[ExI] digital simulations, descriptions and copies

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 13:11:32 UTC 2010

2010/1/21 Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:

>> If the NCC is a particular sequence of chemical reactions, why
>> should that be an "explanation"?
> If and when we come to know everything about the neural correlates of consciousness then we will know everything we can know about how the brain becomes conscious and has conscious experiences. If that does not seem satisfactory to you then you might look at the reasons why. Perhaps you hold consciously or unconsciously to the doctrine of mind/matter duality, such that you think mental phenomena must in some way exist separate from the matter of the brain. I don't hold to that view. I think mental phenomena (conscious thoughts, beliefs, desires, and so on) exist as high level processes of the physical brain.
> In my view every conscious thought or emotion has a physical correlate in the brain. In 2010 we can change our perceptions of pain with pain-killers that alter the physics of our nervous systems. I see no reason we should not expect one day to alter our beliefs and desires the same way.

But finding a physical correlate does not provide an "explanation". I
can stubbornly point out that there is no logical pathway from a lump
of matter to meaning, even if there is an apparent correlation. This
is at least as convincing as your assertion that syntax can't produce
meaning. And it's not obvious that matter is capable of syntax either,
unless it is organised as an information-processing machine. All you
can do then is point to the brain and say, but there is the proof, it
thinks, you just have to accept it as a raw fact. So why can't someone
point to a computer and say the same thing, even supposing that they
are no more capable of explaining how the computer produces meaning
than you are capable with your advanced future understanding of
neuroscience of explaining how matter produces meaning?

Stathis Papaioannou

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