[Serious Phil] Presupposing Experiential Subsystems
SWMirsky at aol.com
Wed May 23 08:12:31 CDT 2012
--- In Phil-Sci-Mind at yahoogroups.com, Joseph Polanik <Philscimind at ...> wrote:
> SWM wrote:
> >Joseph Polanik wrote:
> >>SWM wrote:
> >>>Peter D wrote:
> >>>>SWM wrote:
> >>>>>Searle's CR operates on "syntax" which is to say by rote.
> >>>>Searle believes all software is syntactical. Are you saying all
> >>>>software is rote?
> >>>I am using the terms interchangeably.
> >>>The question is what does it mean to get meaning, to have semantics?
> >>>Searle assumes that just being syntax at the basic level disqualifies
> >>>the CR's constituents from producing semantics. But he doesn't make
> >>>that case because he doesn't explore what semantics is. He presumes
> >>>that the failure of a rote (syntactical) process to be semantical at
> >>>one level of operation (as specked to operate in the CR) is proof
> >>>that it can never be semantical at any level. To do that he must ask
> >>>us to assume, with him, that there is an unbridgeable divide between
> >>>being syntax and being semantics. But he has not, and I submit
> >>>cannot, make that case through argument. All he, and you, can do is
> >>>assume it.
> >>Searle, PDJ and anyone else who is so inclined may simply do as you
> >>suggest --- assume that there is an unbridgeable gulf between syntax
> >>and semantics. I'll call those who do so 'gulfers'.
> >>OTOH, you and anyone else who is so inclined may simply assume that
> >>there is no such unbridgeable gulf between syntax and semantics. I'll
> >>call your group 'non-gulfers'.
> >Right. I don't make that assumption which is why I have no problem
> >seeing how Dennett's model could work. Therefore I don't reject it out
> >of hand as you and other "gulfers" do. I am prepared to await empirical
> >results from real world developments.
> >>in any such battle between conflicting intuitions, the gulfers have at
> >>least one undeniable advantage: formalist mathematicians say the same
> >>thing. manipulating symbols according to rules doesn't tell you what
> >>the system is about.
> >"Non-gulfers" can say the same thing because producing consciousness
> >isn't a matter of "telling [some entity] what the system is about".
> >It's a matter of producing an entity with subjectiveness, one that is
> >aware of its stimuli, etc., that has certain capacities including,
> >given the right system elements, the capacity to know what some things,
> >including some systems, are about.
> assuming the non identity of the ZF and HF interpretations of 'aware'
> and other terms, one could say that
>  the task for philosophy of consciousness is to explain the emergence
> of subjectivity-HF from subjectivity-ZF; and,
I would say (with Dennett) that your distinction between Human-Friendly and Zombie-Friendly subjectivity is a distinction without a difference. It's just another mask for the notion that there are things in the world which we experience and "qualia" in the mind which match, in some inexplicable way, to the things we experience in the world.
>  the task for computationalism is to explain the emergence of
> subjectivity-HF from subjectivity-ZF by syntax alone.
If subjectivity can be understood as just a certain form of information processing, the explanation is not problematic. So everything rides on determining whether subjectivity CAN be adequately explained in this way.
> you [SWM] don't seem to be willing or able to discuss either one of
> these tasks; instead, you allege/insinuate that gulfers deny  because
> assuming the gulf constitutes dualism; but, you are unwilling to explain
> why agreeing with formalist mathematicians about the gulf between syntax
> and semantics turns the philosopher into a dualist *without* also
> turning the mathematicians into dualists.
Dualism, in this matter of explaining the presence of minds in the world, addresses questions of what is ontologically basic (specifically how many ontologically basics we must posit in order to achieve our explanation). Mathematics is played with numbers and is a different discipline with different concerns.
That there are mathematicians who have been ontological dualists, based on how they think their mathematical insights relate to a broader understanding of the world, isn't relevant. What is, since you've brought it up, is whether to recognize some dualities, such as the distinction between syntax and semantics in the world or even in the more narrow confines of mathematics, is to take a dualist position about what's needed to explain the world as we find it. But as I've previously pointed out, to recognize dualities (as we all do in everyday life) is not the same as to assert a dualist explanation of the universe.
You have said, in the past here and elsewhere, that you hold to a position you call "phenomenological dualism" which consists of asserting that subjectness and objects exist in the universe but are not the same. Insofar as that goes, we're all "phenomenological dualists" because that assertion is uncontroversial. What IS controversial, is how we EXPLAIN the presence in the universe of this particular duality. An explanation that holds that only positing at least two ontological basics, one to underlie each, can explain the duality of subjects and objects IS ontological dualism.
Insofar as you wish to move from "phenomenological dualism" to such an explanation you are an ontological dualist. Insofar as you don't, you aren't. I know that you would prefer to find some other term which doesn't seem so pejorative to you because you want to reject "substance dualism" and balk at my equating "ontological dualism" with that. But my point is only that IF you think there must be at least two ontological basics in the universe (whatever term you wish to use for this) to explain the duality you recognize and affirm (as do we all), then you are stuck with the position you wish to disassociate yourself from.
More information about the Philscimind