Re: virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #48
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 23:15:24 -0500 (CDT)

On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, Reed Konsler wrote:

> >From: David Leeper <>
> >Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 21:37:18 -0500


> >4) There would seem to be part of us that "sits apart" from all this, and
> >makes decisions at a
> >higher level. It decides how much of our resources go into the "sexual
> >eco-system", the
> >"logical eco-system", and so on. Perhaps a good term for this part of us
> >would be a
> >"meta-meme", its is a meme that influences which _types_ of memes are
> >favored and which _types_
> >are disfavored.
> Ack! It's the Cartesian Theater! Begone, vile thing! ;) Seriously
> though, I'm a strong supporter of Dennett's hypothesis (elaborated in
> delightful detail in "Conciousness Explained") that the "Central Meaner" we
> refer to as "I" within ourselves is the brains user-illusion of itself and
> in fact there is not one central physical or metaphysical part of us that
> observes, selects, and/or controls behavior.
> Another way of saying this is that when you say: "There would seem to be
> part of us that "sits apart" from all this..." that the most important
> part of this sentence is the "SEEMS" part; what is apparent is not in fact.
> Dennett gives several experimental examples of how this principle
> functions at the perceptual level...and since conciousness in circumscribed
> by perception (and the reverse) I find myself dramatically persuaded that
> there is, in fact, no single "I" or center of
> perception/conciousness...despite the fact that it certianly seems to be
> the case.
> I hope that doesn't sound too mystical. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you
> meant. If not, I can try to elaborate it further (though Dennett does a
> much better job than I could hope to here).

There is fairly strong [but not conclusive to epsilon] evidence that
there is no PHYSICAL center that observes/selects/controls behavior; in
contrast, the brain centers that are responsible for 'paying attention'
to external stimuli are reasonably localized. [I'm thinking of some 1995
Scientific Americans].

Deciding the question of the Cartesian Theater [BTW, the Copenhagen
interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is USELESS if the Cartesian Theater
is disallowed] could be done experimentally, with sufficient advances in
Against: Demonstrate the Strong AI hypothesis.
Then try to construct a Strong AI that doesn't have localized awareness
code/center. If the latter exercise succeeds, you have strong evidence
for the human analog. If the latter exercise is provably undoable, such
a proof would give information on how to avoid Cartesian theatre in the
human case--or the proof crosses over into the human case, which decides
FOR. I rather think the former: such a proof is plausibly highly
dependent on context.
For: Devise instrumentation-type methods for locating [even better,
analyzing] non-mass/energy objects in spacetime [these are likely to be
'spiritual' domain, so this feeds into using science on religion]. If
this remains intractable, this provides weak evidence that there is no
nonphysical center of awareness in the human case. [The Cartesian
Theater is highly dependent on religious axioms requiring 'human
spirits', in my terminology.] If such technology is constructable, we
may now proceed to analyze various spectra of consciousness to see how
the readings vary, and proceed that way.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd