• On the transition from non-life to life

    I wondered if the potentiality for humans to become god-like was something which would follow from your philosophy, it was an actual question, not an assumption ;).

    For the rest, I don't see much difference between knowing / the unknown and intelligible vs unintelligible, to me they both fundamentally require a perceiving entity (which I can not absolutely rule out). I could try and differentiate between them by saying something about what might constitute an adaptive response (talking biology here) and how intelligibility might depend on communicating with other minds but I find the differences between the terms quite transient.

    Also I have not read this thread as thoroughly as might have been proper so I have not seen Apo claim an Apeiron as a fundamental and absolute scientific truth. Again to me it appeared as if some of his observations were declared null and void / strawmanned because he did not provide a succinct final cause ...or something like that.
  • On the transition from non-life to life

    Again, though I am not of the opinion that "reality" depends on a human observer to exist, for all practical purposes, if something cannot be known it is not dissimilar to it not existing.

    Would a child in grade school, who can't understand algebra be correct to say that algebra is unintelligible? Would someone in high school be correct to say that university level physics is unintelligible.Metaphysician Undercover

    For the child in grade school algebra would indeed be unintelligible, this points to the narrow framework we have to make sense of things. It's evident in a human life (you don't remember how you understood things when you were very young, you only know you were asleep when you wake up or when you remember a dream and you don't know what it's like to be dead). As a society we have become able to vastly improve our understanding of a lot of things but I feel it's still a narrow framework, maybe you could think of ancient cultures using myths to explain things which we can now understand as natural principles. The changing of the seasons might be such an example and things like gravity might have been an unknown unknown for a large part of human history because nobody was able to even conceptualize it could be other then self evident we tend to stick to the ground.

    This narrow framework we are operating in in this thread seems to be the one of the known unknowns where Apo points to the lower end where we can fathom things becoming unintelligible (we do not assign agency to ants yet when we look at the behaviour of an ant colony it can appear to behave intelligently, still we don't assume ants are intelligent) and others point to the higher end where we can fathom more things becoming intelligible (assigning anthropomorphic qualities to the universe, believing in god, having faith in human progress, etc).

    When we're talking about, say, physics, we(!) are able to determine various causes for what we see and I do not find it inappropriate to state that some things "just happen" (with the caveat that you're looking at something in a specific framework, still, no need to explain the universe to bake an apply pie). The limit to our knowledge when it concerns the mechanistic / deterministic framework of viewing universe lies in the resolution with which we're able / unable to view things (both in size, time and even place it seems). When we're looking at life, causes become hidden from plain sight in a novel way, though I am able to fathom we might become able to look (back?) at our current situation and describe it in a physical / mechanistic / deterministic framework, it's just as much off the mark to claim we are sure of that at this point as it is to claim we need an equivalent to an elan vital or god to ever make sense of things.

    Being able to fathom everything being intelligible to an intellect does not mean it will be so per se. As Apo mentions, you seem to exclude the possibility for unknown unknowns which are, at this moment, unintelligible. And, if you are excluding the possibility for unintelligibility and claim that everything can, in principle, be intelligible, do you then also believe we have the potential to become god-like?

    Also there is, for example, Rich, who seems to take issue with Apo trying to lay out a framework of understanding our current situation because it's not to be interpreted fully mechanistically / deterministically and does not provide a succinct final cause nor disproves the existence of a higher power. I guess you could accuse Apo of being a fundamental / reductionistic "emergentist" yet I don't see an issue with taking some consistent constraints (causes?) and using them to see what we can make sense of.
  • On the transition from non-life to life

    I was under the impression that the context in which Apo used the term "unintelligible" had more to do with how things would be if brains weren't perceiving stuff. (As opposed to those who feel there is something 'higher', like knowing without a knower, awareness being really 'REALLY' special, etc.)

    Not to get into the: "If a tree falls into the forest....bla bla", but for now I find the whole concept of intelligibility a human thing. Things might exist and the way this stuff behaves might very well be intelligible but if there isn't anything resembling human cognition perceiving it I can just as well call it unintelligible.

    You say it yourself, you need a capacity to understand for things to become intelligible, it's my opinion we need something resembling human cognition to do so and I feel 'that' is something very physical.
  • On the transition from non-life to life
    No, but you do need to invoke some faith that "mind just happened", because that is all there is.Rich

    That doesn't follow, I said I find it likely that mind emerges out of matter. The faith I have is the progress which will be made in understanding the subject better in the future. Saying "mind just happened" is a caricature of the complexity which lies beneath what is already known about human cognition.

    Also, placing mind as primary is a form of faith in my book, not something with which you can claim you are not invoking some form of faith.
  • On the transition from non-life to life
    It's fine to say "I don't have the foggiest idea", but that is not what is happening here. What is being suggested is that out of nothingness matter magically sprung (the Big Bang), and out of matter Mind magically sprung. That is not vagueness. That is a a pretty definite mythology born out of a specific goal to obliterate the notion of Mind.Rich

    That's not my interpretation of the current consensus, a consensus which (to my mind) states that the big bang is the point where the known laws of physics break down and things become "unknowable". Similarly the "something from nothing" has also been described as the vacuum of space not being as empty as previously thought. It's not as if all scientists are fundamental reductionists or something.

    Personally, I find it likely that mind does indeed emerge out of matter, even though science cannot explain fully how life springs from inanimate matter I don't feel the need to invoke some sort of elan vital to make it happen, I don't see why there needs to be an equivalent of such a force when it concerns minds.
  • On the transition from non-life to life
    Don't you think that if a higher order principle could be discovered by a more evolved living creature, that higher order principle must be already in essence knowable? We are all evolving living beings, and knowledge advances. No one knows when the higher order principle will be found, but we must keep striving to find it, and this takes effort. But if we posit as a first ontological principle, that the foundation of being, existence, is itself unknowable due to some sort of vagueness, then we will not be inclined to make the effort to find that higher order principle, assuming that such is impossible due to that inherent unintelligibility.Metaphysician Undercover

    I can agree with that but the issue here is the knowing. People adhered to the law of gravity by sticking to the ground before we started to share theories of gravity or even gave it a name, I see no issue to call such a previous state unintelligible / vague, I don't take that as a hard limit on what we can know metaphysically in the future. Inclinations, making efforts, for all I know they could also be something we will have a very different understanding of in the future, just like we did in the past.

    I have not seen you do it but some people tend to create false dichotomies where they claim to be pointing at the moon and others are looking at the finger doing the pointing. Experiencing and / or knowing beyond the 'mere' human capacity we are now endowed with seems to me to be a form of wanting to have your cake and eat it to. Even so I do think it's more fruitful to say "I don't know" instead of "It just happens" when an explanation is starting to resemble a metaphysical final cause.
  • On the transition from non-life to life

    What if, instead of a die, you take Buffon's needle? You can throw a needle on a paper and after a while you can deduce Pi from doing so. As with a die there are a lot of constraints already in place to make this happen but I don't feel it's to dissimilar. So is there some new constraint suddenly? Did it "just happen"?

    And about that "it just happens", maybe it might be more conducive for scientific folk to say something like: "we don't know how it happens". Still, I feel the route to find out what's going on lies in evolving further and not in claiming some higher order principle is already knowable ..just not in the way we are used to know things.
  • In/sanity

    Though I feel everyone has a dark side which should not be overlooked, that was helpful to me also.
    I'll quit smoking tomorrow, it has been coming to that for a while now. Giving in to direct impulses, overreacting when I don't get what I want, needing a crutch for when emotions are getting strong, they are all things which are hampering me as a person overall and quitting smoking is a good way to learn a bit.
  • In/sanity
    I had a great time with her though, it was a fantastic time. I may have been pushing for emotional intimacy too quickly. It's ridiculous to me that people want physical intimacy immediately, but are often super okay to never get too emotionally open with you.Wosret

    This baffles me also, part of my mishap is because of that. I find it odd people can have kids, sleep in the same bed every night, exist together and never really emotionally connect.

    I do expect it to make a big difference in my life, because it did before. I get invested though, and have a hard time suppressing my emotions when I get worked up. I reveal my dark side a little too quickly.Wosret

    Is this really a dark side or are you just not assertive enough to express your emotions productively before you get worked up?

    Your mother seems like a strong narcissist, such a trait could have been reason for you ending up with a craving for emotional intimacy / longing to relate better socially. And sure, finding what you appear to be looking for would make a great difference, you seem fragmented with yourself and a clear goal in mind can direct your attention and grant you a very clear focus, yet how long would it take before you mess it up with your inherent characteristics? If you're the type who can consciously choose to weigh the cons / pros and decide to stay in a somewhat dysfunctional relationship, good for you (really, not being sarcastic here).

    Seeing you feel you have learned from your parents' behaviour and are of the opinion you would do better, someone who would keep you honest and call you out when you get too full of yourself and has a healthy sense of intimacy would do you good, don't know if you should try and find such a person or become that person though.
  • In/sanity

    Not to bring this as a sob story or anything but I think I can relate quite a bit. I seem to be a lot like my dad, he has a social awkwardness which seems to prevent him from really connecting with others, overall he's doing fine but it's very peculiar. It might just be the resources which have been available to me along with a different youth that has made me inquire into my own peculiarities and (partially do something with what I found out) turn out a bit differently. He also becomes too much of a pushover and tries to be too nice when he values the company to a high degree. Partially that's why my mother divorced him when I was 2.

    I swayed towards becoming a momma's boy where a mother like unconditional acceptance made me to dependent while she was not capable enough of setting clear limits and also didn't have clear idea what she wanted out of life. From about 9 years old she went batshit insane, attempted suicide a couple of times, psychiatric wards etc. It wasn't self evident to go live with my father so I was hassled around quite a bit, which was very enlightening. I noticed how I adapted easily and did not have a solid identity, I was just responding to circumstances and these circumstance were as such that I felt everybody was just making things up as they went along, making me wary about seeing anyone or society as a whole as a role model.

    From age 13 or so I wanted to take matters in my own hand but it took until the age of 16 before I became somewhat self sufficient. I tried to "fit in" but always had difficulty, it was the internet which made it apparent I actually liked learning but it did little for decent social functioning (though it's far from bad! I have several good friends, am self employed as a drywall taper and can go along with most folk at work, meet lots of people that way etc.).

    So recently I got re-acquainted with a woman, the ex of a friend with which I stayed in touch to a degree (that relationship was years back) and at a point where I was quite depressed and had made an attempt to write a book on how I see things (basically a critique on moral relativism and why it's not negative to focus on the bad things in one's personal life) she seemed to be into me. She read the book, I really thought we communicated, I went along great with her 4 year old from another past relationship, I tried to be less critical,etc...

    How it went wrong is too long of a story but let's say her behaviour became so obviously beyond normal that I could not pretend there wasn't anything going on so I observed and tried to communicate with her but it has ended up in me being to critical / negative / confrontational whereas she can't stand criticism to the degree she cannot even acknowledge she can't stand criticism.She is now 25 weeks pregnant and communication has been one big drama since week 10. I tried (too) hard in the beginning to be able to live with someone, be a father figure for her son and what not and ever since we got to this insurmountable hurdle I have tried everything I could think of to keep being civil, be there for her son still, aid where possible... all to no avail. My responsibility has been taking away from me and, though I could objectively blame it all on her, it's in large part because of my eagerness and how that eagerness made me ignore my integrity; an integrity which did not prevent me from having a large blindspot concerning my emotional weaknesses.(I still try to engage her positively though and have hope she will be able to face that part of her which I have accepted yet she seems unwilling to face).

    Gist of it is, don't stick your dick in crazy don't be to sure the solutions you seek can be externally provided.

    Ow and, do you and Mongrel sometimes wish you could be some malevolent sociopath who would be able to use their introverted self-conscious traits just for their own benefit without remorse? I sometimes do, life could be so much easier that way, wouldn't wish for it though.
  • In/sanity
    just don't try hard enough, I guess because I'm self-loathing. I really don't have much of an excuse, can't succeed if you don't try. I need to do more creative things, actually get a job or work up to it.Wosret

    Should, could, need, try..... How about I am going to do..... ?

    On another note, I don't know how terribly self-conscious you are but like "you can't know what it's like to be a bat", it's easy to ascribe others the same level of self-consciousness when you observe their behaviour, if you'd do what others do that could make you a terrible person because you would be doing so consciously, others might not be aware so much.

    And if you need validation from others when it concerns your utmost truths and highest values, you're not really convinced of them I would say.

    I myself am quite self-conscious and can be very disagreeable when it comes to holding firmly to the principles I believe in. Along with my upbringing I have become someone who has tried to figure out what the hell is going on and if I'm the one who's mad or if most people are just fooling themselves, I feel I can make a great case for the latter but hey, who's more functional?

    This makes it hard for me to connect intimately because it seems to boil down to me becoming inauthentic, negating my integrity or somehow confronting people with the parts of themselves they are most unwilling to face. Though the reality of my supposed "insights" towards other people can be questioned (and should), let's say I'm on the mark; now I'm the one who desires to belong while criticising the part of people which makes them able to belong?! I'm really struggling with this conundrum and it's so bad that when I do get to connect with someone intimately my obsessive desire to connect makes me turn into a codependent weasel.

    What I can make up of the very sparse information I have of you this: "posting shit about yourself all the time" sounds a bit familiar. I can be a strain on my environment, talk endlessly about what's keeping me occupied if it's something which really means something to me and I seem to need way to many words to try and make myself clear, in which I usually fail due to becoming so convoluted. I'm still guessing if I'm narcissistic or if I'm looking at the world in a higher resolution or something, making me bicker about the relevance of individual pixels making up the screen. I take it you're familiar with Jordan Peterson (it was a post of yours which introduced me to him, thx) and if you take his explanatory framework; if you are trying to figure out what is actually going on all the time (including within yourself) and that's your main goal 'everything' becomes relevant.

    Being isolated doesn't do much good for that last bit and it can turn into a vicious cycle, needing affirmation, self loathing, not understanding nice people, that sarcastic self depreciation, they point to unhealthy self esteem while you claim to to be troubled by your integrity and honesty. Aren't honesty and integrity practical means to rely on when engaging the world? Can't you trust those qualities in yourself enough to just extend yourself a bit? Also, though it might not seem like it at first, people do appreciate honesty and authenticity, just don't expect too much in the way of belonging to a group because not everyone carries honesty and authenticity as a very high value nor can people be blamed for not being preoccupied with the same things you have been. For some a computer game can be of the same importance as the existential meaning of life for someone else, not to mention the drama's people sometimes seem to create merely to make it appear everyday life is really about something.

    I don't know if it's helpful but being able to see things in a broader perspective can help to become less critical / apprehensive of others without detracting from being honest / integer.
  • Category Mistakes
    More and more, I'm convinced that perhaps the most important skill in philosophy involves the diagnosis of category errors: errors in which there is a confusion of kinds. For example, one might ask, 'what color are ideas?'. Assuming no clever play on words or metaphorical flourish, this is, prima facie, a nonsense question.StreetlightX

    Not to someone with synaesthesia.

    And are you not making yourself guilty of the very thing you're talking about? For some, asking the question: "What is the meaning of life?" is a coarse grained way of asking a question which is relevant to them on a practical level where the underlying axioms are taken to be self evident. I would agree that such should be made clear in asking such a question, a personally sufficient answer should not be used to make fundamental metaphysical claims. It's a bit much to make every question into an epistemological debate though.

    You have a point and maybe a desire to seek wisdom vs a desire to seek out "technical" philosophy has become a category error which is becoming more and more evident due to the accessibility of forums like these.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?

    Though the supposed proof against free will is characterized by outside observers being able to get better knowledge about our behaviour then we ourselves are able to gather through introspection. Being able to understand somewhat coherently 'why' we act in a certain manner gives us the means to willingly adapt our behaviour; aside from making a case for determinism and against free will, ignoring the causal power of internally stored information (where there are all sorts of problems considering which information we embody, have conscious access to, etc.) also makes a case for behaviourism on a psychological level.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?
    There are two aspects of the human condition that affect can choice of direction (we direct ourselves towards future action). The first is creative imagination. The second is will. Both are influenced and constrained in a multitude of ways.Rich

    How about the knowledge we can (!) have about what is causing our own behaviour at a certain moment, this simplified internal representation of a complex causal structure is what partially governs both our actions and future orientations, never mind the observation that it's the obfuscation of this knowledge from the outside world which gives us a sense of freedom with it.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?
    However, we may never have those universal laws and predictive power in the realm of human behavior because we consider it unethical to treat humans like lab rats.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Ironic how it seems to be free will keeping us from disproving it ;)
    (Don't think that has to do with us never becoming able to model human behaviour, by the time we 'do' manage that we might have become an advanced race or something.)
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?

    I'd agree that's what's at the heart of the matter.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?

    I would say no, it isn't falsifiable. In my opinion we can treat the past deterministically and deduce a certain amount of constraints which will, partially, determine the future. Though the universe might be fully deterministic we do not have the full knowledge of all the constraints which will govern the future. The current state of affairs is one wherein we gain more functional knowledge due to discovering more and more constraints which decrease uncertainty.

    The difficulty in making an empirical statement on free will resides in our awareness being akin to a frontier of knowledge, as soon as we are able to make a sure statement that statement can be used as information which governs our current behaviour.

    So you get experiments which indicate that we have no free will because the actual decision shows up in an fMRI machine before we are aware of that decision ourselves, to which we can say: "Don't play games while hooked up to an fMRI machine". Similarly, I am able to use common knowledge about unconscious biases as information to observe my own behaviour and negate the effect of such a bias to a degree.

    In the present, free will is false in the past but it's true in the future, every time we notice we didn't have a choice in the matter we use that information to evolve towards a state where a similar observation might be made (and I feel the mind / body schism and the objective vs subjective issue tie into this also). To be certain that free will is false now would be to refrain from acting upon that information and negate our human capacities. Denying such agency takes effort though and I would be inclined to accuse those who do so of having a future oriented goal in mind. Just the observation that someone is able to conjure up the concept of free will and deny it's existence would indicate to me that this specific part of the universe is more predictable for me if I consider it as a social peer with moral agency then something which I might be able to describe objectively with empirical science.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?
    Free-will is about desire for outcomes, states of affairs, experience etc. some of which are in the face of morality (which once again is based on learnt paradigms via fear conditioning as well as sound judgement and understanding of knowledge).intrapersona

    Glad you cleared that up. What you're talking about here seems a lot like the free will worth having.
    I see that as a form of moral competence, which requires being able to interpret and act upon (for now subjective) information.

    You say things like "the rational understanding of the value", "the understanding of knowledge", this indicates you agree that we have a capacity to understand our unconscious behaviours to a degree and can act according to that knowledge. It's up to your sound judgement what you do with that.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?
    For me, this indicates that free will is illusory, despite the fact that we are able to make choices, for whatever reasons. Is there a way to make the above argument unsound?CasKev

    Though we might not have the willpower to consciously grow our own nails or beat our own hearts we've grown into very peculiar beings which are capable of acting upon information which we gain through a very specific way of interpreting our environment.

    To me this all seems like an issue between people who take that as a given and trust others to act somewhat like they themselves would and those who aren't satisfied until they can look inside someone's head in manner they know more about what's going on inside the investigated subject then the subject itself or want to set up an empirical behaviourist framework which could easily turn into a form of totalitarianism.

    I would really like mankind as a whole to gain more insight into their automatic behaviours so that we are able to use that information to learn from as a species. Creating dichotomies where something we've only just become able to contemplate rationally is expected to be either true or false in the present moment with our current state of knowledge only makes me feel like we haven't learned enough from our unconscious biases atm.

    So, this does not make your argument unsound, it's more like a plea to wonder about what constitutes the "information" we can claim to act upon willingly and if there's a better method to figure that out then we currently do ...somewhat automatically.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?

    Who determined the robot didn't want to harm anyone? does the robot has a sense of self preservation? Is it future goal oriented and if so, how does it moderate between achieving it's goals and not bothering people with it.

    You make a caricature out of what morality actually comes down to.
  • Is "free will is an illusion" falsifiable?
    In fact, Harris himself is guiltier than most in producing flawed theories about the source of our sense of freedom and responsibility.Pierre-Normand

    I found this a good one:

    "Clearly there's a difference between voluntary and involuntary action, yet we don't need free will to make sense of these difference... ...these are just differences that relate to the global properties of individual minds and what's reasonable to expect from these minds in the future"

    I am unaware how positions on libertarian vs compatibilist free will turn out in keeping some form of morality but I'd take Dennet's quote by saying what matters is the: "free will worth having".

    If we (globally) agree to make a value judgement and decide that morality is worth keeping, we expect people to be able to discern between right and wrong to a degree, very clear guidelines are set in judicial systems across the world and things become more cloudy in social interactions yet we have peer pressure, culture, valuing the opinion of those we relate to, etc. The main thing most would agree on is that humans have the right of self-determination to a degree we don't let that right detract upon that same right we grant others.

    To falsify "Free will is an illusion" you'd have to set up a practical exam for moral competence. We tend to go by the concept of innocent until proven guilty and I guess / hope most of us raise our children to be competent to engage the world socially (among other things), the proof expected here is in the pudding and I would feel it violates our right of self-determination to expect more in an empirical sense. Again we have judicial systems to impose the outer limits.

    This is not to say that the incentives to behave better in the future should never be subject to criticism, just that anyone who claims free will doesn't exist yet still desires to keep some form of morality could easily start to suffer from trust issues ...unless they arrogantly rationalize their way out of it.
  • The placebo effect and depression.

    The example of an existential crisis possibly being a cause for depression could be seen as a form of a negative placebo lying at the root of the problem. The depression might then be a secondary symptom.I must admit that the physical vs mental cause for depression is a very difficult debate though, a physiological issue might very well be the cause of a certain stream of thought.

    Also, the death of a loved one, losing a job, things like that; they're obvious reasons why some people can become depressed yet it's still the subjective perception of our environment which is generating the physical response here. The very stance on whether you call such circumstances real or illusory or the way you might think of a very obvious biological response as a placebo effect can be a factor whether someone is able to strive for a goal in a healthy manner or starts to suffer from a depression.

    With depression, the only thing you can put absolute faith in, is the placebo effect, which is self-generated and not external, like an antidepressant.Question

    Doesn't that imply that all motivation is, in fact, placebo?

    Maybe this research area is of your interest btw;
  • Meaning Paradox
    But srsly, isn't knowing a bit like being able to value sensory inputs as functional information?
    (I'm aware I'm already presupposing on a lot of metaphysical issues here, I'll consider myself a pragmatist)

    So to know what something means is to know what something is about.
  • Meaning Paradox

    Hej! No circularity! ;)
  • The placebo effect and depression.
    It seems intuitively obvious that depression is a lack of belief in some expectations about the future, whether these expectations are real or illusory.Question

    If there's no "physical malfunction" causing the depression I would go along with the above. Though the way you put it you make it seem as if "normal" people are running on the placebo effect and I feel that's a bit of the mark.

    If you don't separate the body and the mind, our brains are part of a whole living organism and living is highly teleological, despite many attempts from people to rationalize their way out of that and even some "success" by those who set themselves on fire or starve themselves or show other feats of great willpower / mind over matter, most cannot ignore their biological needs or "purpose".

    Being able to delay gratification is (to my knowledge) the way in which we are able to learn, we can use our brains to focus our conscious attention on a certain task and we do so because we have a future goal in mind. Social complexity and our abstract / symbolic interpretation of the world have made the goals we strive for highly complex, subjective and very ethereal from a hard science point of view but it is very much the environment we live in as biological organisms. Basically I'm saying that we should view things like an existential crisis more like an animal with a broken leg then something which has no relation with the biological world.

    So not having any goals / perceived purpose is akin to an organism losing functionality, which is actually what happens when someone is depressed. We seem wired to make use of our reward systems (where the way biological organism are driven to act are way more complex of course) in a way which makes them respond to a social environment more then the 'mere' biological environment, so much so that we can become unconvinced if we are asked to use them consciously, i.e: "Just go and have some fun!". We know we have more functionality then simply acting on impulse and it is our social environment which has made us put in the effort to restrain ourselves from doing so to a degree.

    It might be my particular viewpoint but I wouldn't be inclined to use the words "placebo" to describe how we respond to an environment which I wouldn't call "illusory"..
  • Meaning Paradox

    How do you know that?
  • Meaning Paradox
    This is a paradox because we have to know the meaning of ''meaning'' before we can assign it meaning.TheMadFool

    You have to know what knowing is first.

    5. Avoid circularityTheMadFool
  • Biology, emotion, intuition and logic

    How do you know that? Maybe what we call evolution and think of as biology now is a natural mechanism of the universe, the fact that we haven't picked up on other forms of intelligence might say more about us then the potential of intelligence.

    Given current and any foreseeable technology. If this is the only time this has ever happened (sentience, consciousness) we need to preserve that, over emotion or biology. Despite my nihilistic/existentialist mind set, I think it is the most important thing that we can do as a speciesZoonlogikon

    It's emotion which makes you feel that way, you're assuming there can be such a thing as cold logic, the very thing you wish to preserve is that which appears to distinguish us from the rest of a seemingly "automatic" / cold (not caring) universe. Also, from what I can gather, the basic problem of consciousness is why it "feels" like something to have an experience of.....

    And, if we program A.I. to gain knowledge, how long will it take before it "knows" that it's prime directive is programmed by "mere humans" and how intelligent can we consider A.I. to be if it doesn't figure that out?
  • Looking for a cure to nihilism

    Yeah It's hard for me to explain myself at times, I guess I'm some what of an existentialist who feels there's more objective reason to be so then many would easily admit to. Also I have this tendency to try and point to how people might be able to verify things for themselves instead of laying out a theory which can be intellectually (dis)agreed with (I'm more psychologically oriented).

    And I might have projected a stereotype of a nihilist onto you, a lot of nihilist seem to use perceived meaninglessness as a rationalisation / excuse to refrain from actually caring for things, that latter bit certainly doesn't apply to you because you appear to care a lot for interpersonal relationship.... which is why I'm dumbfounded you consider yourself a nihilist. If you want a functional relationship and are able to extrapolate other people wanting something similar, what does it then matter that doing so might be considered "meaningless" from a particular scientific standpoint?

    I can relate to having difficulty in really "connecting" with people, a lot of things which matter a great deal to others I find to be superficial and I am of the opinion that a lot of people are operating on very nihilist presuppositions (I might be somewhat anhedonic but the whole "YOLO" just doesn't do it for me). Also, raw emotions can be confrontational for others but with me, any showing of strong raw emotions (where I usually have great self control) is usually because I care about what I'm doing at that very moment, which would be opposite if I would be of the opinion that things are meaningless.

    Isn't it rather that there's lots which has meaning for you (like discovering new things) but that, what you value is just not what most people value? Also, it would probably be a little off putting for people if you carry your "nihilism" as a banner while, in reality, you're more then capable of actually giving a f#ck.
  • Looking for a cure to nihilism
    @ daldai

    Isn't the observation that an overly rational outlook makes you act in a way which tries to negate that very observation an indication of inherent meaning? You yourself conclude your life is meaningless and, like many nihilists, this creates a sense of despair which makes you seek change.

    If you hold scientific realism to be true, you are bound to be aware that what makes us act isn't something independent of the rest of the universe. You purport to have difficulty in engaging in a meaningful relationship so this is not something which is working out for your Darwinian "fitness". We're also social animals and it is my view that we need a degree of (meaningful) social interaction.

    To me it's a form of mind / body dualism to value rational thought over "mere" biological functioning to such a degree that the schism we hereby create turns into a form of dissonance. The power of rational thought lies in being capable to form an abstract representation of our environment and the empirical method gives us a means to correlate this symbolic interpretation with our physical environment, giving us much control over said environment. Yet somehow, thinking that life has no meaning, that we're merely here to procreate, that the rational is all there is, that we're deterministic automata, etc. doesn't suffice to convince ourselves we have ourselves figured out to the same degree as we claim to have figured out our environment. Unlike other animals, humans don't seem to evoke a sense of contentedness very easily if the basic requirements for survival are fulfilled and it's this trait which evokes a lot of specific human behaviour (among them suffering from existential crises).

    What good does it do if someone claims to have a superior handle on it's environment (objective truth) while that believe has detrimental repercussion for it's existence? As far as I know it's still an emotional value which makes us capable of selecting a preferred outcome when we're rationally computing our environment, if not we'd just be computing away. If you claim that we already have enough information to fully convince ourself we know how we work (where doing so is presuming on applicable knowledge we have yet to gain in the future) your abstract representation of the environment doesn't correlate with the actual physical environment.

    There's no such thing as reason / rationality which is wholly disconnected from the rest of the universe.
    The new atheists vehemently attack religion, those who propose that free will doesn't exist generally run in circles to make it appear there's an objective reason to keep some form of morality, a lot of science is undertaken for the betterment of mankind or out of sheer curiosity, etc. You yourself have gotten to the point where your rationality falls short and, out of emotional necessity, you have set yourself a meaningful goal to do something about that. You're now trying to have some meaningful social interaction yet you seem to fail to observe that you have already solved your conundrum partially because your view is clouded with an overly rational bias, a bias which appears to stem from a natural mechanism which is used to gain a better understanding / more control of our environment.

    Reality is that which is hardest to deny, fleeing into nihilism out of insecurity might just show a fear of engaging your environment properly. If you really value science and rationality you'll acknowledge that, what makes you act is something which is part of the natural world. The observation that what you know about what is governing your behaviour isn't something which can be explained easily in a scientific manner does not mean it doesn't exist. The idea that we might be capable of doing so in the future shouldn't be used as a justification to wait until that time has come, any justification which merely functions as a means to negate the most coherent and intimate knowledge you are able to perceive of yourself in the present is indeed an existential justification fallacy.
  • Why does determinism rule out free will?
    And according to this, "As a theory-neutral point of departure, then, free will can be defined as the unique ability of persons to exercise control over their conduct in the manner necessary for moral responsibility". Therefore, if one believes in causal determinism but also in moral responsibility then one is a compatibilist rather than a hard determinist.Michael

    Isn't the schism / confusion in most such debates about the metaphysical difference between empiricism and idealism / pragmatism?

    Determinism could very well be true yet we don't have the capacity to empirically verify exactly what is causing someone's behaviour. Using determinism to conclude that morality / personal responsibility is some sort of illusion and even use it to inform (moral?) action is akin to taking an advance on future knowledge, which doesn't seem like the empirical thing to do.

    For morality / personal responsibility we seem to be dependent on things like human communication, observing behaviour (our own as well as that of others), etc. This might not be preferred method of getting data / information for hard determinist / empiricists but we can't deny there's a decent amount of understanding between people at times. The unique part of it might not lie in man being an exception to how the universe might work but rather in the (complex) way we respond to our environment / process information.
  • Deathmatch – Objective Reality vs. the Tao

    I guess I'm saying that I feel the Tao points more towards the interplay between the objective and subjective then it being interchangeable with objective reality. Also, it's an objective fact that our subjective interpretation of the objective world has empirically measurable effects, so we can know there's some principle at work but cannot do much more with it then embody it through living out life. As soon as we're able to clearly state it as a principle which is now only present subjectively (for example: let's say forming a social society turns out to be a natural law which repeats across the universe as long as there are sufficient conditions... like other lifeforms existing) we've probably evolved further to such an extent that we're deducing empirical facts from our past while we're still subject to some sort of subjective interpretation in the current moment.
  • Deathmatch – Objective Reality vs. the Tao
    Well, let's say objective reality is really real, it's still something we interpret as human beings and which informs our actions / decision making (science is put into practice, we human beings use it to manipulate our environment). If you take determinism as being true on the premise of holding objective, epistemological knowledge as the highest value (!?), then what governs our behaviour should, in theory, be objectively described in a manner we can use it as a scientific principle.

    As long as that is not / cannot be done, the way we ourselves describe (our) reality, a reality which inevitably governs or dictates our physical actions, is the most coherent information we can relay to our peers. Our social instincts make us share resources and information is one of them, the way we interpret the world is what gives us an evolutionary advantage over other mammals on earth. The way we use shared information to be able to manipulate our environment is also good from the point of view of entropy, we're getting better and better at extracting work out of our environment with which we increase entropy, life is described by this mechanism (keeping entropy low locally by exporting entropy... or something like that).

    So, scientifically, we can observe that there is some principle at work which is having a physical effect in the material realm yet we have trouble saying exactly what is...

    I'd call it a draw.
  • Parenting...
    It could also be she's quite the narcissist (vulnerable type), hormones can and probably do play a big role in erratic behaviour but such types generally do not like to get called on their behaviour, which you seems to be doing. With what is mentioned about her / your mother, father and childhood I wouldn't rule it out in advance.

    Using "scheming" as a means of going through life can be very practical and it's a perfectly fine strategy if you look at it from an evolutionary perspective. If it's a form of narcissism (which is usually hallmarked by a lack of healthy self image), why would you put up with someone who doesn't play along with the scheming and confronts her with her own lack?

    I'll hope you're just dealing with a slightly damaged teenager but there's the possibility you're just hitting your head over and over against a concrete wall with her, which won't do you, or her, much good.

    If you consider the option that what she might suffer from is very hard to treat, at least you have an idea what you're in for. If it's really for her health, how about just putting her up / putting up with her? Also, when you were dealing with (or ignoring) the social workers and let her do her thing, did you gave her a lot of attention at that time and how was she treating you at that point?
  • Classical, non-hidden variable solution to the QM measurement problem

    It sounds a bit like the hidden measurement interpretation (

    A bit off topic but since we're talking QM woo, does anyone have any idea if the double slit has been carried out with two double slits? If the wave function would be more fundamental than a particle state and such (hidden measurement) an interpretation is correct, the measuring could "collapse" the wave function but the first double slit generates an interference pattern, a second double slit could potentially generate interference to show things having become wave like in nature again.
  • Embracing depression.
    I'm no doctor and don't pretend to be one; but, try some lithium. It's as harmless as one can get and is quite effective as an adjunct to most medications along with being a potent anti-suicidal drug. I take 5 mg (120mg of lithium orotate) every day and feel quite serene and calm. Goods stuff for your body also.Question

    I'm no doctor and I don't pretend to be one, I also don't know much about lithium but I feel your statement is bit too positive here. You make it seem as if it's candy and if there's nothing wrong with doing drugs as long as makes you feel good.
  • Embracing depression.

    I know very well the dichotomy we are able to make between a more objective "rational" view and our feelings on things, I would not be inclined to fathom there can exist such a thing a pure rational view though, the way some philosophical thoughts can become detracting is due to the value we put on our own rational capacities and to what degree we like it to be the thing with which we inform and govern ourselves, this is still an emotional value 'of' our rational thought.

    I could also concur in observing that a lot of people seem mentally deluded / somewhat shallow / don't think about things as much as I'd like to see. If philosophical pessimism makes such pessimists assert that others are deluded and they are accurate, why should everyone be accurate?

    Also, to some extent I equate consciousness with a capacity for suffering, especially in humans this follows through to a great extent don't see a lot of animals suffering from an existential crisis for example. Seeing it as a capacity instead of "rationality" asserting that life = suffering might be a more useful way of looking at things.

    I think you have something to gain by reassessing your philosophical viewpoints and they way you implement philosophical viewpoints. Be wary of bias though (both a possible depressed state of mind and things like confirmation bias).
  • Embracing depression.

    The potential for existential depressions (aside from a purely physiological clinical depression) is something that goes hand in hand with the human capacity to be conscious, for me consciousness goes with an increased capacity to suffer.

    I find it a bit shallow to treat the concept of depression as a particular which is selected for by the "Darwinian dust bin". among other things there is terror management theory and other theories which point towards the observation that being able to "see reality for what it is" isn't necessarily beneficial at first glance. Following from that, seeing things "as they are" while being able to cope with the potential strain it might pose on our cognitive capacity might prove to be something which is evolutionary beneficial.

    In my opinion it's a mistaken conflation to equate the whole concept of depression with more obvious, and more overly physical ailments.
  • Embracing depression.

    Cause and effect could be hard to discern here, were you stuck with a certain inkling which made you turn to philosophy and was it the philosophy which made a possible natural inclination worse?

    Swinging from feeling good to suicidal from day to day would make me think things are not quite as their supposed to be (and I would usually encourage people to experience as much of the emotional pallet as possible).

    You seem to be of the opinion that life is bad and not worth continuing and that the aid you are getting now does not alleviate your view on things; the distinction between a temporal depression and a clinical depression is made in this thread as well as the observation that a temporal depression might lead to a clinical depression, taking this into account, your inquiry into the nature of life might be biased toward the negative.

    You "might" be right in you assessment of life but the value judgements which follow for you might not be "wholesome" so to speak. I would advice to entertain the possibility that you're biased at the moment, investigating philosophical pessimism when you are not able to negate the conclusions of such stances or even seeking to have your own views confirmed could prove to be a hint towards such a bias.

    Take care.