• Harry Hindu
    3.6k
    Because the fact that I am bert1 allows me two different perspectives to examine bert1's mental processes: introspection and extropsection. Whereas other people only have extrospection as a way of observing bert1's mental processes (to the extent that the can do so at all).

    Is that question equivalent to "Why am I some particular person, rather than no one in particular?"?
    bert1
    No. The question is just a different way of framing the hard problem of why there are two very different perspectives of mental processes, but only one type of perspective for everything else, like chairs, mountains and trees.

    Where is bert1 relative bert1's mental processes? Where is bert1 relative to bert1's digestive processes? Are you saying that bert1 IS bert1's mental processes?
  • Possibility
    1.7k
    This is where we have to be careful to differentiate the two distinct ways that "form" is used, one referring to our description of the thing, which is posterior to the thing, and the other referring to the creation of the thing, which is prior to the thing. So we have a "formula" or blueprint, by which we create a thing, and a "form" which is a description of a thing, and each is a distinct sense of "form".Metaphysician Undercover

    What are ‘things’? This is where the assumption of a self-conscious system, in recognising concepts or things, distorts the way we understand the structure of reality. If it were not for our temporal relation to the ‘thing’, then there is no other distinction between its description and creation. This ‘thing’ we create is conceptual, in relation to what is real, and so the blueprint is a rendering of relational structure, the limited perception of which consolidates that particular form within the mind. Existentially prior to the ‘thing’ is only a relation to what is real: pure possibility structured by the limited perception of the observer (who consolidates) and the limited expression of the observed.

    Now, our subject of inquiry is the rules or laws which apply to forms being responsible for invariability. In describing a form, the rules are descriptive, in creating a form, the rules are prescriptive. Notice that both refer to what "ought" to be done, therefore the two types are reducible to a single type rule, as prescriptive rules. So the rules and laws, which are responsible for the creation of forms, of both types, are of the prescriptive type, rules of how things ought to be done. "Ought" implies the activity of intention, final cause.Metaphysician Undercover

    And again, this assumption of intentionality in time turns creativity into specific rules of how events ought to be done, rather than a variability in how events can be done, limited by awareness, connection and collaboration. ‘Ought’ implies a priori knowledge, an illusion created by the temporal shift of conscious perception, constrained to a logical structure of time. But the structure of time in reality is relative - so the notion of ‘final cause’ or ‘activity of intention’, and the temporal distinction between descriptive and prescriptive ‘form’, don’t even make sense in relation to reality.

    We can apply this back against the dilemma of variable (indefinite) relations, and consolidated (definite) forms. We see that a "relation" implies members, elements, particles, or some form of a multitude, distinct differences which are related in that condition of variability. And, there is some form of "ought" which is applied to these relations which converts the existence from variable to invariable, creating a form. The existence of human beings provides our example of individual members, with intention, acting with final cause. We see that the final cause and intention inheres within the particulars, who produce principles from within their own minds, as rules to act by, each person attempting to constrain one's own acts with personal principles which they adhere to. Therefore from this example, we can see that the invariance required to produce a form comes from within the individual members, as final cause, so that all forms are bottom-up.Metaphysician Undercover

    ‘Relation’ does imply difference, but not necessarily existence, so any difference need not be so distinct. This ‘ought’ which converts an assumed existence from variable to invariable is a function of consciousness. The invariance required to describe a ‘thing’ is an internal relation of perceived potentiality, but no such invariance is required to create the ‘thing’ prior to describing its form, and no such existence need be assumed. Creativity derives from a relation to non-existent possibility, limited by awareness, connection and collaboration. It is the perceived variability in this relation that enables creativity, intentionality and the determination of ‘personal principles’.

    You don't seem to understand, logic is necessity. What is logically so is necessarily so. What is logically impossible is necessarily impossible. How can you introduce a form of necessity which is outside of logic? You could appeal to a "need" in the sense of pragmatism, and final cause, as the means to an end, what you call "usefulness", but then your proposed end needs to be justified. This justification is a process of logic. So you say, mathematics is "useful" for understanding, but to use mathematics which produces conclusions which are unintelligible is misunderstanding. That is the position we're in with quantum mechanics. Imaginary numbers, infinities, and such, are used for the sake of prediction, so they are useful, but the result can in no way be described as understanding. If we apply good principles of logic, and rid ourselves pragmatic necessity in favour of logical necessity, we have a true course toward understanding. When your pragmatic end must be justified, on what would you pretend to base any other form of true necessity on, other than logic?Metaphysician Undercover

    You’re assuming that necessity must be logical because it needs to be justified, but I’m not under any illusion that I can justify the necessity of illogical possibility - because I recognise that it is as unnecessary as it is necessary. I’m not saying that mathematics produces conclusions that are unintelligible, but that they make use of imaginary numbers and infinities - allowing for their illogical possibility - to produce intelligible conclusions from what would otherwise remain unintelligible. This is not misunderstanding - rather, it enables understanding unbound by logic. When we apply good principles of logic, we are not ridding ourselves of pragmatic necessity, but exploring beyond its bounds, to enable a more accurate understanding of the ‘rules and laws’ of pragmatism. When we act, we are still bound by pragmatic necessity. And when we communicate (ie. when we attempt to justify), we are still bound by logical necessity. But when we relate, we are bound by neither.

    I am limited with time this week, but I hope to get to the rest of your post soon.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    What are ‘things’? This is where the assumption of a self-conscious system, in recognising concepts or things, distorts the way we understand the structure of reality. If it were not for our temporal relation to the ‘thing’, then there is no other distinction between its description and creation.Possibility

    The temporality of a thing is its reality. Having temporal extension makes a thing real because there is no such thing as existence which is just an instant (no extension in time). Therefore "our temporal relation to the 'thing'" is our access to the thing's reality.

    This ‘thing’ we create is conceptual, in relation to what is real, and so the blueprint is a rendering of relational structure, the limited perception of which consolidates that particular form within the mind. Existentially prior to the ‘thing’ is only a relation to what is real: pure possibility structured by the limited perception of the observer (who consolidates) and the limited expression of the observed.Possibility

    The blueprint of the thing, which precedes the thing's material existence, is just as much a part of the thing's reality as is the thing's material existence, because it is a necessary part of the thing's existence.
    So to remove this part of the thing's existence, as not real, is to make a false representation of the thing's reality.

    And again, this assumption of intentionality in time turns creativity into specific rules of how events ought to be done, rather than a variability in how events can be done, limited by awareness, connection and collaboration. ‘Ought’ implies a priori knowledge, an illusion created by the temporal shift of conscious perception, constrained to a logical structure of time.Possibility

    You are reversing what I said. You had mentioned rules, and I said rules imply "ought". Ought implies intention. But intention does not necessarily imply ought, that's why the will is free. So the person with intent makes a plan to bring about the desired material situation, and this is reality. But whether or not the person ought to do this is another issue altogether. However, if we start with the assumption of rules which one ought to follow, then intention is already implied. So intentionality does not necessarily turn creativity into rules and "ought", that's a misrepresentation which is a reversal of reality.

    The invariance required to describe a ‘thing’ is an internal relation of perceived potentiality, but no such invariance is required to create the ‘thing’ prior to describing its form, and no such existence need be assumed.Possibility

    But this is the difficult point. In order for a thing to be a thing, it must have a form, and this implies invariance. Because we believe that there were things in existence before human intention, we want to remove the intention, which we know to cause invariance by the examples above, so that we can have a real thing which is not dependent on intention. We cannot say that "no such invariance is required to create the 'thing'", because to be a thing implies such invariance. And, we have no principles which will tell us where that invariance could come from other than intention. So where can we go?

    I’m not saying that mathematics produces conclusions that are unintelligible, but that they make use of imaginary numbers and infinities - allowing for their illogical possibility - to produce intelligible conclusions from what would otherwise remain unintelligible. This is not misunderstanding - rather, it enables understanding unbound by logic.Possibility

    When the conclusions contain contradiction, such as the idea that the same energy is transmitted both as a wave and as a particle, this must be classed as misunderstanding. Despite your claim that this might be somehow be "intelligible" it is not. There is no such thing as understanding which is unbound by logic. You should easily see that this is illogical and clearly a misunderstanding. Logic is the means for understanding, so anything outside the bounds of logic cannot be understood.
  • Kenosha Kid
    1.4k
    I found a quote by the biologist J B S Haldane which makes the point I was trying to get acrossWayfarer

    Good things come to those who wait.

    For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.
    ...
    This is because, as I said, logical necessity can’t be equated to physical necessity. And this has nothing intrinsically to do with whether it’s a ‘human being figuring it out’ or not - although, as it happens, humans are the only beings we know of who can figure it out. But were some other sentient rational beings to exist somewhere else in the universe, they too would be obligated to recognise logical necessity, and for the same reasons - even if their brains were configured completely differently to our own.Wayfarer

    He's right insofar as the processes themselves don't speak to the truth of a belief they culminate in, as evidenced by the prosperity of untrue beliefs. He's wrong insofar as even a dumb machine can infer accurately. If you believe that your beliefs are true because you believe in them, you have a circularity problem. The precise causes of my beliefs are important, not solely because of the physical mechanisms in the brain that yield them, or the physical configuration that stores them, but because the _external_ causes are not equal. "Because my parents taught me" is not the equal of empiricism, for instance.

    If it were the case that we only believe true things, he might be presenting something of a mystery. As it happens, he's not stating anything but his own additional belief about his beliefs, which is, to me, obviously bogus.

    The physical processes by which we arrive at and recall beliefs are not separable from the beliefs themselves. Knowing more about how these work sheds light on how we can avoid false beliefs, e.g. due to propaganda, which is the art of exploiting the errors and limitations of brains in forging beliefs and making decisions based on them. The fact that a human and a sentient Martian can both figure out the law of the excluded middle demonstrates the efficacy of a highly evolved brain: it would be of no benefit to have a brain that inferred wrongly most of the time, which is why we build good beliefs on evidence and logic. But having the belief is not what makes it true: rather, we need a brain that handles data accurately in order to form good beliefs. Computers handle data accurately, and its trivial to train one to yield good inferences. It's also trivial to train one to yield bad ones.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    even a dumb machine can infer accurately.Kenosha Kid

    Machines infer nothing. They perform calculations, on the basis of which their operators may make inferences.

    the prosperity of untrue beliefs.Kenosha Kid

    :roll:

    The physical processes by which we arrive at and recall beliefs are not separable from the beliefs themselves.Kenosha Kid

    How can you say we arrive at beliefs by 'a physical process'? How is the process 'physical' as distinct from cultural, emotional, and so on?

    And furthermore how are you to judge whether a physical state of the brain or a computer or a switch or anything else, is reliable, without appealing to reason? And where in the material world is 'reason'? Materialists never tire of telling us that the Universe is devoid of it.

    The fact that a human and a sentient Martian can both figure out the law of the excluded middle demonstrates the efficacy of a highly evolved brain:Kenosha Kid

    But you would not know that, unless you knew what the law of the excluded middle meant in the first place. So when you say,

    If you believe that your beliefs are true because you believe in them, you have a circularity problem.Kenosha Kid

    Does that include the primitive laws of logic, such as the law of the excluded middle? Because if you say that those kinds of propositions are simply a matter of belief, then radical scepticism follows.

    But having the belief is not what makes it true: rather, we need a brain that handles data accurately in order to form good beliefsKenosha Kid

    Brains don't 'handle data'. Humans think, reason and infer, 'handling data' is a bad analogy from computer science. Humans have the capacity to reason, to make inferences - that is what makes us the 'rational animal', and what you're doing when you make these arguments.

    What Haldane's quote illustrates, is that rational necessity, or logical necessity, is of a different order to physical necessity. If you were compelled to make the arguments you're making purely because your brain was configured in a particular way, then I'm afraid you'd be something you're clearly not, namely, an idiot.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Relevant quotation from Rene Descartes:

    if there were machines that resembled our bodies and if they imitated our actions as much as is morally possible, we would always have two very certain means for recognizing that, none the less, they are not genuinely human. The first is that they would never be able to use speech, or other signs composed by themselves, as we do to express our thoughts to others. For one could easily conceive of a machine that is made in such a way that it utters words, and even that it would utter some words in response to physical actions that cause a change in its organs—for example, if someone touched it in a particular place, it would ask what one wishes to say to it, or if it were touched somewhere else, it would cry out that it was being hurt, and so on. But it could not arrange words in different ways to reply to the meaning of everything that is said in its presence, as even the most unintelligent human beings can do. The second means is that, even if they did many things as well as or, possibly, better than anyone of us, they would infallibly fail in others. Thus one would discover that they did not act on the basis of knowledge, but merely as a result of the disposition of their organs. For whereas reason is a universal instrument that can be used in all kinds of situations, these organs need a specific disposition for every particular action. — Rene Descartes

    From Discourse on Method, 1637

    Of course, Descartes could not have foreseen neural networks, but it's still surprisingly prescient, and also to the point, which is impressive, considering when it was written. But then, he was a genius.
  • Kenosha Kid
    1.4k
    Machines infer nothing. They perform calculations, on the basis of which their operators may make inferences.Wayfarer

    You can train a neural network to infer, say, the interests of a shopper looking for t-shirts based on similar shoppers who bought t-shirts. The operator infers nothing: they accept the inference, until evidence suggests the neural net is systematically wrong. The error is in assuming that humans do the same thing in a significantly different way.

    How can you say we arrive at beliefs by 'a physical process'? How is the process 'physical' as distinct from cultural, emotional, and so on?Wayfarer

    I'm amazed you assume that I think emotion doesn't have a physical basis. Doesn't seem a rational inference.

    Brains don't 'handle data'.Wayfarer

    I'm also amazed you think that stating your beliefs would move me in any way. I already know you believe this. Untrue beliefs do prosper, see? Handling data is precisely what brains do, with or without the capacity for reason. Or do you believe that all mammals rationally invert images, whiteshift colours, detect outlines, etc?

    What Haldane's quote illustrates, is that rational necessity, or logical necessity, is of a different order to physical necessity.Wayfarer

    No, what Haldane's quote illustrates is that Haldane believed in something that is almost certainly untrue. Viz your Descartes quote also, argument as hominem is only as good as the authority, and authority has progressed somewhat.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    The precise causes of my beliefs are important, not solely because of the physical mechanisms in the brain that yield them, or the physical configuration that stores them, but because the _external_ causes are not equal.Kenosha Kid

    Are you overlooking the internal causes? Surely things like instinct and genetics ought to be classed as internal causes. And these are evident in the subconscious or unconscious levels, being very influential in our emotions. Since the internal, and external causes are completely different classifications, how could you propose any sort of equality, or a single system of measurement which could account for both?

    You can train a neural network to infer, say, the interests of a shopper looking for t-shirts based on similar shoppers who bought t-shirts. The operator infers nothing: they accept the inference, until evidence suggests the neural net is systematically wrong. The error is in assuming that humans do the same thing in a significantly different way.Kenosha Kid

    In the case of internal causes, the so-called training is what has already occurred, and the results of that training lie deep within the genetic codes and things like that. I suggest that the error is in your assumption that training an already existent "neural network", which is already constrained by a specific physical manifestation, is somehow "the same thing" as the process of self-constructing such a network. Notice that in the self-constructed model, the training is already built in to the physical manifestation. That is why the internal causes cannot be balanced or scaled with the external, being far more important, because of all the training (a huge amount of external influence) which has already gone into the construction of the system which produces them. And, this internal system, which is the product of self-training, determines how the external will affect us. But be careful where you go with this, because we still need to avoid that circularity you referred to.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k

    This is why we posit a "soul" in dualist philosophy. The physical body of a living being is always a manifestation of some prior learning. We need to have something to account for that original learning which resulted in the first physical manifestation of a living being. We cannot allow infinite regress, nor can we allow the circle which panpsychism leads toward. So we posit a soul as prior to the physical body, to account for the fact that the living physical body is the manifestation of prior learning.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Handling data is precisely what brains do, with or without the capacity for reason.Kenosha Kid

    Minds don't process binary units. It's a false analogy. I've worked in an AI company, and the system I was documenting didn't 'infer' anything whatever, it responded to queries posed by the designers and users of the system.

    I can see that you're so convinced of your physicalism that there is no prospect of me changing your belief, but if I did do that, nothing physical would have passed between us.
  • Kenosha Kid
    1.4k
    Minds don't process binary units.Wayfarer

    It does not follow that they don't process data, which they absolutely do. Analogue data is still data.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Data - facts, and the assimilation of facts - is only one facet of what minds do. They are also constantly engaged in judgement and reasoning. I do get that in our techno-centric culture it is natural to think of minds as computers, but it’s misleading. 1 , 2.
  • Possibility
    1.7k
    The problem with process philosophy and assuming "events" as fundamental, is that traditionally relations would be inherent within the classical description of an event. An event in the classical sense is a changing of relations between things. Now, as the fundamental element, the "event" is the thing. So we have two new problems. How do we describe what is internal to the fundamental "event", so as to make it consistent with the traditional "event"? What is changing inside that fundamental event to justify calling it an event? And the second problem is on what principles do we relate one event to another, to represent the passing of time. At this point, since we do not have any real understanding of the passing of time, and science turns it into something subjective, the trend is to appeal to panpsychism to justify the apparent continuity of the passing of time.Metaphysician Undercover

    Process philosophy is a starting point - I don’t see ‘events’ as fundamental, rather I see the capacity to describe reality in terms of a variability of relations between 4D ‘events’ rather than a changing of relations between 3D ‘objects’ as simply a step towards a more accurate perspective. This term ‘thing’ refers to an indeterminate concept - neither particularly three, four or five-dimensional, rather whatever is being related to.

    The unfolding universe is commonly viewed as one all-encompassing event: a temporal duration of changing relations between physical matter, from the ‘Big Bang’ to heat death (or some other predicted future end). But if physics is understood as a set of interrelated events with no universally linear progression of time, then what is fundamental cannot be an ‘event’ in itself, but is more like the concept of a ‘block universe’, in which all energy/entropy is structured according to value/potentiality, as determined from the perspective of a particular event/observer - a moveable 4D relation point within a conceptual block universe.

    Don’t get me wrong, though - I’m not subscribing to Eternalism. We also have the capacity to understand reality in terms of a variability of relations between conceptual ‘block universes’ or minds, shifting the fundamental ‘thing’ once again from concepts in a 5D structure of mind to meaningful relations in a 6D structure of possibility.

    The issue of subjectivity is nothing new - science just struggles to apply it to itself, is all. Panpsychism is one way to describe this variability of relations between conceptual structures, by consolidating all five-dimensional relations into ‘things with minds’. So the idea is that anything that WE can consolidate into a ‘thing’ (like a rock) must have a ‘mind’. I don’t agree with this - the consolidation of a ‘rock’ is based on our own conceptual structures. A rock has no internal structural consolidation beyond the molecular level - if it breaks in half, the extent to which it may be ‘aware’ of this is confined to individual molecules suddenly relating to oxygen molecules instead, for instance.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    Process philosophy is a starting point - I don’t see ‘events’ as fundamental, rather I see the capacity to describe reality in terms of a variability of relations between 4D ‘events’ rather than a changing of relations between 3D ‘objects’ as simply a step towards a more accurate perspective. This term ‘thing’ refers to an indeterminate concept - neither particularly three, four or five-dimensional, rather whatever is being related to.Possibility

    I don't see how there could be variability in such relations. An event is something which has occurred in the past, therefore its relations are fixed, invariable, as the facts about the past. There might be variability in our descriptions of these relations, but there is no variability in the actual relations. As for the future, there is no such thing as events in the future, because the future has not occurred yet, so there is only possibilities for events in our understanding of the future.

    The unfolding universe is commonly viewed as one all-encompassing event: a temporal duration of changing relations between physical matter, from the ‘Big Bang’ to heat death (or some other predicted future end).Possibility

    An event only occurs, or unfolds, at the present, as time passes. It doesn't make sense to speak of past events as occurring or unfolding, because they've already occurred, nor does it make sense to speak of future events as occurring. If we say that the present necessarily has temporal extension, then we can extend the present as far as we want into the past, and say that all time until now is the present, but we can't extend it this way into the future. The future has not materialized yet, so there really is no time on that side of the present. So as much as we can extend the present into the past, by understanding the real fixed relations of real past events, we cannot extend the present into the future this way because there are no real fixed events, only what is imagined, predicted, or inferred.
  • Possibility
    1.7k
    I don't see how there could be variability in such relations. An event is something which has occurred in the past, therefore its relations are fixed, invariable, as the facts about the past. There might be variability in our descriptions of these relations, but there is no variability in the actual relations. As for the future, there is no such thing as events in the future, because the future has not occurred yet, so there is only possibilities for events in our understanding of the future.Metaphysician Undercover

    When you describe an event in the past, this is relative to a fixed point of observation: a relating event in itself. So the ‘actual relations’ you’re referring to as invariable are a relation between these two events, not the relations of the event itself - the variability of which transcends this description.

    An event in the classical sense is a changing of relations between things.Metaphysician Undercover

    Right - so describing an ‘event in the future’ is not just a mere possibility, but can more specifically be a calculated probability or potentiality wave that maps changing relations between observables.

    An event only occurs, or unfolds, at the present, as time passes. It doesn't make sense to speak of past events as occurring or unfolding, because they've already occurred, nor does it make sense to speak of future events as occurring. If we say that the present necessarily has temporal extension, then we can extend the present as far as we want into the past, and say that all time until now is the present, but we can't extend it this way into the future. The future has not materialized yet, so there really is no time on that side of the present. So as much as we can extend the present into the past, by understanding the real fixed relations of real past events, we cannot extend the present into the future this way because there are no real fixed events, only what is imagined, predicted, or inferred.Metaphysician Undercover

    Time is bound by materialisation - and events ‘fixed’ - only in relation to a point of observation. So an event can only be observed in matter as time passes, but it exists regardless of the observer’s position as a four-dimensional structure. Time may not be observable on that side of the present, but it is predictable - and our predictions have become increasingly more accurate. This is just as well, because it is not our observations that determine and initiate action, but our predictions.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.8k
    When you describe an event in the past, this is relative to a fixed point of observation: a relating event in itself. So the ‘actual relations’ you’re referring to as invariable are a relation between these two events, not the relations of the event itself - the variability of which transcends this description.Possibility

    It is not a fixed point of observation, the present is not fixed. And the present is not an event itself. It is contradictory to call a fixed point an event, as you do here, "event" is incompatible with "fixed point". Clearly, what we are discussing is whether or not it is true that relations are variable, as in your definition.

    In my understanding of "event" as something in the past, the relations of any event are necessarily fixed, invariable, so it makes no sense to say that there is a variability which transcends the description. The opposite is the case. There is variability in description, but no variability in what has actually occurred, therefore no variability in the relations between the events which actually occurred.

    Right - so describing an ‘event in the future’ is not just a mere possibility, but can more specifically be a calculated probability or potentiality wave that maps changing relations between observables.Possibility

    Talking about an event in the future cannot properly be called a "description" because that refers to observation, there is nothing observed in the future. Talking about a supposed future event is a projection, not a description.

    Time is bound by materialisation - and events ‘fixed’ - only in relation to a point of observation.Possibility

    I disagree with this too. Materialization is bound by time. And the point of observation is also bound by time.

    So an event can only be observed in matter as time passes, but it exists regardless of the observer’s position as a four-dimensional structure.Possibility

    An event can only occur as time passes, regardless of observation. The occurrence of an event requires the passing of time, whether or not there is an observer.
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