Re: ality

From: Dace (
Date: Sat Mar 02 2002 - 03:18:45 GMT

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    Subject: Re: ality
    Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 19:18:45 -0800
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    > > > >Hi Dace -
    > > > >
    > > > >>Any data storage system ought to have a minimal level of accuracy
    > > > >>far beyond that of human memory.
    > > > >
    > > > >No argument.
    > > > >
    > > > >But, who ever said that memory is a data storage system to bring it
    > > > >into this comparison?
    > > > >
    > > > >- Wade
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > Mightn't it be more a record of lessons learned, rather than actual
    > > > sensory records? Then the learning would be modified, but the
    > > > experiences themselves would be degraded.
    > > >
    > > > Each new experience would be a sort of software upgrade.
    > > >
    > > > frankie
    > >
    > >Our model of memory has to account for the fact that we seem to
    > >remember the experiences themselves and not just what we learned
    > >from them. Often the learning takes place only in retrospect, after we've
    > >recalled the event a few times and mulled it over.
    > >
    > >Ted
    > And therein lies yet another problem with your hypothesis besides the
    > location problem, the mechanism problem, the short term vs. long term
    > problem and the accounting for brain damage problem. This is that we
    > not only remember events, we remember how to do things independent of
    > any events at all.

    What makes you think I'm denying our memory for concepts or instructions?
    As I spelled out above, we remember "the experiences themselves and not *just* what we learned from them."

    The location of memory is a problem only in the physicalist model, in which
    everything requires a physical location. The mechanism of memory in the
    brain is completely unknown, though the mechanism of memory in the mind is quite simple: we remember things that resemble our current perceptions. You smell something you normally only smell at Grandma's house, and you think of Grandma. Someone asks you to remember what you learned yesterday, and your thoughts on the topic "jog your memory" and draw it out (or not, depending on how well you learned it in the first place.) Brain damage becomes a problem for the storage theory of memory when the store is destroyed and the memories pop up somewhere else. It poses no
    dilemma for the Bergsonian approach. As I've repeatedly stated, all mental processes depend on a properly functioning brain.

    The distinction between short term and long term memory illustrates the extreme improbability of neural reductionism. The brain is somehow supposed to record everything we experience as it's happening and retain it all for several moments before transfering some of it to another storage area while allowing the rest to be erased with new memories. What a stupendously complex mechanism is at work here! Imagine all the information that has to be continually taken in and organized and copied whole to another location, all in real time. Yet, when we open up the skull, we don't see a stupendously complex mechanism. We see a lot of goop which is arranged, like all living goop, in cells. Even the neurons aren't intrinsically different from any other kind of cell. Yet we imagine that these things are components in a computer performing the calculations that give us the illusion that we're seeing and hearing and feeling a world around us, that we exist in ourselves and that we're "alive."

    That's quite a gizmo you got there!

    > If memory came from peering into the past we would only
    > remember how to do things by recalling a past time in which we did
    > them.

    Who says memory has to be conscious? After you've repeated an activity
    enough times, your memory of how to carry it out becomes unconscious. When the body knows what to do without our conscious intervention, this is called habit. The body knows how to do things correctly because it does them the same way it's always done them before. This applies not only to the body's behavior but its form. Organs are formed through the behavior of tissues, which are formed through the behavior of cells, which are formed through the behavior of macromolecules. At every level, from conscious recollection to protein folding, the past informs the present.


    > Ray Recchia

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