But because one of the first steps of surgery is to tape patients’ eyes shut (...)
Flunkie: "But because one of the first steps of surgery is to tape patients’ eyes shut (...)Why?"
Chalmers has praised Tononi for his bold attempt to quantify consciousness, but he doesn’t think Tononi has come any closer to solving the hard problem. And even Tononi admits that, in scientific-research time, his theory is still in its infancy. What Tononi has made progress on is neither the easy nor the hard problem: it’s the practical problem.
(Koch) is saying that certain information just is consciousness, and because information is everywhere consciousness is everywhere. I think that if you analyze this carefully, you will see that the view is incoherent. Information is one of the most confused notions in contemporary intellectual life.
you can’t explain consciousness by saying it consists of information, because information only exists relative to consciousness.
The mathematical theory of information is not about content, but how content is encoded and transmitted. Information according to the mathematical theory of information is a matter of bits of data where data are construed as symbols. In more traditional terms, the commonsense conception of information is semantical (semantic content requires consciousness as I understand Searle), but the mathematical theory of information is syntactical. The syntax encodes the semantics.
Tononi and Koch want to use both types of information, they want consciousness to have content, but they want it to be measurable using the mathematics of information theory.
all observer-relative phenomena are created by consciousness. It is only money because we think it is money. But the attitudes we use to create the observer-relative phenomena are not themselves observer-relative. Our explanation of consciousness cannot appeal to anything that is observer-relative—otherwise the explanation would be circular. Observer-relative phenomena are created by consciousness, and so cannot be used to explain consciousness.
What about the mathematical theory of information? Will that come to the rescue? Once again, it seems to me that all such cases of “information” are observer-relative. The reason for the ubiquitousness of information in the world is not that information is a pervasive force like gravity, but that information is in the eye of the beholder, and beholders can attach information to anything they want, provided that it meets certain causal conditions.
fairmettle: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind blew mine.
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