anhinga_anhinga (anhinga_anhinga) wrote,

Trying to continue a discussion on the "hard problem of consciousness" and rereading Patterns of Awareness by Ben Goertzel.

I like how Goertzel's general approach begins here.

0) "The solution is grounded in Peircean philosophy and algorithmic information theory. It is panpsychist in the sense that it posits that every entity in every universe has awareness to some extent; but it provides a specific explanation for the fact that some entities have far more intense streams of awareness than others."

1) "The problem is that Chalmers assumes “physical processing gives rise to [experience].” This presupposes that a solution to the problem of consciousness has to be of the form “Here is a mechanism that takes in physical processes and spits out experiences.” But I think a better formulation is, “Why are some physical processes closely associated with subjective experiences?” The difference may seem subtle but philosophically, it’s quite significant. Rather than posing physical processing as the causal agent, my reformulation opens the door to the hypothesis of a deeper realm of being that encompasses both physical and experiential reality, and explains their interrelationship.

A solution to the hard problem of consciousness in terms of a deeper realm may not feel as satisfying as a solution in terms of some “mystery mechanism” that creates experiences from particular physical phenomena. But I think it should be clear by now that this mystery mechanism won’t be found – the universe just doesn’t work that way."

2) "What is a pattern? A pattern in some entity X is a function f that computes X from some data D, with the property that

simplicity(f) + simplicity(D) < simplicity(X)".

The only problem, I don't think the author identifies a correct version of complexity theory for this "simplicity" notion.

3) new principle: "When a new (pattern,ground) pair appears in the universe, a quale is associated with it"

4) new principle: "Patterns providing massive simplification of the most complex (non-simple) grounds are associated with the most intense qualia"

Now it starts getting hazier:

5) The first step toward embodied qualia is the notion of relative simplicity. Take an individual system S – say a human being, a turtle, a computer program, or a rock. One may associate a simplicity measure with this system S, by appending the current state of S to the data D considered above in the definition of pattern. That is, a function f is a pattern in a ground X relative to S if:
a) f computes X from data consisting of S and D
b) simplicity(f) + simplicity(D) < simplicity(X)".

And gets hazier, if you continue...

It's not quite there, but I like the spirit of this attempt.
Tags: philosophy, retrospective 1

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