO think one can divorce the
> psychological from the neuropsychological is non sense.
> 

Nicely put. The problem is literally one of dimensionality. It is
possible to describe a square as a stack of lines or a cube as a stack
of squares but these descriptions are only understood if squares and
cubes are known. This would be a trivial, obvious point if it were not
for the fact that many neuroscientists and AI specialists are indeed
claiming the equivalent of "I believe a square is an infinity of short
lines".

The discovery of the connections within the brain and the nature of
brain activity is essential for medical and neurophysiological
progress. Unfortunately this data is being overhyped by some
commentators. As an example, to declare that the experience of a pain
in a leg is a particular succession of impulses at a particular place
is a mistake. An experience of pain in the leg is a zone of things
within a geometrical manifold whereas an impulse in an axon is just a
signal.  As people who are 'experience' we can imagine that impulses
in axons may contribute to the content of experience but they cannot,
by themselves, actually be that experience.

As you said, "the conceptual error these guys make is that one cannot
explain the psychological terminology by reference to
neuropsychological concepts".  It is indeed possible to convert
'impulse' into 'experience'.  The transformation that is required is
firstly to define the geometry of the manifold that we call
experience, secondly to locate the physical field of things that
creates the content of the manifold and lastly to determine how
impulses modulate this field.

Those commentators who 'jump the gun' and declare that experience is
simply a set of signals and behaviours without specifying how those
signals become the phenomenon of experience are doing science a great
disservice.

Best Wishes

Alex Green



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