John:
I have been working in AI and I can say you that such indetermination in
the concepts is very common when software designers create their semantic
networks, specially when trying to mimic how human reasoning. That is
unavoidable, because both Philosophers and AI experts try to define the
basic human concepts, the structure of the mind and how it works. To have a
clear definition of something you need clear defined base concepts in terms
of which you combine them to get a definition. But what happens when we are
defining such fundamental concepts? There is no possible clear definition.
you go around and around until you find either more basic concepts in terms
of which yo define your previous basic concepts or you create circular
definitions among fundamental concepts.

But if you don´t accept the challenge, you will never push the limits of
human knowledge about basic and deep human questions that preoccupied the
ancient philosophers.  Modernity can be seen as the renounce of this
challenge. Not only the renounce to take this challenge seriously, but to
feel discomfort and anger when someone take such challenge seriously.

It is not a surprise to find that this hole is now being filled with new
age crap and esoteric charlatans, Hollywood philosophers and TV starts.
 That is because people can not live without finding responses to such deep
questions (and this has a clear evolutionary explanation, to give a hook
for your reductionist mind).

What in the past was the preoccupation of people like Socrates, Plato
Aristotle, Aquinas, Heiddegger etc to name a few examples,  it is now the
task of people like Oprah


2013/9/6 John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com>

> This is what gives philosophers a bad name! In just one day people have
> sent the following philosophical gems to the list, enough hot air to
> signifacantly contribute to global warming,
>
> * I  also do not “KNOW” whether or not I really do have “free will”. But
> if I do [blah blah]
>
> * How do you explain the experience of “free will” then?
>
> * The experience of free will is not a snap shot, instead it [blah blah]
>
> * If free will exists (and also of course that we have it) then [blah blah]
>
> * If instead free will does not in fact exist, then [blah blah]
>
> * consciousness necessarily must exist in the first place in order for
> free will to exist.
>
> * Are you maintain that the experience of free will does not itself exist?
>
> * Can you conceive of “free will” without introducing a subject in which
> it arises and is experienced?
>
> And so it goes, on and on arguing about if free will exists or not, but
> never once does anybody stop to ask what the hell "free will" means before
> giving their opinion about it's existence. People argue passionately but
> they don't know what they're talking about, by that I don't mean that what
> they are saying is wrong, I mean that they quite literally DON'T KNOW WHAT
> THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.
>
> When he was a student at Princeton Richard Feynman had an encounter with
> philosophers, years later this is what he had to say about it and why he
> developed a contempt not for philosophy but for philosophers. I gave this
> quotation before but apparently it needs repeating:
>
> "In the Graduate College dining room at Princeton everybody used to sit
> with his own group. I sat with the physicists, but after a bit I thought:
> It would be nice to see what the rest of the world is doing, so I'll sit
> for a week or two in each of the other groups.
>
> When I sat with the philosophers I listened to them discuss very seriously
> a book called Process and Reality by Whitehead. They were using words in a
> funny way, and I couldn't quite understand what they were saying. Now I
> didn't want to interrupt them in their own conversation and keep asking
> them to explain something, and on the few occasions that I did, they'd try
> to explain it to me, but I still didn't get it. Finally they invited me to
> come to their seminar.
>
> They had a seminar that was like, a class. It had been meeting once a week
> to discuss a new chapter out of Process and Reality - some guy would give a
> report on it and then there would be a discussion. I went to this seminar
> promising myself to keep my mouth shut, reminding myself that I didn't know
> anything about the subject, and I was going there just to watch.
>
> What happened there was typical - so typical that it was unbelievable, but
> true. First of all, I sat there without saying anything, which is almost
> unbelievable, but also true. A student gave a report on the chapter to be
> studied that week. In it Whitehead kept using the words "essential object"
> in a particular technical way that presumably he had defined, but that I
> didn't understand.
>
> After some discussion as to what "essential object" meant, the professor
> leading the seminar said something meant to clarify things and drew
> something that looked like lightning bolts on the blackboard. "Mr.
> Feynman," he said, "would you say an electron is an 'essential object'?"
>
> Well, now I was in trouble. I admitted that I hadn't read the book, so I
> had no idea of what Whitehead meant by the phrase; I had only come to
> watch. "But," I said, "I'll try to answer the professor's question if you
> will first answer a question from me, so I can have a better idea of what
> 'essential object' means.
>
> What I had intended to do was to find out whether they thought theoretical
> constructs were essential objects. The electron is a theory that we use; it
> is so useful in understanding the way nature works that we can almost call
> it real. I wanted to make the idea of a theory clear by analogy. In the
> case of the brick, my next question was going to be, "What about the inside
> of the brick?" - and I would then point out that no one has ever seen the
> inside of a brick. Every time you break the brick, you only see the
> surface. That the brick has an inside is a simple theory which helps us
> understand things better. The theory of electrons is analogous. So I began
> by asking, "Is a brick an essential object?"
>
> Then the answers came out. One man stood up and said, "A brick as an
> individual, specific brick. That is what Whitehead means by an essential
> object."
>
> Another man said, "No, it isn't the individual brick that is an essential
> object; it's the general character that all bricks have in common - their
> 'brickiness' - that is the essential object."
>
> Another guy got up and said, "No, it's not in the bricks themselves.
> 'Essential object' means the idea in the mind that you get when you think
> of bricks."
>
> Another guy got up, and another, and I tell you I have never heard such
> ingenious different ways of looking at a brick before. And, just like it
> should in all stories about philosophers, it ended up in complete chaos. In
> all their previous discussions they hadn't even asked themselves whether
> such a simple object as a brick, much less an electron, is an "essential
> object"."
>
>   John K Clark
>
>
>
>
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-- 
Alberto.

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