TA106 (Muller)



Commentary 48 (to R18 Muller)




by Serge Patlavskiy
13 September 2009, posted 19 September 2009




[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"[3] Consciousness as an ‘ability to deal with information’ <8> is correct but incomplete, because firstly mental structures are also developed within mind (or consciousness); ..."



[S.P.] There are short definitions and long (full) definitions. The one above is a short (or presentational, or advertising) definition. I may also extend this definition by stating that consciousness is an ability of making the life-sustaining profit on dealing with information.



But, the full definition is much longer: consciousness is "an ability of a system to keep ones entropy on a sufficiently low level by (1) performing the loop-like acts of (a) processing the physical sensory signals, and/or the already available elements of knowledge, and (b) conceptualization of the processed physical sensory signals by converting them into information (by which we mean or the difference between the known and the unknown for the given subject of cognitive activity, or the increment of information, or the new element of knowledge), and (2) constructing the intellectual products in the form of inner speech, imagination, behaviour, language, etc."



Since it is not always convenient using the full definitions, the whole sentence in the quotation marks replaces by the phrase "a way of dealing with information". By the way, what do we mean by the term "mental structures"? Do we mean the elements of subjective experience, or the elements of the mechanisms of consciousness?



[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"[3] "... and secondly all kinds of non-conscious systems, biological and other, deal with information."



[S.P.] This idea coincides with my own view, which holds that for anything to exist, it must be describable simultaneously by informational, material and energetic characteristics. The correlation of these three characteristics gives rise to the entropy characteristic of the whole system. Both the system{stone} and the system{living object} are "information-sensitive" -- their informational characteristics are equally changeable. So, I suggest a doctrine of pan-informationism instead of panpsychism. The difference between these systems is only in a value of their entropy characteristics. The case is that if the value of entropy characteristic becomes sufficiently low, then the system acquires the possibility to keep its entropy on such a low level itself -- the system becomes self-organizing. Only from this point onwards we may start talking about consciousness. I mean that a stone does not possess consciousness yet. At any rate, I have already addressed this point in my C41 <12>.



[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"[5] You and the neo-metaphysicians are right that the noumena are in the mind, but not as knowledge of a fictitious external mind-independent world. This claim overlooks that one cannot even perceive objects directly, because they require completion by the subject, ... The ‘noumena’ are reality-designs within the mind and they should be called that."



[S.P.] I have never stated that "the noumena are in the mind"!!! Please, refer to my C41 <11>: "The meta-theory, I elaborate, presumes that there are two realities: Noumenal Reality and Phenomenal Reality (but not only one reality, as constructivism holds). The first one is cognitively independent (or, mind-independent) and, thereby, existent objectively. The second one is given in perception to the subject of cognitive activity, and, thereby, is subjective. The task of Science is to make Phenomenal Reality as closely approaching Noumenal Reality as possible."



So, it is a phenomenon (or, Phenomenal Reality in general) that is in mind. We postulate the mind-independent existence of Noumenal Reality, and what we have in mind is just a model of Noumenal Reality. We permanently test out in practice whether this model is sufficiently correct. The noumena are mind-independent, and can by no means be treated as "reality-designs within the mind". During the process of cognition, the subject of cognitive activity enframes (isolates) some entity (some noumenon), ascribes such or other properties to it, thereby transforming it into the object of cognition (or the phenomenon). Hope, there will be no misunderstanding this time.



[Herbert Muller] wrote:

"[5] In sum, it seems to me that in your discussion you have not dealt with my initial question: how can you think something if it is not in your mind? I would still be interested to know your answer concerning this point."



[S.P.] I do not understand what the problem here is. It stands to reason that nothing can be "think" if it is not in mind. As it seems to me, the phrases "to think about something" and "to have something in mind" have identical meanings. The other question is whether Noumenal Reality can be in mind, or can be thought about. Yes, the noumenon is not formalizable (at least, by the conventional means of formalization). But, my approach presumes formalising (or thinking about) the noumenon as some integrated information system, since, by definition, this system includes all possible information (all possible knowledge) about the entity of interest. When the system{noumenon} collapses (say, during the process of cognition), then the noumenon transforms into phenomenon. In other words, the phenomenon -- it is a partial knowledge (or, limited information) about the noumenon. Moreover, when I formalize Noumenal Reality as the IIS{Noumenal Reality}, I presume that it must obey the universal law of IIS-development. In other words, whatever Noumenal Reality might be, the IIS{Noumenal Reality} must obey the same natural law as the IIS{atom}, the IIS{living cell), the IIS{human}, etc.



Yes, the integrated information system -- it is some theoretical model, but any model is in mind. Therefore, what I call "the IIS{noumenon}" is nothing but some phenomenon in mind. But, my now-how here is that the IIS-model of Reality (or, the IIS-version of Phenomenal Reality) is in one-to-one correspondence with Noumenal Reality, and that the IIS{noumenon} is in one-to-one correspondence with the mind-independently (objectively) existing noumenon (such is the Third basic idea of my meta-theoretical system, see http : // cogprints . org / 4633 /). Consequently, a theoretically possible is that if we produce some change to the IIS-model of Reality (to the model which is in our mind), this will (may) cause a (physical, actual, etc.) change in Noumenal Reality. Therefore, the application of the IIS-formalization must be enough dangerous enterprise. For example, if we construct (in mind) the IIS-model of a solar system and produce a certain change to it, this may cause, say, the Jupiter to move in an opposite direction.




Serge Patlavskiy

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