[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 24 05:42:12 UTC 2023

*Also, I have pointed out to Stathis, and other functionalists, a gazillion
times over the years, that even a substrate independent function, couldn't
be responsible for redness, for the same mistaken (assumes the substitution
will succeed) reasoning.*
Brent, do you realize that you are basically saying that feathers are
necessary for flight?
The great success of science is all about showing that function,
relationships are what count. It has worked in all fields of science. Think
about Medicine, it is all about finding the essence of a compound not a 1
to 1 correspondence with a chemical that has a certain effect on the body.
If the compound has a similar effect then it is good enough. Same in
engineering, I mentioned airplanes but it applies to almost anything else
we design and build, function is fundamental, and materials if they do the
job are secondary. In Physics we always look for the generalization and the
parallels between phenomena a pendulum, a spring, an elastic branch, and
the gas around a star that compresses and expand are all examples of
harmonic motion. Ocean waves, sound waves, and electromagnetic are all
waves, and for a physicist doesn't really matter what they are made of (at
least from a higher point of view). They are described by the same
equations (with small variations that are considered not-so-important
details). There is no reason at all given what we know of the physical
world and neuroscience (because we know functionalism works for many many
cases in neuroscience) that the perception of color would behave
differently. We know already that neural patterns are involved and the fact
that the brain uses this neurotransmitter or that one is completely
You don't make scientific progress to consensus, but there is a reason most
scientists are functionalists. It is not a matter of joining a church or
political party, it is simply because our training and experience as
scientists have shown us that this is how the world works.
It is not a matter of dismissing the difference between ❤ or Red to us they
are both labels that the brain creates to alert itself that it has
perceived external stimuli. They are both due to the firing of neurons. It
doesn't seem to me such a mystery or something we should spend so much time
understanding because in a sense we know already how the brain represents
these experiences by neural patterns. The "mystery" is this damn business
of communicability of experience that it is a misunderstanding of what
science is about as I have said before.
Let me ask you, please answer do answer this question, if I gave you a
300-page book about the astrophysics of the core of a star, I show you all
the physical processes involved, the equation, we can simulate the reaction
in a computer, I can make a prediction of what the temperature on the
surface of the star should be, how many neutrinos should be produced and
detected on earth and so on and so, do you think we understand what a star
is? I have not been inside the core of the start, should I get inside the
core to claim I understand what a start is and how it behaves? What about
the Big Bang, do I need to travel back in time to claim I understand how
the universe was created?


On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 10:21 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 9:03 PM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi Jason,
>> Yes, I thought I replied to this already.  But maybe I never
>> finished it.  Stathis Papuainu (I CC'd him.  He is a brilliant former
>> member of this list, I think everyone here would agree is almost as cool,
>> calm, and collected as you ;), who is another functionalist, pointed me to
>> that paper, over a decade ago.
> Hi Stathis. :-)
> I know him from the everything list.
>> We've been going at it, ever since.  And that paper is derivative of
>> previous works by Hans Moravec.  I first read Morovec's description of that neural
>> substitution argument
>> <https://canonizer.com/topic/79-Neural-Substitn-Argument/1-Agreement> in his
>> book <https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674576186>, back
>> in the 90s.  I've been thinking about it ever since.
> A sketch of the neural substitution argument was introduced by Moravec in
> his 1988, but Chalmers paper I think goes much deeper, by asking, what
> would happen during the gradual replacement, and considering the space of
> possibilities, and further, why functional various strongly suggests qualia
> must also be preserved (the dancing qualia part of his thought experiment).
>> Chalmers admits, in that paper, that one possibility is that the
>> substitution will fail.  This is what we are predicting, that when you get
>> to the first pixel, which has a redness quality, when you try to
>> substitute it with something that does not have a redness quality, you will
>> not be able to progress beyond that point.  Kind of a tautology, actually.
> Okay, this is great progress. I think it may indicate a departure between
> you and Gordon. I *think* Gordon believes it is possible for a computer to
> perfectly replicate the behavior of a person, but that it would not be
> conscious. This position was called "Weak AI" by Searle. Searle believes AI
> in principle can do anything a human can, but that without the right causal
> properties it would not be conscious.
> From the above, it sounds to me as if you are in the camp of Penrose, the
> non-computable physics camp: what the brain does cannot be explained in
> terms of finite, describable, computable rules. The brain's range of
> behaviors transcends what can be computed. Is this an accurate description
> of your view?
>> Also, I have pointed out to Stathis, and other functionalists, a
>> gazillion times over the years, that even a substrate independent function,
>> couldn't be responsible for redness, for the same mistaken (assumes the
>> substitution will succeed) reasoning.
> You have said it a gazillion times, yes, but what is the reason that a
> substrate independent function couldn't be responsible for redness? I know
> you believe this, but why do you believe it? What is your argument or
> justification?
>>   The neural substitution argument proves it can't be functionalism,
>> either.
> I think you might mean: The assumption that organizationally invariant
> neural substitution is not possible, implies some functions are not
> substrate independent (which implies computationalism is false). But this
> does not follow from the argument, it follows from an assumption about the
> outcome of the experiment described in the argument.
>>   All the neural substitution proves is that NOTHING can have a redness
>> quality, which of course, is false.
> What do you think you would feel as neurons in your visual cortex were
> replaced one by one with artificial silicon ones? Would you notice things
> slowly start to change in your perception? Would you mention the change out
> loud and seek medical attention? How would this work mechanistically? Do
> you see it as a result of the artificial neurons having different firing
> patterns which are different from the biological ones (and which cannot be
> replicated)?
>> So this proves the thought experiment must have a bad assumption.
> Which of course is the false assumption that the substitution will succeed.
> 1. Do you think everything in the brain operates according to the laws of
> physics?
> 2. What laws or objects in physics cannot be simulated by a computer?
> 3. How are the items (if any) mentioned in 2 related to the functions of
> the brain?
> Jason
>> All this described in the Neural Substitution Fallacy camp
>> <https://canonizer.com/topic/79-Neural-Substitn-Argument/2-Neural-Substtn-Fallacy>.
>> Which, for some reason, has no competing camp.
>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 7:40 PM Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 8:27 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 4:43 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
>>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>>> Quoting Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
>>>>> >:
>>>>> > This is so frustrating.  I'm asking a simple, elementary school level
>>>>> > question.
>>>>> So you think that the Hard Problem of Consciousness reframed as a
>>>>> your
>>>>> so-called "Colorness Problem" is an elementary school level question?
>>>>> Then maybe you should quit bugging us about it and seek the advice of
>>>>> elementary school children.
>>>> I am working with those people that do get it.  Now, more than 40 of
>>>> them, including leaders in the field like Steven Lehar
>>>> <https://canonizer.com/topic/81-Mind-Experts/4-Steven-Lehar>, are
>>>> supporting the camp that says so.  Even Dennett's Predictive Bayesian
>>>> coding Theory
>>>> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/21-Dennett-s-PBC-Theory>
>>>> is a supporting sub camp, demonstrating the progress we are making.
>>>> Gordon, would you be willing to support RQT
>>>> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/6-Representational-Qualia>?
>>>> The elementary school kids are telling us, plug things into the brain, till
>>>> you find what it is that has a redness quality.  So, we are collecting the
>>>> signature, and once we get enough, experimentalists will finally get the
>>>> message and then start doing this, and eventually be able to demonstrate to
>>>> everyone what it is that has a  [image: red_border.png] property.  To
>>>> my understanding, that is how science works.
>>>> The reason I am bugging you functionalists is because I desperately
>>>> want to understand how everyone thinks about consciousness, especially the
>>>> leading popular consensus functionalism camps. Giovani seems to be saying
>>>> that in this functionalist view, there is no such thing as color qualities,
>>>> but to me, saying there is no color in the world is just insane.  You seem
>>>> to be at least saying something better than that, but as far as I can see,
>>>> your answers are just more interpretations of interpretations, no place is
>>>> there any grounding.   You did get close to a grounded answer when I asked
>>>> how the word 'red' can be associated with [image: green_border.png].
>>>> Your reply was  "at some point during the chatbot's training the English
>>>> word red was associated with *the picture in question*."   But "*the
>>>> picture in question*" could be referring to at least 4 different
>>>> things.  It could be associated with the LEDs emitting the 500 nm light.
>>>> It could be the 500 nm light, which "the picture" is emitting, or it could
>>>> be associated with your knowledge of   [image: green_border.png]. in
>>>> which case it would have the same quality as your knowledge of that, or it
>>>> could be associated with someone that was engineered to be your inverted
>>>> knowledge (has a red / green signal inverter between its retina and optic
>>>> nerve), in which case, it would be like your knowledge of [image:
>>>> red_border.png].  So, if that is indeed your answer, which one of
>>>> these 4 things are you referring to?  Is it something else?
>>>> You guys accuse me of being non scientific.  But all I want to know is
>>>> how would a functionalist demonstrate, or falsify functionalist claims
>>>> about color qualities, precisely because I want to be scientific.  Do you
>>>> believe you have explained how functionalism predictions about color
>>>> qualities could be falsified or demonstrated, within functionalist
>>>> doctrines?   If so, I haven't seen it yet.
>>> I've suggested several times that you read Chalmers Fading/Dancing
>>> qualia thought experiment. Have you done this? What is your interpretation
>>> of it?
>>> https://consc.net/papers/qualia.html
>>> Jason
>>>> So please help, as all I see is you guys saying, over and over again,
>>>> that you don't need to provide an unambiguous way to demonstrate what it is
>>>> that has this quality: [image: red_border.png], or even worse
>>>> functionalism is predicting that color doesn't exist.  As if saying things
>>>> like that, over and over again, makes them true?
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