Re: virus: Re: The saga continues!

Nathaniel Hall (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 20:33:21 -0600

Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:
> On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Nathaniel Hall wrote:
> > > >.The best theories predict
> > > >something otherwise unexpected! If we could not trust are own senses
> > > >then all experimental evidence would be pointless.
> > >
> > > .I never said we shouldn't trust our senses, I said that the senses
> > > should
> > > not get authoritative status--for instance, the fact that
> > > eye-witnesses
> > > often give conflicting reports of the same scene means the senses
> > > might not
> > > always be reliable.
> >
> > The senses were reliable. The memory and the processing are what got
> > screwed up. Kinda like Windows 95.
> Ok--in addition to stumping for George Lakoff, I feel the need to highly
> recommend Dennett's _Consciousness Explained_ to the participants in this
> thread. One of his points, which he makes fairly early on, with some good
> examples, is that there is no way to make a clear distinction between
> "sensing something incorrectly" and "processing information from the
> senses incorrectly".

But there is! We have not one but five senses. They all have to be out
of wack is just the right way for us to be fooled by them. Otherwise
we'd notice the contradiction. However the incorrect conclusions one
reachs can be detected by the errors one experiances with ones
At what point has a given phenomenon been "sensed"
> and what point has it been "processed"?

when one experiances it, and then when one thinks about it.

Dennett makes an excellent case
> that there is no distinct point or boundary at which a given idea can be
> said to have "passed into consciousness".

sure there is: right after you experiance it. whether you continue to
remember it or not is another matter.

Rather than consciousness being
> a "place" (physical or metaphorical--in the brain or mind) where
> processed items are "presented for viewing" (by whom?), he presents a view
> of consciousness as the very *processing* itself.

It has to reside in the brain. People have had just about every other
organ pulled at one point but were still in possession of consciousness.
You mess with the brain however and the nature of your consciousness
> > > >If they were ,you'd find out about it. Natural law is self enforcing.
> > >
> > > Not necessarily. The nature of far off galaxies, the small
> > > constituents of
> > > matter or even how my own mind works could be totally different than I
> > >
> > > imagine. In other words, my notion of existence could be so different
> > > than
> > > existence itself..
> >
> > Far away or extremely small. Notice how you worry about things that
> > don't affect you. If you should ever find yourself in a far away galaxy
> > or dependent on the nature of some strange quark I advise you to get
> > their nature down pat. As for how the mind works, it works is all I can
> > say. If I really knew the answer to that I'd have my computer type out
> > these responses for me!
> As for how the mind works, it certainly can't be dismissed as not
> affecting us!

I did'nt. I addressed that near the end of the paragraph.

Dennett gives loads of good evidence that "how my own mind
> works" IS "totally different than I imagine". And that this is in fact
> important, because the mistaken ways we tend to think about thinking can
> mislead us badly (see also _Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion_, for
> more ways a lack of understanding how our minds work can hurt us in our
> daily lives).
> If anyone wants to argue about Dennett's claims, great; it would be really
> nice if they could read Dennett first, since he puts everything so well
> and I'd really rather not type the whole book. :) Besides,
> _Consciousness Explained_ is really fun reading and I could recommend it
> to smart people on that ground alone!
> Eva,
> living bibliography
When he can make a machine that can make me believe that it is thinking
then I'll believe his claims that he has discovered the nature of