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FleshFactor: responding to Pflegerl...



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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"
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Siegfried Pflegerl wrote:

.... stuff deleted

> We are "creating" a world by means of our sensorial
> imputs (E), imagination (D)  and conceits (C). 


Here, and in your intellectual construct of 4Sep97, you use a
cognitivist view of perception (appropriate to a humanist point of view).
There are alternative theories that, to me, make more sense because they
consider the individual in an actual, living environment. I refer
particularly to the work of J.J. Gibson, who developed the theory of
'direct perception' (we retrieve visual information from the world already
structured, rather than creating it ourselves). I recommend this approach
(part of ecological psychology) to anyone unhappy with human-centred
universes and electro-Romanticism (we individual computer users
creating/tapping into/developing some great universal Mind). 

>  What is the "much more to the world than our conceits"
> (Molyneaux)

The material world, of which we can say nothing directly (as it is
outside language), that mediates our actions. It is the real
'fleshfactor' (the actual, physical environment of our transactions,
rarely discussed in this symposium).

> and can we go on to "understand" this world by new kinds of
> reason? 

No (if you mean some kind of God-like state of awareness). We are forever
stuck with analogies and metaphor. But we can talk 'poetically' about
this essential encounter, even if it is one-sided. This is why Tom
Sherman feels sad about the personal relationship he has with his
computer.

> Returning to the man/machine relation: Is it possible that we can
> construct machines that are able to discuss the same contents and the
> same problems we are discussing here? Can machines be capable of thinking
> thoughts about their own thinking in the same way and on the same level? 
> 

To crudely (and badly) paraphrase Wittgenstein: if lions could speak, we
wouldn't be able to understand them anyway. Different strokes for
different folks. Context (environment) is everything. If it can't eat,
shit, go on vacations, love, die, how can it 'be capable of thinking
thoughts about [its] own thinking in the same way and on the same level' 
as us? 

I don't think we will ever have a Holly (Red Dwarf). All I can imagine are
more wordy, complicated versions of HAL.


Brian Leigh Molyneaux   <moly@sunflowr.usd.edu> 



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