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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Natesh Ganesh: on 2/21/17 at 19:48pm UTC, wrote Dear Professor Bigognano, I enjoyed your essay and completely agree with...

Peter Jackson: on 2/15/17 at 14:37pm UTC, wrote Joseph, An excellent essay, also proving the value of brevity. (I prefer...

Joseph Bisognano: on 2/14/17 at 1:00am UTC, wrote Thanks. Those sentences really sum up everything I'm saying. I should...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 2/14/17 at 0:24am UTC, wrote Dear Joseph J. Bisognano , Your observations in page 1 ... " Isn’t an...

Joseph Bisognano: on 2/11/17 at 16:56pm UTC, wrote Thanks for reading. I guess my points are very simple: 1) A system...

Jack James: on 2/10/17 at 22:20pm UTC, wrote Dear Joseph, I enjoyed your essay thanks for posting. I also wonder about...

Joe Fisher: on 2/9/17 at 16:31pm UTC, wrote Dear Professor Bigognano, Please excuse me for I do not wish to be too...

Joseph Bisognano: on 2/7/17 at 21:43pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract Day to day goal orientation could easily be a trait...


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FQXi FORUM
February 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Purpose from Equations by Joseph Bisognano [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 4.3; Public = 3.5


Author Joseph Bisognano wrote on Feb. 7, 2017 @ 21:43 GMT
Essay Abstract

Day to day goal orientation could easily be a trait that was selected by evolution over the eons. Goals don’t imply consciousness and intentionality, just an end point for behavior to converge. Having a goal simply provides an evolutionary advantage that can proceed from natural selection. What remains hard to explain is consciousness. It is possible that when a system becomes more complex, it might key into some entirely new physics; for example, a “consciousness field.” The challenge is to find a test to determine whether an entity is conscious. Then a "phase transition" from unaware to aware might be observed as one moves to relatively more complex systems--whether computers or living creatures.

Author Bio

Joseph Bisognano is Professor Emeritus of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin. He is an accelerator physicist specializing in FELs and collective phenomena in particle beams and in the design and commissioning of large accelerators complexes such as the DOE superconducting facility at Jefferson Lab. Earlier in his career he pursued rigorous results in fundamental quantum field theory.

Download Essay PDF File




Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 9, 2017 @ 16:31 GMT
Dear Professor Bigognano,

Please excuse me for I do not wish to be too critical of your fine essay and I do hope that it fairs well in the competition.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

One real visible Universe must have only one reality. Simple natural reality has nothing to do with any abstract complex musings about an imaginary invisible “consciousness field.”

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Jack Hamilton James wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 22:20 GMT
Dear Joseph,

I enjoyed your essay thanks for posting. I also wonder about what an appropriate test for consciousness is. In my entry I examined possible routes to this, focusing instead on what we call non-conscious life (single-celled organisms). Here I looked for intention (intention being a most basic property differentiating life from non-life). I considered that there must be a test or a way of illustrating this basic difference, and reflected also on whether such information described, could describe what via evolution consciousness as we know it is. Anyway not to dwell on my entry, i just viewed your entry as a more direct consideration of the more complex route to consciousness - consciousness itself, which was interesting indeed.

Best,

Jack

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Author Joseph Bisognano replied on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 16:56 GMT
Thanks for reading.

I guess my points are very simple:

1) A system showing goals and purpose doesn't necessarily need to be conscious or self aware. And evolution could create such systems

2) Our experience of consciousness, on the other hand, is undeniable and hard to

imagine coming from current physics equations. I use the word intention as

closely related to this self awareness, not just heading to a goal.

3) So there should be a new interaction coupled to complex systems,either big

brains or big computers. Analogous to E&M coupled to electric charge, gravity to mass, strong interaction to color charge. --Consciousness field coupled to

complexity. I haven't been able to come up with a good test of whether a system is self aware. Hope to have a discussion of possibilities.




Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 14, 2017 @ 00:24 GMT
Dear Joseph J. Bisognano ,

Your observations in page 1 ... " Isn’t an animal’s goal orientation just another trait that improves its chance of survival, and natural selection would tend to home in on this trait? "

In page 2..." Alternatively, when a system becomes more complex, it might key into something new; for example, a “consciousness field.” Since a brain is no less physical than a computer, possibly when a brain or computer gets complex enough, it will become coupled to this consciousness field. "

Are really excellent… Best wishes…

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Author Joseph Bisognano wrote on Feb. 14, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT
Thanks. Those sentences really sum up everything I'm saying. I should have written a three sentence paper!




Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 15, 2017 @ 14:37 GMT
Joseph,

An excellent essay, also proving the value of brevity. (I prefer 'concise' - English should include concicity or conciseness). I don't think less length should mean less marks, though perhaps three sentences wouldn't be an 'essay'!

As an essay it has all attributes and is also bang on topic. However I warm to the content most, I suppose I would as it agrees with mine pretty well to the letter (though I do go much further into mechanism).

I don't know of a convincing consciousness test. In trying to imagine one I rather concluded that it should ultimately derive from self awareness which follows naturally from environmental awareness. Maybe we just like to think we're 'ultra special' in some non explainable way? But I also have little doubt there is a continuum or condensate state below current observability scale, and if so could we say it wouldn't play some part?

Great essay, right to 'the heart of the matter' (a working title I had for my own for a while).

Very best of luck in the contest.

Peter

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Natesh Ganesh wrote on Feb. 21, 2017 @ 19:48 GMT
Dear Professor Bigognano,

I enjoyed your essay and completely agree with your idea that we should be able to view consciousness arise as a phase transition. If you have the time, please check out my entry 'Intention is Physical', where I attack the problem at hand using physical information theory and make connections to the brain being a self-organized system in a critical Griffith's region exhibiting multiple continuous phase transitions. Any and all feedback is welcome. Thanks.

Natesh

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