Thursday, February 16, 2012

What it *feels* like. Solving the hard problem.

Consider hydrogen-bonding.  Imagine consciousness as an internal analog language forged during respiration in concert with experience.

Dialing out a few notches on the wording of David Chalmers' distinction termed "the Hard Problem  of consciousness", one way of paraphrasing the problem is: "Getting at what conscious experience *feels* like is difficult."  Or, as it's paraphrased in

"The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualitative phenomenal experiences."

and the Wikipedia summary goes on to say:

"Several questions about consciousness must be resolved in order to acquire a full understanding of it. These questions include, but are not limited to, whether being conscious could be wholly described in physical terms, such as the aggregation of neural processes in the brain. It follows that if consciousness cannot be explained exclusively by physical events in the brain, it must transcend the capabilities of physical systems and require an explanation of nonphysical means."

Paring the philosophical jargon and the "subjectivity of qualia" down, though, just down to the simple "What does it *feel* like...", first off what we can notice is the question is really an emotional one. That is, issues and questions about subjective impressions are basically questions about emotions.

In the novel and wonderfully compact trial theory I am advocating which is presently residing in the expression: "Toward a Science of Structural Coding", soon to be available in it's entirety in the abstracts book of the upcoming 2012 Tucson Conference - Toward a Science of Consciousness, by properly differentiating "consciousness" into structural coding, it's now possible to view the entire system from a different and more accurate view.

In stepping over to the new vantage point, what becomes clear is the "Hard Problem" is an artifact of the neuron doctrine or being bound  to an explanation involving, "neural correlates".

Everyone whether recent noobie or expert in "consciousness studies" are all intelligent people and we basically grasp or are grasped by the dominant neuroscientific trial theory.  Vaguely, the explanation we seek, we all assume, is expected to involve the electro-synaptic features -- the neural networking, or close variants.

And yet, we are mostly intelligent enough to notice that  there is a complete lack of a widely coherent explanation and moreover, there are these scanky little anomalies like Libet's delay, or the unhelpful or flat-lined EEG or fMRI activity measurements.   So, people sit on the sidelines, waiting for the music to change.

Re-framing the system into nested structured~duality, and then focusing in on the layers of structural coding, and then coring down to the foundational respiration reaction sources of the energy flow (which later may flash through the synaptic radiation equipment), what this structural coding buys us is a very large, dynamic, now-oriented active, physical structural coding system that naturally runs at 10^20 units per second in a 6^n type of associative coding motif.   We instantly acquire a previously hidden active internal representation of our surroundings (experiences), all in somewhat neat and certainly replicable packets of hydrogen bonding.  And this "internal analog language" is pre-integrated via protein-folding influences with all human expression.

Yet, this new acquisition is a little bit different, and separate, and slightly "more fundamental" than the neural correlates storyline. As we differentiate consciousness in this manner we acquire the new internal tectonic plate.

Structural coding in the hydrogen-bonding fits. Libet's delay, the hard problem, and the other anomalies align and disappear, and we're left with this new, odd, subtle *feel*.

Consider hydrogen-bonding.  Imagine consciousness as an internal analog language forged during respiration in concert with experience.

Best regards,
Ralph Frost

"With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation." Isaiah 12:3

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