• Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    Emergence in the universe is fundamental for the production of higher orders of complexitypunos

    If we believe everything started in some basic simplistic state then we would need a theory of emergence.
    But emergence can seem like magic if you don't have a solid causal, testable/predictable explanation from property (A) to Property (B)

    from Wikipedia:

    "Some thinkers question the plausibility of strong emergence as contravening our usual understanding of physics. Mark A. Bedau observes:

    Although strong emergence is logically possible, it is uncomfortably like magic. How does an irreducible but supervenient downward causal power arise, since by definition it cannot be due to the aggregation of the micro-level potentialities? Such causal powers would be quite unlike anything within our scientific ken. This not only indicates how they will discomfort reasonable forms of materialism. Their mysteriousness will only heighten the traditional worry that emergence entails illegitimately getting something from nothing."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

    This is a long article and there is an even longer one on the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, so it's a contested issue.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    but it is really an illusion in the sense that all the activity in your body and being is determined by physical unbreakable lawpunos

    I have heard of there being laws of physics but not in biology and neuroscience. I don't think people are describing thoughts accurately. For example a thought could be like "Is the Universe infinite?" or "The Estonian economy is booming"
    I can't see how these can be reduced to neural activity coherently or reductively. Even something basic like colour seems to be created by the brain and can only be reduced to colourless electromagnetic wave lengths scientifically speaking. Then there are the various illusions we have that pose questions about the veridicality of perception.

    It is not clear what the world looks like not from our perspective or without us in it. Theories of atoms have continually changed so every model we create in science is usually adjusted so we don't appear to have some final physical substrate behind our perceptions to refer to.

    The idea that there are lots of things going on in the unconscious seems irrelevant because if they are truly unconscious we can never know about them.
    But we do have a huge range of knowledge and access to millions of articles on the internet and vivid experiences. I would not demote consciousness to an epiphenomenon.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k


    What an awesome, awesome question. Just curious, is there a branch of philosophy that studies/investigates choice and how we make them? I know that free will is a big, big topic, especially in religion, but as far as I know there's no "choiceology" like there's e.g. theology.
  • finarfin
    5
    The question is, can I choose the thought which chooses between them? If not, do I have any control over what I choose?Paul Michael
    While I am slightly inclined to disagree with your premise, that is a very good point. Suppose it is the case that all our decisions stem from uncontrollable thoughts. Wouldn't those subconscious thoughts be an integral part of our identity? We would essentially be forced to acccept those actions, because that is what the decision-making thought entails. It would lead our blind conscious, which thinks it is in control. And while this may seem like coersion, wouldn't those subconscious thoughts constitute who we truly are? My entire life and self would be centered around the subconscious. If our conscious is not in control, but just pretends to be, I would really be the hidden underlying functions. And since those functions which I essentially am are in control, I myself am in control. To the conscious, which pretends to be the self, it would seem like lack of freedom, but to the true self, the subconscious, of which the conscious is unaware, it is actually freedom. I don't really know what to make of these thoughts, so take from it what you wish.
  • Ansiktsburk
    173
    Glad for you guys if you can choose your thoughts. Mine just kinda pop up. Then, the logical guy up there starts arguing. But I dont think I ever choosed one. Like mr elf just above here points out, the decisions might not just pop up unscrutinized, but the thoughts as such, at least for me, pops up from an uncontrollable, creative part of probably my amygdala
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    Before you decide whether or not thoughts are determined you have to get an agreed upon definition of thoughts.

    My own position on thoughts is that we don't know what they are and cannot characterise them in a way to causally and deterministically explain them.

    But here is the Long Wikipedia article on thoughts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought

    This is the Initial definition:

    "In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, and deliberation. But other mental processes, like considering an idea, memory, or imagination, are also often included"

    I think the processes mentioned need freewill such as reasoning and problem solving and a thought relies on consciousness which is a mystery in itself.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    My own position on thoughts is that we don't know what they are and cannot characterise them in a way to causally and deterministically explain them.Andrew4Handel

    Are you not using that exact function of characterisation of one's thoughts by the writing you put down here. I have access through your post to how you think and what you believe.

    Language is a communication system between thoughts, albeit an imperfect one but one nonetheless. I believe we can know our own thoughts. As if we could not self reflect on them we would not be aware of ourselves and thus have no basis for argument or concordance with others thoughts (minds).

    We determine our thoughts through which we choose to ignore/not value, and which we choose to take on board and store/value. We cause thoughts by communicating to other thinkers, invoking in them the thoughts we have ourselves for their personal interpretation (processing, ignoring or accepting).
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    Are you not using that exact function of characterisation of one's thoughts by the writing you put down here. I have access through your post to how you think and what you believe.Benj96

    I don't think language captures the phenomenology of thoughts. I am not saying we are not in contact with our thoughts but that we cannot properly characterise the phenomenology.

    The inner speech theory of thought does view all thought as language but that seems to take thought into the realm of meaning and semantics and outside the realm of physical causality.

    Causality between beliefs and language seems unrelated to physical causality. My belief that London is the Capital of England should be independent of a brain state and relate only to an external fact hence why I don't think thoughts are causally determined.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    The alleged reliance of thought on language has lead people to believe animals cannot think and even to the belief animals aren't conscious including consciousness skeptic Daniel Dennett.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    I don't think language captures the phenomenology of thoughtsAndrew4Handel

    It doesn't. And I didn't say that. Language is an approximate manifestation of one's thoughts on paper or spoken but isn't their thoughts exactly. It is at most a best attempt to capture them.

    I can imagine a scene, and speak of it, describe it, but never will what I speak capture exactly what I imagined in my thoughts. It will never reflect the image. The best artists are those that can portray the image in paintings. But even then it is never absolute, only interpretation by viewers.

    That is the indestructible nature of one's privacy of mind and privacy of thought. For to have the exact same thought at the same time would be to be the same person. Not even identical twins have identical thoughts. As their perspectives are fundamentally different, they are two different people existing in different spaces and points of reference.

    The closest thing we have to discrete, accurate and communicable thought is mathematics. Where nothing about the functions are supposedly open to interpretation. They are deterministic.

    1 = 1 and + is + for all involved. However even maths does not exist in isolation from great overlaps with other disciplines such as science, philosophy etc. And even those maths may be our most precise language it is a language nonetheless and deals with such things as irrationality, infinities, and the likes. Which are open to interpretation as they are in philosophy.

    Maths is incomplete. And contradictions have been found within it.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    For example, the paradox that there are the same amounts of even numbers as there are odd ones , when dealing with infinities, this proves problematic and incoherent.
    Other mathematical paradoxes include Russell's, Braesses, parrondos and Richards paradoxes.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    It doesn't. And I didn't say that. Language is an approximate manifestation of one's thoughts on paper or spoken but isn't their thoughts exactly. It is at most a best attempt to capture them.Benj96

    I agree there is a relationship between language and thought but I am not sure it is and I think language is also mystery so it doesn't demystify what thought is.

    I am discussing this in relationship to the threads question about choosing thoughts.

    I am also interested in the phenomenology of thought. We can observe that it is raining outside and we can state in language "It is raining outside"

    The mere observation of rain could lead us to pick up an umbrella. The statement "It is raining outside" could be uttered by a character in a novel.

    How we characterise thought will depend how we answer the questions regarding the causes of thoughts.

    I think language is more formal than thought where we plan to attempt to communicate something precisely to others.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.9k
    For example, the paradox that there are the same amounts of even numbers as there are odd ones , when dealing with infinities, this proves problematic and incoherent.
    Other mathematical paradoxes include Russell's, Braesses, parrondos and Richards paradoxes.
    Benj96

    Applying mathematics to thought seems to lead to infinities such as that we could produce an infinite number of different sentences and responses but we are not usually aware of that when we speak and select from a limit number of responses.

    But thought does seem to expose us to the infinite and I have thought about the infinite since I was a young child. In this sense I think thought has more freedom than physicality and physicality is usually the basis for determinist theories of things.

    I think writing down thoughts or verbally exchanging ideas does expand the realm of thought possibly making some thought a group activity.
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