[FoRK] Why is there any experience of it, at all? (was: GEB, etc.)

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Tue Jul 10 08:20:43 PDT 2007

On 7/10/07, Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Lion Kimbro" <lionkimbro at gmail.com>:
> Maybe we can't. But physicists in the 18th century had no problem
> conceiving of this. They held that heat was a substance separate from
> atoms.

  Yep!  I think you're switching things around on me here, (*) but okay.

    (*)
      "By heat, do you refer to the intuitive idea of heat, which
       was envisioned as the source of the feelings of warmth and so on?
       Or by heat, do you refer to what we understand as the physicality
       of heat, the staccato motion of atoms?  Which is it:  the idea,
       or the actuality?"  I interpreted your first one as talking about the
       physicality of heat, vs. the motion of atoms, (no difference,) whereas
       if you switched it around to "no, the idea," then there's a ton of
       difference, producing an explanatory gap, which then demands
       justification.  Such a justification follows.


  OK:  So, in **that** case, we have two things:

  * "Heat," as intuitively understood by humans:
   - it feels more than warm,
   - we see it around fires,
   - we'll call this "sense-heat,"
  * "Heat," as the manifest motion of atoms.
   - we'll call this "atomic-heat"

  What's special here, is that we know and perceive both
  sense-heat and atomic-heat.

  And THEN, we have a **story,** that links the two together.

  That is, we say, "Okay, whenever there is atomic-heat, we notice
  sense-heat, and wherever we notice sense-heat, we notice
  atomic-heat.  And further, we understand the mechanics whereby,
  when you touch or get near atomic-heat, the cells are influenced,
  and signals communicate to nerves, and the signals travel from
  the nerves to the brain, where it then registers atomic-heat."

  See?  We have the story, connecting the two different ideas?

  And that story, it relies on the electromagnetic force, primarily.

  The reason why the molecules jump around and repel from one
  another: electromagnetic force.  The way that the signal
  communicates up the nerve:  electromagnetic force.

  Hardly any contribution from strong, weak, or gravitation forces.
  It's all electromagnetics.  So the root of our story, about the why
  and the wherefore, connecting the sense-heat with the atomic-heat,
  is electromagnetic.

  And thus, it lies explained.


  The problem here, is that we have two phenomenon, which are
  different, "the subjective experience," and: "the neural correlates
  of consciousness."

  Make no doubts that these are two completely different conceptual
  things:  We can easily conceive of awarenesses floating in ether,
  dreaming up stories, without any correlates at all.  (Regardless of
  whether we believe in it or not.)  And we can easily conceive of
  neurons, doing their thing, but without any actual inner experience
  of consciousness;  Merely rote calculation and transmission and
  chemical influence and so on.

  Between these two things, there lies an explanatory gap.

  It is not filled.

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