[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Aware aware at awareresearch.com
Fri Feb 5 15:51:59 UTC 2010

On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 4:35 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/5/10, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> By definition it isn't measurable, since (according to Searle and
>>  Gordon) it would be possible to perfectly reproduce the behaviour of
>>  the brain, but leave out understanding. It is only possible to observe
>>  behaviour, so if behaviour is separable from understanding, you can't
>>  observe it. I'm waiting for Gordon to say, OK, I've changed my mind,
>>  it is *not* possible to reproduce the behaviour of the brain and leave
>>  out understanding, but he just won't do it.
> "You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason
> themselves into."
> — Ben Goldacre (Bad Science)

Ironically, nearly EVERYONE in this discussion is defending the
"obvious, indisputable, common-sense position" that this [qualia |
consciousness | meaning | intentionality...(name your 1st-person
essence)] actually exists as an ontological attribute of certain
systems. It's strongly reminiscent of belief in phlogiston or élan
vital, but so much trickier because of the epistemological factor.
Nearly everyone here, with righteous rationality, are defending a
position they did not reason themselves into, even though, when
pressed, they will admit they don't know how to model it or even
clearly define it.

Gordon presents Searle's argument, and no one here gets that the logic
is right, but the premise is wrong--because they are True Believers
sharing that premise.

The "consciousness" you're looking for--that you assume drives your
thinking and receives your experience--doesn't exist.  The illusion of
an essential self (present always only when the system asks) is simply
the necessary behavior of any system referring to references to

- Jef

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