Friday, February 29, 2008

We are Process

We are process although we tend not to realize it. This is one of the problems we have in understanding sensory experience. We tend to view ourselves as discrete entities with essentially episodic existences. This because memory and reactive (conscious?) experiences involve discrete and non-continuous incidents Understanding ourselves as ongoing processes is physiology, modern and not inherent to a natural language. Saying we are process, if metaphysics be damned- no mentalism- is trite. The question is: What are the philosophical implications of this scientific insight.

So to say we are the experience (of) as opposed to saying we have the experience (of) sounds strange. So what? It’s a philosophical insight. But does it explain anything? We have all the information, at least in terms of kind, that we are ever going to get concerning IMPD. It is hard to see how greater understanding of transducer operation , network operations, information flow or details of the biomechanical processes would be of any explanatory value. Somebody might say that some new facts explain it, but why should we believe them? We would have to adopt so new sort of criteria, but based on what? Do we have a theory of possible criteria? It seems silly to say we do, but again, epistemology is primary. It tells us what can be said by things like us. ( It’s always about the driving functions.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Information and Qualia

Information has no qualia, no phenomenal properties, it is pure causation. More specifically, in the case of the aptly named action potential, it is a causation vector, a potential cause of a particular origin. This is another aspect of the problem of IMPD, since the information stream in the brain has no phenomenal characteristics, it cannot explain how variations in them can arise. It can have no phenomenal characteristics as a matter of empirical fact because action potentials of different sorts, say visual and auditory can impinge on single cell and we don’t have a see/hear sensation, we see and hear at the same time, but we don’t see/hear. Seeing is because of visual tract activity, but it is not that activity, this also because seeing is more than having the qualia of seeing..

Not only can’t information theory explain IMPD, it can’t explain why qualia very within the modality. It can’t explain why orange is different from red, much less why red is different from loud or sweet. The problem is not that we know their different, the problem is that they appear different. The problem isn’t that we can know, say or think they’re different; the problem is the difference in the qualia. Saying, knowing, realizing, acting as though, being aware of…these are cognitive, information based, cortical. Now, noting the difference assumes there’s a difference to be noted. But this difference is not the phenomenal difference, this difference associated with the qualia it is the difference in the physical phenomenon. Orange and red are different wavelengths, this can be picked up by the nervous system, the fact that they look different is not a CNS phenomenon. Knowing that they’re different is CNS, seeing them differently is not.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

“Ought” is Subordinate to “Is”

Epistemology is subordinate to ontology, because “ought” is subordinate to “is” . The question of primacy in epistemology is settled easily –ought is again subordinate to is (possible) , or to what can or could be. Any word must have a driving function whose fundamental nature can be delineated. For words not immediately related to experience of the external world, the menu is limited to neurological operations, to combinations and variations of parameters related to various neurological and neurological system states. There are only so many things I can put behind words such as true, explanation, knowledge etc., the question then becomes what are these things now, and what should they be.

A given speakers epistemology then becomes a question involving an individual lexicon at a given moment.

How does language work? As it is internalized either visually or audibly we convert from the sensible to the neurological. What is the next level- syntactic? Notice that “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. “ is at some sense comprehensible just as it is simultaneously meaningless. What is the evidence that semantics follows syntax? That the processing isn’t simultaneous? Syntax and semantics maybe logical as opposed to neurological distinctions. There maybe some neuro- research on this. Fmri’s on the difference.

Grant that I comprehend a proposition and that it is meaningful, e.g. it is syntactically and semantically acceptable. Does it convey information? Can it do so outside of a wider context? “The cat is on the mat.” Is this informative unless I know what cat and what mat is being talked about? I need to know something about the referenced entities. “Lincoln was a great president.” Maybe, maybe not, perhaps I have a theory to the effect that he could have prevented the civil war, or that he put the union above the abolition of slavery and thus was morally deficient.

The Lincoln proposition is a value judgment, I understand it as such if I know English and importantly, history. I know that somebody who asserts it, if I understand that they are asserting it; they could be doing something else; is making a value judgment and is probably in their view representing a fact.