Memory without trace

#1
Sciborg-S-Patel posted the following, and I agree with him that it deserves a thread of its own.

New Just a quick reminder that if people want to discuss this we can make a separate thread. :)

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Memory Without a Trace

"Ever since Plato proposed that memories are analogous to impressions in wax, many have suggested that memories are formed through the creation of traces, representations of the things remembered. That is still the received view among most cognitive scientists, who believe the remaining challenge is simply to determine the precise physical nature of memory traces. However, there are compelling reasons for thinking that this standard view of memory is profoundly wrongheaded — in fact, disguised nonsense. This paper considers, firstly, what those reasons are in detail. Secondly and more briefly, it considers how trace-like constructs have undermined various areas of parapsychological theorizing, especially in connection with the evidence for postmortem survival-for example, speculations about cellular memory in transplant cases and genetic memory in reincarnation cases. Similar problems also emerge in areas often related to parapsychology — for example, Sheldrake’s (1981) account of morphic resonance."



David
 
#2
OK - I think that article really does get to the bottom of something important. However, it is pretty abstract, so lets try to create a more concrete example that explores the idea of memory. Think for a moment of the software that runs this forum - XenForo. In a loose sort of way, it can be said to 'remember' many things - such as who in a member, their details, whether they have been banned, etc, but lets imagine a more friendly version of the software as an AI enthusiast might wish to create.

At its very least, this might allow me to search users and their posts in a much more intelligent way. I could ask "Tell me about Max_B", and it would come up with all his details. This would just require a natural language interface, but imagine if I was free to ask more or less any question:

Tell me those users who do not believe in God?

Which users seem to be pesimistic?

Which users tend to quote others but then not make a relevant response?

Which users give the most valuable responses?

Which users are frequently quoted with agreement?

etc.

Instantly it becomes obvious that creating a database (i.e. a memory trace) that could answer such questions - and an essentially infinite set of similar questions - would be essentially impossible - we would have to scan the entire set of forum data over and over again (and still with a high level of understanding). So there is no real way to extract a memory trace of the details of the forum, that is smaller than the whole thing (disregarding the idea of merely ZIPing the data to squash it a bit).

So we can't represent the forum in any way other than looking at it in its entirety. In human memory terms, this would be like storing a video of one's life, and mentally scanning it every time one needed to remember something!

Now relate this to a similar piece piece of software that contained records of pieces of music rather than users (to relate to Braude's example of Beethoven's fifth Symphony).

David
 
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#3
It is an error to think of memory as an infallible record like "storing a video record of one's life".

Without looking it up, give a summary of all the skeptiko posts you made last Wednesday.
 
#5
Re: link to Braudes Paper...

I don't know how it's possible to move access to information forward in what we percieve as 'time', other than through what we percieve as 'space' (and vice versa). I'm still not sure that anybody but me really understands what I'm on about here.

We wouldn't be able to reliably share ideas (processes) over time, or reliably pass ideas (processes) forward to ourselves over time if this didn't work.

So, yeah, spatial patterns in what we percieve as the "external" world, are important for memory. Is that what Braude means by memory traces - physical alteration of the network (what I might call a changes in spatial patterns of matter).

But, that's not enough either. In my view you're only 'storing' access to 'stuff' in the external world (the external spatial world being the result of some temporal process - summing of time to the world of the present). IMO there still needs to be some direct interference of the past with the present. Something like coherent interference, that is also working outside of our normal perceptions of space-time.

The latest study in epigenetic inheritance effects in rodents using fear and smell showed physical changes in both in the donors sperm, and physical changes within networks of the offsprings brain - thought to be smell related.

All Braudes papers I've looked at which you've put on here Sci seem old, and out of date. I think the main battle has moved on elsewhere, without Braude noticing.... Lol.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#6
Heh, for the record I was talking about the discussion of information processing in the Resources thread that preceded my post. BUT I have been wanting to discuss this paper for awhile, along with supplementary text from Irreducible Mind that goes deeper into questions like "why can't human brains just work like computer memory".

All Braudes papers I've looked at which you've put on here Sci seem old, and out of date. I think the main battle has moved on elsewhere, without Braude noticing.... Lol.
Actually last I talked to him he was still pretty confident he was right on this, there's an updated version of this essay in his book Crimes of Reason...sadly it's prohibitively expensive.
 
#8
Heh, for the record I was talking about the discussion of information processing in the Resources thread that preceded my post. BUT I have been wanting to discuss this paper for awhile, along with supplementary text from Irreducible Mind that goes deeper into questions like "why can't human brains just work like computer memory".



Actually last I talked to him he was still pretty confident he was right on this, there's an updated version of this essay in his book Crimes of Reason...sadly it's prohibitively expensive.
As I say, I dunno how one can practically pass access to information forward in time, other than by spatial patterns. So physical changes (traces) appear to be important. (Things that are percieved as having a relative space-like separation). It doesn't matter whether that's percieved as a pattern in your body, out there in the external world, or in your mind... all three seem to be the same thing seen from different perspectives - our way of understanding things.

Sure, I can't make sense of things like memory using just patterns in space-time, unless I also employ an additive type process that happens outside of space-time... like coherent interference.

So Braude's right we need to look for other explanations, but badly wrong if he thinks physical space-like adjustments ain't involved in memory. When I read his papers, I get the sense of somebody no longer in touch with current research.
 
#9
As I say, I dunno how one can practically pass access to information forward in time, other than by spatial patterns. So physical changes (traces) appear to be important. (Things that are percieved as having a relative space-like separation). It doesn't matter whether that's percieved as a pattern in your body, out there in the external world, or in your mind... all three seem to be the same thing seen from different perspectives - our way of understanding things.
Yes, but sometimes it is useful to see why something can't be true, even though you have nothing to replace it!
All Braudes papers I've looked at which you've put on here Sci seem old, and out of date. I think the main battle has moved on elsewhere, without Braude noticing.... Lol.
Sometimes science moves on just because students need papers for their PhD's etc - not because a problem is solved.

I think Braude (and those who went before him) are really on to something. There is a sort of infinite regression when you think about memory traces. So you have a wonderful memory of meeting the Queen (or whatever), but how do you know when to access that memory? You have to remember some features of that memory trace in order to access it, but if those also have to be stored in traces.......

There is, I think, a slippery sense in which the term 'memory' is used in computer programming. You might say that this program now 'knows' (or 'remembers') when a customer can't be relied upon to pay his bills. The thing in that in addition to a file of dodgy customers, the program would have to be equipped with code that would access the file at particular points. (i.e. you need more than a memory trace). There is no sense that the program can just use some new knowledge in the way we do.

David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#11
As I say, I dunno how one can practically pass access to information forward in time, other than by spatial patterns. So physical changes (traces) appear to be important. (Things that are percieved as having a relative space-like separation). It doesn't matter whether that's percieved as a pattern in your body, out there in the external world, or in your mind... all three seem to be the same thing seen from different perspectives - our way of understanding things.

Sure, I can't make sense of things like memory using just patterns in space-time, unless I also employ an additive type process that happens outside of space-time... like coherent interference.

So Braude's right we need to look for other explanations, but badly wrong if he thinks physical space-like adjustments ain't involved in memory. When I read his papers, I get the sense of somebody no longer in touch with current research.
Well Braude isn't suggesting the brain has nothing to do with memory, rather than there has to be more to the story than the mechanistic-naturalistic picture.

One possibility he suggests is that causation could occur across temporal gaps. It's an idea Carl Gunther gets into in Mind, Memory,, & Time - that we reach back into the past which still remains extant.

What Braude objects to is the mechanistic idea that a trace can simple *be* a memory or have a special "genuine" isomorphic relationship to the memory from its structure alone.

And imagine how hard it would be to access the past life memories from the Akashic field without errors.

http://ervinlaszlo.com/index.php/pu...kashic-field-an-integral-theory-of-everything

Cheers,
Bill

It seems to me that the problem with traces would extend to the Akashic Records/Fields as well, if they are meant to be objects of any kind whether Materialistic, Idealistic, etc?
 
#12
Well Braude isn't suggesting the brain has nothing to do with memory, rather than there has to be more to the story than the mechanistic-naturalistic picture.

One possibility he suggests is that causation could occur across temporal gaps. It's an idea Carl Gunther gets into in Mind, Memory,, & Time - that we reach back into the past which still remains extant.

What Braude objects to is the mechanistic idea that a trace can simple *be* a memory or have a special "genuine" isomorphic relationship to the memory from its structure alone.




It seems to me that the problem with traces would extend to the Akashic Records/Fields as well, if they are meant to be objects of any kind whether Materialistic, Idealistic, etc?
Spatial patterns of matter ain't a memory by themselves, but they are obviously important to access memory.

I don't get the 'agonising' about 'mechanistic' ideas that ain't relevant. we've had relativity and QM for a long long time now.

How do you expect to practically move access to information forward in time.. other than in spatial patterns of matter (physical traces)?
 
#13
Heh, for the record I was talking about the discussion of information processing in the Resources thread that preceded my post. BUT I have been wanting to discuss this paper for awhile, along with supplementary text from Irreducible Mind that goes deeper into questions like "why can't human brains just work like computer memory".



Actually last I talked to him he was still pretty confident he was right on this, there's an updated version of this essay in his book Crimes of Reason...sadly it's prohibitively expensive.
He sent me the updated version of the essay a while back when I emailed him with a question about it. I don't know if he minds if I share it or not; I'll send an email and ask. Regarding the book's price, I recently saw a used version for about 35$ on amazon. I plan on getting the book soon, but I'm going to scout around for a used version.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#14
Spatial patterns of matter ain't a memory by themselves, but they are obviously important to access memory.

I don't get the 'agonising' about 'mechanistic' ideas that ain't relevant. we've had relativity and QM for a long long time now.

How do you expect to practically move access to information forward in time.. other than in spatial patterns of matter (physical traces)?
Well the agonizing comes from what the paper is about?
 
#15
None. I made zero posts because I was at work all day Wednesday and my IP is banned at work.

malf, do I win the contest? :P
If you send me a PM with your work IP address (don't put it on public view) I will attempt to reset the ban on it.

I am, of course, assuming your line of work isn't sending out messages about miracle health creams, etc :)
David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#16
He sent me the updated version of the essay a while back when I emailed him with a question about it. I don't know if he minds if I share it or not; I'll send an email and ask. Regarding the book's price, I recently saw a used version for about 35$ on amazon. I plan on getting the book soon, but I'm going to scout around for a used version.
Yeah I've seen some discounted hard copies around.

Irreducible Mind actually goes deeper into the argument as well, explaining why the common objections don't work.
 
#18
Spatial patterns of matter ain't a memory by themselves, but they are obviously important to access memory.
Yes, but one of the problems that Braude brings up, is that the residual bit is itself a form of memory.

Think of a book. It may contain lots of things that you don't need to remember. However, you still need to remember something about the subject matter of the book to be able to access it. At the very least you need to be able to read the language in which it is written. So at least some memory can't rely on traces.

David
 
#19
How do you expect to practically move access to information forward in time.. other than in spatial patterns of matter (physical traces)?
One clue maybe that many people come back from NDE's and other similar experiences, reporting a timeless state - complete with Akashic records! That is very hard to imagine, I know, but there is probably a danger of thinking too cautiously here.

David
 
#20
Yeah I've seen some discounted hard copies around.

Irreducible Mind actually goes deeper into the argument as well, explaining why the common objections don't work.
I feel like Dr. Braude's paper is long enough to get his point across, but it would be cool to see him write one comparable to Dr. Gauld's in length for further elaboration and argumentation. Then again, one comment that I see in a lot of IM reviews is how difficult of a read chapter 4 is, so maybe the comparative brevity of Braude's essay works to a bit of an advantage.
 
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