Re: Against Physics

2009-09-05 Thread Stathis Papaioannou

2009/9/5 Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com:

 http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins
 It seems foolish to beat Basil's car because (1) we know the beating
 will not improve it's function and (2) we know that is must be possible
 to fix it (since we built it in the first place).  However neither of
 these is true in the case of dealing with a person who has committed a
 crime (I disdain the word criminal as if it were a separate species).
 Such a person may be deterred from further crimes by some punishment and
 more to the point other persons may be deterred by the example.
 Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way
 - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).

But there is a difference between punishment to serve some utilitarian
end - reducing crime - and punishment as retribution.

It's also interesting to consider what would happen if we could easily
change people's character and motivations. Would it be better to
forcibly change a violent psychopath's brain so that he becomes a nice
person and thanks you for it afterwards, or would it be better to lock
him up to prevent him re-offending?


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-05 Thread Brent Meeker

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
 2009/9/5 Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com:

   
 http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins
   
 It seems foolish to beat Basil's car because (1) we know the beating
 will not improve it's function and (2) we know that is must be possible
 to fix it (since we built it in the first place).  However neither of
 these is true in the case of dealing with a person who has committed a
 crime (I disdain the word criminal as if it were a separate species).
 Such a person may be deterred from further crimes by some punishment and
 more to the point other persons may be deterred by the example.
 Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way
 - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).
 

 But there is a difference between punishment to serve some utilitarian
 end - reducing crime - and punishment as retribution.
   

Ironically, government punishment as retribution was adopted for the 
utilitarian reason that it displaced private retribution which tended to 
feuds.  A desire for retribution is probably something that is built in 
by evolution, but it is far less in some people than others.

 It's also interesting to consider what would happen if we could easily
 change people's character and motivations. Would it be better to
 forcibly change a violent psychopath's brain so that he becomes a nice
 person and thanks you for it afterwards, or would it be better to lock
 him up to prevent him re-offending
I'd say it depends of how anti-social the person's character and 
motivations are and how precisely he could be changed.  In the case of a 
violent psychopath who has murdered someoen we, at present (in the 
U.S.), can execute him - so it doesn't seem *less* ethical to change his 
personality even drastically.  On the other hand there's a slippery 
slope here.  If it's good to cure a violent psychopath is it also good 
to cure a pedophile, a petty thief, an obnoxious liar, a 
homosexual,...?  Should a person be able to choose a cure for themselves?

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM, Stathis Papaioannoustath...@gmail.com wrote:

 Dennett didn't invent compatibilism. It has a long history and
 extensive literature.

 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/


Dawkins has some good things to say on the subject I think:

http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
   
 On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM, Stathis Papaioannoustath...@gmail.com 
 wrote:
 
 Dennett didn't invent compatibilism. It has a long history and
 extensive literature.

 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
   

 Dawkins has some good things to say on the subject I think:

 http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html#dawkins
It seems foolish to beat Basil's car because (1) we know the beating 
will not improve it's function and (2) we know that is must be possible 
to fix it (since we built it in the first place).  However neither of 
these is true in the case of dealing with a person who has committed a 
crime (I disdain the word criminal as if it were a separate species).  
Such a person may be deterred from further crimes by some punishment and 
more to the point other persons may be deterred by the example.  
Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way 
- and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 It seems foolish to beat Basil's car because (1) we know the beating
 will not improve it's function and (2) we know that is must be possible
 to fix it (since we built it in the first place).  However neither of
 these is true in the case of dealing with a person who has committed a
 crime (I disdain the word criminal as if it were a separate species).
 Such a person may be deterred from further crimes by some punishment and
 more to the point other persons may be deterred by the example.
 Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way
 - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).

 Brent

If our goal is a criminal justice system that is rational, ethical,
and efficient, then do you think that it helps or hurts to frame the
discussion in terms of traditional words like morality,
responsibility, and free will - with all of their religious and
pre-scientific connotations and baggage?

So, looking at your original Dennett quote:

If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for everything.

So apparently what he is saying is that it is his evaluation that
anyone who concludes that determinism precludes free-will is most
likely making that conclusion BECAUSE they themselves wish to avoid
being subjected to positive or negative reinforcement whose intent is
to produce optimal social conditioning.

BUT, if I am in fact supportive of the rational, ethical, and
efficient application of positive and negative reinforcements whose
intent is to induce socially optimal behavior (even if I am the one
being targeted by these inducements), BUT I still don't believe in
free will or moral responsibility in the sense that those words are
traditionally used (e.g., to justify retribution, instead of only
deterrence and rehabilitation), then haven't I shown Dennett to be
wrong?

I think the American criminal justice system is nowhere near rational,
ethical, or efficient...and I think that Dennett's compatiblist word
games are more likely to hinder attempts to correct this than to help.
 And the same goes for other areas, like addressing poverty and
economic inequality.

Not because Dennett's ENTIRE system leads to bad things, but because
if you just look at parts of it without grasping the full context,
then it seems to uphold the status quo approach of retribution first,
deterrence second, and rehabilitation third if at all.  And the idea
that the system is fine, and that people *only* have themselves to
blame for their poverty or other undesirable situation.

And of course, as Stathis pointed out, Dennett isn't the first
compatiblist, or the only compatibilist...but he's by far the most
vocal and prominent.

So...we've wandered way off topic.  But Dennett really irks me.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way
 - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).

A further thought:  the solution to crime in A Clockwork Orange has a
similar problem...it's singular focus on the individual, while
ignoring the problems of the system within which the individual
developed.

So obviously if you have a person who has committed a crime, some
action has to be taken.  And you can't hand out hardship waivers
left and right just because the criminal can plausibly point to some
event in his past as a causal factor.  The crime was committed, and a
credible threat of negative reinforcement has to be maintained for
the sake of deterrence.

But rehabiitation isn't necessarily punishment...it could even be
viewed as positive reinforcement, AND it's in everyone's
interest..perpetrator, society at large, as well as victims.

Further, if there's some common denominator amongst perpetrators of
crimes, such as poverty, and we want to reduce crime, why not raise
the priority of programs to reduce poverty instead of building more
prisons and passing 3-strikes type laws?

Obviously nobody is pro-poverty, but I think framing the issue in
terms of personal responsibility and free-will incorrectly pushes
the debate away from systemic solutions towards an excessive focus on
individuals.

Though, obviously there are no perfect solutions, and violence will
always be with us.  BUT, Dawkins' tone in the link I sent sounds much
closer to the right attitude than the vibe I get from Dennett.

But again, Dennett is mainly interested in pushing his Bright
agenda...showing that Atheists are just like everybody else.  But if
everybody else are somewhat less than admirable (or at the very
least, less than rational) in their attitudes towards the maladjusted
members of society, then I don't see this as a big win.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Furthermore we have no idea how to fix the person in a mechanistic way
 - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. Clockwork Orange).
 

 A further thought:  the solution to crime in A Clockwork Orange has a
 similar problem...it's singular focus on the individual, while
 ignoring the problems of the system within which the individual
 developed.

 So obviously if you have a person who has committed a crime, some
 action has to be taken.  And you can't hand out hardship waivers
 left and right just because the criminal can plausibly point to some
 event in his past as a causal factor.  The crime was committed, and a
 credible threat of negative reinforcement has to be maintained for
 the sake of deterrence.

 But rehabiitation isn't necessarily punishment...it could even be
 viewed as positive reinforcement, AND it's in everyone's
 interest..perpetrator, society at large, as well as victims.

 Further, if there's some common denominator amongst perpetrators of
 crimes, such as poverty, and we want to reduce crime, why not raise
 the priority of programs to reduce poverty instead of building more
 prisons and passing 3-strikes type laws?
   
Of course the easiest, and 100% effective way to reduce crime is to 
repeal laws.  About 1/3 of our prison population is there because of 
non-violent drug use crimes.
 Obviously nobody is pro-poverty, 
Actually I think some are.  Note the outcry from various business groups 
when it is suggested that the way to stop illegal immigration is to 
punish those who hire them.  Why would they want to have access to 
illegal aliens?  Because illegal aliens are poor and they will therefore 
be willing to work cheap.

 but I think framing the issue in
 terms of personal responsibility and free-will incorrectly pushes
 the debate away from systemic solutions towards an excessive focus on
 individuals.
   
I'd say it depends on whether we have systemic solutions or individual 
solutions.

 Though, obviously there are no perfect solutions, and violence will
 always be with us.  BUT, Dawkins' tone in the link I sent sounds much
 closer to the right attitude than the vibe I get from Dennett.

 But again, Dennett is mainly interested in pushing his Bright
 agenda...showing that Atheists are just like everybody else.  

Seems like you're mainly interested in picking a fight with Dennett.  I 
don't recall him mentioning either Brights or atheists in either 
Elbow Room or Freedom Evolves, his two books on compatibilist free will.

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 12:43 AM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 Obviously nobody is pro-poverty, but I think framing the issue in
 terms of personal responsibility and free-will incorrectly pushes
 the debate away from systemic solutions towards an excessive focus on
 individuals.

Or, another way of saying it might be:

I think framing the issue in terms of personal responsibility and
free-will incorrectly pushes the debate away from preventative
positive reinforcement for individuals who are in a group with a
high demonstrated risk of committing crimes, towards an excessive
focus on negative reinforcement for individuals what have been
already been convicted of committing crimes.

While there are limits to what is practically possible, I think we
have been lax in pursuing this angle.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 1:04 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 But again, Dennett is mainly interested in pushing his Bright
 agenda...showing that Atheists are just like everybody else.

 Seems like you're mainly interested in picking a fight with Dennett.  I
 don't recall him mentioning either Brights or atheists in either
 Elbow Room or Freedom Evolves, his two books on compatibilist free will.

Probably you should check out Breaking The Spell, which I haven't
read either, but I've seen him give interviews on it.

I don't have any problem with Dennett per se...probably he's a fine
person.  He makes cider, and is a sculptor, and likes to sail.  All
sounds good.

And I don't know what his views on all the various social issues are,
like crime or immigration or universal healthcare, so I can't oppose
him on any of those grounds...for all I know we agree on everything.

AND he may even be right...if you convert everyone to atheism, then
they may be more inclined to think rationally about things, and
everything will improve as a result.  Including my pet issues.

BUT...to me it looks like he's going about it the wrong way.  His
views on free will look like unhelpful word games.  Determinism is
determinism and there's no way to make it compatible with the
traditional meaning of free will.  If you have an alternate definition
of all the free will that's worth having, then we should come up
with a new term for that.  Bright-will maybe.

And his views on qualia don't raise my opinion of him much either.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-04 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 1:04 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Of course the easiest, and 100% effective way to reduce crime is to
 repeal laws.  About 1/3 of our prison population is there because of
 non-violent drug use crimes.

Indeed, I'm on board with that.  But, I don't see that happening
anytime soon.  Americans love to send people to prison.  It's the
national pastime.

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/03/11/glenn-loury/a-nation-of-jailers/

I put the ultimate blame on an exaggerated emphasis on personal
responsibility, plus a naive belief in libertarian free will.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-03 Thread Rex Allen

On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 3:59 AM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:
 Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
 free will (which it isn't),

 actually it is, although I don't find it very convincing

Asking whether free will is compatible with determinism is like asking
whether unicorns are compatible with zebras.

Dennett says Yes, unicorns ARE compatible with zebras.  But by
unicorns he really means regular horses with fake horns strapped to
their foreheads.

So, everything that Dennett says is true...from a certain point of
view.  All you have to do is accept his alternate set of definitions.

Though, again, one has to wonder what Dennett's goal is in providing
non-traditional definitions for very traditional words like
responsibility, altruism, morals, and free will.  To me it
looks like social engineering.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-03 Thread Rex Allen

On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 6:21 AM, Stathis Papaioannoustath...@gmail.com wrote:

 Dennett didn't invent compatibilism. It has a long history and
 extensive literature.

 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

I was aware of these facts.  But a good SEP article nonetheless, thanks!

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-02 Thread Flammarion



On 2 Sep, 03:10, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

  I think his exploration of
  the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
  the money.

 So I can't comment on Freedom Evolves, as I haven't read it.  But I
 have read some of his articles and seen him debate and give
 interviews.  So that sounds like Dennett alright - rearranging deck
 chairs, redefining words, whatever it takes.

 From the wikipedia article on Freedom Evolves:

 In his treatment of both free will and altruism, he starts by showing
 why we should not accept the traditional definitions of either term.

 So, as I said, you can't read quote of Dennett and accept it at face
 value, because Dennett doesn't restrict himself to traditional
 definitions of terms.  You have to interpret Dennett's quotes within
 the context of his web of alternate, non-traditional compatibilist
 word definitions.

 Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
 free will (which it isn't),

actually it is, although I don't find it very convincing

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-02 Thread Stathis Papaioannou

2009/9/2 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think his exploration of
 the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
 the money.

 So I can't comment on Freedom Evolves, as I haven't read it.  But I
 have read some of his articles and seen him debate and give
 interviews.  So that sounds like Dennett alright - rearranging deck
 chairs, redefining words, whatever it takes.

 From the wikipedia article on Freedom Evolves:

 In his treatment of both free will and altruism, he starts by showing
 why we should not accept the traditional definitions of either term.

 So, as I said, you can't read quote of Dennett and accept it at face
 value, because Dennett doesn't restrict himself to traditional
 definitions of terms.  You have to interpret Dennett's quotes within
 the context of his web of alternate, non-traditional compatibilist
 word definitions.

 Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
 free will (which it isn't), BUT to show that determinism is compatible
 with continued social order and cohesion (which it is...probably).

Dennett didn't invent compatibilism. It has a long history and
extensive literature.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-02 Thread Brent Meeker

Flammarion wrote:

 On 2 Sep, 03:10, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
   
 On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 
 I think his exploration of
 the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
 the money.
   
 So I can't comment on Freedom Evolves, as I haven't read it.  But I
 have read some of his articles and seen him debate and give
 interviews.  So that sounds like Dennett alright - rearranging deck
 chairs, redefining words, whatever it takes.

 From the wikipedia article on Freedom Evolves:

 In his treatment of both free will and altruism, he starts by showing
 why we should not accept the traditional definitions of either term.

 So, as I said, you can't read quote of Dennett and accept it at face
 value, because Dennett doesn't restrict himself to traditional
 definitions of terms.  You have to interpret Dennett's quotes within
 the context of his web of alternate, non-traditional compatibilist
 word definitions.

 Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
 free will (which it isn't),
 

 actually it is, although I don't find it very convincing
I think Dennett's point is that compatibilist free-will has all the 
chracteristics of free-will that people usually think are important - 
it's all the free-will worth having.

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-02 Thread Flammarion



On 2 Sep, 18:03, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Flammarion wrote:

  On 2 Sep, 03:10, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

  I think his exploration of
  the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
  the money.

  So I can't comment on Freedom Evolves, as I haven't read it.  But I
  have read some of his articles and seen him debate and give
  interviews.  So that sounds like Dennett alright - rearranging deck
  chairs, redefining words, whatever it takes.

  From the wikipedia article on Freedom Evolves:

  In his treatment of both free will and altruism, he starts by showing
  why we should not accept the traditional definitions of either term.

  So, as I said, you can't read quote of Dennett and accept it at face
  value, because Dennett doesn't restrict himself to traditional
  definitions of terms.  You have to interpret Dennett's quotes within
  the context of his web of alternate, non-traditional compatibilist
  word definitions.

  Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
  free will (which it isn't),

  actually it is, although I don't find it very convincing

 I think Dennett's point is that compatibilist free-will has all the
 chracteristics of free-will that people usually think are important -
 it's all the free-will worth having.

I'm not convinced by that either
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-01 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:37 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Rex Allen wrote:
 
 In this case, I am not responsible (common usage) for the fortune or
 misfortune that has befallen those who I have stumbled into as a
 result of the universe's constant pushiness.

 I AM responsible if we use Dennett's non-standard definition of
 responsible, however.
   
 No you are not, because none of the above hypothetical events were
 caused by who you are, your brains and experience and values.  There
 would be no point in rewarding or punishing you for those actions
 because they are not instances of *your* behavior - unless you try to
 make yourself very big.
 

 So if you want to redefine responsibility in terms of the utilitarian
 applicability of positive and negative reinforcement with the goal of
 producing socially optimal behavior, that's fine with me.  
Redefine?  You haven't defined it at all - you just assert examples 
and assert that they are common usage.  I think my definition 
corresponds very well with common usage.

 But that's
 not the common usage.  And I think it would be better to abandon the
 term responsibility and go with something less entangled with
 antediluvian notions of libertarian free will...which is basically
 consistent with the common usage.

 And again, my question stands with respect to why you introduced that
 quote into this thread.

It seemed apropos of your view that determinism eliminates the self.

Brent


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-01 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 2:17 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Redefine?  You haven't defined it at all - you just assert examples
 and assert that they are common usage.

Pshaw.  You asked for an operational definition, and I gave you one.
Perhaps you should reread my email.  You may have missed it.  All the
brackets can get confusing.


 I think my definition
 corresponds very well with common usage.

Ha!  I disagree.  You must hang out with a better educated crowd than I do.


 And again, my question stands with respect to why you introduced that
 quote into this thread.

 It seemed apropos of your view that determinism eliminates the self.

How so?  I don't see it.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-01 Thread David Nyman

On 1 Sep, 03:52, Brent Meeker meeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

  For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
  conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
  this?  None.

 Maybe not meaning, but engineering.  That's why I think the hard problem 
 will eventually
 be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on the 
 head of a
 pin.  If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave 
 as if they
 were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal 
 self-reference
 and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other 
 new concepts
 that'll be invented.

Perhaps we could explore the consequences of this view for life as
experienced.  Given, presumably, that future changes in terminology or
explanatory style won't fundamentally change the nature of our
qualitative experience, how do you feel this might ultimately be
accommodated in the explanatory scheme?

David


 Rex Allen wrote:
  On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com 
  wrote:
  Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?
  a ghost-in-the-machine?  What's wrong with my
  mind is what my brain does?

  Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
  conscious experience.  It just is.

 Depends on what you want an explanation in terms of.



  So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
  reasoning processes.

  Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
  anything, really exists outside of our experience.

  At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
  processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
  we have observed.

 Right.  Forget the really real and I'll settle for a good model.



  Kant covered all this I think.

  So first, the theories on offer, carried to their logical conclusions,
  don't take you anywhere.  They all hit explanatory dead ends:  

 Unless (my favorite) they're circular.

 The
  universe came into being uncaused, for no reason, and everything else
  follows.  Or the universe exists eternally, but with no explanation
  for why this should be or why it takes the form that it does.  Or the
  platonically existing infinities of computational relations between
  all the numbers do not just represent but inexplicably cause our
  conscious experience of a material universe.  Why?  Because that's the
  way it is.

  Second, even if any of these things are true, there's no way that
  *from inside that system* we can justify our belief that the theory is
  true (as opposed to just consistent with conscious observation).

  And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
  conscious experience just is what it is.

 The problem with that is that is applies equally to everything.  So it's 
 completely devoid
 of meaning.



  For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
  conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
  this?  None.  

 Maybe not meaning, but engineering.  That's why I think the hard problem 
 will eventually
 be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on the 
 head of a
 pin.  If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave 
 as if they
 were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal 
 self-reference
 and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other 
 new concepts
 that'll be invented.



 In this case the bits of matter being in the particular
  configurations that they are in is just a bare fact.  The universe,
  considered in its entirety, just is that way.  So the conscious
  experience that goes with that particle configuration just is a bare
  fact.

  But, by all means, continue with your theoretical system building.  We
  have to do something to pass the time, after all.

  But, to revisit your original question:

  Where are you trying to get?

  Okay, I gave you my answer.  So, where are YOU trying to get?

  If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
  everything.
         --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
  Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
  context of Dennett's special terminology.
  Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as 
  something apart from the
  physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid 
  responsibility for what
  your arms and legs do.

  Right.  If you define yourself as  Well sure.  That makes it
  easy, and that's what Dennett does.  Just makes up arbitrary
  definitions that suit his ends.

 On the contrary he was criticizing that way of defining yourself.  And of 
 course
 definitions of words are arbitrary - we just chose the words.



  If things were that way, that's the way they'd be alright.

  But, the question is, are things that way?  

Re: Against Physics

2009-09-01 Thread David Nyman

On 31 Aug, 20:51, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
  everything.
 --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

 Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
 something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
 it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
 deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
 therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  All the moral and ethical
 beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
 the words so that they mean something different than what you took
 them to mean before.)

Rex, (a lot) earlier on in this thread you responded sympathetically
to my suggestion that our 'ownership' of willing and acting is
necessarily borrowed or inherited from the generalised context from
which our self-concept is abstracted.  Broadly, this is the brunt of
Dennett's aphorism.  Whereas I part company with him on experiential
eliminativism on quite separate grounds, I think his exploration of
the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
the money.  The key to this I think is avoidance of any notion that as
'individuals' we are other than metaphorically distinguishable from
the generalised context which is our larger 'personality'.  Any such
idea of separation immediately seems to put our will and action into
conflict with its will and action.  But in fact there is no such
separation of I and it, there is simply a theatre of willing and
acting.  Furthermore, common usage can still be retained in this
comprehension of our personal theatre of action as a subset of the
whole, in that when we examine our inherited responsibility, we find
ourselves to be neither more nor less constrained, and by no different
considerations, than under any 'dualistic' conception.

David


 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
  mind up...not the actuality of doing so.

  I'd say there was the epiphenomenal experience of making up your mind AND 
  the actuality of
  doing so.  Your formulation divorces you from from everything and leaves 
  you as a kind
  of ghost.

 Well, that's physicalism for you.  I'm not saying that it's my
 view...which is why I said assuming physicalism.

  Brent
  If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
  everything.
         --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

 Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
 something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
 it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
 deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
 therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  All the moral and ethical
 beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
 the words so that they mean something different than what you took
 them to mean before.)

 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.

 It's all just sophistry, to advance his Bright agenda.  Which I have
 nothing against per se...a world full of Brights would be an
 improvement over the current situation I think.

 But his Bright propaganda isn't at all helpful in trying to understand
 the underlying nature of reality.
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-09-01 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 I think his exploration of
 the constraints on our actions in Freedom Evolves is pretty much on
 the money.

So I can't comment on Freedom Evolves, as I haven't read it.  But I
have read some of his articles and seen him debate and give
interviews.  So that sounds like Dennett alright - rearranging deck
chairs, redefining words, whatever it takes.

From the wikipedia article on Freedom Evolves:

In his treatment of both free will and altruism, he starts by showing
why we should not accept the traditional definitions of either term.

So, as I said, you can't read quote of Dennett and accept it at face
value, because Dennett doesn't restrict himself to traditional
definitions of terms.  You have to interpret Dennett's quotes within
the context of his web of alternate, non-traditional compatibilist
word definitions.

Dennett's main goal is not to show that determinism is compatible with
free will (which it isn't), BUT to show that determinism is compatible
with continued social order and cohesion (which it is...probably).

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Flammarion



On 9 Aug, 06:55, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

  If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
  considerable advantage.

 If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
 would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
 future.


If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
make your mind up in the present
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 1:58 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:



 On 9 Aug, 06:55, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

  If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
  considerable advantage.

 If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
 would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
 future.


 If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
 make your mind up in the present

Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my mind up for me, based on
the initial conditions of the universe plus the laws of physics.
Given those two things, my choice is a forgone conclusion.

Assuming UDA/platonism...the same holds true.  My experience of
choosing exists eternally amongst the infinities of computational
relations between all the numbers.

Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
mind up...not the actuality of doing so.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:10 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:



 On 11 Aug, 16:38, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 2009/8/11 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 Standard physicalism, on the other hand, by banishing self-access from
 its fundamental notions of causal adequacy (though arrogating the
 right to whisk a mysteriously powerless ghost of it back later by
 sleight of intuition) is clearly false (incomplete is the more politic
 term).


 Why can't self-access be existent but non-fundamental?


Because in that case self-access is just a term of convenience for the
more fundamental processes.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Flammarion



On 31 Aug, 19:15, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 1:58 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:

  On 9 Aug, 06:55, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
  On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com 
  wrote:

   If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
   considerable advantage.

  If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
  would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
  future.

  If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
  make your mind up in the present

 Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my mind up for me,

Asssuming physcialism, your brain is you and not some external force
pulling your strings

 based on
 the initial conditions of the universe plus the laws of physics.
 Given those two things, my choice is a forgone conclusion.



Assuming the laws of the universe are deterministic

 Assuming UDA/platonism...the same holds true.  My experience of
 choosing exists eternally amongst the infinities of computational
 relations between all the numbers.

 Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
 mind up...not the actuality of doing so.
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 1:58 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:


 On 9 Aug, 06:55, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
 considerable advantage.
 If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
 would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
 future.

 If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
 make your mind up in the present
 
 Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my mind up for me, based on
 the initial conditions of the universe plus the laws of physics.
 Given those two things, my choice is a forgone conclusion.
 
 Assuming UDA/platonism...the same holds true.  My experience of
 choosing exists eternally amongst the infinities of computational
 relations between all the numbers.
 
 Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
 mind up...not the actuality of doing so.

I'd say there was the epiphenomenal experience of making up your mind AND the 
actuality of 
doing so.  Your formulation divorces you from from everything and leaves 
you as a kind 
of ghost.

Brent
If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Flammarion



On 11 Aug, 16:38, David Nyman david.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 2009/8/11 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 Standard physicalism, on the other hand, by banishing self-access from
 its fundamental notions of causal adequacy (though arrogating the
 right to whisk a mysteriously powerless ghost of it back later by
 sleight of intuition) is clearly false (incomplete is the more politic
 term).  


Why can't self-access be existent but non-fundamental?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:30 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:
 If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
 make your mind up in the present

 Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my mind up for me,

 Asssuming physcialism, your brain is you and not some external force
 pulling your strings


Let me put it this way:

Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my brain up for me.

In other words, assuming physicalism, my brain will do what my brain
is going to do given that the state of the universe and the laws of
physics are what they are.

Assuming physicalism, experience is just an acausal aspect of matter
and energy.  There is no me except as a term of convenience for
particular configurations of matter and energy.

Physicalism is based on the principle of sufficient reason, under
which nothing happens that isn't caused.  The interactions of matter
and energy are apparently do not have special exceptions for
consciousness to influence how the system develops.  So, under
physicalism there either is no consciousness (except as a term of
convenience), or consciousness is epiphenemonal...caused but acausal.

I'll leave it to you to translate that into terms of pulling strings.

Indeterminism doesn't get you any further, as it just inserts a
roll-of-the-dice element into the rules that govern (or describe) the
evolution of the system along its time dimension (whatever time is).

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:30 PM, Flammarionpeterdjo...@yahoo.com wrote:
 If you can't see into the future, you are going to have to
 make your mind up in the present
 Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my mind up for me,
 Asssuming physcialism, your brain is you and not some external force
 pulling your strings
 
 
 Let me put it this way:
 
 Assuming physicalism, my brain will make my brain up for me.
 
 In other words, assuming physicalism, my brain will do what my brain
 is going to do given that the state of the universe and the laws of
 physics are what they are.
 
 Assuming physicalism, experience is just an acausal aspect of matter
 and energy.  There is no me except as a term of convenience for
 particular configurations of matter and energy.
 
 Physicalism is based on the principle of sufficient reason, under
 which nothing happens that isn't caused.  

Quantum mechanics is probabilistic - many events are not caused in the sense of 
sufficient reason.

The interactions of matter
 and energy are apparently do not have special exceptions for
 consciousness to influence how the system develops.  So, under
 physicalism there either is no consciousness (except as a term of
 convenience), or consciousness is epiphenemonal...caused but acausal.
 
 I'll leave it to you to translate that into terms of pulling strings.
 
 Indeterminism doesn't get you any further, 

Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?  a ghost-in-the-machine?  
What's wrong 
with my mind is what my brain does?

Brent

as it just inserts a
 roll-of-the-dice element into the rules that govern (or describe) the
 evolution of the system along its time dimension (whatever time is).
 
  
 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
 mind up...not the actuality of doing so.

 I'd say there was the epiphenomenal experience of making up your mind AND the 
 actuality of
 doing so.  Your formulation divorces you from from everything and leaves 
 you as a kind
 of ghost.

Well, that's physicalism for you.  I'm not saying that it's my
view...which is why I said assuming physicalism.


 Brent
 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  All the moral and ethical
beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
the words so that they mean something different than what you took
them to mean before.)

Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
context of Dennett's special terminology.

It's all just sophistry, to advance his Bright agenda.  Which I have
nothing against per se...a world full of Brights would be an
improvement over the current situation I think.

But his Bright propaganda isn't at all helpful in trying to understand
the underlying nature of reality.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Either way, there is only the epiphenomenal experience of making my
 mind up...not the actuality of doing so.
 I'd say there was the epiphenomenal experience of making up your mind AND 
 the actuality of
 doing so.  Your formulation divorces you from from everything and leaves 
 you as a kind
 of ghost.
 
 Well, that's physicalism for you.  I'm not saying that it's my
 view...which is why I said assuming physicalism.
 
 
 Brent
 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
 
 Yeah, Dennett just redefines words in new ways so that he can say
 something like that and have it mean something entirely different than
 it would under common usage.  The goal being to convince people that a
 deterministic world-view doesn't drastically change anything, and
 therefore they shouldn't be alarmed by it.  All the moral and ethical
 beliefs you had before are still basically true!  (IF you redefine all
 the words so that they mean something different than what you took
 them to mean before.)
 
 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.

Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as something 
apart from the 
physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid responsibility 
for what 
your arms and legs do.

Brent

 
 It's all just sophistry, to advance his Bright agenda.  Which I have
 nothing against per se...a world full of Brights would be an
 improvement over the current situation I think.
 
 But his Bright propaganda isn't at all helpful in trying to understand
 the underlying nature of reality.
 
  
 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?
 a ghost-in-the-machine?  What's wrong with my
 mind is what my brain does?

Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
conscious experience.  It just is.

So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
reasoning processes.

Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
anything, really exists outside of our experience.

At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
we have observed.

Kant covered all this I think.

So first, the theories on offer, carried to their logical conclusions,
don't take you anywhere.  They all hit explanatory dead ends:  The
universe came into being uncaused, for no reason, and everything else
follows.  Or the universe exists eternally, but with no explanation
for why this should be or why it takes the form that it does.  Or the
platonically existing infinities of computational relations between
all the numbers do not just represent but inexplicably cause our
conscious experience of a material universe.  Why?  Because that's the
way it is.

Second, even if any of these things are true, there's no way that
*from inside that system* we can justify our belief that the theory is
true (as opposed to just consistent with conscious observation).

And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
conscious experience just is what it is.

For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
this?  None.  In this case the bits of matter being in the particular
configurations that they are in is just a bare fact.  The universe,
considered in its entirety, just is that way.  So the conscious
experience that goes with that particle configuration just is a bare
fact.

But, by all means, continue with your theoretical system building.  We
have to do something to pass the time, after all.

But, to revisit your original question:

Where are you trying to get?

Okay, I gave you my answer.  So, where are YOU trying to get?


 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.

 Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as something 
 apart from the
 physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid responsibility 
 for what
 your arms and legs do.

Right.  If you define yourself as  Well sure.  That makes it
easy, and that's what Dennett does.  Just makes up arbitrary
definitions that suit his ends.

If things were that way, that's the way they'd be alright.

But, the question is, are things that way?  And if you say so, what's
your full reasoning?  I mean your reasoning that takes into account
the entire ontological stack of what exists, of course -- since I
don't see any discussing an arbitrary subset of what exists that
you've conveniently carved out to make some rhetorical point about
what seems perfectly straightforward to you given some particular
context.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?
 a ghost-in-the-machine?  What's wrong with my
 mind is what my brain does?
 
 Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
 conscious experience.  It just is.

Depends on what you want an explanation in terms of.

 
 So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
 reasoning processes.
 
 Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
 anything, really exists outside of our experience.
 
 At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
 processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
 we have observed.

Right.  Forget the really real and I'll settle for a good model.

 
 Kant covered all this I think.
 
 So first, the theories on offer, carried to their logical conclusions,
 don't take you anywhere.  They all hit explanatory dead ends:  

Unless (my favorite) they're circular.


The
 universe came into being uncaused, for no reason, and everything else
 follows.  Or the universe exists eternally, but with no explanation
 for why this should be or why it takes the form that it does.  Or the
 platonically existing infinities of computational relations between
 all the numbers do not just represent but inexplicably cause our
 conscious experience of a material universe.  Why?  Because that's the
 way it is.
 
 Second, even if any of these things are true, there's no way that
 *from inside that system* we can justify our belief that the theory is
 true (as opposed to just consistent with conscious observation).
 
 And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
 conscious experience just is what it is.

The problem with that is that is applies equally to everything.  So it's 
completely devoid 
of meaning.

 
 For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
 conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
 this?  None.  

Maybe not meaning, but engineering.  That's why I think the hard problem will 
eventually 
be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on the 
head of a 
pin.  If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave as 
if they 
were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal 
self-reference 
and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other new 
concepts 
that'll be invented.

In this case the bits of matter being in the particular
 configurations that they are in is just a bare fact.  The universe,
 considered in its entirety, just is that way.  So the conscious
 experience that goes with that particle configuration just is a bare
 fact.
 
 But, by all means, continue with your theoretical system building.  We
 have to do something to pass the time, after all.
 
 But, to revisit your original question:
 
 Where are you trying to get?
 
 Okay, I gave you my answer.  So, where are YOU trying to get?
 
 
 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.
 Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as something 
 apart from the
 physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid 
 responsibility for what
 your arms and legs do.
 
 Right.  If you define yourself as  Well sure.  That makes it
 easy, and that's what Dennett does.  Just makes up arbitrary
 definitions that suit his ends.

On the contrary he was criticizing that way of defining yourself.  And of 
course 
definitions of words are arbitrary - we just chose the words.

 
 If things were that way, that's the way they'd be alright.
 
 But, the question is, are things that way?  And if you say so, what's
 your full reasoning?  

You're the one who keeps saying it is what it is.

Brent


I mean your reasoning that takes into account
 the entire ontological stack of what exists, of course -- since I
 don't see any discussing an arbitrary subset of what exists that
 you've conveniently carved out to make some rhetorical point about
 what seems perfectly straightforward to you given some particular
 context.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?
 a ghost-in-the-machine?  What's wrong with my
 mind is what my brain does?

 Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
 conscious experience.  It just is.

 Depends on what you want an explanation in terms of.

I want an explanation that explains what's really real and how that
connects to my conscious experience.

BUT, I see now that this apparently isn't possible, even in principle.
 And even if physicalism or platonism were answers to what's really
real...those answers don't mean anything.

So.  That's a bummer.


 So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
 reasoning processes.

 Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
 anything, really exists outside of our experience.

 At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
 processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
 we have observed.

 Right.  Forget the really real and I'll settle for a good model.

Hmmm.  Well, apparently that's as good as it gets.  So I reckon you
have the right attitude.


 And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
 conscious experience just is what it is.

 The problem with that is that is applies equally to everything.  So it's 
 completely devoid
 of meaning.

Yep.  I don't see it as a problem.  That's just the way it is.



 For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
 conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
 this?  None.

 Maybe not meaning, but engineering.  That's why I think the hard problem 
 will eventually
 be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on the 
 head of a
 pin.  If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave 
 as if they
 were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal 
 self-reference
 and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other 
 new concepts
 that'll be invented.

I'd say that when we actually have such robots will be when interest
in the hard problem will peak.  We're just in the early stages of
this process now.

But, I think there is no answer to the hard problem, and at some point
you just have to get on with things.  So practical considerations will
ultimately rule the day.  If it's convenient to treat such robots as
conscious entities then we will, otherwise we won't.

It seems unlikely that we would design a robot to feel much suffering,
and certainly not to display human-like signs of suffering...so can
you be cruel or abusive to something that doesn't suffer?  Seems
unlikely.

So maybe there is no robot parallel to the animal-rights type ethics
to worry about.


 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.
 Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as something 
 apart from the
 physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid 
 responsibility for what
 your arms and legs do.

 Right.  If you define yourself as  Well sure.  That makes it
 easy, and that's what Dennett does.  Just makes up arbitrary
 definitions that suit his ends.

 On the contrary he was criticizing that way of defining yourself.  And of 
 course
 definitions of words are arbitrary - we just chose the words.

Right.  And Dennett is choosing his words carefully, so as to advance
his social re-engineering agenda.  He want's to keep the idea of
responsibility for utilitarian reasons..it's hard to keep a society
going without it, and so he redefines it's meaning to be compatible
with determinism.

It's not responsiblity in the common usage, it's Dennettian
compatibilist responsibility.  He just shortens the latter to plain
responsibility in an attempt to mislead the unwary.

The common usage of responsibility may not be logical, but it has a
definite meaning, and it's not the meaning that Dennett assigns to it
in that quote.  Dennett knows this, but he wants society to adopt his
terminology and view point, so he keeps throwing it out there in the
hopes that it'll stick.

If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
my doing.  I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
could not have transpired other than they did.

You (and Dennett) can redefine responsiblity and then say, there, you
have that.  But this is a change from the common usage...and so
effectively a new word.

As far as I know Dennett isn't contesting 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:12 AM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room

 If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
 usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
 universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
 my doing.  I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
 could not have transpired other than they did.


If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up in
getting run over by a train...I am not responsible (common usage) for
his death.

If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up
falling into a pile of money which he gets to keep...I'm not
responsible (common usage) for his new wealth.

Assuming determinism, the universe has been pushing me since the
moment I was conceived, and at every instant I have responded in the
*only way* that it was physically possible for me to respond.

In this case, I am not responsible (common usage) for the fortune or
misfortune that has befallen those who I have stumbled into as a
result of the universe's constant pushiness.

I AM responsible if we use Dennett's non-standard definition of
responsible, however.  Because he has specifically crafted his
definition for this purpose, as a means to an end of making
determinism more palatable to the masses.

Or maybe because he doesn't like the logically inconsistent common
usage and he just wants people to adopt his usage, but he has no other
agenda.

But, either way, common usage responsibility and Dennettian
compatibilist responsibility are not the same.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 Rex Allen wrote:
 
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com 
 wrote:
   
 Where are you trying to get?  to an immortal soul?
 a ghost-in-the-machine?  What's wrong with my
 mind is what my brain does?
 
 Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
 conscious experience.  It just is.
   
 Depends on what you want an explanation in terms of.
 

 I want an explanation that explains what's really real and how that
 connects to my conscious experience.

 BUT, I see now that this apparently isn't possible, even in principle.
  And even if physicalism or platonism were answers to what's really
 real...those answers don't mean anything.

 So.  That's a bummer.


   
 So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
 reasoning processes.

 Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
 anything, really exists outside of our experience.

 At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
 processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
 we have observed.
   
 Right.  Forget the really real and I'll settle for a good model.
 

 Hmmm.  Well, apparently that's as good as it gets.  So I reckon you
 have the right attitude.


   
 And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
 conscious experience just is what it is.
   
 The problem with that is that is applies equally to everything.  So it's 
 completely devoid
 of meaning.
 

 Yep.  I don't see it as a problem.  That's just the way it is.


   
 For instance:  Bits of matter in particular configurations cause
 conscious experience.  Fine.  So what deeper meaning can we draw from
 this?  None.
   
 Maybe not meaning, but engineering.  That's why I think the hard problem 
 will eventually
 be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on 
 the head of a
 pin.  If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave 
 as if they
 were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal 
 self-reference
 and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other 
 new concepts
 that'll be invented.
 

 I'd say that when we actually have such robots will be when interest
 in the hard problem will peak.  We're just in the early stages of
 this process now.

 But, I think there is no answer to the hard problem, and at some point
 you just have to get on with things.  So practical considerations will
 ultimately rule the day.  If it's convenient to treat such robots as
 conscious entities then we will, otherwise we won't.

 It seems unlikely that we would design a robot to feel much suffering,
 and certainly not to display human-like signs of suffering...so can
 you be cruel or abusive to something that doesn't suffer?  Seems
 unlikely.

 So maybe there is no robot parallel to the animal-rights type ethics
 to worry about.


   
 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
 
 Every word in your quote, except for, has to be considered in the
 context of Dennett's special terminology.
   
 Seems prefectly straightforward to me.  If you define yourself as 
 something apart from the
 physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid 
 responsibility for what
 your arms and legs do.
 
 Right.  If you define yourself as  Well sure.  That makes it
 easy, and that's what Dennett does.  Just makes up arbitrary
 definitions that suit his ends.
   
 On the contrary he was criticizing that way of defining yourself.  And of 
 course
 definitions of words are arbitrary - we just chose the words.
 

 Right.  And Dennett is choosing his words carefully, so as to advance
 his social re-engineering agenda.  He want's to keep the idea of
 responsibility for utilitarian reasons..it's hard to keep a society
 going without it, and so he redefines it's meaning to be compatible
 with determinism.

 It's not responsiblity in the common usage, 

Sure it is.  It's what justifies reward and punishment.

 it's Dennettian
 compatibilist responsibility.  He just shortens the latter to plain
 responsibility in an attempt to mislead the unwary.

 The common usage of responsibility may not be logical, but it has a
 definite meaning, and it's not the meaning that Dennett assigns to it
 in that quote.  
And what meaning is that?  Can you give an operational definition, an 
ostensive definition, any definition other than it is what it is?


 Dennett knows this, but he wants society to adopt his
 terminology and view point, so he keeps throwing it out there in the
 hopes that it'll stick.

 If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
 usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:12 AM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
   
 On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com 
 wrote:

 
 If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
 everything.
--- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
   
 If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
 usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
 universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
 my doing.  I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
 could not have transpired other than they did.

 

 If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up in
 getting run over by a train...I am not responsible (common usage) for
 his death.

 If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up
 falling into a pile of money which he gets to keep...I'm not
 responsible (common usage) for his new wealth.

 Assuming determinism, the universe has been pushing me since the
 moment I was conceived, and at every instant I have responded in the
 *only way* that it was physically possible for me to respond.

 In this case, I am not responsible (common usage) for the fortune or
 misfortune that has befallen those who I have stumbled into as a
 result of the universe's constant pushiness.

 I AM responsible if we use Dennett's non-standard definition of
 responsible, however.  
No you are not, because none of the above hypothetical events were 
caused by who you are, your brains and experience and values.  There 
would be no point in rewarding or punishing you for those actions 
because they are not instances of *your* behavior - unless you try to 
make yourself very big.

Brent


 Because he has specifically crafted his
 definition for this purpose, as a means to an end of making
 determinism more palatable to the masses.

 Or maybe because he doesn't like the logically inconsistent common
 usage and he just wants people to adopt his usage, but he has no other
 agenda.

 But, either way, common usage responsibility and Dennettian
 compatibilist responsibility are not the same.

 

   


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:32 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Right.  And Dennett is choosing his words carefully, so as to advance
 his social re-engineering agenda.  He want's to keep the idea of
 responsibility for utilitarian reasons..it's hard to keep a society
 going without it, and so he redefines it's meaning to be compatible
 with determinism.

 It's not responsiblity in the common usage,

 Sure it is.  It's what justifies reward and punishment.

In the common usage it is what justifies the death penalty.

In the common usage, responsibility justifies vengence, as well as
deterrence and rehabilitation.



 it's Dennettian
 compatibilist responsibility.  He just shortens the latter to plain
 responsibility in an attempt to mislead the unwary.

 The common usage of responsibility may not be logical, but it has a
 definite meaning, and it's not the meaning that Dennett assigns to it
 in that quote.

 And what meaning is that?  Can you give an operational definition, an
 ostensive definition, any definition other than it is what it is?

In the common usage responsibility implies that the buck stops here.
Not because it's convenient, not because you choose not to pass the
buck, but because it literally stops here.  The causal chain should
not be traced further back.  We don't need to worry about your
childhood conditions, or how much your mommy and daddy loved you, or
whether you are a good person, or hoped for better things.

There's no point in examining the conditions that led to your action,
because YOU are responsible for that action, and you will bear the
full weight of the consequences.  Not because you will learn
something.  Not because it will produce better behavior in the future.
 Not because it will deter others from acting as you did.  But because
you are responsible.

That's the common usage.  And, given determinism, I say there's no
such thing.  Given determinism, the whole concept is crazy.

Dennett also says there's no such thing, but he wants to claim the
word and re-purpose it for his own uses.  Not because it's such a
great word that rolls off the tongue, but because he wants to pull a
slight of hand, and keeps it's law-and-order, no-nonsense,
tough-on-crime-tough-on-criminals connotations while changing it's
actual definition.


 Dennett knows this, but he wants society to adopt his
 terminology and view point, so he keeps throwing it out there in the
 hopes that it'll stick.

 If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
 usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
 universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
 my doing.  I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
 could not have transpired other than they did.

 First, some things may be random (like the way your brain developed).

Not given determinism, right?  And Dennett isn't arguing against
determinism.  He's arguing FOR compatibilism.


 Second, the utilitarian definition of responsibility - something that
 justifies you being punished or rewarded for you actions - applies
 *only* if what you do is determined by your experience.

I know.  Animal training basically.  Social conditioning.

But that's not the common usage.  In my experience at least.  Usage
determines meaning.


 Otherwise there
 would be no justification for giving you the experience of reward or
 punishment.

Reward and punishment probably aren't the right words.  Probably we
should say positive and negative reinforcement.


 You (and Dennett) can redefine responsiblity and then say, there, you
 have that.  But this is a change from the common usage...and so
 effectively a new word.

 You haven't defined it at all.  In fact you seem to assert it doesn't
 exist and hence no one is allowed to define it.


I actually would rather not have it used.  The word responsibility
carries too much moralistic libertarian free will baggage I think.
I think the common usage of responsibility is nonsense, and trying to
redefine it more logically while keeping the old connotations just
results in confusion and continued irrational thinking amongst the
Old Testament-inclined.

SO, with that in mind...what were you implying when you added that
quote?  What was your motivation?  What were you accusing me of?

In short...why did you introduce that Dennett quote into this thread?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 1:17 AM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 SO, with that in mind...what were you implying when you added that
 quote?  What was your motivation?  What were you accusing me of?

 In short...why did you introduce that Dennett quote into this thread?

Probably I should have started with this question in my initial response!  Ha!

But Dennett is my pet peeve.  The guy really irks me.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-31 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:37 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Rex Allen wrote:
 In this case, I am not responsible (common usage) for the fortune or
 misfortune that has befallen those who I have stumbled into as a
 result of the universe's constant pushiness.

 I AM responsible if we use Dennett's non-standard definition of
 responsible, however.

 No you are not, because none of the above hypothetical events were
 caused by who you are, your brains and experience and values.  There
 would be no point in rewarding or punishing you for those actions
 because they are not instances of *your* behavior - unless you try to
 make yourself very big.

So if you want to redefine responsibility in terms of the utilitarian
applicability of positive and negative reinforcement with the goal of
producing socially optimal behavior, that's fine with me.  But that's
not the common usage.  And I think it would be better to abandon the
term responsibility and go with something less entangled with
antediluvian notions of libertarian free will...which is basically
consistent with the common usage.

And again, my question stands with respect to why you introduced that
quote into this thread.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-26 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 26 Aug 2009, at 05:26, Rex Allen wrote:


 On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 9:50 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com  
 wrote:

 Recalling your interest in Chalmers: I was re-reading Facing Up to
 the Problem of Consciousness recently, and I  realised - I think for
 the first time - that his own double-aspect theory of information  
 is
 effectively a reformulation, in less 'professionally-embarrassing'
 lingo, of eastern metaphysics!

 Indeed, Chalmers' double-aspect theory of information seemed like a
 good starting point when I first read it 18 months or so ago, but I
 guess the question is where do you go from there?  Chalmers did a
 great job of articulating the mind-body problem, and I think in
 defending his initial position, but he doesn't seem to have made much
 progress in the 14 or so years since then.  BUT, then...I guess that's
 the hard part for you.

 Though, just in the last month, I think I've kind of shifted gears
 here.  Why should consciousness be an aspect of information (or
 anything else)?  Why not consider information an aspect of
 consciousness?

 In an earlier thread, Brent mentioned Hume, and in response you
 referenced Kant, BUT I'm not very familiar with either.  But just in
 the last week I've discovered that Kant has already given some thought
 to this topic, and kindly summarized his views in A Critique of Pure
 Reason!  Who knew???  So now I'm interested in reading up on Kant,
 and particularly G. E. Schulze's subsequent response in Aenesidemus.
 SO...if you've already been down this path, then I'd be interested to
 hear your thoughts.

 Though, obviously since A Critique of Pure reason was written in 1781,
 and yet we're still here discussing it almost 230 years later, it
 didn't offer any conclusive answers...but still...

 Of course even before Hume and Kant, we have Leibniz in Monadology  
 (1714):

 Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends
 upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by
 means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine, so
 constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be
 conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so
 that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on
 examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another,
 and never anything by which to explain a perception.  Thus it is in a
 simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that
 perception must be sought for.


 BUT, I think my general criticism is that we seem to be mistaking
 descriptions of what we are conscious of, with an explanation of
 consciousness itself.

 So, for instance, if Bruno is correct in his mathematical theory of
 the origins of consciousness...what does that mean, really?
 Ultimately, how is it different than saying consciousness exists
 uncaused, but by pure chance there are these interesting patterns that
 can be seen in this record of our past observations.

Chance is also a sort of filling-gap explanations.
Assuming mechanism, chance cannot work. It cannot explain  
regularities. It cannot explain why we remain in stable realities.
Be it matter or consciousness we may try theories, instead of  
postulating an absence of explanation at the start.
Some theories can then explain why some phenomenological gaps have to  
exist, due to our embedding in reality/realities.



 SO...I dunno.  Bruno made the dreaded accusation of solipsism, but I'm
 not sure how you avoid ending up there (at least in the
 epistemological sense of there being a limit to what can be known),
 regardless of which direction you go.  You can take the long way, or
 you can take the short way, but all roads do seem to ultimately lead
 to some variety of solipsism.  The only question is what kind of
 scenery will you get along the way.  H.


All babies are solipsist. We start from solipsism. Solipsism is  
correct, from the first person point of view. But science begins when  
we start betting in a third or perhaps a zero-person view, a  
transcendental reality, be it a universe, a god, a way (tao). We need  
this if only to be able to accept other minds, other consciousness,  
other people. Then we can make theories.
Now, all universal machine does have that solipsist part, and we can  
explain why, and what exists beyond.

A lot of what you say makes sense, but more as a description of  
important data, than as an attempt toward an explanation.
Once you accept that something else (third person) can have a first  
person view, be it a machine, an animal, a human, an extraterrestrial  
entity or a god, you have to accept that solipsism, although an  
accurate feature of consciousness, is inaccurate as a fundamental  
explanation. We can believe in something greater than ourself.  
Somehow, the belief in matter is an intermediate between the  
correct, but third person pointless solipsism, and the many incorrect,  
but corrigible, pointers toward 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-25 Thread David Nyman

On 17 Aug, 01:02, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

Hi Rex

Recalling your interest in Chalmers: I was re-reading Facing Up to
the Problem of Consciousness recently, and I  realised - I think for
the first time - that his own double-aspect theory of information is
effectively a reformulation, in less 'professionally-embarrassing'
lingo, of eastern metaphysics!   AFAICS he's basically saying that a)
'intrinsic' existence is qualitative; and b) the 'physical' is based
on second-order 'causal relations' derived from an 'extrinsic'
viewpoint embedded in a).  It's worth quoting his short excursion into
metaphysical speculation at the end:

This could answer a concern about the causal relevance of experience
- a natural worry, given a picture on which the physical domain is
causally closed, and on which experience is supplementary to the
physical.

Hm...  Worrying indeed!  He goes on to say:

The informational view allows us to understand how experience might
have a subtle kind of causal relevance in virtue of its status as the
intrinsic nature of the physical. This metaphysical speculation is
probably best ignored for the purposes of developing a scientific
theory, but in addressing some philosophical issues it is quite
suggestive.

Of course, he could as well have said:

The informational view allows us to understand how the physical might
have a subtle kind of causal relevance in virtue of its status as the
extrinsic nature of experience. This metaphysical speculation is
probably best ignored for the purposes of developing a scientific
theory, but in addressing some philosophical issues it is quite
suggestive.

So IOW the subtle causal relevance of what he terms the intrinsic is
in constituting what exists.  Not so subtle perhaps ;-)  And the - no
doubt equally subtle? - relevance of the extrinsic is in being the
shareable account of what happens after that.  I guess one might
indeed find this suggestive!

http://consc.net/papers/facing.html

David

 On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

  I exist could be, perhaps, tautological. But Reality? I don't
  think so. Certainly not from inside.

 What is reality, beyond our conscious experience of existence?

  The conclusion will be that consciousness, or anything apprehended by
  a person in some stable way has to be realted to an infinity of
  relations between numbers. And most are not caused by a rule-
  following system.

 Given an infinity of relations between numbers to work with, wouldn't
 pretty much everything be representable?  If so, then what is the
 significance of being able to represent the contents of our conscious
 experience, including a represention of our lack of comprehension as
 to how a symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
 incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia?

 In fact, here, this pen on my desk.  To me, that pen now represents my
 lack of comprehension as to how a symbolic self-representing relation
 individuates into an incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.
 There, that wasn't so hard.  What is the significance of this?  If
 there's no significance to my pen representing this, then what is the
 significance of using relations between numbers to represent the same
 thing?

  So I can (sort of) see how a logical machine might symbolically
  represent reality in this way.  BUT, this doesn't answer the question
  of why there should be a conscious experience associated with the
  machine symbolically representing reality this way.

  Does it?

  It does not. That is why it is the assumption of the theory. The
  working hypothesis. The light in the dark.

 Okay this is related to my point above and is the core of my problem
 with your view, and with physicalism due to it's similar assumption.

  And then, the beauty of it, is that, ONCE the assumption is done, we
  can understand fully and rationally why we cannot understand how a
  symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
  incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.

 Your understanding boils down to:  here is a mathematical model that
 represents our situation, and which may have some practical use in
 predicting what we will observe in the future.  Why will it correctly
 predict what we observe?  Because that's the way things are.  Will it
 always predict what we will observe?  Well, either it will or it
 won't.  We can't know in advance.  We'll see.

 What we CAN be sure of is that with an infinity of relations between
 numbers at our disposal, if at some point we observe something that is
 inconsistent with the predictions of this model, we can find a NEW
 model that is consistent with both old and new observations!

 So, please see my last response to Brent about subjective explanations
 and virtual-gas, I think it's relevant!
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-25 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 9:50 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 Recalling your interest in Chalmers: I was re-reading Facing Up to
 the Problem of Consciousness recently, and I  realised - I think for
 the first time - that his own double-aspect theory of information is
 effectively a reformulation, in less 'professionally-embarrassing'
 lingo, of eastern metaphysics!

Indeed, Chalmers' double-aspect theory of information seemed like a
good starting point when I first read it 18 months or so ago, but I
guess the question is where do you go from there?  Chalmers did a
great job of articulating the mind-body problem, and I think in
defending his initial position, but he doesn't seem to have made much
progress in the 14 or so years since then.  BUT, then...I guess that's
the hard part for you.

Though, just in the last month, I think I've kind of shifted gears
here.  Why should consciousness be an aspect of information (or
anything else)?  Why not consider information an aspect of
consciousness?

In an earlier thread, Brent mentioned Hume, and in response you
referenced Kant, BUT I'm not very familiar with either.  But just in
the last week I've discovered that Kant has already given some thought
to this topic, and kindly summarized his views in A Critique of Pure
Reason!  Who knew???  So now I'm interested in reading up on Kant,
and particularly G. E. Schulze's subsequent response in Aenesidemus.
SO...if you've already been down this path, then I'd be interested to
hear your thoughts.

Though, obviously since A Critique of Pure reason was written in 1781,
and yet we're still here discussing it almost 230 years later, it
didn't offer any conclusive answers...but still...

Of course even before Hume and Kant, we have Leibniz in Monadology (1714):

Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends
upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by
means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine, so
constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be
conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so
that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on
examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another,
and never anything by which to explain a perception.  Thus it is in a
simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that
perception must be sought for.


BUT, I think my general criticism is that we seem to be mistaking
descriptions of what we are conscious of, with an explanation of
consciousness itself.

So, for instance, if Bruno is correct in his mathematical theory of
the origins of consciousness...what does that mean, really?
Ultimately, how is it different than saying consciousness exists
uncaused, but by pure chance there are these interesting patterns that
can be seen in this record of our past observations.

So Brent made the assertion that The ability to predict is an
excellent measure of understanding.  But if your predictions are all
*caused* by the same system that you are making predictions about, and
that same system is also then *causing* your judgments about the
accuracy of the predictions, then I don't think that his assertion is
necessarily true.

You could not have understood other than you did, you could not have
predicted other than you did, and you could not have judged the
accuracy of the prediction other than you did.  There was no freedom
in any of these things.  In effect...there was no understanding, there
was no prediction, and there was no judgement...it was all just the
system going through it's motions, which for some reason resulted in
an epiphenomenal EXPERIENCE of understanding, prediction, and
judgement.

And I think that this was part of the discussion between Kant,
Reinhold, Schulze, et al.

For example:

As determined by the Critique of Pure Reason, the function of the
principle of causality thus undercuts all philosophizing about the
where or how of the origin of our cognitions. All assertions on the
matter, and every conclusion drawn from them, become empty subtleties,
for once we accept that determination of the principle as our rule of
thought, we could never ask, 'Does anything actually exist which is
the ground and cause of our representations?'. We can only ask, 'How
must the understanding join these representations together, in keeping
with the pre-determined functions of its activity, in order to gather
them as one experience?'  -- Gottlob Ernst Schulze

SO...I dunno.  Bruno made the dreaded accusation of solipsism, but I'm
not sure how you avoid ending up there (at least in the
epistemological sense of there being a limit to what can be known),
regardless of which direction you go.  You can take the long way, or
you can take the short way, but all roads do seem to ultimately lead
to some variety of solipsism.  The only question is what kind of
scenery will you get along the way.  H.


Re: Against Physics

2009-08-17 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 17 Aug 2009, at 02:02, Rex Allen wrote:


 On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:

 I exist could be, perhaps, tautological. But Reality? I don't
 think so. Certainly not from inside.

 What is reality, beyond our conscious experience of existence?

This is what we are supposed to be interested.
I believe in the consciousness of someone different for me, for example.
I believe in math and in our ability to share it.





 The conclusion will be that consciousness, or anything apprehended by
 a person in some stable way has to be realted to an infinity of
 relations between numbers. And most are not caused by a rule-
 following system.

 Given an infinity of relations between numbers to work with, wouldn't
 pretty much everything be representable?

What makes you believe that all relations between numbers are  
representable?
It is just false by Cantor theorem (soon (re)explained).
But if you don't believe in some amount of math, Cantor theorem will  
not help.
You position look closer and closer to solipsism.



 If so, then what is the
 significance of being able to represent the contents of our conscious
 experience, including a represention of our lack of comprehension as
 to how a symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
 incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia?

 In fact, here, this pen on my desk.  To me, that pen now represents my
 lack of comprehension as to how a symbolic self-representing relation
 individuates into an incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.
 There, that wasn't so hard.  What is the significance of this?  If
 there's no significance to my pen representing this, then what is the
 significance of using relations between numbers to represent the same
 thing?

The significance comes from the computationalist hypothesis.
See my url for detailed explanations. But, again, if you think that  
sentences like there is an infinity of prime numbers depends on  
consciousness, then it will not help.





 So I can (sort of) see how a logical machine might symbolically
 represent reality in this way.  BUT, this doesn't answer the  
 question
 of why there should be a conscious experience associated with the
 machine symbolically representing reality this way.

 Does it?

 It does not. That is why it is the assumption of the theory. The
 working hypothesis. The light in the dark.

 Okay this is related to my point above and is the core of my problem
 with your view, and with physicalism due to it's similar assumption.

It is problem you will have with all non-solipsists.
Well, even with other solipsists.




 And then, the beauty of it, is that, ONCE the assumption is done, we
 can understand fully and rationally why we cannot understand how a
 symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
 incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.

 Your understanding boils down to:  here is a mathematical model that
 represents our situation, and which may have some practical use in
 predicting what we will observe in the future.  Why will it correctly
 predict what we observe?

It is not a model. It is the theory/guess/hypothesis.assumption.
It is the widespread belief that the brain/body is locally a machine,  
or that it is turing emulable.
I am studying its consequences.

I'm afraid you are solipsist. This is an irrefutable position, true  
by definition as lived by any first person, and false once we bet on a  
reality independent of oneself (as usual in science and society).

Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-17 Thread Rex Allen

 I'm afraid you are solipsist.

Ha!  Ouch!  But it's not quite as simple as that.  I don't deny that
there MAY be something that causes consciousness, BUT if there
is...this ultimately doesn't matter.  In the final view, the
conclusion is the same...consciousness experience just is what it is.

Further, I definitely don't deny the existence of conscious
experiences other than mine.  And there's nothing I've said that
implies this.  In fact, I've explicitly said the exact opposite in a
response to David in this very thread.

So, if I'm a solipsist, so are you, and so is basically everyone
EXCEPT those who believe (somehow) in libertarian free will.  Which
you and I and David at least have all disavowed as being a nonsensical
concept.

SO, in our last couple of emails we focused on the explanatory
gap...which is really just the wakeup call that something's out of
whack with our view of reality.  It's not part of the core argument
I'm making.

My main argument is not even really *against* your theory...my
argument relates to what your theory means if it is true (which it may
be, who knows):

If numbers and their relations exist timeless and uncaused, and our
consciousness is (to use your description) the view from inside a
local summary of the infinities of computational relations between all
the numbers, THEN our conscious experiences are also objectively
timeless, aren't they?  And so they can all be viewed as existing
simultaneously, even if they have the subjective feel of being
sequential when experienced from the inside.

If these conscious experiences all exist necessarily as a consequence
of the infinities of computational relations between all the numbers
(TIOCRBAN), then they just exist.  There is no reason that TIOCRBAN
have this conscious aspect, it's just the way arithmetical reality is.

So, why do you feel the desire to understand conscious experience?
Well, this desire is a timeless and eternal consequence of TIOCRBAN.
This conscious experience of desire that you feel in this moment has
always existed and will always exist in TIOCRBAN.

Will you succeed in your quest?  Trick question!  The future already
exists!  If you succeed, this success already exists timelessly and
eternally in TIOCRBAN.  In fact, maybe a Bruno experience of success
AND of failure both exist somewhere within TIOCRBAN.

The entire collection of Bruno's conscious experiences just exist.
And they just are what they are.  This feeling of effort that you have
of working towards your goal...it just exists.  There is no effort,
only the experience of effort.  The feeling of understanding when you
learn something new?  There is no understanding OR learning...there is
only the experience of these things, caused by the intrinsic nature of
TIOCRBAN, and like TIOCRBAN existing timelessly and eternally.

If TIOCRBAN causes your conscious experiences, then TIOCRBAN do all of
the work.  Your conscious experience is just along for the ride as an
aspect, a facet, of TIOCRBAN.

Further, if TIOCRBAN just exists, uncaused and timeless, then your
experiences also just exist as an aspect of TIOCRBAN and thus also
uncaused and timeless.

If there is no reason behind the nature of TIOCRBAN, then there is no
reason behind the nature of your conscious experiences.  No
explanation is possible, only description.

Right?  How could it be otherwise?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-17 Thread John Mikes
Rex,
(I guess the unsigned text below came from you)
thanks for your one-liner  gemstone of a definition  on
Conscious Experience!
John Mikes

On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:04 PM, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:


 On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 
  Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

 H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
 problem for my view.

 As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
 subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
 subjectivity is significant I think.

 What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
 experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
 of) conscious experience.

 I think a facet/gemstone analogy is appropriate here:  The facet
 doesn't exist separate from the gemstone, and can't be considered
 independently of the gemstone.  Neither can the gemstone be considered
 independently of it's facets.

 Conscious experience being the gemstone, and 'meaning' be a facet of
 that gemstone, of course.  (Just trying to reduce the target size for
 Brent's one-line zingers!)

 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-17 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 5:20 PM, John Mikesjami...@gmail.com wrote:
 Rex,
 (I guess the unsigned text below came from you)
 thanks for your one-liner  gemstone of a definition  on
 Conscious Experience!
 John Mikes


Indeed!  Thanks John, glad you liked it!





 On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:04 PM, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:
 
  Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

 H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
 problem for my view.

 As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
 subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
 subjectivity is significant I think.

 What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
 experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
 of) conscious experience.

 I think a facet/gemstone analogy is appropriate here:  The facet
 doesn't exist separate from the gemstone, and can't be considered
 independently of the gemstone.  Neither can the gemstone be considered
 independently of it's facets.

 Conscious experience being the gemstone, and 'meaning' be a facet of
 that gemstone, of course.  (Just trying to reduce the target size for
 Brent's one-line zingers!)
 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 14 Aug 2009, at 09:11, Rex Allen wrote:


 On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:

 As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious  
 experience
 itself is uncaused and fundamental.

 This has no meaning for me. It is like saying don't ask.

 Hm.  You don't at all see what I'm trying to say?

 Okay, how about this:  Reality is tautological.

I exist could be, perhaps, tautological. But Reality? I don't  
think so. Certainly not from inside.



 So if our conscious experience is caused by a rule-following system,
 based on a sequence of determinisitc transforms applied to an initial
 state...and this is true of both physicalism and your theory I
 think...then our conscious experience just is what it is.  Tautology.
 Everything that follows was implicit in the setup.

It is hard for me to understand.
First in the comp theory, consciousness is not caused by a rule- 
following system.
The most we can say is that my consciousness is preserved through a  
local substitution of my body.
This can be done with remaining agnostic on what is and where  
consciousness comes from.
The conclusion will be that consciousness, or anything apprehended by  
a person in some stable way has to be realted to an infinity of  
relations between numbers. And most are not caused by a rule- 
following system.



 And there's no obvious reason that the unpacked version, where what
 follows is made *explicit*, shouldn't be considered as a whole - with
 the beginning, middle, and end states seen as existing simultaneously
 and timelessly.  This makes the view that it just is what it is even
 more obvious.

Well, I can accept this for the true relations between numbers, and  
that is a motivation for a comp-like theory. But neither consciousness  
nor matter are tautological there. Important, and certainly  
fundamental in some sense: yes. But secondary and emerging from the  
numbers.




 Also, what do your theory say about accepting or not an artificial
 brain?

 IF consciousness is caused, then whether you accept or not is a
 forgone conclusion, implicit in the initial setup (initial state +
 transformation rules) of the system that caused your conscious
 experience.

I think, with all my respect, that you missed the movie-graph  
argument. Consciousness is not caused or produced by anything which  
could be described by a system or a theory. Consciousness is more a  
view from inside. It is a view of the border between the mechanical  
and the non mechanical, and it is not something caused by something.  
Locally it is more something causing something.




  So there is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only
 the conscious experience of a choice.

 If consciousness is UNCAUSED and fundamental, then...same answer.
 There is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only the conscious
 experience of a choice.

I have the same opinion on the notion of causality and of free-will.  
Those are higher-order logical/semantical construction.





 More generally, how do you see the relation between brain and
 conscience?

 Brains only exist as something that we consciously perceive.

If by we you mean the universal machine, and really all of them,  
then I can make sense from your sentence.
If by we you mean the animal of the planet earth, I doubt it. In our  
plausibly shared long history, the moebas invented the cable even  
before going out of the sea.
Remember that with comp a brain is not a physical object. It is local  
summary of infinities of computational (in the math sense) relations  
between all the numbers.




 I'm sure that my brain can be viewed as representing the contents of
 my experience.  And I'm sure that a computer program could also be
 written that would represent the contents of my conscious experience
 and whose representational state would evolve as the program ran so
 that it continued to match the contents of my experience over time.
 But this would not mean that the program was conscious, or that my
 brain is the source of my consciousness.

We are in complete agreement here. But then you can say yes to the  
doctor, and follows the consequence of the hypothesis that your  
personal consciousness don't see any change.

You see Rex, I have never been happy with the idea of those who say  
that matter or physics, is fundamental-basic, and to say that  
consciousness is fundamental-basic seems to me the same sort of don't  
ask principle.



 The living brain and the executing computer program both just
 represent the contents of my conscious experience, in the same way
 that a map represents the actual terrain.

Assuming comp there is a big difference, which is that when you say  
yes to the doctor, you don't say yes because he put the right map in  
your skull, you say yes because it put the right relevant relative  
number. The artificial brain will just simulate your biological brain,  
but it will, supposing the doctor has choose the right level, 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread David Nyman

2009/8/16 Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be:

 So I lean towards the idea that only our conscious experiences are
 real.  Things obviously exist as contents of conscious experiences.

 I deeply disagree here. Even to understand a word like content I
 have to believe in some more basic entities which are not conscious.

Ah.  This may even be the subtlest point of all.  The context is
conscious 'of' the content.  The content isn't itself conscious 'of'.
But since both context and content are 'constructed' of the same basic
entities, this can't be a fundamental distinction.  Hence the
distinction must be one of relation.  To introduce a new vocabulary is
difficult.  I would like to talk in terms of mutual access and mutual
relativisation as being basic to entities and their relations.  What
is conscious 'of' what, can then be understood in terms of the
evolution such basic entities towards mutually-relating,
mutually-accessing levels of content-in-context.

 Why, if we are machine, there must be a quale (an incommunicable but 
 feelable
 measure) related to some modal apprehension of ourself relatively to other 
 universal
 number. PS I would be pleased if someone can suggest a better wording for 
 feelable?

The distinction looked for is between what is directly
apprehendable-in-context, and what is communicable out-of-context.
This distinction is of course absolutely crucial - consequently often
missed - and hence the source of continual and widespread confusion.

The context in question is that of the knower.  What is in-context is
both what the knower knows, and the terms in which it is known. What
is communicable is what can be abstracted, or 'taken out-of-context'.
What is lost in the abstraction is precisely the terms in which it is
known; these can only be restored in the context of another knower.

So, the 'feelable' seems to be the context in which the knowable is
known.  Perhaps we could say that the feelable is the contextual
self-measure, of which the communicable is the abstractable content.

David



 http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Brent Meeker

Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 On 14 Aug 2009, at 09:11, Rex Allen wrote:
...


 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

 So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
 conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.
 ? I can't accept this, because I am interested in the how and why of
 complexity of things and happenings.
 So you can look for patterns in what you observe, and interesting ways
 to represent what you have observed in the past.
 
 Not just that. I look for understanding. I criticize enough the  
 scientists who confuse description and prediction with explanation.

I disagree that this a confusion.  A description of something you don't 
understand in 
terms of something you do understand is one form of explanation.  The ability 
to predict 
is an excellent measure of understanding.  I think the only confusion comes 
from 
conflating different kinds of explanation or thoughtlessly switching from one 
to another. 
I would say that your explanation of the world is a descriptive one and basing 
it on 
arithmetic is appealing because we understand arithmetic.  And I think you 
agree that if 
it makes false predictions it fails as an explanation.

Brent


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
problem for my view.

As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
subjectivity is significant I think.

What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
of) conscious experience.

I think a facet/gemstone analogy is appropriate here:  The facet
doesn't exist separate from the gemstone, and can't be considered
independently of the gemstone.  Neither can the gemstone be considered
independently of it's facets.

Conscious experience being the gemstone, and 'meaning' be a facet of
that gemstone, of course.  (Just trying to reduce the target size for
Brent's one-line zingers!)

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 16 Aug 2009, at 18:35, Brent Meeker wrote:


 Bruno Marchal wrote:

 On 14 Aug 2009, at 09:11, Rex Allen wrote:
 ...


 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

 So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I  
 am
 conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.
 ? I can't accept this, because I am interested in the how and why  
 of
 complexity of things and happenings.
 So you can look for patterns in what you observe, and interesting  
 ways
 to represent what you have observed in the past.

 Not just that. I look for understanding. I criticize enough the
 scientists who confuse description and prediction with explanation.

 I disagree that this a confusion.  A description of something you  
 don't understand in
 terms of something you do understand is one form of explanation.   
 The ability to predict
 is an excellent measure of understanding.

OK.


  I think the only confusion comes from
 conflating different kinds of explanation or thoughtlessly switching  
 from one to another.

OK.



 I would say that your explanation of the world is a descriptive one  
 and basing it on
 arithmetic is appealing because we understand arithmetic.  And I  
 think you agree that if
 it makes false predictions it fails as an explanation.


Absolutely so. Note that comp gives a lot of choice, besides  
arithmetic, for the ontic, and justify that independence.  From the  
ontic view there are equivalent. From the epistemological view, also,  
but for the internal view themselves, things get different, if only  
due to history and geography. The contingent hides the necessary.


Bruno

http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread David Nyman

2009/8/16 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

 H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
 problem for my view.

But weren't you were arguing that your view of explanation and meaning
as 'uncaused', in some ultimate sense, rendered them pointless?  My
rejoinder was that the point of departure for any existential
encounter is always contextual - or situated - and our task is to
explore ways of relating meaningfully to this situation; hence to
deplore the lack of an appeal to 'external' justification amounts to
'false consciousness'.  Do you agree?

 As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
 subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
 subjectivity is significant I think.

 What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
 experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
 of) conscious experience.

Well, meaning is a facet of our mutual situation, which is revealed in
consciousness.

David


 I think a facet/gemstone analogy is appropriate here:  The facet
 doesn't exist separate from the gemstone, and can't be considered
 independently of the gemstone.  Neither can the gemstone be considered
 independently of it's facets.

 Conscious experience being the gemstone, and 'meaning' be a facet of
 that gemstone, of course.  (Just trying to reduce the target size for
 Brent's one-line zingers!)

 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Rex Allen

On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:42 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 2009/8/16 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

 H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
 problem for my view.

 But weren't you were arguing that your view of explanation and meaning
 as 'uncaused', in some ultimate sense, rendered them pointless?  My
 rejoinder was that the point of departure for any existential
 encounter is always contextual - or situated - and our task is to
 explore ways of relating meaningfully to this situation

To find subjective meaning in the situation, sure.  It's pointless,
but we have to do something to pass the time.  And I mean have to in
the sense that we are compelled to...either by causes beyond ourselves
(e.g., as a side effect of electrons and quarks going about their
business), or just because that's what our conscious experience is of
and so we are tautologically dragged along behind it.

 ; hence to
 deplore the lack of an appeal to 'external' justification amounts to
 'false consciousness'.  Do you agree?

Uhh.  I don't think so, but you lost me after the semi-colon.


 As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
 subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
 subjectivity is significant I think.

 What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
 experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
 of) conscious experience.

 Well, meaning is a facet of our mutual situation, which is revealed in
 consciousness.

Mutual???  I'm looking around in my conscious experience and I don't
see YOUR conscious experience anywhere!  What's this mutual stuff?
You presume too much David!

When it comes to conscious experience, you're on your own, buddy.

So I know my conscious experience exists.  So clearly conscious
experience is possible.  I don't know of any reason why other
conscious experiences can't exist, so I'm willing to believe that
another conscious experience exists which is qualitatively similar to
mine, though apparently different in content (since we aren't writing
the same emails and agreeing on every point).

But, I don't draw any further conclusions than that.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 There seems to be a lot switching back and forth between cause and meaning 
 and explanation
 as though were interchangable.  And even those have different modes, e.g. 
 first cause,
 effective cause, proximate cause,...  Meaning=standing for something else.  
 Meaning=having
 inherent value (to someone).

Are you saying that you find my argument to be incoherent?  Or that
you get the gist of what I'm saying, but that my presentation left a
lot to be desired?

In the latter case:  Point taken.  I will try to be more careful in my
use of those terms.

In the former case:  Well.  Hmm.


 I agree that one can always ask Why? as children sometimes do; and the 
 ultimate answer
 is, Because I say so. So you may well say, Things are just what they are.

So, a nice rhetorical flourish in comparing me to a child, but at a
substantive level there's a significant difference between Because I
say so and things just are what they are, right?

Things just are what they are means that no further explanation is
possible, even in principle.  And at some point that actually becomes
the case.  Wouldn't you say?  It can be said and meant literally.

Because I say so.  Well, I'm not sure what this means.  Obviously
it's not meant to be taken literally.  Right?  Or do you suffer from a
god-complex of some sort?  If so, my condolences for your affliction.
(see?  I can be condescending too!)


 that doesn't mean that we cannot have and explanation of QM and gravity and
 consciousness, and after than an explanation of the explanation ad infinitum.

Well, with respect to QM and gravity, I think this is in keeping with
my previous point about putting conscious experience at the base of
the ontological/epistemological stack, rather than at the top.

So yes, I agree with you are saying here.  It seems reasonable that
the explanatory process could go on ad infinitum, where by
explanatory process I mean the process of generating narratives that
are consistent with what we observe.  And this process doesn't depend
on what really exists.  It only depends on what we observe.  If we are
in a physical world, a computer simulation, or Platonia, the process
is the same.

The process is one of generating narratives that are meaningful in the
context of your subjective consciously experienced observations.  The
process is a subjective process.  The meaning that you get from the
process is subjective meaning...it means something TO YOU.  It means
nothing in an absolute sense.  If it meant something in an objective,
absolute sense then the process wouldn't produce the same results in a
physical world, a computer simulation, and in Platonia.

As for consciousness, the above applies, but let me also take this
opportunity to deploy this great argument that I heard somewhere:  An
explanation must be of something less known in terms of something
better known.  Since nothing can be better known than our own
subjective experience, it cannot be explained.


 So I guess I'm unclear on your point. Are you advising that
 we give up all explanation and just chant It is what it is.

So originally I came to this list to clarify my thinking on what
causes conscious experience.  BUT, as a result of the discussions here
and elsewhere, I have concluded that if consciousness is caused, then
it just is what it is.  Which, incidentally is also true of
consciousness if it is uncaused.

This point is most clear if you think of the physical universe in
static block time terms (regardless of whether it is actually static
in this way).  The block in it's entirety just exists, with whatever
properties it came into being with.  If it is all that exists, then
you can't go outside of it for further explanation.  Nothing more can
be said.  Maybe it has a regular, predictable structure that extends
all the way through.  Maybe it is riddled with random uncaused
transitions (QM anyone?).  But either way, there's no explanation for
these things.  Only description.

And if this physical universe is the cause of our conscious
experiences, then they also just exist.

So as for the chanting, well no.  The scientific narrative process
that we engage in (described above), caused or uncaused, will continue
or it won't...we have no choice in that, or in anything else.  But
under all imaginable circumstances I think it is clear that it is a
subjective process with subjective meaning.  It provides no access to
the absolute view of what actually exists...the pursuit of such access
is futile.  The veil of conscious experience (if it is a veil covering
something more basic, and isn't itself fundamental as I believe),
can't be pierced, even theoretically.


 Yes, I know it's circular. Thats the point.  But I think it can be a virtuous 
 rather than
 a vicious circle, and the wider the circle the more virtuous.

I don't think my views as outlined above are necessarily in direct
conflict with this.  It just depends on 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread Rex Allen

On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 I exist could be, perhaps, tautological. But Reality? I don't
 think so. Certainly not from inside.

What is reality, beyond our conscious experience of existence?


 The conclusion will be that consciousness, or anything apprehended by
 a person in some stable way has to be realted to an infinity of
 relations between numbers. And most are not caused by a rule-
 following system.

Given an infinity of relations between numbers to work with, wouldn't
pretty much everything be representable?  If so, then what is the
significance of being able to represent the contents of our conscious
experience, including a represention of our lack of comprehension as
to how a symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia?

In fact, here, this pen on my desk.  To me, that pen now represents my
lack of comprehension as to how a symbolic self-representing relation
individuates into an incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.
There, that wasn't so hard.  What is the significance of this?  If
there's no significance to my pen representing this, then what is the
significance of using relations between numbers to represent the same
thing?


 So I can (sort of) see how a logical machine might symbolically
 represent reality in this way.  BUT, this doesn't answer the question
 of why there should be a conscious experience associated with the
 machine symbolically representing reality this way.

 Does it?

 It does not. That is why it is the assumption of the theory. The
 working hypothesis. The light in the dark.

Okay this is related to my point above and is the core of my problem
with your view, and with physicalism due to it's similar assumption.


 And then, the beauty of it, is that, ONCE the assumption is done, we
 can understand fully and rationally why we cannot understand how a
 symbolic self-representing relation individuate into an
 incommunicable, non doubtable, lived qualia.

Your understanding boils down to:  here is a mathematical model that
represents our situation, and which may have some practical use in
predicting what we will observe in the future.  Why will it correctly
predict what we observe?  Because that's the way things are.  Will it
always predict what we will observe?  Well, either it will or it
won't.  We can't know in advance.  We'll see.

What we CAN be sure of is that with an infinity of relations between
numbers at our disposal, if at some point we observe something that is
inconsistent with the predictions of this model, we can find a NEW
model that is consistent with both old and new observations!

So, please see my last response to Brent about subjective explanations
and virtual-gas, I think it's relevant!

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-16 Thread David Nyman

2009/8/16 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:42 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 2009/8/16 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 Here's what I think is the problem with all this:

 H.  I didn't see anything in your post that seemed like an actual
 problem for my view.

 But weren't you were arguing that your view of explanation and meaning
 as 'uncaused', in some ultimate sense, rendered them pointless?  My
 rejoinder was that the point of departure for any existential
 encounter is always contextual - or situated - and our task is to
 explore ways of relating meaningfully to this situation

 To find subjective meaning in the situation, sure.  It's pointless,
 but we have to do something to pass the time.  And I mean have to in
 the sense that we are compelled to...either by causes beyond ourselves
 (e.g., as a side effect of electrons and quarks going about their
 business), or just because that's what our conscious experience is of
 and so we are tautologically dragged along behind it.

When you qualify meaning as 'subjective' - which I would prefer to
render as inter-subjective or contextual  - this again implies the
expectation that meaning must be legitimated from some notionally
'objective' pole - i.e. external to the context in which it is
situated.  My point is not merely that this *isn't* so, but that it
*can't* be.  Also, recall the insight that explanatory entities such
as those you cite are not transcendent, but intrinsic, to our own
natures.  These aren't causes beyond ourselves: 'their' business is
intrinsically *our* business.

By the way, the idea of 'non-interactive' parallelism is one of the
more toxic dualistic by-products of the confusion over the
participatory nature of our presence in the scheme of things.  It
falls victim to Occam at every turn.  In particular, consider why
evolution would select highly complex self-reflecting discriminators
to exploit a sentient relation that was merely an illusory
coincidence.  If you re-read Chalmers in this light I think you will
see that it is precisely the notion that physics (or any explanatory
schema) can be 'causally closed' independent of sentience that leads
to such a pusillanimous and (literally) disempowering conclusion.

 ; hence to
 deplore the lack of an appeal to 'external' justification amounts to
 'false consciousness'.  Do you agree?

 Uhh.  I don't think so, but you lost me after the semi-colon.

The burden of my argument is that when we see that meaning is
*inescapably* contextual we can also see that it is not life that is
'pointless', but rather the whole idea that the 'point' is something
that must be derived from something absolutely transcendent, or
'outside' the system.  This is not merely of tangential interest,
either: it's the confusion that is central to the on-going dispute
between fundamentalism and the spirit of liberal enquiry.

 As I think my virtual-gas example illustrated, meaning is
 subjective, like conscious experience.  That shared property of
 subjectivity is significant I think.

 What I think I can safely say is:  meaning is a facet of conscious
 experience, not something that exists separately from (or independent
 of) conscious experience.

 Well, meaning is a facet of our mutual situation, which is revealed in
 consciousness.

 Mutual???  I'm looking around in my conscious experience and I don't
 see YOUR conscious experience anywhere!  What's this mutual stuff?
 You presume too much David!

 When it comes to conscious experience, you're on your own, buddy.

 So I know my conscious experience exists.  So clearly conscious
 experience is possible.  I don't know of any reason why other
 conscious experiences can't exist, so I'm willing to believe that
 another conscious experience exists which is qualitatively similar to
 mine, though apparently different in content (since we aren't writing
 the same emails and agreeing on every point).

 But, I don't draw any further conclusions than that.

;-) Permit me to smile (in friendly good humour!)  I think that the
level of engagement you display demonstrates a stronger intuition of
mutuality than your analysis implies.

Best

David


 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-15 Thread Rex Allen

Brent and 1Z (the twins...a dynamic duo of blunt skepticism):


On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 Well, I think that's what I'm saying.  Causal explanations are not
 really explanations, because you can never trace the causal chain back
 to it's ultimate source.

 That's silly.  If my wife's car won't start and I explain that it's out of 
 gas, that's
 really an explanation even if I don't know why it's out of gas.  he 
 operational
 definition of an explanation of an event is what you would do to effect or 
 prevent that
 event.

Oh.  Is that what we're interested in here?  Operationally defined explanations?

I apologize.  I had not realized.  I thought we were discussing deeper
issues.  So sure, if you want to stick to operational explanations,
things are pretty straightforward.  Physics is indeed the language for
operational explanations and perhaps we should confine ourselves to
discussions of the latest developments in physics.  I propose a name
change, from the Everything List to Everything Physics-related
List.

Though, actually, I thought that we were discussing the *ultimate*
underlying nature of reality.  Not operational explanations that
provide us with strategies for avoiding car problems in that reality.
So, upon further reflection, I think I'm in the right list.  You,
however, may not be.

Okay, sarcasm over, though I think my point above is valid.

BUT, actually I do very much appreciate your response, as it forces me
to examine, clarify, and articulate my own thoughts.  Which is the
whole point of this exercise I think.  So, the only thing worse than a
negative response is no response!  Ha!


 In general there are multiple things you could do and hence multiple causes of
 an event.

There are many ways the history of the world could have played out
differently that would have resulted in your wife's car not having an
empty gas tank (many of them quite gruesome) but if physicalism is
correct then there's only ONE way the world DID play out...and that is
the causal structure that led to your wife's situation.


 The image of a causal chain leading back to an ultimate link is misleading - 
 it is
 more like causal chain mail that branches out as you trace it back.

I follow your meaning, but it just means that the chain is a directed
acyclic (presumably!) graph, that can be divided into layers, with
each layer viewed as a link in the chain.  But there must be a base
layer, right?  An infinite past is a possibility too, I suppose, but I
don't think that negates my argument, it just changes the wording a
bit.  But let's not go there just yet.


 But just because you can't trace it back to a single ur-cause doesn't nullify
 my advice to my wife to put gas in the tank.


Okay, two scenarios:

1)  Physicalism is true, you're in the real world, and your wife ran out of gas.

2)  Physicalism is true, you're in a computer simulation of the real
world, and your virtual-wife ran out of virtual-gas.

SO, in both scenarios, your operational approach to explanation is
useful.  But it isn't meaningful in the context of what I take us to
be discussing:  the underlying nature of reality.

Your operational explanations have SUBJECTIVE MEANING.  Not absolute
meaning.  If they had absolute meaning, then they wouldn't apply in
both scenario 1 and scenario 2.

My point is that there IS NO absolute meaning.  And where there is no
meaning, there can be no explanation.  In an absolute sense, things
just are what they are.  Tautology.


 BUT if we take an identical block of granite to be something that just
 exists uncaused, like our universe, then there can be no explanation.

 There can in the same way QM explains the decay of unstable nuclei.  That's 
 what
 cosmogonists are searching for.

Same argument as above.  QM is a theoretical framework that is
consistent with our observations.  As such, it has subjective meaning,
since observations are subjective.

Anywhere you subjectively make the same types of observations that you
make here on earth, then QM will be a good framework to use when
attempting to anticipate future events.  Even if you are *really* in a
computer simulation.

What are unstable nuclei?  They are nuclei that have lower energy
configurations that they can relatively easily be jostled into.  Why
are those other configurations lower energy?  Why the relative ease of
jostling?  Why does there exist a phenomenon capable of jostling in
the right way?  Because that's the way things work in this universe.
Apparently.

But if the laws of physics were different, then what we observed would
be different.  If physicalism is true, maybe there are yet other
universes with different physical laws out there where all nuclei are
stable.  Unstable nuclei just cannot form under those alternate laws.
Seems possible, right?

The existence of unstable nuclei is consistent with our observations.
Even if they don't actually exist, using them as theoretical
constructs 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-15 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 Brent and 1Z (the twins...a dynamic duo of blunt skepticism):
 
 
 On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Well, I think that's what I'm saying.  Causal explanations are not
 really explanations, because you can never trace the causal chain back
 to it's ultimate source.
 That's silly.  If my wife's car won't start and I explain that it's out of 
 gas, that's
 really an explanation even if I don't know why it's out of gas.  he 
 operational
 definition of an explanation of an event is what you would do to effect or 
 prevent that
 event.
 
 Oh.  Is that what we're interested in here?  Operationally defined 
 explanations?
 
 I apologize.  I had not realized.  I thought we were discussing deeper
 issues.  So sure, if you want to stick to operational explanations,
 things are pretty straightforward.  Physics is indeed the language for
 operational explanations and perhaps we should confine ourselves to
 discussions of the latest developments in physics.  I propose a name
 change, from the Everything List to Everything Physics-related
 List.
 
 Though, actually, I thought that we were discussing the *ultimate*
 underlying nature of reality.  Not operational explanations that
 provide us with strategies for avoiding car problems in that reality.
 So, upon further reflection, I think I'm in the right list.  You,
 however, may not be.
 
 Okay, sarcasm over, though I think my point above is valid.
 
 BUT, actually I do very much appreciate your response, as it forces me
 to examine, clarify, and articulate my own thoughts.  Which is the
 whole point of this exercise I think.  So, the only thing worse than a
 negative response is no response!  Ha!
 
 
 In general there are multiple things you could do and hence multiple causes 
 of
 an event.
 
 There are many ways the history of the world could have played out
 differently that would have resulted in your wife's car not having an
 empty gas tank (many of them quite gruesome) but if physicalism is
 correct then there's only ONE way the world DID play out...and that is
 the causal structure that led to your wife's situation.
 
 
 The image of a causal chain leading back to an ultimate link is misleading - 
 it is
 more like causal chain mail that branches out as you trace it back.
 
 I follow your meaning, but it just means that the chain is a directed
 acyclic (presumably!) graph, that can be divided into layers, with
 each layer viewed as a link in the chain.  But there must be a base
 layer, right?  An infinite past is a possibility too, I suppose, but I
 don't think that negates my argument, it just changes the wording a
 bit.  But let's not go there just yet.
 
 
 But just because you can't trace it back to a single ur-cause doesn't nullify
 my advice to my wife to put gas in the tank.
 
 
 Okay, two scenarios:
 
 1)  Physicalism is true, you're in the real world, and your wife ran out of 
 gas.
 
 2)  Physicalism is true, you're in a computer simulation of the real
 world, and your virtual-wife ran out of virtual-gas.
 
 SO, in both scenarios, your operational approach to explanation is
 useful.  But it isn't meaningful in the context of what I take us to
 be discussing:  the underlying nature of reality.
 
 Your operational explanations have SUBJECTIVE MEANING.  Not absolute
 meaning.  If they had absolute meaning, then they wouldn't apply in
 both scenario 1 and scenario 2.
 
 My point is that there IS NO absolute meaning.  And where there is no
 meaning, there can be no explanation.  In an absolute sense, things
 just are what they are.  Tautology.

There seems to be a lot switching back and forth between cause and meaning and 
explanation 
as though were interchangable.  And even those have different modes, e.g. first 
cause, 
effective cause, proximate cause,...  Meaning=standing for something else.  
Meaning=having 
inherent value (to someone).

I agree that one can always ask Why? as children sometimes do; and the 
ultimate answer
is, Because I say so. So you may well say, Things are just what they are. 
but that
doesn't mean that we cannot have and explanation of QM and gravity and 
consciousness, and
after than an explanation of the explanation ad infinitum. So I guess I'm 
unclear on your
point. Are you advising that we give up all explanation and just chant It is 
what it is.

Incidentally, there is a different form of explanation/cause which people 
schooled in
logic tend to reject at first sight, but which I think actually has merit. 
Bruno wrote it
once as: NUMBERS - MACHINE DREAMS - PHYSICAL - HUMANS - PHYSICS - NUMBERS

Yes, I know it's circular. Thats the point.  But I think it can be a virtuous 
rather than 
a vicious circle, and the wider the circle the more virtuous.

Brent



--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Rex Allen

On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
 itself is uncaused and fundamental.

 This has no meaning for me. It is like saying don't ask.

Hm.  You don't at all see what I'm trying to say?

Okay, how about this:  Reality is tautological.

So if our conscious experience is caused by a rule-following system,
based on a sequence of determinisitc transforms applied to an initial
state...and this is true of both physicalism and your theory I
think...then our conscious experience just is what it is.  Tautology.
Everything that follows was implicit in the setup.

And there's no obvious reason that the unpacked version, where what
follows is made *explicit*, shouldn't be considered as a whole - with
the beginning, middle, and end states seen as existing simultaneously
and timelessly.  This makes the view that it just is what it is even
more obvious.


 Also, what do your theory say about accepting or not an artificial
 brain?

IF consciousness is caused, then whether you accept or not is a
forgone conclusion, implicit in the initial setup (initial state +
transformation rules) of the system that caused your conscious
experience.  So there is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only
the conscious experience of a choice.

If consciousness is UNCAUSED and fundamental, then...same answer.
There is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only the conscious
experience of a choice.


 More generally, how do you see the relation between brain and
 conscience?

Brains only exist as something that we consciously perceive.

I'm sure that my brain can be viewed as representing the contents of
my experience.  And I'm sure that a computer program could also be
written that would represent the contents of my conscious experience
and whose representational state would evolve as the program ran so
that it continued to match the contents of my experience over time.
But this would not mean that the program was conscious, or that my
brain is the source of my consciousness.

The living brain and the executing computer program both just
represent the contents of my conscious experience, in the same way
that a map represents the actual terrain.


 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

 So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
 conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.

 ? I can't accept this, because I am interested in the how and why of
 complexity of things and happenings.

So you can look for patterns in what you observe, and interesting ways
to represent what you have observed in the past.  But this is as far
as you can go I think.  For the reasons outlined above.  Your
observations just are what they are.  There's no real explanation for
them...only pseudo-explanations.


 No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
 entities.

 But what are your assumptions about those entities? You theory does
 look like what the guardian G* tells to the enlightened machine G:
 you will not prove your consistency. But the machine can prove that IF
 she is consistent, then G* is right about that. So, on one level, I
 understand why you say so, and at another level I explain why you say
 so.

So I lean towards the idea that only our conscious experiences are
real.  Things obviously exist as contents of conscious experiences.
I don't have any assumptions about them.  They just are what they are,
because the conscious experience that contains them is what it is.
Tautology.

I *think* I'm leaning towards saying that a lot of this stuff about
knowing is just a type of qualia.  But I'm not sure.  I'm still
thinking that part out.


 understanding is a complex notion. Theories are not build to
 understand, but to get a coherent (hopefully correct) picture.

So I think it's reasonable to speak as though quarks and electrons are
real, if that helps the process of developing mathematical/narrative
models that fit our observations.  There are *useful fictions*, and
then there's what actually is.  Quarks and electrons are useful
fictions.  Conscious experience is what actually is.


 I think this is more obvious if you look at the system as a block
 universe, where time is treated as a sort of spatial dimension, and
 so all states of the system exist simultaneously, like my previous
 example of the block of granite.  Why does state B follow state A?
 Why is slice B adjacent to slice A?  Because that's just the way this
 uncaused system is.

 It is big amorphous blob. Weird theory. I don't see the relation with
 the universe, nor even with consciousness.

So I'm saying that IF physicalism is true, then our universe is just
like that.  If physicalism is true then how else could it be?  And if
this physical universe is what causes our conscious experience, then
our conscious experience is just like that.



 Why would arithmetical relationships result in conscious
 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:
   
 As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
 itself is uncaused and fundamental.
   
 This has no meaning for me. It is like saying don't ask.
 

 Hm.  You don't at all see what I'm trying to say?

 Okay, how about this:  Reality is tautological.

 So if our conscious experience is caused by a rule-following system,
 based on a sequence of determinisitc transforms applied to an initial
 state...and this is true of both physicalism and your theory I
 think...then our conscious experience just is what it is.  Tautology.
 Everything that follows was implicit in the setup.

 And there's no obvious reason that the unpacked version, where what
 follows is made *explicit*, shouldn't be considered as a whole - with
 the beginning, middle, and end states seen as existing simultaneously
 and timelessly.  This makes the view that it just is what it is even
 more obvious.


   
 Also, what do your theory say about accepting or not an artificial
 brain?
 

 IF consciousness is caused, then whether you accept or not is a
 forgone conclusion, implicit in the initial setup (initial state +
 transformation rules) of the system that caused your conscious
 experience.  So there is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only
 the conscious experience of a choice.

 If consciousness is UNCAUSED and fundamental, then...same answer.
 There is no real choice to accept or decline.  Only the conscious
 experience of a choice.


   
 More generally, how do you see the relation between brain and
 conscience?
 

 Brains only exist as something that we consciously perceive.

 I'm sure that my brain can be viewed as representing the contents of
 my experience.  And I'm sure that a computer program could also be
 written that would represent the contents of my conscious experience
 and whose representational state would evolve as the program ran so
 that it continued to match the contents of my experience over time.
 But this would not mean that the program was conscious, or that my
 brain is the source of my consciousness.

 The living brain and the executing computer program both just
 represent the contents of my conscious experience, in the same way
 that a map represents the actual terrain.
   

When you set fire to a map the land doesn't burn.

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Rex Allen

On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 3:21 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 The living brain and the executing computer program both just
 represent the contents of my conscious experience, in the same way
 that a map represents the actual terrain.

 When you set fire to a map the land doesn't burn.


If you set fire to the computer running the simulation of my brain and
it's virtual environment, would my conscious experience burn?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Rex Allen

Brent,

On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

 Didn't anyone ever explain arithmetic or geometry to you?  Not every
 explanation needs to be a causal one.

Well, I think that's what I'm saying.  Causal explanations are not
really explanations, because you can never trace the causal chain back
to it's ultimate source.  Or if you do, the ultimate source is itself
uncaused.  So, if you rephrase the answer in terms of ultimate causes,
you end up inserting either unknown or uncaused everywhere.

So causal explanations are subjective...only meaningful within a
limited context.  Going back to my granite block example:

Let's consider two adjacent specks of white and gray found within a
block of granite.  Why are they adjacent?  What caused them to be
adjacent?  Well, if we consider this block of granite within the
context of our universe, then we can say that there is a reason in
that context as to why they are adjacent.  There is an explanation,
which has to do with the laws of physics and the contingent details of
the geologic history of the area where this block of granite was
formed (which is in turn derived from the contingent details of the
initial state of our entire universe).

BUT if we take an identical block of granite to be something that just
exists uncaused, like our universe, then there can be no explanation.
The two specks are just adjacent.  That's it.  No further explanation
is possible.

So in the first case, the geologic explanation makes sense in a local
subjective way, but not in an absolute way, because the universe that
provides the context for the geologic explanation has no reason behind
its initial state or it's governing laws of physics.  The universe
just is the way it is.  Therefore, ultimately the block of granite
just is the way it is.


 And being uncaused doesn't
 prevent explanation - for example decay of an unstable nucleus is
 uncaused, i.e. it is random, but it is still explained by quantum mechanics.

So you can explain it within the context of the laws of our universe,
but this just raises the question of why the laws of our universe are
what they are.

Ultimately your answer is:  unstable nuclei decay because that's what
unstable nuclei do.  Tautology.


 I think you point is better made by observing that an explanation must
 be of something less known in terms of something better known.  Since
 nothing can be better known than our own subjective experience, it
 cannot be explained.

Well, that is pretty good.  I'll file it away for future use.  Thanks!


 So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
 the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation.

 Now you've introduced another term meaningful explanation.  If one can
 understand it, it must be meaningful.

So when people find hidden messages in the Old Testament using the
Bible Code, these are meaningful messages?  Really?

If something means something to me...that's subjective.  It means
something TO ME.  I have a conscious experience of finding that thing
meaningful.  There's something that it's like to find it meaningful.
Qualia.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this point, but...I think it means
something.  To me.  Ha!


 And neither is
 there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
 pattern.  The system follows it's own uncaused rules, which we may
 be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
 fundamentally uncaused nature.

 You seem to take the position that because knowledge isn't certain no
 knowledge is possible.

Well, no.  That's not what I'm saying.  I'm saying that the conscious
experience of knowing is somehow more fundamental and important than
what is known.

If conscious experience is uncaused and acausal, then in some sense
knowledge is irrelevant.  Your uncaused experience could be of
believing that you know something which is actually false (e.g.,
that 121 is prime).

If conscious experience is caused, then knowledge is...still
irrelevant.  But for a different reason...in this case what you *can*
know is determined by those external causes.  You could be caused to
believe that you *know something which is actually false (e.g., that
121 is prime).  But if you then trace the causal chain back, you will
never find what ultimately caused you to be wrong...when you phrase
your answer in terms of the ultimate causes, it will just be I was
wrong because that's the way the universe is.

Do you see what I'm getting at with all of this uncaused stuff, and
the equivalence between an uncaused universe and just an isolated
uncaused conscious experience?  At all?  Anyone?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 3:21 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
   
 The living brain and the executing computer program both just
 represent the contents of my conscious experience, in the same way
 that a map represents the actual terrain.
   
 When you set fire to a map the land doesn't burn.

 

 If you set fire to the computer running the simulation of my brain and
 it's virtual environment, would my conscious experience burn?
No, it would cease.  But note that you've changed to a virtual 
environment in which the whole world is simulated - not just your brain 
interacting with an external world.  I think that's relevant.  
Intelligence and consciousness only exist relative to an environment 
because to be conscious is to be conscious of something, i.e. to have a 
point-of-view.

Brent

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread 1Z



On 14 Aug, 09:51, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 Brent,

 On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
  Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

  Didn't anyone ever explain arithmetic or geometry to you?  Not every
  explanation needs to be a causal one.

 Well, I think that's what I'm saying.  Causal explanations are not
 really explanations, because you can never trace the causal chain back
 to it's ultimate source.

That doesn't mean anything else fares better.


 If conscious experience is uncaused and acausal, then in some sense
 knowledge is irrelevant.  Your uncaused experience could be of
 believing that you know something which is actually false (e.g.,
 that 121 is prime).

It could if experience is causal, too.
For instance ingesting LSD could cause you
to believe that. Alternaitvely, if there is no
causality guaranteeing that you believe the truth,
maybe there is something else, such as Descartes'
God implanting clear and distinct ideas in your head.

 If conscious experience is caused, then knowledge is...still
 irrelevant.  But for a different reason...in this case what you *can*
 know is determined by those external causes.  You could be caused to
 believe that you *know something which is actually false (e.g., that
 121 is prime).  But if you then trace the causal chain back, you will
 never find what ultimately caused you to be wrong...when you phrase
 your answer in terms of the ultimate causes, it will just be I was
 wrong because that's the way the universe is.

You can still find out that you are wrong, often quite
quickly. Knowiing that you re wrong is not the same
as knowing ultimately why. I don't see how this
adds up to the irrelevance of knowledge at all,

 Do you see what I'm getting at with all of this uncaused stuff, and
 the equivalence between an uncaused universe and just an isolated
 uncaused conscious experience?  At all?  Anyone?

No me.
--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-14 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 Brent,
 
 On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 3:02 PM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:
 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.
 Didn't anyone ever explain arithmetic or geometry to you?  Not every
 explanation needs to be a causal one.
 
 Well, I think that's what I'm saying.  Causal explanations are not
 really explanations, because you can never trace the causal chain back
 to it's ultimate source.  

That's silly.  If my wife's car won't start and I explain that it's out of gas, 
that's 
really an explanation even if I don't know why it's out of gas.  The 
operational 
definition of an explanation of an event is what you would do to effect or 
prevent that 
event.  In general there are multiple things you could do and hence multiple 
causes of an 
event.  The image of a causal chain leading back to an ultimate link is 
misleading - it is 
more like causal chain mail that branches out as you trace it back.  But just 
because you 
can't trace it back to a single ur-cause doesn't nullify my advice to my wife 
to put gas 
in the tank.

Or if you do, the ultimate source is itself
 uncaused.  So, if you rephrase the answer in terms of ultimate causes,
 you end up inserting either unknown or uncaused everywhere.
 
 So causal explanations are subjective...only meaningful within a
 limited context.  Going back to my granite block example:
 
 Let's consider two adjacent specks of white and gray found within a
 block of granite.  Why are they adjacent?  What caused them to be
 adjacent?  Well, if we consider this block of granite within the
 context of our universe, then we can say that there is a reason in
 that context as to why they are adjacent.  There is an explanation,
 which has to do with the laws of physics and the contingent details of
 the geologic history of the area where this block of granite was
 formed (which is in turn derived from the contingent details of the
 initial state of our entire universe).
 
 BUT if we take an identical block of granite to be something that just
 exists uncaused, like our universe, then there can be no explanation.

There can in the same way QM explains the decay of unstable nuclei.  That's 
what 
cosmogonists are searching for.

 The two specks are just adjacent.  That's it.  No further explanation
 is possible.
 
 So in the first case, the geologic explanation makes sense in a local
 subjective way, but not in an absolute way, because the universe that
 provides the context for the geologic explanation has no reason behind
 its initial state or it's governing laws of physics.  The universe
 just is the way it is.  Therefore, ultimately the block of granite
 just is the way it is.
 
 
 And being uncaused doesn't
 prevent explanation - for example decay of an unstable nucleus is
 uncaused, i.e. it is random, but it is still explained by quantum mechanics.
 
 So you can explain it within the context of the laws of our universe,
 but this just raises the question of why the laws of our universe are
 what they are.
 
 Ultimately your answer is:  unstable nuclei decay because that's what
 unstable nuclei do.  Tautology.

No, it's not a tautology because there is an underlying theory that explains 
why some 
nuclei are stable and some aren't and exactly how unstable they are.

 
 
 I think you point is better made by observing that an explanation must
 be of something less known in terms of something better known.  Since
 nothing can be better known than our own subjective experience, it
 cannot be explained.
 
 Well, that is pretty good.  I'll file it away for future use.  Thanks!
 
 
 So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
 the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation.
 Now you've introduced another term meaningful explanation.  If one can
 understand it, it must be meaningful.
 
 So when people find hidden messages in the Old Testament using the
 Bible Code, these are meaningful messages?  Really?
 
 If something means something to me...that's subjective.  It means
 something TO ME.  I have a conscious experience of finding that thing
 meaningful.  There's something that it's like to find it meaningful.
 Qualia.
 
 I'm not sure where I'm going with this point, but...I think it means
 something.  To me.  Ha!
 
 
 And neither is
 there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
 pattern.  The system follows it's own uncaused rules, which we may
 be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
 fundamentally uncaused nature.

 You seem to take the position that because knowledge isn't certain no
 knowledge is possible.
 
 Well, no.  That's not what I'm saying.  I'm saying that the conscious
 experience of knowing is somehow more fundamental and important than
 what is known.

Was the conscious experience of knowing the Earth is flat more fundamental and 
important 
than the fact that the Earth is spherioidal?

 
 If conscious experience is uncaused and acausal, then in 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-13 Thread Rex Allen

I owe Bruno and Brent a response also...it's in the works!


David:

On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 11:38 AM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote:

 The standard view of physics is that things are causally closed
 'out there', and this seems to rule out that such causation can
 in any sense be 'owned' by us.

Exactly.  This is a good way of putting it.  In this case our choices
would be 'owned' by the physical universe as whole.  Not just the bits
of matter that had some causal influence on the choice, but also the
physical laws by which that causal influence was transmitted.


 Illusions, it should be recalled, are not incorrect
 perceptions; the perceptions are correct, even if the object of
 perception is other than we imagine.  And here it is precisely the
 ownership self-evidently present to us that requires explanation.

I agree with this also.  I think.  The feeling of free will is a type
of qualia.  There's something that it's like to be in pain.  There's
something that it's like to make a decision.

BUT I don't think this free will issue is a particularly crucial
point.  I could say more about it, but it seems like a tangent.  Not
entirely unrelated, but not central either.  So I'll move on.


 My contention is that any causal schema
 must have these features even to begin to account for our presence in
 the context of what we observe.

Causality.  Causality.  Causalty.  Hmmm.

So really I am arguing against causal explanations.  I think this the
core of my current argument.  The feeling that something is happening
*NOW* is just another example of qualia I think.  The certainty of
feeling that *that* caused *this*...more qualia.

Causality doesn't get you anywhere, because it doesn't start cleanly.
This is why I keep bringing up uncaused beginnings.  If *this*
happened because of *that*, then why did *that* happen?  You can't get
to the start of it in a way that makes sense.

If you have the starting conditions (which are uncaused) and the laws
that govern the evolution of the system (also uncaused), then the rest
is basically a given, right?  A mere formality.  Anything that follows
was implicit within the starting conditions and the governing laws.

Every step in the evolution of the system can be seen as existing
simultaneously with it's beginning.  And as such the entire system
JUST EXISTS.  Uncaused.  Acausal.  Fundamental.

If you exist within such a system, your entire experience exists as a
result of the starting conditions and governing laws, and exists
simultaneously with the system's beginning and all it's subsequent
states.  Again, there is no answer to any question of why in
reference to the system.  The system just is the way it is.  It's
starting conditions are axiomatic, it's governing rules are
inferential, it's results are tautological.


 The reason this isn't more widely understood rests of course
 on the prestige of science, the authority of which has reached the
 point where we're apparently willing to take seriously the absurdity
 that the universe is a sterile pointless farago that could as well
 play out in the absence of all experience.

I agree.  A lot of inconvenient questions seem to have gotten swept
under the rug.

So as I've mentioned, it seems to me that science's role is to
construct theoretical models that accurately match what we have
observed.  That's it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But obviously
they've had great success with this, thus their authority.  But, as I
mentioned above, it is what it is.  Things will play out the way they
play out.  Tautology.


 BTW Rex, your recent presence on the list has been welcome and
 thought-provoking.

Ah!  Thanks, glad to hear it!


 It would be interesting to know a little about the
 background you bring to your thinking.

Well, I have a BS in computer systems engineering, and 2 years of
graduate school in the same, though I never quite got around to
finishing my thesis, so no MSCSEG degree to show for my efforts.  And
I've been a computer programmer for 15 years, in various
areas...mainly cartography, communications, business accounting
software, web development, and gaming.

So not to go into too much detail, but probably the key moments in the
development of my philosophical world view were:

1)  Realizing that deterministic classical physics meant no
libertarian free will when I was 21 years old or so, about 2 minutes
before a professor wrote on the chalk board in big letters NO FREE
WILL.  For those 2 minutes though, I was really thunderstruck.  I
thought Holy crap, this is incredible!  Am I the first person to
realize this???   So I spent the next 9 years or so trying to come to
grips with the implications of that, which was hard, because I really
wanted to take full credit for all the great things I'd done.  But,
then as my 30th birthday came and went, I decided maybe I didn't have
that many great things to take credit for after all, so screw free
will.  Who needs it anyway.

2)  My introduction to functionalism 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-13 Thread David Nyman

2009/8/13 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 Causality.  Causality.  Causalty.  Hmmm.

 So really I am arguing against causal explanations.  I think this the
 core of my current argument.  The feeling that something is happening
 *NOW* is just another example of qualia I think.  The certainty of
 feeling that *that* caused *this*...more qualia.

 Causality doesn't get you anywhere, because it doesn't start cleanly.
 This is why I keep bringing up uncaused beginnings.  If *this*
 happened because of *that*, then why did *that* happen?  You can't get
 to the start of it in a way that makes sense.

I think there's the all-too-present risk of getting hung up on
vocabulary here.  Perhaps the sense of 'causal' you're having a
problem with is summed up in Wittgenstein's (other ) well-known
dictum: Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery.  The
sense in which I've been using it focuses on 'how', not 'that', which
at least leaves us something to say.

 1)  Realizing that deterministic classical physics meant no
 libertarian free will when I was 21 years old or so, about 2 minutes
 before a professor wrote on the chalk board in big letters NO FREE
 WILL.  For those 2 minutes though, I was really thunderstruck.  I
 thought Holy crap, this is incredible!  Am I the first person to
 realize this???   So I spent the next 9 years or so trying to come to
 grips with the implications of that, which was hard, because I really
 wanted to take full credit for all the great things I'd done.  But,
 then as my 30th birthday came and went, I decided maybe I didn't have
 that many great things to take credit for after all, so screw free
 will.  Who needs it anyway.

Indeed.  It doesn't get that much better after thirty either.  But as
we've said, the real insight only comes when we see *whose* will we're
talking about.  What we choose is ours; that part we can be sure of -
the freedom bit is more of an exploration.  But as they say, the sign
of maturity is taking ownership.  And exploring can be fun.

 2)  My introduction to functionalism and computationalism and some of
 the related issues like the strange implications of multiple
 realizeability via Hans Moravec's book Robot: Mere Machine to
 Transcendent Mind in the late 1990s.  This gave me something to think
 about in my spare time for several years.

Fascinating stuff.  You've no doubt perused the ongoing and recent
discussion of this stuff here and elsewhere.  Bruno's work sheds real
light on this, I believe.  Again, if the 'ownership' issues aren't
faced head-on: confusion and paradox.

 3)  AND, most recently, about 18 months ago, when I finally got around
 to reading David Chalmers' paper Facing Up to the Problem of
 Consciousness.  I'd heard a little about the hard problem of
 consciousness prior to that, and I was familiar with the basic issues,
 but I didn't fully understand until that moment.  It wasn't quite the
 shock that my free will discovery had been, but it was still a
 moment of revelation, where one second I didn't see the problem at
 all, and the next second I couldn't believe that I had failed to see
 it for so long.

Yes, Chalmers' work has been a great stimulus, although in the end I
think he finks out.  He doesn't seem to get that the whole zombie
thing is caused by his dogmatic assumption of the 'causal closure' of
physics.  He's still mesmerised by an epistemology he takes to have
been incontrovertibly established as the unique ontological substrate
(Theory of Everything - what a great slogan!)  Or rather he seems to
glimpse the problem - and what the fix is - but in the end he backs
away into yet another version of epiphenomenal psycho-physical
parallelism.  This is what I mean by paradox and confusion.

 Since then I've put a lot more time into trying to understand what it
 all means.  And I'm leaning towards concluding that it doesn't mean
 anything.  It just is.  Which is a strange conclusion to come to after
 18 months of pretty intense thought...

Yes, it can seem that it doesn't mean anything.  But *you* mean
something, don't you?  Hang on though - just who is this 'you' anyway?
 Didn't we conclude earlier on that 'you'  - your point of view, your
experience, your intentions, your very 'self' - are just on loan from
'it'?   Mightn't that suggest that 'it' has rights of possession on
anything of  'yours'?  Hmm...

Still sure it doesn't mean anything?

David


 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-11 Thread David Nyman

2009/8/11 Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com:

 You speak as if though we have a choice as to how we behave!  This I
 can't see at all.

 Whether our behavior is caused subatomic particles or arithmetic, or
 is completely uncaused, there is no room for libertarian free will.


Whether will is free, and whether it is mine, are different issues.
Complete freedom of will involves a contradiction - randomness is not
choice, and choice always entails constraints.  Indeed it is ironical
that when we are most self-willed we often say how 'determined' we
feel.  Freedom of will consists in my not being prevented from doing
whatsoever I am capable of, and this is something that evolves.  For
example, today I am both capable of, and not prevented from, being in
New York tomorrow; 100 years ago I would not have had such capability,
and hence no freedom in this matter.

However, 'free' or not, the willing can still be *ours*.  The standard
view of physics is that things are causally closed 'out there', and
this seems to rule out that such causation can in any sense be 'owned'
by us.  This is the view that I think is mistaken, precisely because
it is contradicted by our very experience.  And far from being
'illusory', this is the most cogent reason possible to doubt such a
view.  Illusions, it should be recalled, are not incorrect
perceptions; the perceptions are correct, even if the object of
perception is other than we imagine.  And here it is precisely the
ownership self-evidently present to us that requires explanation.

Such an explanation entails that ownership be intrinsic to the whole
of existence, and thus that every I is a point-of-view of that
whole, not an isolated soul.

 Well, I'm just using the block universe as a way of trying to make my
 point more clear.

 My point being that consciousness is fundamental and uncaused.

 My secondary point being that even if consciousness is NOT
 fundamental, then it is STILL ultimately uncaused if it results from
 any system that is itself uncaused...

 My tertiary point being that if we have no evidence which points one
 way or the other between consciousness being fundamental or not, the
 default position would seem to be that it is fundamental.

Well of course any regress must stop somewhere, and in this sense
everything is fundamentally uncaused (unless one subscribes to the
magic power of arithmetical truth to pluck up reality by its
hair-roots).  But beyond this, causation still retains a vital sense
in the inter-relation of the essential features of existence.  To be
willing to say nothing on this strikes us more or less dumb, and I
don't think this aspect is what Wittgenstein had in mind in his famous
dictum.

As to whether consciousness is fundamental, there I am in sympathy,
although as you know by now I put a slightly different slant on it by
seeking to show that existence itself is in effect equivalent to what
we call consciousness.  The reason I do this is to eliminate any need
to invoke something like panpsychism as an adjunct to physicalism - in
my view this is tantamount to dualism, with all the incoherencies that
entails.  I don't believe that this is arbitrary in the least: the
notion of a species of 'existence' conceived as totally devoid of
self-access, such as that usually assumed to be implied by physics, is
self-annihilating.  IOW it is an 'existence' that nobody would ever
know about, thus falling victim to Occam's razor in the most egregious
degree.  So on this basis, we may assert two axioms:

1) Existence simply IS a self-causing self-accessing continuity
2) All phenomena appear as self-relativisations of 1)

From these axioms, we can build a subsidiary notion of causation which
achieves 'closure' step-by-step through the indivisibility of
self-cause and self-access.  My contention is that any causal schema
must have these features even to begin to account for our presence in
the context of what we observe.  Having questioned Bruno pretty
closely I now feel reasonably convinced that he takes COMP to fulfil
these criteria via the self-reflecting, self-relating characteristics
of the number realm.  This is not at all to say that COMP is thereby
true; only that it isn't obviously false on this basis.

Standard physicalism, on the other hand, by banishing self-access from
its fundamental notions of causal adequacy (though arrogating the
right to whisk a mysteriously powerless ghost of it back later by
sleight of intuition) is clearly false (incomplete is the more politic
term).  The reason this isn't more widely understood rests of course
on the prestige of science, the authority of which has reached the
point where we're apparently willing to take seriously the absurdity
that the universe is a sterile pointless farago that could as well
play out in the absence of all experience.

BTW Rex, your recent presence on the list has been welcome and
thought-provoking.  It would be interesting to know a little about the
background you bring to your 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-11 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 11 Aug 2009, at 07:13, Rex Allen wrote:


 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:

 I don't see the theory. What do you ask us to agree on, if only for
 the sake of the argument.

 So, while the contents of my experience...the things that I'm
 conscious OF are complex and structured, my conscious experience of
 these things is singular and indivisible.

I can be OK with this.




 As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
 itself is uncaused and fundamental.

This has no meaning for me. It is like saying don't ask.
Also, what do your theory say about accepting or not an artificial  
brain?

More generally, how do you see the relation between brain and  
conscience?



 Given that conscious experience is uncaused, it can't be explained in
 terms of other things, like quarks and electromagnetism or numbers and
 arithmetic.

But quarck and electromanetism have been unified, and can be explain  
from more primitive things (group theory, invariance, etc.).

Natural numbers are the rare object which we cannot derive from  
anything simpler. And natural numbers + addition and multiplication  
can explain why it has to be like that. This is indeed an argument for  
accepting numbers, or theories as rich as numbers,  as giving the  
simplest primitive elements.

And since Skolem, Gödel, etc. we know that arithmetical truth is  
*big*. Bigger that what any machine can really explore, but machine  
can dream about it, and get genuine big picture of it.



 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

 So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
 conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.

? I can't accept this, because I am interested in the how and why of  
complexity of things and happenings.




 No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
 entities.

But what are your assumptions about those entities? You theory does  
look like what the guardian G* tells to the enlightened machine G:  
you will not prove your consistency. But the machine can prove that IF  
she is consistent, then G* is right about that. So, on one level, I  
understand why you say so, and at another level I explain why you say  
so.

understanding is a complex notion. Theories are not build to  
understand, but to get a coherent (hopefully correct) picture.



 And further, no meaningful explanation can be given for
 events or entities that are themselves *wholly* caused by uncaused
 events.  These things just are.

 So let's say a closed system of entities comes into being uncaused.
 Any properties that the individual components of this system have are
 also uncaused, and the ways that the components interact are uncaused
 as well.  This system is a universe unto itself.

 So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
 the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation.

You put something which cannot be explained in the hat.
You get something which cannot be explained in the hat.



 The
 meaningless of it's initial state means that all subsequent states are
 equally meaningless in an absolute sense.  All that we can do is
 describe what the system does.  But description is not explanation.

OK.



 Further, even if the system seems predictable, there is no reason to
 think that it will continue in it's predicitablity.  And neither is
 there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
 pattern.  The system follows it's own uncaused rules, which we may
 be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
 fundamentally uncaused nature.

 I think this is more obvious if you look at the system as a block
 universe, where time is treated as a sort of spatial dimension, and
 so all states of the system exist simultaneously, like my previous
 example of the block of granite.  Why does state B follow state A?
 Why is slice B adjacent to slice A?  Because that's just the way this
 uncaused system is.

It is big amorphous blob. Weird theory. I don't see the relation with  
the universe, nor even with consciousness.





 Looking for meaning in the system is like looking for hidden messages
 in randomly generated character strings.  You may find them, but the
 messages can not have any real meaning, no matter how meaningful they
 look.


 In the conclusion I don't understand the last sentence, which seems  
 to
 me a proposition for abandoning theorizing in that field.

 Well, the search for a theoretical model that is fully consistent what
 what we consciously observed is still a reasonable goal in terms of
 challenging intellectual endeavor.  And if that's what your future
 conscious experiences hold for you, then that's what you will do (no
 free will here).


Free will is an oxymoron. Free will makes sense for numbers.





 Machines are
 more fundamental than consciousness?  Or machines are just a way of
 representing conscious experience?

 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-11 Thread Brent Meeker

Rex Allen wrote:
 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:
   
 I don't see the theory. What do you ask us to agree on, if only for
 the sake of the argument.
 

 So, while the contents of my experience...the things that I'm
 conscious OF are complex and structured, my conscious experience of
 these things is singular and indivisible.

 As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
 itself is uncaused and fundamental.

 Given that conscious experience is uncaused, it can't be explained in
 terms of other things, like quarks and electromagnetism or numbers and
 arithmetic.

 Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.
   

Didn't anyone ever explain arithmetic or geometry to you?  Not every 
explanation needs to be a causal one.   And being uncaused doesn't 
prevent explanation - for example decay of an unstable nucleus is 
uncaused, i.e. it is random, but it is still explained by quantum mechanics.

I think you point is better made by observing that an explanation must 
be of something less known in terms of something better known.  Since 
nothing can be better known than our own subjective experience, it 
cannot be explained.

I'm not sure I buy that, but I understand it.

Brent

 So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
 conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.

 No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
 entities.  And further, no meaningful explanation can be given for
 events or entities that are themselves *wholly* caused by uncaused
 events.  These things just are.

 So let's say a closed system of entities comes into being uncaused.
 Any properties that the individual components of this system have are
 also uncaused, and the ways that the components interact are uncaused
 as well.  This system is a universe unto itself.

 So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
 the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation.  

Now you've introduced another term meaningful explanation.  If one can 
understand it, it must be meaningful.

 The
 meaningless of it's initial state means that all subsequent states are
 equally meaningless in an absolute sense.  All that we can do is
 describe what the system does.  But description is not explanation.
   

It can be if it's a description of something you don't understand in 
terms of something you do.

 Further, even if the system seems predictable, there is no reason to
 think that it will continue in it's predicitablity.  

If it has been predictable in the past, that is a reason to think it 
will be predictable in the future.  That's virtuous circularity.

 And neither is
 there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
 pattern.  The system follows it's own uncaused rules, which we may
 be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
 fundamentally uncaused nature.
   
You seem to take the position that because knowledge isn't certain no 
knowledge is possible.

 I think this is more obvious if you look at the system as a block
 universe, where time is treated as a sort of spatial dimension, and
 so all states of the system exist simultaneously, like my previous
 example of the block of granite.  Why does state B follow state A?
 Why is slice B adjacent to slice A?  Because that's just the way this
 uncaused system is.
   
The block universe is model we use for thinking about some problems.  
It's not a good one for thinking about whether to have a cup of coffee.

 Looking for meaning in the system is like looking for hidden messages
 in randomly generated character strings.  You may find them, but the
 messages can not have any real meaning, no matter how meaningful they
 look.


   
 In the conclusion I don't understand the last sentence, which seems to
 me a proposition for abandoning theorizing in that field.
 

 Well, the search for a theoretical model that is fully consistent what
 what we consciously observed is still a reasonable goal in terms of
 challenging intellectual endeavor.  And if that's what your future
 conscious experiences hold for you, then that's what you will do (no
 free will here).


   
 Machines are
 more fundamental than consciousness?  Or machines are just a way of
 representing conscious experience?
   
 Machines/numbers cannot represent conscious experiences.
 

 You are correct, I misspoke.  I should have said machines are just a
 way of representing the CONTENTS of conscious experience.


   
 Comp can make the conscious experience much more fundamental than the
 Aristotelian materialist usually think, yet consciousness is
 arithmetically caused. It is an attribute of universal machine (in
 an even weaker sense than usual) related to their ideal self-
 consistency. It generates the belief in a reality, and the infinities
 of corrections which ensue.
 

 To me this has as much of an explanatory gap as 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-11 Thread russell standish

On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 12:02:03PM -0700, Brent Meeker wrote:
 Didn't anyone ever explain arithmetic or geometry to you?  Not every 
 explanation needs to be a causal one.   And being uncaused doesn't 
 prevent explanation - for example decay of an unstable nucleus is 
 uncaused, i.e. it is random, but it is still explained by quantum mechanics.
 

Thank you for that comment! Sometimes I feel like I'm alone in the
wilderness with only people who believe all explanations must be
causal for company.

-- 


Prof Russell Standish  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Mathematics  
UNSW SYDNEY 2052 hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
Australiahttp://www.hpcoders.com.au


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-10 Thread David Nyman

On 9 Aug, 07:41, Rex Allen rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

Rex, just a few general points on your posts.  The various 'existence'
arguments I've been putting forward recently are intended precisely to
show how our first-person world of meaning and intention is embedded
in a more general environment that is congruent with, rather than
alien to, these self-evident features.  What of course is striking
about your proposals is that in reality nobody behaves as though they
believe this sort of thing: which is not of course to say that this
makes it uninteresting.  In fact exactly the opposite: the very fact
that the world according to physics presents itself in this chilling
way makes challenging its assumptions all the more urgent.

Hence my attempts to pump intuitions about the source of the presence,
self-access and self-motivation inherent in the ontologically real, as
contrasted with the provisional and fundamentally epistemological
status of the theoretical constructions of physics.  By ontologically
real I mean of course what is self-evident in the form of the
ontological first person.  And in fact it really doesn't take that
much intuitive tweaking to achieve this, whether applied to the
putative primitive entities of physics, comp, or any other schema.
Essentially the intuition is that these primitives reduce in the final
analysis to the self-encounter of a primary, self-evident continuum:
i.e. a primitive self-relativisation that collapses both perception
(primitive self-access) and intention (primitive self-action)  Such a
self-relativising duality of continuousness and discreteness is
indispensable to any personal account of 'owned' experience and
action, via the inheritance of such ownership from the primitive
context.  From this it can naturally follow that whatever is perceived
is MY perception, whatever is done is MY action, and whatever is
determined is MY determination.

The key to seeing this is a simple appeal to the reductio ad
absurdum.  Just assume the opposite (as the dogma asserts) and - pouf!
- the very appearance and sensation of anything whatsoever is
irretrievably lost.   And it turns out that this assuming of the
opposite is quite unjustified by the facts.  It is merely the dogmatic
adoption of the externalised 'view from nowhere' - a useful heuristic
in context - as a universal alethiometer.   Of course, these basic
concepts find historic kinship with Vedantic and Buddhist insights,
and in the Western tradition via Plotinus, Kant, et al - and even in
the world-views of practising physicists such as Schroedinger and
Eddington..

I wonder if I can encourage you to take a break from contemplating the
block universe 'out there' and meditate on the intrinsic inwardness
that lies all around us?

David




 On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 6:12 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

  On 08 Aug 2009, at 22:44, rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

  So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
  our conscious experience just exists.  Why are my perceptions orderly
  and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
  correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
  you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
  experience exists uncaused.

  This is not against physicalism, it is again rationalism.

 Ha!  Well, maybe.  What is the flaw that you see in my reasoning?

 I think that both the argument and conclusion are rational, just not 
 intuitive.

 So earlier you asked this:

  By the way, what is the status of your theory with respect to comp?

 Which in part prompted this new thread.

 So I think that one of the things that we can be conscious of is a
 descriptive theory referred to as comp that attempts to map the
 contents of our conscious experience over time to
 mathematically/logically defined machines.

 And, I will not be surprised if you or someone else is ultimately
 successful in doing so.  But while this would be interesting, I don't
 think that it means anything deeper.  All that it will mean is look,
 here's an interesting way of representing the contents of your
 conscious experience over time.

 It would just be a way of representing what is.  By which I mean:
 It would just be a way of representing conscious experience.



  I would say that consciousness has a reason, a purpose, and a power.

  A reason: the many universal numbers and the way they reflect each
  other.

 This doesn't sound like a reason to me.  It sounds like an
 observation, along the lines of adjacent gray and white veins exist
 within this block of granite (from my original post).



  A purpose: truth quest, satisfaction quest.

 This purpose would only exist as part of someone's conscious
 experience.  The desire for truth and/or satisfaction are things that
 only exist in the context of conscious experience.



  A  power: relative self-acceleration (can lead to catastrophes, (like
  all power)).

 I'm not sure what you mean by 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-10 Thread Rex Allen

On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:

 I don't see the theory. What do you ask us to agree on, if only for
 the sake of the argument.

So, while the contents of my experience...the things that I'm
conscious OF are complex and structured, my conscious experience of
these things is singular and indivisible.

As such, I feel that it is reasonable to say that conscious experience
itself is uncaused and fundamental.

Given that conscious experience is uncaused, it can't be explained in
terms of other things, like quarks and electromagnetism or numbers and
arithmetic.

Uncaused things can't be explained.  They just are.

So what causes the complexity and structure of the things that I am
conscious of?  Nothing.  That's just the way my experience is.

No explanation can be given for uncaused fundamental events or
entities.  And further, no meaningful explanation can be given for
events or entities that are themselves *wholly* caused by uncaused
events.  These things just are.

So let's say a closed system of entities comes into being uncaused.
Any properties that the individual components of this system have are
also uncaused, and the ways that the components interact are uncaused
as well.  This system is a universe unto itself.

So I am saying that no matter how this system evolves, no aspect of
the system can ever be given a meaningful explanation.  The
meaningless of it's initial state means that all subsequent states are
equally meaningless in an absolute sense.  All that we can do is
describe what the system does.  But description is not explanation.
Further, even if the system seems predictable, there is no reason to
think that it will continue in it's predicitablity.  And neither is
there any reason to think that it won't continue it's predictable
pattern.  The system follows it's own uncaused rules, which we may
be able to guess at, but which we cannot know, due to the system's
fundamentally uncaused nature.

I think this is more obvious if you look at the system as a block
universe, where time is treated as a sort of spatial dimension, and
so all states of the system exist simultaneously, like my previous
example of the block of granite.  Why does state B follow state A?
Why is slice B adjacent to slice A?  Because that's just the way this
uncaused system is.

Looking for meaning in the system is like looking for hidden messages
in randomly generated character strings.  You may find them, but the
messages can not have any real meaning, no matter how meaningful they
look.


 In the conclusion I don't understand the last sentence, which seems to
 me a proposition for abandoning theorizing in that field.

Well, the search for a theoretical model that is fully consistent what
what we consciously observed is still a reasonable goal in terms of
challenging intellectual endeavor.  And if that's what your future
conscious experiences hold for you, then that's what you will do (no
free will here).


 Machines are
 more fundamental than consciousness?  Or machines are just a way of
 representing conscious experience?

 Machines/numbers cannot represent conscious experiences.

You are correct, I misspoke.  I should have said machines are just a
way of representing the CONTENTS of conscious experience.


 Comp can make the conscious experience much more fundamental than the
 Aristotelian materialist usually think, yet consciousness is
 arithmetically caused. It is an attribute of universal machine (in
 an even weaker sense than usual) related to their ideal self-
 consistency. It generates the belief in a reality, and the infinities
 of corrections which ensue.

To me this has as much of an explanatory gap as materialism.
Consciousness is caused by arithmetical relationships?  Why would this
be?  Why would arithmetical relationships result in conscious
experience?

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-10 Thread Rex Allen

On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 8:35 PM, David Nymandavid.ny...@gmail.com wrote

 What of course is striking
 about your proposals is that in reality nobody behaves as though they
 believe this sort of thing: which is not of course to say that this
 makes it uninteresting.

You speak as if though we have a choice as to how we behave!  This I
can't see at all.

Whether our behavior is caused subatomic particles or arithmetic, or
is completely uncaused, there is no room for libertarian free will.


 I wonder if I can encourage you to take a break from contemplating the
 block universe 'out there' and meditate on the intrinsic inwardness
 that lies all around us?

Well, I'm just using the block universe as a way of trying to make my
point more clear.

My point being that consciousness is fundamental and uncaused.

My secondary point being that even if consciousness is NOT
fundamental, then it is STILL ultimately uncaused if it results from
any system that is itself uncaused...

My tertiary point being that if we have no evidence which points one
way or the other between consciousness being fundamental or not, the
default position would seem to be that it is fundamental.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-09 Thread Rex Allen

Brent,

BTW, this was intended as a (mostly) sincere response to your point.


On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:55 AM, Rex Allenrexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
 considerable advantage.

 If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
 would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
 future.

 Your advice is beneficial only to those who receive it and benefit
 from it.  Please keep this in mind in the future, if that is what is
 in your future.


 On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 Against Physics

 Let me go through my full chain of reasoning here, before I draw my
 conclusion:
 ...
 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.

 If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer 
 considerable advantage.

 Brent

Why are my perceptions orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.

 



--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-09 Thread Rex Allen

On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 6:12 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be wrote:


 On 08 Aug 2009, at 22:44, rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.  Why are my perceptions orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.



 This is not against physicalism, it is again rationalism.


Ha!  Well, maybe.  What is the flaw that you see in my reasoning?

I think that both the argument and conclusion are rational, just not intuitive.


So earlier you asked this:

 By the way, what is the status of your theory with respect to comp?

Which in part prompted this new thread.

So I think that one of the things that we can be conscious of is a
descriptive theory referred to as comp that attempts to map the
contents of our conscious experience over time to
mathematically/logically defined machines.

And, I will not be surprised if you or someone else is ultimately
successful in doing so.  But while this would be interesting, I don't
think that it means anything deeper.  All that it will mean is look,
here's an interesting way of representing the contents of your
conscious experience over time.

It would just be a way of representing what is.  By which I mean:
It would just be a way of representing conscious experience.



 I would say that consciousness has a reason, a purpose, and a power.

 A reason: the many universal numbers and the way they reflect each
 other.

This doesn't sound like a reason to me.  It sounds like an
observation, along the lines of adjacent gray and white veins exist
within this block of granite (from my original post).



 A purpose: truth quest, satisfaction quest.

This purpose would only exist as part of someone's conscious
experience.  The desire for truth and/or satisfaction are things that
only exist in the context of conscious experience.



 A  power: relative self-acceleration (can lead to catastrophes, (like
 all power)).

I'm not sure what you mean by this.



 Physicists explain by finding elegant laws relating the quanta we can
 measure, but fail indeed linking those quanta to the qualia we live,
 and fail saying where those quanta comes from. But computer science
 suggest a solution, we are universal machine mirroring doing science
 automatically betting on big picture all the time, relatively to
 other possible universal machines.

So our machineness precedes our conscious experience?  Machines are
more fundamental than consciousness?  Or machines are just a way of
representing conscious experience?


 Then theoretical computer science
 can explain why we feel consciousness unexplainable and explain its
 reason, purpose and power.

I don't see that it explains anything.  Though it may be a
useful/enjoyable way of thinking about the contents of our conscious
experience.


 This explains the mind, but we get the
 problem of justifying the computability and the existence of the
 physical laws from a vast set of computations. The white rabbits and
 white noises.

So it seems to me that you aren't explaining the fact that we have
experiences.  It seems to me that you are focused entirely on finding
a way of generating mathematical/logical representations of what you
and I experience that doesn't also generate representations of strange
white-rabbit experiences.


 Those universal machine are self-multiplying and self-
 differencing infinitely often in arithmetic. This is a big price: if
 we are machine (a theory which explains consciousness as an
 unconscious bet on a reality), we have to explain the physical laws
 from computer science and logic alone.

The physical laws can't be explained except in terms of other
unexplained laws, as mentioned in my previous post.

Though, I'd say that physical laws can't be explained because they
only exist in our perceptions, which are themselves uncaused and
therefore unexplainable.


 But now that explanation can be
 tested in nature, making that theory refutable. And this illustrates
 we don't have to abandon rationalism.

I think the rational conclusion from what we perceive is that
conscious experience is fundamental and uncaused.

You are saying that consciousness is NOT fundamental, and thus it IS
caused.  By...numbers?

I think that you are mistaking representation for causation.  Even if
numbers exist in some platonic sense, and can be related in a way that
can be seen as mirroring, representing, or even predicting my
conscious experience...I think that all this shows is that math/logic
is a really flexible tool for representing processes, relationships,
patterns, etc.

As far as the significance of accurate predictions, I refer you back
to the last paragraph of my original post.  You read the part about
the granite block, right?  Though, I do need to find some 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-09 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 09 Aug 2009, at 08:41, Rex Allen wrote:


 On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 6:12 PM, Bruno Marchalmarc...@ulb.ac.be  
 wrote:


 On 08 Aug 2009, at 22:44, rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.  Why are my perceptions  
 orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true  
 whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.



 This is not against physicalism, it is again rationalism.


 Ha!  Well, maybe.  What is the flaw that you see in my reasoning?

 I think that both the argument and conclusion are rational, just not  
 intuitive.


I don't see the theory. What do you ask us to agree on, if only for  
the sake of the argument.
In the conclusion I don't understand the last sentence, which seems to  
me a proposition for abandoning theorizing in that field.






 So earlier you asked this:

 By the way, what is the status of your theory with respect to comp?

 Which in part prompted this new thread.

 So I think that one of the things that we can be conscious of is a
 descriptive theory referred to as comp that attempts to map the
 contents of our conscious experience over time to
 mathematically/logically defined machines.

No, comp is a theology in which you believe that you can survive a  
concrete artificial brain/body transplants.
comp does not attempt this, it presupposes a level where it can be  
done. Among the first consequences appears the fact that such an  
attempt provably necessitates an act of faith.



 And, I will not be surprised if you or someone else is ultimately
 successful in doing so.

Being successful here means only being able to explain (physical)  
observations. It is already successful in explaining the existence of  
sensations, and in situating quanta with respect to qualia.


 But while this would be interesting, I don't
 think that it means anything deeper.  All that it will mean is look,
 here's an interesting way of representing the contents of your
 conscious experience over time.

Not at all, the comp theory, thanks to its Church Thesis part, and  
some mathematical logic, is particularly cautious in distinguishing  
the representation and the represented, and what will and will not  
depend on the choice of representations. By definition of comp we bet  
that there is a digital representation correct with respect to the  
most probable local universal number, or computation, but the comp  
theory, which is just computer science/number theory/mathematical  
logic will still take the many nuances into account.
For example: it is a theorem, not depending of the choice of any  
representation that all universal machines have to have a local  
representation to develop a third person notion.




 It would just be a way of representing what is.  By which I mean:
 It would just be a way of representing conscious experience.

Comp explains, or if you prefer, the Löbian machine can already  
explains, about simpler Löbian machines, why those simpler machine  
cannot represent their notions of truth and consciousness.  
Consciousness of machine M is not representable by machine M.
Comp provides a theory of consciousness, and this theory prevents us  
to represent our consciousness, except by betting on a sufficiently  
low level description and making an act of faith. A Löbian machine, I  
recall, is a universal machine which can prove (in technical weak  
sense) that she is universal. Most known Löbian machine are Peano  
Arithmetic and Zermelo Frankel Set Theory.






 I would say that consciousness has a reason, a purpose, and a power.

 A reason: the many universal numbers and the way they reflect each
 other.

 This doesn't sound like a reason to me.  It sounds like an
 observation, along the lines of adjacent gray and white veins exist
 within this block of granite (from my original post).


It is a theorem in arithmetic. It is a reason, in the sense that if  
you agree with some axioms of arithmetic, you can agree that those  
universal numbers exist, and contemplate a sequence of unexpected  
facts about them.






 A purpose: truth quest, satisfaction quest.

 This purpose would only exist as part of someone's conscious
 experience.  The desire for truth and/or satisfaction are things that
 only exist in the context of conscious experience.

OK. No problem.






 A  power: relative self-acceleration (can lead to catastrophes, (like
 all power)).

 I'm not sure what you mean by this.

Hmm... I refer often to another result by Gödel, or similar discovered  
by Blum and others in computer science, that universal machine/number  
are infinity accelerable, and that lobian machine can shorten  
arbitrarily the length of infinities of theorems. Consciousness can be  
related by the inference of self-consistency, and it makes the machine  
able 

Re: Against Physics

2009-08-08 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 08 Aug 2009, at 22:44, rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:

 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.  Why are my perceptions orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.



This is not against physicalism, it is again rationalism.

I would say that consciousness has a reason, a purpose, and a power.

A reason: the many universal numbers and the way they reflect each  
other.

A purpose: truth quest, satisfaction quest.

A  power: relative self-acceleration (can lead to catastrophes, (like  
all power)).

Physicists explain by finding elegant laws relating the quanta we can  
measure, but fail indeed linking those quanta to the qualia we live,  
and fail saying where those quanta comes from. But computer science  
suggest a solution, we are universal machine mirroring doing science  
automatically betting on big picture all the time, relatively to  
other possible universal machines. Then theoretical computer science  
can explain why we feel consciousness unexplainable and explain its  
reason, purpose and power. This explains the mind, but we get the  
problem of justifying the computability and the existence of the  
physical laws from a vast set of computations. The white rabbits and  
white noises. Those universal machine are self-multiplying and self- 
differencing infinitely often in arithmetic. This is a big price: if  
we are machine (a theory which explains consciousness as an  
unconscious bet on a reality), we have to explain the physical laws  
from computer science and logic alone. But now that explanation can be  
tested in nature, making that theory refutable. And this illustrates  
we don't have to abandon rationalism.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/




--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-08 Thread Brent Meeker

rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 Against Physics
 
 Let me go through my full chain of reasoning here, before I draw my
 conclusion:
...
 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.  

If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer considerable 
advantage.

Brent

Why are my perceptions orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.

--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---



Re: Against Physics

2009-08-08 Thread Rex Allen

On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer considerable 
 advantage.

If that's what the future held for me, then that's exactly what I
would do.   Otherwise, I wouldn't do that, since it wouldn't be in my
future.

Your advice is beneficial only to those who receive it and benefit
from it.  Please keep this in mind in the future, if that is what is
in your future.


On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Brent Meekermeeke...@dslextreme.com wrote:

 rexallen...@gmail.com wrote:
 Against Physics

 Let me go through my full chain of reasoning here, before I draw my
 conclusion:
 ...
 So physicalism in fact offers no advantage over just asserting that
 our conscious experience just exists.

 If you suffer epileptic seizures seeing a neurosurgeon may offer considerable 
 advantage.

 Brent

Why are my perceptions orderly
 and why are my predictions about what will happen next usually
 correct?  Because that's just the way it is...and this is true whether
 you posit an external universe or just conclude that conscious
 experience exists uncaused.

 


--~--~-~--~~~---~--~~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
Everything List group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en
-~--~~~~--~~--~--~---