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Artificial Intelligence- Learning

Bannanawamajama
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5/23/2014 8:42:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
What are your thoughts on learning algorithms of artificial intelligence? I've heard of the "genetic algorithm", but are there any others you know of that are more or less promising for developing original programs?

How do you think this will devlop in the future, and what are the implications?
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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5/24/2014 11:29:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/23/2014 8:42:18 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What are your thoughts on learning algorithms of artificial intelligence? I've heard of the "genetic algorithm", but are there any others you know of that are more or less promising for developing original programs?

How do you think this will devlop in the future, and what are the implications?

Genetic algorithms have proven to be limited. The statistical algorithms which fall under the rubric "machine learning" have been very successful at predicting future events based previous ones. I recomend this book if you want to get started: http://www.amazon.com...

I would look at things like autonomous cars and Watson to see where AI is going in the next 1 or 2 decades.
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v3nesl
Posts: 4,463
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11/3/2014 2:05:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/23/2014 8:42:18 PM, Bannanawamajama wrote:
What are your thoughts on learning algorithms of artificial intelligence? I've heard of the "genetic algorithm", but are there any others you know of that are more or less promising for developing original programs?

How do you think this will devlop in the future, and what are the implications?

This isn't maybe a direct response, but I think we already have artificial intelligence, and there is no magical AI that's going to happen in the future. I think there is a difference between mind and machine, and machine processing will never be mind.

AI is conditional response with memory. 'Learning' is just the ability to factor past events (memory) into processing. We have that - computers have had that pretty much since the beginning, it's what makes a computer a computer. Such machines can imitate certain human behaviors, and that ability will continue to grow in sophistication, but I don't think it will ever produce mind. Mind is meta-physical, and physical devices will never be anything but physical machines.

And, the the implication of this is that we should focus on using computers as machines, and humans as humans. Don't get me wrong - AI is great fun, and those that are interested should do as much research as they please (on their own dime). Leaving aside the internet for the moment, I'd say the really revolutionary advances in computing have been machiney sorts of things, like bar codes, which have revolutionized stock keeping of all sorts. And even the internet is a just networking tool, it doesn't really have any intelligence of its own. I think we get the best bang for our buck when we remember that computers are, after all, machines. Just machines.
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v3nesl
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11/5/2014 8:08:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 10:48:21 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Some of you might be interested in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

Yeah, you say: we have yet to find evidence for anything other than computation that is involved in the production of intelligence in the brain.


So are you considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain? And if not, all the neuroscience money can buy won't help you know what intelligence IS. Clearly human intelligence is hosted in the brain, but that doesn't mean it IS brain, any more than Beethoven's 5th IS the pits on a CD. It may be hosted on the pits in a CD, and if that was the only way you had ever seen it represented you might mistakenly suppose that Beethoven = CD. I mean, break the CD and you've broken Beethoven, right?
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UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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11/5/2014 9:05:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 8:08:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/4/2014 10:48:21 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Some of you might be interested in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

Yeah, you say: we have yet to find evidence for anything other than computation that is involved in the production of intelligence in the brain.


So are you considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain? And if not, all the neuroscience money can buy won't help you know what intelligence IS. Clearly human intelligence is hosted in the brain, but that doesn't mean it IS brain, any more than Beethoven's 5th IS the pits on a CD. It may be hosted on the pits in a CD, and if that was the only way you had ever seen it represented you might mistakenly suppose that Beethoven = CD. I mean, break the CD and you've broken Beethoven, right?

I am considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain, and/or that either the brain and/or intelligence is not entirely computational. That last line was only to say that we don't have evidence for anything to the contrary, but I should have added that we will not know until we have full knowledge of the brain and of intelligence.

The point is that we have a scientific theory with a mathematical framework that explains the brain, intelligence, and at least some aspects of consciousness as a computational system, but we do not yet have any solid evidence that there is anything else involved. I agree that any possible 'something else' has not been ruled out, however.

A CD containing Beethoven's music isn't any more Beethoven than this post is me. But I'm not sure this is a correct analogy to the brain. The question is whether the mental processes which were involved as Beethoven created his music is fully explainable by the brain and by neural computation. The physical results of those mental processes (CD's bearing his music and the sheet music he wrote) are not themselves mental processes, and so, they would seem to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) to be orthogonal to the question.
v3nesl
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11/5/2014 9:53:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 9:05:28 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 11/5/2014 8:08:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/4/2014 10:48:21 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Some of you might be interested in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

Yeah, you say: we have yet to find evidence for anything other than computation that is involved in the production of intelligence in the brain.


So are you considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain? And if not, all the neuroscience money can buy won't help you know what intelligence IS. Clearly human intelligence is hosted in the brain, but that doesn't mean it IS brain, any more than Beethoven's 5th IS the pits on a CD. It may be hosted on the pits in a CD, and if that was the only way you had ever seen it represented you might mistakenly suppose that Beethoven = CD. I mean, break the CD and you've broken Beethoven, right?

I am considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain, and/or that either the brain and/or intelligence is not entirely computational. That last line was only to say that we don't have evidence for anything to the contrary, but I should have added that we will not know until we have full knowledge of the brain and of intelligence.


And what will have this full knowledge? Brain, or mind? It's very easy to become circular here. I'd make this claim: Mind must be known by mind. We have to ask ourselves: Does mind obey the same physically deterministic cause-and-effect as a computational machine? I say "no", because if our minds actions (for lack of a better term) were caused by physical causes only, we could never know physical as a distinct something. A fish doesn't know it's wet - only something that's been out of the water can know water as an optional thing.

So, what I'm saying - science cannot tell us whether mind is purely physical. Only the mind can tell us that, and in order to do that, one must assume the existence of mind, as distinct from a computing machine. If mind is just computational, let's let our PC answer the question. And if our PC can't do that, we must presume mind is something other than computation.

The point is that we have a scientific theory with a mathematical framework that explains the brain, intelligence, and at least some aspects of consciousness as a computational system, but we do not yet have any solid evidence that there is anything else involved.

And how could there be scientific evidence of something beyond science? Only mind can tell us of mind.


A CD containing Beethoven's music isn't any more Beethoven than this post is me. But I'm not sure this is a correct analogy to the brain. The question is whether the mental processes which were involved as Beethoven created his music is fully explainable by the brain and by neural computation. The physical results of those mental processes (CD's bearing his music and the sheet music he wrote) are not themselves mental processes, and so, they would seem to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) to be orthogonal to the question.

Well, a 'medium' is the best physical analogy I can come up with for mind. But mind is something different, I'm sure, with no perfect physical analogy, since it's not physical. Mind can only be known by mind. To try to find the scientific explanation for mind is to presume the answer instead of looking for it, I think. Nothing wrong with looking for a scientific answer, let me be clear, we just have to be aware (aware!) that it's a postulate.
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UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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11/5/2014 10:17:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 9:53:41 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/5/2014 9:05:28 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 11/5/2014 8:08:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/4/2014 10:48:21 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Some of you might be interested in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

Yeah, you say: we have yet to find evidence for anything other than computation that is involved in the production of intelligence in the brain.


So are you considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain? And if not, all the neuroscience money can buy won't help you know what intelligence IS. Clearly human intelligence is hosted in the brain, but that doesn't mean it IS brain, any more than Beethoven's 5th IS the pits on a CD. It may be hosted on the pits in a CD, and if that was the only way you had ever seen it represented you might mistakenly suppose that Beethoven = CD. I mean, break the CD and you've broken Beethoven, right?

I am considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain, and/or that either the brain and/or intelligence is not entirely computational. That last line was only to say that we don't have evidence for anything to the contrary, but I should have added that we will not know until we have full knowledge of the brain and of intelligence.


And what will have this full knowledge? Brain, or mind? It's very easy to become circular here. I'd make this claim: Mind must be known by mind. We have to ask ourselves: Does mind obey the same physically deterministic cause-and-effect as a computational machine? I say "no", because if our minds actions (for lack of a better term) were caused by physical causes only, we could never know physical as a distinct something. A fish doesn't know it's wet - only something that's been out of the water can know water as an optional thing.

So, what I'm saying - science cannot tell us whether mind is purely physical. Only the mind can tell us that, and in order to do that, one must assume the existence of mind, as distinct from a computing machine. If mind is just computational, let's let our PC answer the question. And if our PC can't do that, we must presume mind is something other than computation.

The point is that we have a scientific theory with a mathematical framework that explains the brain, intelligence, and at least some aspects of consciousness as a computational system, but we do not yet have any solid evidence that there is anything else involved.

And how could there be scientific evidence of something beyond science? Only mind can tell us of mind.


A CD containing Beethoven's music isn't any more Beethoven than this post is me. But I'm not sure this is a correct analogy to the brain. The question is whether the mental processes which were involved as Beethoven created his music is fully explainable by the brain and by neural computation. The physical results of those mental processes (CD's bearing his music and the sheet music he wrote) are not themselves mental processes, and so, they would seem to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) to be orthogonal to the question.

Well, a 'medium' is the best physical analogy I can come up with for mind. But mind is something different, I'm sure, with no perfect physical analogy, since it's not physical. Mind can only be known by mind. To try to find the scientific explanation for mind is to presume the answer instead of looking for it, I think. Nothing wrong with looking for a scientific answer, let me be clear, we just have to be aware (aware!) that it's a postulate.

I think you've misunderstood what it means to 'look for a scientific answer'. It does not mean that we are constrained to a physical explanation. It simply means that we will study the mind to the best of our ability in order the find the best possible explanation, until we think we understand it completely. And if something comes up that we couldn't predict with our understanding, it means we have not understood it completely and need to re-evaluate our understanding.

So scientifically speaking, it is not assumed or event postulated beforehand that the answer must be physical. It is just that so far that is the best purely scientific (based on evidence and not hypothesis) explanation we have, it has led to important confirmed predictions about how the brain works and about human psychology, and it has yet to be contradicted scientifically.

That being said, your point is well-taken, and I agree that we need to be careful not to assume we know what the answer should look like, thereby throwing out all other possibilities.
v3nesl
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11/6/2014 7:12:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/5/2014 10:17:11 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 11/5/2014 9:53:41 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/5/2014 9:05:28 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 11/5/2014 8:08:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/4/2014 10:48:21 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Some of you might be interested in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

Yeah, you say: we have yet to find evidence for anything other than computation that is involved in the production of intelligence in the brain.


So are you considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain? And if not, all the neuroscience money can buy won't help you know what intelligence IS. Clearly human intelligence is hosted in the brain, but that doesn't mean it IS brain, any more than Beethoven's 5th IS the pits on a CD. It may be hosted on the pits in a CD, and if that was the only way you had ever seen it represented you might mistakenly suppose that Beethoven = CD. I mean, break the CD and you've broken Beethoven, right?

I am considering the option that intelligence is not produced in the brain, and/or that either the brain and/or intelligence is not entirely computational. That last line was only to say that we don't have evidence for anything to the contrary, but I should have added that we will not know until we have full knowledge of the brain and of intelligence.


And what will have this full knowledge? Brain, or mind? It's very easy to become circular here. I'd make this claim: Mind must be known by mind. We have to ask ourselves: Does mind obey the same physically deterministic cause-and-effect as a computational machine? I say "no", because if our minds actions (for lack of a better term) were caused by physical causes only, we could never know physical as a distinct something. A fish doesn't know it's wet - only something that's been out of the water can know water as an optional thing.

So, what I'm saying - science cannot tell us whether mind is purely physical. Only the mind can tell us that, and in order to do that, one must assume the existence of mind, as distinct from a computing machine. If mind is just computational, let's let our PC answer the question. And if our PC can't do that, we must presume mind is something other than computation.

The point is that we have a scientific theory with a mathematical framework that explains the brain, intelligence, and at least some aspects of consciousness as a computational system, but we do not yet have any solid evidence that there is anything else involved.

And how could there be scientific evidence of something beyond science? Only mind can tell us of mind.


A CD containing Beethoven's music isn't any more Beethoven than this post is me. But I'm not sure this is a correct analogy to the brain. The question is whether the mental processes which were involved as Beethoven created his music is fully explainable by the brain and by neural computation. The physical results of those mental processes (CD's bearing his music and the sheet music he wrote) are not themselves mental processes, and so, they would seem to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) to be orthogonal to the question.

Well, a 'medium' is the best physical analogy I can come up with for mind. But mind is something different, I'm sure, with no perfect physical analogy, since it's not physical. Mind can only be known by mind. To try to find the scientific explanation for mind is to presume the answer instead of looking for it, I think. Nothing wrong with looking for a scientific answer, let me be clear, we just have to be aware (aware!) that it's a postulate.

I think you've misunderstood what it means to 'look for a scientific answer'. It does not mean that we are constrained to a physical explanation.

That's exactly what science means to me. Science is the study of what is repeatable, just as history is the study of things that can't be repeated, so science is the study of things that have verifiable (i.e. repeatable) cause and effect.

It simply means that we will study the mind to the best of our ability in order the find the best possible explanation, until we think we understand it completely.

Study with what? How do you calibrate your instruments here? With what do you measure mind so you can use mind in order study mind?

And if something comes up that we couldn't predict with our understanding, it means we have not understood it completely and need to re-evaluate our understanding.


How do you know this? This claim you just made, about understanding - how do you know this to be true?

So scientifically speaking, it is not assumed or event postulated beforehand that the answer must be physical. It is just that so far that is the best purely scientific (based on evidence and not hypothesis)

Based on assumptions about mind, in other words. So you're attempting to provide proof of assumption based on assumption.

explanation we have, it has led to important confirmed predictions about how the brain works and about human psychology, and it has yet to be contradicted scientifically.


You're talking in circles. I'm not really even arguing with you, you know, just pointing out that you are making assumptions and attempting to dress them up as something more than assumption. And once you recognize assumption as assumption, you can make better guesses about your assumptions. Guesses and assumptions - it's not where you wanted to be, but the first step is to realize that this is still where the human race is. As an illustration I like to use - we are like an amnesiac who woke up in some room, and we have now, with science, fully examined that room. We can tell you all sorts of stuff about the construction, the flooring, the bedding, etc. etc. But we have no idea why we are there in that room.
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UndeniableReality
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11/6/2014 9:04:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
First of all, I must apologize, because I didn't realize until now that you had multiple responses embedded in quoted text. Not realizing that, I had only read the bottom responses you made. Again, my apologies for not realizing that and not understanding your entire points. I'm new to this, as you might be able to tell =). I'll try to respond in a similar fashion, though, and go through your previous two posts as well.

And what will have this full knowledge? Brain, or mind? It's very easy to become circular here. I'd make this claim: Mind must be known by mind. We have to ask ourselves: Does mind obey the same physically deterministic cause-and-effect as a computational machine? I say "no", because if our minds actions (for lack of a better term) were caused by physical causes only, we could never know physical as a distinct something. A fish doesn't know it's wet - only something that's been out of the water can know water as an optional thing.


My interpretation of what you're saying is that brain cannot have full knowledge of mind, because mind is distinct from brain, and we know this because otherwise we wouldn't conceive the physical as distinct from the non-physical, and because the mind is non-deterministic, unlike a computational machine.

I see no reason to believe that the reason we have a distinct concept for physical is because we have a non-physical mind. I don't think that necessarily follows. We have distinct concepts of physical and non-physical because we have often historically attributed non-physical properties to things we didn't understand on a physical basis. Having a concept of non-physical doesn't mean that there is something that is non-physical. Neither does it mean that our minds, in particular, are non physical.

Also, not all computational machines or systems are deterministic. See quantum computation, or stochastic optimization. I'm actually not convinced that the mind is non-deterministic in the first place.

So, what I'm saying - science cannot tell us whether mind is purely physical. Only the mind can tell us that, and in order to do that, one must assume the existence of mind, as distinct from a computing machine. If mind is just computational, let's let our PC answer the question. And if our PC can't do that, we must presume mind is something other than computation.


If science develops a complete understanding of the mind, and that understanding is purely physical, has science not shown with a high degree of confidence that the mind is purely physical? That's just a hypothetical, but I don't see the proof that science cannot tell us whether a mind is purely physical. I also don't see why one must presume that the mind is distinct from computation in order understand itself. Finally, your last point is simply a false dichotomy. You do not need to assume that the mind is more than computational simply because you have examples of computational systems that do not exhibit minds.

And how could there be scientific evidence of something beyond science? Only mind can tell us of mind.


I have not suggested scientific evidence of something beyond science. I only suggested new scientific evidence that contradicts existing theory. That would change our theory.

That's exactly what science means to me. Science is the study of what is repeatable, just as history is the study of things that can't be repeated, so science is the study of things that have verifiable (i.e. repeatable) cause and effect.


Why is that definition of science limited to studying the physical? There is legitimate science done in the field of Psychology which does not assume that the mind is physical. Yet they are able to scientifically study the mind nonetheless.

Study with what? How do you calibrate your instruments here? With what do you measure mind so you can use mind in order study mind?


This is what the psychological sciences are all about. This field covers the brain as it relates to mind, and also the 'mind' as a potentially distinct thing.

And if something comes up that we couldn't predict with our understanding, it means we have not understood it completely and need to re-evaluate our understanding.


Because if we completely understood something, it wouldn't contradict our understanding. This is how scientific theories (not theories in the layperson's meaning of the word) are established.

Based on assumptions about mind, in other words. So you're attempting to provide proof of assumption based on assumption.


I don't see where you're getting that, so you may need to clarify for me. What I'm saying is that science doesn't require that assumption in the first place. I also wasn't attempting to provide proof for something.

I think you may have been saying that science assumes that the mind is physical, so then it seeks evidence that the mind is physical, and hence only finds evidence that the mind is physical. If you study psychology, I doubt that you would find this to be the case.

You're talking in circles. I'm not really even arguing with you, you know, just pointing out that you are making assumptions and attempting to dress them up as something more than assumption. And once you recognize assumption as assumption, you can make better guesses about your assumptions. Guesses and assumptions - it's not where you wanted to be, but the first step is to realize that this is still where the human race is. As an illustration I like to use - we are like an amnesiac who woke up in some room, and we have now, with science, fully examined that room. We can tell you all sorts of stuff about the construction, the flooring, the bedding, etc. etc. But we have no idea why we are there in that room.


I have failed to see the assumption I have made, so please clarify for me once more. The rest I agree with.
v3nesl
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11/6/2014 10:09:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 9:04:56 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
...

My interpretation of what you're saying is that brain cannot have full knowledge of mind, because mind is distinct from brain, and we know this because otherwise we wouldn't conceive the physical as distinct from the non-physical, and because the mind is non-deterministic, unlike a computational machine.


Yup, that's a pretty good summary.

Boy, you know how rare it is for people to be able to accurately state a position they might not agree with? So congrats for that.

I see no reason to believe

I'm saying that if you do believe - believe anything - you have something other than a computing machine. I'm saying that 'believe', i.e have an opinion about something, is something different from 'my neurons had a response to the pixels you caused to appear on my screen'.

So I think your argument, the argument of the modern naturalists, is self defeating. You may be right, but if you are, there's really nothing to argue about. Argument is an illusion in that case, nothing more than neurons firing in differing patterns.

Having a concept of non-physical doesn't mean that there is something that is non-physical.

Well, I think it does, but we probably mean two different things. You mean that just because we can imagine something doesn't make it exist, which I agree with. But I'm saying that the fact that we can imagine, and know we imagine, means that something other than neuron firings is going on. What is aware of neurons cannot be neurons.

But the problem here is that only your mind can agree with me. So this really is an axiomatic sort of thing. You see what I see, or you don't. We can't debate the metaphysical by purely physical means.


Also, not all computational machines or systems are deterministic. See quantum computation, or stochastic optimization. I'm actually not convinced that the mind is non-deterministic in the first place.


Well, stochastic is still deterministic. Random does not mean 'without cause', it just means 'without precisely defined cause'. You can stir your cream into your coffee with most any old motion, so it's random, but the motion of the cream and coffee is as deterministic as any other natural process.

And as to the quantum mechanics stuff, I think that still must be strict cause and effect, it's just that we can never determine it precisely. It's an electron cloud for instance - we say the position of the electron is random, yet it's a cloud. The electron can't just be anywhere, and the sum of all electrons gives us very precise electronics. So the electron position can't be uncaused, or we wouldn't be able to say anything about it at all.

So this is a red herring, I think. Whatever one thinks of quantum mechanics, it clearly is not magic, it's not causing neurons to do unpredictible stuff, it's a very minor issue in the macroscopic brain.


If science develops a complete understanding of the mind, and that understanding is purely physical, has science not shown

This really makes as much sense as saying that cooking may someday explain hunger.

But again, it's axiomatic. What's needed, I think, is taking time to ponder the wonder of mind itself. You can sit right there and decide to move a finger. You can explain nerves, muscles, and neurons, but can you explain the fact that you decided to move your finger? There's such mystery here, but you can have a forest-for-the-trees kind of thing, along with familiarity-breeds-contempt, where you get so used to the impossible wonder of awareness that you are no longer aware of it. You might need to either go to church, sleep out under the milky way, or drop acid.

Science actually knows nothing. It's a modern myth to think it does, not actually any more rational than inventing Roman gods to explain everything.

You do not need to assume that the mind is more than computational simply because you have examples of computational systems that do not exhibit minds.


How can anyone know whether their PC is aware or not? It's all the same axiomatic issue here, one where we rely on intuition, not any sort of science. If science does not yet know what mind is then it can't tell us when and where mind exists, and therefore cannot test for it, or derive any equations for it, or anything of the sort. Science has nothing to tell us here. It can tell us about brain, but it can't tell us about mind. Mind is the realm of philosophy, it's a completely different discipline. Only mind can know mind.


Why is that definition of science limited to studying the physical?

Well, it has to be repeatable, that's the point. The scientific method is one of repeatable experiment. So if you or I are actually able to have an opinion that is not strictly the result of how we were raised, then science cannot study such an opinion. And if we can't have a non-deterministic opinion, it would pointless to attempt such a study, since such a study must itself be only the result of how the scientists were raised. There is no point in any search for truth unless people are able to transcend material cause in some way.

There is legitimate science done in the field of Psychology which does not assume that the mind is physical. Yet they are able to scientifically study the mind nonetheless.


No, this doesn't require a metaphysical definition of mind. Psychology works fine if mind is purely physical.


Because if we completely understood something, it wouldn't contradict our understanding.

This is something you 'just know', is the point here. It's axiomatic. You cannot prove proof, you must simply accept the concept of proof before you can prove anything.

well gotta run...
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UndeniableReality
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11/9/2014 5:27:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yup, that's a pretty good summary.
Boy, you know how rare it is for people to be able to accurately state a position they might not agree with? So congrats for that.

That's because I'm actually trying understand your point of view accurately and consider it openly and honestly. I'm not trying to prove I'm right; I just want to know how well I can formulate my thoughts and whether they hold up to scrutiny. I really appreciate your ability to critique what I say, and it value that.

I'm saying that if you do believe - believe anything - you have something other than a computing machine. I'm saying that 'believe', i.e have an opinion about something, is something different from 'my neurons had a response to the pixels you caused to appear on my screen'.

So I think your argument, the argument of the modern naturalists, is self defeating. You may be right, but if you are, there's really nothing to argue about. Argument is an illusion in that case, nothing more than neurons firing in differing patterns.

I don't think that belief requires more than computation. We can simulate belief with Deep Belief Networks and Bayesian belief propagation. You used perception as an example, but in neuroscience we explain perception via the computation of belief through Bayesian principles. This model works well enough that we can predict, simulate, and accurately model how perceptual illusions work, and how neurons will respond to stimuli.

See this paper: Colombo & Series. (2012). Bayes in the Brain- On Bayseian Modelling in Neuroscience. Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 63:697-723. And especially see the literature on Bayesian belief in computational intelligence and computational neuroscience. That paper was just one that I happened to have on my desk at the moment lol.

I don't agree with you when you say that if it's true that our perception, cognition, and consciousness are all due to brain activity alone that it implies reality is an 'illusion' and that nothing matters. That assumes our brains cannot accurately model the world.

If it was proven to you that everything that we are is just the activity of our brains, I doubt you would really think less of yourself or your loved ones, or that you would think reality is an illusion, or that you would think your own thoughts and feelings and joy and suffering didn't matter. None of that is implied just because our consciousness is the result of brain activity. What it implies to me is that brain activity and neural computation is much more impressive and important than many of us thought, not that humans are any less impressive or important.

Well, I think it does, but we probably mean two different things. You mean that just because we can imagine something doesn't make it exist, which I agree with. But I'm saying that the fact that we can imagine, and know we imagine, means that something other than neuron firings is going on. What is aware of neurons cannot be neurons.


As with belief, I don't agree that imagination implies something other than neuronal activity. We can build neuronal systems which have imagination and creativity (look at the literature published in the International Conference on Computational Creativity, for example). These things arise out of a hierarchy of complex non-linear combinations of previously learned or imagined concepts.

And why can't neuronal structures be self-aware? It isn't difficult for me to imagine how neuronal processes lead to self-awareness, imaginations, or awareness of mental content. You seem to assume it is obvious that this can't be the case (unless I have misunderstood you).

But the problem here is that only your mind can agree with me. So this really is an axiomatic sort of thing. You see what I see, or you don't. We can't debate the metaphysical by purely physical means.


But what metaphysical thing are we debating?

Well, stochastic is still deterministic. Random does not mean 'without cause', it just means 'without precisely defined cause'. You can stir your cream into your coffee with most any old motion, so it's random, but the motion of the cream and coffee is as deterministic as any other natural process.


This is possible, and so 'non-deterministic' would just mean what we cannot yet determine precisely. Therefore we can't assert that minds are non-deterministic, since their non-determinism may be illusory. Wouldn't saying they must be non-deterministic be an appeal to intuition anyway?

And as to the quantum mechanics stuff...
So this is a red herring, ...

Removed the quotes because I'm running out of characters.
Quantum mechanics may be cause and effect. I wouldn't say we know for sure yet. But it isn't correct to say that if populations of electrons can be computed deterministically, then electrons are deterministic. If this were true, we should be able to build electronics using single electrons assuming that electrons behaved deterministically. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

Populations of stochastic non-deterministic entities can have deterministic behaviours, so classical electronics work deterministically.

I didn't say quantum mechanics explains non-determinism in the brain. It's an example of non-deterministic computation.

This really makes as much sense as saying that cooking may someday explain hunger.
No, I think it's more like saying that if I fully explain 'cookie' with only physical materials, then 'cookie' is physical.

... but can you explain the fact that you decided to move your finger?...
Yes. Whether the movement was intentional or not. Intentional action can be explained by decision trees computed by constellations of neural networks.

Science actually knows nothing.
You could argue that knowledge doesn't exist and all we have are better explanations. I'm not sure that gets us anywhere.

You do not need to assume that the mind is more than computational simply because you have examples of computational systems that do not exhibit minds.

I think you conceded my point about your example here, since you dropped your argument and haven't tried to refute this. Unless you just forgot to.


How can anyone know whether their PC is aware or not?... Mind is the realm of philosophy, it's a completely different discipline. Only mind can know mind.

If the mind exists, then it is in the realm of science as well. This is why we have both psychology, neuroscience, and behaviour as distinct areas of science.
We do need to understand the mind before we can know whether a machine has a mind.

Why is that definition of science limited to studying the physical?

Well, it has to be repeatable, that's the point. The scientific method is one of repeatable experiment. ...

So one cannot devise a repeatable experiment for a non-physical phenomenon? How will we ever be confident that such a phenomenon exists then, if we can't repeat it and demonstrate it to others?

No, this doesn't require a metaphysical definition of mind. Psychology works fine if mind is purely physical.

What I said was Psychology works fine whether the mind is physical or not. It doesn't require an assumption about it. Therefore if you assert that the mind is not entirely physical, you're either contradicting yourself or asserting that psychology can only study the physical aspects of mind.

This is something you 'just know', is the point here. It's axiomatic. You cannot prove proof, you must simply accept the concept of proof before you can prove anything.

Well I didn't say that things can be proven absolutely. That is why I said earlier that it would be 'shown with a high degree of confidence'. Yes, you cannot prove that reality exists, for example, but most people behave as if reality is not an illusion and/or have a high degree of confidence that reality is 'real'. So I'm not talking about absolute knowledge here. B
v3nesl
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11/10/2014 10:30:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/9/2014 5:27:41 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
Yup, that's a pretty good summary.
Boy, you know how rare it is for people to be able to accurately state a position they might not agree with? So congrats for that.

That's because I'm actually trying understand your point of view accurately and consider it openly and honestly. I'm not trying to prove I'm right; I just want to know how well I can formulate my thoughts and whether they hold up to scrutiny. I really appreciate your ability to critique what I say, and it value that.

I'm saying that if you do believe - believe anything - you have something other than a computing machine. I'm saying that 'believe', i.e have an opinion about something, is something different from 'my neurons had a response to the pixels you caused to appear on my screen'.

So I think your argument, the argument of the modern naturalists, is self defeating. You may be right, but if you are, there's really nothing to argue about. Argument is an illusion in that case, nothing more than neurons firing in differing patterns.

I don't think that belief requires more than computation. We can simulate belief with Deep Belief Networks and Bayesian belief propagation.

Yeah, but listen to what you say - 'simulate'. I will grant, for sake of argument, that it's possible to devise a machine that is indistinguishable from a human. We're basically there now, at least as far as having something you have typed conversations with that is virtually indistinguishable from an actual human.

But does such a program actually think, or does it simulate thought? To my mind :-) the fact that the program is indistinguishable from a human does nothing to answer the question. It's a mind question, which can only be answered by our mind, not our brain.

I know how unsettling this line of thought is. Am I suggesting there is magic in the brain, where neurons get fired by non-material means? Yikes! Yet the logic and intuition is inescapable - a machine is a machine, my awareness something else. I have considered, for instance, that our minds are 'read only' - that our brains are the perfect analog of thought, so that every thought does have a complete physical explanation, yet my awareness itself is something completely separate. Wouldn't that have fascinating implications for the old Christian issue of free will vs predestination!!!

So, i don't know the answers here, but I do know that I'm aware. I'm aware that I'm aware, and that awareness is far more fundamental than my knowledge of science. Maybe the material is the imaginary thing - maybe we're all plugged into the matrix. Who knows - we only know that we know. That's the thing we know, the very first thing we discovered when we awoke in this strange, strange world of ours. And I say - let's be careful not to medicate ourselves with a false sense of knowledge. To be dazzled by wonder is really the best thing in life, and I think the modern naturalist steps over wonder every day in a foolish attempt to convince himself he knows something.
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UndeniableReality
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11/12/2014 9:54:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yeah, but listen to what you say - 'simulate'. I will grant, for sake of argument, that it's possible to devise a machine that is indistinguishable from a human. We're basically there now, at least as far as having something you have typed conversations with that is virtually indistinguishable from an actual human.

But does such a program actually think, or does it simulate thought? To my mind :-) the fact that the program is indistinguishable from a human does nothing to answer the question. It's a mind question, which can only be answered by our mind, not our brain.

What is the 'mind' and what is a 'mind question'? We think with our brains. It sounds like you're arguing for dualism.

I know how unsettling this line of thought is. Am I suggesting there is magic in the brain, where neurons get fired by non-material means? Yikes! Yet the logic and intuition is inescapable - a machine is a machine, my awareness something else. I have considered, for instance, that our minds are 'read only' - that our brains are the perfect analog of thought, so that every thought does have a complete physical explanation, yet my awareness itself is something completely separate. Wouldn't that have fascinating implications for the old Christian issue of free will vs predestination!!!

You haven't shown what this inescapable logic is. You just asserted that there is something magical or non-material involved in our consciousness. What is one thing that exists in our consciousness that cannot be explained by the brain?

So, i don't know the answers here, but I do know that I'm aware. I'm aware that I'm aware, and that awareness is far more fundamental than my knowledge of science. Maybe the material is the imaginary thing - maybe we're all plugged into the matrix. Who knows - we only know that we know. That's the thing we know, the very first thing we discovered when we awoke in this strange, strange world of ours. And I say - let's be careful not to medicate ourselves with a false sense of knowledge. To be dazzled by wonder is really the best thing in life, and I think the modern naturalist steps over wonder every day in a foolish attempt to convince himself he knows something.

I agree we shouldn't have a false sense of knowledge, but we must also be practical. Whether everything we know is false, within the world we experience, we 'know' that some things prevent suffering and other things cause suffering. It doesn't matter if it's the true reality or just some matrix unless we can figure that out. It is still meaningful to prevent suffering and improve the lives of our fellow people.

That being said, we're not justified in assuming there is something magical or immaterial about our minds. The moment we find this something, we're justified in saying it is there. So far, the idea has neither evidence nor utility.
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11/13/2014 7:36:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 9:54:26 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
... What is one thing that exists in our consciousness that cannot be explained by the brain?


What is one thing about a painting that can't be explained by paint? If you want to argue that mind is only brain, you can. I can't prove you wrong with paint.
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UndeniableReality
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11/13/2014 10:06:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 7:36:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/12/2014 9:54:26 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
... What is one thing that exists in our consciousness that cannot be explained by the brain?


What is one thing about a painting that can't be explained by paint? If you want to argue that mind is only brain, you can. I can't prove you wrong with paint.

It sounds really poetic, but in reality it doesn't add anything to the discussion the way you worded it.

The subjective experience of the aesthetics of a painting can't be explained by just paint because it emerges from the interaction between the painting and the subjective observer. But the subject experience of aesthetics can be explained biologically. Does that mean it is definitely purely a biological experience? No. But it does mean that scientifically we haven't yet found any evidence for something outside of the biological explanation, and it is explainable to a degree that we wouldn't be justified in asserting there is something beyond the biological in that explanation.

Does it make some people uncomfortable to think that they are not a supernatural being that is beyond the physical world? Perhaps. It also made people uncomfortable to think that the Earth was not the centre of the universe, yet their discomfort had no impact on the position of the Earth.
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11/13/2014 11:20:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 10:06:12 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 11/13/2014 7:36:24 AM, v3nesl wrote:
At 11/12/2014 9:54:26 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
... What is one thing that exists in our consciousness that cannot be explained by the brain?


What is one thing about a painting that can't be explained by paint? If you want to argue that mind is only brain, you can. I can't prove you wrong with paint.

It sounds really poetic, but in reality it doesn't add anything to the discussion the way you worded it.

The subjective experience of the aesthetics of a painting can't be explained by just paint because it emerges from the interaction between the painting and the subjective observer. But the subject experience of aesthetics can be explained biologically.

No, all you can say is that the experience of aesthetics depends on biology. Remove the biology and and there's no aesthetic. But - remove the paint and you also remove the aesthetics, yet I think you would agree that aesthetics are not paint. The difference is that we know of means other than paint that can produce aesthetic. But if only paintings looked good or bad, your line of reasoning would conclude that aesthetic is nothing more than paint. And that would be wrong.

In math we have the term "if and only if" to describe a bi-directional relationship. 2+2=4, but we can't say "4 if-and-only-if 2+2" because other numbers can add up to 4. So we can't say "aesthetics if-and-only-if biology", only that, to our current knowledge, if you destroy the biology you have destroyed the sense of aesthetic.

But one of the points of artificial intelligence is to pursue the instinct that intelligence might be hosted by means other than the brain. And if intelligence can be hosted by something other than the human brain, intelligence is something other than brain. So, are you prepared to assert that only the human brain can have intelligence, that AI must forever be artificial, must only simulate intelligence? And how will we decide if a computer is really intelligent or not? By answering the original question. So we have gotten exactly nowhere with this line of reasoning, and I'm hoping after we pass the same tree 5 or 6 times you'll start to see that we really are on a mobius strip here.

Does that mean it is definitely purely a biological experience? No. But it does mean that scientifically we haven't yet found any evidence for something outside of the biological explanation,

Yeah, you're in an infinite loop here. Of course you can't find scientific evidence of things beyond science, as I said early on. You've got to somehow see that your belief that all things must be science is just an a priori instinct, it's just your postulate. What you have to do is start with your own awareness and be willing to ask if it is if-and-only-if science or not. You've got to blow the doors off your self imposed mind prison.
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UndeniableReality
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11/13/2014 10:28:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It sounds really poetic, but in reality it doesn't add anything to the discussion the way you worded it.

The subjective experience of the aesthetics of a painting can't be explained by just paint because it emerges from the interaction between the painting and the subjective observer. But the subject experience of aesthetics can be explained biologically.

No, all you can say is that the experience of aesthetics depends on biology. Remove the biology and and there's no aesthetic. But - remove the paint and you also remove the aesthetics, yet I think you would agree that aesthetics are not paint. The difference is that we know of means other than paint that can produce aesthetic. But if only paintings looked good or bad, your line of reasoning would conclude that aesthetic is nothing more than paint. And that would be wrong.


Ah I see your point now. You stated it much more clearly (for me) now. But you are incorrect about my reasoning (I did explicitly say otherwise after all). Remove the paint, and you remove the aesthetic experience of that painting. You don't remove aesthetic experience itself. Remove the biology, and you remove all aesthetic experience of that entity. As I said, aesthetic experience emerges from a brain processing stimuli. It seems like you're making analogy from paint to brain and aesthetics to mind, but I don't actually see the validity of this analogy. Perhaps if you explain it further I will.

In math we have the term "if and only if" to describe a bi-directional relationship. 2+2=4, but we can't say "4 if-and-only-if 2+2" because other numbers can add up to 4. So we can't say "aesthetics if-and-only-if biology", only that, to our current knowledge, if you destroy the biology you have destroyed the sense of aesthetic.


I am familiar with the term 'iff' in mathematics. Actually, I am saying observer if aesthetics, and not aesthetics if observer. It may be possible to have observers without a sense of aesthetics, but if there is 'aesthetics', there must be an observer (unless you want to argue that aesthetics is observer-independent). The only type of observer we know about is physical.

But one of the points of artificial intelligence is to pursue the instinct that intelligence might be hosted by means other than the brain. And if intelligence can be hosted by something other than the human brain, intelligence is something other than brain. So, are you prepared to assert that only the human brain can have intelligence, that AI must forever be artificial, must only simulate intelligence? And how will we decide if a computer is really intelligent or not? By answering the original question. So we have gotten exactly nowhere with this line of reasoning, and I'm hoping after we pass the same tree 5 or 6 times you'll start to see that we really are on a mobius strip here.

I agree, and I apologize if I poorly phrases my earlier posts to make you think I didn't already agree with this. What I meant was intelligence and 'mind' are embodied. They don't exist beyond a physical substrate. Different kinds of substrates can have intelligence or mind, but that doesn't mean either of this things have any non-physical basis. OUR intelligence is most likely a product of our brains though. Unless we can upload it to another substrate.

Does that mean it is definitely purely a biological experience? No. But it does mean that scientifically we haven't yet found any evidence for something outside of the biological explanation,

Right, this was my mistake. I should have said physical rather than biological.

Yeah, you're in an infinite loop here. Of course you can't find scientific evidence of things beyond science, as I said early on. You've got to somehow see that your belief that all things must be science is just an a priori instinct, it's just your postulate. What you have to do is start with your own awareness and be willing to ask if it is if-and-only-if science or not. You've got to blow the doors off your self imposed mind prison.

Again, I still disagree that 'non-physical' is necessarily outside of the realm of science. If it exists, it is possible to study it scientifically. As for the rest, I am not familiar with your usage of the word 'science' in this context. The phrase, "all things must be science" has no discernible meaning to me. Your next statement is equally as uninterpretable to me.

I think your final statement is based on the assumption that I hold to the same definition of 'science' as you do, though I have already rejected your definition. Mine is not as narrow as yours. Science is the rigorous study of anything that exists, including the process and methods with which to discern whether a thing or phenomenon exists or not. This isn't meant to be a complete definition, but it is a start.

You're also assuming that I'm not open to the possibility of something non-physical. I am open to the possibility, but I would say we are not justified in making a claim about something non-physical unless we can demonstrate its existence. You seem to be implying that 'awareness' demonstrates that we are something more than our biology. I see no problem with awareness arising from neural computation, so you may have to elaborate on the connection there.
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11/14/2014 8:34:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/13/2014 10:28:32 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
It sounds really poetic, but in reality it doesn't add anything to the discussion the way you worded it.

The subjective experience of the aesthetics of a painting can't be explained by just paint because it emerges from the interaction between the painting and the subjective observer. But the subject experience of aesthetics can be explained biologically.

No, all you can say is that the experience of aesthetics depends on biology. Remove the biology and and there's no aesthetic. But - remove the paint and you also remove the aesthetics, yet I think you would agree that aesthetics are not paint. The difference is that we know of means other than paint that can produce aesthetic. But if only paintings looked good or bad, your line of reasoning would conclude that aesthetic is nothing more than paint. And that would be wrong.


Ah I see your point now. You stated it much more clearly (for me) now. But you are incorrect about my reasoning (I did explicitly say otherwise after all). Remove the paint, and you remove the aesthetic experience of that painting. You don't remove aesthetic experience itself. Remove the biology, and you remove all aesthetic experience of that entity.

But see, I don't think we know that, is my point. We only have one known instance of the aesthetic, and that is the human brain. What if we only had one painting in all the world? So you can't argue from a single instance that there are no other instances, and therefore can't argue that the characteristics of a single instance have that iff relationship with the instance.

As I said, aesthetic experience emerges from a brain processing stimuli.

That's your claim. I'm arguing that you can't state this definitively.


Again, I still disagree that 'non-physical' is necessarily outside of the realm of science. If it exists, it is possible to study it scientifically.

Let me try it this way: With what do you study science? How do you know our whole concept of scientific is valid?

Let's take the analogy of an instrument. I want to measure a room, so I grab a yardstick. If the yardstick is not accurate, my measurement of the room will be inaccurate. So how do I measure the yardstick? Doesn't the concept of an accurate yard (or meter) require something outside of the yardstick and the room? Something meta-yardstick?

So I claim that if the study of the physical means something, there must be a metaphysical. One has to resist the urge to say "how can that be?". The point is to see the logical implications of assuming one can do logic. Those implications exist, are the logical consequence on logic itself, whether we can have any idea how such a thing can be or not. It is kind of like shaking off a bad dream when you wake up, where you say to yourself "hey, you're ok, that wasn't real" - the way you were looking at reality was just wrong, you were dreaming. Only in this case the waking reality can be the scary one - I thought I had the basic shape of reality figured out, but no, being alive is still an impossible mystery.
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UndeniableReality
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11/14/2014 12:52:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
But see, I don't think we know that, is my point. We only have one known instance of the aesthetic, and that is the human brain. What if we only had one painting in all the world? So you can't argue from a single instance that there are no other instances, and therefore can't argue that the characteristics of a single instance have that iff relationship with the instance.

Well, we have one class of aesthetics experience entities with billions of instances in that class, but I know what you're getting at. But then you agree that we don't have any justification for asserting something outside of a physical substrate for the experience of aesthetics. It would only be speculation. We can't assess whether experience of any kind can exist outside of the physical substrate, since when the substrate is no longer functioning, we can't probe this hypothetical disembodied mind about its experience. We can't even probe its existence at this point in time.

As I said, aesthetic experience emerges from a brain processing stimuli.

That's your claim. I'm arguing that you can't state this definitively.

I agree that we can't say that there is definitely nothing else involved. We could speculate all sorts of things outside of that system, but we don't have evidence for it.


Again, I still disagree that 'non-physical' is necessarily outside of the realm of science. If it exists, it is possible to study it scientifically.

Let me try it this way: With what do you study science? How do you know our whole concept of scientific is valid?

Let's take the analogy of an instrument. I want to measure a room, so I grab a yardstick. If the yardstick is not accurate, my measurement of the room will be inaccurate. So how do I measure the yardstick? Doesn't the concept of an accurate yard (or meter) require something outside of the yardstick and the room? Something meta-yardstick?

So I claim that if the study of the physical means something, there must be a metaphysical. One has to resist the urge to say "how can that be?". The point is to see the logical implications of assuming one can do logic. Those implications exist, are the logical consequence on logic itself, whether we can have any idea how such a thing can be or not. It is kind of like shaking off a bad dream when you wake up, where you say to yourself "hey, you're ok, that wasn't real" - the way you were looking at reality was just wrong, you were dreaming. Only in this case the waking reality can be the scary one - I thought I had the basic shape of reality figured out, but no, being alive is still an impossible mystery.

You're assuming a Platonic realm. I don't see the justification behind saying that if there is meaning to the study the physical, then there must be something meta-physical. Your analogy also does not make this clear. The 'meta-physical' yardstick is a mathematical concept. That doesn't mean it exists in some mathematical meta-reality. It's just an idealized yardstick that exists as a model in our brains. For example, we can do mathematics with N>3 dimensional geometries. That doesn't mean those geometries exist in some Platonic realm. They are models. Those geometries have implications and applications in science (for example, in my own field of neural computation and artificial intelligence), and therefore we can test their validity indirectly. I.e., science is not limited to what is physical. And if there was a non-physical reality, what stops science from adapting to it? If it was discovered, it would quickly become one of the most active areas of research.

Brains create models of whatever reality they experience. Some people interpret their models as being independently existing in a meta-reality that their brains can somewhat perceive. Is that anything more than speculation? Does it have valid explanatory power that is greater than the biological explanation? Is it true? Again, I'm not saying that it is necessarily not true. What I'm saying is that it is only speculation and we're not justified in asserting that it is true or evident. For now, this idea is philosophy without science.
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11/14/2014 2:13:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/14/2014 12:52:53 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
...

You're assuming a Platonic realm. I don't see the justification behind saying that if there is meaning to the study the physical, then there must be something meta-physical.

Negatory to "assuming a Platonic realm', and I suspect this is the problem here, this need to assume anything. Just accept the logic: If something means something, there must be some non-self dimension (for lack of a better word) in which the meaning exists. Words cannot mean something to words, they can only mean something to a reader. So if words mean something, there is something other than words. Likewise, if the physical world means anything, there is something other than physical. Either physical is all that there is, or it means something. If the physical is all that there is, then it is self defining. It simply is what it is, there is no meaning to it.

Your analogy also does not make this clear.

I don't mean to make an analogy - it's logic. This is like trying to see your own eyes, it's very difficult to get, but if we can talk *about* the physical, there is something other than physical. There's really no way around this.

The 'meta-physical' yardstick is a mathematical concept. That doesn't mean it exists in some mathematical meta-reality.

Are you sure? I think maybe the concept of pattern is in fact meta-physical. Without the meta-physical, rod A is rod A, and rod B is rod B. The whole thing of saying A is like B but also different, I think that is in fact meta-physical. We are talking *about* physical things.

And if there was a non-physical reality, what stops science from adapting to it? If it was discovered, it would quickly become one of the most active areas of research.


Would it? Or would it be rejected? Science IS meta-physics, in my view. It's *about* the physical. Electrons can't do science, only sentient beings. And note that my view is the ancient one, and the thousands of year old study of mind is called philosophy.

Brains create models of whatever reality they experience. Some people interpret their models

Models? *Interpret* their models? Yeah, I think we're just talking past it here. I guess I have to leave it at what I said some time ago - this is something you see, or you don't see. Not only do humans see, in the physical sense, but we are aware that we see. And I don't know how else to say it. We are not just frame grabbers, not just sensors reacting to light: We see.

For now, this idea is philosophy without science.

Ok, but you have science without philosophy. You have an unexamined worldview. You are doing science with an uncalibrated instrument, in my opinion.
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UndeniableReality
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11/14/2014 3:19:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Negatory to "assuming a Platonic realm', and I suspect this is the problem here, this need to assume anything. Just accept the logic: If something means something, there must be some non-self dimension (for lack of a better word) in which the meaning exists. Words cannot mean something to words, they can only mean something to a reader. So if words mean something, there is something other than words. Likewise, if the physical world means anything, there is something other than physical. Either physical is all that there is, or it means something. If the physical is all that there is, then it is self defining. It simply is what it is, there is no meaning to it.


Do we have a reason to assume that the physical world has meaning outside/beyond the physical world? Or that the meaning we attribute to it is anything more than meaning that we attribute to it? It sounds like you're saying, "if the physical world means something outside of the physical world, then there is something outside the physical world". Sure. But I don't see what reason we have to postulate that.

Your analogy also does not make this clear.

I don't mean to make an analogy - it's logic. This is like trying to see your own eyes, it's very difficult to get, but if we can talk *about* the physical, there is something other than physical. There's really no way around this.


I don't think that is a logical necessity. Why couldn't there be physical systems that can talk or think about other physical systems. It isn't like trying to see your own eyes (which is an analogy). You can 'see' your own eyes through a mirror. LIkewise, you can reason abstractly about physical reality using mental models generated in the brain.

The 'meta-physical' yardstick is a mathematical concept. That doesn't mean it exists in some mathematical meta-reality.

Are you sure? I think maybe the concept of pattern is in fact meta-physical. Without the meta-physical, rod A is rod A, and rod B is rod B. The whole thing of saying A is like B but also different, I think that is in fact meta-physical. We are talking *about* physical things.


It still sounds like your'e talking about a Platonic realm. I again don't see where you are deriving this. Why is comparing and contrasting not possible without something metaphysical? What about neural computation is insufficient to do this?

And if there was a non-physical reality, what stops science from adapting to it? If it was discovered, it would quickly become one of the most active areas of research.


Would it? Or would it be rejected? Science IS meta-physics, in my view. It's *about* the physical. Electrons can't do science, only sentient beings. And note that my view is the ancient one, and the thousands of year old study of mind is called philosophy.


Science doesn't reject anything that is evident. I think you're using an incorrect definition of meta-physical. Reference to the physical is not necessarily metaphysical. The physical can reference the physical. It makes no sense under the usual definitions of metaphysical and science to say science is metaphysics.

Also, the ancient study of mind is not called philosophy. That is just a branch of philosophy. And I think we have learned more from psychology than we have from philosophy of mind.

Brains create models of whatever reality they experience. Some people interpret their models

Models? *Interpret* their models? Yeah, I think we're just talking past it here. I guess I have to leave it at what I said some time ago - this is something you see, or you don't see. Not only do humans see, in the physical sense, but we are aware that we see. And I don't know how else to say it. We are not just frame grabbers, not just sensors reacting to light: We see.


Why the false dichotomy between being metaphysical and being just 'sensors reacting to light'? Yes, we have awareness. Can you demonstrate that this awareness is explained by something other than neural activity? There is a lot of research on the neuroscience of awareness and self-awareness, but I am not aware of anything other than speculation about metaphysical explanations of awareness.

For now, this idea is philosophy without science.

Ok, but you have science without philosophy. You have an unexamined worldview. You are doing science with an uncalibrated instrument, in my opinion.

That is your opinion. You are very quick to form an opinion about someone you don't know. The fact that you have not convinced me of your worldview does not mean that I have not examined yours (and or others seemingly similar to yours) or examined mine.