• creativesoul
    5.1k
    Thinking about thinking is just thinking...Mww

    Gratuitous assertion that is false. It is not 'just' thinking. It is a kind of thought/belief. Not all thought/belief is about pre-existing thought/belief.

    Thinking about thinking is existentially dependent upon complex written language replete with names/proxies/signs/symbols for the creature's own mental ongoings. Thought/belief exists in it's entirety prior to our becoming aware of it.

    By naming, we pick out an individual thing/entity/object/subject for subsequent consideration. The same holds good for our own mental ongoings. We use the terms "understanding", "judgment", "comprehension", "thought", "belief", "propositional attitude", "feelings", "emotions", "reason", etc.
  • Mww
    682


    Thinking is merely a representation of brain mechanics, in the form of a subject, that which is thinking. All thought is of something; all thought has an object of thought. When the subject thinks of itself, it is the one and only possible case where subject and object are logically the same thing.

    No matter the method, no matter how you wish to expound it, there is only one subject that thinks, thus if the subject thinks about an object which is himself, he is still just thinking. Anything else borders precariously close to Cartesian theater.
  • praxis
    1.3k
    I was thinking more along the lines of a language between the two of you. For example, your saying his name out loud. Would you say that the two of you share the same meaning? If so, how do you take account of it? What does it consist in/of such that the two of you can both understand it in the same way, by the same process, or however else meaning is shared on your view?creativesoul

    I'd rather focus on a different word to avoid the complexities of dogs and identity, if you don't mind.

    "Ball" is a word that he has an invariant representation or concept for. If I say 'ball' to him, he'll start looking for one of his toys that we sometimes fetch with. I imagine the pattern he associates with 'ball' is basically any one of his toys that we've fetched with in the past, so there's no difference between a frisbee or a tennis ball, for instance. A ball isn't necessarily spherical for him. That level of abstraction or type of meaning is lost on him. His olfactory concept of 'ball' is surely more acute than mine. He could no doubt find one blindfolded.

    Though our capacities and senses are different, the process of how we both developed an invariant representation of 'ball' is the same, which is patterns of sense data processed in hierarchical auto-associative memory. Where our different concepts overlap is in fetching. Red's concept may be limited to fetching but then our concepts, on a larger scale, are similarly limited.

    I don't know why dogs love to fetch, and it's not in the activity itself, they're not interested in fetching alone, so part of it must be social interaction or cooperative play. Whatever the case, I don't think it's a stretch to say that the activity is meaningful for them. I enjoy the activity as well, though I mostly do it for his exercise and to help burn off his energy. I believe it's most meaningful because we're both social species and the activity fulfills basic social needs and facilitates bonding.
  • creativesoul
    5.1k
    All thought is of something; all thought has an object of thoughtMww

    That's just not true. While it is quite true that we can think about individual things - like trees and such - we can also attribute meaning and causality prior to language acquisition.

    Drawing a correlation between touching fire and the subsequent pain happens everyday. That event quite simply cannot be taken into proper account with the framework you've adopted and are using. The fire example is thought/belief formation. It is meaningful to the creature. It presupposes it's own correspondence to what happened.

    It required something to become sign/symbol(the fire - an 'object') something to become significant/symbolized(the pain - not an object) and a creature to draw the connection between the two. Prior to the correlation all three things, the fire, the pain, and the creature existed in their entirety. That is true of all thought/belief. The position I argue in favor of situates thought/belief, the attribution of meaning, and the presupposition of correspondence to fact(what happened) exactly where they belong. Thought, belief, meaning, and the presupposition of truth(as correspondence, of course) are inextricably entwined. They all emerge onto the world stage solely via thought/belief formation itself.

    Clearly, I'm leaning very heavily towards methodological naturalism...

    The term "object" carries far too much philosophical baggage, and besides that, the object/subject distinction cannot take proper account of that which consists of both, and is thus... neither.

    Rudimentary thought/belief, the attribution/recognition of meaning, the attribution/recognition of causality, and the presupposition of correspondence to what happened are all such things.
  • creativesoul
    5.1k
    I was thinking more along the lines of a language between the two of you. For example, your saying his name out loud. Would you say that the two of you share the same meaning? If so, how do you take account of it? What does it consist in/of such that the two of you can both understand it in the same way, by the same process, or however else meaning is shared on your view?
    — creativesoul

    I'd rather focus on a different word to avoid the complexities of dogs and identity, if you don't mind.
    praxis

    Notta problem. Take it where you like. You and I haven't had many exchanges, but I remember things you've written here leaving a good impression...



    "Ball" is a word that he has an invariant representation or concept for. If I say 'ball' to him, he'll start looking for one of his toys that we sometimes fetch with. I imagine the pattern he associates with 'ball' is basically any one of his toys that we've fetched with in the past, so there's no difference between a frisbee or a tennis ball, for instance. A ball isn't necessarily spherical for him. That level of abstraction or type of meaning is lost on him. His olfactory concept of 'ball' is surely more acute than mine. He could no doubt find one blindfolded.

    Though our capacities and senses are different, the process of how we both developed an invariant representation of 'ball' is the same, which is patterns of sense data processed in hierarchical auto-associative memory. Where our different concepts overlap is in fetching. Red's concept may be limited to fetching but then our concepts, on a larger scale, are similarly limited.

    I don't know why dogs love to fetch, and it's not in the activity itself, they're not interested in fetching alone, so part of it must be social interaction or cooperative play. Whatever the case, I don't think it's a stretch to say that the activity is meaningful for them. I enjoy the activity as well, though I mostly do it for his exercise and to help burn off his energy. I believe it's most meaningful because we're both social species and the activity fulfills basic social needs and facilitates bonding.

    Indeed, fetching is undeniably meaningful to the dog, as is his name, and the word "ball" and all sorts of other things...

    I agree that physiological sensory perception plays a necessary role in the attribution of meaning, in thought, in belief, in discourse, etc. You've implied here that Red's olfactory organs play a role, but I'm left wondering if it is helpful at all to talk in terms of an "olfactory concept"...

    Here's why.

    It seems to us both that physiological sensory perception is necessary for conceptions. On my view physiological sensory perception alone is not at all sufficient/adequate. Venus Flytraps, for example. I mean, surely his senses play an irrevocable role in his knowing what to look for when you call out "ball". But if we were to take account of the dog's thinking in such terms, Red would need multiple conceptions for each named object, and all those different conceptions would based upon the arbitrary categorization of biological/physiological sensory perception that we use as a means to say that he possesses.

    Seems unnecessarily complex. Am I mistaken? That follows from the framework you're using. Doesn't it?

    Seems to be much simpler than that. I mean, if a language-less creature can attribute meaning, the ability to do that, cannot be language laden. Our reports of simple things ought be accordingly simple.

    Could it be as simple as both of you drawing a mental correlation between the language use and the thing being picked out to the exclusion of all others by virtue of that language use? Is not a prima facie example of successful reference? No different - in it's basic elemental constitution - than examples of two humans involved in the same situation.

    There is no good reason whatsoever to think/believe that human beings are the only creatures capable of attributing/recognizing causality, attributing/recognizing meaning, and thus forming thought/belief. It is formed via the very same basic process as all human thought/belief is formed.

    A language-less creature can learn that touching fire hurts, because that is one of those events that can happen even if it is not taken into proper account and/or reported upon. It is not existentially dependent upon language. Our reports are.

    The same holds good with your dog's thought/belief... wouldn't you agree?

    It is not existentially dependent upon our report of it.
  • ellisael
    3
    I am new to this forum but am captivated by this thread. Especially so because i am a regular attender of show bills and street performance arts etc, and here the inquiry into the shared meaning between the audience, while watching the same performance, is very rewarding. This is especially in the cases of contemporary performances where the body is at the centre of the performative language.
  • praxis
    1.3k


    An odd question: can you see, hear, or touch the odor of a plastic dog toy? or, how can we recognize the scent of perfume without sight, hearing, or touch?

    I don’t have a great understanding of it but the theory of biological intelligence I like claims that different categories of sense data is processed in parallel using the same basic algorithm. Red’s olfactory concept of ‘ball’, for instance, may in part be built of sense patterns representing basic components like plastic and his own slobber. When the right set of sense patterns is recognized and verified it goes up the hierarchy to a larger concept or mental representation culminating in an invariant form. The highest invariant form contains patterns from all sense categories.

    The process is actually quite simple and efficient, at least compared to a computer. It accomplishes in a small number of steps what a computer would require thousands.
  • creativesoul
    5.1k


    Welcome. Thank you. Warning:This thread is heavily language laden, but is a concerted attempt to take proper account of that which is not always.

    Shared meaning(and the beginnings of common language).
  • ellisael
    3
    Thank you, I will be very cognizant of the same.
  • creativesoul
    5.1k
    An odd question: can you see, hear, or touch the odor of a plastic dog toy? or, how can we recognize the scent of perfume without sight, hearing, or touch?praxis

    No, and solely by virtue of drawing correlations between it and other things.

    I don’t have a great understanding of it but the theory of biological intelligence I like claims that different categories of sense data is processed in parallel using the same basic algorithm.

    This presupposes that algorithms are the sort of things that are not existentially dependent upon language. I would reject such a presupposition, but am more than willing to follow an argument based upon common sense premisses for it.


    Red’s olfactory concept of ‘ball’, for instance, may in part be built of sense patterns representing basic components like plastic and his own slobber. When the right set of sense patterns is recognized and verified it goes up the hierarchy to a larger concept or mental representation culminating in an invariant form. The highest invariant form contains patterns from all sense categories.

    The process is actually quite simple and efficient, at least compared to a computer. It accomplishes in a small number of steps what a computer would require thousands.
    praxis

    All that? The "right set of sense patterns"...??? Is that an unknown set?

    Verification somehow within Red's thinking/knowing what "ball" means?

    Could it be just as simple as Red and you both making a connection between the utterance of "ball" and the ball?
  • praxis
    1.3k
    The "right set of sense patterns"...??? Is that an unknown set?creativesoul

    The predicted set, based on memory. For example, 'the cow jumps over the ______.' Many people would predict the sentence to end with 'moon', and if I ended it with 'cat' or something else they would have a prediction error, their prediction having been invalidated. That's what I meant about verification.

    I haven't explained the theory well. If it interests you, it's based on the work by Jeff Hawkins.

    Could it be just as simple as Red and you both making a connection between the utterance of "ball" and the ball?creativesoul

    In a nutshell.

    And in a nutshell, I guess my point is that shared meaning may be enhanced or expanded with symbols, language and cognitive thought, but it's not dependent on these things, whereas shared values and goals are essential. Maybe that's obvious.
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