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Who are 'you'?

keithprosser
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8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment.
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,205
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8/13/2016 5:19:01 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
The suggestion on the table infers that some of the lesser qualities or more animal instincts of our personalities are "us".

I also think it breaks down into a semantic argument if one felt the desire to push it, however what we consider "us" is the culmination of all those traits into an acting persona.

We feel base needs and wants. Yes, those base needs and wants manifest into conscious thought (and thereby consciously avoided action), however to claim them to be "you" in the same manner as what one develops and hones oneself to be is short shrift to what we call "us/you". I would think that the conscious action and dedication to who we are is the best representative of what "we" are, and while those subconscious thoughts and desires might influence us, our own conscious efforts are what we should base personality calls off of.

Regarding the media and society, sure, they hold a great deal of influence over what we develop as, however I feel that such an influence is so wide, it can't actually direct any one avenue.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
http://www.debate.org...
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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8/13/2016 6:00:55 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/13/2016 5:19:01 PM, FaustianJustice wrote:
The suggestion on the table infers that some of the lesser qualities or more animal instincts of our personalities are "us".

I also think it breaks down into a semantic argument if one felt the desire to push it, however what we consider "us" is the culmination of all those traits into an acting persona.

How much of what we do is not a consequence of conscious decision making? In the legal profession the term temporary insanity is used to describe a person overcome by emotion and doing something they would not normally do. Do acts performed under such circumstances truly define who we are?

We feel base needs and wants. Yes, those base needs and wants manifest into conscious thought (and thereby consciously avoided action), however to claim them to be "you" in the same manner as what one develops and hones oneself to be is short shrift to what we call "us/you". I would think that the conscious action and dedication to who we are is the best representative of what "we" are, and while those subconscious thoughts and desires might influence us, our own conscious efforts are what we should base personality calls off of.

Regarding the media and society, sure, they hold a great deal of influence over what we develop as, however I feel that such an influence is so wide, it can't actually direct any one avenue.

You write a test and pass with an A, you get rewarded. Get an F and you get punished. This teaches us to value knowledge and respect degrees. This in turn dirctly affects our behaviour. Societal influence or personal choice?
wuliheron
Posts: 105
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8/13/2016 6:15:10 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Authenticity

Often me, myself, and I can't agree,
Over how divided we've become again!
Who is doing all of the arguing this time!
And who, exactly, is in charge around here!
Cast adrift upon more passionate seas of life!
Castaways on lost horizons bereft any anchor!
Waves, threatening to swamp small life rafts!
We all set aside our metaphysics and politics!
Where all can agree, upon knowing nothing;
Except all know, the others know nothing!
Ego, not really possessing self-awareness,
Whilst, suffering the slings and arrows,
Of outrageously episodic misfortunes!
Yet, amongst the noblest of all qualities!
Those even damned fools can understand!
Even those amongst us crapping their pants!
Even those, pretty clueless to what's going on;
Highly regarded by any in cartoon Wonderland!
Well regarded by all upon the stairway to heaven!
Which even the duller among us may comprehend!
Which the most thoroughly confused can yet grasp;
Heralded throughout the entire known multiverse!
The splendor and glory, abiding within humanity!
Plausibility yet only probable to a certain extent!
Who we become, is all a matter of perseverance!
Within the usual peanut gallery of caricatures,
Some of us, yet more triumphant than others!
Even, in the usual confusing pandemonium!
Of sulky profligates remaining anonymous!
Of clowns, with the lowest lowbrow tastes!
Of the current, peanut gallery's assembly;
Of the more unusual, motley characters!
Clarification a dispersing effervescent luminescence, in midair!
Accompanying entertaining laughter fading off into the distance.
Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care?
Mama always said, she didn't raise no damned fools!
Tell others I worked hard, to become the idiot I am!
Watched clocks never boil, or some-such nonsense!
I never really could follow everything mama said!
Mama always having, a warped sense of humor!
She apologized, insisting styles are here to stay!
Whereas fashions like ignorance, come and go!
While nothing may beat becoming authentic!
No one can do better than to be themselves!
Reckoning whether outside or in all authenticity comes from someplace,
Reckoning, knowing without knowing all I really know is nothing;
Regardless of more extremely pressing immediate consternation!
Regardless of whether or not, aliens are invading our earth!
Regardless of whatever some damned fools might desire,
Regardless of what any other damned fool may say;
Regardless of any vocal protests which come up,
Any invasion conspiracy, not withstanding,
Most can yet agree upon, One Great Truth!
Silence is golden, if nobody actually listens!
Talking to ourselves, without even listening!
Merely confirms that nobody wants to listen!
Like a blinking light, showing our stereo is on!
When nobody, is really using the damned thing!
Just in the hope, it might make a real difference!
Just in the hope some might actually understand!
Rather than blinking like a deer in the headlights!
Hello, hello, hello, hello is there anybody in there?
Knowing, you are playing around with yourself!
Knowing its nothing more than masturbation;
Knowing there really is no point in talking,
When there really is just no one listening!
However many may be inside your head!
You are what you is, and that's all it tis;
Become what you desire to be perceived!
Become, what you might truly want to be!
Become someone you can enjoy meeting,
Always know thyself, and think for thyself!
Learn how to listen well, to your own heart!
Become content as who you want to become!
Become content that none may do you better!
Become content, just to become more yourself!
Become content bumbling a road less traveled!
Become content, simply to take your next step!
Always take care of one another and be happy!
Discover contentment, in each other's company!
Discover joy in sharing life's greatest adventure!
Keep communities small, with just a few people!
But, ensuring that all know how to read and write;
Practice the arts and celebrate any achievements!
Keep all weapons you may possess, always secure!
Know all your neighbors, yet, remain independent!
Be prepared, to deal with any unforeseen exigency!
Celebrate the ability, to appreciate any eccentricity!
Celebrate your ability, to always laugh at yourselves,
Celebrate humanity's enduring freedom to celebrate!
Remember the unexamined life is never worth living!
Knowing thyself the world feels like your own home!
Know thyself, all the world feels like they know you!
Knowing thyself, all the world tends to invite you in!
Knowing thyself, all the world may learn their hearts!
Knowing thyself, your joy spreads to the whole world!
Nothing provides, greater satisfaction or contentment!
Nothing provides superior insight, virtue, and wisdom!
Nothing is more rewarding, than becoming who we are!
To know your own heart, is to know what love is about!
To know your own heart is to discover all true freedom!
Follow the silence of beautiful words, as if a siren voice!
Follow your heart witnessing the world following theirs!
Knowing thyself is how you may become more authentic!
Only knowing thyself would we all become who we desire!
But, guard your good name as you would a precious jewel!
The richest of jewels, you can ever have in your possession!
Any reputation is like a fire, that can be arduous to rebuild!
For us to be all that we can be each heart must first be free!
For us to be all we can be each must free their loving hearts!
Set your heart free, and it will reward the favor many times!
Set your heart free if you want to experience actual freedom!
Never underestimate, what all humanity may still accomplish!
Never make the mistake, of underestimating any contribution!
Not when the smallest amongst us, might yet move mountains!
Not when a miracle to believe in abides forever inside of us all!
Forever the way shapes the world, as the world shapes the way!
For we are simply the children of God, and citizens of the world!
Just begging for love, on ascending the great stairway to Heaven!
Babes lost in the wilderness of space, on their loving mother earth!
Dazed and confused on our difficult journey which has just begun!
Who can frequently lose sight of their marvelous mother and father!
Who may easily forget all the love and joy in our hearts is a blessing!
Who easily forget, that we are the world we are the Children of God!
Constrained to encouraging ourselves, as well as, each other to think!
Constrained to helping each other up, instead of, doing all the lifting!
Authenticity is when any distinctions between our hearts and brains,
No longer really matter because harmony neither acts nor reasons;
Knowing without knowing the only thing we know is but nothing,
Being incapable of ever straying far from the path lost and alone!
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,205
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8/13/2016 6:43:00 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/13/2016 6:00:55 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/13/2016 5:19:01 PM, FaustianJustice wrote:
The suggestion on the table infers that some of the lesser qualities or more animal instincts of our personalities are "us".

I also think it breaks down into a semantic argument if one felt the desire to push it, however what we consider "us" is the culmination of all those traits into an acting persona.

How much of what we do is not a consequence of conscious decision making? In the legal profession the term temporary insanity is used to describe a person overcome by emotion and doing something they would not normally do. Do acts performed under such circumstances truly define who we are?

Being "overcome" by something indicates my point from onset.

We feel base needs and wants. Yes, those base needs and wants manifest into conscious thought (and thereby consciously avoided action), however to claim them to be "you" in the same manner as what one develops and hones oneself to be is short shrift to what we call "us/you". I would think that the conscious action and dedication to who we are is the best representative of what "we" are, and while those subconscious thoughts and desires might influence us, our own conscious efforts are what we should base personality calls off of.

Regarding the media and society, sure, they hold a great deal of influence over what we develop as, however I feel that such an influence is so wide, it can't actually direct any one avenue.

You write a test and pass with an A, you get rewarded. Get an F and you get punished. This teaches us to value knowledge and respect degrees. This in turn dirctly affects our behaviour. Societal influence or personal choice?

I don't think its the degree that specifically teaches that when the rubber hits the road.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
http://www.debate.org...
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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8/13/2016 6:57:12 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment.

Can that question be answered without definitive knowledge as to whether dualism is correct or not? Would the answer impact whether free will could be real?
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/13/2016 7:23:34 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/13/2016 6:57:12 PM, matt8800 wrote:

Can that question be answered without definitive knowledge as to whether dualism is correct or not? Would the answer impact whether free will could be real?

I pretty much agree. But many people do claim to know if dualism is true or not (or at least they have a strong views on the matter) and it could be interesting to see if dualists and monists agree on what the word 'self' refers to, amongst other things.
willbedone
Posts: 127
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8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment. : :

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/14/2016 3:23:30 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:17:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
'you' refers to your psyche.
Is there much difference between 'psyche' and 'mind'?
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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8/14/2016 3:35:31 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:23:30 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:17:58 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
'you' refers to your psyche.
Is there much difference between 'psyche' and 'mind'?

No I don't think so."In psychology, the psyche is the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious." (Wikipedia)

I think "psyche" carries a connotation of "ego" or "personality" while "mind" doesn't though.
wuliheron
Posts: 105
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8/14/2016 3:37:55 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Awareness without knowledge is meaningless gibberish when the two always define one another like up and down. Hence, the law of identity asserts, if nothing else, everybody always knows nothing.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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8/14/2016 3:39:04 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment. : :

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Yes. Visit any morgue.
willbedone
Posts: 127
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8/14/2016 3:45:18 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:39:04 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment. : :

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Yes. Visit any morgue. : :

You observed "YOUR" body in a morgue without any thoughts to observe it with?
willbedone
Posts: 127
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8/14/2016 3:46:22 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:37:55 PM, wuliheron wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Awareness without knowledge is meaningless gibberish when the two always define one another like up and down. Hence, the law of identity asserts, if nothing else, everybody always knows nothing. : :

Are you trying to say something intelligent?
wuliheron
Posts: 105
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8/14/2016 3:56:11 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:46:22 PM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:37:55 PM, wuliheron wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Awareness without knowledge is meaningless gibberish when the two always define one another like up and down. Hence, the law of identity asserts, if nothing else, everybody always knows nothing. : :

Are you trying to say something intelligent?

When you can no longer identify that you have identified nothing you have personal crap to deal with.
willbedone
Posts: 127
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8/14/2016 4:01:14 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:56:11 PM, wuliheron wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:46:22 PM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:37:55 PM, wuliheron wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Awareness without knowledge is meaningless gibberish when the two always define one another like up and down. Hence, the law of identity asserts, if nothing else, everybody always knows nothing. : :

Are you trying to say something intelligent?

When you can no longer identify that you have identified nothing you have personal crap to deal with. : :

You certainly do have some personal crap to deal with.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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8/14/2016 4:33:45 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 3:45:18 PM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:39:04 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment. : :

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Yes. Visit any morgue. : :

You observed "YOUR" body in a morgue without any thoughts to observe it with?

Oh, that your.
Observing involves thinking, so no. Although it is possible for our bodies to act without us consciously willing it to do so.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/14/2016 4:52:48 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I think "psyche" carries a connotation of "ego" or "personality" while "mind" doesn't though.
I can accept that. I tend to think that my 'self' (ego/psyche/consciousness?) is something apart from my physical body. Although I recognise my physical body is necessary as the 'hardware' that runs the 'software', I don't think of my physical body as me. My mind in a different body or a machine would be 'me'.
willbedone
Posts: 127
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8/14/2016 5:01:50 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 4:33:45 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:45:18 PM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/14/2016 3:39:04 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 8:33:09 AM, willbedone wrote:
At 8/13/2016 5:06:25 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Furyan5 asked:

"So which is the real you? Society claims it's our actions and not our thoughts that define us. But are we the architects of of our wants, needs and desires? Or does the media and society decide for us?"

I think there is a good debate to be had about the nature or meaning of 'self'. While I am still trying to put my thoughts about it into some sort of coherent order, I thought I'd open it up for comment. : :

Is it possible to observe the actions of your body in a world without any thoughts?

Yes. Visit any morgue. : :

You observed "YOUR" body in a morgue without any thoughts to observe it with?

Oh, that your.
Observing involves thinking, so no. Although it is possible for our bodies to act without us consciously willing it to do so. : :

Does an alcoholic consciously will the body to shake uncontrollably or walk in erratic ways after drinking alcohol? I remember waking up the next morning wondering which route I took from the bar in town out to the country farm house I lived in. I was not aware at all how I got home the night before. Is the body being willed by someone else than the one who can't remember even driving home?
keithprosser
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8/14/2016 5:13:33 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I'd guess that the alcohol inhibited the normal creation of memories of how you got home. There's no great mystery about it.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/14/2016 6:33:02 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I've put my thoughts about self in some sort of order!

My notion of self is based on the 'representational model' of consciousness. By that I mean that what one is conscious of is the information content of 'patterns of neural activity' in the brain. In that model if you are conscious of a red ball then there is in your brain some pattern of neural activity (i.e. 'neural representation') that encodes <red ball>. We have evolved senses which attempt produce accurate neural representations of external reality so if you are conscious of a red ball it is often because there is a ball, and it is red.

But it ain't necessarily so. Neural representations can be produced in ways not directly related to sense data. They are produced spontaneously when we dream, or when we hallucinate for example. Errors can also be introduced - if what is out there is a red cube but what gets encoded as a neural representation is <red ball>, you will be conscious of a red ball.

So our brains have evolved to maintain a neural representation of our environment. More to the point our brains maintain a sub-representation of 'self' centre stage within that world-representation. It the existence of that sub-representation that provides us with our self-awareness and what we peceive ourselves to be is whatever is encoded into that sub-representation.

It is hard to put what we perceive ourselves to be into words ('conscious self-aware entity with the power of reason' is perhaps one option!) but I don't need to put it into words - you are very well aware of what you perceive yourself to be. So how you perceive yourself to be is what is encoded into you self-representation, but that isn't how you really are. In reality, there is a lump of brain meat that processes neural representations, one of which (perhaps the most important representation of all) provides that brain with a self-image.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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8/14/2016 6:38:02 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 4:52:48 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I think "psyche" carries a connotation of "ego" or "personality" while "mind" doesn't though.
I can accept that. I tend to think that my 'self' (ego/psyche/consciousness?) is something apart from my physical body. Although I recognise my physical body is necessary as the 'hardware' that runs the 'software', I don't think of my physical body as me. My mind in a different body or a machine would be 'me'.

So if we could copy this psyche into a machine, would there be two of you?
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/14/2016 7:18:07 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 6:38:02 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 4:52:48 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I think "psyche" carries a connotation of "ego" or "personality" while "mind" doesn't though.
I can accept that. I tend to think that my 'self' (ego/psyche/consciousness?) is something apart from my physical body. Although I recognise my physical body is necessary as the 'hardware' that runs the 'software', I don't think of my physical body as me. My mind in a different body or a machine would be 'me'.

So if we could copy this psyche into a machine, would there be two of you?

I get around that problem by denying the self has anything except a 'virtual existence'. If you read my previous post, there is no self - there are only brains and the neural representations they process.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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8/16/2016 3:32:18 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 6:33:02 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I've put my thoughts about self in some sort of order!

My notion of self is based on the 'representational model' of consciousness. By that I mean that what one is conscious of is the information content of 'patterns of neural activity' in the brain. In that model if you are conscious of a red ball then there is in your brain some pattern of neural activity (i.e. 'neural representation') that encodes <red ball>. We have evolved senses which attempt produce accurate neural representations of external reality so if you are conscious of a red ball it is often because there is a ball, and it is red.

But it ain't necessarily so. Neural representations can be produced in ways not directly related to sense data. They are produced spontaneously when we dream, or when we hallucinate for example. Errors can also be introduced - if what is out there is a red cube but what gets encoded as a neural representation is <red ball>, you will be conscious of a red ball.

So our brains have evolved to maintain a neural representation of our environment. More to the point our brains maintain a sub-representation of 'self' centre stage within that world-representation. It the existence of that sub-representation that provides us with our self-awareness and what we peceive ourselves to be is whatever is encoded into that sub-representation.

It is hard to put what we perceive ourselves to be into words ('conscious self-aware entity with the power of reason' is perhaps one option!) but I don't need to put it into words - you are very well aware of what you perceive yourself to be. So how you perceive yourself to be is what is encoded into you self-representation, but that isn't how you really are. In reality, there is a lump of brain meat that processes neural representations, one of which (perhaps the most important representation of all) provides that brain with a self-image.

If we were to create a AI robot that could respond to its environment just as effectively to the environment as a human, would it have a sense of self? It seems that the intangible, conscious and vivid sense of self is a vital part of knowing who "you" are.

Maybe a computer could be programmed to act like me but would it ever feel like me? Dualism seems extraordinary but it would seem that the idea of AI being so sophisticated that it can feel emotions about love and beauty is pretty extraordinary also.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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8/16/2016 3:41:16 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/14/2016 7:18:07 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 8/14/2016 6:38:02 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 4:52:48 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I think "psyche" carries a connotation of "ego" or "personality" while "mind" doesn't though.
I can accept that. I tend to think that my 'self' (ego/psyche/consciousness?) is something apart from my physical body. Although I recognise my physical body is necessary as the 'hardware' that runs the 'software', I don't think of my physical body as me. My mind in a different body or a machine would be 'me'.

So if we could copy this psyche into a machine, would there be two of you?

I get around that problem by denying the self has anything except a 'virtual existence'. If you read my previous post, there is no self - there are only brains and the neural representations they process.

In that case, the answer would be yes, there could be multiple versions of you that have the same vivid sense of being "keith", down to every minute detail and emotion indistinguishable to every version of you and your loved ones. That would create quite a conundrum to your family :)
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/16/2016 4:07:04 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
I think that is the point. There would be practical difficulties, but there are no conceptual difficulties. Suppose in some parallel universe where Star Trek is reality I was accidentally duplicated in a teleport accident.

The facts are easily stated: I got into the teleporter and two copies came out - and that is all there is to it. If you start asking which one is the real me then its just a quibble over what 'real me' means.

However you choose to define 'real' and 'me' doesn't make a bit of difference to the facts. Trying to shoehorn bizarre scenarios into categories that were never intended to handle them is essentially a word game, something that is more properly the concern of lawyers than philosophers. Imagine if someone crossed an apple and a potato. I can imagine lawyers arguing endlessly (and expensively) about whether it was a fruit or a vegetable (different import duty rates, you see) but the simple fact is it's a apple-potato hybrid whatever the court decides.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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8/16/2016 4:44:00 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/16/2016 3:32:18 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 6:33:02 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I've put my thoughts about self in some sort of order!

My notion of self is based on the 'representational model' of consciousness. By that I mean that what one is conscious of is the information content of 'patterns of neural activity' in the brain. In that model if you are conscious of a red ball then there is in your brain some pattern of neural activity (i.e. 'neural representation') that encodes <red ball>. We have evolved senses which attempt produce accurate neural representations of external reality so if you are conscious of a red ball it is often because there is a ball, and it is red.

But it ain't necessarily so. Neural representations can be produced in ways not directly related to sense data. They are produced spontaneously when we dream, or when we hallucinate for example. Errors can also be introduced - if what is out there is a red cube but what gets encoded as a neural representation is <red ball>, you will be conscious of a red ball.

So our brains have evolved to maintain a neural representation of our environment. More to the point our brains maintain a sub-representation of 'self' centre stage within that world-representation. It the existence of that sub-representation that provides us with our self-awareness and what we peceive ourselves to be is whatever is encoded into that sub-representation.

It is hard to put what we perceive ourselves to be into words ('conscious self-aware entity with the power of reason' is perhaps one option!) but I don't need to put it into words - you are very well aware of what you perceive yourself to be. So how you perceive yourself to be is what is encoded into you self-representation, but that isn't how you really are. In reality, there is a lump of brain meat that processes neural representations, one of which (perhaps the most important representation of all) provides that brain with a self-image.

If we were to create a AI robot that could respond to its environment just as effectively to the environment as a human, would it have a sense of self? It seems that the intangible, conscious and vivid sense of self is a vital part of knowing who "you" are.

Maybe a computer could be programmed to act like me but would it ever feel like me? Dualism seems extraordinary but it would seem that the idea of AI being so sophisticated that it can feel emotions about love and beauty is pretty extraordinary also.

An AI robot could mimic how a human responds to burning their fingers but that would be a programmed response. The robot can react faster than a human would, but it doesn't feel pain. No human needs to be told or taught to pull their finger off a hot stove. It's a response to pain. You can't program a robot to feel pain, joy, anger or fear. You can only program it to imitate our reactions.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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8/16/2016 5:06:38 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/16/2016 4:44:00 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
At 8/16/2016 3:32:18 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 8/14/2016 6:33:02 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I've put my thoughts about self in some sort of order!

My notion of self is based on the 'representational model' of consciousness. By that I mean that what one is conscious of is the information content of 'patterns of neural activity' in the brain. In that model if you are conscious of a red ball then there is in your brain some pattern of neural activity (i.e. 'neural representation') that encodes <red ball>. We have evolved senses which attempt produce accurate neural representations of external reality so if you are conscious of a red ball it is often because there is a ball, and it is red.

But it ain't necessarily so. Neural representations can be produced in ways not directly related to sense data. They are produced spontaneously when we dream, or when we hallucinate for example. Errors can also be introduced - if what is out there is a red cube but what gets encoded as a neural representation is <red ball>, you will be conscious of a red ball.

So our brains have evolved to maintain a neural representation of our environment. More to the point our brains maintain a sub-representation of 'self' centre stage within that world-representation. It the existence of that sub-representation that provides us with our self-awareness and what we peceive ourselves to be is whatever is encoded into that sub-representation.

It is hard to put what we perceive ourselves to be into words ('conscious self-aware entity with the power of reason' is perhaps one option!) but I don't need to put it into words - you are very well aware of what you perceive yourself to be. So how you perceive yourself to be is what is encoded into you self-representation, but that isn't how you really are. In reality, there is a lump of brain meat that processes neural representations, one of which (perhaps the most important representation of all) provides that brain with a self-image.

If we were to create a AI robot that could respond to its environment just as effectively to the environment as a human, would it have a sense of self? It seems that the intangible, conscious and vivid sense of self is a vital part of knowing who "you" are.

Maybe a computer could be programmed to act like me but would it ever feel like me? Dualism seems extraordinary but it would seem that the idea of AI being so sophisticated that it can feel emotions about love and beauty is pretty extraordinary also.

An AI robot could mimic how a human responds to burning their fingers but that would be a programmed response. The robot can react faster than a human would, but it doesn't feel pain. No human needs to be told or taught to pull their finger off a hot stove. It's a response to pain.

The counter argument to that is our brain is biologically programmed to feel pain and respond to it for purposes of survival reinforced by the process of natural selection. Organisms that did not respond appropriately to pain were less likely to survive and pass on their predisposed "programming".

You can't program a robot to feel pain, joy, anger or fear. You can only program it to imitate our reactions.

I agree this is where it can get dicey but I'm not convinced that could be stated as an undisputed fact. I would agree but more on a range of subjectively rationalized probability. I think when we talk about our vivid sense of self and what it is like to experience consciousness, it gets even more difficult to comprehend how that could be coded for a computer.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,896
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8/16/2016 7:07:41 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 8/16/2016 5:06:38 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 8/16/2016 4:44:00 PM, Furyan5 wrote:
You can't program a robot to feel pain, joy, anger or fear. You can only program it to imitate our reactions.

I agree this is where it can get dicey but I'm not convinced that could be stated as an undisputed fact. I would agree but more on a range of subjectively rationalized probability. I think when we talk about our vivid sense of self and what it is like to experience consciousness, it gets even more difficult to comprehend how that could be coded for a computer.

It seems you, Matt, are thinking along the same lines as I do - the problem of how to 'code subjectivity' into a computer has interested me for ages. I think that the answer may be - and I am flying a kite here - that the answer is there is no way to code it! It is totally impossible - so impossible it doesn't even happen in our brains!

Here's the plan. Let's start with two ideas: 1) what we are conscious of is information encoded into patterns of neural activity in our brains, and 2) we are conscious of being conscious in a strange, uncodeable way.

Let me be lazy and use Z to stand for 'the strange, apparently uncodable way' that consciousness 'works'. I won't try to describe Z here because I think anybody reading this will know what I mean - at least I hope so!

But the fact we are conscious of our consciousness working z-style doesn't mean our consciousness is actually working z-style. What it does means is that somewhere in our brain is a pattern of neural activity that encodes the way our consciousness works as being z-style. In a sense, it doesn't matter how consciousness really works - if what is encoded in the relevant neural pattern says 'y consciousness is z-style' then that is what you will think - you will think consciousness works in a 'strange and uncodeable' way.

The point is that the brain doesn't have to actually implement Z (just as well as Z is impossible to implement!). All the brain has to do is support a neural pattern that encodes the (false) information that our consciousness works Z-style and we will think we have this strange mysterious form of z-style consciousness.

It's a bit like a faster than light space ship. There can't be a real FTL spaceship, but there is nothing to prevent a novel about a FTL spaceship existing. We don't need to create a computer or robot that implements actual subjective consciousness - that would be asking a computer do what our brain can't do. If we want a robot to do what really goes on in our heads all we need to do is develop an encoding system flexible enough to contain a description of Z and it will think it as has the same sort of consciousness that we think we do!