I probably shouldn't be talking to someone who thinks distinguishing a sack
of potatoes from a woman means understanding women.

News flash: understand tacitly implies understand completely.

On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 8:37 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

>
>
> On Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:09:44 AM UTC-4, Brian Tenneson wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 4:46 AM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:31:55 AM UTC-4, Brian Tenneson wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 8:53 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:37:14 PM UTC-4, Brian Tenneson wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> You keep claiming that we understand this and that or know this and
>>>>>> that.  And, yes, saying something along the lines of "we know we 
>>>>>> understand
>>>>>> because we care about what we understand" *is* circular.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> No, it's not. I'm saying that it is impossible to doubt we understand.
>>>>> It's just playing with words. My point about caring is that it makes it
>>>>> clear that we intuitively make a distinction between merely being aware of
>>>>> something and understanding it.
>>>>>
>>>> I'll try to explain how  "we know we understand because we care about
>>>> what we understand" is circular.  Note the use of the word understand
>>>> towards the left edge of the statement in quotes followed by another
>>>> instance of the word understand.
>>>>
>>>
>>> You should read it as "we know we understand because we care about X".
>>> My only intention in repeating the word was to make it clear that the thing
>>> that we care about is the thing that we understand. It is the caring which
>>> is a symptom of understanding. The absence of that symptom of caring in a
>>> machine indicates to me that there is a lack of understanding. Things which
>>> understand can care, but things that cannot care cannot understand.
>>>
>>> Now that isn't circular but that's a poor sign of understanding.  I care
>> very much for women but I can't say that I understand them.
>>
>
> That's a cliche. You may not be able to understand women completely, but
> you are not likely to confuse them with a sack of potatoes in a dress. With
> a computer, the dress might be all that a security camera search engine
> might look for, and may very well categorize a sack of potatoes as a woman
> if it happens to be wearing a dress.
>
>
>>   I understand the rules of English grammar and punctuation but care
>> little of it.
>>
>
> Yes, you don't have to care about it, but you can care about it if you
> want to. A machine does not have that option. It can't try harder to follow
> proper grammar, it can only assign a priority to the task. It has no
> feeling for which tasks are assigned which priority, which is the entire
> utility of machines.
>
>
>> I'm sure you can think of examples.  So the two are not correlated,
>> caring and understanding.
>>
>
> Can you explain why the word understanding is a synonym for kindness and
> caring? A coincidence?
>
>
>> Caring is not something that can really be measured in humans while
>> caring can be measured in machines/computers.
>>
>
> Give me a break.
>
>
>>   For example, one might define caring about something means it is
>> thinking a lot about it
>>
>
> You might define warm feelings by the onset of influenza but that is a
> false equivalence.
>
>
>> , where a lot means some threshold like over 50% resources are dedicated
>> to think about something for a while (a nonzero, finite span of time).
>> These days, we can multitask and look up the resource monitor to see what
>> the CPU cares about, if anything.
>>
>
> That has nothing whatsover to do with caring. Does the amount of money in
> your wallet tell you how much your wallet values money?
>
>
>> If it doesn't care about anything, it uses close to 0% and is called
>> idle.
>>
>
> Next you are going to tell me that when a stuffed animal doesn't eat
> anything it must be because it is full - but we have no way of knowing if
> we are hungry ourselves.
>
>
>> But if I am running an intensive computation while typing this and look
>> at my resource monitor, I can see measurements indicating that my CPU cares
>> much more about the intensive computation rather than what I am typing.
>> Does that mean the CPU understands what it is doing?  No.  Likewise with
>> human brains: we can care a lot about something but have little to no
>> understanding of it.
>>
>
> Your entire argument is a defense of the Pathetic fallacy. Nothing you
> have said could not apply to any inanimate object, cartoon, abstract
> concept etc. Anyone can say 'you can't prove ice cream isn't melting
> because it's sad'. It's ridiculous. Find the universe. It is more
> interesting than making up stories about CPUs cares, kindnesses, and
> understanding.
>
>
>>
>>>
>>>  This is analogous to saying We are Unicorns because care about
>>>> Unicorns.
>>>>
>>>
>>> No, this is analogous  to you not understanding what I mean and
>>> unintentionally making a straw man of my argument.
>>>
>>
>> Well, be honest here, you changed a phrasing.  You went from
>> (paraphrasing)  "we know we understand because we care that we understand"
>> to "You know we understand because we care about X". Correct me if I'm
>> wrong.
>>
>
> Correcting you. You're wrong. What I said was "Because we care about what
> we understand, and we identify with it personally."
>
> You misinterpreted it, then accuse me of meaning what you said, even after
> I pointed out your mistake. Now you are unfazed by your unintentional straw
> man and are doubling down on the false accusation. You aren't listening to
> me and are arguing with yourself.
>
> The first phrasing is meaningless because of the second use of the word
>> understand (so you might as well be talking about unicorns).
>>
>
> Which is why I never said that.
>
>
>> The first phrasing gives no insight into what understanding is and why we
>> have it but computers can't.  The problem with your new and improved
>> phrasing is that it's a doctored definition of caring; you pick a
>> definition related to understanding such that it (the definition of
>> 'caring') will *automatically* fail for anything other than a
>> non-apathetic human, in essence, assuming computers don't care about
>> anything when, in fact, doing what they are programmed to do (much like a
>> human, I might add) is the machine-equivalent of them caring about what
>> they are told to do.
>>
>
> Pathetic fallacy + false accusation. Next.
>
>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>  Doesn't prove unicorns exist; doesn't prove understanding exists (i.e.,
>>>> that any human understands anything). If this is all sophistry then it
>>>> should be easily dismissible. And yes, playing with words is what people
>>>> normally do, wittingly or unwittingly, and that lends more evidence to the
>>>> notion that we are processors in a Chinese room.
>>>>
>>>
>>> The position that we only think we understand or that consciousness is
>>> an illusion is, in my view, the desperate act of a stubborn mind. Truly,
>>> you are sawing off the branch that you are sitting on to suggest that we
>>> are incapable of understanding the very conversation that we are having.
>>>
>>
>> Well calling a conclusion the desperate act of a stubborn mind, rather
>> than supply some decent rejoinder, is also the desperate act of a stubborn
>> mind, wouldn't you say?
>>
>
> Not at all. If you claim not to understand the very conversation in which
> you are participating, how does that make me desperate for pointing out
> that it is obviously a specious argument.
>
>
>>   While "sawing off the branch you are sitting on" is a very clever
>> arrangement of letters (can I use it in a future poem?)
>>
>
> I stole it from Raymond Tallis, so you'll have to ask him.
>
>
>> , it falls short of being an argument at all or even persuasive.
>>
>
> Then you're on your own. If you can't understand why you can't claim not
> to be able to understand these words, and you are not developmentally
> disabled, then I can't help you.
>
>
>> We can get along just fine by thinking that we understand this
>> conversation.
>>
>
> What does 'thinking that you understand' supposed to mean? We don't have
> to understand the entire universe to be able to understand what we are
> trying to talk about. Do you think that your operating system or keyboard
> have an equal understanding of it?
>
>
>> But knowing that we understand this conversation?  I'd like to see that
>> proved.
>>
>
> Understanding cannot be proved, it can only be experienced. Why does
> everyone want to prove subjective qualities? If that were possible then it
> would have been done 5000 years ago. Proof is a kind of understanding.
>
>
>> Until then, I will continue to think that humans or at least the seat of
>> mind are possibly all in Chinese rooms.
>>
>
> You will continue to do what? To "think"? Can you prove that? Does
> thinking happen in Chinese rooms. This may be the most preposterous
> exchange that I have ever had with someone.
>
>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> Still doesn't rule out the possibility that we are in a Chinese room
>>>>>> right now, manipulating symbols without really understanding what's going
>>>>>> on but able to adeptly shuffle the symbols around fast enough to appear
>>>>>> functional.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Why not? If we were manipulating symbols, why would we care about
>>>>> them. What you're saying doesn't even make sense. We are having a
>>>>> conversation. We care about the conversation because we understand it. If 
>>>>> I
>>>>> was being dictated to write in another language instead, I would not care
>>>>> about the conversation. Are you claiming that there is no difference
>>>>> between having a conversation in English and dictating text in a language
>>>>> you don't understand?
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>>  We care about the symbols because working through the symbols in our
>>>> brains is what leads to food, shelter, sex, and all the things animals
>>>> want.
>>>>
>>>
>>> First of all, there are no symbols in our brains, unless you think that
>>> serotonin or ATP is a symbol. Secondly, the fact that species have needs
>>> does not imply any sort of caring at all. A car needs fuel and oil but it
>>> doesn't care about them. When the fuel light comes up on your dashboard,
>>> that is for you to care about your car, not a sign that the car is anxious.
>>> Instead of a light on the dashboard, a more intelligently designed car
>>> could proceed to the filling station and dock at a smart pump, or it could
>>> use geological measurements and drill out its own petroleum to refine...all
>>> without the slightest bit of caring or understanding.
>>>
>> The electric and chemical footprint of representations of symbols are in
>> our brains and caring about the symbols is what leads to food, shelter, sex
>> and all the things animals (not cars) want .
>>
>
> If there is nothing to interpret the footprints as representations, then
> they can't 'represent' anything. Chemical functions would simply be the
> parts in the machine which produce the behaviors that have been selected
> for. No experience is required, no caring, no sensation, nothing remotely
> close to that.
>
>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>>  Or we care about the symbols because they further enrich our lives.
>>>>
>>>
>>> That's circular. Why do we care about enriching our lives? Because we
>>> care about our lives and richness. We don't have to though in theory, and a
>>> machine never can.
>>>
>> Some people care about enriching their lives, presumably because it
>> ultimately makes them more satisfied in life.
>>
>
> If you can't care about anything, then how could you find anything
> satisfying?
>
>
>> How do you know what a machine never can do? They used to say a machine
>> would never fly.  Convictions are prisons.
>>
>
> Because I understand what a machine is. I understand that art can be
> scientific but that science can never appreciate art.
>
>
>>
>>>
>>>>  The symbols in this corner of the internet (barring my contributions
>>>> of course) are examples of that.  Regarding the world, would you say there
>>>> is more that we (i.e., at least one human) understand or more that we
>>>> don't?  I would vote 'don't' and that leads me also to suspect we are in a
>>>> chinese room right now.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I don't know where we are in the extent of our understanding, but there
>>> is some understanding, while the man in the Chinese room has no
>>> understanding.
>>>
>> You think there is some understanding because you are really adept at
>> symbol processing.  Your man in the Chinese room is so convincing, that the
>> symbols transmitted affirm that you do, in fact, understand.
>>
>
> Then why don't I think I can understand Chinese?
>
>
>>
>> I think this is one of your theorems: at least one human mind has the
>> capacity to understand something and does understand something.
>>
>> Or do you assume that when your inner voice tells you that you understand
>> something that your inner voice is correct?
>>
>
> I understand the same way that you understand. You tell me. Are these
> words indecipherable to you? Are you fumbling around in the dark,
> hallucinating that there is a such thing as understanding? Why should
> anyone talk to you?
>
>
>>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> Your coupling of caring and understanding is somewhat arbitrary.
>>>>
>>>
>>> No, it is supported by the English language:
>>> http://dictionary.reverso.net/**english-synonyms/understanding<http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-synonyms/understanding>
>>>
>>
>> I meant in the context of this discussion, the mention of compassion and
>> caring at best might have something to do with understanding.  I bet that
>> by the time you reply to this email I could print a list having a million
>> elements, each of which contains a truth that I think I understand but care
>> about zero.
>>
>
> You didn't read what I said. Just because there are things that you
> understand and choose not to care about or care about that you don't
> completely understand does not mean that understanding as a phenomenon can
> be separated from caring as a phenomenon. I can cook hamburgers or I can
> cook something else, but if I cook eggs instead, that doesn't mean that
> hamburgers are not food.
>
> If you don't see that the synonyms of understanding are relevant to the
> context of this discussion then you are having a different discussion.
>
>
> There is no chance of being in a Chinese room at all, because we
>> understand some things.
>>
> That's one possibility.  Another is that we're dumb but fast.
>
> In theory that would be a possibility, but in reality, it is not.
>
>
>>
>> Because the Chinese room prohibits us from ever entertaining the
>> possibility that we are in the Chinese Room. Just because we are not
>> omniscient and omnipotent does not mean that we are senseless and powerless.
>>
>
> Why is that?  Being aware of one's present location and even all the
> properties of present location does NOT mean understanding one's present
> location and understanding all the properties of present location.
>
> You don't seem to be able to discern between the terms "all" and "any".
> Not knowing the activities of the ants under the foundation of your house
> does not mean that you don't know where you are.
>
> That's a good example because we humans are in that situation: we can
>> describe our environment works but we do not understand all the properties
>> of our location, we don't even understand why we are here.
>>
>
> Why are you presuming understanding to be an all or nothing property? No
> matter how much or how little we understand, it is more than any machine
> has ever understood.
>
> Craig
>
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