[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 09:28:10 UTC 2023

Also I think a better example of all this would be an engine.
Yes, the engine is not made of its components. The engine is really a
device, so it is a complex object but it real reason to exist is to perform
a function, an action.
What is the action? Well it is to use a form of compact energy, in the case
of an internal combustion engine it is gasoline that is a very
combustible fluid. If one goes through the details of how the engine works,
one explains how the fluid is ignited by a spark, that the spark creates an
explosion in the combustible liquid and the explosion creates an expansion
in a cylinder in a pipe, that the cylinder pushes some gears that
eventually transfer this vertical motion to other gears that change the
vertical motion into rotational motion transferred to the wheels of the car
and the tires of attached to the wheel because of their friction have
traction and this moves the car forward... if one gives all this
explanation (probably an engineer can add more details, schematics,
calculations) but if one gives all this level of details of all the
functions, and interactions and cause and action then for sure you have an
explanation of how a car works. It is all in the function. Yes, the
materials to use to build the car can be useful and important in building a
specific car but the essence and understanding of what a engine is has
nothing to do with its component, but only its function.

On Sat, Apr 29, 2023 at 2:19 AM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> *A brick doesn't produce a housing estate, a xylem cell doesn't produce
> atree, am I getting my point across yet?*No, you don't really.
> It seems I have to explain things on both directions yours and mine. Can
> you write full sentences that go through the details of what you are trying
> to convey without using "poetic" language? Even your inverter examples,
> your pictures of the strawberries are not precise, they don't go to the
> core of mechanisms. I'm not sure how to explain this to you.
> Let me try with the sentences above.
> I need first of all "translate" or guess what you mean with produce. Do
> you mean a bunch of bricks in the field do not spontaneously come together
> and form a house (also why use housing estate when a house would be enough,
> simplify to make things easier). For sure the bricks make up the house as
> components, do we agree on that?
> If you are saying the bricks do not come together to form a house I agree
> but we know how to put together bricks to form a house and one could
> explain the process step by step. That would be a scientific explanation of
> how to "produce" a house. As I explained many times it is not just the
> component but the process, the interactions, the mechanisms. This is why we
> insist on function. The process of building the house is the explanation.
> The materials are not important, I could use other materials besides
> bricks.
> When we say the firing of the neurons are where consciousness is we mean
> of course that this firing transfers information from neuron to neuron, the
> neuron process, add, subtract, and interprets the information. These
> processes together are the "production" of the house. Do we know the
> details of this "production"? No, but we know that it is what matters. I
> never saw a house come together but I know the real house was built by a
> process and its components are not what matters. To me your position seems
> the opposite of this, you emphasize the components, not the processes, it
> is the functionalists that do.
> In addition, consciousness is actually more similar to the tree process
> than the house process. In fact, the house needs an external agent to come
> together but the tree doesn't. It achieves the goal by cell multiplication
> and following the blueprint of the DNA. The reason why I don't think
> consciousness (and even more qualia) are not this big deal is that we
> already know of a very self-referential, emergent process and we call it
> LIFE and consciousness are probably very similar in terms of being more
> than the sum of the parts, emergent, self-referential, apparently
> mysterious, and mostly made of code and transfer of information. Yes, the
> particular type of life we have on earth depends on specific materials and
> even elements like carbon, water, and amino-acids but while it is important
> to understand the role of these components to understand terrestrial life,
> it is not what the essence of life is. It is what life does that is
> important and it is all about information encoding, processing, and
> transferring. The materials can be substituted by others and in fact, we
> are already successful in making artificial life that doesn't require these
> materials and we can also simulate life processes pretty closely and
> completely digitally.
> So in all your example, the function, the interaction between the parts,
> the connection, the information is the essential ingredient. It is us that
> is insisting on this but not it seems from your last email is you that says
> it is what is important.
> If not go ahead and explain.
> I would like to see an explanation regarding these mundane examples
> because I think we can understand better than talking about something as
> complex as consciousness.
> Please go ahead and tell me the answers from your point of view of the
> riddles about the house, tree, and Eiffel Tower. I told you what is my
> answer.
> Giovanni
> On Sat, Apr 29, 2023 at 1:37 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On 29/04/2023 07:49, Brent Allsop wrote:
>> > All spike trails or trains, or whatever, begin and end with
>> > neurotransmitters being dumped into a synapse, right?  Seems to me
>> > that someone who predicts someone's [experience of red] is more likely
>> > to be spike trains, than [...] a chemical in a synapse, like Giovani,
>> > has no ability to understand or model [experiences].  How the heck
>> > could a train of spikes produce a redness experience?
>> How the heck could a pixel on a screen produce a picture of a field of
>> flowers?
>> How the heck could a digital number produce a word processor document?
>> How the heck could a single note on an oboe produce a symphony?
>> If i wanted to show that pixels can't give rise to pictures, numbers
>> can't give rise to novels, or single notes can't give rise to
>> symphonies, these are the kind of questions I'd ask, in order to direct
>> the reader's attention to the wrong thing.
>> This also applies to molecules of neurotransmitter in a synapse
>> producing an experience.
>> A brick doesn't produce a housing estate, a xylem cell doesn't produce a
>> tree, am I getting my point across yet?
>> You have a warehouse full of steel girders and you want to build the
>> eiffel tower. What's the missing essential ingredient? (no, it's not
>> rivets).
>> Ben
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