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May 26, 2016

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TOPIC: Measuring Consciousness in the Lab [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Max Tegmark wrote on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 15:47 GMT
If you're driving, you're having a subjective experience of colors, sounds and vibrations. But does a self-driving car have a subjective experience? Does it feel like anything at all to be a self-driving car, or is it a zombie in the sense of having behaviour without experience? This question of why and when matter is conscious is the essence of what philosopher David Chalmers has coined "the hard problem" of consciousness, and it's important not only in philosophy. For example, if you're an emergency room doctor, how can you determine whether an unresponsive patient is conscious or not in the sense of having a subjective experience? Patients with locked-in syndrome have functioning minds without being able to move or communicate. And what about a future robot intelligent enough to converse like a human? 

A traditional answer to this problem is dualism — that living entities differ from inanimate ones because they contain some non-physical element such as an "anima" or "soul". Support for dualism among scientists has gradually dwindled. To understand why, consider that your body is made of about 10^29 quarks and electrons, which as far as we can tell move according to simple physical laws. Imagine a future technology able to track all your particles: if they were found to obey the laws of physics exactly, then your purported soul is having no effect on your particles, so your conscious mind and its ability to control your movements would have nothing to do with a soul. If your particles were instead found not to obey the known laws of physics because they were being pushed around by your soul, then we could treat the soul as just another physical entity able to exert forces on particles, and study what physical laws it obeys.

Let us therefore explore the other option, known as physicalism: that consciousness is a process that can occur in certain physical systems. Instead of starting with the hard problem, we can then start with the hard fact that some quark blobs are conscious and others aren't, which leads to the fascinating question of what makes the difference. I've long contended that consciousness is the way information feels when being processed in certain complex ways, but what types of information processing quality? Specifically, what mathematical equation must an information processing system satisfy to be conscious? Answering this question might allow future ER-physicians to have a consciousness detector, and would let future programmers control whether they built consciousness into their artificial intelligence systems. 

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi has proposed just such an equation, which forms the core of his Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (IIT). It says that information being processed is conscious if a mathematical quantity called "Phi". Phi quantifies integration,  the extent to which information is interconnected into a unified whole rather than split into disconnected parts. The theory has generated interest from the neuroscience community, but also controversy, including recent critique from FQXi member Scott Aaronson.

I want to see the question of whether IIT is correct or not resolved by experimental tests. Unfortunately, Tononi’s proposed measure of integration is too slow to compute in practice from state-of-the-art patient data, requiring longer than the age of our universe, let alone the lifetime of the patient. I’ve therefore worked hard over the last year in search of a faster way to compute integration, and I’m happy report that I’ve found one--in fact, several. In a paper I just posted, I explored and classify existing and novel integration measures by various desirable properties, and found that although there at first seem to be a few hundred options, there are in fact only a handful of attractive ones (arXiv:1601.02626). I was happy to discover that there's an approximation based on graph theory that lets you dramatically speed up the exact formulas, so that they can be applied to real-world data from laboratory experiments without posing unreasonable computational demands. This improves the prospects of making fascinating questions and theories about consciousness experimentally testable.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 16:04 GMT
You explain things in terms of "information" but it is not defined in physics. Please give a rigorous PHYSICAL definition of information first.

Pentcho Valev

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Feb. 14, 2016 @ 18:32 GMT
Information is a work-pattern.

Information is "structure-specific"

Consciousnesd is not understood if not defined. Where is definition?

Consciousness is "property" of matter and not "state" of matter.

Consciousness is ability to respond to stimulus by structural changes.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/consciousness-simple-
easy-shaikh-raisuddin?_mSplash=1

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juan manuel jones volonte replied on Mar. 18, 2016 @ 00:17 GMT
Its funny that when the concept is more fundamental its harder to define:

You can say a lot of thinghs about "Bob Dylan" or "bananas" but its much more difficult to define "information" or "energy".

Information is so fundamental that during almost all the history of modern science it was like a ghost, conservation of information is more fundamental than all the "first laws". Just in last decades we started thinking explicitly about information.

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John R. Cox wrote on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 17:03 GMT
The interesting element of Phi, the Golden Mean, is that when two continuous functions converge at Phi a continuum results. Any given interval is proportionally no different than any other. jrc

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Robert H McEachern wrote on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 19:07 GMT
"Specifically, what mathematical equation must an information processing system satisfy to be conscious?" None.

A high information content process, like consciousness, cannot be usefully described by a low information content description, such as an equation. It is rather like asking what mathematical equation must a book satisfy, in order to be a good read.

Rob McEachern

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John R. Cox replied on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 20:10 GMT
Robert,

I too balk at 'quark consciousness'. But as a matter of functional integration, what we might recognize as 'consciousness' must have some physical basis. I have long thought it not mere coincidence that one of the earliest primordial forms of life identified is thought to have been a primitive virus, though biologically viruses are not considered 'life' because they replicate a single helix RNA strand, which had a physical form of an octahedron. The diamond lattice is an octahedronal carbon matrix, as well as Magnetite (fe2,O4) with Iron exhibiting the lowest mass deficit on the packing fraction curve.

[(D.A.R.P.A.)>849]

Also of intriguing nature in geometries of both Spin mechanics and Realist wave mechanics is the octahedron inherent to the orthogonal relationship. The angle of the mid-line on any side, to the medial plane of the pyramidal base of that side, falls within the small range of variation of angle for the Brewster Window which polarizes light in a laser to a coherent single helical spin angular momentum. Highly conjectural, I know, but those liquid crystals (to me) are realistically about as spookily half alive as anything science has done yet! jrc

well... pihalf. (not the actress)

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FQXi Administrator Max Tegmark replied on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 21:12 GMT
"A high information content process, like consciousness, cannot be usefully described by a low information content description, such as an equation."

A high information content system such as a 1 terabyte hard drive can be quite accurately described by simple equations that quantify its entropy (in bits), its integration (in bits), etc. The catch is that simple equations can describe for example *how much* information there is even if they obviously, as you say, can't describe *what* that information is.

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Pentcho Valev replied on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 22:09 GMT
So you have no definition of "information" for a physical system different from a hard drive? Discussions about something that is not defined are breathtaking.

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 00:33 GMT
Scott Aaronson: "I should mention that I had the privilege of briefly speaking with Giulio Tononi (as well as his collaborator, Christof Koch) this winter at an FQXi conference in Puerto Rico. At that time, I challenged Tononi with a much cruder, handwavier version of some of the same points that I made above. Tononi’s response, as best as I can reconstruct it, was that it’s wrong to approach IIT like a mathematician; instead one needs to start “from the inside,” with the phenomenology of consciousness, and only then try to build general theories that can be tested against counterexamples."

Yes, and the "phenomenology of consciousness" essentially involves interactions with the surroundings. So considering only the internal structure of the physical object (e.g. brain) leads to nowhere. Phi seems a totally irrelevant measure to me.

Pentcho Valev

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John R. Cox replied on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 01:04 GMT
Pentcho,

I can at least agree with you from reading just the abstract of IIT, we are at some safe distance from breaching what Asimov called 'the intangible wall of the mind'. "We are not Borg", at least not yet (if any are Star Trek Next Gen fans) and regardless of anyone's personal spiritual beliefs, we should look to both philosophy and theology to guard that we do not make ourselves so. jrc

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jim hughes wrote on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 01:15 GMT
I think the assertion that "consciousness is a process that can occur in certain physical systems" can't be supported. We can only say that it's "associated with" those systems; and, that this association is purely intuitive. Nor does it take us anywhere to say that consciousness is how a certain class of information "feels" because, obviously, a subject-object relationship is immediately implied.

However, the idea that consciousness could be (intuitively) associated with a well defined class of information processing systems does strike me as productive, possibly even leading to surprising insights.

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Robert H McEachern replied on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 20:17 GMT
I would have to disagree.

1) Consciousness is ONLY encountered in association with certain physical systems. Ghost sightings notwithstanding, there is no scientific evidence for any disembodied consciousness (dualism).

2) Whenever it is actually encountered, it invariably seems to emanate from WITHIN that physical system, rather than from an external attachment/association to the physical. One might, at first, suppose that the sound of a voice heard over a radio, also arises from within, rather than from an external association with a transmitter. But a Faraday cage easily disproves that hypothesis, by blocking the external reception. But there is no known analogous way to block consciousness from getting into, and associating with, a physical system - it seems to be "home grown".

Rob McEachern

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Anonymous replied on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 22:31 GMT
Juts a thought. Seems to me consciousness could be broken down into several different components. The ones that seem important to me are 1.self awareness 2.awareness of the representation of external reality mediated by sensory input, 3.emotional state. Though processing of information is involved in all of these , processing of information is not the same as consciousness. As we know a lot of brain activity that controls the body happens without any conscious awareness. So there should be concentration on what is different about 1. 2. and 3. Number 3.involves not only usual brain activity but neurotransmitter and hormone production affecting functioning of brain and body and then there will be feedback from those changes.For example -Prior to a race adrenalin is produced, affecting the body especially heart rate, that change in heart rate is then felt, there is mental awareness of it. The mental brain activity causing chemical release induces a physiological change of state that is then mentally experienced. A kind of brain body loop that wouldn't exist with just the processing of the brain. In 3. there are two different categories of information involved ,electrical impulse and chemical that are able to affect each other.I mean by that the electric impulses cause release of the chemical information and elecric impulses are produced in response to the action of the chemical.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 22:33 GMT
Anonymous replied on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 22:31 GMT, that was me, Georgina

That should be 'Just a thought'. I should have edited but can't now as it is anonymous.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 13:21 GMT
In my reply to Max Tegmark I said I would present arguments in favor of an outside-the-brain (as opposed to inside-the-brain) definition of consciousness, but now I think it would be better to refer the audience to the work of a great Soviet philosopher, E. Ilyenkov. It may sound a bit too ideological but I am sure some people will find it instructive:

http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Mail/xmcamail.2013_07.d
ir/pdfOx4TDE2YLd.pdf

Evald Ilyenkov, Dialectics of the Ideal

Pentcho Valev

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 15, 2016 @ 15:25 GMT
Dear Professor Tegmark,

The real unique visible Universe am infinite. This means that individual finite consciousness cannot exist. This means that all finite information, especially contrived finite mathematical information about consciousness is completely unrealistic and nonsensical. One of the best ways for a surgeon to determine whether a patient is conscious or not is for the surgeon to stick a sharp pin into the sole of the comatose patient’s foot. It does not require the surgeon to log on to a quantum computer to try to get the computer to decide whatever level of consciousness the patient might be at.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Domenico Oricchio wrote on Jan. 16, 2016 @ 10:33 GMT
The important thing that I read here, some time ago, is the definition of consciousness as a state of matter.

This definition says a lot:

The consciousness is a statistical system, a single object does not contain consciousness;

The consciousness is replicable, like each physical system, using a computer program that simulate the statistical system (the time can be great, but an approximate simulation is possible);

The consciousness required no soul (I am a believer, but I do not dispute this point);

The measure of consciousness indicate a passage between state of matter (phase transition between conscious and unconscious states).

I think that the degree of consciousness could be linked to the presence of phase transition (the phase transition is rich of interaction between clusters, so that the correlation function, and critical exponent, and parameters of phase transition could be a measure of consciousness); but I find most interesting the definition of consciousness, that its measure, because once given the definition, the measure is a possible result.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jan. 16, 2016 @ 15:29 GMT
It is certainly nice to read Tegmark's and Tononi's papers that IIT attempt to quantify consciousness...and to read Aaronson's nice critique that then shreds IIT. One thing is very clear and that is if you have a low enough bar for consciousness, just about any network with feedback shows some consciousness.

Tononi shows a photodiode, detector, and feedback and calculates a phi>0 and so even this network is conscious. So much for the hard problem of consciousness...

The bottom line seems to be that purely feed forward information networks are not conscious and show phi=0 while just about any network with feedback results in integrated concepts and therefore phi>0. And then the math takes over and things get incredibly complex which is always a good way to be certain that a conscious state exists somewhere in a big pile of complex calculations. Somehow Tegmark uses random gaussian walks to realize Tononi's IIT.

Tononi's axioms are a very nice start, but they do seem to be missing some critical parts of consciousness. For example, all conscious machines have periods of unconsciousness. It would seem that phi>0 for periods of unconsciousness as well as consciousness.

The role of memory is also not clear with IIT and without memory, there is no consciousness. Some emotion is necessary for conscious thought because without emotion, there is neither the pleasure of discovery nor the anxiety of the unknown. Without discovery and anxiety, there is no reason for consciousness. Without a clear purpose, there is no awareness.

Finally, the EEG spectrum of consciousness seems to be the best measure today and the IIT do not seem to have spectra that represent thought. Without a delta mode, there does not seem to any consciousness and alpha modes seem to also be needed for consciousness.

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Steve Agnew replied on Jan. 16, 2016 @ 16:19 GMT
But I must add that the notion of a thought or concept made up of aware matter particles is very interesting and Tegmark's ideas are very much along this line. While the decoherence times of the ions of each neural action potential are very short, the decoherence time of aware matter in the brain should be more like the width of EEG peaks, which is more like a moment of thought at about 0.7 s or so.

The only sensible consciousness machine would be one that has the properties of the consciousness machines that we know a lot about. The EEG of any consciousness algorithm must first of all be consistent with observations and so phi must involve phase coherence as well as amplitude.

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John R. Cox replied on Jan. 16, 2016 @ 18:56 GMT
Max has very briefly summarized some of his thinking of a Mathematical Universe in presenting this subject and it prompts one to step back a bit and let things soak in, and lift some of the stain of preconceptions which clothe anyone's early interest in any subject of human endeavor; when cumulative experience intrudes and awareness sneaks up on you that there is much more to life than adolescence...

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 14:11 GMT
John,

"We lack a mathematical rationale for a self-limiting relationship which can account for the apparent optimal volume to distribution of energy quantity, that would not be a linear function but a recursive curvilinear function."

The line is special case for a curve. A curvilinear function is linear. What we lacked -- until Joy Christian's framework -- is a nonlinear description.

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Samuel Douglas wrote on Jan. 16, 2016 @ 22:13 GMT
It's worth noting that this does not (in my opinion at least) solve the 'hard problem' of consciousness in that the equation tells us nothing about what the private experience of the patient etc. is like. At least, that's the kind of objection that I think David Chalmers would make (except his response would be much more elegant than mine).

I'd also point out that Chalmer's proposed solution, epiphenomenalism, is very different from folk-psychological or Cartesian conceptions of dualism.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 02:48 GMT
Samuel, Thank you for pointing to Chalmer's ideas.

"Argument 3: From epistemological asymmetry. Qualia just don't look the same from the inside. When we examine the biology of our leg, it isn't essentially different from examining someone else's: but when we examine our own sensations, it bears no resemblance to observing the sensations of others." David Chalmers - the hard problem David Chalmers:the hard problem

I came across this article which seems relevant. Talking about top down effect on experience. Scientific American -Looks can deceive Such as steepness of a slope evaluated according to current circumstances not actual steepness.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 08:12 GMT
It might be helpful to remember that the computational difficulties of integration are not just problems for the scientists but also for the conscious organisms. Brain activity is energetically costly. Animals need to conserve energy as its waste could be a matter of life or death. So perhaps the most likely processes are those that give satisfactory outcomes for reasonable energy expenditure rather than costly better processes.It could be another way of sorting the possibilities into likely and unlikely.

I think the axiom of exclusion should also take into account the exclusion of superfluous information as well as irrelevant information. Integrating superfluous information is unnecessarily costly. Also rather than helping an organism having an experience of every detail, from every piece of information received, and every association would create massive overload.

"While integration as a necessary condition for consciousness is rather uncontroversial, IIT goes further and makes the bold and controversial claim that it is also a sufficient condition for consciousness, using an elaborate mathematical integration definition". Max Tegmark. I wonder about the sufficiency of the complex integration. The axioms declare that it is experience but there needs to be an experiencer, doesn't there? Is it necessary for the experience (integrated )information to be also associated with a sense of self? I think that is likely, though that association need not always be a part of the conscious awareness itself.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 18, 2016 @ 22:35 GMT
I think I was incorrect about the necessity to alter the axiom of exclusion. I am a bit muddled by the different levels being discussed by G. Tononi. Though I do still think the matter of superfluous information is important and raises some questions.

My confusion: a cat that looks like (cat) Billy but is not Billy could be reduced to cat (with no recollection of Billy).Yet the latter is a...

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 02:01 GMT
1) Pentcho is right (Pentcho Valev wrote on Jan. 14, 2016 @ 16:04 GMT): it has not yet been decided/agreed what information is.

I think that disconnected, non-contextual REPRESENTATIONS of information, like strings of zeroes and ones, can never be information because they are not inherently integrated with other such “information”. Only a reality that is representable as law-of-nature...

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 09:47 GMT
Max Tegmark, Steve Agnew and all

I'm not in this matter.

I read somewhere that the demassification of one millionth of a gram of cortical brain masses giving fuel to all the psychological processes and overall brain activity during an individual's life. What is your calculation?

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Steve Agnew replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 22:12 GMT
Actually, you are right. Mass-energy equivalence provides for a lot of momentum with very little mass decoherence. But it is really phase coherence that is the key to understanding consciousness and not just mass or energy...

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Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 11:28 GMT
I appreciate Max Tegmark's efforts as well as Tononi's. I studied Tononi's attempts the last months and all the commentaries from for example Christoph Koch etc. All the attempts seem to be highly abstract, involving 'information processing' and lots of maths. I just want to ask the community why not let consciousness itself speak about itself instead of exclusively abstract theories? There are tons of first-hand descriptions on youtube out there that suggest that consciousness is independent at least from 'matter' we understand it today. These near-death experiences (hundreds of hundreds) cannot be neglected, especially as some of them tell out-of-body experiences which could be confirmed after the person's trauma was over and he/she recovered. I don't think these experiences can be explained only by internal information processing of a dying or suffering brain/body. If one believes that this NDE's tell us some truths about a conscious dimension beyond what we know today, surely, we wouldn't had explained 'consciousness' after all. But presumably we then had framed the whole question within a wider context.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 16:08 GMT
I have read that hypoxia can lead to that kind of experience which may be why it is a common near death experience. I have experienced the sensation of leaving my body, the tunnel and the light. The experience feels very real but it is most probably the experience of the generation of consciousness malfunctioning.That makes it difficult to treat the accounts as being from objective observers, as though their accounts are similar their subjective awareness is quite probably similarly impaired. Though there may be some interest from neuroscientists concerning how and why the experience occurs, what the experience means is more within the scope of psychology and theology.

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jim hughes replied on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 01:53 GMT
I can't completely disregard these stories, but the problem is that there doesn't seem to be anything we can do with such reports - they're not specific or concrete enough to lead to any truly interesting, let alone testable, insights or conjectures.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 02:44 GMT
Hi Jim, if consciousness can be mathematically modeled, then 'Near death' and other variants of consciousness, such as sleep and 'Locked in syndrome' might also be modeled. The out of body experience may be lack of proper co-ordination of information pertaining to body position and orientation. I would hazard a guess that the tunnel and light are something to do with the visual system self generating imagery in a specific manner due to physiological conditions during the experience. Therefore quite similar for people who had a similar physiological state. The reality of the experience for the experiencer can be compared with amputees reporting feeling their missing limb. (This is explained by misinterpretation of nerve signals sent from the remaining portion of limb.) The later is treated as a real phenomenon, whereas the former is, it seems to me, more likely to be treated with skepticism. .

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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 21:01 GMT
Max Tegmark’s paper “Improved Measures of Integrated Information” is surely an important contribution to the understanding of appropriate measures for integrated information. Furthermore, the methods for ascertaining actual or approximate values of various measures over various systems will undoubtedly have significant practical utility.

What I do not see, however, is how improved...

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 22:58 GMT
Hi Laurence, All,

I agree with Laurence. Even using the axioms that define an experience given in "Integrated information theory of consciousness:an updated approach", G.Tononi, it seems only to be able to give a sequence of integrated information "packages" related to perceptions or cognitions, that don't entirely describe what a normal state of consciousness seems to be, subjectively. I think there is another component that changes perception and cognition integrated information, both of which an AI is feasible capable, into a subjectively 'felt' phenomena.

My conjecture is that it involves 'circuitry' involved in emotional response and sense of self. There may be response to information that is components that will become part of the fully integrated experience, prior to full integration. Such as the frown information that is part of the to be integrated face information. Adding to that- information concerning emotional (physiological) reaction and information concerning relation to sense of self .Also there may be linkage of the completed integrated information, with the 'circuitry' involved in emotional response and sense of self generating a new experience which is "How- I -feel" about the (whole) perception or cognition. That personal connection and emotional response need not form part of the conscious awareness at the time of its occurrence, but it can be reflected upon at later time. How did I feel about that?

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 18, 2016 @ 01:48 GMT
The affect of psychology, and the affect of evaluation of current circumstances can also feed into experience. So that a perception can also be a modification, maybe more useful to the organism than mere representation of external reality. Scientific American -Looks can deceive Such as steepness of a slope evaluated according to current circumstances not actual steepness.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 17, 2016 @ 23:37 GMT
Hi all,

Max T. hypothesizes that all matter ALREADY has the inherent traits that allow for higher-level consciousness: consciousness is a “state of matter”; consciousness depends on the pattern in which matter is arranged [1].

Higher-level consciousness clearly involves particular arrangements of quantities of matter, that can exist in and respond to particular environments. So I think it is a logical idea of Max T’s to try to work out the best ways to measure the physical “integrated information” correlates that might correspond with higher-level consciousness.

Unfortunately, exactly what “information” is has not yet been agreed upon, and exactly what to measure is not clear. But this is just the beginning, and theoreticians and researchers have to start somewhere.

1. Consciousness as a State of Matter, Max Tegmark, 2015,

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.1219v3.pdf

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 18, 2016 @ 16:43 GMT
Lorraine,

"Unfortunately, exactly what 'information' is has not yet been agreed upon, and exactly what to measure is not clear."

It's clear enough to those who study information theory. That is why Max emphasizes statistical mechanics, as a bridge between physics and physical chemistry (or quantum mechanics): " ... simple equations can describe for example *how much* information there is even if they obviously, as you say, can't describe *what* that information is."

That *how much* -- that quantum -- is the physics. Not *what*.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jan. 20, 2016 @ 23:17 GMT
Tom,

Having studied Maths, Physics and Information Theory at Uni, I don’t need you to tell me what they are!

I repeat: “exactly what “information” is has not yet been agreed upon”.

I’m saying that information is WHAT is represented, it is not binary digital or other types of representations. I.e. information, even law-of-nature information, is subjective experience (of particles, atoms, molecules, and living things).

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 21, 2016 @ 01:12 GMT
You're right, Lorraine. You don't need me to tell you.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 18, 2016 @ 15:32 GMT
Dear Professor Tegmark,

Let me get this straight; why are you only unsure if a driverless car is capable of being conscious of its driving capability? Much more important is whether such a car would be capable of understanding the parking regulations in the Bronx. Conscious human drivers in that borough have a tough time fully understanding those regulations. There may be levels of information about consciousness, but real consciousness is infinite. Please make a better effort to be consciously sensible.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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John R. Cox wrote on Jan. 18, 2016 @ 17:12 GMT
For those who do not object to science objectifying nature, I would recommend as qualifying reading on the subject of mathematical consciousness;

'Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics Into Being'

by - George Lakoff - cognitive linguist, and Raphael E. Nunez - psychologist

published 2000 & August 16, 2001 by Basic Books/ISBN 0-465-03770-4

A theoretical psychology abstract of how cognition of metaphors in our natural environment evolves into conscious capability to organize elements into a mathematic regime. In short, how we manage to measure anything. :-| jrc

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 01:35 GMT
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I HAVE REMEMBERED CREATING AN ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THREAD ON THIS IN 2007 WHILE IN A MEDITATIVE STATE (ENHANCEMENT OF NEURONAL FIRING RELEASE OF NEUROTRANSMITTERS WHILE HIGH OFF WEED RESULTING IN TRUE SUPER-GENIUS BEFORE DROPPING BACK DOWN TO NORMAL) WHICH I HAVE APPROPRIATELY TITLED "PROOF OF CONSCIOUSNESS", IT IS TO MY PLEASURE THAT I PRESENT THIS VITAL INFORMATION HERE....

http://www.sciforums.com/threads/proof-of-consciousn
ess.73674/

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 02:04 GMT
http://wiki.moq.fi/index.php?title=Alternative_Candidates_fo
r_the_Standard_Model_of_Metaphysics

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 10:04 GMT
This article is relevant.How can we analyse, quantify,understand this consciousness.We arrive at an important link between our physicality and its rational laws of evolution,and this infinite entropy above our physical.What is this entropy,what is this infinite energy,this infinite consciousness.Einstein said that God does not play at dice.I am in this logic, but the meaning of God is so complex...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 10:21 GMT
Even our brains are in evolution spherisation.See the evolution.........QUANTTUM SPHERES..............H .........CNO.......H2O HCN H2C2 NH4..........amino acids..........first cells..........SEE THE BRAINS NOW..........selacians fishs .......REPTILIANS............HOMINIDS ........THE VOLUMES ............CONNECT with all the spherical volumes now and therotations of sphères.......INSIDE THE UNIVERSAL SPHERE;

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 20, 2016 @ 11:07 GMT
It seems essential to class the different informations.If consciousness appeares with a correlated number correlated with mass/gravitation and mass/electromagnetism.The Arrow of times is essential considering these encodings in an evolutive point of vue.Entropy can be correlated but two different systems mustbe considered, the thermo and heat for our standard model but also the gravitation and these fields at and more far than 10^-35 m.It implies to class the different informations.Bosonic, gravitational.Now we can compare with the binar informations invented by humans in a very short moment compared with our entropical Arrow of times and its irreversibility.Now we can superimpose with the cosmological sphères and the spherical volumes and the rotations around the central sphere where comes from the main gravoitational informations, the speedest and the smallest.These informations are encoded in our nucleis.Mass gravitation and spherisation are linked and is in increasing like entropy.We are linked with this infinite entropy above our physical walls.This central sphere is intriguing.The binar codes are far of our reality ,but the number of connections can become relevant.The AI is relativelly possible but can we make it ? What about the souls and the continuity of our singularity in the space time evolution.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 20, 2016 @ 15:47 GMT
If we are a result of evolution.So we can see that we have also an intrinsic main code , the central sphere of our serie of uniqueness considering the personalsingularity.After, this quantum serie and the main primordial codes of becoming encode the other informationsof evolution.This consciousness is correlated with this main primordial code correlated with the main central cosmological sphere where all codes come from.We are so a consciousness , singular in evolution.These informations are different still than the others , bosonic, gravitational and binar.They are so far of us.These nucleis encode the bosons and the spherons(particles of gravitation) so the stable primordial gravitation encodes the particlesof gravitation also .It impliesan increasing of several foundamentals.The entropy, the mass, the gravitation,the consciousness and the spherisation so increase naturally.The sphere is the perfect equilibrium between forces, and so the perfect equilibrium between gravitation.It is a primoridal informations and also an instantaneous informations considering the spherical quantum and cosmological volumes.

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 13:20 GMT
Who am I?

You are the merging of "you" and :I". The dual aspects comes of the identification of awareness and objects. Simply realize that the air is not separate from you (and your lungs) and time and space do not exist. Realization cannot come about through practice or will, it can come about by knowing that self and God are God experiencing Hisself as a conscious sensate individual. This is why there is a fundamental substrate of identification between each other and what makes love, the union of male female aspects of creation, possible. This explains how we are one in Mind. Mind, and the information exchange, is identifiable without matter i.e. we create a concept of each other given the information we know thus far. That substrate is called "infocognition", the substance of reality is mind (information and cognition, to process the information.)

Amazing, absolutely f'ckin mudda f'ckin mazin.

4 Comments

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Higher Brain

Higher Brain

As soon as we create a concept, why does its opposite try to push its way through? Concepts all have opposites. Notice the dual aspect. Wave-particle.

October 23, 2007 at 7:33pm · Like

Higher Brain

Higher Brain

This is my interpretation of the fact that no separation is between mind and reality.

October 24, 2007 at 9:34am · Like

Higher Brain

Higher Brain

How do define "no separation"? We do not. The information reaches the mind at the speed of light. It is just an assumption because it is in the past. The background of those objective information is actually subjective. The subjective has equal priority as the objective.

October 24, 2007 at 9:37am · Like

Higher Brain

Higher Brain

Eastern and west become holistic. Power is just shih as Sun Tzu spoke.

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 13:29 GMT
Buddha12 said: ↑

"The key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics?"

Douglas R. Hofstadter

The "I" is a convenient fiction. It is pushed around by the particles in our brain.

http://www.sciforums.com/threads/consciousness-is-one.
124533/page-3

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 19, 2016 @ 18:52 GMT
That needs a citation. I am a Strange Loop. Hoftstadter, D. Basic Books, 2007

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 21, 2016 @ 02:02 GMT
Information integration and connectivity is what is found everywhere in the universe, even at the particle and atomic level. So there is probably no point in trying to measure information integration and connectivity. I agree with Pentcho: “the "phenomenology of consciousness" . . . involves interactions with the surroundings. So considering only the internal structure of the physical object (e.g. brain) leads to nowhere.” I agree that phi is probably “totally irrelevant”.

Laws-of-nature REPRESENT THE ACTUAL CONNECTIVITY of fundamental-level information: anything that doesn’t directly link in/connect to this existing law-of-nature “information structure” couldn’t possibly be information. I.e. there can be no discontinuities in an information structure (potentially representable by equations), though there could be discontinuities in the numbers associated with the equations.

Surely the point is that new information/properties appear, representable as new equations/rules, when particles get together to form atoms. Similarly, new information/rules appears when atoms get together to form molecules, and so on. So there are LEVELS of information/rules.

I think that, rather than phi, a better idea for estimating subjective experience would be to try to estimate the depth of the rule structure i.e. how many levels there are.

“Locked-in syndrome” is clearly a break in the connectivity of information in a higher organism, and clearly death would be a more major break in connectivity. But these are different issues: they are not about the original LEVELS of connectivity in the organism before death or before getting “locked-in syndrome”.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jan. 21, 2016 @ 20:00 GMT
Is information hierarchical or does it have a flat structure? Clearly, information is hierarchical. And higher-level information is inseparable from complex molecules. Max T’s seemingly flat structure for information connectivity is wrong from the start.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jan. 22, 2016 @ 05:53 GMT
Should we consider life and consciousness hard "problems"? Alternatively I prefer accepting not just trust in physicalism but also using dualism as a method if appropriate. Shouldn't we also change between discrete and continuous models?

In the latter case I consider the distinction between [ ] and [ ) nonsense.

Thanks to Georgina I got aware of Henry Markram who stands for the questionable because far too ambitious Human Brain Project. Well, he looks a bit as clever like Ronald Chaplain who reportedly ended up in London as a charlatan healer of cancer. However, having looked at Markram's recent paper http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/089976602760
407955

I correct my impression. Markram's intelligent physiologically rather than mathematically based approach impressed me.

Often it might not matter much whether a dying person is still alive or already dead. Does it always matter whether an action was made consciously or not?

A driver-less car must behave at least as acceptable as does an average driver.

The hype about consciousness reminds me of La Mettrie's "L'homme Machine".

I wonder if consciousness really may contribute to physics.

++++

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 23, 2016 @ 04:31 GMT
Hi Eckard,

you wrote "Often it might not matter much whether a dying person is still alive or already dead". That's right but sometimes it matters very much.There are reports of people awakening just prior to their organs being harvested for transplant, because they were not actually dead but misdiagnosed. Other people have awoken in a morgue, and sometime people are even buried alive. You asked 'Does it always matter whether an action was made consciously or not?" Surely it depends on what action that is. If it is fatal to another person the difference is potentially between unintentional manslaughter and murder.

As for the contribution to physics- Max Tegmark has written " ....the hypothesis that consciousness can be understood as a state of matter leads to fascinating interdisciplinary questions spanning the range from neuroscience to computer science, condensed matter physics and quantum mechanics"...."The quests to better understand the internal reality of our mind and the external reality of our universe will hopefully assist one another."from 'Consciousness as a State of Matter'. Whether you like Max Tegmark's approach or not , I think you will agree that the subject of consciousness is an interesting opportunity for collaboration between different disciplines, that could lead to new science.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jan. 23, 2016 @ 07:08 GMT
Georgina,

Hopefully you will not get me wrong when I criticize what is called humanism for subordinating the interest of all people's future below the interest of any single individual including myself. I don't feel my intention so selfish as to join the good people who are fighting for freedom and tolerance against enemies that they might call e.g. Islamic terrorists, right-wings, or whatever. The pope elegantly veiled the growing key problem with growth when he spoke of responsible parent-ship. Shouldn't science avoid sticking cowardly on stupid traditional views? If too many millions of refugees who are dreaming for employment and peace will manage reaching the peaceful paradise Europe then they will convey their problems to it and eventually destroy it. I see the problem related to medieval religion and other aspects of consciousness.

I partially agree with Tegmark: "The quests to better understand the internal reality of our mind and the external reality of our universe will hopefully assist one another."

Nonetheless, I conclude from historical facts that dealing with consciousness and religion is increasingly far away from and therefore unlikely to be still of much value for physics.

On the other hand it was just my curiosity that led me to new insights in the most basic fundamentals of mathematics and physics. I didn't understand: Why does hearing outperform the theory of signal processing by far?

I vote for fertile criticism of obstacles in mutual understanding rather than any "fascinating" but actually lazy hope for constructive cooperation.

++++

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 23, 2016 @ 07:54 GMT
Eckard, I think you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of hearing out performing the model of signal processing. Its a bit like the idea in my last essay - that nature has already solved problems and we only need to work out how it has gone so. There are already a number of technologies based on bio-mimicry. Working out how consciousness works could lead to as yet unimagined technology. I can imagine better health care by direct measurement of internal experience, direct measurement of psychological well being, maybe cures for specific sensory or learning difficulties, better education by directly measuring the internal experience of students themselves, maybe being able to build models to test the conscious experience that humans will have prior to implementing a project.

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Jan. 23, 2016 @ 01:43 GMT
MIND CONTAINS MATTER

Evil is self-delusion or delusion created by others. There can exist a mind of pure negativity on the material level of reality.

There is only one question we must ask ourself "who am I?" If we fail to answer this question we will fail ourselves. In reality we are, not in delusion. You must realize yourself as limitless in this universe. Limitlessness is what...

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Feb. 19, 2016 @ 12:28 GMT
There are two I's

#1, Linguistic I (self): The memory of identity forced by society. that works when we are awake.

#2 Physical I (self): The "inertia" of body that works for all time.

Inertia is wonder property of matter.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 23, 2016 @ 23:03 GMT
Georgina,

Like it or not, words written in a dictionary are no different to words that you or I write on paper: there is no rule that exactly converts the subjective experience to the written or spoken word, sentence or paragraph that symbolizes the subjective experience. This is even though both subjective experience and words written on paper are physical phenomena.

Instead, there is always a bit of creative licence going on to effect a match-up. The creativity and meaning belongs to the reader or the writer: creativity and meaning do not belong to paper, or to words on paper.

Similarly, creativity and meaning do not belong to computers and robots: they only process REPRESENTATIONS of words and equations. Internally, they only have low-level law-of-nature-lawful information interconnections between particles, atoms and low-level molecules.

If Max T's "information interconnections" are not somehow law-of-nature-lawful, well sorry THEY DON'T EXIST.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 02:53 GMT
lorraine,

Language does very often adequately transfer meaning from person to person, even if imperfectly encoded and decoded. A word is often a general familiar concept.'Dog' is enough to know the sort of animal (the category). 'Ben has a dog' is informative. Though it may sometimes be necessary to conduct extensive research to understand fully the particular concept, eg. morphogenesis.

Re creativity, perhaps we are just beginning to see creativity in artificial neural networks. Have youseen these images?Inceptionism: Going Deeper into Neural Networks

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 14:09 GMT
Georgina,

There is NO creativity in so-called "artificial neural networks". That is not creativity. What seems to be creativity is simply due to a computer program following rules that people put into the program.

Creativity is the creation of NEW rules (by subjects). Creativity is not the deterministic result of following existing rules.

So the Mandelbrot set representation is due to the Mandelbrot set algorithm/rules. Despite the SEEMING creativity that occurs, no new RULES are created. The Mandelbrot set algorithm is the only rule involved.

The creativity of nature is clearly seen in the physical outcomes of quantum decoherence. The only way to represent the numbers, that represent one or more parameters of the physical outcome, is via a new one-off “mini-rule” (representable as a mathematical equation).

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 14:30 GMT
"Creativity is the creation of NEW rules (by subjects)."

Says whom?

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jan. 25, 2016 @ 11:27 GMT
Says me, Tom. But I didn't just say that off the top of my head: I have been thinking about the creativity issue for many years.

So what's your idea, or definition, of creativity?

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 05:53 GMT
"Whenever a conscious observer interacts with her environment and gains new information, the state ρ with which she describes her world gets updated according to equation (115), the quantum-mechanical version of Bayes Theorem [48]. This change in her ρ is nonunitary and therefore evades our timelessness argument above. Because she always perceives herself in a pure state, knowing the state of her mind, the joint state or her and the rest of the world is always separable."Max Tegmark. This may be 'nit picking' but David Eagleman's work has shown that conscious perception isn't always updated in step with information input; And not all information input to the individual is processed into conscious experience, a lot remains sub conscious. Which complicates matters slightly.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 06:01 GMT
It is interesting that the updating is not always at the same singular rate, as it would be for an inorganic video camera. The consciousness is not a replication of the external environment but fabricating an output, that suffices or better meets the needs of the organism, in terms of prediction, or energy conservation , or preventing sensory overload , maybe other advantages. See Human time perception and its illusions, David M. Eagleman 2008: Causality and the perception of time, David M. Eagleman, , Alex O. Holcombe:( To find these and other very relevant papers just put David Eagleman into Google scholar)

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 08:05 GMT
I should have said that quote by Max Tegmark is from "Consciousness as a state of matter." I don't know if I should take that to mean 'ignoring processing between input and receipt that delays update', or after any such processing or that kind of thing is all part of the updating mentioned. I know Max Tegmark attended the FQXi conference on Time and is aware of David Eagleman's work.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 24, 2016 @ 09:43 GMT
Is it a problem for quantum physics that there is separation of conscious awareness from receipt of information by the sensory receptors that is; spatial distance( including along nerve fibers), temporal (time it takes for signal transmission and processing) and informational (between them; filtering, compression and processing including additions,and temporal compression and delays)? I'd say so. The sensory system acting as an interface between external environment and consciousness.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jan. 31, 2016 @ 04:57 GMT
The fourth axiom of consciousness given in the video Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi on Consciousness at the FQXi conference 2014 in Vieques" was unity. Quote " Experience is unified "it is one". It can not be reduced to non interdependent components" While that is normally the case, symptoms of migraine show two district conscious experiences occurring together. I have experienced the multicoloured zig zag ( and other migraine visual disturbances at other times.) The moving zig zag present with eyes open or shut. Overlaid on normal perception with eyes open. Not exactly like this animation but it gives an idea for those who haven't seen this kind of thing themselves. Visual migraine animation So perhaps for accuracy "usually' should be added to the axiom of unity.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 31, 2016 @ 05:33 GMT
Something I am wondering about is the heterogeneous nature of the connections in order to give diversity of function. :From "Measuring information integration" Giulio Tononi and Olaf Sporns" "The present analysis indicates that, at the most general level, networks yielding high values of Φ must satisfy two key requirements: i) the connection patterns of different elements must be highly heterogeneous, corresponding to high specialization; ii) networks must be highly connected, corresponding to high integration (Figs. 3,4,5). If one or the other of these two requirements is not satisfied, the capacity to integrate information is greatly reduced." How does this fit with the kinds of integration isolated as testable by Max Tegmark?

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Georgina Woodward replied on Jan. 31, 2016 @ 05:35 GMT
The FQXi video now linked to the article is a good introduction, easier to understand than G. Tononi's IIT paper -thank you for that.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jan. 31, 2016 @ 06:22 GMT
Georgina,

Doesn't split conscience mean loss of sound conscience and isn't conscientization some sort of mental political unification?

The actual German chancellor as well as Donald Trump are splitting the ethical and national, respectively, consciences of their voters and potential voters, respectively.

While Helmut Kohl managed to reunify Germany against competing ideologies and even to overcome dangerous diverging interests between nations in Europe, his present successor felt great and has been prized for obeying instead her felt humanitarian imperative on cost of inner and outer isolation.

I consider consciousness something that is best if it is one. Evolution has confirmed superiority of unity. Someone who is conscience-stricken feels very guilty about something wrong that they have done. Conscience and consciousness relate to responsible in the sense of rational decisions, no matter much whether or not we are aware of them.

While there were many speculations about mysterious links between individuals, there is obviously no entanglement between such units after birth.

++++

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John R. Cox wrote on Feb. 1, 2016 @ 18:14 GMT
Tom and Lorraine,

I'll reset the thread, it was getting a bit long.

"WHY" is never the point in physics."

That's a bit much. Why, is why people look to physics. But in this context it is going into the realm of philosophy beyond the testable. Like Max's book. And so far Max has gotten more mileage out of Tononi than Tononi has received attention from Max introducing his work for discussion. Phenomenology in studies of human consciousness should be treated as an empiricist's choice, and qualifying that choice should properly rely on clinical results. I too could go on and on and voice my opinion of the tendencies in the much vaunted information age to imbue information with tangible attributes, the tendencies in modern physics to blur the lines between quantum and relativistic interpretation which does nothing to constitute a true reconciliation of results. And would end up saying nothing relevant to classifying clinical findings of correlated events associated with brain function and whether or not the sodium ambitol has blanked out a surgical patient's awareness of pain. jrc

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 1, 2016 @ 20:41 GMT
John,

"That's a bit much."

Not even an infinitesimal amount compared to non-testable hypotheses. Max doesn't pretend to do physics when dealing with this question. He's doing mathematics.

"Why, is why people look to physics."

And why they come back to mathematics for an answer.

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John R. Cox replied on Feb. 1, 2016 @ 21:03 GMT
Tom,

I remember reading somewhere, might have been in 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns', that Heisenberg entered physics because he considered physicists mathematically incompetent for the task. :-)

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 1, 2016 @ 23:26 GMT
That sounds right. :-)

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Feb. 2, 2016 @ 01:31 GMT
Reality is a perception. Which is self-distributed. DISTRIBUTED SOLIPSISM...

http://ctmucommunity.org/wiki/Distributed_solips
ism

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Feb. 2, 2016 @ 01:47 GMT
Jonathan, Tom, John, Rob,

A mathematical system is NOT creative: everything that comes out was already implied in your initial algorithm(s). A mathematical system that assumes an existing observer must state that assumption up front, and must state whether the observer is an external observer or an internal observer of the system. In the case of a mathematical system like the Mandelbrot set, the seemingly-creative complexity only exists from the point of view of an already-complex external observer of the system – it doesn’t exist from the point of view of simple “internal observers” i.e. the pixels. What each simple pixel “sees” is nothing but the Mandelbrot set algorithm being played over and over again.

The Mandelbrot set outcomes are already completely determined and specified by the algorithm. The descriptions “tendril” “spiral” and “point” are representations of parts of an already determined outcome; and the Misiurewicz point formula is also a (mathematical) representation of a part of an already determined outcome. Note that these part outcomes (tendril, spiral, point) are very slippery concepts that are not really definable as genuine categories in the context of the Mandelbrot set representation.

Physical reality on the other hand is genuinely creative. E.g. some aspects of the classical/collapsed outcomes of quantum decoherence are NOT determined by any existing algorithm. They can only be represented as a new initial value for a particular parameter i.e. they can only be represented as an equation. The parameter represents a genuine existing category of information which is totally interconnected into existing laws-of-nature.

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John R. Cox replied on Feb. 2, 2016 @ 03:22 GMT
Lorraine,

I have to agree with Tom on it being encumbent on you to qualify your terms, such as 'the classical/collapsed outcomes of quantum decoherence'. And to justify such without violation of what quantum decoherence is where it comes from, Quantum Mechanics. It's one thing to mathematically demonstrate within a specific argument that there is no boundary between classical and quantum probabilities, it's quite a different thing to assume that the two disciplines can be mixed together in an intuitive concept. I'm reminded of the PBS nickel tour of the Higgs where a Cal Tech physicist in an early scene, standing in the tall grasses of a meadow wafting in a sea breeze, gives a sunny illustration of decoherence; saying that 'a particle literally exists everywhere until a measurement is made'. And that might appeal conceptually to some who would import it into classicism as illustrative of some self-gravitational field rationale, but then it no longer is quantum decoherence. Quantum decoherence is by definition in Quantum Mechanics, a matter of statistical probabilities and Dieter Zeh can bristle all he wants as far as the Quants are concerned. The efforts to unify QM and Relativity can not be achieved by changing the strict limitations on definition of terms utilized in either. Can't just get creative. Sorry, jrc

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 2, 2016 @ 07:00 GMT
John,

I assumed that you knew this: Quantum decoherence is the transition from the quantum mechanical to the “classical”, sometimes interpreted as the “collapse” of a wavefunction. So the outcome I’m talking about is classical: a single state, not a superposition. If all the parameter values of the classical outcome were precisely mathematically predictable, there would be no basis for the continuing controversy.

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John R. Cox replied on Feb. 2, 2016 @ 14:16 GMT
Lorraine,

Oh! okay. My only objection is that I consider ALL of QM extravagant, and as yet if there is a set of equations in the public domain which solves wave:particle duality which in application agrees with the observed limits of the electromagnetic spectrum to gamma, and the limit of accumulation in isotopic mass, I haven't heard mention of it.

Much of what evolves into the QM methodology (which befuddles me) I think comes from the thinking that entropy has to be not only universally existential, but operationally effective in all things without a physical reversal of time. I have long thought that it rather obvious that electromagnetic radiation being a uni-directional, non-decaying projection of energy, more than suggests that as a special case existentially it is simply non-entropic. But then I'm more the 'poke it with a stick' type of theorist. :-) jrc

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Feb. 3, 2016 @ 02:21 GMT
The is one "ghost", a wave function, that can be argued to exist. If the wave-function of a 100 trillion cells of a human body could be calculated, that wave-function could be thought of as a ghost.

In the same way a wave-function can be calculated for a crystal lattice, maybe biological cells work the same way. Maybe a wave-function exists for a biological organism.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Feb. 4, 2016 @ 21:25 GMT
The human body as a wave-like emanation?

See my reply to Rob just above, Jason.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Nicholas I Hosein wrote on Feb. 3, 2016 @ 15:14 GMT
CONSCIOUSNESS IS CREATIVE!

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 12, 2016 @ 12:29 GMT
and the global consciousness wich cries in an ocean of unconsciousness.And us ,singular conscious Inside this universal consciousness.And what about the altruistic consciousness.These conscious dance Inside the sphere like babies in evolution.And these informations, binar, bosonicphotonic, spheronic gravitational wich turn still and always ,the melody of singular consciousness Inside the universal consciousness and its intearctions.They turn, all turns,in us, around us ,above us and this time space in spherisation like a torch os evolution.We were, we are ,we shall be dear Jedis of the SPHERE.

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Darrell Burgan wrote on Feb. 15, 2016 @ 04:04 GMT
I agree with Chalmers that the hard problem has to be solved before we can come up with any theories of consciousness. I don't think anyone has a rigorous scientific definition that comes close, yet. Modeling something we can't define seems rather premature.

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Feb. 26, 2016 @ 11:15 GMT
Hard Problems are due to intellectual imprisonment caused by dictionaries.

Are words of a dictionary scientifically verified to mean what they ought to mean?

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Feb. 15, 2016 @ 05:27 GMT
Consciousness is Property of Matter.

Nothing can be known without undergoing changes.

Changes can be caused by adding work to the conscious-being.

Consciousness is "moto-structural" process.

Translation of stimulus into response is consciousness.

Consciousness is automatic change-management process.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/consciousness-simple-
easy-shaikh-raisuddin?_mSplash=1

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 15, 2016 @ 07:40 GMT
Hello Mr Raisuddin,

Welcome on FQXI,happy to see you on FQXi,it is a wonderful Platform .

Regards

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Feb. 15, 2016 @ 08:40 GMT
Thanks Steve,

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Feb. 16, 2016 @ 00:32 GMT
Tom,

Re your post of Feb. 15, 2016 @ 14:29 GMT:

Abstraction is something that people, including physicists, do every day. Abstraction is a physical process occurring in physical brains. Naturally, without question, “The whole of physics is based on abstraction” i.e. physical processes occurring in physical brains as a direct or indirect result of physical experiments.

And naturally, we represent fundamental physical reality with physical symbols, i.e. written or spoken law-of-nature mathematical equations and numbers.

This is quite different to the issue of whether laws-of-nature and numbers exist as abstract entities. Physics assumes that undecomposable ABSTRACT ENTITIES exist! I.e. physics assumes that what we represent as law-of-nature equations and numbers cannot be further decomposed into actual physical structure.

I am saying that laws-of-nature and numbers CAN be decomposed into physical structure: laws-of-nature and numbers are NOT undecomposable abstract entities.

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Feb. 16, 2016 @ 00:50 GMT
Lorraine,

" ... physics assumes that what we represent as law-of-nature equations and numbers cannot be further decomposed into actual physical structure."

Give an example.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Feb. 16, 2016 @ 06:03 GMT
Let me weigh in here..

You are correct to assert, Lorraine, that abstraction is a necessary component of any theory making process, and thereby of Science. But Tom is right to assert that mathematical reasoning is equally as valid as the logical or conceptual variety. I tend to agree that there must be a conceptual and phenomenalogical framework to go along with the Math for it to mean anything, or serve to increase our understanding of Physics.

To some extent, however; the Math most of us are taught is wimpy because "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH" actually applies, for too many people. This pedestrian Math is not much use for theoretical Physics, however. There is no clear consensus that numbers and formulae have an existence apart from our formulation of the, but I tend to sit with the Platonists - those who think there are archetypes of physical form in abstract Math.

But real-life Physics equations can be ugly; as I first heard in a lecture by Mikhail Kovalyov. But if you add all the significant terms, to perfectly model the Physics, the formulas are often non-linear equations - the bulk of which are difficult or impossible to solve. Often there are many possible trajectories. This was the original butterfly effect problem of Lorenz.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Feb. 16, 2016 @ 06:25 GMT
Here is a quote from Alison Gopnik..

"While the theory theory has primarily been articulated in cognitive development, it also helps to explain science itself. On this view; the success of science depends on the fact that we as adults retain natural learning capacities that are most clearly evident in children (and were probably designed by evolution to be used by children). Science simply puts these universal and natural capacities to work in a socially organized and institutionalized way."

This shows that, just as I have said, Science is an outgrowth of play, or is a form of play that often takes place in an institutional setting. The playful participation in the research process is what brings results more quickly, or most often. So the willingness to vary things may be just as important as the abstract reasoning process is to Science. My own research indicates that the two are connected. But I would not rule out primordial numbers or concepts, even if I also feel we should avoid needless assumptions.

Regards,

Jonathan

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Feb. 17, 2016 @ 07:13 GMT
BE MEGA-CORRECT FIRST ON CONSCIOUSNESS ... then to be ..MICRO-CORRECT

#1. Consciousness is a phenomenon or substance?

#2. Is brain essential for consciousness?

#3. Are alphabhetical languages competent to explain consciousness?

#4 Is consciousness evolutionary?

#5. How we know what we know?

#6. How we mean what we mean?

#7 How we believe what we believe?

#8. Why we behave the way we behave?

#9 What makes self?

#10 Does Free Will exist?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 02:09 GMT
Here is a question. Does it make a difference to who we are IF the brain IS essential for consciousness?

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 23, 2016 @ 23:59 GMT
Let me start anew here...

Consciousness and creativity are, in their most basic form, fundamental concepts. Consciousness is simply the ability to receive, while creativity is the ability to transmit, extend, or project. One could be called receptivity, while the other is projectivity, extensivity, or transmissivity. As root concepts; consciousness and creativity are identical activities...

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Robert H McEachern replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 03:25 GMT
Jonathan,

My computer can receive an e-mail. My TV can receive a television broadcast. Neither are conscious. Nor are the entities performing the transmissions of the e-mails and TV broadcasts "creative".

"The level of volitional activity required for genuinely creative acts still depends on the subtlety of consciousness required to make an informed decision, and on the ability to process information or compute possible outcomes..." No consciousness is required: Chess-playing computers have produced sequences of movements, that human Grand-Masters consider extremely creative, and unlike any human devised play, while out-playing those Grand-Masters.

Rob McEachern

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 07:49 GMT
Rob,

The fact is that there is nothing much actually happening inside computers and robots, even inside “chess-playing” computers that beat human chess grand-masters. Computers and robots are merely obeying the rules that have been programmed into them. Computers and robots are simulacrums of REAL consciousness and creativity, and unfortunately they have fooled a lot of people who should know better.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 15:03 GMT
Jonathan,

I sort of agree with what you say. But rather than “Consciousness is simply the ability to receive, while creativity is the ability to transmit”, I would put it more strongly: creativity results in new information relationship (utilizing existing information categories) where none existed.

I know what you mean that “consciousness and creativity are identical activities in opposite directions”, but I’m not so sure that the “activities” are actually so symmetrical when you use MY definition of creativity. I.e. the opposite if ex nihilo is perhaps “in nihilo” (into nothing) presumably meaning the death of relationship.

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Brian Balke wrote on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 03:55 GMT
In interpreting this discussion, I am struggling to understand whether "information" is necessarily an abstraction of experience. If this is the case, then "integration" seems necessarily to reflect abstraction of the abstraction - i.e., distinguishing categories or patterns of similarity (although those terms must be related to structures in the network of encoding). Now those structures can be signal or noise in various different contexts in which the system responds to input. As a practical example, we have eugenics (noise) and Darwinian evolution (signal).

So I am wondering how the theory of "integration" differentiates between "signal" and "noise" in the network. It seems that "utility", in terms of the effectiveness of generated behavior in unpredictable contexts, is essential to this evaluation.

Secondly, I would hold that the extension of any definition of consciousness must also support self-consciousness. In some sense this is the network being conscious of its own development. I think that this problem is far more interesting that "consciousness" alone, which I once defined as "awareness of difference" as manifested by adaptive behavior. In other words, a tree growing towards the light is conscious. In that definition, every quark blob is conscious. But to be aware and adapt our behaviors to guide the evolution of our own consciousness - now that is interesting.

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 07:59 GMT
Randomness is a human cognitive incapacity, an inability to make meaning of and absence of proper perspective. Chaos Theory helps in dealing with randomness of something.

Information is a "complementary" work-pattern specific to a structure. For example in crude sense "Food is information to hungry", "Light is no infomation to blind", "Lamba language is no information to Eskimos" etc.

Information is structure-specific.

Information is the work-pattern that can cause some "structural change" in the informed.

Information is the work-pattern that can cause a memory.

Moreover, information is hierarchical.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 14:15 GMT
Brian,

My view is that subjective experience/consciousness IS information. The content of this information is a categories and relationships structure: fundamental-level information experienced by particles is representable by law-of-nature mathematical equations and numbers; and higher-level information is more usually represented by words and sentences. Information IS physical reality.

Multi-cell living things have the physical structure (molecules, cells and specialized organs like eyes, ears and brains) that makes higher-level information (including “abstracted”/summary information, self-consciousness and ideas) possible. All this information is both subjective experience and physical structure.

We exist in a world that is conscious and creative at every level.

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Anonymous replied on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 16:32 GMT
Brain,

"Secondly, I would hold that the extension of any definition of consciousness must also support self-consciousness." That is what is meant by the word "consciousness". There is no other type.

"I think that this problem is far more interesting that "consciousness" alone"..." So does just about every philosopher; Consciousness is always alone. Even when you are conscious of something that you believe is outside of yourself (an external world), you are actually only conscious of yourself being conscious of a set of thoughts, that has led you to that belief.

Rob McEachern

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 09:28 GMT
Max Tegmark,

Quote [consciousness is the way information feels when being processed in certain complex ways]

Does information feel(s)?

Is information an entity?

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Robert H McEachern wrote on Feb. 24, 2016 @ 19:54 GMT
The problem with using something like "interconnections" as a measure of consciousness, is that all the interconnections remain, even when you are rendered unconscious, as when asleep.

The real problem of human consciousness, is not that you have experiences, but that you have specific types of qualia associated with those experiences. For example, why don't we experience light as the measurement of the properties of light, such as its wavelength or frequency, rather than as color. In other words, we do not experience the "thing itself", instead, we experience a mental construction that is merely correlated with that thing. We don't experience damage to the body, we experience pain that is correlated with the damage. The question is not so much why such mental constructs are being constructed, but why these mental constructs take the form they take.

Rob McEachern

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 25, 2016 @ 00:44 GMT
Rob,

The issue of interconnections remaining when you are rendered unconscious or asleep, is clearly related to the executive "need to know" issue: too much information is just useless babble from the point of view of the organism.

The qualia issue you are talking about corresponds with the issue of difference: how can many (hundreds of) simultaneous different categories of information, all having different (potentially numerically representable) “intensities”/”quantities”, be grasped by a subject?

My answer is that different categories are NOT known as a number in a table of possible categories, with another number representing intensity/quantity.

Different categories are known because they “feel different”, and have always felt different from the beginning. Right down to the particles, different categories of information “feel different”.

This must be accepted as the fundamental nature of reality, in my view. You can’t create “feeling” out of “non-feeling”, as you seem to appreciate.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Feb. 25, 2016 @ 01:17 GMT
You must be aware Lorraine..

The brain does not store information about objects as independent entities, instead it regards them and stores the information differently, depending on the action with which they are associated. So a cup full of coffee, an empty cup ready to be filled, and an empty cup waiting to be washed are three different categories of relationship - and each is stored in the brain differently, in a unique location.

There is not a singular association for a coffee cup, with a layer added to indicate what is happening with it, as in Western language. But instead it is more like Chinese pictographs, where the representation tells the story of what is represented - more like a process than like an object. And it is this process element that the brain stores away. Look up mirror neurons.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Lorraine Ford replied on Feb. 25, 2016 @ 01:47 GMT
Jonathan,

The brain seems to organize information about reality into CATEGORIES: http://news.berkeley.edu/2012/12/19/semanticspace/

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Feb. 26, 2016 @ 00:06 GMT
Jonathan, Tom,

There seems to be a general assumption that the universe-system is self-sufficient with regard to inputs: the “output” of an event/process is “input” to another event/process, and this is how the universe-system moves forward.

This is clearly not so. It is clear from modelling that such a TYPE of system is stagnant [1, 2]. Such a TYPE of system requires the...

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Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Feb. 26, 2016 @ 21:02 GMT
FQXi.org, REPLY. If we walk away from reality, reality walks away from us. We always begin with typical/ordinary and common experience (including experience as it is seen, felt, AND touched) in establishing physical fundamentals/truths. The ultimate unification and understanding of physics/physical reality/physical experience balances being and experience. THERE IS NO GETTING AROUND THIS. The...

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 8, 2016 @ 01:06 GMT
Jonathan,

Energy is fully confined within the bounds of laws-of-nature. To put it metaphorically, energy does what it is told by the laws. Energy is NOT an agent that acts: energy doesn’t “flow” with a mind of its own.

Only agents/subjects/observers can act: this means that they create new information relationships. An agent is a particle, atom, molecule, or single- or multi-cell living thing. Both you and I can act. But seemingly in your view there are NO agents: there is just a mysterious universe-wide “flow”.

I’m saying that information relationships, which we represent by law-of-nature-type equations, are the physical structure of the universe. I’m saying that agents GENUINELY and LITERALLY participate in creating the physical structure of the universe. You, on the other hand, are seemingly saying that living things are tossed around helplessly like leaves in the wind by law-of-nature flows of energy: this is seemingly what you describe as “creativity”.

I contend that the essence of particles is not mass/matter: mass and energy are merely information categories. I contend that particles are essentially points of experience of, and creativity of, information. But this experience and creation of information is NOT representable as mathematical equations: only the information is representable as mathematical equations.

Re “Material entities cannot be self-aware”: You haven’t yet explained what a “self” actually is, or what awareness/subjective experience actually is.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 8, 2016 @ 05:07 GMT
My dear Lorraine,

Your description of my view bears little resemblance to how things look from here. I feel like you are playing tricks with my words by reversing the meaning and spelling that out instead. I think the difficulty you have with my thoughts is that I am insisting on a both/and view, while you are convinced that what I really mean has to be one or the other.

I don't reject the notion that entities act as agents at all. They are both probes of information and creative of information, by their very existence. However; bereft of the dynamism of energy, purely material entities are only capable of a faux creativity. The reason why material entities do display agency is because they are never separate from their energetic aspect.

My view of Physics is fundamentally different from yours. It is the study of how things work and how they got to be the way they are. In my view; Physics is ultimately meant to reveal what is behind the face of reality, the dynamism by which things arise, not merely explain what is. However; I see this as distinctly different from metaphysics, which deals with the why as well as how.

From my experience; the views of people in the life sciences tend to be far more deterministic, as though everything is solely controlled by material substance and energy plays no part. Yes it's true that people in Biology or Physiology tend to view Physics as dead, but sadly with reductionism ruling the roost, the life sciences have far less life to them than Physics, which describes a whole universe alive with energy and motion. Without energy, matter just sits there, and life is impossible.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Mar. 8, 2016 @ 05:24 GMT
I could also state the following (turning around your words)..

Matter is fully confined within the bounds of laws-of-nature. To put it metaphorically, matter does what it is told by the laws. Matter is NOT an agent that acts: matter doesn’t do anything with a mind of its own. I simply replaced your word 'energy' with 'matter,' yet it is also true that way. It is only the fact that matter and energy are intertwined that allows matter to move at all, or to serve as a receiver and projector of information. If you remove energy from the picture, matter is purely dead.

This does not imply that adding enough energy makes something alive. But it is arguable that what defines life is that it arises from energetic processes, and that any living entity must sustain energetic processes in order to survive. This is certainly one of the hallmarks of life forms, as we know them. This is one of the features that sets living things apart from machines. Life forms exploit advantageous energetic processes in nature to arise on their own, while machines require a boost. However; we may still find they outpace us one day.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Shaikh Raisuddin replied on Mar. 8, 2016 @ 09:29 GMT
Lorraine Ford,

I agree,

# Energy is NOT an agent that acts.

# agents GENUINELY and LITERALLY participate in creating the physical structure of the universe.

# particles are essentially points of experience of, and creativity of, information.

because PHYSICS IS BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE OF MATTER. It is not Physics that give behaviour to matter instead it is behaviour of matter that gives Physics.

*** Material entities ARE self-aware ****

Energy is misnomer of motion of particle/substance of matter.

and

**** INERTIA MAKES SELF OF MATTER ****

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