[ExI] Do digital computers feel?
William Flynn Wallace
foozler83 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 23:52:23 UTC 2016
It is generally thought that feelings occur in the central nervous system,
specifically the cortex, and that peripheral nerves and hormones act by
stimulating the central nervous system.
You make it sound like peripheral (i.e. sensory) stimulation is the only
way the mind is run. The only thing we feel in our heads is headache (which
is not brain ache). The endocrine system is run by the hypothalamus, which
directs the pituitary gland, which controls all the other endocrine glands
(exocrine glands like sweat glands are in a different system). So
adrenaline, for ex. comes from the adrenal gland , sitting on top of the
kidney, but it was releasing hormones from the pituitary, that told it what
to do. The resulting feelings caused by the adrenaline, such as feeling
pumped up and powerful, are a feedback system.
A sequence of fear can be started either by thinking or by external
Now if you want to call something like intuition a feeling, then we are at
cross purposes. I am talking about literal feelings as created by an
emotional system, the limbic system. bill w
consciousness might reside in the actual brain substance.
Where else could it be? I am a physical monist and don't like
metaphysics. It may be possible for a computer to feel things the way we
do, but we will never know.
I would like to reiterate an earlier post and remind everyone that neurons
are not the only things in our heads: we have several kinds of glia (I
have a couple of books on that subject) and they certainly do affect the
neurons (not just as support, as earlier thought), so we have to take their
behavior into consideration in beginning to understand the mind. There are
many times more glia than neurons and currently we have little way of
mapping them. bill w
Before John says it: you don't know whether any other humans really feel,
you just deduce it from their behaviour.
Yes, and this is the only way we know *anything at all* of humans, puppies,
atoms, and all the rest of the universe. It is the only way we know
ourselves, by observing ourselves and making deductions.
Everything told to me by authorities (including possible divine
inspiration), reason and logic, and intuition, is tentative at best. I am
an empiricist to the bone!
On Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 5:21 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>
> On 22 Dec. 2016, at 6:22 am, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>
> That neurons are complicated is no argument against their computability. A
> valid such argument would involve a claim that neurons utilise
> non-computable physics.
> ever argued that. But assuming that some super super computer could
> emulate the firings of a set of neurons is a long way from saying that the
> computer would experience what the person does. Feelings are just that -
> something you feel. Emotions come from motion, moving. The neurons do
> something besides just fire - they activate hormonal networks which in
> turn activate muscles and other glands and so on. Anxiety, for one, can be
> felt in one's arms and legs and in another person's head, another person's
> stomach and so on.
> Are there going to be connected networks to emulate the endocrine system?
> The muscles and sinews? The organs of digestion?
> It is generally thought that feelings occur in the central nervous system,
> specifically the cortex, and that peripheral nerves and hormones act by
> stimulating the central nervous system. When you dream or hallucinate, you
> have the experience in the absence of the usual peripheral stimulus. But
> even if emulating the whole body rather than just the brain were needed to
> emulate the full range of experience that would not present an impediment:
> we could make robots.
> And so on and so on. And still you have utterly no reason to think that
> the computer experiences human emotions. Assuming the computer can talk,
> you could ask it what it feels and it has no way of knowing how to answer
> that. It can only put it in human language. Humans, on the other hand,
> have no idea what an electrical circuit feels when it is activated, right?
> Before John says it: you don't know whether any other humans really feel,
> you just deduce it from their behaviour.
> This will have to be the end of my 'contribution' to this discussion. I
> don't know any more. For more you will have to talk to a computer person.
> Which I for sure am not.
> Your intuition is that in order to reproduce consciousness it may not be
> sufficient to just reproduce the behaviour of the human brain, because
> consciousness might reside in the actual brain substance. This, I think, is
> what Brent is claiming. He further claims that one day we may be able to
> work out the exact correlates of experience - glutamate for red experiences
> for example (for illustrative purposes - it wouldn't be as simple as this).
> But there is an argument due to philosopher David Chalmers that assumes
> this common intuition to be true and shows that it leads to absurdity:
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