Countering the Argument with Thorsten

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sciborg2

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« Reply #75 on: December 01, 2018, 08:53:36 pm »
I think if you want to counter the argument you have start with the underlying questions that precede the mind/body question(s).

I mean I think those [mind/body] questions play a role, but I feel that trying to play the game the way Libertarians & Compatibilists do - accept just about all assumptions of the Reductionist/Determinist then either look for miracles or play semantic games - leaves one destined to lose.

Questions about time, substance, causality - these likely have more promise than initial focus of the human level.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 12:25:26 am by sciborg2 »
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« Reply #76 on: January 10, 2019, 11:42:12 pm »
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TaoHorror

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« Reply #77 on: January 11, 2019, 03:18:19 am »
Think I posted these Tallis articles long ago, not sure though:

What Neuroscience Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves

How Can I Possibly Be Free? - Why the neuroscientific case against free will is wrong

You're an ace, Sci - haven't read it all yet, about to hit the hay, but wanted to say thank you.
May your death be soon, slow and painful

sciborg2

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« Reply #78 on: January 11, 2019, 04:40:28 am »
Think I posted these Tallis articles long ago, not sure though:

What Neuroscience Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves

How Can I Possibly Be Free? - Why the neuroscientific case against free will is wrong

You're an ace, Sci - haven't read it all yet, about to hit the hay, but wanted to say thank you.

Heh, figured I could potentially save you from buying the damn book if you read these and got what you needed...or thought he was a fucking idiot.

:-)
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #79 on: January 13, 2019, 03:48:08 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.

sciborg2

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« Reply #80 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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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #81 on: January 14, 2019, 05:06:15 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.  ;)

sciborg2

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« Reply #82 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?
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« Reply #83 on: November 23, 2019, 12:58:49 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?

If we consider that a human brain can be (even just vaguely) associated to a computer (and personaly I think the association make sens in this case), you don't need to give meaning to the calculation.

A software receive one (or many) input and return an output. The output is the "physical" manifestation of the calculation, independently of the "meaning".
We can think of the brain the same, we have stimulus/inputs through our senses, and we output some actions.

I don't see how the fact that our brain is freaking complicated, and that its internal trillions of neuronal activities/"operations" per seconds trick itself into "consciousness" change anything or counter the Argument.

But in the end, philosophy won't explain anything, all we can do is wait for science to give an answer. We can speculate but it's just that, speculation.

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« Reply #84 on: December 08, 2019, 05:43:54 am »
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?

If we consider that a human brain can be (even just vaguely) associated to a computer (and personaly I think the association make sens in this case), you don't need to give meaning to the calculation.

A software receive one (or many) input and return an output. The output is the "physical" manifestation of the calculation, independently of the "meaning".
We can think of the brain the same, we have stimulus/inputs through our senses, and we output some actions.

I don't see how the fact that our brain is freaking complicated, and that its internal trillions of neuronal activities/"operations" per seconds trick itself into "consciousness" change anything or counter the Argument.

But in the end, philosophy won't explain anything, all we can do is wait for science to give an answer. We can speculate but it's just that, speculation.

Except you do have thoughts about things, which is where the meaning question comes from as it refers to  Aboutness of Thought (what Bakker & other philosophers call Intentionality) which Bakker thinks can be reduced to a physics explanation (matter, energy, forces, etc).

To me Eliminativism toward Intentionality is the central point of Bakker's BBT, so everything turns on this issue. So because the correctness of a program depends on the intention of the programmer - it's the only way to tell the difference between an accidental bug and deliberate sabotage - I'd say programs cannot explain away Intentionality.

Admittedly there are other issues at play, like the nature of causation and mental causation, but given that we use Intentionaltiy to find interest relative causal chains it's probably a good starting point to refute the Argument. Which is - IIRC - all I was getting at there.

As for whether science can decide this issue...I'd agree with you if you're talking about something like a revised version of the Libet type experiements (the current set apparently got debunked), but not if we're talking about eliminativism of Intentionality. I just don't see how someone can do anything but find correlations since -as per above- finding a causal explanation for Intentionality would require Intentionality.
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« Reply #85 on: December 08, 2019, 11:02:36 am »
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?

If we consider that a human brain can be (even just vaguely) associated to a computer (and personaly I think the association make sens in this case), you don't need to give meaning to the calculation.

A software receive one (or many) input and return an output. The output is the "physical" manifestation of the calculation, independently of the "meaning".
We can think of the brain the same, we have stimulus/inputs through our senses, and we output some actions.

I don't see how the fact that our brain is freaking complicated, and that its internal trillions of neuronal activities/"operations" per seconds trick itself into "consciousness" change anything or counter the Argument.

But in the end, philosophy won't explain anything, all we can do is wait for science to give an answer. We can speculate but it's just that, speculation.

Except you do have thoughts about things, which is where the meaning question comes from as it refers to  Aboutness of Thought (what Bakker & other philosophers call Intentionality) which Bakker thinks can be reduced to a physics explanation (matter, energy, forces, etc).

To me Eliminativism toward Intentionality is the central point of Bakker's BBT, so everything turns on this issue. So because the correctness of a program depends on the intention of the programmer - it's the only way to tell the difference between an accidental bug and deliberate sabotage - I'd say programs cannot explain away Intentionality.

Admittedly there are other issues at play, like the nature of causation and mental causation, but given that we use Intentionaltiy to find interest relative causal chains it's probably a good starting point to refute the Argument. Which is - IIRC - all I was getting at there.

As for whether science can decide this issue...I'd agree with you if you're talking about something like a revised version of the Libet type experiements (the current set apparently got debunked), but not if we're talking about eliminativism of Intentionality. I just don't see how someone can do anything but find correlations since -as per above- finding a causal explanation for Intentionality would require Intentionality.

>So because the correctness of a program depends on the intention of the programmer - it's the only way to tell the difference between an accidental bug and deliberate sabotage - I'd say programs cannot explain away Intentionality.

That why analogies are just anologies and nothing more.
The correctness of a program isn't the issue here, first because even a bugged/sabotaged program will get inputs and return outputs independently of the original intention. Then because we are obviously not programs but complex random evolved chimestry, and not programmed to do something specific by someone else.

So in my opinion, programs can explain it away if we accept the prelude that we are complex physical machines.
The only other option I can conceive is that their is some magic giving power to the brain over the physical world. But I won't accept it as I don't see any proof that it might be the case (just like I don't but garlic on my front door because nothing indicate the existence of vampires).

The brain being to blind to know it react instead of actually doing is moot to me as if it's actually the original of actions it would break causality.

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« Reply #86 on: December 08, 2019, 10:29:34 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?

If we consider that a human brain can be (even just vaguely) associated to a computer (and personaly I think the association make sens in this case), you don't need to give meaning to the calculation.

A software receive one (or many) input and return an output. The output is the "physical" manifestation of the calculation, independently of the "meaning".
We can think of the brain the same, we have stimulus/inputs through our senses, and we output some actions.

I don't see how the fact that our brain is freaking complicated, and that its internal trillions of neuronal activities/"operations" per seconds trick itself into "consciousness" change anything or counter the Argument.

But in the end, philosophy won't explain anything, all we can do is wait for science to give an answer. We can speculate but it's just that, speculation.

Except you do have thoughts about things, which is where the meaning question comes from as it refers to  Aboutness of Thought (what Bakker & other philosophers call Intentionality) which Bakker thinks can be reduced to a physics explanation (matter, energy, forces, etc).

To me Eliminativism toward Intentionality is the central point of Bakker's BBT, so everything turns on this issue. So because the correctness of a program depends on the intention of the programmer - it's the only way to tell the difference between an accidental bug and deliberate sabotage - I'd say programs cannot explain away Intentionality.

Admittedly there are other issues at play, like the nature of causation and mental causation, but given that we use Intentionaltiy to find interest relative causal chains it's probably a good starting point to refute the Argument. Which is - IIRC - all I was getting at there.

As for whether science can decide this issue...I'd agree with you if you're talking about something like a revised version of the Libet type experiements (the current set apparently got debunked), but not if we're talking about eliminativism of Intentionality. I just don't see how someone can do anything but find correlations since -as per above- finding a causal explanation for Intentionality would require Intentionality.

>So because the correctness of a program depends on the intention of the programmer - it's the only way to tell the difference between an accidental bug and deliberate sabotage - I'd say programs cannot explain away Intentionality.

That why analogies are just anologies and nothing more.
The correctness of a program isn't the issue here, first because even a bugged/sabotaged program will get inputs and return outputs independently of the original intention. Then because we are obviously not programs but complex random evolved chimestry, and not programmed to do something specific by someone else.

So in my opinion, programs can explain it away if we accept the prelude that we are complex physical machines.
The only other option I can conceive is that their is some magic giving power to the brain over the physical world. But I won't accept it as I don't see any proof that it might be the case (just like I don't but garlic on my front door because nothing indicate the existence of vampires).

The brain being to blind to know it react instead of actually doing is moot to me as if it's actually the original of actions it would break causality.

But the "garlic on the door" is assuming that some Holy Grail programs (namely the ones in our brain) have self-awareness and determinate thoughts and others are just atoms in the void?

There will be input and output into minds, but minds also have thoughts referencing aspects of reality - the "Aboutness" aspect of our thinking philosophers call Intentionality.

This all goes back to the Alex Rosenberg quote - how can one clump of matter (neurons) be about another clump of matter (Paris) when matter does not have intrinsic representation? It's less my issue with programs lacking meaning than this question.

Alex Rosenberg and Bakker are correct (AFAICTell) that the only conclusion for those committed to Physicalism is this seeming Aboutness has to be false in some sense, but I just cannot see how that could be.
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