What is "Mind?"

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 7261 - 7280 of total 17876 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 25, 2015 - 12:22pm PT
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v08/n22/ian-hacking/knowledge

The second square is titled ‘Institutions cannot have minds of their own’, but only as a proposition to be rebutted. The assertion that institutions think is never seriously put in question. But what does it mean?

“. . . our task is to demonstrate that the individual’s most elementary cognitive process depends on social institutions.”

Mary Douglas' works are about as close as you're going to get to anyone who wrote and researched in the area of so-called "organizational thinking." Of course you may believe anything at all you want, but if you're interested in science and data and careful research, then perhaps you'd give a little leeway to it.
MikeL

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 25, 2015 - 04:33pm PT
Jan:

Here is the pointer to the complete article that supports the video you commented on above.

It's entitled, "Objects of Consciousness." Real research.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00577/full#h3

P.S. (I take it this is still the "What is Mind?" thread.)
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jul 25, 2015 - 05:40pm PT
Some more real research:

http://www.nature.com/news/brain-area-found-that-may-make-humans-unique-1.18051

In both monkeys and humans, an area of the brain, part of which has been associated with numbers, lit up in the fMRI scanner when the subjects identified a change in the number of tones. Both species also registered the repetition pattern in specific brain areas, which are known to be equivalent in humans and monkeys. But only the human brains showed a unique response to the combined changes in number and sequence, in the form of intense activation in an additional brain area called the inferior frontal gyrus.

“It is like the monkey recognizes a pattern but does not realize it is interesting and take it no further — only humans take it on to the next level of analysis,” says Marcus.

The inferior frontal gyrus is a part of the cortex that is greatly expanded in humans compared with monkeys. Moreover, the inferior frontal gyrus in humans contains the Broca’s area, which processes language. And when Dehaene’s team read sentences to the humans, the language areas activated in each individual overlapped with those activated by the tone sequences.

But abstract information integration may be significant beyond language. “We had expected that humans have brain areas that put together information,” says cognitive biologist Tecumseh Fitch from the University of Vienna.“This type of computation may turn out to be also relevant to other characteristics that make humans unique, like music appreciation.”
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2015 - 07:24pm PT


Of course social organizations have a mind.

DMT

Now YOU sound full of woo woo ;^D
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2015 - 07:49pm PT

“It is like the monkey recognizes a pattern but does not realize it is interesting and take it no further — only humans take it on to the next level of analysis,” says Marcus.

Maybe the next "level" is whether they like it, or not? You know the emotional level of either Good or Bad, Love or Hate? I'd bet a cheeseburger we could make a monkey "love" Dr. Dre with the right treats ;^)
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jul 25, 2015 - 08:49pm PT
Interesting OP ed by Oliver Sacks in the NYT


Oliver Sacks: My Periodic Table

By OLIVER SACKSJULY 24, 2015
Photo
Credit Aidan Koch

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
Share This Page

Email
Share
Tweet
Save
more

Continue reading the main story

I LOOK forward eagerly, almost greedily, to the weekly arrival of journals like Nature and Science, and turn at once to articles on the physical sciences — not, as perhaps I should, to articles on biology and medicine. It was the physical sciences that provided my first enchantment as a boy.

In a recent issue of Nature, there was a thrilling article by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on a new way of calculating the slightly different masses of neutrons and protons. The new calculation confirms that neutrons are very slightly heavier than protons — the ratio of their masses being 939.56563 to 938.27231 — a trivial difference, one might think, but if it were otherwise the universe as we know it could never have developed. The ability to calculate this, Dr. Wilczek wrote, “encourages us to predict a future in which nuclear physics reaches the level of precision and versatility that atomic physics has already achieved” — a revolution that, alas, I will never see.

Francis Crick was convinced that “the hard problem” — understanding how the brain gives rise to consciousness — would be solved by 2030. “You will see it,” he often said to my neuroscientist friend Ralph, “and you may, too, Oliver, if you live to my age.” Crick lived to his late 80s, working and thinking about consciousness till the last. Ralph died prematurely, at age 52, and now I am terminally ill, at the age of 82. I have to say that I am not too exercised by “the hard problem” of consciousness — indeed, I do not see it as a problem at all; but I am sad that I will not see the new nuclear physics that Dr. Wilczek envisages, nor a thousand other breakthroughs in the physical and biological sciences.

A few weeks ago, in the country, far from the lights of the city, I saw the entire sky “powdered with stars” (in Milton’s words); such a sky, I imagined, could be seen only on high, dry plateaus like that of Atacama in Chile (where some of the world’s most powerful telescopes are). It was this celestial splendor that suddenly made me realize how little time, how little life, I had left. My sense of the heavens’ beauty, of eternity, was inseparably mixed for me with a sense of transience — and death.

I told my friends Kate and Allen, “I would like to see such a sky again when I am dying.”

“We’ll wheel you outside,” they said.

I have been comforted, since I wrote in February about having metastatic cancer, by the hundreds of letters I have received, the expressions of love and appreciation, and the sense that (despite everything) I may have lived a good and useful life. I remain very glad and grateful for all this — yet none of it hits me as did that night sky full of stars.

I have tended since early boyhood to deal with loss — losing people dear to me — by turning to the nonhuman. When I was sent away to a boarding school as a child of 6, at the outset of the Second World War, numbers became my friends; when I returned to London at 10, the elements and the periodic table became my companions. Times of stress throughout my life have led me to turn, or return, to the physical sciences, a world where there is no life, but also no death.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

And now, at this juncture, when death is no longer an abstract concept, but a presence — an all-too-close, not-to-be-denied presence — I am again surrounding myself, as I did when I was a boy, with metals and minerals, little emblems of eternity. At one end of my writing table, I have element 81 in a charming box, sent to me by element-friends in England: It says, “Happy Thallium Birthday,”a souvenir of my 81st birthday last July; then, a realm devoted to lead, element 82, for my just celebrated 82nd birthday earlier this month. Here, too, is a little lead casket, containing element 90, thorium, crystalline thorium, as beautiful as diamonds, and, of course, radioactive — hence the lead casket.

At the start of the year, in the weeks after I learned that I had cancer, I felt pretty well, despite my liver being half-occupied by metastases. When the cancer in my liver was treated in February by the injection of tiny beads into the hepatic arteries — a procedure called embolization — I felt awful for a couple of weeks but then super well, charged with physical and mental energy. (The metastases had almost all been wiped out by the embolization.) I had been given not a remission, but an intermission, a time to deepen friendships, to see patients, to write, and to travel back to my homeland, England. People could scarcely believe at this time that I had a terminal condition, and I could easily forget it myself.
Continue reading the main story
Recent Comments
Entropic 3 hours ago

Wonderfull...
Nina 10 hours ago

What a poignant and beautiful elegy to the way that science brings comfort and wonder and connection in the face of loss. How I will miss...
Alanna 10 hours ago

To have lived life to its fullest - to love much, marvel at the wonders, to have helped others - this is the legacy of a great man. You...

See All Comments Write a comment

This sense of health and energy started to decline as May moved into June, but I was able to celebrate my 82nd birthday in style. (Auden used to say that one should always celebrate one’s birthday, no matter how one felt.) But now, I have some nausea and loss of appetite; chills in the day, sweats at night; and, above all, a pervasive tiredness, with sudden exhaustion if I overdo things. I continue to swim daily, but more slowly now, as I am beginning to feel a little short of breath. I could deny it before, but I know I am ill now. A CT scan on July 7 confirmed that the metastases had not only regrown in my liver but had now spread beyond it as well.

I started a new sort of treatment — immunotherapy — last week. It is not without its hazards, but I hope it will give me a few more good months. But before beginning this, I wanted to have a little fun: a trip to North Carolina to see the wonderful lemur research center at Duke University. Lemurs are close to the ancestral stock from which all primates arose, and I am happy to think that one of my own ancestors, 50 million years ago, was a little tree-dwelling creature not so dissimilar to the lemurs of today. I love their leaping vitality, their inquisitive nature.

NEXT to the circle of lead on my table is the land of bismuth: naturally occurring bismuth from Australia; little limousine-shaped ingots of bismuth from a mine in Bolivia; bismuth slowly cooled from a melt to form beautiful iridescent crystals terraced like a Hopi village; and, in a nod to Euclid and the beauty of geometry, a cylinder and a sphere made of bismuth.

Bismuth is element 83. I do not think I will see my 83rd birthday, but I feel there is something hopeful, something encouraging, about having “83” around. Moreover, I have a soft spot for bismuth, a modest gray metal, often unregarded, ignored, even by metal lovers. My feeling as a doctor for the mistreated or marginalized extends into the inorganic world and finds a parallel in my feeling for bismuth.

I almost certainly will not see my polonium (84th) birthday, nor would I want any polonium around, with its intense, murderous radioactivity. But then, at the other end of my table — my periodic table — I have a beautifully machined piece of beryllium (element 4) to remind me of my childhood, and of how long ago my soon-to-end life began.

Oliver Sacks is a professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine, and the author, most recently, of the memoir “On the Move.”
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Jul 25, 2015 - 08:59pm PT
Functional magnetic resonance imaging has advantages as a tool to look at brain activity. Humans are naturally curious about themselves and their close relatives (my thesis advisor called this primate chauvinism) and you can study subjects who sign their own consent forms.

However, fMRI is not going to tell us in detail how neurons, whose diameters are measured in microns and whose activity can change between one millisecond and the next, work together to do all the jobs which the brain is responsible for.

Back in the 70s when I was a graduate student, researchers were looking at dyes which would react to changes in electric potential. The hope was that a microscope and a camera could record changes in fluorescence in active neurons.

Today we have animals whose neurons have been given genes which express proteins that respond to light. Researchers at U of Chicago have built a two-photon excitation laser microscope. It can see the activity of hundreds of neurons at once and can also change the activity of targeted neurons.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2015 - 09:10pm PT

I have tended since early boyhood to deal with loss — losing people dear to me — by turning to the nonhuman. When I was sent away to a boarding school as a child of 6, at the outset of the Second World War, numbers became my friends; when I returned to London at 10, the elements and the periodic table became my companions. Times of stress throughout my life have led me to turn, or return, to the physical sciences, a world where there is no life, but also no death.


One of the saddest things I've ever heard : (

PLEASE don't give up on Love, all you Scientists!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2015 - 09:17pm PT

It can see the activity of hundreds of neurons at once and can also change the activity of targeted neurons.

Seems like if one were to start "changing the activity" of neurons, the perps thoughts may change from thinking about a car, to that of a duck?

And where would that lead ya?
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jul 25, 2015 - 09:26pm PT
Sorry to hear that Oliver Sacks is terminally ill. A remarkable figure in science and popular culture, and in the lives of the numerous individuals he influenced.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2015 - 09:37pm PT
^^^im sorry too...

Didn't know him tho. My bad.
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jul 25, 2015 - 10:04pm PT
"If our reasoning has been sound, then space-time and three-dimensional objects have no causal powers and do not exist unperceived" (link by MikeL)

JL should take a serious look at this article. The author attempts to use mathematics in an effort to construct a theory of consciousness (that I suspect is inaccurate). Nevertheless, here it seems is a fairly sophisticated approach to extrapolating the weirdness of the quantum world up to the world we normally perceive. I didn't read the whole thing, so I might be wrong.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 26, 2015 - 06:52am PT
Thanks for the links to Donald Hoffman and his ideas...

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00577/full#h3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eWG7x_6Y5U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYp5XuGYqqY
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jul 26, 2015 - 07:11am PT


^^^im sorry too...
Didn't know him tho. My bad.

Oliver Sacks was the real life person Robin Williams played (opposite Robert de Niro) in the movie Awakenings

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Sacks
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Jul 26, 2015 - 08:31am PT
Seems like if one were to start "changing the activity" of neurons, the perps thoughts may change from thinking about a car, to that of a duck?

And where would that lead ya?



If your brain activity was being changed at the neuron level by photons beamed into it, would you be able to recognize that as not being your own thought?


Other than noticing the giant machine pointing a laser at you, that is?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 26, 2015 - 09:40am PT
The thing is, Paul, when you accept (when you are open to) the brain in a vat scenario, you can accept (you are open to) pretty much anything (eg, whatever a super machine can simulate). We still have to live our lives day to day and in my judgment evolved mentality (mind) as product of an evolved brain is the smart money bet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat

Donald Hoffman's model or hypothesis doesn't need to be rendered or understood in terms of math. (Any more than DNA functionality like replication needs to be rendered or understood in terms of information or information science.) It could be understood straight away from neuroscience, the brain in a vat hypothesis, a machine in lieu of a brain, and ultimately a super machine in lieu of many machines.

Note however all of it still points to a completely fated mechanistic nature. In other words a system of rules that the whole shebang - whatever it is - follows. Which has been a fundamental interest of mine since undergraduate school, one that's shaped all my education and background.

What are we, robots?! I'm used to the idea, even comfortable with it now (as I live, breathe, eat and sleep my days away amongst a largely superstitious, bronze-age-predicated, Abrahamic theist majority). Are you?

Anyways thanks for the heads-up regarding Donald Hoffman, I hadn't heard of him before. Turns out, he had conference with Chalmers and Dennett too, apparently at youtube. Hope to get to it if I have time.



PS... And really, were the entire Cosmos ultimately ("just" an evolved user-friendly) interface (as Hoffman presents as a hypothesis) to something even grander - the truest deepest reality - what difference would it really matter? We'd still have to pay our bills and fight those primitive virulent theologies like the ISIS ideology-narrative.

The Donald Hoffman links...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eWG7x_6Y5U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYp5XuGYqqY
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jul 26, 2015 - 10:20am PT
Interesting research Cintune. I'm sure Dehaene’s team already realizes that their next subjects need to be apes, whose mind is more like our own than a monkey's. What could really tell us something in this regard would be an MRI on apes with no language and apes with sign language. Then if we could measure the brains of dolphins and whales, we'd really begin to understand the evolution of language and more about the brain.

Mathematics and language have long been thought to be related. There are some evolutionary anthropologists who think that the dexterity of human hands and the proportion of the brain dedicated to our hands was also influential in language. They hypothesize that before we had music and language, we had sign language which was more useful for the hunt. Ape brain studies might clarify that.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jul 26, 2015 - 10:49am PT
There are some evolutionary anthropologists who think that the dexterity of human hands and the proportion of the brain dedicated to our hands was also influential in language.

But then again some recent research indicates the human hand might be more primitive than chimps:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714113043.htm
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jul 26, 2015 - 01:25pm PT
They hypothesize that before we had music and language, we had sign language which was more useful for the hunt (jan)

Interesting. Maybe that's why some of us find talking is easier if we can use our hands in the process.
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Jul 26, 2015 - 08:37pm PT
This allows us to reinterpret physical properties such as position, momentum, and energy as properties of interacting conscious agents, rather than as preexisting physical truths. We sketch how this approach might extend to the perception of relativistic quantum objects, and to classical objects of macroscopic scale (D. D. Hoffman)

Glancing over his mathematics I have trouble seeing how numbers can be applied and predictions made - the hallmarks of the physical sciences. He conjures up a nice structure using sophisticated mathematical tools but I don't see where it all leads, and I don't find it a compelling argument that the moon isn't there when we are not looking at it. But then, even as a retired mathematician, my eyes started glazing over after a bit.

JL has his work cut out for him if he hopes to develop similar theory for sentience, awareness, etc. And even if he were to accomplish that, it would be more a descriptive device than a predictive one. Seems ridiculous to even start such a project.

Better to examine the mind of the Feds.

;>)

Edit: Here's something similar, but more naive, that I wrote a couple of years ago when I was thinking about time travel. You will be pleased to note I received no NSF grants to encourage me!

Lem's Ergodic Theory of History
Messages 7261 - 7280 of total 17876 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews