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21
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by TaoHorror on March 17, 2020, 01:09:26 am »
I watched The Outsider - pretty good, I liked it.

(click to show/hide)
22
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 15, 2020, 11:05:49 pm »
A voice claps through their souls, so loud it draws blood through the
pores of their skin.

The Gates are no longer guarded.

Mimara is also on her knees, also shrieking, yet her fingers somehow
find her purse, begin fumbling, pinching the Chorae that nearly killed
the Wizard. She cringes beneath the looming aspect, a child beneath a
collapsing city wall. She hugs her limbs against the piercing pleas of
little mouths, the moaning masses of the damned....

And somehow lifts her Tear of God.

She knows not what she does. She knows only what she glimpsed in the
slave chamber, that single slow heartbeat of light and revelation. She
knows what she saw with the Judging Eye.

The Chorae burns as a sun in her fingers, making red wine of her hand
and forearm, revealing the shadow of her bones, and yet drawing the
eye instead of rebuking it, a light that does not blind.

"I guard them!", she weeps, standing frail beneath the white-bleached
Seal. "I hold the Gates!"

  -The Judging Eye
23
The three implausible presuppositions of the hard problem

Quote
I deny that the question of the hard problem is sensible, as the presuppositions on which the question rests are not plausible by themselves. I here identify three such implausible presuppositions: first, that consciousness is determined by contents, second that it is cognitive, and third that it can be located in the mind, cognition, brain, body, or world.

If these presuppositions can be replaced by more plausible ones, as I will demonstrate, the question and thus the hard problem itself can be dissolved. In other words, the hard problem is no longer relevant.

Quote
Consciousness, especially as defined by philosophers, is often conceived as the pinnacle of our cognitive abilities. This conception has continued in neuroscience, where consciousness is determined by specific cognitive functions ranging from prediction, access and meta-cognition.

However, we experience ourselves and the world even when we shut down all our cognitive functions. For example, consider meditation, where we detach ourselves from our cognitions, perceptions, and ultimately even our body.

Throughout all of the various layers of detachment, one feature remains consistent: the experience of one’s inner time and space relative to the outer time and space in the world. Consciousness can still persist even if devoid of the contents associated with perception and cognition.

In contrast, if one’s inner time and space can no longer relate to the world’s outer time and space, consciousness will cease to exist. This is the case in anaesthesia, deep sleep (except during dreams), and coma. I therefore conclude that consciousness is temporo-spatial, rather than cognitive.

Isn't this panpsychism or idealism?

Quote
Now to the final presupposition of the hard problem of consciousness. There is a long tradition persisting until now of locating consciousness in the mind, brain, body, or even the whole world. Something can be located in something else, only if it can be isolated as an entity that is distinct from others and thus special.

Taken in this sense, consciousness is supposed to be a special entity that can be isolated and located. Various suggestions have been made in this regard in both philosophy and neuroscience. Consciousness is supposed to be a special mental or physical property, a special neuronal process like integration, access, or globalisation. In the most extreme view, consciousness is supposed to be a special property that permeates the whole world as assumed in panpsychism.

However, any such isolation and location stands counter to the nature of consciousness. We experience the whole world and its various external events in our consciousness which by itself is part of that very same world. Moreover, we experience our own internal thoughts and their contents as part of that wider world. Given such an ecological nature, consciousness cannot be located and isolated at a specific point in time and space in either the brain, body, or world. Instead, it constitutes a relation between all three. Hence, consciousness is relational, rather than isolated and it is ecological, rather than locational: It is based on a world-brain relation, rather than on properties in the mind, brain, body, or world (Northoff 2016, 2018).

...Huh?
24
Philosophy & Science / Objects, not brain states, are the answer
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 14, 2020, 10:29:31 pm »
Objects, not brain states, are the answer

Quote
Why does your experience of red feel to you the way it does? Why doesn’t it feel the way your experience of blue does or your experience of anger or a tickle? What explains its subjective character. This is the first dimension of the hard problem: why does your experience subjectively feel this way rather than that?

There is a further question: why are you undergoing a subjective experience at all? Why do the neural events underlying your experience of red have any raw ‘feel’ to them? This is the second dimension of the hard problem.

Representationalism – the view of consciousness I advocate – has a simple, and to my mind compelling, answer to the first question. Your experience of red feels the way it does because it represents the color red. What it is for the experience to feel the way it does just is for it to be an experience representing red. Your experience of blue feels different because it represents a different color. The experience of red could not feel the way the experience of blue feels because if it did, it wouldn’t be the experience of red at all but rather the experience of blue.

This is the view introspection seems to support. Turn your attention inwards as you experience red. What do you find? Obvious answer: the color red. That is what makes your experience feel as it does.  Nothing more (and nothing less).

Quote
How does the experience of red represent red? Answer: by itself being a brain state with the natural function of indicating the presence of the color red. Compare: the heart has as its natural function to pump blood and certain neuronal cells (known as edge detector cells) have as their natural function to indicate the presence of an edge in the visual field. On this view, you can’t really discover the ways our experiences feel by peering among the neurons. That’s the wrong place to look. You have to look rather at what the neural states represent.

As for the second dimension to the hard problem, that is not answered by the reflections above. Which is not to say that there is no answer, I discuss this more complicated issue in in my forthcoming Oxford University Press book, Vagueness and the Evolution of Consciousness: Through the Looking Glass.
25
Philosophy & Science / There's more to matter than what it does
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 14, 2020, 10:27:38 pm »
There's more to matter than what it does

Quote
Panpsychists run the explanation in the other direction. Rather than trying to explain experiences in terms of brain states, they explain brain states in terms of experiences. According to panpsychism, all that really exists are forms of consciousness: simple forms of consciousness at the micro-level, more complex forms of consciousness in human and animal brains. The view is not that these forms of consciousness exist alongside physical properties, but rather that physical properties just are forms of consciousness. The micro-level properties studied by physics are very simple forms of consciousness; the complex brain states studied by neuroscience are complex forms of consciousness.

How can we make sense of this idea? The properties studied by physics – mass, spin, charge, etc. – don’t seem to be forms of consciousness, and people studying physics are not aware that they’re learning about forms of consciousness. The central insight that has inspired the recent resurgence of interest in panpsychism is that physical science isn’t really in the business of telling us what physical properties are, only what they do. For example, physics tells us what electrical charge does – opposite charges attract, like charges repel – but not what it is. Neuroscience characterises brain states in terms of their chemical components, which chemistry characterises in terms of their physical components, which physics ultimately characterises in terms of behaviour. Taken as a whole, physical science gives us no clue as to what physical properties really are, which allows for the possibility that they might turn out to be forms of consciousness.

Isn't this Idealism?
26
The hard problem doesn't exist; it's just a silly internal contradiction of metaphysical materialism

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Where does this idea of using quantities to define the world come from? It’s not difficult to see: quantities are very useful to describe the relative differences of the contents of perception. For instance, the relative difference between red and blue can be compactly described by frequency values: blue has a higher frequency than red, so we can quantify the visual difference between the two colours by subtracting one frequency from the other. But frequency numbers cannot absolutely describe a colour: if you tell a congenitally blind person that red is an electromagnetic field vibration of about 430 THz, the person will still have no idea of what it feels like to see red. Quantities are useful in describing relative differences between qualities already known experientially, but they completely miss the qualities themselves.

And here is where materialism incurs its first fatal error: it replaces the qualitative world of colours, tones and flavours—the only external world we are directly acquainted with—with a purely quantitative description that structurally fails to capture any quality whatsoever. It mistakes the usefulness of quantities in determining relative differences between qualities for—absurdly—something that can replace the qualities themselves.

Next, materialism attempts to deduce the contents of consciousness from the matter in our brain. In other words, it tries to recover the qualities of experience from mere quantities that, by deliberate definition, leave out everything that has anything to do with qualities in the first place. The self-defeating nature of this manoeuvre is glaringly obvious once one actually understands the magic mainstream materialism is trying to perform. This is precisely why the hard problem isn’t just hard, but impossible by construction. Yet, instead of realising this, we get lost in conceptual confusion and hope to, one day, heroically prevail against the hard problem. It would be an inspiring story of human resolve if it weren’t so embarrassingly silly.

In summary, from within their consciousness materialists fantasise about a world of matter putatively outside consciousness. This imagined world is, by deliberate definition, incommensurable with the qualities of conscious experience to begin with. Then, in a majestic feat of conceptual masochism, materialists set out to reduce the contents of consciousness to such abstract… well, content of consciousness. This is the tragicomic background story of the hard problem; a problem that need not be solved as much as seen through in all its gloriously self-defeating contradictoriness.

“But what is the alternative?” I hear you ask. If matter is a self-defeating concept, how can we explain the fact that we all seem to inhabit a common external world, whose dynamisms are clearly independent of our own conscious inner life?

First of all, let us immediately acknowledge the empirically obvious: there is a world beyond and independent of our individual consciousness; a world that we all inhabit. And, alas, we clearly can’t change how this world works by a mere act of individual conscious volition. But to acknowledge this does not require the bankrupt notion of matter outside consciousness. It only requires a transpersonal consciousness within which our individual consciousnesses are immersed....

Transpersonal Consciousness sounds a lot like Physicalism or Theism...
27
Philosophy & Science / Why Hasn't Evolution Invented the Wheel?
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 13, 2020, 09:55:06 pm »
How Biological Design Differs from Human Design

Carlos Perez

Quote
    Dave Ackley (Well known for Boltzmann machines) proposes “Robust first computing” as a solution to this brittleness. Ackley challenges the underlying assumptions of conventional design which he calls “the iron grip of correctness”. He argues for a very different architecture that is not based on strict correctness but rather is inspired by the messy designs found in biology. Strict correctness maximizes the consequences of failure. Ackley argues for an alternative architecture that favors “strict indefinite scalability” where you have to give up on global hardware determinism. He calls this “living computation”, where best effort computation is favored over correctness. Correctness becomes more like an ‘ility’ than a requirement. His architecture flips the design goals such that systems must be as robust as possible, followed by correctness and then efficient as necessary.

What is desperately needed is technology that supports organic intelligence. Fortunately, we are seeing the primordial emergence of such technology. This technology is known as Deep Learning. Deep Learning captures the robustness of biological evolution and combines it with the creativeness of virtual design exploration."

This seems overly optimistic to me...
28
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 13, 2020, 08:51:21 pm »
Quote
What if we posit that “Things-in-themselves” emerge against the background of the Void of Nothingness, the way this Void is conceived in quantum physics, as not just a negative void, but the portent of all possible reality? This is the only true consistent “transcendental materialism” which is possible after the Kantian transcendental idealism. For a true dialectician, the ultimate mystery is not “Why is there something rather than nothing?” but “Why is there nothing rather than something?”

-Slavoj Žižek

Every now and then I suspect Zizek is more than a cranky slob. ;-)

=-=-=

"What is ethical cannot be taught. If I could explain the essence of the ethical only by means of a theory, then what is ethical would be of no value whatsoever."
 -Wittgenstein



"you have a home for sure merlinus. as to the worthiness of my mind --"

theo stares squarely into the smoky crystal of the traveler's eyes.

"i must warn you now your gold cannot buy my mind. i am an acolyte.
i go every day at noon to the church to keep up my studies for the priesthood.

if you stay with us, you can bet i will do my best to win you to our Savior.
please, take your coins back  and move out now if that offends you."

Merlinus squeezes his hand with genuine affection and promises him,

"Nothing done with love offends me."

Theo smiles widely, teeth white and even as truth, his heart glad with
the innocent pride that faith brings.

 --Attanasio, The Dragon and the Unicorn


29
Philosophy & Science / Re: The Gamification of Public Discourse
« Last post by sciborg2 on March 13, 2020, 07:43:31 pm »
But that isn't my position at all - I don't think there is any "winning" here, though with all the skepticism you have about your own subjective apprehension it does seem odd to see your certainty about what I supposedly want?

I've noted multiple times the issues with moral certainty so not sure where you got this reading...

Well, if I misunderstood our conversation yesterday, then I misunderstood.

I can't go back and quote, since that is all lost.  I am not certain about what you want.  I wasn't making an attempt to issue out any proclamation of certainty either.  All I could do was try to formally write out what seemed to be your case.  If I failed, then I failed, I made no claim to ever be, nor did I mean to insinuate, that I have the clear knowledge of something like Objective Truth.

You did not make the case that the Objective Moral does not bring with it certainty?  Again, access to the Objective Moral does not then mean that Moral Certainty is, well, certain?  Well, then I misunderstood just what we were talking about.  Seems that I have no grasp then on your case honestly, so maybe I well and don't have a case at all.

Well I don't think I was making a complete case necessarily regarding the metaphysics of morality, though I do think if morality isn't referring to some kind of Objective measure it becomes pretty much impossible to make a dent in the "gamification" problem.

Of course it is complicated - doubts about statements like "Black people aren't full people" and "Women shouldn't get the vote" is what led to moral change. OTOH, the road to Evil runs along the same path - making people doubt universal principles of decency.

But if statements like "Child pornography is Evil" or "Anti-Semitism is Evil" cannot be held as an Absolute then I can't see any real road toward moral progress as it would be hard to even find the measure of progress being used if such is the case? And if we cannot even regard the underpinnings of Logic/Math as [Objective] Universals I'd say there is no Ground to rationally discuss anything at all?

Regarding Gamification, I would hesitate to think that people who "fall" for this sort of thing are completely duped. People derive pleasure from being self-righteous and transgressive, so I don't think an intellectual argument will suffice to pull them away from pernicious behavior. [Which isn't to say you or anyone else is thinking people are simply duped, just throwing out my own thinking that I believe aligns with the video.]
30
Philosophy & Science / Re: The Gamification of Public Discourse
« Last post by H on March 13, 2020, 04:41:20 pm »
But that isn't my position at all - I don't think there is any "winning" here, though with all the skepticism you have about your own subjective apprehension it does seem odd to see your certainty about what I supposedly want?

I've noted multiple times the issues with moral certainty so not sure where you got this reading...

Well, if I misunderstood our conversation yesterday, then I misunderstood.

I can't go back and quote, since that is all lost.  I am not certain about what you want.  I wasn't making an attempt to issue out any proclamation of certainty either.  All I could do was try to formally write out what seemed to be your case.  If I failed, then I failed, I made no claim to ever be, nor did I mean to insinuate, that I have the clear knowledge of something like Objective Truth.

You did not make the case that the Objective Moral does not bring with it certainty?  Again, access to the Objective Moral does not then mean that Moral Certainty is, well, certain?  Well, then I misunderstood just what we were talking about.  Seems that I have no grasp then on your case honestly, so maybe I well and don't have a case at all.
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