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richardbaxter

‘DETERMINISM DEBUNKED’

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I would largely agree with the caller in that it is not evident how the model of free will defined technically differs from a compatibilist (i.e. for all intensive purposes “deterministic”) model.

Let us assume that high level physical (empirically measurable) emergent properties exist (such as life, brains etc). These are reducible to patterns of cellular->chemical->atomic->quantum interactions given that a sufficiently advanced machine could compute the behaviour of the system given some initial conditions (along with a set of probabilistic outcomes to the wave function if the universe is intrinsically indeterministic at the quantum level). Their definition as emergent properties is therefore arbitrary from a nominological (as opposed to platonic) perspective; it is semantics. They (these high level terms; wave, life, brain etc) may be useful in terms of what the model can predict at a certain resolution of analysis, but they otherwise confer no new properties on the system. Thus;

1. A fundamental claim of naturalism/science is that any high level model cannot contradict what is observed at a higher resolution of analysis (ie in a lower level eg atomic model). Therefore, if a metaphysical libertarian (non-compatibilist) free will is true, then it must operate on either a) the intrinsically indeterministic quantum substrate (this is highly suspect of teleology in that why would the volition content of consciousness have any effect on the outcome of probabilistic quantum events) or b) classical Cartesian mind-body dualism (for all intensive purposes magic).

2. There is no reason for “awareness” (mental properties) to be assumed to be a necessary emergent property of the biological system (without additional argument) given that it unlike its chemical/biological/neurological/computational counterparts (physical emergent properties) cannot be reduced to a low level model (regardless of whether it follows the same eg deterministic rules). Mental properties are (by definition) not empirically measurable - an experiment cannot be conducted to detect their existence (hence the philosophical zombie or advanced robot that acts sentient but might not be). This is an example of an absolute ontological/categorical difference (unlike that of “life”). Likewise, there is a difference between an inference of a dependence of a on b (eg mind/brain) and the assumption that b necessitates a. So even if mind was assumed to be dependent on brain (the “effect” or “product” of brain where effect/product is a non-empirical, philosophical term in this context), there is no reason to assume that brains necessitate mind or that mind requires a brain (as opposed to some other simpler or more complex physical system like a rock or an advanced AI).

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Science can never, ever demonstrate that it has found all of the causes of any given phenomena. However, the argument for determinism is philosophical and cannot be otherwise. Free will is an illusion and to argue otherwise is to violate the First Law of Logic, the Law of Identity.

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Free will is an illusion and to argue otherwise is to violate the First Law of Logic, the Law of Identity.

How is the First Law of Logic violated?
How do you know that the Law of Identity is true?

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2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

....if a metaphysical libertarian (non-compatibilist) free will is true, then it must operate on either a) the intrinsically indeterministic quantum substrate..

Not necessarily. The indeterministic quantum substrate can as well be modeled by classical algorithms we normally would call "thinking".

 

All determinists have to explain why there are such things as awareness, consciousness, etc., especially if

2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

.. there is no reason to assume that brains necessitate mind or that mind requires a brain...

regards

Andi

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4 hours ago, ofd said:

How is the First Law of Logic violated?
How do you know that the Law of Identity is true?

The Law of Identity points to the nature of things, that "a thing is itself and is identical with itself."

You asked "How do you know that the Law of Identity is true?"

You used things that have identities to question whether or not those things might not have identities.

Rewritten, your question could be phrased as "By experiencing that a thing has identity, can I use the identity to question that you can identify things?"

The experiential fact of consciousness creates duality, which is further described by logic and is the basis for creating the concept of a "Law of Identity" whose primary purpose is to discuss this elemental fact of the universe.

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"Failed attempt at tainting the well bro..." - Heard myself saying,...

after having contrasted Stefan Molyneux's starting line with the callers secondary motivation (hypothetical), for gaining validation of his own ideas by convincing someone on the outside, regardless of the intellectual costs.

It's possible, the answer given was insincere but I would rather write it up to just lacking falsifyable principles.

A:

"Do you think, that I have the capacity to change my mind?"

B:

"Yes. Obviously, you do."

A:

"Good. Good, so it sounds like we agree. I think, you have the capacity to change your mind as well, so... Isn't that, kinda' in the free-will park? "

B:

"Umm... Well,... No, so... and... I eh...

GGGOTCHA!!!

p.s. simple projecting, wiggling once revealed (some harsh words I'm using, sorry if me not seeing other explanation is the root of that)

Edited by barn
post script

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You used things that have identities to question whether or not those things might not have identities.

Things don't have identities, they have attributes. The identity of a thing (the thing in itself) can't be experienced. Further, performative contradictions don't proof what posited is true.

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4 minutes ago, ofd said:

Things don't have identities, they have attributes. The identity of a thing (the thing in itself) can't be experienced. Further, performative contradictions don't proof what posited is true.

If you have a thought of a thing that appears in consciousness, it is a thing and you experience it. Kant's "thing-in-itself" is a category he developed that also cannot violate the Law of Identity.

You are repeating your earlier error. You are using things to say there may not be things. You are using the Law of Identity right now, thereby "validating" it.

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You are using things to say there may not be things.

There are things and we perceive attributes of those things. If we couldn't perceive those attributes, we couldn't distinguish between entities. Nor could we come up with the law of identity. If the law of identity applies to the empirical world, it's object to falsification. It it doesn't, if it is purely a priori, you can't make statements about the empirical reality and cannot be tested.

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10 hours ago, barn said:

"Failed attempt at tainting the well bro..." - Heard myself saying,...

after having contrasted Stefan Molyneux's starting line with the callers secondary motivation (hypothetical), for gaining validation of his own ideas by convincing someone on the outside, regardless of the intellectual costs.

It's possible, the answer given was insincere but I would rather write it up to just lacking falsifyable principles.

A:

"Do you think, that I have the capacity to change my mind?"

B:

"Yes. Obviously, you do."

A:

"Good. Good, so it sounds like we agree. I think, you have the capacity to change your mind as well, so... Isn't that, kinda' in the free-will park? "

B:

"Umm... Well,... No, so... and... I eh...

GGGOTCHA!!!

p.s. simple projecting, wiggling once revealed (some harsh words I'm using, sorry if me not seeing other explanation is the root of that)

the fact that minds can change does not prove free will.

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15 minutes ago, neeeel said:

the fact that minds can change does not prove free will.

I didn't quote that "minds can change". Probably you weren't paying attention, it happens.

 

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35 minutes ago, barn said:

I didn't quote that "minds can change". Probably you weren't paying attention, it happens.

 

saying "I can change my mind" doesnt prove free will either

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Still, you're only looking at it partially.

I can't help but experience a growing sensation of intentional disregarding the whole context coming from you.

It's dishonest, I think. Please, don't do that.

Perhaps, this will help us:

11 hours ago, barn said:

A:

"Do you think, that I(1) have the capacity(2) to change(3) my mind?(4)"

 Are you still thinking the same?

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6 minutes ago, barn said:

Still, you're only looking at it partially.

I can't help but experience a growing sensation of intentional disregarding the whole context coming from you.

It's dishonest, I think. Please, don't do that.

Perhaps, this will help us:

 Are you still thinking the same?

Why are you accusing me of all sorts of negative things?

 

Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying. Are you in fact saying that the statement 

Quote

Do you think, that I have the capacity to change my mind?

proves free will?

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21 minutes ago, neeeel said:

Why are you accusing me of all sorts of negative things?

 

Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying. Are you in fact saying that the statement 

proves free will?

Ok.

Yes, I'm in fact stating that due to your selective treatment (continuous) of the original quote, I'm thinking that your statements aren't mirroring the starting point but only a distorted version of it. Not sure about "accusing" or "all sorts of"... feel free to make an argument if you want, explaining why I was wrong according to you.

We could go about it in several different ways, I'm thinking (amongst other approaches) you could choose to ...

1. Answer to:

Say you owned some money, that which you were able to spend on stuff (or keep it, spend some...variations) and could decide yourself if you wanted, what to spend it on, it's your money after all?

Is that a good example of free-will?

2. State yourself, why (so far you haven't made ANY supporting arguments, regarding your claim(s)) the quote:

11 hours ago, barn said:

A:

"Do you think, that I have the capacity to change my mind?"

Isn't correct, free-will isn't (therefore) a result.

3. Provide a negative of the statement, showing how it's NOT falsifyable.

4. anything else, you choose...

...

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2 minutes ago, barn said:

Ok.

Yes, I'm in fact stating that due to your selective treatment (continuous) of the original quote, I'm thinking that your statements aren't mirroring the starting point but only a distorted version of it. Not sure about "accusing" or "all sorts of"... feel free to make an argument if you want, explaining why I was wrong according to you.

We could go about it in several different ways, I'm thinking (amongst other approaches) you could choose to ...

1. Answer to:

Say you owned some money, that which you were able to spend on stuff (or keep it, spend some...variations) and could decide yourself if you wanted, what to spend it on, it's your money after all?

Is that a good example of free-will?

2. State yourself, why (so far you haven't made ANY supporting arguments, regarding your claim(s)) the quote:

Isn't correct, free-will isn't (therefore) a result.

3. Provide a negative of the statement, showing how it's NOT falsifyable.

4. anything else, you choose...

...

All your statements assume free will exists, in order to show that free will exists.

If I say "I saw a unicorn, therefore unicorns exist" and then point to my statement and say "look, my statement talks about unicorns, therefore unicorns must exist", you wouldnt be convinced would you.

 

Maybe first we need to define what is meant by free will?

 

 

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20 minutes ago, neeeel said:

All your statements assume free will exists, in order to show that free will exists.

I don't know to which you're referring to in your generalisation. I'm bookmarking it (maybe) for later.

20 minutes ago, neeeel said:

If I say "I saw a unicorn, therefore unicorns exist" and then point to my statement and say "look, my statement talks about unicorns, therefore unicorns must exist", you wouldnt be convinced would you.

Unicorns???...hahaha, I think your statement is a strawman.

Ok.

If you don't think, people have the capacity to change their minds... Unicorns or not (lol)... Aren't you waisting your time with me trying to prove me that the quote doesn't prove the existence of free-will?

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2 minutes ago, barn said:

Unicorns???...hahaha, I think your statement is a strawman.

Ugh. I dont think you know what a strawman is. I dont think you understood my point either

Its pretty simple. If I make a statement about X, and then try to use that statement to prove the existence of X, I am engaged in circular reasoning, or begging the question

So If I say "I saw a unicorn", and then say "Look! my statement mentions unicorns, so they must exist" , that is not proof that unicorns exist

 

If you are asking, is  "I can choose what to spend my money on" an example of the concept of free will, then sure.  Again, perhaps I misunderstood, but I thought you were using the statement "I choose what to spend my money on" as proof that free will exists.

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1 hour ago, neeeel said:

Ugh. I dont think you know what a strawman is. I dont think you understood my point either

Its pretty simple. If I make a statement about X, and then try to use that statement to prove the existence of X, I am engaged in circular reasoning, or begging the question

So If I say "I saw a unicorn", and then say "Look! my statement mentions unicorns, so they must exist" , that is not proof that unicorns exist

 

If you are asking, is  "I can choose what to spend my money on" an example of the concept of free will, then sure.  Again, perhaps I misunderstood, but I thought you were using the statement "I choose what to spend my money on" as proof that free will exists.

Sure, @neeeel

 

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8 hours ago, ofd said:

There are things and we perceive attributes of those things. If we couldn't perceive those attributes, we couldn't distinguish between entities. Nor could we come up with the law of identity. If the law of identity applies to the empirical world, it's object to falsification. It it doesn't, if it is purely a priori, you can't make statements about the empirical reality and cannot be tested.

The law of identity is not apriori, it points to the truth of logic and duality. I am not talking about things that are empirical, but of all differentiations, i.e. duality in consciousness.

Just think about it. Probably the most thorough explanation ever made was by Otto Weininger in 1903 in the book "Sex and Character" in the chapters on Logic.

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What about the locus of control theory, e.g. inner locus of control=you believe you have control over most of your life vs. outer locus of control=you believe you're a victim of fate?

I'm an advocate for inner locus of control (free will) because while I can't control everything that happens to me, I can control some things. I would say many things in my current life are the result of choices I made, particularly because I got fed up with a situation and took charge to change it instead of letting others decide for me. A pet peeve of mine is when some people complain about something but don't do anything about it because they feel they're powerless victims, or worse, expect me to be their savior. 

 

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The law of identity is not apriori, it points to the truth of logic and duality. I am not talking about things that are empirical, but of all differentiations, i.e. duality in consciousness.

No idea what this means.

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Cheers Andi;

Note I don’t think that "there is no reason to assume that brains necessitate mind or that mind requires a brain" - only that the reasoning provided in the context of the argument here is not sufficient to demonstrate this ("without additional argument"). There likewise are reasons to believe this which have not been discussed here either.

"Awareness" (the existence of mental properties) is a fundamental problem irrespective of physical determinism. The only way it can serve an evolutionary purpose is to assume substance (interactionist/Cartesian) dualism, in which there exists a symbiotic coevolution of matter and mind. Yet this doesn’t provide a substrate for mind (unlike the materialist monism physicalism), and pushes the mind-body problem back a layer into some higher dimensional space, or into some spiritual realm. There may be other, philosophical, purposes for subjective awareness, but the question of libertarian free will is purely a functional one (whether, why or how it conveys any difference/advantage on the physical system).

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We do not know how awareness works, but this does in no way indicates that is has to be a special substrate, or is spiritual, or divine, or magic. We simply do not know how it works, thats all. I mean we do not know what dark matter is, and nobody claims that it is magic. Why should it be the case with awareness? We do know that awareness has something to do with the brain - if somebody looses his leg, he is still aware. If somebody looses his head, he is not.

Shure, to explain awareness is a different problem than determinism. Nevertheless, those two are connected: Nothing that is unaware can even articulate the question about free will. And again: Determinists have to explain why there is such a thing like awareness. We know that many animals exist for many thousand years with little or no awareness. We know that our subconscious mind is powerful and knows a lot about reality. We are, e.g., able to throw or catch a ball, so our subconscious mind has perfect knowledge about Newtons laws.

So there must be an advantage to be aware, otherwise evolution would never have selected it, would never have allowed to put that much energy in. There must be an advantage to be aware of Newton´s laws, instead of just using them instinctively. In other words, there must be an advantage from determined subconsciousness, from instinctively driven actions to awareness. 

 

regards

Andi

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2 minutes ago, Goldenages said:

Determinists have to explain why there is such a thing like awareness.

They merely need to demonstrate that it is determined entirely by causes. And it is easy to do so. All things are determined entirely by the causes that bring them into existence.

Perhaps you imply that there needs to be a model that reverse-engineers all the causes. But that wouldn't have any difference on whether things have effects that are the entire cause of awareness or mind.

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58 minutes ago, Goldenages said:

 

so our subconscious mind has perfect knowledge about Newtons laws.

 

Im not sure what this means, or how you would know it was true

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1 hour ago, eschiedler said:

They merely need to demonstrate that it is determined entirely by causes. And it is easy to do so.

No doubt about that.  But actions based on awareness resp. not-awareness obviously result in different behaviour. If not, why did evolution select awareness, if the same result could be achieved with non-awareness?

 

32 minutes ago, neeeel said:

Im not sure what this means, or how you would know it was true

If an animal (or a robot) can catch a ball, it needs to predict the path. So it needs knowledge about reality, in this particular case a knowledge we call Newton´s laws. Neither an animal nor a robot has conscious knowledge, its stored in the spinal cord or software or whatever. And it makes a big difference wether one has aware knowledge, fully understanding a universal principle, or act on jerks.

 

regards

Andi

 

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Pattern recognition as a survival trait does not prove determinism, it's just evidence that some organisms can recognize patterns.

Consistency as a property of recognized pattern does not prove determinism, it's just more evidence that good generalizations about patterns are still good.

One does not have to fully understand anything to recognize a pattern or to formulate a plan to exploit a recognized pattern.

There's nothing perfect about any of this.

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Hi Andi, this relates to our initial discussion. The philosophical definition of “awareness” (mental properties) here cannot be collapsed into its empirical (physical) definition. We typically infer an association between observed indicators of awareness (eg self-report) and awareness itself. This might be appropriate in other fields (eg cognitive science), but not when analysing philosophy of mind. 

Science measures physical properties, and constructs models which explain their behaviour. In the context of cognition, it hypothesises psychological constructs described by observables. One such empirical construct is observed (aka physical) consciousness/awareness, and is identified by one or more traits; arousal, specific brain activity, self-report etc. The information processing construct of awareness (central processing of stimuli) is certainly advantageous to the organism and would have evolved accordingly. More advanced central processing constructs like self-concept and theory of mind confer additional advantage to the organism and likewise would have evolved. An example of one such advantage of higher order cognition (including the belief in mental properties) is the value the organism places on its survival and others of its own species that share this trait.

Here is a thought experiment to demonstrate the distinction between mental and physical (neurological) properties. An advanced carbon or silicon based organism could independently evolve a construct of “self” that exhibits awareness (including a belief in mental properties), but there is no obvious reason to assume that it has actual philosophical “awareness” (mental properties). It would function identically. More precisely, the “self” (software program representing the central processing of the creature’s nervous system) would function as if it is aware, but if some low level science (typically taken to be physics) provides a complete description of the functioning of the universe then the existence of a subjective observer is irrelevant to its function.

In my previous comment I was purely discussing the prospect of an evolutionary advantage to mental properties (constituting the subjective observer’s awareness). The only philosophy of mind in which such advantage can be afforded is substance dualism. Again, there may be philosophical purposes for such awareness independent of its function/lack of on observed reality (cf the anthropic principle). Likewise, as above, there are certainly evolutionary advantages to having evolved the information processing resembling such awareness. But under the current scientific paradigm (with the materialist monism physicalism) there is no physical process existent that cannot be explained by the laws of physics acting on non-sentient particles. The technical term for this anomaly is “overdetermination” - any mental laws or processes we conceive of are overdetermined by physical law. Mental reality is thus redundant.

The mind-body problem (interactionism and the undefined mental substrate for substance dualism, the strong emergence problem for physicalism, the combination problem for panpsychism, etc) and our perception of the causal relevance of our volition (free will) are often taken together. Many suggest that the solution to these may have a common ground (contemporary examples include invocations of quantum indeterminism - eg “free volition”, interpretations of quantum mechanics - eg the Copenhagen interpretation/measurement problem, etc). Yet they may be entirely independent. 

What reason does anyone have to do anything if not on logical grounds? And logic itself is deterministic. A failure to maintain consistency in a decision making process speaks more to a division of mind or the conflict of desires (eg short/long term evolutionary goals, the integration of one’s first or second order theory of mind, etc). More often than not it is a failure to anticipate stimuli knowing its influence on our reptilian brain and prepare accordingly. It may even be a failure to take action when necessary, triggering an irreconcilable contradiction or a subconscious detection of genuine cowardice. Granted compatibilism cannot damn the sinner/despot, but who was responsible for feeding their evil? How consistent was their complacency or tolerance? How good should they feel today, and what will they do tomorrow?

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Hi Richard, like your post and learn a lot. :)

 

 

2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

An advanced carbon or silicon based organism could independently evolve a construct of “self” that exhibits awareness (including a belief in mental properties), but there is no obvious reason to assume that it has actual philosophical “awareness” (mental properties).

 

Is there no reason? Forgive me if my analogy is somewhat mechanistic, but: If I shape metal in a certain way and can cut through paper, I do have reason to assume that it has actual sharpness, does it?  I only run into troubles if I insist that sharpness is independent from a certain shape.

One subclause to AI: IMHO just pimping up processors to ever greater speeds and capacity will not cause awareness or intelligence. All you get is a faster computer. Likewise, even pimping up your car to whatever horsepower will never bring you into space. To make it into space you need different theories than for driving, likewise you need a theory of mind to build awareness. And as far as I know, there is none.

3 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

More precisely, the “self” (software program representing the central processing of the creature’s nervous system) would function as if it is aware, but if some low level science (typically taken to be physics) provides a complete description of the functioning of the universe then the existence of a subjective observer is irrelevant to its function.

I would like to understand that, but actually I do not. I would even say that an aware observer is irrelevant to the function of the universe, but I don´t think thats what you mean.

 

3 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

But under the current scientific paradigm (with the materialist monism physicalism) there is no physical process existent that cannot be explained by the laws of physics acting on non-sentient particles. The technical term for this anomaly is “overdetermination” - any mental laws or processes we conceive of are overdetermined by physical law. Mental reality is thus redundant.

Well, yes, if you differentiate between sharpness and the specific shape of a blade. Or between a hot wire and the light its emitting.

 

 

regards

Andi

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Just to clarify, I think there are a number of philosophical reasons to believe that an appearance of awareness (ie the observation of empirical awareness) is likely indicative of actual “awareness” (mental properties). This does not follow as being necessarily true (true of necessity) in the context of the argument here however.

The thought experiment is articulating the distinction between physical and mental physical properties, and how physical systems can be modelled to function/evolve perfectly based on the assumption of physical properties alone. This is precisely what is being implied here; “an aware observer is irrelevant to the function of the universe” (where awareness is taken to mean mental properties as opposed to the behavioural/neuronal exhibition of empirical awareness). The only philosophy I am aware of in which subjective awareness (mental properties) influences the function/behaviour of physical particles, besides that of substance dualism, and in a way that cannot otherwise be predicted by indeterministic law (eg “free volition”), is a particular variant of the Copenhagen interpretation in which subjective observation constitutes measurement.

It is true however that until we develop comprehensive theories of cognition (I won’t reuse the psychological construct “theory of mind” here) based on research into “the neural correlates of consciousness” (coupled with the philosophical assumption of physicalism), we won’t properly be able to predict which physical systems have emergent mental properties. Moreover, as we may never be able to be certain of the specificity of the association (eg. what if we replaced x neurons with a cybiotic implant; the cyborg might continue to say they are conscious but the truth of this assertion is unknown), there may forever remain gaps in our pseudo-empirical theory. Finally, we must recognise that there may be alternate philosophies of mind (eg panpsychism) which predict the existence of minds entirely unlike our own or that of the animal kingdom/mammalia class (eg what is it like to be a flat worm, bacterium, or virus). It is worth recognising that neural dependencies of consciousness are found in evolutionarily old systems (brainstem, thalamus, etc), not just the cerebral cortex.

Physical systems can exhibit properties which have a common source/explanation, however these are reducible to this source/explanation. Empirical “hot” (temperature) is equivalent to a particular spectrum (visible colour if hot enough) of emitted black body radiation (light) from a set of energetic atoms, and empirical “sharpness” (angle/gradient of curvature) of a given material is equivalent to a particular pressure upon contact. Temperature, colour, curvature, and pressure can be measured by self-report of participants (psychophysics; relying on an organism’s cognitive map/neuronal representation of external stimuli), or more accurately by using some dedicated measuring device. But the feeling (including its quality or “qualia”) of temperature, colour, curvature, or pressure is irrelevant to the experiment, and nor can such feelings be reduced to the physical properties being measured. What one person perceives as red might be blue to another (or absent entirely in the case of a philosophical zombie), yet their terminology (“red”, “green”, “blue”, etc) can consistently and accurately map to the external (physical) stimuli (L/long, M/medium, S/short wavelengths). More precisely, assuming a common language, their terminology will map to their neuronal (physical) representation of this external stimuli; which is some function of the LGN (thalamus) cardinal colour space; L+M (luminance), L-M (reddish-greenish), S-L-M (bluish-yellowish). 

It is worth noting that there exists a philosophy of mind which equates mental states with their cognitive function (functionalism). In the case of the blade analogy, a precisely distributed network of cells might have a physical property of colour sensitivity, they just won’t necessarily have an additional redundant property of sentience. Likewise, a self-referential computer is a great tool for traversing complex predatorial and social environments, like meiosis is a great tool for managing mutations (nature.com/articles/nature14419), but there is no reason to assume it of necessity will have some additional unobservable properties emerge from its information processing architecture (cf “ghost in the machine”). Based on our personal experience (belief in our own mental properties; “I think therefore I am”), we infer that there is likely a mapping between physical and mental properties (that physical systems probably produce mental properties), but we can’t use this inference as an explanation for its existence.

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2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

It is worth recognising that neural dependencies of consciousness are found in evolutionarily old systems (brainstem, thalamus, etc), not just the cerebral cortex.

Yes, thats exactly what we would expect according to the evolutionary principle. A randomly acquired property, due to some variations in genes, offers advantages to animals without this property. And there is reason to assume that are certain levels of awareness among different species.

 

 

Obviously I am not smart enough to see the problem here:

2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

Physical systems can exhibit properties which have a common source/explanation, however these are reducible to this source/explanation.

What is the base to say that our awareness can not be reduced to a common source/explanation? Especially if there is no theory of cognition?

 

2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

But the feeling (including its quality or “qualia”) of temperature, colour, curvature, or pressure is irrelevant to the experiment,.....

Shure. As irrelevant as the method of storing or depict data, be it on paper or hard discs, be it drawings or numbers.

 

2 hours ago, richardbaxter said:

 What one person perceives as red might be blue to another (or absent entirely in the case of a philosophical zombie), yet their terminology (“red”, “green”, “blue”, etc) can consistently and accurately map to the external (physical) stimuli (L/long, M/medium, S/short wavelengths)

Yes. But where is the problem?  To expresse "green" I can write the word, or paint a green dot. There are people - I do not know the word in english - whose nerves are wired very special, e.g. if they see a special colour they taste, maybe, the flavour of pepper in their mouth. So a colour triggers a flavour and creates a very unique awareness.  So what is the base to say that no theory of cognition can reduce our awareness to physical sources?

 

regards

Andi

 

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"A randomly acquired property, due to some variations in genes, offers advantages to animals without this property."

The property acquired during biological evolution is the information processing representing/emulating consciousness (self-referential central processing of stimuli). This property can be measured (its behaviour modelled) by a) examining the functioning of the neural substrate (cognitive neuroscience) or by b) interacting/communicating with the creature (cognitive psychology). Evolution is a physical process (not a philosophical process) and as such says nothing about the emergence of non-observable properties (whether they are mapped to physical properties, as per physicalism, or not).

"What is the base to say that our awareness can not be reduced to a common source/explanation? Especially if there is no theory of cognition?"

Under the current scientific paradigm mental properties (internal first person consciousness/awareness) are unobservable by the empirical method (i.e. unmeasurable). They are empirically non-observable by definition: a thought experiment cannot be constructed to deny their existence. For example, how does one prove (ie calculate a statistical probability) that a rock does not have mental properties mapped to its physical substrate using the empirical method? A paradigm shift will be required to bring mental properties into the realm of scientific discovery (as opposed to just inference of their correlation with certain states of matter based on an assumption of their mapping to physical properties). It is true that if this condition is met and we can derive a comprehensive theory of cognition (that defines not just the neural correlates of consciousness; but the neural determinates of consciousness), then awareness may be reducible to a common source/explanation. In one formulation of panpsychism (philosophical speculation), the underlying natural substrate contains "quiddities"; which exhibit both physical and mental properties. Something similar might be possible with non-reductive physicalism (which posits the emergence of both physical and mental properties from the underlying "physical" [philosophical terminology] substrate), but at the moment this seems contrived due to the overdetermination problem: why do some subsets of a physical universe get special unobservable properties mapped to them and others do not?

"Yes. But where is the problem?  To express "green" I can write the word, or paint a green dot. There are people - I do not know the word in english - whose nerves are wired very special, e.g. if they see a special colour they taste, maybe, the flavour of pepper in their mouth. So a colour triggers a flavour and creates a very unique awareness.  So what is the base to say that no theory of cognition can reduce our awareness to physical sources?"

The point here is that two people's nerves might be identically wired yet have unique experience of some qualia (red/green/blue/etc - what one person calls red might be blue to another ad infinitum). There is nothing in the presently known laws of nature which would specify otherwise. Science only models observable nature (measurable, i.e. physical, properties).

I have used this analogy before; Imagine you travel to planet x (in a universe y) - you meet an alien of substrate z (e.g. carbon/silicon/etc) that tells you it is conscious. Is it? Does the fact it naturally evolved necessitate the truth of its assertion? Notice how this is an anthropocentric (and suspiciously teleological) assumption. We believe a universe is made for sentience, and we are disinterested by the prospect of a universe that creates wonderfully complex systems (machines) that do whatever they do and interact with each other with extraordinarily levels of communication shaped through natural selection, but have no internal awareness (mental properties) whatsoever. As discussed previously, I think there are good reasons to believe that a universe would exhibit mental properties (in that they require a substrate to define both their emergence and behaviour); but this line of argument is not relevant here.

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Would it be fair to say that many people equate "Cause and Effect"(also a STTNG episode) with Determinism? Negating any additional or concurrent phenomena such as synchroncity?  

Quiddities, sounds like Harry Potter..... Though in order for a team/chain gang, to function to its maximum brute force power, wouldn't the team members have to give up any semblence of individuality.

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