Sunday, November 01, 2009

Note-taking
I've written about this enough but it seemed like a good time to do it again.
If I'm running from a lion who's pawed a gash in my leg, my body is communicating information by means of the qualia of "pain," while a robot programmed for its own preservation will receive feedback in concrete quantitative terms. Biomechanical qualia are quanta: vast amounts of data known to us only in totality as sense.

Biological machines are capable of reason but are programmed also by conditioning, and reason and reflex can produce contradictory imperatives. If there's a "choice" to be made, which mechanism is it that "makes" the choice?

Consciousness is not complex calculation it's indecision. Create an indecisive computer, a neurotic computer, torn (having been given the imperative to survive) between the heuristics of conditioned response and calculation, and you'll have a conscious non-biological machine.

Mary the color scientist, seeing -sensing- color for the first time, will learn nothing new about color itself but will now give it a place among the trillions of sense impressions over the course of her life which she has compartmentalized, characterized, and like as not narrativized into her personal logic. She will have a new understanding of color not as independent but in relation to herself as a form of experience within the totality of her imagined and imagining life.
Mary will see, construct, and experience her red.
It will become a part of the totality of her experience and her conditioning.

More:
What exactly are qualitative states? In its definition of qualia at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy begs the question. Perception is physical: experience, sandpaper etc. When animals sense we categorize things in the history of our perceptions (patterning as comfort) Our history is foggy, and facts and values are confused from the start. The machines we make do not have this complex conflicted relation to the world, they’re not desirous or anxious. They have no sense of telos, even a blind drive for survival.

It seems easier to want to ascribe qualitative states to man-made machines than to describe the mechanics of qualitative “experience” and “perception.” To a machine, the blueprint for a building and the building itself are identical, while animals require the presence of the building to understand the thing. And like the color red in doing that we’re not understanding the building or the color but our categorization of it, and all the details that we analogize in relation to what we’ve already stored away. We’re bombarded by perceptions and evocations resulting from perceptions. But all of that can be described in quantitative terms. What’s private -as experience- is that each of us contextualize the data according to our own history. Every animal has his or her own filing system and her own adaptive conditioning. Animals are drunken machines, each of us drunk in our own way.

The limits of conceptualism it seems to me is in the unwillingness to mark the distinction between blueprints and buildings, between ideas and experience, because ideas are universally available and one’s experience of a building is private and therefore secondary, But what this means is that the ability to communicate always private experience atrophies, while experience is still our primary relation to the world. This conversation above seems more about desire than the world we will always only know as experience, while shying away from real questions regarding our biological machinery.

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