[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 16:13:17 UTC 2007

On 4/3/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 03, 2007 at 03:09:36PM -0400, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> > > Not all circuits can count, it take special ones.
> >
> > ### You evaded the question. What is so special about certain material
> > objects (human brains, ink on paper, certain circuits) that makes
> Ink on paper, no, (unless it's one of them fancy inkjet-printed
> electronics which is smart enough to count). Human brains and certain circuits,
> yes, because through evolutionary optimization (all smart human artifacts are
> causally entangled with said optimization, which is not true for dumb
> objects, man-made, or otherwise) they have evolved to be able to make
> measurements on their environment/tracking certain aspects of state
> (including themselves), which is externally denoted (in your, mine,
> and a fair number of other heads) as "counting" and "numbers".
> The pigment marks on dead tree are completely meaningless without any
> such systems and said measurements (unless it's one damn smart paper).
> > their states able to support the existence of numbers (and be
> > absolutely necessary to the existence of numbers), while other
> > material objects do support the existence of numbers?
> The numbers are not in the object but the observer (the systems
> have to agree on a common code as to configuration states of the object, which
> requires communication, or a common point of origin acting as
> a communication channel equivalent). Observer complex, external
> encoding trivial. Sufficiently so that the observer can encode
> internally, without breaking a sweat.

### OK, there are certain networks in the temporal and parietal
cortices, a part of ventral processing stream (the "what" stream),
that form the concept of "chicken". Then there are other networks,
located slightly more dorsally in the parietal cortex, that subserve
numerosity and the even higher level parietal and frontal cortices
that allow the manipulation of abstract representations of numbers.

All of these cortices need to use continuous, highly structured data
streams for their development. The data is generated by sense organs
and various subcortical structures, and are eventually traceable to
objects and processes in the external world. There are referents to
"chickens". There are referents to "numbers". The referents exist
independently of the cortices that form the concepts related to them.

In what way are the referents of the concept "chicken" existentially
different from the referents of the concept "17"?


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