Electronic engineer for 20 years, most of that specialising in functional silicon chip design for telecoms. I have an armchair interest in the usual suspects, space, particle physics, weird physics, big numbers, elegant proofs and solutions, magical technology, consciousness, good science fiction and beer but no real expertise in any of them, except for perhaps the last one. I'm also a very intermediate French horn player.
The appalling state of mainstream journalism in the UK, particularly for science and health. Ditto the UK general public. Animal rights (I think they should have some).
The meaning of a word is what it does. When anyone hears or sees a word it stirs up activity in their brain. That activity is the meaning of the word. It may be different for different people. Some people may clearly have outlier responses to some words. But however you look at it, the only meaningful way that a word exists as a meaning is in the brain activity it arouses. This works for sentences too. I think we accept that Plato's ideals are an outdated way of looking at things. But for things like "This sentence is false", forget all the semantic philosophy. It means what it does. Which is this; it appears to make sense until we study it, then it doesn't. That is what it means. The brain activity it creates is the only meaning it has.
How can science explain consciousness? I just can't even get started with it. The most appealing idea is that consciousness is an illusion. But surely consciousness is that which sees the illusion!
14:59 Posted: Apr 2008
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