• javra
    161
    as an offshoot to a conversation on the Donald Hoffman and Conscious Realism thread:

    The infodynamic closest equivalent [to awareness as a first-person point of view] might be agreeing that every material event or degree of freedom is like an informational point of view.

    [...]

    But this is a metaphorical rather than literal description. The having of a point of view is not about awareness as such (awareness not being a substantial thing). [...]
    apokrisis

    @apokrisis

    The first sentence of the quote above is the part that intrigues me. It would resolve the main problem that I currently hold: the evolution of life out of non-live. OK, so you hold that consciousness is not substance but rather that some vague matter/info/stuff is; I uphold the converse. Not that this observation is newsworthy for either one of us. Still, last I recall, we can both agree that life and non-life are qualitatively different.

    By the way, on a conceptual level I can already account for this becoming, sort of; something along the lines of: physical reality is informing us that we (awareness in general) once upon a time ;) were for the most part all equally driven toward the grand finale of perfection (your Heat Death; my boundless awareness); then some of us deviated from this egalitarian course/heuristic and began to favor ego over selflessness, thereby taking on greater and greater degrees of negentropy and, thereby, power to do as one pleases relative to other; now we’ve gained enough awareness via negentropy to once again consciously discover which courses are right and which are wrong; and so, here we currently are. OK, you’ll hopefully note that while maybe having a teeny bit of poetic merit (a kind of “the fall” attitude)—and, while remaining accordant to the overall metaphysics I uphold—it’s still a far cry from a satisfactory explanation of how life evolved from non-life … this on the physical plane which we both in large part prioritize.

    [So as to not seem self-contradictory, an explanation as to my prioritization of the physical: To my mind, the physical plane is the closest communal proximity that all co-existent agents hold to the grand finale. It deterministically (again, derived teleologically) constrains our various freewill intentions to a set of possibilities that we all abide by (e.g., nature says: thou shalt not act out one’s fantasies of flying off of tall cliffs/buildings through the flapping of hands lest one fall and loose one’s identity to this world … kind of thing). Otherwise expressed, physical objectivity is the closest, self-organizing, representational proximity we corporeal beings presently have to metaphysical objectivity (wherein perfect unity of being occurs); and, indeed, we are causally tied into it as agents via body/brain-mind-agency causal factors. Details aside, in practice this construct closely resembles Leibniz’s concept of “the best of all possible worlds (…yet arrived at … crappy though it may sometimes be)”. So, in short, from where I stand if one cares about wanting to help actualize the grand finale, one’ll then in part, and in due measure, care a great deal about the health of the planet/the physical/our material sustenance (Mother Earth, as some call it)—if for no other reason, then as a logical consequence of one’s chosen, very-long-term goal.]

    Thing is, there’s a bridge that I have a hard time traversing. I’m very set on affirming that life and non-life are substantially different, with the difference being that of awareness. What I’m considering, though, is the possibility of there being an underlying factor to both non-life and life—one that would yet be present in the final end—which when held in large enough degrees forms the gestalt of a first-person point of view as can be defined by perception and perceiver (no homunculus). Here, there’s yet a duality, as you might call it, between the ontically real “agency” and the information that, despite its causal influence upon agency, is nevertheless an illusion which vanishes in the final end. Though this is from my interpretation, I believe you’ll find it parallels your own: in the Heat Death you uphold, information as we know it, together with all natural laws as we know them, all causal processes as we know them, etc., vanish, leaving instead … well, that’s your territory.

    So, for example, how may a proton then be stated to hold such an quasi-awareness&agency?

    I get that it interacts with context and thereby is like an informational point of view. But what does a proton hold which is likewise held by atoms and, in turn, by inanimate organic molecules, that—upon placing such molecules together in the right combination—results in the autopoietic gestalt/holon of an individual, prokaryotic awareness … one that is itself endowed with some minimal degree of top-down causal ability and, thereby, with the property of life (this property lacking in the proton, the atom, and the individual organic molecules)?

    [For those who deny that bacteria hold any awareness and some minimal degree of freewill, the transition nevertheless happened somewhere along the way toward being human; I pick at this level for my own reasons … As for myself, I’ll not here again debate where the transition first occurred, nor on whether reality is all determinist v. indeterminist. Again, the intended theme here is how one can logically go from inanimate matter to conscious agency.]
  • Wayfarer
    3.9k
    t would resolve the main problem that I currently hold: the evolution of life out of non-live.javra

    Then, we can all be invited to the Nobel Ceremony, and we'll finally meet in person.
  • javra
    161


    Meet with apo? OK! His system already claims to resolve this transition ....

    I get your point, though. But why not try to philosophize on a philosophy forum? X-)
  • Rich
    1.7k
    Again, the intended theme here is how one can logically go from inanimate matter to conscious agency.]javra

    This, what is suggested to be a little leap, is actually one giant Whopper of a Tale. Any reference to any mind-trait (e.g. information), is just more obfuscation combined with sleight of hand. To only way science gets away with it, is by saying it very quickly and not waiting for any hands to be raised in object.

    This miracle of chemicals developing awareness is in every sense of the phrase a Tall Tale. It was nice viewing the video on the other thread where at least a few academics are brave enough to declare that this Emperor is Buck Naked.
  • javra
    161


    On the one hand, there’s a lot of science this and science that in our culture. Trouble is that it’s mostly duckspoken by folk who look upon science as an authoritative regime, a kind of Ministry of Truth or, better yet, a type of Kafka’s Castle, which is the only way/path (yup, attempting religio-dogmatic connotations here) toward an attainment of absolute truths in this world. Bullocks. Worse, a gross and horrendous insult to the long history of thinkers that have held the otherwise noble title of “(empirical) scientist” [and hey, male and female, btw]. One of the pinnacle reasons for this is an absurd misunderstanding of epistemology that is then projected, with extreme error, upon the empirical sciences: that they in any way, now or ever, purport to discover absolute truths. Many an average individual will then cry’s out, “but if science won’t supply my absolute truths of what is, what or who will?” This can get deep into culturally habituated mindsets regarding epistemic givens. He who knows absolute truths is the authority all bow down to, right? This may be so for some, but not for those of us who don't subscribe to authoritarianism. In hindsight, Bacon might have done better to say “Understanding is Power” rather than knowledge. For one reason, we all fully well understand that there is no such thing within time and space as “absolute understandings”. But staying on track with the issue of science: The empirical sciences, as much as they rely upon various maths and systems of logic, are all, without exception, inductive. Period. Yet it is this very plasticity to the scientific method which has brought about its many, many, great achievements—its non-authoritarian authority, so to speak.

    Generally speaking, any basic course in the philosophy of science will illustrate as much regarding the basic notions of the empirical sciences. Any so called scientific article which ends by declaring a given conclusion to be “proven” is sheer quackery. A conclusion can only be supported—this, at best (given our modern systems of quantitative appraisals of evidence), by a probability value of 0.000[?]. Hence, even in the best of times, there can yet be a 0.01% chance of the results of any given experiment being wrong.

    And, btw, from previous readings of your posts, I fully agree with you that the empirical sciences need to be independent of monetary interests in order to be integral. It’s about minimizing bias, not kissing the behinds of those who give you money with hope of increasing their company’s stock-value, and this so that you may continue making a livelihood so as to put food on the table for the kids (which, if explicitly is needed, tends to greatly increase bias—both in what one researches and in the conclusions that are then produced and published … which, in turn, if this trend progresses, will make what was once science into a hollow shell at best, a propaganda machine at worst ). Still, the scientific method is not the culprit here.

    This miracle of chemicals developing awareness is in every sense of the phrase a Tall Tale.Rich

    I in a substantive sense agree with this. It’s easy to then declare myself a panpsychist of sorts, but the truth is that my current gut feelings (which can always be wrong) find a sharp division between inanimate identities and animate ones; logically, I’ve no idea how panspsychism would work. This is what I’m diggin’ in the dirt for. What attribute would an inanimate identity hold that, though not itself being the awareness of life, could be logically presented not as a divide but as a continuum.

    Apo’s approach, though physicalist, resolves this continuum. Now, traditionally neither he or me have significant issues with sharing our outlooks online. So I was interested in the prospect of sharing a cordial exchange of ideas. Who knows, maybe it’ll amount to something; maybe it won’t. (And, of course, no limits on who can exchange ideas.)
  • Rich
    1.7k
    Still, the scientific method is not the culprit here.javra

    The so-called scientific method only exists in textbooks. It has no counterpart anywhere in the world whether in academia or industry. Science had morphed into part goal seeking for monetary benefits and party religion promising people some hope for their utopian dreams (cancer cures are right around the corner and robots will be doing everything while we ball in the sun.). It's really instructive to observe how science has become quite a religion in its own right with adherents who embrace it for the same reasons any religion is embraced, a combination of money, hope, and social benefits.

    I in a substantive sense agree with this. It’s easy to then declare myself a panpsychist of sorts, but the truth is that my current gut feelings (which can always be wrong) find a sharp division between inanimate identities and animate ones; logically, I’ve no idea how panspsychism would work. This is what I’m diggin’ in the dirt for. What attribute would an inanimate identity hold that, though not itself being the awareness of life, could be logically presented not as a divide but as a continuum.javra

    Bergson is the go to person for great insight into these ideas. Stephen Robbins in his videos on YouTube does a great job in elucidating on some of Bergson's thoughts. Rupert Sheldrake also takes a partial cut at it.

    In so far as the difference of life and inanimate, you can think of the differences as moving in different directions in regards to entropy, inanimate being some decaying aspects of what was formerly life. Call it life's waste product. Interestingly, the preeminent architect Louis Kahn described inanimate matter as the waste of light. Similar ideas. Light is an important phenomenon to study weekend considering the nature of life. All spirituality revolves around life.

    Any physicalist is necessarily going to imbue human characteristics or traits into any fundamental
    idea. The only alternative is the "it just happens miracle". Whitehead developed a process philosophy but still he needed an impetus so he instilled a God or creative force in his philosophy. It is inevitable. There is a need for some impetus. Bergson called the impetus the Elan vital.
  • Bitter Crank
    3.6k
    Even though I have long thought that life came about in some sort of sloppy environment -- hot smoky vent, warm mud hole, clay mush -- whatever -- there are some practical problems with this idea that I can't get around.

    The simplest form of life would need several components which alone might happen by chance, but would have to link up in just the right way, also by chance, more or less all at once. A life form needs a template. Life on earth uses DNA and/or RNA. The life form needs machinery of some kind to build itself and carry out making a copy of the template, and cutting the copy off. In order to have all this machinery, it needs yet another piece of machinery -- it's exterior package.

    I can sort of imagine chemistry getting more complicated, but for more complicated life-chemistry to form stuff that could snap together, stay together, and make something more or less alive, seems to be on the outside of possibility. It seems like the ur-life form would have to pop into existence, rather than crawl into existence.

    On the other hand, I don't want to invoke an exterior agent -- God, for instance, or some sort of cosmic will.

    Solutions?
  • javra
    161
    The so-called scientific method only exists in textbooks. It has no counterpart anywhere in the world whether in academia or industry. Science had morphed into part goal seeking for monetary benefits and party religion promising people some utopian dreams. It's really instructive to observe how science has become quite a religion in its own right with adherents who embrace it for the same reasons any religion is embraced, a combination of money, hope, and social benefits.Rich

    Well, as I was saying, imposing instead bias upon scientist due to monetary reasons pretty much corrupts that whole scientific ideal of impartiality/objective. This, though, is a people interacting with people issue; not a methodology issue.

    Do you know of a better means of figuring out what occurs in our phenomenal/physical world in a way that is minimally clouded by hearsay, personal tall tales, and, sometimes, power seeking deceptions?

    Bergson is the go to person for great insight into these ideas. Stephen Robbins in his videos on YouTube does a great job in elucidating on some of Bergson's thoughts. Rupert Sheldrake also takes a partial cut at it.Rich

    Thank you. I'll try to check these out
  • javra
    161
    Even though I have long thought that life came about in some sort of sloppy environment -- hot smoky vent, warm mud hole, clay mush -- whatever -- there are some practical problems with this idea that I can't get around.

    The simplest form of life would need several components which alone might happen by chance, but would have to link up in just the right way, also by chance, more or less all at once. A life form needs a template. Life on earth uses DNA and/or RNA. The life form needs machinery of some kind to build itself and carry out making a copy of the template, and cutting the copy off. In order to have all this machinery, it needs yet another piece of machinery -- it's exterior package.

    I can sort of imagine chemistry getting more complicated, but for more complicated life-chemistry to form stuff that could fall together, stay together, and make something more or less alive, seems to be on the outside of possibility. It seems like the ur-life form would have to pop into existence, rather than crawl into existence.

    On the other hand, I don't want to invoke an exterior agent -- God, for instance, or some sort of cosmic will.

    Solutions?
    Bitter Crank

    ... bury our heads in the sand and consider it a done deal philosophically?

    :)

    OK, bitter. I get the desire to prohibit discussion on this. I'll for now obligingly bugger off.
  • Rich
    1.7k
    This, though, is a people interacting with people issue; not a methodology issue.javra

    Unless it is possible to divorce people from science, then the scientific method will remain a textbook concept. The politics of science are overwhelmingly biased toward money making thus making it goal seeking. No way around it.

    Do you know of a better means of figuring out what occurs in our phenomenal/physical world in a way that is minimally clouded by hearsay, personal tall tales, and, sometimes, power seeking deceptions?javra

    The process I use is direct experience which is cross-referenced against many, many references from many disciplines. I look for patterns. Bohm described it as solving paradoxes by seeking differences within similarities and similarities within differences. As a result, I have developed my own system of living my life.
  • 0af
    44
    He who knows absolute truths is the authority all bow down to, right?javra

    I think there are two attitudes to those who possess absolute/objective truth. Those who's religious feelings are conceptualized in terms of knowledge will indeed view the scientist or perhaps the philosopher as a priest. If the highest human potential is the know truth, then the knower is the "Christ" we should imitate or at least admire.

    But the scientist can also be viewed as a specialized organ like an eye. The eye is the tool of the "I" we might say. What I wants from the "eye" is knowledge as a means to secure its true object of desire, which is perhaps a life with a certain shape and rich with feeling of love or at-home-ness or dignity, etc.

    Science has won its prestige via accuracy. If a black box made accurate predictions or spit out plans for technology that got us what we want reliably, we would learn to trust that black box without understanding it. But isn't this the same inductive principle that science uses to test what are fundamentally creative leaps into interpreting sense-experience differently. As Hume noted, this isn't even strictly logical. We just can't help ourselves. We return to what has worked. We expect what has come before. We can't say why and it doesn't even work us up that we can't say why.

    Anyway, we probably couldn't worship the black box. Our images of the divine tend to be human. But it's interesting that religion is often framed in terms of knowledge or accurate beliefs. This makes it a sort of untestable or pseudo-science. On the other hand, it is testable as lifestyle, but (sociology and politics aside) only on a personal level ultimately. We might say that the notion of "one true religion" is a denial of substantial human variety. If there is one "cure" or "secret," then we must be all the same in some fundamental way. (I don't think it's this simple.)
  • apokrisis
    1.9k
    OK, so you hold that consciousness is not substance but rather that some vague matter/info/stuff isjavra

    I would start by reminding that I would see consciousness as a process and not any kind of "stuff". You do think of consciousness as a stuff - substantial being - and so you automatically try to understand my position in the same ontic terms. For you, the critical question becomes what sort of substance am I talking about - aha! Information. Or (vague) matter. Or something (some thing).

    Still, last I recall, we can both agree that life and non-life are qualitatively different.javra

    Again you just translated the discussion into substance terminology. Where I would say we might agree on a difference in process, you say we might agree about a difference in quality - a particular property of a substance.

    To my mind, the physical plane is the closest communal proximity that all co-existent agents hold to the grand finale. It deterministically (again, derived teleologically) constrains our various freewill intentions to a set of possibilities that we all abide by (e.g., nature says: thou shalt not act out one’s fantasies of flying off of tall cliffs/buildings through the flapping of hands lest one fall and loose one’s identity to this world … kind of thing).javra

    It is plausible that when all possible wishes are taken into account, a generalised shared world emerges as the baseline to that. That is also the logic of the "sum over histories" approach in quantum mechanics. The Universe can be understood as emerging from an ensemble of possibilities where the vast mass of those possibilities will self-cancel away, leaving behind only the commonalities that are uncancellable.

    So if we average all "desires" or "acts" in a world where the possibility of turning right is matched by the possibility of turning left, then the shared outcome is a world where what is left uncancellable is the symmetry of being poised between two options.

    The story works for either a mentalistic or physicalist metaphysics.

    Thing is, there’s a bridge that I have a hard time traversing. I’m very set on affirming that life and non-life are substantially different, with the difference being that of awareness. What I’m considering, though, is the possibility of there being an underlying factor to both non-life and life—one that would yet be present in the final end—which when held in large enough degrees forms the gestalt of a first-person point of view as can be defined by perception and perceiver (no homunculus).javra

    This indeed seems a critical problem for your approach. You are wanting to assert that awareness is basic, and yet it only emerges eventually.

    So one solution to that is panpsychism - saying that awareness was always there, just dilute and not properly organised to be a structured state of experience, a point of view.

    The other would be to turn causality on its head and make finality retrospective. In Hegelian fashion, the world is called into being by the desire that is its own end.

    Panpsychism is in fact pretty reductionist - back to primal stuff with primal properties. And the idea of retrocausality is something even physics is having to contemplate, as in Cramer's transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics. Experiments like the quantum eraser show how the future can act backwards to affect events in the past - or at least something that "causality violating" must be the case.

    So for both the mentalistic and physicalist ontologies, the alternatives boil down in similar fashion.

    Here, there’s yet a duality, as you might call it, between the ontically real “agency” and the information that, despite its causal influence upon agency, is nevertheless an illusion which vanishes in the final end. Though this is from my interpretation, I believe you’ll find it parallels your own: in the Heat Death you uphold, information as we know it, together with all natural laws as we know them, all causal processes as we know them, etc., vanish, leaving instead … well, that’s your territory.javra

    The way you describe it sounds too much like the Cheshire Cat's grin. Once more, you are reifying the process of acting agentially - behaving like a self in form a point of view - as then this thing of "agency". Your claim becomes that an abstraction is left as all that exists. Knock down Oxford University and its essence still persists, hanging over the cleared ground as a real substantial being.

    The Heat Death is a more subtle concept because it is in fact a process that never stops, yet becomes eternally unchanging. Differencing still goes on, but it ceases to make a difference. You are left with the same process producing now only the simplest possible outcome.

    [For those who deny that bacteria hold any awareness and some minimal degree of freewill, the transition nevertheless happened somewhere along the way toward being human; I pick at this level for my own reasons … As for myself, I’ll not here again debate where the transition first occurred, nor on whether reality is all determinist v. indeterminist. Again, the intended theme here is how one can logically go from inanimate matter to conscious agency.]javra

    This is the advantage of a semiotic approach to physicalism. We can now define the bridge as the epistemic cut between - as Pattee puts it - rate independent information and rate dependent dynamics.

    So as soon as proper internalised semiosis occurs - as soon as there is a modelling relation - there is life and mind in some formally-defined degree.

    For a bacteria, this sign-processing may be terribly simple. The mechanics of what is going on is completely transparent. A bacterium with a flagellum - a wiggling tail - connected to a chemo-receptor, can swim along a gradient of food scent.

    So long as the receptor is signalling "yes", the molecular motors spin the tail, a collection of strands, one way. The bacterium is driven in a straight line towards its heart's desire. Then if the receptor's switch is then flipped the other way - no chemicals binding it, causing the receptor's molecular structure to change shape due to a simple alteration in the balance of its mechanical forces - then that in turns signals the flagellum to rotate in the other direction. The bundle of strands untangle and no longer push the bacterium in a direction. It now tumbles about randomly - until it again happens to pick up a scent.

    The point is that if we actually look at the ground level of life, there is just no mystery. You get intelligent behaviour due to semiotics. A mechanical chain of events connects information to action as a hardwired interpretive habit.

    This epistemic cut is a small trick. But having got established, it can be scaled to be as large as you like. The modelling relation has no limit on its complexity. Physicalism just doesn't have a problem explaining intelligent behaviour. There is no explanatory gap when it comes to semiosis as a model-producing process. The gap arises only once folk start treating the process as something further - an ontological thing, or substantial state.

    Again, the intended theme here is how one can logically go from inanimate matter to conscious agency.javra

    One can't because the dualism is baked in by the chosen terminology. It becomes a word game, not a reasonable inquiry.
  • apokrisis
    1.9k
    It’s easy to then declare myself a panpsychist of sorts, but the truth is that my current gut feelings (which can always be wrong) find a sharp division between inanimate identities and animate ones; logically, I’ve no idea how panspsychism would work. This is what I’m diggin’ in the dirt for. What attribute would an inanimate identity hold that, though not itself being the awareness of life, could be logically presented not as a divide but as a continuum.javra

    Panpsychists do often just say that it is the special structure of nervous systems and brains - whatever that is - that explains why you get the step up.

    So there are two explanations - both of which ape what physicalism itself would suggest.

    The first is the idea that if you concentrate things in some fashion, you get a spontaneous phase transition. Condense vapour and you get liquid water. The physical situation (which is completely unmysterious) can be offered as a metaphor to suggest a rarified "mental stuff" might do the same, suddenly changing state at a certain threshold to coalesce as a located first-person point of view.

    The other then is that the information processing structure of organisms is what does the trick - just as it does for information processing physicalists. So now the panpsychism piggybacks on the informational explanation rather than the dynamical one.

    You can see where this is heading....whatever seems the right answer due to the success of physicalist modelling can be held to be the secret sauce of panpsychic mechanism too.

    The mental never in fact explains anything. It just sits there demanding its explanation.
  • Rich
    1.7k
    The point is that if we actually look at the ground level of life, there is just no mystery. You get intelligent behaviour due to semiotics. A mechanical chain of events connects information to action as a hardwired interpretive habit.apokrisis

    Let's count the number of traits of the mind that this statement attributes to a soup of chemicals:

    1) We
    2) look
    3) mystery
    4) intelligent
    5) behavior
    6) events
    7) information
    8) interpretative
    9) habit

    With this little trick of imbuing the mind into a thick group of chemicals we get ..... the mind! Now how did a soup of chemicals come by all of this human characteristics? Well, it took a long time. Simple and straightforward. One only has to buy into talking and self-aware chemicals that miraculously decided to start creating things.

    How does mind turn into quanta? How does quanta turn into energy? How does energy turn into solid matter? It doesn't! It is all the same. The mind simply interprets it differently depending upon characteristics (e.g. vibrational frequency). Thus the equivalence as one turns into another. Very simple and such a paradigm doesn't require chemicals desperately trying to survive by all of a sudden working against entropy nor does it require chemicals to start arguing among each other.

    Everything we experience is of minds creating together.
  • apokrisis
    1.9k
    Let's count the number of traits of the mind that this statement attributes to a soup of chemicals:Rich

    Where was "the mind" said or implied?

    I have no problem at all if you understood me as talking about mindfulness as the concrete action of modelling the world in biological fashion.

    And where was "a soup of chemicals" said or implied? Clearly I was emphasising the structure not the matter.

    So you are just making the newbie error of reifying a process as a thing. You want to criticise me for believing in my fundmental stuff rather than your fundamental stuff. And yet my actual argument is against that kind of naive metaphysics entirely.
  • Rich
    1.7k
    Where was "the mind" said or implied?apokrisis

    No where ... except every other word. Imbuing chemicals with a mind has become second nature. What was that again? They signal "yes"? In Morse code maybe or maybe semaphores? That would be an interesting question on a college exam: how do chemicals signal yes to each other? Answer: with a wink of an eye.
  • apokrisis
    1.9k
    So the difference between process and substance is just too complicated for you to follow? You have to keep talking past it?
  • Rich
    1.7k
    Process is something the mind perceives. Like I said it is second nature to imbue all kinds intelligence into chemicals (processes or otherwise). Whitehead, who was intellectually honest with himself, understood that there had to be a creative mind somewhere and so acknowledged as a form of Divinity. Whitehead was influenced by Bergson. With your explanation it is just "natural". Chemicals that signal each other "yes" is something natural as is awareness of each other. They are just little humans - the processes that is.

    I sometimes wonder how many students notice this little sleight of hands but are too scared to question it because they want the A.
  • Bitter Crank
    3.6k
    ... bury our heads in the sand and consider it a done deal philosophically?

    :)

    OK, bitter. I get the desire to prohibit discussion on this. I'll for now obligingly bugger off.
    javra

    Very odd.
  • Dominic Osborn
    29
    The mystery is not: How is there Consciousness? but How is there Unconsciousness? That's the thing that's unprovable, unreachable, unimaginable.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.