• George Cobau
    38


    I think you make a good point about substance.
  • George Cobau
    38


    I disagree with you that how humans developed "linguistic habits involved in reasoning" is an easy problem that has already been answered. I think that this shows the problematic nature of the distinction between hard and easy problems developed by Chalmers. He may have considered this an easy problem, but I do not. I think you are overly optimistic about what science has already achieved.
  • apokrisis
    4.4k
    That's because of the obvious comparison with computation. But this overlooks the fact that computers are, in fact, extensions of the human faculties, and would not exist without them.Wayfarer

    So are you now switching into anti-Platonism mode and saying that mathematical theorems, like Turing Universal Computation, are just arbitrary stories humans made up for fun? Or did we instead actually discover some kind of universal truth there?

    If computers, or information processing in some semiotically general sense, were merely human constructs, then yes, they might not carry much metaphysical impact. However, plenty of folk seem to agree there is something Platonically real about computation.

    For the same reason, many are prepared to entertain the possibility that the Universe could be a computer simulation because it sounds like a scientifically reasonable thing to believe - except for the fact that all the computers that are known to us, are manufactured artefacts and don't occur naturally.Wayfarer

    You mean that all computation has to exist within the material constraints of the laws of thermodynamics?

    Yep. That more naturalistic view is coming to the fore in the physics of information.

    We're indeed getting pretty good at physicalism these days.
  • apokrisis
    4.4k
    I think you are overly optimistic about what science has already achieved.George Cobau

    And is your own pessimism based on any actual familiarity with the subject? Have you studied the issues enough to have a right to an opinion?

    Sorry to be harsh. But if you are going to disagree, you need to supply the argument that would go with that.

    Of course, you can reply that I need to defend my own statement with an argument. But the fact you don't even recognise it as a standard position is then a problem here.

    Did you realise that Chalmers did explore this question with his good mate, Andy Clark? So he said it was one of the easy questions having actually given the matter some consideration.

    https://www.ida.liu.se/~729G12/mtrl/clark_chalmers_extended_mind.pdf
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    So are you now switching into anti-Platonism mode and saying that mathematical theorems, like Turing Universal Computation, are just arbitrary stories humans made up for fun? Or did we instead actually discover some kind of universal truth there?apokrisis

    I have simply pointed out that 'computation' (and software for that matter) are strained analogies for what the mind is and does, because whereas the mind precedes any kind of explanation or model - like, we have to be able to reason before even coming up with a scientific theory - computing is itself a process and a technology which the human mind has devised. So, sure, the mind is like a computer in some respects, but what does that prove, beyond the fact that humans are clever enough to invent such devices. It really says nothing about the nature of mind per se.

    (I remember discussing this Aeon article on just this topic on the other forum at the time it was published.)

    You mean that all computation has to exist within the material constraints of the laws of thermodynamics?apokrisis

    The manufactured process by which computers are made, for sure. Not so 'the furniture of reason' - number, logic, and the like.

    What I'm arguing is indeed broadly Platonist - that when the human evolves to a certain point, then it is able to grasp transcendent truths which are by their very nature not of the same order as the domain of cause and effect which are described by the natural sciences (which is the basic understanding behind the tradition of philosophical rationalism). Whereas, in your narrative, because everything 'must be immanent', then there can be no such domain as everything by definition must be subordinate to what empiricism understands to even be considered.

    And this has become so much part of the intellectual framework of modernity, that we do this without seeing that we're doing it. Peirce might have seen it, but you methodically exclude all of those aspects of his work which suggest that.
  • George Cobau
    38


    "Yeah. And isn't the physicalist problem allegedly to do with that sentience rather than that rationality?"

    Actually, it appears that the physicalist has a problem with rationality, feeling, perception, thought, memory, imagination, and really everything that is in the mind because these things are mental rather than physical. This is where I disagree with Chalmers, as I noted above. He actually makes it too easy on the physicalist. Everything going on in the mind is problematic for the materialist or physicalist, not just subjective experience.
  • George Cobau
    38

    "By "indivisibility" I simply meant that you couldn't take someone's consciousness and split it into pieces. At least, I am not aware of any phenomenological descriptions of such a thing. I'd consider things like thought, feeling and imagination to be more akin to categories or features of consciousness."

    It might be possible to split consciousness in two if, leaving aside the ethical implications, you could split someone's brain in two and put one hemisphere in a different body. Of course, this is very theoretical and hypothetical.
  • apokrisis
    4.4k
    So, sure, the mind is like a computer in some respects, but what does that prove, beyond the fact that humans are clever enough to invent such devices. It really says nothing about the nature of mind per se.Wayfarer

    Huh? It says that information processing or computation is metaphysically general as a form of "mind-like" organisation.

    Now you can say the initial analogy is a weak one. And I would agree. Especially if we are talking about Turing Machines or other complicated abacuses.

    That is why I take a semiotic position on the issue. Syntax alone - rule-based symbol shuffling - can't cut it. You have to have a model that is semantically embedded in the world it is hoping to regulate in pursuance of some autonomously evolved goal.

    If we are talking computer architecture, that is now some kind of neural network story. Funny that. A computer that looks more like an actual living brain.

    So that is why I was careful to talk about "information processing" in a loose sense. I've already said often enough that we have to move quickly from the notion of a calculating machine to an autonomous organic system doing meaningful sign processing.

    So we can have a naturalism that is a sophisticated naturalism. That is perfectly possible here.
  • apokrisis
    4.4k
    This is where I disagree with Chalmers, as I noted above. He actually makes it too easy on the physicalist. Everything going on in the mind is problematic for the materialist or physicalist, not just subjective experience.George Cobau

    These are not arguments. They barely qualify as assertions.
  • George Cobau
    38


    Perhaps a materialism might say that the brain causes conscious experience, and therefore this must be physical. What I am saying is that the brain can create something nonphysical, namely the internal mind and conscious experiences. Of course, this is quite different from materialism.
  • George Cobau
    38



    I don't know who you think you are, but you're the one who is confused and deluded. But only time will tell. Don't bother replying. You're just wasting my time. I won't reply to you any more.
  • apokrisis
    4.4k
    Well at least we know who George Cobau is I guess - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-better-philosophy-george-cobau/

    Good luck with your book.
  • George Cobau
    38



    You should buy my book. You might learn something.
  • Dalai Dahmer
    73
    It's the mind that makes categories, not the brain.George Cobau

    I can't agree with that. Was it my brain that disagreed, do you think?

    On the subject inspired by the words "do you think?', is it not the brain that thinks?

    After all, thinking is also categorizing.

    Please explain how this may not be the case.

    (merely attempting to get some answer again as I presume my post got lost among all the other posters)
  • George Cobau
    38


    I actually did reply to this earlier. I'm really tired now, but basically what I said was that brain and mind work together so if your mind disagrees, your brain will disagree also. Even though they are different, they are intimately linked and connected.

    By the way, there are some really nasty people on here. I guess the hide behind anonymity. Perhaps I made a mistake to give my real name. I really didn't know better when I signed up.
  • Dalai Dahmer
    73
    "here", where nasty people are on, is called Planet Earth.

    So yeah, they do get around.
  • George Cobau
    38


    True, but the internet can bring out the worst in people it seems. Yes, most people on here were ok, but there were two jerks, materialists who were very arrogant and condescending, like they could not possibly be wrong.
  • yatagarasu
    119


    Yeah. I should of quoted the section and it would have been clearer. I was referring to dual aspect theory. It is even more convoluted than the dualism and materialism.
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    By the way, there are some really nasty people on here. I guess the hide behind anonymity. Perhaps I made a mistake to give my real name. I really didn't know better when I signed up.George Cobau

    If you're going to post on public forums, you have to learn to roll with the punches. (And it is also a good idea to use a 'handle' - I *think* this forum software allows you to change your Username once, although I could be mistaken.)

    What I am saying is that the brain can create something nonphysical, namely the internal mind and conscious experiences.George Cobau

    I am trying to help by being more specific about what it is that might be non-physical. After all, expressions such as 'the internal mind' are vague generalisations. Any materialist worth his salt will argue that what you are saying is 'non-physical' is actually physical, but it appears to you otherwise, due to the clever way in which the brain generates the illusion of subjectivity (for example). And you're going to have to do a lot more spadework to deal with those objections. I sympathise with your overall project but you need to develop a better understanding of the territory.
  • George Cobau
    38


    Actually, I understand the territory pretty darn well. Don't be fooled by those stupid jerks. I have defined the mind as internal thought, feeling, memory, perception, imagination, and consciousness....I read somewhere that nonreductive physicalism has become popular, and this appears to be the case. I guess this makes sense because other forms of materialism so obviously don't work, and it probably appeals to neuroscientists who don't understand philosophy very well....And yet it still seems strange to think that the things I listed above are really physical. They are clearly not physical in any normal sense of the word. Materialists appear to be extremely delusional and have huge blind spots. They worship science and do not realize its limitations. I doubt that there is any argument that could ever convince them to change their minds. They have assumed physicalism as a guiding principle and nothing can shake their belief. They are convinced that they are on the right side of history, and that kind of arrogance will be their downfall....

    Anyway, who is on here? Graduate students? Retired professors? There's probably a variety, I suppose. It doesn't really matter, but I am kind of curious. Do you spar with those jerks regularly? That's not something I would enjoy. Anyway, thanks for being on my side. It was you and one other, Aaron R. He appears to also understand the issues pretty well.
  • tom
    1.5k
    Given this reality, it appears that either mind and brain must be identical or the brain causes conscious experience. I have already argued against identity--not as much as I could, but that would take too long. Suffice it to say, causation is far more likely than identity. It is the only realistic option. Thus, in all likelihood, the brain causes, creates, produces, and generates conscious mental experience.George Cobau

    I've not caught up with the arguments, but it seems to me that the distinction between identity and causation might be a distinction without a difference. Either way, there will be some new physics that needs to be discovered, and that is an extremely tall order.

    There is a third option, which may not have occurred to you, which I think you should consider. The major advantage it has over identity and causation theories, is that it requires no new physics. We already have the necessary physics, and even the necessary technology. We just have not made the necessary philosophical advance yet in order to implement and empirically test this third option, which, for want of a better title, I'll call abstraction theory.

    The argument goes like this:

    The brain is a computationally universal object. (Which you would need to argue)
    All computationally universal objects are equivalent. (This is known physics)
    Therefore a mind can be implemented on a computer. (A word about this in a moment*)

    This leads us inexorably to conclude, that consciousness cannot be identical with the brain, or caused by the physics of the brain, but can only be caused by an ALGORITHM running on a computationally universal object. Consciousness is a software feature!

    So, we no longer need to consider how matter and consciousness can be identical (they are not) or how matter can cause consciousness (it can't). What we need is to understand ABSTRACTIONS better, what sort of abstractions can exist and their properties. One property of abstractions that we now know, is that they can be conscious.

    (*This might be the assumption of physicalism?)
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    Do you spar with those jerks regularly?George Cobau

    Hey it’s ‘the internet’. Anyone can join, and anyone can post, provided they don’t break the Terms of Service - and these kinds of pejoratives come close. You do have to learn to let a of things go by, and learning that is part of the game. Yes, it can be exasperating at times but it pays to reflect on this internet meme that was floating around a couple of years back:

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTLdJuklrC5cNv6Xrn7LwLEuiPypFe8zXeaEQeYqMT9SUlRzLMNrg


    Indeed there are some academics on this forum, and also some who have published [and not just self-published] books on the very subjects you’re interested in. And plenty who join because they simply like the subject, and a regular contingent who just turn up and post whatever they think. But as far as forums go, this is one of the least uncivil, at least in my experience.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450
    Wow, you've really changed. I thought you're earlier post was interesting, but now you appear to have totally lost it. Are you drunk, or do you have another explanation?George Cobau

    Not drunk, but its not a bad idea. You write:

    First, a correlation between mind and brain has been established by the effects of brain injuries as well as by brain scanners. For example, when someone imagines playing tennis, this corresponds to certain activity in a particular part of the brain. Given this reality, it appears that either mind and brain must be identical or the brain causes conscious experience.

    You are operating upon the basis of an assumption here, and this is the point where our philosophical positions begin to diverge. Vis your notion of cause and effect. This notion is in keeping with the current scientific paradigm (effects are caused) However philosophy has dispensed with this assumption a long time ago. It does indeed serve a purpose upon a practical level however it is one of the endearing assumptions that makes science possible and life easier to comprehend. Not surprisingly it is adhered to with great tenacity and indeed many new theories have been built upon it, such as your own particular variant of dualism 'new dualism'.

    If we consider Hume's thesis on the relations between cause and effect as having some valid input into this matter, we must pause before assumptions like the relations between brain trauma and the 'effects' on thought process. It is merely the repeated basis of the result, that tenders the dubious association of 'effect': (thought/mind change) being the putative effect that is "caused" by physical trauma. There is no evidence to suggest that effects are caused, there is merely repetition, possible temporal relation in that one appears to precede the other, and nothing more. To build an entire philosophy upon this assumption is a noble pursuit but it negates Hume's crucial input, and I would only do that if I were indeed quite drunk. Science would not ignore Darwin and neither should Philosophy assume that Hume was a fool.

    I am not so much interested in a philosophy that is constructed upon assumptions, but rather one that seeks to reconcile the facts. And in this instance you have begun with an enormous assumption and launched yourself into the stratosphere.

    M
  • tom
    1.5k
    There is no evidence to suggest that effects are caused, there is merely repetition, possible temporal relation in that one appears to precede the other and nothing more.Marcus de Brun

    But, according to the Scientific Method, there is no such thing as evidence for any theory. All evidence can achieve is to render a theory problematic, or in rare cases, allow us to prefer one theory over another.

    For example, we have a theory about what causes the radiation from the sun. This theory rests on a great deal of knowledge, involving particles, antimatter, mass to energy conversion, and many other discoveries. Now, just because we cannot gain direct evidence for cause, does not mean we do not know and understand the cause, just as we can't gain direct evidence for a scientific theory.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    Tom

    I don't wish to sound pedantic but have you read Hume, on the subject of cause and effect?

    M
  • tom
    1.5k

    Why do you want to know if I have read Hume? Have you?

    If you have, then perhaps you could point out anything in my post that contradicts, or disagrees with Hume in any way.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    An acceptance of Humes assertion that effects are not necessarily or even reasonably 'caused' precludes a subsequent reliance upon the 'scientific method' as a methodology towards 'preference.' It merely encourages particular types of preferences and subsequent hypothesis.

    You write:

    "For example, we have a theory about what causes the radiation from the sun. This theory rests on a great deal of knowledge"

    The basis for this knowledge is the scientific method, which if flawed (as it is) would mean that your use of the word knowledge might be revised to that of 'hypothesis'?

    What would appear to be important therefore is to establish a model of dualism that avoids a reliance upon the scientific method and its various fashionable preferences.

    This is not impossible, but it is avoided in preference for the SM of the Scientific Method.

    Why must Philosophy bow to Science?

    M
  • wellwisher
    163
    One of the keys to understanding how the brain and mind works together is to compare neural to computer memory. The neurons of our brain exist at high potential. Neurons expend considerable energy; up to 90%, pumping and exchanging sodium and potassium cations. This energy intensive pumping action creates a free energy potential in the neuron membrane, which is a combination of lowered ion entropy and increased ion enthalpy. When neurons fire they attempt to lower this free energy potential. However, the neurons immediately work to restore the high potential through more pumping and exchange.

    Computer memory is opposite. It is designed to be at low potential. This is needed to make the memory stable in long term storage and during use. If computer memory was designed to be like neural memory; full of free energy, it would spontaneously change in storage, attempting to lower potential. While simply using the memory, would trigger a secondary chain reaction affect as the bits and bytes reorganize to lower potential.

    This could be a path toward intelligent computers. You would also need to develop a way to remember the initial state; use regular computer memory. You would need to develop a way to filter for useful changes stemming from spontaneous change, and then you would need to cyclically restore the initial state plus useful change, for another spontaneous change cycle, etc., etc.

    This spontaneous change cycle of neural memory is where the mind lies. Mind is connected to the free energy flow, that has the capacity to follow the hardware and also go where the hardware has not yet been; institute new change.

    An analogy is like a water fountain where water is pumped against gravity to create a potential. The water then lowers potential as it cascades downward working its way down the fountain to the pool below, only to be pumped upward again. This continuous action is always similar and defined by the shape of the fountain. But it is also always slightly different each time. Although, over time well worn paths for the bulk of the free energy flow will also appear in the hardware.
  • wellwisher
    163
    Another key is water. The brain is mostly water and nothing in life, down to the DNA, works properly if there is no water or not enough water. Life evolved in water an water is needed for all aspects of life to work properly.

    The liquid state, as expressed by the brain's water, has features that are not seen in solids and gases. The liquid state can create paradoxes in terms of physics.

    For example, a glass of water open to the atmosphere is under atmospheric pressure, while also displaying surface tension. Gases can only be under pressure, but not tension; partial pressure. Solids can be under tension or pressure, but not both at the same time, and reach steady state. Liquids can exhibit pressure and tension at steady state.

    If the free energy potential of the brain is being moved through the water, the liquid state adds a wild card in terms of standard physics which is usually modeled on gases or solids. Liquid water is also not hardware in the sense it is fluid and not solid like neurons.
  • Galuchat
    481
    This spontaneous change cycle of neural memory is where the mind lies. Mind is connected to the free energy flow, that has the capacity to follow the hardware and also go where the hardware has not yet been; institute new change.wellwisher

    Very interesting. A cognitive psychology based on memory? Could very well be do-able. Cheers.
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