Are we finite state automata?

[RL 8:22 AM on Sunday 7/1 says,]

Biosemiotics is an interesting line of approach that is very similar and related to cybernetics. Jesper Hoffmeyer has explored exactly this role of DNA as scaffolding autonomy using the term “semiotic scaffolding”.

···
          Do you think then that these have consciousness?
                (Rupert Young (2018.06.29

21.50)]

                       Is

a frog autonomous? How about a plankton?

In order for life to exist you need three things happening at once. DNA replication RNA transcription and protein translation. How do these three things happen at once? There is no explanation for the origin of life. How does PCT help explain what the first living thing was?

···

On Sun, Jul 1, 2018 at 8:22 AM, Robert Levy csgnet@lists.illinois.edu wrote:

[RL 8:22 AM on Sunday 7/1 says,]

Biosemiotics is an interesting line of approach that is very similar and related to cybernetics. Jesper Hoffmeyer has explored exactly this role of DNA as scaffolding autonomy using the term “semiotic scaffolding”.

On Sun, Jul 1, 2018 at 6:03 AM Rupert Young csgnet@lists.illinois.edu wrote:

[From Rupert Young (2018.07.01 14.05)]

  On 30/06/2018 20:19, PHILIP JERAIR

YERANOSIAN (pyeranos@ucla.edu via csgnet Mailing List) wrote:

How does DNA give the feedback architecture?

No idea, I'm not a geneticist. How does DNA give autonomy?



But you didn't respond to the most important question.






Rupert
          Do you think then that these have consciousness?
                (Rupert Young (2018.06.29

21.50)]

                       Is

a frog autonomous? How about a plankton?

Interesting discussion - if I may bring the point back… I think that if you want to talk about autonomy then you have to put Powers in historical context. PCT’s first theoretical opponent was radical behaviorism - where no internal mechanism had causal efficacy and so the organisms behaviour was caused entirely by the environment. So yes, based on that claim PCT is for an autonomous human, if autonomy means that the cause of behaviour originates from inside the organism.

However there is a difference between autonomy and freewill.

A strength of PCT is that it has a mechanistic view of consciousness (like Freud and Skinner), which is necessary to avoid the freewill pit trap. Cognitive Psychology (Bandua et al) and

the humanist/phenomenological (Deci and Ryan, Maslow, Rogers) have free will buried at the heart of their theories and so they can never come up with an explanatory, nuts and bolts account of how consciousness works and how it makes goal choices. A a certain point their

theories ground out at “the person chooses to do it”. PCT argues that all internal processes are control systems - and so it is turtles all the way down (or maybe around in a circle is more apt), control systems acting on control systems acting on control systems in an ever expanding hierarchy. If we have a controlling intelligence (freewill) than a PCT account would have to posit that that intelligence is a control system itself, constructed by other control systems. That does not mean we are soul-less machines however. A good portion of the reference values are determined by other control systems - some collection of high level control systems that scaffold our attention and conscious thinking processes. So much so that we feel like we have control and that is crucially important for out well-being. I think the vast majority of people have a visceral reaction to mechanistic accounts, which shows why models that end up (although they deny it) being based on a freewill argument are so abundant. We need to believe that we are in control of out lives to be healthy. PCT has the best of both worlds in being realist and mechanistic, but also says that control originates from inside the organism and that control is ever expanding via reorganisation. If we don’t have freewill then we at least have the dignity of being self created beings.

I think it is enough.

Cheers

              Sean
···

[From Sean Mulligan (2018.07.04. 2015)]

PJY: In B:CP, Powers spoke about changing our perspective from viewing ourselves as automatons to viewing ourselves as autonomous. In what manner did he distance us from viewing ourselves as automatons?

[RPL @ 13:55 PST Thursday]

Interestingly, despite all the things that are said about radical behaviorism (Skinnerian behaviorism) it doesn’t actually claim that organisms lack autonomy. It correctly emphasizes the role of the external world in shaping behavior, but there is nothing in behaviorism that precludes an organism from constructing the cultural apparatus that we have come call “the mind”. That “mental” apparatus is external to the organism, though often subtly so, eg. one’s own behavior is external to oneself. Animals other than people are much more at the mercy of their environments, though they too are autonomous biologically, and in limited ways at the level of learning and lifespan development with objectives that that tend to be fixed to vital innate adaptations.

Powers is not wrong where he has written that reinforcement posed as external is actually an organism satisfying a reference condition of control, it’s just that Skinner would also not disagree at least in my understanding of Skinner.

···

[From Sean Mulligan (2018.07.04. 2015)]

PJY: In B:CP, Powers spoke about changing our perspective from viewing ourselves as automatons to viewing ourselves as autonomous. In what manner did he distance us from viewing ourselves as automatons?

Philip

···

From: PHILIP JERAIR YERANOSIAN (pyeranos@ucla.edu via csgnet Mailing List) csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Sent: Monday, July 2, 2018 7:29 PM
To: csgnet csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Are we finite state automata?

In order for life to exist you need three things happening at once. DNA replication RNA transcription and protein translation. How do these three things happen at once?

HB : It happens now in every cell. That’s how cell survive. O.K. there are also some other important processes in cell. But from evolutionary perspective processes you mentioned were “deriving” one from another. Slowly through bilions of years. I think that first you have to resolve the question how DNA was formed.

PY : There is no explanation for the origin of life. How does PCT help explain what the first living thing was?

HB : It’s not true that there is no explanation of origin of life. I think that Bill never went so far. But Maturana did. He started with Millers experiment about Earth conditions where organic moleculs were synthesized from anorganic. And so on… You’ll have to read Maturana’s work.

Boris

On Sun, Jul 1, 2018 at 8:22 AM, Robert Levy csgnet@lists.illinois.edu wrote:

[RL 8:22 AM on Sunday 7/1 says,]

Biosemiotics is an interesting line of approach that is very similar and related to cybernetics. Jesper Hoffmeyer has explored exactly this role of DNA as scaffolding autonomy using the term “semiotic scaffolding”.

On Sun, Jul 1, 2018 at 6:03 AM Rupert Young csgnet@lists.illinois.edu wrote:

[From Rupert Young (2018.07.01 14.05)]

On 30/06/2018 20:19, PHILIP JERAIR YERANOSIAN (pyeranos@ucla.edu via csgnet Mailing List) wrote:

How does DNA give the feedback architecture?

No idea, I’m not a geneticist. How does DNA give autonomy?

But you didn’t respond to the most important question.

(Rupert Young (2018.06.29 21.50)]

Is a frog autonomous? How about a plankton?

Do you think then that these have consciousness?

Rupert