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Do we deduce our existence?

Dirty.Harry
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4/10/2016 4:51:47 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
I ask this because RuvDraba claims we do and I disagree with him (you'll see our discourse in this thread: http://www.debate.org... around post # 64 or so).

He seems to argue that one inherently evaluates some predicate(s) and then based on the outcomes of these evaluations we conclude "...therefore I exist". His argument arises from his belief that all knowledge is ultimately derived empirically and so he includes knowledge like "I exist" as also resting upon empirical foundations.

I disagree because his reasoning is fallacious.

Claiming that "I exist" is deduced by evaluating a predicate implies that one can equally deduce "I don't exist" should the predicate evaluate differently. However to evaluate anything at all one must actually exist.

Therefore the predicate can be dispensed with since if we evaluate we do exist then we exist and if we evaluate we don't exist we also exist.

That is our existence cannot depend upon the value of some predicate and with no predicate we have no references to any empirical factors, thus our awareness of our own existence is not empirically deduced.

Additionally (If I understood him) he claims that the human mind is ultimately a Turing machine (TM) in the sense we can "inspect" records of our "thoughts" and by the existence of these records conclude "I exist".

I again disagree here also because a TM can only read/write symbols on an (infinite) tape and move that tape forward or backwards (its a general model of a digital computer one of three models of computability).

Therefore a TM has only state (tape contents) and so a TM that is self aware can differ from some other TM which isn't self aware ONLY in terms of state.

Therefore self awareness, consciousness must be a characteristics of state yet no evidence is presented that shows what differences there are between a conscious TM state and a not-conscious TM state, what states entail consciousness and what states do not.

My position is that RuvDraba - by getting into this mess - has fallen victim to the logical contradictions inherent in the belief that all knowledge is empirically derived.

Discuss...and feel free to correct any errors RuvDraba that I may have made in my summary of your position.
RuvDraba
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4/11/2016 4:01:26 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/10/2016 4:51:47 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
free to correct any errors RuvDraba that I may have made in my summary of your position.
Harry, thank you for splitting this question into another thread. Although you framed my statement wrongly, and got the argument and the context wrong, and mistook its implications, at least that will be easier to clear up here. :)

As a courtesy to you, to me, and any interested members, let's quote the relevant bits from the other thread, shall we?

Here's our framing context: [http://www.debate.org...]
At 4/2/2016 2:16:18 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 3/29/2016 5:17:05 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
What is knowledge and how do you know when you have it?
There are many proposed philosophical answers to this, but science has an answer shared by all professional practitioners.
Knowledge is independently-corroborated, best-practice observation. That is, we know only observations, and even then it's only what has been independently confirmed, using best-practice methods -- that is, methods which screen out known biases and errors.

And your original objection:
This isn't a suitable definition for all forms of knowledge Ruv. The knowledge that "I exist" for example is not deemed knowledge because of observation or corroboration

And my claim as rebuttal.
"I exist" is just ontological discovery, which happens all the time in empiricism. There's nothing epistemologically difficult about deriving "I exist" in empiricism. Would you like a sketch of how it works?

And an elaboration of my position:
The reason methodological naturalism is called knowledge is because of the reliability it produces; and if we were to discover that (for example) revelation or intuition could be made as reliable as observation, it should be called knowledge too

And your request:
How do we establish the reliability of my claim "I exist"? on what grounds do you reject (and I assume you do) solipsism?

And my response:
As a sketch, all you need are:
1) channels over which there are signals (these may be 'senses', but they may also be imagination, intuition, memory, or the mind's awareness of itself);
2) the ability to recognise repeated patterns in signals (which we'll call information); and
3) the desire to change an expected information. That is, a reliable expectation of what information you shall receive, coupled with a conscious prior intention (whether explicable or not) that it should be something else.

From this you can work out that you exist and moreover, form a statistical view as to which channels are monitoring you (e.g. inner senses like pain or emotion), which are memories or imagination, and which are monitoring things not-you (e.g. external senses like eyes.)

The way it works is that the rate of variation between regular patterns gives you a relative sense of time. Correlation between signals lets you work out that some channels are monitoring the same thing, and some are monitoring different things, and that the things monitored can change over time. From the desire to change the signals, you can discover whether you have any agency to do so, from which you can learn that some of the things being monitored are you (i.e. your agency), and some are things that are not you, but which you can affect through causality. Thus you can know not only come to suspect subjectively that you exist, but you can confirm objectively to any level of confidence that you do too.

So, just to be clear:
1) I have said that we shouldn't call information knowledge unless it's as reliable as we can make it, that systematic empiricism produces the most reliable knowledge we have, and that nothing else should be called knowledge until it is equally reliable. I have not said that we may not conjecture using other methods if we have them;

2) I haven't said how humans develop awareness of their own existence; I've only shown one mechanism by which you can do so empirically to demonstrate that the conclusion 'I exist' is not beyond the reach of empiricism;

3) In my sketch I have shown constructively how, using observations alone, one may begin to form an empirical view that the observable world contains that which can be easily changed and that which can't, and how from this the observer may begin to realise that the observer exists within the universe, that its existence persists, and that the universe 'sees' it: from which comes an ontological notion of 'I'. In that sketch I've done nothing with the statement 'I don't exist' -- in fact, empirically, it's not a valid proposition until 'I' has empirical meaning.

I don't have anything more to add on this for now, Harry. I hope that clears things up, and am happy to answer questions, provide more detail or respond to objections.
Dirty.Harry
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4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/11/2016 4:01:26 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/10/2016 4:51:47 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
free to correct any errors RuvDraba that I may have made in my summary of your position.
Harry, thank you for splitting this question into another thread. Although you framed my statement wrongly, and got the argument and the context wrong, and mistook its implications, at least that will be easier to clear up here. :)

As a courtesy to you, to me, and any interested members, let's quote the relevant bits from the other thread, shall we?

Here's our framing context: [http://www.debate.org...]
At 4/2/2016 2:16:18 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 3/29/2016 5:17:05 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
What is knowledge and how do you know when you have it?
There are many proposed philosophical answers to this, but science has an answer shared by all professional practitioners.
Knowledge is independently-corroborated, best-practice observation. That is, we know only observations, and even then it's only what has been independently confirmed, using best-practice methods -- that is, methods which screen out known biases and errors.

And your original objection:
This isn't a suitable definition for all forms of knowledge Ruv. The knowledge that "I exist" for example is not deemed knowledge because of observation or corroboration

And my claim as rebuttal.
"I exist" is just ontological discovery, which happens all the time in empiricism. There's nothing epistemologically difficult about deriving "I exist" in empiricism. Would you like a sketch of how it works?


Except for the huge difficulty that deriving (I assume you mean deducing?) "I exist" empirically must entail evaluation of predicates which in turn means that such an evaluation could yield a conclusion "I don't exist".

And an elaboration of my position:
The reason methodological naturalism is called knowledge is because of the reliability it produces; and if we were to discover that (for example) revelation or intuition could be made as reliable as observation, it should be called knowledge too


First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"? Can you elaborate on what empirical data could lead to such a conclusion being reached by me?

I'm not contesting the utility of naturalism or empiricism, I'm asking you to prove that ALL knowledge rests on empirical foundations.

I've shown that "I exist" does NOT rest on empirical foundations because such reasoning leads to a contradiction which disproves the original assertion.

And your request:
How do we establish the reliability of my claim "I exist"? on what grounds do you reject (and I assume you do) solipsism?

And my response:
As a sketch, all you need are:
1) channels over which there are signals (these may be 'senses', but they may also be imagination, intuition, memory, or the mind's awareness of itself);
2) the ability to recognise repeated patterns in signals (which we'll call information); and
3) the desire to change an expected information. That is, a reliable expectation of what information you shall receive, coupled with a conscious prior intention (whether explicable or not) that it should be something else.

But your striving to define a mechanism in terms of undefined concepts like "desire" or "intention", for you to be correct then these terms must also have mechanistic definitions yet you fail to provide them.


From this you can work out that you exist and moreover, form a statistical view as to which channels are monitoring you (e.g. inner senses like pain or emotion), which are memories or imagination, and which are monitoring things not-you (e.g. external senses like eyes.)

But the absurdity here is that to be able to "work out" anything at all, I must already exist. Once again talk us through an example where we "work out" that we do not exist? can you do that please?


The way it works is that the rate of variation between regular patterns gives you a relative sense of time. Correlation between signals lets you work out that some channels are monitoring the same thing, and some are monitoring different things, and that the things monitored can change over time. From the desire to change the signals, you can discover whether you have any agency to do so, from which you can learn that some of the things being monitored are you (i.e. your agency), and some are things that are not you, but which you can affect through causality. Thus you can know not only come to suspect subjectively that you exist, but you can confirm objectively to any level of confidence that you do too.

Absurdities!

Imagine a mechanism that "suspects" it exist yet still feels a need to "confirm" that suspicion! can one suspect they exist yet not actually exist?


So, just to be clear:
1) I have said that we shouldn't call information knowledge unless it's as reliable as we can make it, that systematic empiricism produces the most reliable knowledge we have, and that nothing else should be called knowledge until it is equally reliable. I have not said that we may not conjecture using other methods if we have them;

The most reliable knowledge I have is "I exist" and there's no evidence that this is empirically deduced.

Furthermore empiricism is something we freely adopt yet we cannot adopt anything unless we assume first. For empiricism we assume there really is an external law governed world - but we can't prove it without recourse to empiricism but we don't have such recourse prior to adopting it, which requires recourse to empiricism!

You see? infinite regress - this is the folly of your position.


2) I haven't said how humans develop awareness of their own existence; I've only shown one mechanism by which you can do so empirically to demonstrate that the conclusion 'I exist' is not beyond the reach of empiricism;

You haven't shown that a mechanistic (algorithmic) system can experience "I exist" as we humans do and that that experience is deduced from empirical factors.

I can write a program that prints "I exist" does that program KNOW as I do, that it exists?

Well if it did then would changing it to print "I do not exist" mean that it would also KNOW it doesn't exist?


3) In my sketch I have shown constructively how, using observations alone, one may begin to form an empirical view that the observable world contains that which can be easily changed and that which can't, and how from this the observer may begin to realise that the observer exists within the universe, that its existence persists, and that the universe 'sees' it: from which comes an ontological notion of 'I'. In that sketch I've done nothing with the statement 'I don't exist' -- in fact, empirically, it's not a valid proposition until 'I' has empirical meaning.

But observations can only have significance if we know there really is an external law governed world. One cannot deduce that though unless one employs empiricism but we can't do that unless we trust observations and so on and so forth.


I don't have anything more to add on this for now, Harry. I hope that clears things up, and am happy to answer questions, provide more detail or respond to objections.

Try answering any questions I've asked above please.

Your insistence that all knowledge rests on empiricism is fatally flawed (and has been known to be so for centuries incidentally) because all knowledge rests upon the a priori knowledge that one exists as a sentient being.
RuvDraba
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4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:

What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)

Empirically it would mean that:
I) "I" had been defined in specific, coherent terms that might be observed; and
II) Instead of observing the expected evidence of "I", something else had been observed, inconsistent with the "I" so defined.

What might such evidence be? Well, suppose a piece of your mind had the ability to create its own body, and go off for long walks. There would be times then, when you wouldn't be the "I" you are now, but two separate "we"s, waiting to rejoin. Those pieces of you might think, but be unable to reflect coherently until they rejoined. Do you exist or not exist when you are separated?

Or suppose, every week your mind forgot everything it hadn't written down. The "I" you are this week then, could be very different from the one you were last week, or would be next week. Your reflection would be discontinuous, and potentially the product of different selves.

Or suppose you believe yourself to be a 21st century male human, but awaken from a dream to discover that all humans are extinct, and you are actually a 109th century female narwhal who'd been experiencing a simulation on an ancient machine.

So empirically you really need to define the "I" you think exists well enough to test it. One can't simply assume that just because there is thought, there is a single, coherent, persistent, correctly self-aware thinker.

Now in my sketch, I didn't presume there was a thinker at all: only that there were channels, information and some desire to explore, interact with, and eventually change the information. An outside observer might say that every verb requires a subject to perform it, so verbs like "change" and "desire" require a changer and desirer. That's true in the world we know, but for our thought-experiment, a thinker cannot know that a priori: there may be awareness of doing, yet no immediate knowledge of a doer. So how do we acquire that knowledge?

In my sketch I showed how correlating channels could produce a sense of time, and thence a sense of persistence and change, which leads to evidence of being able to change some information by will (i.e. 'doing'), and thus a sense of self -- being that identity which can observe, desire to cause change, do enough to effect change, and confirm that change has occurred.

This recognition creates an ontology that splits the observable world into self (prime doer) and not-self (anything else) which I would say is essential to claim any knowledge of self at all.

I think it's a much better approach than that of Descartes, who claimed he existed just because he thought, yet was unable to say what was not-thought, and hence never got to the point of defining not-self. How can Descartes know whether his toes too think? if they don't think, are they not part of himself? Or if they have their own thoughts, are they separate selves? If he forgets a thought, has his self changed?

He never explored these ideas, and as I mentioned in another thread, his reasoning has an air of existential desperation, though I don't necessarily blame him for that. His ideas are three and a half centuries old, predating information theory, statistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. We can do better than that today. :)

Regarding whether all knowledge is empirical, I'd like to return to that in another post. I've clarified my position on this several times, but it seems you haven't understood it. But let's get this example out of the way first since you chose it as rebuttal. I trust you'll agree that if empiricism allows self to be conjectured, validated and verified, that there's no reason in principle that it can't conjecture, validate and verify other existential ideas.
Dirty.Harry
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4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:

What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)


That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.

Empirically it would mean that:
I) "I" had been defined in specific, coherent terms that might be observed; and
II) Instead of observing the expected evidence of "I", something else had been observed, inconsistent with the "I" so defined.

What might such evidence be? Well, suppose a piece of your mind had the ability to create its own body, and go off for long walks. There would be times then, when you wouldn't be the "I" you are now, but two separate "we"s, waiting to rejoin. Those pieces of you might think, but be unable to reflect coherently until they rejoined. Do you exist or not exist when you are separated?

This is fanciful and hypothetical that it serves no constructive purpose.


Or suppose, every week your mind forgot everything it hadn't written down. The "I" you are this week then, could be very different from the one you were last week, or would be next week. Your reflection would be discontinuous, and potentially the product of different selves.

Well if this were true one wouldn't know it were true because one's memory is unreliable. At no point would I deduce that "I don't exist" at best I might deduce "I've changed since yesterday but I exist".


Or suppose you believe yourself to be a 21st century male human, but awaken from a dream to discover that all humans are extinct, and you are actually a 109th century female narwhal who'd been experiencing a simulation on an ancient machine.

Well I'd still exist wouldn't I? there'd still be a sentient being aware of its existence. Discovering one has been undergoing a convincing dream does not prove I don't exist.


So empirically you really need to define the "I" you think exists well enough to test it. One can't simply assume that just because there is thought, there is a single, coherent, persistent, correctly self-aware thinker.

Explain how something can think it exists? Do you ever think you exist or do you know you exist?

Now in my sketch, I didn't presume there was a thinker at all: only that there were channels, information and some desire to explore, interact with, and eventually change the information. An outside observer might say that every verb requires a subject to perform it, so verbs like "change" and "desire" require a changer and desirer. That's true in the world we know, but for our thought-experiment, a thinker cannot know that a priori: there may be awareness of doing, yet no immediate knowledge of a doer. So how do we acquire that knowledge?

But I'm concerned only with thinkers - a machine executing some computation is not a valid analogy. Now as I explained all such a machine can do is follow an algorithm and deducing its own existence entails the evaluation of a predicate. But why evaluate a predicate needlessly?


In my sketch I showed how correlating channels could produce a sense of time, and thence a sense of persistence and change, which leads to evidence of being able to change some information by will (i.e. 'doing'), and thus a sense of self -- being that identity which can observe, desire to cause change, do enough to effect change, and confirm that change has occurred.

What - mechanistically - comprises a "sense of time" or a "sense of persistence"? You either can define these terms with reference to some algorithm and state or you cannot. Inherent in these arguments of yours is the insinuation that a mechanism can be considered to possess "awareness" of time etc as we do, yet there's no evidence that such phenomena can be represented computationally at all.


This recognition creates an ontology that splits the observable world into self (prime doer) and not-self (anything else) which I would say is essential to claim any knowledge of self at all.

I disagree. It is entirely a matter of choice as to whether one believes there is an external world or not. You cannot prove there is an external world without some assumptions. That initial choice cannot be said to be based on empirical evaluations because empirical evaluations are not possible unless there is an external world which is not something we can deduce only choose.


I think it's a much better approach than that of Descartes, who claimed he existed just because he thought, yet was unable to say what was not-thought, and hence never got to the point of defining not-self. How can Descartes know whether his toes too think? if they don't think, are they not part of himself? Or if they have their own thoughts, are they separate selves? If he forgets a thought, has his self changed?

Descartes knew that "he" was unchanged if a toe, finger or eyeball were removed. If removing some part of me leaves the "me" and my self awareness unchanged then so what if the part itself can or cannot think independently?


He never explored these ideas, and as I mentioned in another thread, his reasoning has an air of existential desperation, though I don't necessarily blame him for that. His ideas are three and a half centuries old, predating information theory, statistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. We can do better than that today. :)

Regarding whether all knowledge is empirical, I'd like to return to that in another post. I've clarified my position on this several times, but it seems you haven't understood it.

Perhaps, but I've also objected to some of the assumptions and contradictions present in your arguments, perhaps it is you who has not understood.

But let's get this example out of the way first since you chose it as rebuttal. I trust you'll agree that if empiricism allows self to be conjectured, validated and verified, that there's no reason in principle that it can't conjecture, validate and verify other existential ideas.

I don't agree that empiricism plays a role in my being aware of "self" I thought I made that clear? I've previously asked you what would distinguish a conscious Turing machine from a not-conscious Turing machine yet you've avoided answering this one.

Since a Turing machine can emulate any data manipulating mechanism you devise, we can analyze it and extrapolate results from that to any machine.

The only difference would be in the contents of the tape would you agree?

Therefore consciousness will be a function of state, some states will possess consciousness whereas other will not do you agree?

Suppose further that we slow down some conscious running TM, lets say one "instruction" per second - would it still be conscious at that processing speed?

Assume it was, then slow it down to one instruction per day, still conscious? what about one instruction per year? what about stopping it at some arbitrary point, would it still be conscious?
RuvDraba
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4/12/2016 5:47:39 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:
What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)
That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.
Actually, you were talking about empiricism and how it can't prove existence. Then you swung to saying you don't need it. Then you opened this thread, in which you seemed to be trying to rebut a claim I made saying it can -- except now you're saying again that you don't need it, which is irrelevant.

Empirically it would mean that:
I) "I" had been defined in specific, coherent terms that might be observed; and
II) Instead of observing the expected evidence of "I", something else had been observed, inconsistent with the "I" so defined.
What might such evidence be? Well, suppose a piece of your mind had the ability to create its own body, and go off for long walks. There would be times then, when you wouldn't be the "I" you are now, but two separate "we"s, waiting to rejoin. Those pieces of you might think, but be unable to reflect coherently until they rejoined. Do you exist or not exist when you are separated?
This is fanciful and hypothetical that it serves no constructive purpose.
I expect you're aware that your brain has two hemispheres, Harry. Are you aware that in some people, those hemispheres are split, and unable to communicate? [https://en.wikipedia.org...] In such people, which is the hemisphere that says 'I think therefore I am'? How does that affect the truth of the statement to be nevertheless unaware of another half-brain inhabiting the same body, also thinking, also existing, also having its own impulses and desires, its fortunes tied together, yet unable to communicate? What happened to the 'I' that existed before the brain was split?

Or suppose, every week your mind forgot everything it hadn't written down. The "I" you are this week then, could be very different from the one you were last week, or would be next week. Your reflection would be discontinuous, and potentially the product of different selves.
Well if this were true one wouldn't know it were true because one's memory is unreliable.
Others could tell you, and you could test their claims from records.

Or suppose you believe yourself to be a 21st century male human, but awaken from a dream to discover that all humans are extinct, and you are actually a 109th century female narwhal who'd been experiencing a simulation on an ancient machine.
Well I'd still exist wouldn't I?
Who would exist, identified how?

So empirically you really need to define the "I" you think exists well enough to test it. One can't simply assume that just because there is thought, there is a single, coherent, persistent, correctly self-aware thinker.
Explain how something can think it exists?
Have you ever awoken from surgical anaesthetic? What do you recall of it?

Do you ever think you exist or do you know you exist?
I think I know something of what exists, and am sometimes aware that it includes a thing I call me, and I think I know more or less what me is like.

I'm also aware that most of the time, I'm at least partly wrong.

Now in my sketch, I didn't presume there was a thinker at all: only that there were channels, information and some desire to explore, interact with, and eventually change the information.
But I'm concerned only with thinkers - a machine executing some computation is not a valid analogy.
I didn't say it was a machine. And that a being can think doesn't mean that it can recognise its own thoughts, and distinguish them from sense.

Now as I explained all such a machine can do is follow an algorithm and deducing its own existence entails the evaluation of a predicate. But why evaluate a predicate needlessly?
This is you arguing that you don't need to observe your own existence, not that you can't. If you want to argue that you don't need to, that ends our conversation since you've abandoned your initial position.

In my sketch I showed how correlating channels could produce a sense of time, and thence a sense of persistence and change, which leads to evidence of being able to change some information by will (i.e. 'doing'), and thus a sense of self -- being that identity which can observe, desire to cause change, do enough to effect change, and confirm that change has occurred.
What - mechanistically - comprises a "sense of time" or a "sense of persistence"?
Time can be inferred from comparison of regular changes. Persistence can be inferred from the state of an object in its environment, compared to past records of the environment.

This recognition creates an ontology that splits the observable world into self (prime doer) and not-self (anything else) which I would say is essential to claim any knowledge of self at all.
I disagree. It is entirely a matter of choice as to whether one believes there is an external world or not.
If you cannot identify not-I then you cannot identify I, and 'I exist' is vacuous - you could well replace it with 'we', or 'everything'.

I think it's a much better approach than that of Descartes, who claimed he existed just because he thought, yet was unable to say what was not-thought, and hence never got to the point of defining not-self. How can Descartes know whether his toes too think? if they don't think, are they not part of himself? Or if they have their own thoughts, are they separate selves? If he forgets a thought, has his self changed?
Descartes knew that "he" was unchanged if a toe, finger or eyeball were removed. If removing some part of me leaves the "me" and my self awareness unchanged then so what if the part itself can or cannot think independently?
Harry, you can find Descartes' Discourse on Method translated into English here: [http://www.gutenberg.org...] Could you please cite the part that concludes all injury leaves him unchanged, and how explain how that is deduced? As best I have followed his argument, he asserts that he thinks, concludes that whatever thinks cannot be matter and must therefore be soul, but does not conclude that injury leaves his thinking-part unchanged.

He never explored these ideas, and as I mentioned in another thread, his reasoning has an air of existential desperation, though I don't necessarily blame him for that. His ideas are three and a half centuries old, predating information theory, statistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. We can do better than that today. :)
Regarding whether all knowledge is empirical, I'd like to return to that in another post. I've clarified my position on this several times, but it seems you haven't understood it.
Perhaps, but I've also objected to some of the assumptions and contradictions present in your arguments, perhaps it is you who has not understood.
No, you've spent nearly all your time arguing that you don't need empiricism for proof of self-existence, which is a departure from saying it can't demonstrate self-existence. Then you jumped to saying an empirical view of knowledge is flawed, without explaining how one leads to the other.

Since a Turing machine can emulate any data manipulating mechanism you devise, we can analyze it and extrapolate results from that to any machine.
Just to recap: I'm not talking about machines. The approach I sketched doesn't specify or discriminate
Dirty.Harry
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4/12/2016 7:12:07 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/12/2016 5:47:39 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:
What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)
That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.
Actually, you were talking about empiricism and how it can't prove existence. Then you swung to saying you don't need it. Then you opened this thread, in which you seemed to be trying to rebut a claim I made saying it can -- except now you're saying again that you don't need it, which is irrelevant.

That's untrue or at least inaccurate RuvDraba, I have said that empiricism plays no role in my awareness of my OWN existence, remember? Remember you'r insistence that all knowledge is empirically derived and how I showed you that this leads to a contradiction?

Yes I did open this thread since I wanted to discuss this subject more specifically and in greater depth, I hope your not objecting to me doing that?

You have a tendency Sir to sweep aside questions put to you and replace them with questions phrased as you'd prefer them to be, for example I asked "First tell me what would the meaning be if I 'derived' the conclusion 'I do not exist'?"

Your response? here it is:

"To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question: What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that 'I exist'?"

My question unambiguously stated that it was "I" deriving the conclusion, whereas your rephrasing sneakily replaces this with "it were falsified" - no doubt by some other, which avoids my question entirely.

Throughout this forum you have shown your habit of evading questions and replacing them with "better" questions, the phrase "Your asking the wrong question" is something I see regularly in your posts.

Please try to answer questions as put to you, this is the essence of a meaningful discussion and I know you have valuable ideas and contributions to make to this discussion.

I hope this is helpful.

Harry.
Dirty.Harry
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4/12/2016 7:20:34 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
RuvDraba:

1. Do you believe that a person's self awareness is something that's algorithmically computed based on empirical sources?

2. Do you believe that a TM could become self aware, in the way you and I are aware of our existence, given the right data and program?

3. If you do, then can you suggest what qualitative differences there'd be between conscious TMs and not-conscious TMs?

I'd appreciate some answers to these rather than answers to alternative, rephrased questions, and forget the former thread, my motive for this thread is defined in the OP.

Hope this helps.

Harry.
RuvDraba
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4/12/2016 7:45:58 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/12/2016 7:12:07 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/12/2016 5:47:39 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:
What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)
That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.
Actually, you were talking about empiricism and how it can't prove existence. Then you swung to saying you don't need it. Then you opened this thread, in which you seemed to be trying to rebut a claim I made saying it can -- except now you're saying again that you don't need it, which is irrelevant.
That's untrue or at least inaccurate RuvDraba, I have said that empiricism plays no role in my awareness of my OWN existence, remember?

Memory has nothing to do with it, Harry. Here's what you actually wrote in initial rebuttal, which I quote for a second time in this thread, as part of my duty of care to you, to this conversation and to members, now quoted in full, for context:
At 4/2/2016 2:16:18 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
This isn't a suitable definition for all forms of knowledge Ruv. The knowledge that "I exist" for example is not deemed knowledge because of observation or corroboration, you should have stressed that your dealing with empirical knowledge not all forms of knowledge.

Rationalists as I'm sure you know consider some knowledge innate - Chomsky for example considers linguistic knowledge innate not acquired.

It can further be argued that empirical knowledge itself and the acquisition of it - of necessity - requires innate knowledge and so in this sense even empirical knowledge is ultimately not acquired but rather inferred.

So no, you were not talking about just your own experience. You were appealing to human knowledge of self-existence in general, and that has been the focus of our discussion.

But regardless, there's no reason your own subjective experience has to be founded in empiricism, Harry. Many people don't have the skills to work with empirical observation and modelling, and in any case, you can create whatever subjective narrative you want just by picking the language and thought-patterns to support it.

On the other hand, your subjective apprehensions have no authority over what people ought to treat as knowledge, so whatever they are: who cares?

Remember your insistence that all knowledge is empirically derived and how I showed you that this leads to a contradiction?
I remember telling another member what science holds knowledge to be, and saying that we should not call anything else knowledge unless it's equally good.

I recall you strawmanning that position -- in ignorance I assume, rather than malice; then asserting a rebuttal (that existential truth is self-evident) without actually being able to demonstrate it. I remember warning you in advance that Descartes' argument was founded in the rhetoric of despair, was outdated, and dangerous to follow, and you charging ahead regardless.

Yes I did open this thread since I wanted to discuss this subject more specifically and in greater depth, I hope your not objecting to me doing that?
I object to you misquoting and misrepresenting my posts, and pretending to have an argument that you are not actually pursuing. If all you wanted to do is talk about your own beliefs, you could have asked the question without invoking my posts, or pretending to rebut them.

I've been quite restrained about that so far, Harry, because while I know you to be a sloppy and emotional thinker, I also believe you're sincere and warm-hearted, and as frustrating as you may be to converse with, I rather like you. :)

On the other hand, my patience for you pretending you're arguing with me when you're really just indulging your own opinions, is fast ebbing.

You have a tendency Sir to sweep aside questions put to you and replace them with questions phrased as you'd prefer them to be
Yes, that's what I do when I encounter sloppy or loaded thought. It's my gentle way of trying to improve the quality of conversation without insulting another member.

For example I asked "First tell me what would the meaning be if I 'derived' the conclusion 'I do not exist'?"
Yes, and had I accepted that premise my answer would be: I do not care what it means, since it's not an empirical question, and is unrelated to anything I'd claimed.

That would've been unconstructive and a bit rude, so I reframed the question to answer it more constructively, in the hope that you'd catch on.

Your response? here it is:
"To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question: What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that 'I exist'?"

My question unambiguously stated that it was "I" deriving the conclusion, whereas your rephrasing sneakily replaces this with "it were falsified" - no doubt by some other, which avoids my question entirely.
Unfortunately, you hadn't defined "I" in such a way as to make the question coherent, so your question was meaningless, and that's why I changed it.

In my account, "I" is a subjective perception -- a model, if you will -- falsified by observation, and I went to some detail to explain how that might happen, to show that empirically, the question is legitimate -- as opposed to being a confected contradiction in your account.

Throughout this forum you have shown your habit of evading questions and replacing them with "better" questions, the phrase "Your asking the wrong question" is something I see regularly in your posts.
Our forum has a number of members whose critical thought does not always extend to detecting and avoiding loaded questions, or questions that assume their conclusion. Rather than accept that and have an unconstructive conversation, I deal with it as I find it.

Please try to answer questions as put to you, this is the essence of a meaningful discussion and I know you have valuable ideas and contributions to make to this discussion.
I hope this is helpful.
To the extent that it may help correct your poor memory, dishonesty and misapprehensions, I hope so too, Harry.
Dirty.Harry
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4/12/2016 8:50:34 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/12/2016 7:45:58 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 7:12:07 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/12/2016 5:47:39 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:
What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)
That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.
Actually, you were talking about empiricism and how it can't prove existence. Then you swung to saying you don't need it. Then you opened this thread, in which you seemed to be trying to rebut a claim I made saying it can -- except now you're saying again that you don't need it, which is irrelevant.
That's untrue or at least inaccurate RuvDraba, I have said that empiricism plays no role in my awareness of my OWN existence, remember?

Memory has nothing to do with it, Harry. Here's what you actually wrote in initial rebuttal, which I quote for a second time in this thread, as part of my duty of care to you, to this conversation and to members, now quoted in full, for context:
At 4/2/2016 2:16:18 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
This isn't a suitable definition for all forms of knowledge Ruv. The knowledge that "I exist" for example is not deemed knowledge because of observation or corroboration, you should have stressed that your dealing with empirical knowledge not all forms of knowledge.

Rationalists as I'm sure you know consider some knowledge innate - Chomsky for example considers linguistic knowledge innate not acquired.

It can further be argued that empirical knowledge itself and the acquisition of it - of necessity - requires innate knowledge and so in this sense even empirical knowledge is ultimately not acquired but rather inferred.

So no, you were not talking about just your own experience. You were appealing to human knowledge of self-existence in general, and that has been the focus of our discussion.

You're procrastinating RevDubra, look up above and you'll see a question: "First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?

That question was asked recently in THIS thread, you've not only avoided answering it you've now resorted to misrepresenting earlier lines of discussion between us and from a different thread covering a different subject with different context.


But regardless, there's no reason your own subjective experience has to be founded in empiricism, Harry. Many people don't have the skills to work with empirical observation and modelling, and in any case, you can create whatever subjective narrative you want just by picking the language and thought-patterns to support it.

On the other hand, your subjective apprehensions have no authority over what people ought to treat as knowledge, so whatever they are: who cares?

Try answering the question I quoted above please, I'm tiring of your evasion.


Remember your insistence that all knowledge is empirically derived and how I showed you that this leads to a contradiction?
I remember telling another member what science holds knowledge to be, and saying that we should not call anything else knowledge unless it's equally good.

I recall you strawmanning that position -- in ignorance I assume, rather than malice; then asserting a rebuttal (that existential truth is self-evident) without actually being able to demonstrate it. I remember warning you in advance that Descartes' argument was founded in the rhetoric of despair, was outdated, and dangerous to follow, and you charging ahead regardless.


And I can see you misrepresenting my line of questioning as "strawmanning" no doubt part of your evasion tactics.

As for demonstration, I actually showed a proof - a logical proof - that "I exist" cannot be deduced empirically as you asserted it could, let me now quote you if I may: (See post # 37 in http://www.debate.org...)

"With regard to your existential example, "I exist" is just ontological discovery, which happens all the time in empiricism. There's nothing epistemologically difficult about deriving "I exist" in empiricism."

These are your words and I disagreed then and disagree still.

Once again IF what you say were true THEN the process of deriving would entail the evaluation of a predicate much like:

IF something_or_other THEN I exist - this is an empirically based conclusion if the subject of the predicate refers to empirical knowledge, do you agree or disagree with this?

I'll take it you agree since to disagree is to disagree with yourself.

Now your problem (and you seem unwilling to acknowledge this) is that if such a process is what takes place when we perceive our own existence, then the predicate serves no purpose because it can never evaluate to false, do you agree or disagree with this?

I'll take it yo agree since to disagree is to disagree with yourself.

Therefore the conclusion (I exist) is not conditional on empirical data or any data, it is (for these very reasons) self evident truth.

So lets dispense with the endless procrastination and evasion please and lets see some answers from you, start by answering the question just asked a few lines above and then answering those in the other short post I submitted which summarizes the questions you've been avoiding.

I very much hope this is helpful.
RuvDraba
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4/12/2016 9:31:29 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/12/2016 8:50:34 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/12/2016 7:45:58 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 7:12:07 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/12/2016 5:47:39 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/12/2016 2:53:57 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
At 4/11/2016 9:13:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/11/2016 5:54:10 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
To avoid contradiction, let's reframe your question:
What would be the empirical meaning if it were falsified that "I exist"? (Regardless of how it were falsified)
That isn't a rephrasing but this would be "What would be the empirical meaning if I falsified that "I exist"? Remember we're talking about the self evident knowledge "I think, therefore I am" an introspective claim.
Actually, you were talking about empiricism and how it can't prove existence. Then you swung to saying you don't need it. Then you opened this thread, in which you seemed to be trying to rebut a claim I made saying it can -- except now you're saying again that you don't need it, which is irrelevant.
That's untrue or at least inaccurate RuvDraba, I have said that empiricism plays no role in my awareness of my OWN existence, remember?

Memory has nothing to do with it, Harry. Here's what you actually wrote in initial rebuttal, which I quote for a second time in this thread, as part of my duty of care to you, to this conversation and to members, now quoted in full, for context:
At 4/2/2016 2:16:18 PM, Dirty.Harry wrote:
This isn't a suitable definition for all forms of knowledge Ruv. The knowledge that "I exist" for example is not deemed knowledge because of observation or corroboration, you should have stressed that your dealing with empirical knowledge not all forms of knowledge.

So no, you were not talking about just your own experience. You were appealing to human knowledge of self-existence in general, and that has been the focus of our discussion.
You're procrastinating RevDubra, look up above and you'll see a question: "First tell me what would the meaning be if I "derived" the conclusion "I do not exist"?
I think you mean 'prevaricating', and no, I'm not.

I've told you promptly that question isn't meaningful or relevant, so I not only can't answer it, any attempt to do so won't advance the discussion.

You've yet to ask why, and I'm not disposed to telling you why until you become interested in asking open questions -- that is, questions to which you don't believe you know the answers.

That question was asked recently in THIS thread, you've not only avoided answering it you've now resorted to misrepresenting earlier lines of discussion between us and from a different thread covering a different subject with different context.
There's no misrepresentation. I've quoted precisely what has occurred across two threads.

On the other hand, your subjective apprehensions have no authority over what people ought to treat as knowledge, so whatever they are: who cares?
Try answering the question I quoted above please, I'm tiring of your evasion.
You have all the answer I can give you at the moment.

Remember your insistence that all knowledge is empirically derived and how I showed you that this leads to a contradiction?
I remember telling another member what science holds knowledge to be, and saying that we should not call anything else knowledge unless it's equally good.
I recall you strawmanning that position -- in ignorance I assume, rather than malice; then asserting a rebuttal (that existential truth is self-evident) without actually being able to demonstrate it. I remember warning you in advance that Descartes' argument was founded in the rhetoric of despair, was outdated, and dangerous to follow, and you charging ahead regardless.
And I can see you misrepresenting my line of questioning as "strawmanning" no doubt part of your evasion tactics.
No; it's your whole line of argument, from your initial post in this thread. You don't understand empiricism, and you're using outdated arguments in rationalism.

As for demonstration, I actually showed a proof - a logical proof - that "I exist" cannot be deduced empirically as you asserted it could, let me now quote you if I may: (See post # 37 in http://www.debate.org...)
I saw an argument, subject to the same problems your question above has.

Do you understand those problems?

If not, you could try asking a question to which you don't know the answer.

"With regard to your existential example, "I exist" is just ontological discovery, which happens all the time in empiricism. There's nothing epistemologically difficult about deriving "I exist" in empiricism."

These are your words and I disagreed then and disagree still.
I'm unsurprised, since you're stuck.

Once again IF what you say were true THEN the process of deriving would entail the evaluation of a predicate much like:

IF something_or_other THEN I exist - this is an empirically based conclusion if the subject of the predicate refers to empirical knowledge, do you agree or disagree with this?
No, I don't agree with that. I've explained why previously, and am happy to do so again, in other ways.

Now your problem (and you seem unwilling to acknowledge this) is that if such a process is what takes place when we perceive our own existence, then the predicate serves no purpose because it can never evaluate to false, do you agree or disagree with this?
No, I don't agree with that. I've explained why previously, and am happy to do so again, in other ways.

Therefore the conclusion (I exist) is not conditional on empirical data or any data, it is (for these very reasons) self evident truth.
No, I don't agree with that. I've explained why previously, and am happy to do so again, in other ways.

So lets dispense with the endless procrastination and evasion please and lets see some answers from you, start by answering the question just asked a few lines above
That question is subject to the same ignorance you suffer in your rebuttal argument, which is why it's invalid both as question and as argument.

I very much hope this is helpful.
It may be, once you pause to wonder what it is three and a half centuries of science may have seen, which a pre-empirical philosopher did not, and whether the discussion may have moved on.