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Messages - sciborg2

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1
The problems of Consciousness and Causation seem like the biggest mysteries facing any attempt to produce a philosophy of science that can explain the world. So it seems natural to ask how they are related, and while this commonly runs into the "Does Consciousness cause Collapse of the Wave Function?" I think there are higher level considerations at play ->

One relation would be we need Intentionality to talk about causes, as that is how we discern the cause from the effect – by dividing the world into the human conception of the world we hold in our minds.

Another would be Consciousness and Causation concern the actual nature of the relata whereas Physicalism seems to fundamentally be about the study of their relations?

2
But what ensures A should always be the result? Why doesn't some event B sometimes end up as the result instead of A? The usual explanation seems to be that there are brute facts that are called "natural laws". Yet why don't the "laws" change? What keeps them in place? "Meta-laws"?

LTTP, but: The actual practice of science is that it never proves anything - it only builds up evidence. It's men that decide to commit to a conclusion, which is somewhere that the angel that is science doth fear to tread. What gives the illusion of keeping the laws in place is human arrogance in treating our committing to an idea a 'natural law' and pitch it to each other as a definite fact, rather than a gamble (albeit a gamble based on a lot of evidence)

Yeah this is how I see it, but this obscures mysteries that I think are a deeper problem for ontologies that presume some kind of bottom-up constituting of reality (so Monadism, Physicalism, Bottom Up Panpsychism).

If the Law is in Matter, rather than imposing Itself from the Outside...how is this harmony communicated between the bottom level entities?

3
You haven't read Nietzsche? Your usage "will to power" is a title to one of his books, The Will To Power ( not an actual book in that it's a collection of notes compiled by his sister after his death ). Read The Antichrist, it's not long and it's a nice glance on his thinking - he is considered history's greatest critic of philosophy and religion ( until R came along  ;) ), broke new ground in breaking from traditional Judea/Christian cosmology. The English translation of the last page of The Antichrist is banned in America, but can still get it in the original German ( I had a college student translate it for me - it's quite a treat, which is saying something coming from a Christian such as myself ). If I can find it on the internet, I'll post it here. The Nazi's leveraged Fredrick's works in developing their positions ( some, such as myself, say they corrupted it - Fredrick was witnessing such a thing and had to declare his contemplation were not about people, but belief and parishioners should be left alone ). I've said too much, check him out if you have the time - intense, even by today's standards. He differs from Rand in that those "who are great", successfully become powerful "have it in them", while Rand claims it's "free will", a choice each of us to become "better". Nietzsche's discussion of "the herd" is still referenced ( mostly unknowingly, it's part of the popular conscious now ).

He was the first to coin, "we all get our 15 minutes of fame", but in his day it wasn't about "famous", but more we each at times in our life come close to greatness, but something inside our pathology prevents us from going further and becoming truly great. Only the very few go all the way.

Ah thanks for this, will check Nietzche out. I should've said I've read excerpts and works that reference him but never read an entire book of his.

The question of "selective potential for greatness" vs "pure freedom to be great" is an interesting one, I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

4
Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

Quote
The Puerto Rico work is one of just a handful of studies assessing this vital issue, but those that do exist are deeply worrying. Flying insect numbers in Germany’s natural reserves have plunged 75% in just 25 years. The virtual disappearance of birds in an Australian eucalyptus forest was blamed on a lack of insects caused by drought and heat. Lister and his colleague Andrés García also found that insect numbers in a dry forest in Mexico had fallen 80% since the 1980s.

“We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet,” Lister said. “It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this.”

5
RPG Discussion / Re: Sufficiently Advanced Diceless RPG
« on: Today at 01:25:35 am »
Sci-fi most likely, unless people really want to play the rules that are still in development for the magic stuff.

That said don't want to promise too much quite yet, gotta take some time to really make sure I understand the rules and how a game would go.

6
EDIT: And yes, Sci - she was a fan of Freddy. But she distinguishes herself as it's choice in lieu of endemic to our natures if one becomes "powerful".

Ah I'm not familiar with either her or Nietzsche - could you distinguish them more if you get the chance as I am not sure about this sentence due to my ignorance of this topic. Thanks!

7
Oh the irony (or not). I wonder what those 'Numerous studies suggest that fostering a belief in determinism influences behaviors like cheating' are. I'm biased here, but it sounds a bit like bullshit to me. What if it's more dependent on the tone of the text than the content? Imagine fostering a belief in free will by making people read Ayn Rand before taking a behavioral test, surely that could also have an impact.

Is Ayn Rand just about free will though? Isn't it more a kind of will to power type thing?

8
Philosophy & Science / Re: The Benefits of Optimism Are Real
« on: January 15, 2019, 06:26:24 am »
I bet y'all go to mindfulness classes and read self-help books about being positive and confident like Wilshire, H and Madness.

Every Sunday. (ok not really)

9
Philosophy & Science / The Benefits of Optimism Are Real
« on: January 14, 2019, 10:11:46 pm »
The Benefits of Optimism Are Real

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Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience—how quickly people recover from adversity—but it is the most important predictor of it. People who are resilient tend to be more positive and optimistic compared to less-resilient folks; they are better able to regulate their emotions; and they are able to maintain their optimism through the most trying circumstances.

This is what Dr. Dennis Charney, the dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, found when he examined approximately 750 Vietnam war veterans who were held as prisoners of war for six to eight years. Tortured and kept in solitary confinement, these 750 men were remarkably resilient. Unlike many fellow veterans, they did not develop depression or posttraumatic stress disorder after their release, even though they endured extreme stress. What was their secret? After extensive interviews and tests, Charney found ten characteristics that set them apart. The top one was optimism. The second was altruism. Humor and having a meaning in life—or something to live for—were also important.
For many years, psychologists, following Freud, thought that people simply needed to express their anger and anxiety—blow off some steam—to be happier. But this is wrong. Researchers, for example, asked people who were mildly-to-moderately depressed to dwell on their depression for eight minutes. The researchers found that such ruminating caused the depressed people to become significantly more depressed and for a longer period of time than people who simply distracted themselves thinking about something else. Senseless suffering—suffering that lacks a silver lining—viciously leads to more depression.

Counter-intuitively, another study found that facing down adversity by venting—hitting a punching bag or being vengeful toward someone who makes you angry— actually leads to people feeling far worse, not better. Actually, doing nothing at all in response to anger was more effective than expressing the anger in these destructive ways.

Even more effective than doing nothing is channeling your depression toward a productive, positive goal, as Pat and Pi do.

10
I mean there is always value in trying to improve mental states. I think in its humanitarian ideal psychology is good stuff, and has saved lives and ideally can save even more.

Similarly math gives us incredible predictive power but when people think everything about reality is amenable to mathematical description we end up with (IMO) deeply wrongheaded ideas like causation is either deterministic/random b/c math only has non-random and random descriptions through functions, prob-stats, etc.

I was thinking about this the other night, because I was out playing a game and the topic of "useless" psychology degrees came up.  That is, I have one and so did another guy.  I say "useless" because we simply never actually did anything in our actual field with them.

I mentioned that my aim was always at more Analytical Psychology than something "experimental," something more clinical and therefor more akin to Philosophy than a hard science.  But it had me thinking, later, and asking, "why?"  What is the use of such a thing.

And that makes me think, that a "less scientific" approach is perhaps something sorely missing from "Western culture" now-a-days.  That is, what we "need" is specifically less "objective truth" and more "subjective perspective."  That seems strange to me, as someone who has a general empirical world-view.  But I'm also very much a phenomenologist and maybe there is something in how to square those two things.

It makes me think back to the end of my time in college, where I was just wrapping up random credits I needed.  I fell in to some philosophy classes, mostly because they were easy to me.  But one professor told us something to the effect of that "Western philosophy" when encountering what they found in places like Africa, regarded them as distinctly "primitive" because they didn't rely in logic, for the most part, they were "lived philosophy" that is, something more like "wisdom" not on what was empirically, or even logically, "true" but rather, how do you live a life that is worth living?

I don't know if that is actually true, or if that is actually what that professor actually told us, but that's how I recall it.  Maybe her actual words were different and that's just how I understood it.  So, what does that have to do with psychology?  Well, maybe that is what something like analytical psychology should be?  More a lived philosophy than a hard science?

Yeah I think psychology is a field that could benefit from the acceptance of what the philosopher Putnam calls "pragmatic pluralism"...there may simply not be laws (or at least laws we can discover) for human behavior. Or the laws are variant across individuals coming from different experiences.

Some things work for some people some of the time. Try to sort out what makes people mentally healthy, for as long as you can and as deep as you get that mental healthiness to go. A very different science compared to physics, or even economics, but perhaps all the more useful for our day to day living for it...

Your example of the different cultures behaviors and philosophies makes me think of some stuff the philosopher Freya Matthews looked at, why China seemed to embrace ideas of mind/matter unity (a sort of top-down panpsychism) compared to the West.

Obviously part of that turns on the history of Europe at a particular point and the goals of the Church, but she notes the Greeks and the idea of theoria.

All to say I do think we can forget how deep our "conditioning" toward particular views/ideas can go...I mean it wasn't until after college I ever asked myself, "Why don't the Laws of Physics change?"

11
Neuropath / Re: Countering the Argument with Thorsten
« on: January 14, 2019, 07:30:07 pm »
I've gone through some of Bakker's stuff, and eliminativism did seem like a live possibility but then I read Alex Rosenberg's stuff about Intentionality in Atheist's Guide to Reality where he says we simply have to be wrong about having thoughts:

Quote
"A more general version of this question is this: How can one clump of stuff anywhere in the universe be about some other clump of stuff anywhere else in the universe—right next to it or 100 million light-years away?

...Let’s suppose that the Paris neurons are about Paris the same way red octagons are about stopping. This is the first step down a slippery slope, a regress into total confusion. If the Paris neurons are about Paris the same way a red octagon is about stopping, then there has to be something in the brain that interprets the Paris neurons as being about Paris. After all, that’s how the stop sign is about stopping. It gets interpreted by us in a certain way. The difference is that in the case of the Paris neurons, the interpreter can only be another part of the brain...

What we need to get off the regress is some set of neurons that is about some stuff outside the brain without being interpreted—by anyone or anything else (including any other part of the brain)—as being about that stuff outside the brain. What we need is a clump of matter, in this case the Paris neurons, that by the very arrangement of its synapses points at, indicates, singles out, picks out, identifies (and here we just start piling up more and more synonyms for “being about”) another clump of matter outside the brain. But there is no such physical stuff.

Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort...

…What you absolutely cannot be wrong about is that your conscious thought was about something. Even having a wildly wrong thought about something requires that the thought be about something.

It’s this last notion that introspection conveys that science has to deny. Thinking about things can’t happen at all...When consciousness convinces you that you, or your mind, or your brain has thoughts about things, it is wrong."

The idea we don't have thoughts about things, Intentionality....it seems to me the correct conclusion is materialism is false not that Cogito Ergo Sum is a mistake.
I don't understand the argument. Couldn't you just as easily make an analogy consisting of say, a robot with a camera? The camera takes as input photons from the surroundings and creates an output consisting of an array of pixels or something upon which further computations are then done in order to make some decision according to some goal function. There's no infinite regress here. Generally I don't like comparing a human brain with a piece of software but I think this is one case where the analogy makes sense, except you have a lot of higher order representations, computations etc. going on because you literally have like a trillion interconnected cells.

Regarding our similarity to other organisms...I mean bees apparently understand the concept of Zero so perhaps mentality goes down further than we think, maybe even as deep as the panpsychics suggest.  ;)


Lol at the dog - but re: software...isn't this just an instantiation of a Turing Machine, in which case the calculations only have the meaning we give?

I mean any bit string can be interpreted differently, which is not to say every string of 0's and 1's can be every program imaginable but at the very least it seems any such string can represent a countably infinite number of programs?

I guess I don't see much difference between a computer and an abacus in terms of holding some aboutness in the material?

12
I got the author's book on Noumenautics...if I never return it's because I ended up tripping balls until I died.

13
Study Tackles Neuroscience Claims to Have Disproved “Free Will” by Matt Shipman

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“Meanwhile, the journal articles that drew the most forceful conclusions often didn’t even assess the neural activity in question – which means their conclusions were based on speculation,” Dubljevic says. “It is crucial to critically examine whether the methods used actually support the claims being made.”

This is important because what people are told about free will can affect their behavior.

“Numerous studies suggest that fostering a belief in determinism influences behaviors like cheating,” Dubljevic says. “Promoting an unsubstantiated belief on the metaphysical position of non-existence of free will may increase the likelihood that people won’t feel responsible for their actions if they think their actions were predetermined.”

And this isn’t a problem solely within the neuroscience community. Earlier work by Dubljevic and his collaborators found challenges in how this area of research has been covered by the press and consumed by the public.

“To be clear, we’re not taking a position on free will,” Dubljevic says. “We’re just saying neuroscience hasn’t definitively proven anything one way or the other.”

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Neuropath / Re: Countering the Argument with Thorsten
« on: January 13, 2019, 06:28:55 pm »
Those are some long ass articles so I didn't read nearly all of it, just going to post some quotes and comment on them.

From the first article.
Quote
Ironically, by locating consciousness in particular parts of the material of the brain, neuroscientism actually underlines this mystery of intentionality, opening up a literal, physical space between conscious experiences and that which they are about. This physical space is, paradoxically, both underlined and annulled: The gap between the glass of which you are aware and the neural impulses that are supposed to be your awareness of it is both a spatial gap and a non-spatial gap. The nerve impulses inside your cranium are six feet away from the glass, and yet, if the nerve impulses reach out or refer to the glass, as it were, they do so by having the glass “inside” them. The task of attempting to express the conceptual space of intentionality in purely physical terms is a dizzying one. The perception of the glass inherently is of the glass, whereas the associated neural activity exists apart from the cause of the light bouncing off the glass. This also means, incidentally, that the neural activity could exist due to a different cause. For example, you could have the same experience of the glass, even if the glass were not present, by tickling the relevant neurons. The resulting perception will be mistaken, because it is of an object that is not in fact physically present before you. But it would be ludicrous to talk of the associated neural activity as itself mistaken; neural activity is not about anything and so can be neither correct nor mistaken.
Isn't this essentially a God of the Gaps argument? Just because we cannot describe this mental representation in neuroscientific terms it does not necessarily follow that there is some ontological difference between that separates human consciousness from the rest of the universe.

From the second article; he keeps going with the intentionality argument. 
Quote
The case for determinism will prevail over the case for freedom so long as we look for freedom in a world devoid of the first-person understanding — and so we will have to reacquaint ourselves with the perspective that comes most naturally to us. Recall that, if we are to be correct in our intuition that we are free, the issue of whether or not we are the origin of our actions is central. Seen as pieces of the material world, we appear to be stitched into a boundless causal net extending from the beginning of time through eternity. How on earth can we then be points of origin? We seem to be a sensory input linked to motor output, with nothing much different in between. So how on earth can the actor truly initiate anything? How can he say that the act in a very important sense begins with him, that he owns it and is accountable for it — that “The buck starts here”?

The key to this ownership lies in intentionality. This is not to be confused with intentions, the purposes of actions. “Intentionality” designates the way that we are conscious of something, and that the contents of our consciousness are thus about something. Intentionality, in its fully developed form, is unique to human beings, who alone are fully-fledged subjects explicitly related to objects. It is the seed of the self and of freedom. It is, as of now, entirely mysterious — which is not to say that it is supernatural or in principle beyond our understanding, but rather that it cannot be explained entirely in terms of the processes and laws that operate in the material world. Its relevance here is that it is the beginning of the process by which human beings transcend the material world, without losing contact with it. Human freedom begins with this about-ness of human consciousness.
Again, I cannot see it any other way than a God of the Gaps. It is clever because it's very hard to argue against a mode of reasoning from a 'scientific' perspective, but if you flip things around and instead of asking why should consciousness be 'reducible' to 'science', why should it not? It is known and uncontroversial that we share the same basic charactistics as every other living thing on earth. Our basic metabolic pathways are more or less identical to the basic metabolic pathways in E. coli, our macromolecules are made out of the same monomers. Are we truly different or are we, ironically due to our 'hardwiring', not so different, but inclined to think so because of some sort of anthropo-centric intentional thought process?

Also, regarding intentionalism, Bakker has like 1000 blogposts about that stuff.

Hmmm...to me a gaps argument takes advantage of a gap as the crux of its argument. I think this is different than a metaphysical demonstration that starting with assumptions like no mental character in matter leads to the conclusion that this kind of materialism has to be false?

I've gone through some of Bakker's stuff, and eliminativism did seem like a live possibility but then I read Alex Rosenberg's stuff about Intentionality in Atheist's Guide to Reality where he says we simply have to be wrong about having thoughts:

Quote
"A more general version of this question is this: How can one clump of stuff anywhere in the universe be about some other clump of stuff anywhere else in the universe—right next to it or 100 million light-years away?

...Let’s suppose that the Paris neurons are about Paris the same way red octagons are about stopping. This is the first step down a slippery slope, a regress into total confusion. If the Paris neurons are about Paris the same way a red octagon is about stopping, then there has to be something in the brain that interprets the Paris neurons as being about Paris. After all, that’s how the stop sign is about stopping. It gets interpreted by us in a certain way. The difference is that in the case of the Paris neurons, the interpreter can only be another part of the brain...

What we need to get off the regress is some set of neurons that is about some stuff outside the brain without being interpreted—by anyone or anything else (including any other part of the brain)—as being about that stuff outside the brain. What we need is a clump of matter, in this case the Paris neurons, that by the very arrangement of its synapses points at, indicates, singles out, picks out, identifies (and here we just start piling up more and more synonyms for “being about”) another clump of matter outside the brain. But there is no such physical stuff.

Physics has ruled out the existence of clumps of matter of the required sort...

…What you absolutely cannot be wrong about is that your conscious thought was about something. Even having a wildly wrong thought about something requires that the thought be about something.

It’s this last notion that introspection conveys that science has to deny. Thinking about things can’t happen at all...When consciousness convinces you that you, or your mind, or your brain has thoughts about things, it is wrong."

The idea we don't have thoughts about things, Intentionality....it seems to me the correct conclusion is materialism is false not that Cogito Ergo Sum is a mistake.

Long ago I did ask Bakker about this, but I don't think I fully understood his answer. I should ask him again but I need to read my copy of Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience so I don't completely embarrass myself.

Regarding our similarity to other organisms...I mean bees apparently understand the concept of Zero so perhaps mentality goes down further than we think, maybe even as deep as the panpsychics suggest.  ;)

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Just to be clear not endorsing [or refuting] Panpsychism necessarily, just thought the paper would be an interesting enough read...

Dude, stop - you put this out there, you are by far and away the most Panpsychic in the group. So now I ask you, where is my mind?

Heh if I'm anything I'm a Dual Aspect Neutral Monist...which would suggest there's stuff and we can look at it qualitatively and quantitatively, from within the experiential event or from position of observing other events...but beyond my confidence that materialism is false I don't have much more to offer on where Mind is or even what it is.

Why I figured it was more fruitful to think about how to incorporate metaphysical positions into RPG magic systems.

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