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Victor Panzica
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If asked who is one person I would like to have a conversation with in my life it would be Dan Dennett. He's one of the atheists who respects alot of the religious tradition but questions its present day value because of so many unanswered questions about the human mind which will explain religion and human cultural anthropology. Unlike Dan I'm not a big fan AI not because of the Chinese Room but because of the False Liver Argument : A demon removes the liver from a man's body while he's asleep and puts a mechanical liver in the body which actually appears to be identical to a real liver and connects to all of the necessary digestive organs. Only difference is every night the demon puts a fresh supply of bile in the liver while the man is asleep. Functionally this liver is identical to a real over but it is not a real liver because it does not produce bile as an AI simulation does not produce consciousness.
Mohan, I would not deny this at all. States like hunger which are generated in the body with their own feeling or meaning also find their way into the brain or our consciousness. However I am also theorizing that perceptions and thoughts in the brain which have nothing to do with body function are also being acted on by the brain against the autonomic system to provide meaning. I am theorizing a brain body dualism. From my engineering pov, the autonomic system is too neatly wrapped and wired in the lower part of the brain to be just functioning as a body control wire center. The brain by nature is too flexible in function to provide the fixed platform for meaning that the autonomic system gives. The brain is theorized as being closer to nature in terms of quantum behavior. The autonomic system is more of a "quantum violator" or provides the fixed feeling of being. Being being the underlying platform for consciousness.
Feelings of hunger, cold, heat etc. are blind states to brain consciousness or they are autonomic functions that contain definite content. It is logical to think that the brain is an evolutionary addition to autonomic function so the meaning or content of brain states is also an autonomic function accessed via brain hemisphere activity. We don't think of our heart as being two separate organs but the right side and left side perform two separate functions that work in concert with pulmonary function. Likewise left-right brain function does not only act on the motor level of keeping our body balanced when we walk upright but also works in concert to achieve content.
I find this argument fascinating because there is deep interest in the underlying unconscious processing which is detected in the hardwired fusiform facial recognition area of the brain. How much of our language is full of the "Freudian Slips" i.e "let's face it","face the facts", "smiling all the way to the bank", "egg on my face" (or is it ego on my face?), "just look at him!: (we usually look at his face) etc. Split brain or blindsight patients had normal sight or recgnition prior to their condition so rather than hardwired, their pathways are conditioned so that their "hunches" which are often 80 to 90 percent correct are not unconscious at the neural level. Normal consciousness gives us the ability to close the 80-90% gap to 95% or better. Interestingly we are fascinated by our own individual consciousness but consciusness is a group survival trait (even amongst physicists when it comes to arguing for research funding)and group survival culture or memes are passed through the group and generations via language and rich narratives. Physicists often get into deep group disagreements but mathematical reason and experimentation often settles them except at the quantum level. No cultural group is more dependent upon the precision of language more than philosophers so this argument closes upon itself.
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Jul 30, 2011