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Are We Really Thinking ?

 
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 12:36 am
When I saw goggle Earth for the first time some years ago the immediate thought that popped up into my mind was, "oh my god city´s are just like motherboards in computers"...city´s are macro computers...and institutions are "processors"...from there you can see the pattern repeating itself endlessly...
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 02:08 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Do you agree that "information" has no meaning except with respect to a specified goal ?
Of course if you don't agree we will continue to talk past each other.
And if you do agree then your holism implies "purpose" and you are into religion.

LATER EDIT
Religion is implied of course by your fall back position to "Truth".
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 03:25 am
@wayne,
Quote:
We do not create information, we aquire it.


Absolutely wrong ! The "we " in your sentence above is "the goal directed system" which defines what constitutes "information".

You've merely fallen for the "arms length" game played by so-called "cognitive scientists" who apply computer models to the brain. They conveniently forget that computer models embody the goal direction of their human inventors.
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 04:15 am
I don't think the question ought really be taken seriously. The question of whether or not we think doesn't really arise. Of course we think, it is one of our defining characteristics. The question of interest is what is it that makes us, creatures with thought, different from creatures, and other things without thought. What makes humans different from animals and thermometers.

"Processing information" is usually cashed out in causal terms. Thermometers respond to changes in the temperature of their environments, parrots can be trained to say "red", "blue", "yellow", etc. in response to appropriate colour swatches, but a differential responsive disposition isn't enough for thought, it doesn't count as a judgement. Parrots and thermometers don't have reasons for their responses, they respond causally to their environments, but not rationally. Humans, on the other hand, do have reasons for their responses (beliefs and utterances) to their environments. They know what counts as a reason for applying a concept in judgements, at least if they are capable of thought, and they also know what these utterances and beliefs commit them to. They also know that they might be incorrect in their judgement. To make a judgement is to make a move in what Sellars called the "logical space of reasons". As opposed to an organism whose behaviour can be made intelligible through an appeal to causation and natural laws alone, things capable of thought can only be made intelligible by an appeal to normative concepts.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 07:53 am
@mickalos,
mickalos wrote:
don't think the question ought really be taken seriously. The question of whether or not we think doesn't really arise. Of course we think, it is one of our defining characteristics. The question of interest is what is it that makes us, creatures with thought, different from creatures, and other things without thought. What makes humans different from animals and thermometers
Don't really think that you know what your saying, this seems based on poor assumptions and ignorence.
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 12:34 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

mickalos wrote:
don't think the question ought really be taken seriously. The question of whether or not we think doesn't really arise. Of course we think, it is one of our defining characteristics. The question of interest is what is it that makes us, creatures with thought, different from creatures, and other things without thought. What makes humans different from animals and thermometers
Don't really think that you know what your saying, this seems based on poor assumptions and ignorence.

No charity? How churlish of you.

There is a very respectable line of thought in philosophy which tells us that philosophy, in the words of a philosopher much more respectable than I, "leaves everything as it is" (Wittgenstein). What should we say, for example, if a philosopher makes the startling discovery that humans are capable of no more thought than rocks? Or that the external world doesn't actually exist? And all this without leaving the comfort of his armchair, mind you! Perhaps we would say that his conclusion is "based on poor assumptions and ignorance"? Certainly, it seems to me that if you don't know that human beings are capable of thought, then you don't really have the concept of a human being. You might as well try to argue that cats aren't animals.

How do I know that humans can think, and that cats are animals? To borrow another Wittgensteinism - because I have learnt English.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 03:29 pm
@mickalos,
mickalos wrote:
There is a very respectable line of thought in philosophy which tells us that philosophy, in the words of a philosopher much more respectable than I, "leaves everything as it is" (Wittgenstein). What should we say, for example, if a philosopher makes the startling discovery that humans are capable of no more thought than rocks? Or that the external world doesn't actually exist? And all this without leaving the comfort of his armchair, mind you! Perhaps we would say that his conclusion is "based on poor assumptions and ignorance"? Certainly, it seems to me that if you don't know that human beings are capable of thought, then you don't really have the concept of a human being. You might as well try to argue that cats aren't animals.

How do I know that humans can think, and that cats are animals? To borrow another Wittgensteinism - because I have learnt English.
Ofcause we are able to think, but not always. There are concousness and subcounciousness. Mayny will react because of subconciousness and subconciusness being suppressed. Why do people smoke even fully aware that it cause cancer? Because the subconciousness forces us to do so. Why a slip of tongue? Because of suppressed conciousness! ..hope you get the picture.

You should look more so science, philosphy only rely on assumptons and spekulation ..never double blind tests.
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 04:40 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

mickalos wrote:
There is a very respectable line of thought in philosophy which tells us that philosophy, in the words of a philosopher much more respectable than I, "leaves everything as it is" (Wittgenstein). What should we say, for example, if a philosopher makes the startling discovery that humans are capable of no more thought than rocks? Or that the external world doesn't actually exist? And all this without leaving the comfort of his armchair, mind you! Perhaps we would say that his conclusion is "based on poor assumptions and ignorance"? Certainly, it seems to me that if you don't know that human beings are capable of thought, then you don't really have the concept of a human being. You might as well try to argue that cats aren't animals.

How do I know that humans can think, and that cats are animals? To borrow another Wittgensteinism - because I have learnt English.
Ofcause we are able to think, but not always. There are concousness and subcounciousness. Mayny will react because of subconciousness and subconciusness being suppressed. Why do people smoke even fully aware that it cause cancer? Because the subconciousness forces us to do so. Why a slip of tongue? Because of suppressed conciousness! ..hope you get the picture.

You should look more so science, philosphy only rely on assumptons and spekulation ..never double blind tests.

If you are trying to say that there are some aspects of our mental lives that do not count as thoughts? I don't think I ever denied that. Thoughts are propositional I believe that P, and I desire that Q, but I also feel pain as animals can. I get excited, happy and sad. These things are aspects of my mental life, but they aren't thoughts. For one thing they don't have representational content.

I'm not sure what your talk about subconscious is supposed to achieve, though. If you are trying to say that something not consciously available can be a reason for an action, such as smoking, then you are wrong. It cannot be my reason due to the obvious fact that it is not consciously available to me. It sounds to me as if you are trying to use subconsciousness as some kind of occult explanatory mechanism for things which already have perfectly intelligible explanations. In your smoking example, for instance, there are many reasons why one might want to smoke despite its deleterious effects on health. The social positives, the stylistic benefits, physical addiction, or even mere habit.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 10:30 pm
@fresco,
Perhaps you can give me an example of some info that you have created.
Humans don't create info, they discover info and organize the bits into a comprehensive picture.
Children begin as a blank slate, they start aquiring info in the womb.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 10:53 pm
@mickalos,
What do you think it is, that you call thought?
It is the processing and organizing of information.
The information exists apart from ourselves, we aquire info, we are not the beginning of said info.
All living creatures do the same thing, humans just have a greater capacity for info than dogs.
As fil pointed out, even rocks change the organization of info, or have you never sat in the shade.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 11:42 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Do you agree that "information" has no meaning except with respect to a specified goal ?
Of course if you don't agree we will continue to talk past each other.
And if you do agree then your holism implies "purpose" and you are into religion.

LATER EDIT
Religion is implied of course by your fall back position to "Truth".



I think you are stretching the rope there...
So your idea of not being Religious is about disorder and chaos...everybody else who stands for order and reason is a believer...right...
...well if that is the definition, then I fit the bill...just like Einstein and many others did. (But my "Religion" is one of a kind then...)
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 11:47 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Quote:
We do not create information, we aquire it.


Absolutely wrong ! The "we " in your sentence above is "the goal directed system" which defines what constitutes "information".

You've merely fallen for the "arms length" game played by so-called "cognitive scientists" who apply computer models to the brain. They conveniently forget that computer models embody the goal direction of their human inventors.


1 - It remains to be seen if the "goal directed system" its not a priori necessary...I know you like to think that we "freely" chose it...but as I see it that´s wishful thinking...

2 - Did you ever heard about AI autonomous decision making ???

...of course to prevent the apparent contradiction between 1 and 2 in which you fall on the opposite view I can merely state that nothing is really autonomous, but that is a different concern...
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 12:47 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
The demise of Einstein's "God" was confirmed by the ascendency of "dice players", (QM + Chaos Theory) Wink
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:21 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
BTW, show me the AI machine which "autonomously decides" it doesn't like the colour of its casing or makes a decision about some area which is fabricators did not specify for its domain of "decision making". Then you may have a point.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 02:03 am
@fresco,
You mean to make a decision out of the possible set ?
And can you do that ??? guess not...
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 02:54 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
You forever miss the point ! The very concept of "set" is a mathematical model with functional value to language using human beings. The same argument applies to "fuzzy set", which is predicated on "ordinary set".
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 07:53 am
@fresco,
1 - No Fresco no...animals can count to...at least some of them.
I just think, and I am sure deep in you know it, you are being far to much Anthropocentric on this regard...why should n´t "mind"/info organization not come in progressive layers from rocks to people ? You are not being reasonable or fully honest I dare...

2 - It does n´t really matter were reality is, in or out of the mind is of no importance...I think I explain this several times...either sets apply or they don´t, in whatever realm, as language either is inter-changeable or it is n´t !
Virtual mind objects or "real" objects makes the same case...either they link or they don´t ! You want to call Universe a mind you do that...I think is an unnecessary particularly human term...
I really am fully convinced that this is an issue to which you should pay more attention...

3 - As you put it "mind" also shows up as a "goal directed system"...so why not just one MIND with other minds in ?
Who is being Religious after all... my approach is far more abstract then yours my friend...anyway, take care ! Wink
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 08:21 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Actually your solution to this problem stacks in TRANSCENDENCE...
Either sets can be formed, and thus language can be formed, and objects can be formed, or you don´t even have a mind !
As I said it does n´t matter if they are in or out...or they can be formed or they don´t !
And if they can be formed, as it seams they can (objects and sets), why not to extrapolate the pattern ? Lots of minds and lots of objects at different layer levels all inter-changeable to some degree in their "league" ?
(The expression "to some degree" is given to particular functionality´s, which changes the object/agent relation (function/meaning) due to "local specificity" or system arrangement...)
0 Replies
 
mickalos
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 08:25 am
@wayne,
wayne wrote:

What do you think it is, that you call thought?
It is the processing and organizing of information.
The information exists apart from ourselves, we aquire info, we are not the beginning of said info.
All living creatures do the same thing, humans just have a greater capacity for info than dogs.
As fil pointed out, even rocks change the organization of info, or have you never sat in the shade.

I'm sorry, are you trying to claim that rocks think? I am going to assume that this is not what you are trying to say, because it is clearly absurd. Rocks causally interact with their environment, as all physical objects do, they do not think. I, too, causally interact with my environment, but my interaction with my environment isn't merely causal. When I see a tree before me I am likely to form a belief along the lines of "there is a tree", and certainly, the act of seeing involves the causal impingement of my environment on my sensory faculties, but I also need to have conceptual capacities if I am to judge or think at all. If I haven't been taught about trees, physical objects, or the many other concepts required to make sense of the world around me, what is going to happen when there is a tree in front of me? Clearly I cannot form the belief "There is a tree".

No doubt I would 'see' in some kind of crude animal-like manner, but that could only mean that I would be sensitive to changes in light or retinal stimulation. As a human who has mastery of a repertoire of concepts, however, when I look around the room I see that there is a bookshelf, I see that there is a computer, I see that the door is open, and this can undoubtedly be called taking in information about my environment. However, if my dog were sitting next to me he would not be able to see that there is a bookshelf in the corner, because he does not have the requisite concepts. Dogs cannot think because they do not have the concepts that we employ in thought.

I also think you need to think about the way you are using the word 'information'. Here are some things I would count as information:
Barrack Obama is the President of the United States.
Grass is green.
My shoes are made from leather.
I live in England.

Notice that all of the above make use of concepts. What on earth would count as a piece of information that did not make use of concepts? An image? Without concepts what would it be an image of? Information that isn't conceptually structured isn't information at all. This is, of course, one of Kant's most important insights: "intuitions without concepts are blind". Indeed, it isn't even enough that concepts must be made use of. "Rain green sleepless" and "milk me sugar" do not count as information, they are nonsensical babbling. Information must also be propositional.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 08:30 am
@mickalos,
Oh dear, that´s lame...you have a very narrow understanding of what mind is all about...
...expressions like "I judge" bottom line only mean transforming sets of information period...you think the degree of complexity changes the rules, think again...Certainly a mathematician does n´t look at a computer in the same way you do...the difference should be the same between what you and your dog can see...so I guess you´re speaking nonsense...
 

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