• J
    224
    Since we cannot know the subjective experience of anything, we can only go by behavior.Philosophim

    I don’t think that’s right. We also place a lot of emphasis on what kind of thing it is. If you ask a non-philosophical friend what the major difference is between an AI program (or even the most sophisticated robot) and a human, the friend is likely to reply, “Humans are alive and hardware isn’t.” Being alive is not a behavior, it’s a state or condition. This allows us to say things like, “I don’t care how ‛lifelike’ the behavior of X is, the fact remains that it’s not alive.” I’m suggesting that we may wind up saying something similar about consciousness.

    if we have an AI that ticks all the behaviors of consciousness, we cannot claim that it does, or does not have a subjective experience. Its impossible for us to know. Since we cannot objectively evaluate a subjective experience, all we can do to measure consciousness is through another being's behavior.Philosophim

    The first two sentences are fine: We can guess, but we can’t know for sure, whether an AI is conscious or not. But the third sentence is a non sequitur. How does it follow that behavior would be a measure of consciousness under these circumstances? It’s just the old functionalist argument, which assumes the conclusion by stating that consciousness is measured by behavior.

    So if an AI is conscious, its subjective experience is that of a non-biological being, not a biological being.Philosophim

    No doubt. But the question is whether this is even possible.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    ‘In our brains’ is another reification. It has no location, it isn’t in any place. If an intelligent creature were to evolve by a completely separate biological pathway, they would discover the concept of equals, But it’s a concept, an idea, it is not a physical thing.Wayfarer

    What I'm trying to note is that abstract concepts do not exist apart from brains. If there are no brains in the universe, there is no math. Your brain stores memories. https://www.livescience.com/how-the-brain-stores-memories#:~:text=The%20most%20important%20is%20the,storage%20to%20long%2Dterm%20storage.

    We know that people who have brain damage in the hypocampus can no longer make new memories. Anteriograde Amnesia. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23221-anterograde-amnesia

    Your brain stores the memory of math. Your brain can plan, judge, and create abstractions. All of this is a physical process. We can create communication and transfer this information to other brains. Tell the sky and it does nothing. Tell a rock and it does not care. Tell a brain and you have the continuation of math.

    Something which has no location, no place, it is nothing. Concepts and ideas are physical things that we think about and can communicate to each other over physical mediums. Is there some science that demonstrates that I'm wrong?

    Being alive is not a behavior, it’s a state or condition. This allows us to say things like, “I don’t care how ‛lifelike’ the behavior of X is, the fact remains that it’s not alive.”J

    Something being life-like means that it fulfills some of the behaviors of a life, but not all of the behaviors of a life. Think of it this way. Do you know what any other person's subjective experience is like? No, you don't. You have behaviors. We have never objectively defined consciousness through subjective experiences, because its impossible to know what anyone else's subjective experience is but our own.

    So no, the only way we do identify consciousness is through behavior. You can't define it based on someone's subjective experience, because its impossible to know what someone's else's subjective experience is right?

    The Oxford Living Dictionary defines consciousness as "The state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings.", "A person's awareness or perception of something." and "The fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." This "awareness" can be tested by behavior. For example, we are not aware of our 500th's cell in our left leg. We are not conscious of it.

    You can do tests to see if a person is aware and responsive to their surroundings. What you cannot test is their subjective experience while they do so. We never have been able to. Consciousness has never been objectively defined by it. So its always been irrelevant what the subject experiences in identifying consciousness from an objective standpoint.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    We're just going around in circles Patterner, and I don't think we're reaching each other here. Lets agree to disagree. Good conversation.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    I won't get into it too far because I don't think this is the right thread, but I do believe I have a free will and I am not a compatibilist. Whether consciousness is entirely physical, or consciousness is non-physical, I am certain that I am free.

    When I reflect on consciousness I try to think of it in physical terms to see your point of view. I put on my science helm (yes, it's a science helm and not a helmet), and I reduce all of reality to the level of atoms bouncing around in the void. Thanks Epicurus or Lucretius or Hobbes or whoever's idea that was. "Here are some atoms in this rock. But these atoms in my brain produce consciousness," I think to myself. And I wonder, "why are these brain atoms producing consciousness? What is special about them?" "Well maybe when you arrange atoms in that way they are conscious?" "But Not Aristotle," I say to myself, "that is entirely an ad hoc explanation and besides, why would the arrangement of the atoms matter?" And I am unable to answer. And that's the hard problem as I understand it. If you have an answer to that problem, I would be happy to hear it.

    And I actually do think consciousness as we know it, whether it is itself physical or nonphysical, arises out of physical matter/energy.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    But these atoms in my brain produce consciousness," I think to myself. And I wonder, "why are these brain atoms producing consciousness? What is special about them?" "Well maybe when you arrange atoms in that way they are conscious?" "But Not Aristotle," I say to myself, "that is entirely an ad hoc explanation and besides, why would the arrangement of the atoms matter?" And I am unable to answer. And that's the hard problem as I understand it. If you have an answer to that problem, I would be happy to hear it.NotAristotle

    Sure, on the question of how brains create consciousness, we're still trying to figure it out. That brains create consciousness? We've figured that out. Why do brains create consciousness? Its the same as asking why do two gases at room temperature combine together to form a liquid that we need to drink to live. Existence is magical and fascinating. What matter and energy can do is astonishing. Why can it do that? Why isn't everything just a bunch of rocks? The fact that there exists anything instead of just 'nothing' amazes me. Why does it? A question for humanity that may never be answered.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    Existence is magical and fascinating.Philosophim

    Yes, it is! :100:
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    So this is just begging the question.

    Well no, I haven’t assumed any conclusion in any premise. I merely observe what is there and derive my conclusion from those grounds. What I cannot observe are the non-physical aspects of any object I’ve ever come into contact with, in direct contradiction to the claims of those who do.

    Are abstract qualities physical? If not, are they real?

    Abstract terms are certainly real. But it cannot be shown they refer to anything real, physical, or unreal and non-physical.
  • hypericin
    1.5k
    Why do brains create consciousness? Its the same as asking why do two gases at room temperature combine together to form a liquid that we need to drink to live.Philosophim

    Not the same at all. The question about gases can be answered in a satisfactory way. The question about conscious cannot.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    If there are no brains in the universe, there is no mathPhilosophim

    There is a long history of the ‘maths is discovered, not invented’ school of thought which says numbers are not produced by the brain but discerned by rational insight. But this is nowadays considered controversial because it appears to undercut materialism.

    The brain produces or is involved in producing neurochemicals, endocrines and so on, but it doesn’t produce numbers or words. Physicalist ontology is simply that because matter is fundamental, the brain is material, then it must be the case that the brain ‘produces’ numbers.

    Concepts and ideas are physical things that we think about and can communicate to each other over physical mediumsPhilosophim

    Concepts are not physical things. Find me one reputable philosopher who says otherwise.


    That brains create consciousness? We've figured that out.Philosophim

    This again demonstrates that you're not 'facing up to the problem of consciousness'. But I do know a brick wall when I see one, and also when to refrain from beating my head against it, so I'll bow out.
  • Patterner
    606
    When I reflect on consciousness I try to think of it in physical terms to see your point of view. I put on my science helm (yes, it's a science helm and not a helmet), and I reduce all of reality to the level of atoms bouncing around in the void. Thanks Epicurus or Lucretius or Hobbes or whoever's idea that was. "Here are some atoms in this rock. But these atoms in my brain produce consciousness," I think to myself. And I wonder, "why are these brain atoms producing consciousness? What is special about them?" "Well maybe when you arrange atoms in that way they are conscious?" "But Not Aristotle," I say to myself, "that is entirely an ad hoc explanation and besides, why would the arrangement of the atoms matter?" And I am unable to answer. And that's the hard problem as I understand it. If you have an answer to that problem, I would be happy to hear it.NotAristotle
    Yes, that is the Hard Problem. How would purely physical things bring about a non-physical thing?
  • Patterner
    606
    Concepts and ideas are physical things that we think about and can communicate to each other over physical mediums
    — Philosophim

    Concepts are not physical things. Find me one reputable philosopher who says otherwise.
    Wayfarer
    How much do they weigh? How much volume do they take up?
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    And I wonder, "why are these brain atoms producing consciousness? What is special about them?" "Well maybe when you arrange atoms in that way they are conscious?" "But Not Aristotle," I say to myself, "that is entirely an ad hoc explanation and besides, why would the arrangement of the atoms matter?" And I am unable to answer.NotAristotle

    Suppose it occurred to you, that you could look into answers to your questions rather than just remain ignorant of the answers?

    Suppose you were equally ignorant of why the arrangement of atoms in your computer results in different behavior on the part of your computer than the behavior of a boulder. Would you say it is totally an ad hoc explanation to say that it is the difference in arrangement of atoms in your computer that makes the difference? Or would you realize that you could study computer engineering and understand the details of why differences in arrangements of atoms makes a difference?

    Now admittedly, one can't very well remain in her armchair and become well educated about such things. Trips to libraries and labs might be needed. However, why take such a fatalistic position as, "And I am unable to answer." Why not have more faith, in the ability of that gray stuff between your ears, to learn the answers to questions that you are unable to answer at present?
  • sime
    1k
    That brains create consciousness? We've figured that out.Philosophim

    Did we figure it out in the sense of figuring out the truth of a proposition, or did we merely define "consciousness" as referring to what brains do?
  • J
    224


    I think the problem is something like this: You want to say that “Consciousness can only be identified through behaviors” and also “Therefore, anything with certain specified behaviors is conscious.” I’m not persuaded by the idea that “being alive” consists of behaviors, but let’s grant it. The argument is still shaky. The fact that (at the moment) we can only identify consciousness through behaviors doesn’t mean that all things that exhibit those behaviors must be conscious. Compare: Some Xs are Y; a is an X; therefore a is Y. This doesn’t follow.

    Here’s another way to think about it. You’ve said you don’t like speculating about the future, but if consciousness is truly a scientific problem, as we both believe it is, then at some future point we’re going to know a lot more about it. Let’s imagine that someday we’ll be able to say the following: “Consciousness (C) is caused by (X + Y + Z), and only by (X + Y + Z), and is necessarily so caused.” So, in determining a particular case, we could say, “C iff (X + Y + Z); ~(X + Y + Z); therefore, ~C”. This would give us objective criteria to ascertain consciousness for any given entity. It wouldn’t rely on either behavior or subjective reports.

    Now, lest you think I’m deliberately practicing sleight of hand, let me point out that this happy state of affairs is only true if it turns out that X and Y and Z are both objective and unproblematically causal. This may not be the case; we are currently clueless about what gives rise to consciousness. But if it is true, then the hard problem will have been solved. We will know what causes consciousness, and why this is necessarily so. Wouldn’t it be prudent, then, to assume that our current reliance on behavioral markers to identify consciousness is an unfortunate crutch, and that there is no important connection between the two? After all, we know that behaviors don’t cause consciousness, but something does. When we learn what that something is, we may be able to abandon functional “explanations” entirely.

    A final thought: Perhaps all you’re saying is that AIs and robots and other artifacts might be conscious, for all we know. To me, that’s unobjectionable, though unlikely. It’s only when we start saying things like “Joe AI is conscious, which we know because of its behaviors,” that anti-functionalists like me get aroused.
  • Apustimelogist
    360
    My view:

    1. There is no dualism; this is demonstrated by the incoherence of the p-zombie concept.

    2. The question then becomes about epistemological reasons why we cannot reduce the experiential to the physical.

    There is a logical argument, A: If experiences are information about the outside world then it is inconsistent that information about the brain should be derivable. However, this does not mean there is no information about how brains divide up the information in the world - e.g. see that opponent processing and trichromacy in our retinal neuronal architectures were all but predicted by observations about the phenomenal structure of colour - at the same time, what was inferred was not the actual physiology of brain processing but just the way that the brain divides up sensory input that enters the retina by frequencies. It didn't tell us that a brain as we know it was doing the dividing, just that a division or organizing was being made.

    There is a skeptical/indeterminacy argument, B: The way brains are structured simply does not give them access to information about the micro-physical causes of input (whether externally or internally) - such causes are inherently indeterminate (and much of the information lost anyway at larger scales).

    Conceptual primitives argument, C: A description or explanation is just outlining/modeling relations in a conceptual space. Descriptions or explanations cannot go outside of the space / framework they sit in. If our conceptual space is founded on primitives that are experiential qualities then there is no way of explaining or describing those experiences in a satisfactory way since they are the primitive foundations of the entire explanatory space. They cannot be decomposed or reduced further so they seem ineffable, but this ineffability is unavoidable in any inferential system like our brain that can make explanations.

    3. It also must be acknowledged that our scientific theories don't say anything about ontology, they are part of the same explanatory framework as C above. Scientific theories are like predictive tools and there can be a plurality of descriptions. There is therefore no inherent contradiction between physics and experiences if we say that physics doesn't tell us about inherent ontology. Equally we might say that the notion of experience doesn't tell us much about ontology other than the fact it is informative about the external world. If anything, coherently non-trivial fundamental ontologies are inherently unattainable.

    Next part is more speculative:

    4. If my experiences are what its like to be a brain then we might want to try vaguely conceptualize the world in a way that accomodates their existence. We might look to a kind of structuralist but minimalist metaphysics where all structure is on ontologically equal ground. What we may deem most fundamental in the world may be things like symmetries, invariances, regardless of the scale they occur. Experiences are what its like to be some structure, invariances, information (difference that makes a difference). Specifically my experiences reflect particular macroscopic invariances in the vicinity of the brain among many others that exist and are described in physics, chemistry, biology at various scales.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    If there are no brains in the universe, there is no math
    — Philosophim

    There is a long history of the ‘maths is discovered, not invented’ school of thought which says numbers are not produced by the brain but discerned by rational insight. But this is nowadays considered controversial because it appears to undercut materialism.
    Wayfarer

    Oh, who considers it controversial? You? I consider your idea that consciousness does not come from the brain as controversial, as do many other philosophers. But that's not a very good argument isn't it? In fact, that's not an argument at all.

    The brain produces or is involved in producing neurochemicals, endocrines and so on, but it doesn’t produce numbers or words. Your ontology is simply that because matter is fundamental, the brain is material then it must be the case.Wayfarer

    I've been asking for some time now, if the brain doesn't produce them, where are they? What material are they made out of? I've clearly pointed out that the brain, which is physical, can retain information, make judgements, etc. This includes numbers.

    IN fact most of what you write comprises what you think must obviously be true, because 'science shows it'. There's rather derogatory term in philosophy for that attitude but I'll refrain from using it.Wayfarer

    Yes, and I've asked you to give me an example where science demonstrates that its wrong, or give me philosophical examples that would give evidential weight to consciousness not coming from the brain. You have failed to do so, and are instead doing me a favor by not calling me a name. How noble and strong you are!

    Concepts are not physical things. Find me one reputable philosopher who says otherwise.Wayfarer

    Appeal to authority now? I laid out clear points with clear falsifiability and asked you to provide examples of it being false. You cannot. That is why you retreat to this.

    That brains create consciousness? We've figured that out.
    — Philosophim

    This again demonstrates that you're not 'facing up to the problem of consciousness'.
    Wayfarer

    I'm not the one running away here. Your inability to actually show why I'm not facing up to the problem of consciousness is your problem, then magically declaring it as such, is your problem.

    I'll bow outWayfarer

    You know, you could have avoided embarrassing yourself and getting a tongue lashing from me if you had just done this at the start. "Well Philosophim, we've been going back and forth for a while now, and I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Appreciate the conversation, I'll catch you another time."

    Because it was a nice conversation up until now and I had a lot of respect for your engagements and attempt to defend your position. Next time you feel like a conversation is going nowhere, just politely end it.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    I think the problem is something like this: You want to say that “Consciousness can only be identified through behaviors” and also “Therefore, anything with certain specified behaviors is conscious.” I’m not persuaded by the idea that “being alive” consists of behaviors, but let’s grant it.J

    That's fair and kind. My question really is, "If consciousness cannot be measured by the subjects experience, how else have we measured it over the years?" To my mind, we have to observe that a being is aware of their environment and can adapt to it. This applies to beings such as animals as well. Sometimes consciousness bounces around back only to people, so just clarifying from my end.

    The argument is still shaky. The fact that (at the moment) we can only identify consciousness through behaviors doesn’t mean that all things that exhibit those behaviors must be conscious. Compare: Some Xs are Y; a is an X; therefore a is Y. This doesn’t follow.J

    Let me clarify what I think works here. If our definition of objective consciousness is measured through behaviors, that doesn't mean something that would fit the criteria of objective consciousness has subjective consciousness. And I agree. In fact, I believe it is currently impossible to know another's subjective consciousness, so we can't use it as an objective measurement.

    Wouldn’t it be prudent, then, to assume that our current reliance on behavioral markers to identify consciousness is an unfortunate crutch, and that there is no important connection between the two? After all, we know that behaviors don’t cause consciousness, but something does. When we learn what that something is, we may be able to abandon functional “explanations” entirely.J

    Its an unfortunate limitation in objectivity. We cannot objectively know what a subjective consciousness is beyond our own experiences. Did you know that there are people who have no inner monologue? They cannot imagine speaking to themselves. Same with visual. There are some people who cannot visualize things. I can do both. How can I relate to and understand that at a subjective level? Its as impossible for me as it is impossible for them to have any notion of what it is like to have an inner monologue or envision something when they close their eyes. Its like if I claimed, "Yeah, I have psychic powers and can read minds." None of us would ever understand that subjective experience. We would prove it through tests and behavior.

    A final thought: Perhaps all you’re saying is that AIs and robots and other artifacts might be conscious, for all we know.J

    If AIs meet the behavioral definition of consciousness, then they are objectively conscious. Remember, even a dog can show consciousness. It doesn't mean they have a human subjective conscious experience. Its beyond our knowing. The point I'm ultimately making is that we never have been able to objectively judge consciousness through knowing the beings subjective experience. Further, logically with the technology we have, we will not be able to in the near future, if ever.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    That brains create consciousness? We've figured that out.
    — Philosophim

    Did we figure it out in the sense of figuring out the truth of a proposition
    sime

    According to modern day science, it has been concluded that the brain that causes consciousness. Just like an engine runs a car. The question is figuring out how the engine runs.
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    I think [Gnomon's] fundamentally wrong because he has m = matter instead of m = mass, the correct equivalence.ucarr
    As I said in a post above, it's your interpretation of my analogy that is "wrong". Believe it or not, I do know the difference between measurable Matter & its measurement : Mass. But, for metaphorical purposes, I may use the terms interchangeably, since they refer to the same "stuff".

    Appealing to for an authoritative opinion won't help, because he & I don't speak the same language, so we are not talking about the same things. Besides, his confident credence, and incredulity toward immaterial concepts, are based on his own secular religion of Scientism. And his infallible scriptures are those of Materialism and various other Atheistic alternatives to theistic religions. If you subscribe to those anti-philosophy sources of "facts", you can high-five 180. But, due to a matter-biased (matter over mind) worldview, his assessments of Gnomon's thesis & intentions are completely erroneous.

    For the record, my own worldview is Deistic, which has no scriptures or prescribed practices, just an acknowledgment of the implicit Teleonomy of Evolution, to which Terrence Deacon devoted several chapters in his Incomplete Nature. My own thesis does not claim to be scientific, but it is derived from disruptive discoveries of Quantum & Information theories, that undermine the Materialism & Determinism of 17th century science.

    180 seems to think that philosophy began in the 17th century, and anything prior to that is "woo woo religion". But my philosophical vocabulary goes back to Plato & Aristotle, who did not practice the Greek religions of their time, but whose ideas did influence the theology of the Roman Christian religion. Yet, their rudimentary terminology is still used by philosophers 2500 years later. If you reject the terminology of P & A, you will also misunderstand the words that I use to describe EnFormAction. And, in my thesis, EFA is the hypothetical precursor of Energy and of Life, and of Consciousness, for which materialistic Science has no answer. :smile:


    Deism :
    An Enlightenment era response to the Roman Catholic version of Theism, in which the supernatural deity interacts and intervenes with humans via visions & miracles, and rules his people through a human dictator. Deists rejected most of the supernatural stuff, but retained an essential role for a First Cause creator, who must be respected as the quintessence of our world, but not worshipped like a tyrant. The point of Deism is not to seek salvation, but merely understanding.
    https://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page12.html

    Teleonomy :
    What does Deacon add into his teleodynamic that goes beyond teleonomic? He defines his
    teleodynamic as"exhibiting end-directedness" and then adds the highly specific and technical criteria "consequence-organized features constituted by the co-creation, complementary constraint, and reciprocal synergy of two or more strongly coupled morphodynamic processes."

    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/deacon/
    Note --- IMHO, Deacon's teleonomy is essentially the same as that of 19th century Deism.
  • NotAristotle
    252
    the behavior of a boulder.wonderer1

    :lol: hey, that boulder's misbehaving, im gonna give it a piece of my mind!
  • J
    224
    And this is good, sensible place to leave it. I have trouble with the idea of "objective consciousness" but it may be just the terminology; now, thanks to your careful explanation, I at least have a better sense of what you mean. Still doubtful, but time will tell. And I didn't know there were people without a stream of consciousness running on in their heads! This is how I've always pictured non-human animals: Maybe not zero stream of con., but very little. I look at my cat and think, I bet it's real quiet in there!
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    And this is good, sensible place to leave it.J

    Yeah, good conversation J! I'll catch you around in another thread.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    I've been asking for some time now, if the brain doesn't produce them (i.e. numbers), where are they? What material are they made out of? I've clearly pointed out that the brain, which is physical, can retain information, make judgements, etc. This includes numbers.Philosophim

    I've answered on a number of occasions, the subject is philosophy of mathematics, and you haven't responded, other than repeating your point. I've said that numbers and other mathematical concepts are abstractions, to which your reply has been 'what are they made from'? But it is absurd to claim that mathematical concepts are physical. They solely comprise relations of ideas. It's certainly true that the h. sapien brain is uniquely equipped to discern these relations, but that no way proves that they are the product of hominid neurophysiology. At best it shows that the brain has evolved in such a way that it has attained the ability to understand such things. We can grasp them through the faculty of reason (which is not, incidentally, simply a better way of making stuff :brow: )

    I acknowledge this a contested subject. There is no settled answer, but one of the schools of thought is mathematical or platonic realism which says that 'there are abstract mathematical objects whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices'. From that article:

    Mathematical platonism has considerable philosophical significance. If the view is true, it will put great pressure on the physicalist idea that reality is exhausted by the physical. For platonism entails that reality extends far beyond the physical world and includes objects that aren’t part of the causal and spatiotemporal order studied by the physical sciences[1] Mathematical platonism, if true, will also put great pressure on many naturalistic theories of knowledge. For there is little doubt that we possess mathematical knowledge. The truth of mathematical platonism would therefore establish that we have knowledge of abstract (and thus causally inefficacious) objects. This would be an important discovery, which many naturalistic theories of knowledge would struggle to accommodate.

    So, a platonist answer is that numbers are not to empirical objects, but are objects of reason. In other words, they don't exist as temporal objects, but they are real for anyone who can count. That is the source of the expression that such things as basic arithmetic are 'true in all possible worlds'. So the argument 'they only exist in brains', and 'were there nobody to recognise these facts, they would not be real', doesn't cut it. Number and logical principles are the constituents of reason, they are what we rely on to even start any kind of science, including brain science. We don't see them in the neural data, instead, we call on them to analyse and understand the data that we see. They are internal to thought.

    The demand to prove 'what numbers are made of' and 'where they exist' only illustrates the failure to understand this point, not an argument against it.

    You have failed to do so, and are instead doing me a favor by not calling me a name. How noble and strong you are!Philosophim

    You will notice that I edited out that remark a long time before your reply appeared, but as you've brought it up, the description I had in mind was 'scientism'. And I'm not the least concerned with your 'tongue lashing', only the tedium of having to deal with it. Your entire ouvre rests of just one claim: science proves consciousness is the product of the brain and that all that is unknown is how. But that was just the subject of the bet:

    Back to the bet between Koch and Chalmers: They agreed that, for Koch to win, the evidence for a neural signature of consciousness must be “clear.” That word “clear” doomed Koch.


    //ps - you quoted the IEP article on the hard problem, perhaps you could give an indication of where you map in the 'responses' section. I think it might be here.
  • Philosophim
    2.3k
    I've answered on a number of occasions, the subject is philosophy of mathematics, and you haven't responded, other than repeating your point.Wayfarer

    The point being you haven't indicated where they exist if not in the brain.

    I've said that numbers and other mathematical concepts are abstractions, to which your reply has been 'what are they made from'? But it is absurd to claim that mathematical concepts are physical. They solely comprise relations of ideas.Wayfarer

    Why is it absurd? If the brain is physical, and it can relate ideas, math is a physical result of this relation. I've noted before a rock can't create math. Nor can I fish through the air and math appears. Its not located on any other plane of existence, and it surely don't come from 'nothing'. If you can't tell me where its located apart from the physical realm of brains, which clearly makes sense to me, the absurdity is your claim, not mine.

    It's certainly true that the h. sapien brain is uniquely equipped to discern these relations, but that no way proves that they are the product of hominid neurophysiology. At best it shows that the brain has evolved in such a way that it has attained the ability to understand such things.Wayfarer

    I much prefer this discussion then passive aggressive insults when there's disagreement. I view math as a construction of the brain to represent its ability to create discrete experiences, or what might also be called 'identities'. 'An' identity, is one. Take another one and put them in what we call a 'group', and its two. Math is the language and logic of our ability to identify. It does not exist in the universe separate from ourselves. It only exists and makes sense to that which can identify and reason though the logical results of having that capability.

    I acknowledge this a contested subject. There is no settled answerWayfarer

    Which is fine. Admitting that my approach had some validity, but you believe because its unproven you would rather view it the other way has my respect.

    So, a platonist answer is that numbers are not to empirical objects, but are objects of reason.Wayfarer

    As I've noted, reason is a physical process that brains do. Reason again does not exist in a separate dimension. This is why I keep coming back to this. I'm trying to point out that stating something comes from reason isn't an argument that its not physical, if reason itself is physical. Our ability to imagine that reason is not physical, does not make it so. I understand the ideas behind Platonism, but I personally do not find it carries any evidential weight. I see it as a unicorn argument. A very clear and distinct identity, but ultimately fiction.

    The demand to prove 'what numbers are made of' and 'where they exist' only illustrates the failure to understand this point, not an argument against it.Wayfarer

    The point I'm making is that all of human reason is physical as it comes from the brain, and the brain is physical. I have science backing me up on this. There is evidence that points to this conclusion. I am very open to seeing evidence that this is not the case. But stating, "Reason dictates its not physical" misses my point. If reason is physical, anything concluded by reason is physical as well. If reason is not physical, what is it? Where is it? Can we point some evidence of reason existing apart from the creation of a human brain?

    You have failed to do so, and are instead doing me a favor by not calling me a name. How noble and strong you are!
    — Philosophim

    You will notice that I edited out that remark a long time before your reply appeared, but as you've brought it up, the description I had in mind was 'scientism'. And I'm not the least concerned with your 'tongue lashing', only the tedium of having to deal with it.
    Wayfarer

    If you edited that out, thank you. I much prefer polite conversation with you. If you don't want to deal with the tedium of my tongue lashing, keep personal insults out of it. We'll be fine then.

    Your entire ouvre rests of just one claim: science proves consciousness is the product of the brain and that all that is unknown is how. But that was just the subject of the bet:

    Back to the bet between Koch and Chalmers: They agreed that, for Koch to win, the evidence for a neural signature of consciousness must be “clear.” That word “clear” doomed Koch.
    Wayfarer

    The bet was that we would find the direct mechanical brain correlation to consciousness in 25 years. The bet was not that consciousness does not come from the brain.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    Why is it absurd? If the brain is physical, and it can relate ideas, math is a physical result of this relation. I've noted before a rock can't create math.Philosophim

    No, it's not a physical result. That is the flaw in your reasoning. You think you see a causal connection there, or an ontological relationship, but it's not there. There are many arguments that can be presented against it, but let's just concentrate on that point. The qualitative dimension of experience is one of them, but there are others.

    Can we point some evidence of reason existing apart from the creation of a human brain?Philosophim

    Plenty! The entire 'order of creation'. Eugene Wigner's Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences. Did 'the law of the excluded middle' - a basic logical principle - come into existence as a result of evolution? Or rather, did we evolve to the point of being able to grasp something that was always already so?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Did 'the law of the excluded middle' - a basic logical principle - come into existence as a result of evolution? Or rather, did we evolve to the point of being able to grasp something that was always already so?Wayfarer

    The law of the excluded middle is just a formulation of the fact that two things cannot occupy the same space and time (for us at least). In other words, it is entailed by Leibniz' Identity of Indiscernibles. Any thing is either this thing or some other thing; there is no middle position.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    Of course. The rhetorical question I posed was, does it make sense to say that (1) this a creation of the brain and (2) is therefore "physical"?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Of course. The rhetorical question I posed was, does it make sense to say that (1) this a creation of the brain and (2) is therefore "physical"?Wayfarer

    If something is a creation of something physical, it would seem to follow that it is physical. What is the problem with saying that the physical has both a potential and actual affective, semantic or semiotic dimension?
  • javra
    2.4k
    Did 'the law of the excluded middle' - a basic logical principle - come into existence as a result of evolution? Or rather, did we evolve to the point of being able to grasp something that was always already so?Wayfarer

    If the first scenario, then: Before the evolution of life came around, there was no requisite identity to anything at the same time and in the same respect, so there was no such thing as logical contradictions not being possible—rocks all over the universe were at times both rocks and not rocks in the same respect simultaneously (to not start addressing atoms and fields, etc.)—and, so there were intermediate states of being between being either X or not-X (this at the same time and in the same respect) all over the cosmos. BUT: ever since the evolution of life came around, we literally can only conceive of the past as being accordant to the principle of identity, the principle of noncontradiction, and the principle of the excluded middle (for the first principle entails the other two)—thereby gravely misinterpreting all aspects of what the real ontic world was like before life came around (and possibly of what it continues to be with life present to it). Ergo, one then can only rationally conclude that, in this first scenario, what we contemplate as being the past is, and can only be, an idealization of what in fact was—necessitating that the world we know of is one of idealism in all respects. Thereby making physicalism an impossible stance to justify in any other means than via the idealizations of an idealistic, epistemically held onto reality … an idealism strictly concocted from the way life happened to evolve in its psychology.

    On the other hand, if the second, then all I can presently affirm is that physicalism must be false.

    Conclusion: regardless of scenario, physicalism is unjustifiable when logically appraised.
    -------

    Maybe I should say “my bad”: had a good private chuckle at this and I wanted to share. :razz:

    Happy New Year’s irrespective of ontological stance all the same!
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