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post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

 

If you presume that consciousness is beyond scientific research and explanation then your argument is a non-starter. Consider for a moment that the presumption of qualia could actually be a counterproductive way to interpret and compare cognitive states, as the concept of qualia is elusive at best and irreducible by definition at worst. We can plainly observe that any conscious experience is a specific pattern of electrical activity in specific portions of the brain through neuroimaging. Then we can compare these patterns among different populations and we can also correlate the patterns of perceptual stimuli and/or direct forced stimulation of electrical activity in brain with subjective feedback of neuroimaging subjects or through their performance in accomplishing cognitive tasks. It is therefore possible to setup an experiment focused specifically on investigating the patterns of neural activity involved in discerning sound quality and thereby be able to identify specific cognitive processes. For instance, I would not be surprised to find the pleasure center of an audiophile's brain light up at the very suggestion of expensive finely crafted audio whatevers.


You're getting warm on proving both sides of this argument:)

post #47 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post


You're getting warm on proving both sides of this argument:)

Thinking of human beings as instances of electrochemical activity pinned to miniscule portions of spacetime adrift in an ultimately meaningless universe gives me the warm fuzzies smile.gif

post #48 of 64

One day the computers are going to be arguing that they're not just 1's and 0's either, and they'll be criticizing humans for not having auditory receptors advanced enough to truly appreciate music.

post #49 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

Thinking of human beings as instances of electrochemical activity pinned to miniscule portions of spacetime adrift in an ultimately meaningless universe gives me the warm fuzzies smile.gif

 

Except that neuroscience let alone psychiatry has still failed to explain the phenomenon of consciousness.

 

The issue at hand that objecitvists miss is that not everything is measurable. Most if not all great breakthrough achievements come from hypothesis or leap of faith. Measurement (Oh those wonderful accountants of the science community, the objectivists) comes later.

 

Pasteur was written off largely as a crank by the Scientific and Medical communities. One blood soaked physician read his stuff and thought there may indeed be something to microbes not visible (ie measureable )to the human eye or equipment of the time. He began the procedure of sterile operations and lo and behold patients stopped dying of PSI and gangrene. Dr. Listers work, as well as being probably one of the most significant contributions to science, forced the objectors to now find a way to see and measure the now acknowledged little bugs.

post #50 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

Except that neuroscience let alone psychiatry has still failed to explain the phenomenon of consciousness.

 

The issue at hand that objecitvists miss is that not everything is measurable. Most if not all great breakthrough achievements come from hypothesis or leap of faith. Measurement (Oh those wonderful accountants of the science community, the objectivists) comes later.

 

Pasteur was written off largely as a crank by the Scientific and Medical communities. One blood soaked physician read his stuff and thought there may indeed be something to microbes not visible (ie measureable )to the human eye or equipment of the time. He began the procedure of sterile operations and lo and behold patients stopped dying of PSI and gangrene. Dr. Listers work, as well as being probably one of the most significant contributions to science, forced the objectors to now find a way to see and measure the now acknowledged little bugs.

 

I don't mean to be flippantly dismissive, but I don't really think the example (while a good cautionary tale) is that relevant.  Audio reproduction systems are man-made, engineered systems that attempt to be linear and well-behaved.  Interaction with humans is via sounds produced, which are picked up by the ear and other parts of the body to some extent (okay, and visual, depending on if you're counting that, and so on).  It's quite a less involved problem than human physiology, especially when talking about 21st century audio vs. 19th century medicine.

 

Anyway, examples aside, the bigger deal is that nobody's stepping up with high-quality, repeatable results that are outside the norm.  Demonstrate a phenomenon in audio that peoples' measurements haven't predicted, and we'd really be talking.

 

If there are benefits to something in audio that people are consciously aware of, it's definitely not in the realm of unmeasurable things.  Looking at signals aside, we could ask and assess peoples' preferences in a decent experiment.  Even if there are some benefits, physiological changes, whatever that people aren't even consciously aware of, there could be methods to still assess that.  Possibly not.  Anyway, we're not going to know certain things with 100% certainty, but if we're reaching deep into the subconscious, personally that's a bit more than I care about investigating, but others are free to go there if they want.  Most audiophiles don't seem to be claiming these kinds of effects though.  They're talking about certain things they're perceiving.

 

Without some data, decent results of any kind it's just people throwing out some more anecdotes or theories.  Are we supposed to take all of these seriously and consider every one?


Edited by mikeaj - 5/4/13 at 8:18pm
post #51 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

Anyway, examples aside, the bigger deal is that nobody's stepping up with high-quality, repeatable results that are outside the norm.  Demonstrate a phenomenon in audio that peoples' measurements haven't predicted, and we'd really be talking.

 

 

Hand-waving is much easier and less costly.

 

se

post #52 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

 

 

Anyway, examples aside, the bigger deal is that nobody's stepping up with high-quality, repeatable results that are outside the norm.  Demonstrate a phenomenon in audio that peoples' measurements haven't predicted, and we'd really be talking.

 

Um, the Phonograph.

 

I can be flippant toobiggrin.gif

post #53 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

 

If you presume that consciousness is beyond scientific research and explanation then your argument is a non-starter. Consider for a moment that the presumption of qualia could actually be a counterproductive way to interpret and compare cognitive states, as the concept of qualia is elusive at best and irreducible by definition at worst. We can plainly observe that any conscious experience is a specific pattern of electrical activity in specific portions of the brain through neuroimaging. Then we can compare these patterns among different populations and we can also correlate the patterns of perceptual stimuli and/or direct forced stimulation of electrical activity in brain with subjective feedback of neuroimaging subjects or through their performance in accomplishing cognitive tasks. It is therefore possible to setup an experiment focused specifically on investigating the patterns of neural activity involved in discerning sound quality and thereby be able to identify specific cognitive processes. For instance, I would not be surprised to find the pleasure center of an audiophile's brain light up at the very suggestion of expensive finely crafted audio whatevers.

Oh I believe in science above anything else. Do you expect your method to be able to measure vast variances in people's "conscious" preference for different kinds of sounds or differnt kinds of music? A heavy metal ballad, for example, doesn't tingle a single nerve in my body, while any string quartet of Bartok makes my whole body shiver. Can we see it as an indicator of our different ability to preceive different kinds of sounds or more exact, different compositions of sounds.  I would expect that your method would give us different neuroimages depending on our preference. Mind you, my initial question isn't about perceived "sound quality". I am interested in perceiving and reacting to sounds and compositions of sounds. What we are listening to is at least as important as the equipment we are using. 

post #54 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by muxamed View Post

Oh I believe in science above anything else. Do you expect your method to be able to measure vast variances in people's "conscious" preference for different kinds of sounds or differnt kinds of music? A heavy metal ballad, for example, doesn't tingle a single nerve in my body, while any string quartet of Bartok makes my whole body shiver. Can we see it as an indicator of our different ability to preceive different kinds of sounds or more exact, different compositions of sounds.  I would expect that your method would give us different neuroimages depending on our preference. Mind you, my initial question isn't about perceived "sound quality". I am interested in perceiving and reacting to sounds and compositions of sounds. What we are listening to is at least as important as the equipment we are using. 

 



 

The good stuff starts about three minutes in beerchug.gif

post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

 

Except that neuroscience let alone psychiatry has still failed to explain the phenomenon of consciousness.

 

The issue at hand that objecitvists miss is that not everything is measurable. Most if not all great breakthrough achievements come from hypothesis or leap of faith. Measurement (Oh those wonderful accountants of the science community, the objectivists) comes later.

 

Let's approach the epistemological concerns for a moment and focus on the simplest aspects. The idea of "consciousness" can be thought of as a construct, from an objective point of view a human being's psyche is expressed as nothing more than a complex pattern of behaviors. Actions, reactions, vocalizations, those are easy to observe, perhaps these may be explained by introspection, but without access to the "stream of consciousness" it might make sense to adopt a behaviorist approach and dispense with the concern for internalism altogether in favor of consciousness being nothing more than a reflection of external behaviors. Since I lack the requisite skills to properly expound this idea I'd like to point to the man, B.F. Skinner, who, in one of his last published papers, put it best: http://worthylab.tamu.edu/Courses_files/Skinner_AP_1990.pdf.

 

But I'd go further still and argue for an acquiescence to Paul and Patricia Churchland's approach to dispense with everything but neuroscience. While our understanding of the human brain is currently incomplete, it is not true that neuroscience lacks the capacity to -- at some point in the future -- explain the totality of human functioning without the need for psychology of thought. That is, the psychology of thought/consciousness is a philosophy, while neuroscience is, well, a science. While I appreciate the emotional appeal and poetry of faith, creativity and the like, I do not see consciousness as a supernatural or irreducible phenomenon. Even computational modelling will eventually be able to replicate neural networks which wholly obey both the physical constraints and the range of possibilities of what goes on in a human brain.

post #56 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

The issue at hand that objecitvists miss is that not everything is measurable. Most if not all great breakthrough achievements come from hypothesis or leap of faith.

Hypotheses are by definition testable/falsifiable and try to explain phenomena. A leap of faith is needed when something is unprovable/unfalsifiable, something for which there is no good evidence and is thus by definition unscientific.

 

Quote:
Measurement (Oh those wonderful accountants of the science community, the objectivists) comes later.

Measurements and observation can very well be part of the process of finding possible explanations, even to discover phenomena. Also, measurements don't have to be objective.


Edited by xnor - 5/5/13 at 5:39am
post #57 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

 



 

The good stuff starts about three minutes in beerchug.gif

 

 

Thanks for the very interesting clip. beerchug.gif
post #58 of 64

Yes, very interesting!

 

Thx

post #59 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post

The idea of "consciousness" can be thought of as a construct, from an objective point of view a human being's psyche is expressed as nothing more than a complex pattern of behaviors. Actions, reactions, vocalizations, those are easy to observe, perhaps these may be explained by introspection, but without access to the "stream of consciousness" it might make sense to adopt a behaviorist approach and dispense with the concern for internalism altogether in favor of consciousness being nothing more than a reflection of external behaviors. 

A flower opening in reaction to the morning sun is an observable behaviour, but we don't normally attribute consciousness to a flower.  My white blood cells will move inside my blood stream and attack foreign bacteria. Again, we don't consider a white blood cell to have (or be) consciousness. The construct we have of consciousness seems to depend on more than just observable behaviours. 

post #60 of 64

I thought consciousness was being self-aware.

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