9
   

Trick of the Language?

 
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2013 09:10 pm
@dalehileman,
What is your conception of 'Intuition' ?
-----------------------------------
I feel as though your assertion of "specialness" regarding we (presumably life/awareness) implies a value to us.
This would therefore suggest protecting and/or expanding our (life/awareness).
The question of purpose.
Ethics (the 'should' of behavior).
0 Replies
 
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 12:57 am
@dalehileman,
Of your own free will, you wallow. Very Happy
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:18 am
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
You are not alone in thinking this. But that doesn't change the fact that we have no proof that it is the case. It may seem likely to you, but that means very little. To over half the population of this planet, it seems likely that there is a god, and they cannot picture how else it could be.


What is your preoccupation with proof? If you're waiting for proof, you may as well give up now. Even science doesn't require proof. Science depends on doubt and a vigilance for the exception. This means that nothing is proven, ever. All we have is our current understanding and doubt. But I like to try to understand the material world and our experience of it. As far as I can see, our experience comes from our brains. We are our brains, or I should say, our brains are us.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:27 am
@MattDavis,
Quote:
Computation is almost surely a poor analogy for cognition (at this level).
Computation in the sense of, what the computer you are using does, is a Turing machine.


When I previously used the word "compute" I did not mean to assume the mantle of a computational model of cognition at this level. I more meant it to mean "lead to" or "produce".

Quote:
Neural networks do not have a distinction between signal and substrate, we might just as accurately say signal and epistrate. Each interacts with the other. Neither controls or causes the other. Mechanistic thinking breaks down when looking at systems. The signal vs. sub(epi)strate is just one of the false dichotomies, which were assumed in the mechanist model.


The signal vs. sub(epi)strate is not a false dichotomy that I have advanced, since I have no idea what those things are. I think the key to it is understanding how we get to an uncaused cause without magic. Perhaps until I can find the time for additional reading this stuff will remain opaque to me.

I take it from your lack of response that you reject the unfree thought/unfree will analogy in my previous reply out of hand?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 02:08 am
@Lola,
Quote:
We are our brains, or I should say, our brains are us.


...not according to the "embodied cognition" theorists who are ascendent in cognitive science followingthe failure of reductionists. "We" is a construction which operates at the interface between physiological processes and social processes. The phrase "we have free will" is only meaningful in particular social contexts and cannot reduced to purely physiological/neural terms.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 03:01 am
@Lola,
Quote:
As far as I can see, our experience comes from our brains.


I do not really feel the need to explain this, since fresco just did, and he can do it better than I can.
But don't mind the word "proof" so much. What I mean to ask you when you say that "we are our brains" is simply this: How do you know that?
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 04:37 am
@medium-density,
Quote:
Contemporary scientists evaluate evidence and use it to compose models of how our reality works, but science is not committed in principle to any one theory about reality- it is only committed to go where the evidence leads us, or to what it permits us to infer. This is a progressive, open-minded perspective that is full of humility, far from the arrogance you seem to see everywhere.


It is not a willful arrogance. It is an arrogant attitude that comes from how we perceive ourselves. Like those anthropologists who came to Africa and started studying the people there with the starting assumption that these people were more primitive. They no doubt saw themselves as open minded, and as humble as was appropriate in the culture of that time.

Theories are not facts.
Consider the big bang theory. There are a lot of facts that support the theory, but they are all woven together by assumptions. One assumption being that the universe had to have a beginning.
Evolution theory assumes that the physical world was the spawning ground for intelligence, and that prior to the event of thinking creatures, it hadn't existed.
All of empirical science in general assumes that we must look for the primal causes in the physical world, excluding all else in what we so vainly refer to as objectivity.
This assumption effectively blocks us from considering that intelligence might be a universal phenomenon. The idea that consciousness might be the cause of the physical world seems crazy, because we are taught to look for the cause of consciousness in the physical world. Like I said, it is not a willful arrogance. But it is arrogance.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 11:24 am
@Lola,
Quote:
Of your own free will, you wallow.
Unrestrainedly
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 11:32 am
@dalehileman,
Laughing
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  0  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 01:02 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
Theories are not facts.

Should I take your comment to mean "facts" as in absolute ontic truths.
Or do you mean "facts" as contextualized truths.
If it is the former, then I don't see how this matches with your consciousness as the basis for reality position.
If it is the later, then I think all you are claiming is that facts are the results of theories. However, conversely facts inform theories. This is demonstrating a circularity, which of course is fine, but you have yet to demonstrate why this circularity is more "true" than the assumption of an ontic reality.

You aren't demonstrating anything other than the apparent incompatability between the realist and the constructivist positions.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 03:00 pm
@medium-density,
Medium wrote:
The signal vs. sub(epi)strate is not a false dichotomy that I have advanced, since I have no idea what those things are. I think the key to it is understanding how we get to an uncaused cause without magic. Perhaps until I can find the time for additional reading this stuff will remain opaque to me.
I don't think that you mean to advance a false dichotomy intentionally. I was pointing out an error in mechanical perceptual models, they do not hold up to reality. One of the errors in the mechanical model is the assumption of causal chains, rather than loops/tangles of influence. This is the difficulty and impasse I think we are at. Causation as I think you assume it is not true.
Medium wrote:
I take it from your lack of response that you reject the unfree thought/unfree will analogy in my previous reply out of hand?

I am sorry, I didn't mean to dodge a question.
I think you mean this?
Medium wrote:
...a thought experiment that you should attempt to anticipate what you're going to think next. If you can do this, then you can say you have freedom of thought, and, by association, freedom of will.

Again, as in the assumption that free-will would require perfect representation of Self(system) by a "self" conception, this requires things which are logically impossible. The added requirement of perfect representation of "all reality" by Self(system), is still untenable. This is asking the Self(system) to be something along the lines of God. You might use this argument to advance pantheism, I suppose. Especially if we are willing to discard the logic in something being greater than itself (informationally), and assume that the universe operates mechanically.
My response again would be...
Why do you set the bar so high for what you consider Self? (Let alone the bar you set for "free will".)
Will you be satisfied only if Self has all the powers of a god?
Why is it, that you require control rather than influence for a definition of Self?

This line of reasoning is actually explored a bit in the fiction of Frank Herbert the Dune series of novels. I highly recommend them. It touches on the distinction between prediction and freedom.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 03:49 pm
@MattDavis,
Quote:
Causation as I think you assume it is not true.


Causation for me is a very loose concept which simply means things are implicated in the creation of other things. So a complicated route which consists of "loops/tangles of influence" is, to me, still a causal one. This somewhat all-encompassing definition is why free will has no traction for me as a philosophical idea. I just don't accept any definition of freedom which could apply to our sense/faculty of will.

Though I wait to be disabused of this interpretation by a sufficiently strong argument, of course.

Apologies for my "I take it from your lack of response..." line, that looks tetchy in retrospect. In fact I was referring to this argument below which, I believe, better establishes the relevance of that thought experiment to the discussion of free will:

Quote:
MattDavis:
Attempt to anticipate what you will think next?
That is impossible on the face of it.


Quote:
Medium:
Indeed, but take the analogy further. Anticipate what you will do next. You should find this is no more within the scope of a freely exercised will than your next thought is. There may be one or more very likely things you will do next. Perhaps you prearranged a dinner with a friend. Doing that would smack of obligation and obedience to social norms. Leave aside all prearranged and planned activities. Imagine your evening is totally empty of commitments. You'll find yourself assailed by one desire or another, but you cannot say ahead of time which it will be. At some point it will simply occur to you that X is what you want to do with your time; it arises with no more conscious direction than the average random thought. This is the sense in which the thought experiment speaks to the free will issue.


For what you say (and ask) regarding the self, I can only say that I don't understand where you picked up that impression of my views. I'll say no more about this for now in the hope that this post narrows our impasse to a rut that we at least can straddle...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 04:02 pm
@MattDavis,
I personally endorse the belief that the Universe operates mechanically and dislike the gestalt concept that the whole is somewhat greater then sum of its parts, it just doesn't ad up, we ought to account dynamics in that sum, the geometry of relations is itself a part...that said my take against Determinism is far softer then yours, as it distinguishes not the mechanical perfect correlation of events, but rather extracts time out of the equation...Thus that which is true through all the history of reality is seen as an ensemble and causality taken as a perceptive effect for those who live inside the space time frame.
Yes correlation rather then cause but without the need for magical "special effects"...

(...after all we can disagree in something...Smile)
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 04:24 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Sadly I don't think we have a fundamental disagreement Sad
matt wrote:
This can be still be talked about in deterministic models (as opposed to deconstruction) which is where my cellular automata digression would lead.

matt wrote:
I might also add that some of this understanding could actually have been reached by Descartes, without the need for empirical evidence, if he had access to computation engines and pursued a "mathematical" tract to his reasonings (we live in a pretty wonderful time right now) Very Happy

I have been engaging on the level of "current" (read popular) quantum mechanical models.
I also do not presuppose 'time', but rather iteration.
This is a different level of abstraction however. Wink

I would be happy to disagree with you regarding cosmogeny perhaps?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 06:01 pm
@MattDavis,
In terms of elegance my favorite model is the Big Bounce whatever variation of it one can come up with is irrelevant and I'm open to all bets...on another level of debate I must remark that I also dislike the very idea of genesis and rather speak of cycles or loops...from there you also can take that I have a wash down conception of infinity, that is, I believe Infinity is just a loop sequencing...squary me ! Chaitin would detest my ideas I'm sure...Wink
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 06:59 pm
@MattDavis,
A fact is simply a verifiable, testable piece of information. Water freezes at 0 degrees celcius. A fact.

Quote:
If it is the later, then I think all you are claiming is that facts are the results of theories.


That is not what I said. What I said was that even though a thousand independent facts all fit in a theory, that doesn't mean the theory is sound. Many people think of the big bang theory as true because it has a lot of facts supporting it. But that's not it. The big bang theory, like any scientific theory, gets it's merit by it's functionality, not by any claim to truth. In some ways, the big bang theory is merely a new spin on the catholic creation myth, told in a language that was modern at the time the theory was first proposed.
Do you know that George Lemaitre, the physicist who first proposed what became known as the big bang theory was also a catholic priest? I do not say this to discredit his work. That speaks for itself. I say it because it matters when it comes to the way Lemaitre constructed his theory; how he assembled facts into a comprehensive story of our origin. He followed the model of the creation myth, with a linear progression of increasing complexity in which man himself was the masterpiece.

So what I am saying is that all science alone can really give us are facts. Stringing them together into theories involves preconceptions that cast reasonable doubt on everything. This was what drove Descartes to come up with his famous "cogito ergo sum". He recognized the problem, though his was no solution.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 08:50 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyr, this relation between theory and fact is complex. I like to say that facts are little theories because, like definitions, they rest on or emerge from conceptual contexts. At the same time the kind of theory as in "evolutionary theory"--as opposed to a grand hypothesis as in "the theory of evolution"-- is a general paradigm emerging from and integrating the findings of disciplines like genetics, biology, zoology, botany, etc.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 09:07 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I am going to have to look into Chaitin I wasn't familiar with his work! I have special place in my heart for Godel's incompleteness theorem. Thanks for the reference Very Happy
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 09:10 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyr, I prefer to think that people are dumbest when they think their "knowledge" is absolute rather than provisional.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Mar, 2013 09:12 pm
@Cyracuz,
Thanks Cyracuz.
I think I understand the definition of facts under which you are operating.
Facts are contextual to the operating theories. Theories are contextual to the observed facts. I don't see how you are getting around a subjective/objective dichotomy however. Are you denying objective reality or not?
 

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