[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 03:30:22 UTC 2010

On 14 February 2010 11:38, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 3:57 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 14 February 2010 08:02, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>  Half a thing is not the thing.
>> But half a thing may still perform the function of the thing.
> If the nature of the half thing is profoundly different from that of
> the whole, the nature of its performance may also be radically
> altered/diminished.

Yes it may, but it depends on what the function is. An artificial
joint is not *identical* with a natural joint, but it can function
just as well.

>>> ...the God-like nature of man is more about the influence
>>> of gut, bone, blood, and sinew, than brain...
>> Then there would be a problem with the
>> consciousness of people who
>> have lost limbs or various internal organs.
> Regarding the loss of limbs, kidney, gall bladder, stomach, lengths of
> intestine, a lung, etc....  I agree the persona and consciousness
> appear unaltered.  That said, I have heard of people who lose a
> portion of their visual field, but are unaware of the alteration in
> their consciousness.  However, that may be the result of brain damage,
> not somatic damage.

Some patients with damage to the visual cortex are completely blind
but insist that they can see normally, even while they stagger around
bumping into things. They are not lying or even "in denial", they
honestly believe it. That is, they are delusional, and this is an
example of a type of delusional disorder called anosognosia (meaning
inability to recognise that you have an illness). Interestingly, it
usually doesn't happen if the lesion is in the eye or optic nerve.

> But mostly I was thinking of basic human impulses and feelings:
> hunger and the urge to feed, the reproductive impulse,
> acquisitiveness(greed?), the various behaviors arising from the
> instinct for survival: fight or flight, fear, anger, hatred,
> dominance, submission, anxiety, depression, shock.  These things are
> primitive, and certainly pre-date the features of mammalian (ie
> higher) brain function.  I view these impulses as the foundation AND
> BULK of animal and human behavior, and gut-centered, with higher-level
> mental activity a more recent development.  I wonder if feelings in
> the gut aren't in fact real -- like pain -- and our awareness of them
> just an additional fact, a mental fact.
> So what would consciousness be, what would a mind be without this
> foundational context built up over three and a half billion years?
> That's why I think the gut (soma) may be critical in defining mind.
> But, to be honest with you, I feel way out on a limb here.

There is no doubt that many of our feelings are based in the body, but
they are *felt* in the brain. If you could reproduce the inputs the
brain receives from the body, you would reproduce the associated

Stathis Papaioannou

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