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Messages - sciborg2

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16
General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: May 31, 2020, 08:58:05 pm »
Well politically and religiously I'm a Fundamentalist Agnostic Contextualist...but yeah Big Tech is due for a fall.

Sadly I think only the octopus and cockroach hybrid people (cocktopuses heh) who will replace us are going to acknowledge the wisdom of social media being our Great Filter...

In all seriousness though it seems the ability of software technology to enable tyranny/anarchy is going to outpace the contribution it could make to a functioning democracy.

17
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 27, 2020, 01:49:51 am »
"The Greeks had no depth psychology and psychopathology such as we have. They had myths. And we have no myths as such--instead, depth psychology & psychopathology. Therefore, psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress."
    -James Hillman

La Lune au plain de nuict sur le haut mont,
Le nouueau sophe d’un seul cerueau la veu:
Par ses disciples estre Immortel semond,
Yeux au mydi, en seins mains corps au feu.
 —Nostradamus, Quatrain 4, 31

The Moon in the full of night over the high mountain,
The new philosopher sees this with a unique brain:
By his disciples summoned to be immortal,
Eyes to the zenith, hands in the breasts of burning bodies.

18
Dr. Johannes Kleiner: Why the universe might be conscious

This is a pathbreaking conversation with Dr. Johannes Kleiner, a mathematician and physicist at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. He works at the cutting edge of an ever urgent question — is the universe conscious? He explains to Grin why the answer could well be, yes.

Quote
The crucial ingredient in constructing and studying mathematical models of consciousness is to represent conscious experience in mathematical terms. This is what makes mathematical models of consciousness so powerful. One can use what is called a ‘mathematical space’ to represents the content of conscious experience. Once provided with some mathematical description of the physical domain (e.g. of the neural network in the brain), on can then apply a model of consciousness to calculate which conscious experience it would have.

    Now the crucial ingredient here is that any physical system that can be represented mathematically (in principle) can be ‘plugged into’ a model of consciousness to calculate the conscious experience of that system according to that model. Next to brains, this could be a mathematical description of a computer, a large network or even a approximate mathematical description of the universe.

This is where the headline you have quoted above comes from. Mathematical models of consciousness allow us to calculate the conscious experience of all sorts of systems. And while a final verdict is still pending of which model of consciousness describes reality correctly, it is a possibility that the universe as a whole has some conscious experience.
     



19
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 17, 2020, 10:58:45 pm »
"The Greeks had no depth psychology and psychopathology such as we have. They had myths. And we have no myths as such--instead, depth psychology & psychopathology. Therefore, psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress."
    -James Hillman

20
Philosophy & Science / The Three Holograms
« on: May 15, 2020, 05:36:15 am »
Quote
Physicalism proposes that the relational realm is mindless. There are many versions of this  proposal.  The  one  most  influential,  at  present,  proposes  that  the  basic  building blocks  of  the  relational  realm  are  the  particles,  fields,  and  other  entities  within  the province of microphysics. The behavior of these entities is mindless, governed entirely by probabilistic laws.

Idealism proposes that the relational realm is made of minds. It may be one mind, as in Berkeley’s  proposal  that  it’s  the  mind  of  God,  or  it  may  be  many  distinct  and  finite minds in interaction. In the latter case,  the behavior of these  minds has also been described by probabilistic laws.

Dualism proposes that the relational realm is made  both of minds and mindless entities. There are probabilistic laws governing the minds, the mindless entities, and the interactions between the two.
   --Peeking Behind the Icons

The Three Holograms

Quote
What the Idealist tells you stuns your mind. He reveals that the year is 2212, and that you’re part of a hi-tech experiment designed to solve the problem of consciousness once and for all. Then he says enigmatically, “The wires funneling through the wall are as much a part of your mentally-projected reality as the walls and the desk are. But these wires feed into your brain to generate that perception of reality!”

“What does that mean?” you ask.

The Idealist smiles, and says, “It means that those so-called physical components, the wires that project your mental reality into you, and so are entirely responsible for the creation of your experience, are as much a part of that mental reality as the thoughts in your head. All that exists here is entirely mental.”

“But, what does that mean?”

The Idealist chuckles merrily, “It means that there is no direct evidence in your experience of any connection to a physical realm, simply because what you would call your mind’s physical connection to the so-called physical world is just as much a part of your experience as the chair you’re sitting on. What you are experiencing now is a purely mental reality.”

Pleased by your joyous visitor, you laugh – but your laughter is interrupted when the Idealist suddenly becomes grave, danger looming in his voice. He intones, “I must warn you – I am not the only holographic being who will visit you today. Two more holograms are on their way. Their messages will be fallacious. However, the final hologram’s message is by far the most misguided. I warn you, no matter what he tells you, don’t listen. If you listen, it might cost you your life.”

21
The Conceivability Trap: Analytic Philosophy’s Achilles Heel

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...Since our empirical experiences are always perspectival—after all, each of us operates through a unique point of view or window into the world—the achievement of objective knowledge is contingent upon a procedure meant to distill objectivity out of perspectival subjectivity. In science, Karl Popper offered the following: “the objectivity of scientific statements lies in the fact that they can be inter-subjectively tested” (emphasis added). In analytic philosophy, however, issues often cannot be settled by experimental testing, so a different form of procedural objectivity is required. In this context, Bertrand Russell held that there are a priori principles of logical reasoning—not contingent on the idiosyncratic perspectives inherent to empirical experience—which, if properly applied, render objective conclusions possible.

Even philosophers of mind, whose object of study is that most subjective of all things, aim for objectivity. Expressions now common in the community—such as ‘what it is like to be (something or someone)’ to define the presence of experience—as well as words such as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘access’ to qualify consciousness, reflect an effort to objectify what is essentially subjective.

But can the ideal of full objectivity ever be realized? For as long as analytic philosophers are fallible human beings, instead of computers, it surely can’t. Their conclusions, too, are inevitably a function of the variety and metacognitive depth of their personal experiences. It is more productive to acknowledge this fact and respond accordingly, than to pretend otherwise.

For instance, the notion of conceivability—which is often appealed to in modern ontology and philosophy of mind to establish or refute metaphysical possibility—relies on the particular set of subjective experiences a philosopher has had in his or her life. Therefore, it is naïve—perhaps even pretentious—to assume that one’s personal inability to conceive of something entailed or implied by an argument positively refutes the argument. For not only in continental, but also analytic philosophy, one’s conclusions reveal perhaps as much about oneself as they do about one’s object of inquiry.

Indeed, even language itself—an indispensable tool not only for communicating, but also formulating our thoughts—is based on shared experience. Words only have meaning to us insofar as their denotations and connotations are experiences we’ve had ourselves. For instance, because you and I have experienced a car, the word ‘car’ has meaning for both of us, and so we can use it in a conversation. Similarly, because the word ‘color’ denotes an experience I’ve had, I can use the concept of color in my own meditations about the nature of mind.

As a matter of fact, the concept of a color palette occupies center stage today in philosophy of mind. Analytic philosophers who adhere to constitutive panpsychism use the concept to conceive—by analogy—of how a limited set of fundamental phenomenal states could be combined—like pigments in a palette—to constitute our ordinary experiences. The conceivability of this very notion rests on our shared experience of colors and how they can be combined to form other colors.

Now imagine Helen Keller as an analytic philosopher. Born deaf and blind as she was, she didn’t share with sight-capable philosophers the experience of having mixed watercolors in kindergarten. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even know what a color is. The very notion of a palette of fundamental experiences that could be combined to form meta-experiences wouldn’t be conceivable to her. And yet, the rest of us knows it is perfectly conceivable. Conceivability is thus not an objective notion, but an inherently subjective one....

22
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: May 12, 2020, 08:31:48 pm »
I assumed they had, will be going into this thing disappointed learning they didn't  ;)

Curious as to your thoughts. I just couldn't get into it Devs, prolly stopped a third into the first episode. Admittedly I feel I'm just not in the life-space to think deeply about my TV...

I likely can't start it for a while, maybe in June, but you can count on me to post my review :)

Excellent.

In other news I finished Midnight Gospel...some might find this the kind of "bullshit" people talk when they are high, but personally I loved it. The last episode was just so incredibly emotional...but not sure how much I should say because I think part of the experience is taking these episodes without preconditioning....

Perhaps a spoiler thread is in order, there is so much we could get into. I will say the overlay of animation with a story over the conversations from a podcast was surprisingly effective. I hope there's a second season, but also this strategy gets used more by other podcaster/animator combos...

23
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: May 11, 2020, 07:45:29 pm »
I assumed they had, will be going into this thing disappointed learning they didn't  ;)

Curious as to your thoughts. I just couldn't get into it Devs, prolly stopped a third into the first episode. Admittedly I feel I'm just not in the life-space to think deeply about my TV...

24
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 10, 2020, 10:44:13 pm »
I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics.
  — Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1967)

The  theory  has,  indeed,  two  powerful  bodies  of  fact  in  its  favour,  and  only  one  thing  against  it.  First,  in  its  favour  are  all  the  marvellous  agreements  that  the  theory  has  had  with  every  experimental  result  to  date.  Second,  it  is  a  theory  of  astonishing  and  profound  mathematical  beauty.  The  one  thing  that  can  be  said  against it is that it makes absolutely no sense!
  — Mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose (1986)

25
Philosophy & Science / Peeking Behind the Icons
« on: May 10, 2020, 10:24:26 pm »
Peeking Behind the Icons


Quote
There is a relationship then, in the normal case, between what you see in the phenom-enal and relational senses. What you see in the phenomenal sense is a useful and sim-plified interface to  what  you  see  in  the  relational  sense.  It  summarizes  a  myriad  of complexities in  a way  that  lets you  interact  with  that  complexity  without  tedium and distraction. What it provides you is indeed phenomenal — a phenomenal interface. So the answer to your first question — Are we seeing and playing with the same volleyball? — is both yes and no. No, you each have constructed  your own volleyball experiences. And yes, you each are interacting with the same hidden world of circuits and software. There are as many phenomenal volleyballs as there are players. There is only one rela-tional volleyball, and it doesn’t resemble a volleyball at all. That first question took you to unexpected places, so you try another. Is the volleyball still there when I don’t look? Again  the  answer  depends  on  the  volleyball.  Your  phenomenal  volleyball  is your  con-struction.  When  you  don’t  look  you  don’t  construct  it.  So  the  phenomenal  volleyball isn’t there when  you  don’t  look.  However,  the  relational  volleyball  doesn’t  depend  on your constructive powers for its existence. The relational volleyball is just the circuits and software. So the relational volleyball is there when you don’t look. It just doesn’t re-semble a volleyball.

Quote
Which brain creates all my conscious experiences? The phenomenal brain or the relational brain?

The brain you just experienced in The Virtual Brain was of course a phenomenal brain. Indeed, The Virtual Brain headphones told you that this phenomenal brain was indis-tinguishable from the phenomenal brain you would find if you opened up your skull. So is it this phenomenal brain that creates all your conscious experiences? No. The phenomenal brain, with all its phenomenal neurons and synapses and neural net-works, is your constructed experience, just like the phenomenal volleyball. If you don’t look, it’s not there. And if it’s not there, it can’t do anything. But you have conscious experiences even when you don’t see your phenomenal brain. In fact, until just a few minutes ago, you had probably never seen your phenomenal brain. So the phenomenal brain can’t be what constructs your conscious experience.

That leaves your relational brain. If it’s true that your brain creates all your conscious experiences, then it must be your relational brain, not your phenomenal brain, which is the creator. But what is your relational brain? Does it resemble your phenomenal brain? There’s no reason to suppose it does. In fact, as we saw with the volleyball, there’s no reason to suppose that the nature of the phenomenal brain in any way constrains the nature of the relational brain. Your phenomenal brain is simply a graphical interface that allows you to interact with your relational brain, whatever that relational brain might be. And all that’s required of a graphical interface is that it be systematically related to what it represents. The relation can be as arbitrary as you wish, as long as it’s systematic. The trash can icon on your computer screen is a graphical interface to software which can erase files on your computer disk. The trash can icon is systematically related to that erasing software, but the relation is arbitrary: the trash can icon doesn’t resemble the erasing software in any way. It could be any color or shape you wish and still success-fully do the job of letting you interact with the erasing software. It could be a pig icon or a toilette icon instead of a trash can icon. All that matters is the systematic connection.

Quote
You can’t help yourself. You have to ask the question. Which circuits and software make it all possible? The phenomenal or the relational? By  now  this  question  is  easy.  It’s  not  phenomenal  circuits  and  software  that  make  it possible, say, to spike a virtual volleyball. It couldn’t be. There need be no phenomenal circuits and  software,  for  you  or  anyone  else,  when  you  spike  the  volleyball,  so  there-fore phenomenal circuits and software can’t be what makes that spiking possible. The answer must be that it’s the  relational circuits and software that make it possible to play virtual volleyball. But of course this raises another question. What are relational circuits and software? We know that they needn’t in any way resemble the phenomenal circuits and software that we experience. But what more can we say about them? This raises a general and important question. If the relational realm needn’t resemble the phenomenal, then what can we safely say about the nature of the relational realm? Not much. However,we can propose theories and see how they stack up against our ex-periences. This is an intriguing enterprise, and one that has attracted lots of attention. There  are  now  many  theories  of  the  relational  realm  that  are  compatible  with  all  the evidence we have from the phenomenal realm. These theories come in three basic kinds: physicalism, idealism, and dualism.

Physicalism proposes that the relational realm is mindless. There are many versions of this  proposal.  The  one  most  influential,  at  present,  proposes  that  the  basic  building blocks  of  the  relational  realm  are  the  particles,  fields,  and  other  entities  within  the province of microphysics. The behavior of these entities is mindless, governed entirely by probabilistic laws.

Idealism proposes that the relational realm is made of minds. It may be one mind, as in Berkeley’s  proposal  that  it’s  the  mind  of  God,  or  it  may  be  many  distinct  and  finite minds in interaction. In the latter case,  the behavior of these  minds has also been described by probabilistic laws.

Dualism proposes that the relational realm is made  both of minds and mindless entities. There are probabilistic laws governing the minds, the mindless entities, and the interactions between the two.

26
It’s time to take UFOs seriously. Seriously.

Alexander Wendt is one of the most influential political scientists alive. Here’s his case for taking UFOs seriously.

Quote
So in an attempt to force a UFO conversation into the public discourse, I contacted Alexander Wendt, a professor of international relations at Ohio State University. Wendt is a giant in his field of IR theory, but in the past 15 years or so, he’s become an amateur ufologist. He wrote an academic article about the political implications of UFOs in 2008, and, more recently, he gave a TEDx talk calling out the “taboo” against studying UFOs.

Wendt is about the closest thing you’ll find to a UFO expert in a world in which ufology isn’t a real science. Like other enthusiasts, he’s spent a lot of time looking at the evidence, thinking about the stakes, and theorizing about why extraterrestrials would visit Earth in the first place.

In this conversation, which has been lightly edited for clarity, we discuss why scientists refuse to take UFOs seriously, why he thinks there’s a good chance ETs are behind the aircraft in those videos, and why he believes the discovery of extraterrestrial life would be the most significant event in human history.

27
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: May 05, 2020, 07:17:50 am »
Ah I'll have to check it out, even though I am a bit puzzled why - as one of the five people on Earth qualified to talk about free will - I wasn't consulted...

28
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 03, 2020, 09:50:29 pm »
“There will remain a certain sphere which will be outside physics ... It is obvious that a man who can see knows things which a blind man cannot know; but a blind man can know the whole of physics.”
- Bertrand Russell

"We can recognize a materialist author by his habit of using the traditional forms of Christian piety in speaking about the material world.'
 – RG Collingwood


'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma. ... Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

“The physical world is only known as regards certain abstract features of its space-time structure—features which, because of their abstractness, do not suffice to show whether the world is, or is not, different in intrinsic character from the world of mind.”

- Bertrand Russell

29
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 02, 2020, 10:31:11 pm »
In front of the bear that has just been cut into pieces, the hunter murmurs a prayer of vertiginous sweetness:

“Allow me to kill you even in the future.”


Roberto Calasso, The Celestial Hunter

=-=-=

Art is magic... But how is it magic? In its metaphysical development? Or does some final transformation culminate in a magic reality?

In truth, the latter is impossible without the former. If creation is not magic, the outcome cannot be magic.

-Hans Hoffman

30
New findings suggest laws of nature 'downright weird,' not as constant as previously thought

Lachlan Gilbert

Quote
Not only does a universal constant seem annoyingly inconstant at the outer fringes of the cosmos, it occurs in only one direction, which is downright weird.

Those looking forward to a day when science's Grand Unifying Theory of Everything could be worn on a t-shirt may have to wait a little longer as astrophysicists continue to find hints that one of the cosmological constants is not so constant after all.

In a paper published in Science Advances, scientists from UNSW Sydney reported that four new measurements of light emitted from a quasar 13 billion light years away reaffirm past studies that found tiny variations in the fine structure constant.

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