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Illusion of Freedom
Posted: 17 November 2012 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 166 ]  
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srrr - 17 November 2012 06:43 AM

Rami, i think that emergence doesnt occur anywhere in nature. That means the whole concept of emergence is unnatural/supernatural. The reason i think this is because according to physics, all physical objects in the universe consist of a quantity of elementary particles and fundamental forces, seperated by quantities of spacetime. That means the difference between any two physical objects (for example a rock and a raindrop, or a rock and a brain) are also differences in those physical ingredients. The difference is always just quantitative.

No. Emergent properties are qualitatively different than the properties of lower levels of universality. See example below.

srrr - 17 November 2012 06:43 AM

The raindrop may have a few elementary particles less than the rock, the distance between the particles may be greater so that the configuration is different, some forces are weaker and there is more motion, etc. You will not find any new physical ingredients that emerged in the raindrop.

I did not say that new physical “ingredients” emerge. I said that “properties” emerge.

srrr - 17 November 2012 06:43 AM

Some will say “but the raindrop is wet”, and it is true that we humans attach the label “wetness” to water. But physically speaking, wetness is fully reducible to particles and forces. Even a parked car, which we may call motionless, actually has a lot of motion within it. Motion doesnt suddenly emerge when the car starts driving, it exists within the car already. Only the quantity of it changes when the car changes speeds.


The claim physicalists make is that consciousness emerged in the brain. First there was none at all, and then suddenly there is some of it. I say, hold on, before we accept that, lets first see if emergence actually happens at all in nature. If it doesnt, then why believe brains are some kind of exception where it does happen? To debunk my argument, all that is needed is a single example of emergence happening in some physical object. The example that you gave (free will) is one that involves a conscious brain. Any example involving mind isdisqualified, because you cannot argue that “mind emerges in brains, because we know emergence is possible, as demonstrated by minds emerging in brains”. I suggest you find a really simple physical system that you think demonstrates emergence.

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.


On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 167 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 17 November 2012 12:41 PM

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.

On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

So the first example you pick are properties of atoms. And you think that those properties are qualitatively different. So can you tell me which of those properties do not consist of a quantity basic physical ingredients (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

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Posted: 18 November 2012 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 168 ]  
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srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM
Rami Rustom - 17 November 2012 12:41 PM

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.

On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

So the first example you pick are properties of atoms. And you think that those properties are qualitatively different.

Different than what?

srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM

So can you tell me which of those properties do not consist of a quantity basic physical ingredients (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

I don’t understand your question. I said nothing about “physical ingredients”. I’ve been talking about “properties”, not “ingredients”.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 169 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 18 November 2012 07:52 AM
srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM
Rami Rustom - 17 November 2012 12:41 PM

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.

On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

So the first example you pick are properties of atoms. And you think that those properties are qualitatively different.

Different than what?

srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM

So can you tell me which of those properties do not consist of a quantity basic physical ingredients (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

I don’t understand your question. I said nothing about “physical ingredients”. I’ve been talking about “properties”, not “ingredients”.

I think the question is: How do non-physical properties emerge from purely physical properties. Physics describes the world in terms of particles and forces. A complete physical description provides the position and impulse of each partical, as far as this can be determined. But no matter how you arrange the particles and forces, physics alone won’t give you any additional properties than these properties alone.

So if conscience is a physical property, then it would have to be some kind of function of the particles and forces. This would just be a different presentation of the same kind of information, you wouldn’t be adding anything new. For example, macroscopic ideas such as temperature can be described in terms of particles and forces… But, we have no idea whatsoever and no starting point, which makes it possible to assume that such a function of the particles and forces could represent conscience. However, this is what you have to assume as a pure physicalist.

An alternative solution could be to assume that the physical particles have a certain property that we haven’t identified yet. This “conscience property” only emerges and becomes observable if the particles are arranged in a particular fashion…

To be frank: I don’t think that the mind/body problem has been solved and we haven’t even know how to begin solving it.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 170 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 18 November 2012 07:52 AM
srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM
Rami Rustom - 17 November 2012 12:41 PM

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.

On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

So the first example you pick are properties of atoms. And you think that those properties are qualitatively different.

Different than what?

In your own words:

No. Emergent properties are qualitatively different than the properties of lower levels of universality.

srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM

So can you tell me which of those properties do not consist of a quantity basic physical ingredients (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

I don’t understand your question. I said nothing about “physical ingredients”. I’ve been talking about “properties”, not “ingredients”.

Physical properties then. Please tell which physical properties of atoms do not consist of a quantity of basic physical properties (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

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Posted: 18 November 2012 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 171 ]  
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srrr - 18 November 2012 09:32 AM
Rami Rustom - 18 November 2012 07:52 AM
srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM
Rami Rustom - 17 November 2012 12:41 PM

From the properties of the fundemantal particles and force come the properties of atoms—properties that don’t exist in the level of fundemantal particles and forces. From that emerges properties we call chemistry—properties that don’t exist on the atomic level. From that emerges properties we call biology (like life)—properties that don’t exist on the chemical level.

On the biology level, one of the emergent properties are that long strands of molecules—used to create micro-sized machines—replicate themselves (DNA). This is a property that doesn’t exist on any of the lower levels of universality.

So the first example you pick are properties of atoms. And you think that those properties are qualitatively different.

Different than what?

In your own words:

No. Emergent properties are qualitatively different than the properties of lower levels of universality.

srrr - 18 November 2012 07:47 AM

So can you tell me which of those properties do not consist of a quantity basic physical ingredients (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

I don’t understand your question. I said nothing about “physical ingredients”. I’ve been talking about “properties”, not “ingredients”.

Physical properties then. Please tell which physical properties of atoms do not consist of a quantity of basic physical properties (elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime)?

I think that is equivalent to something we’ve already discussed and agreed on. So I’ll rephrase your question and you tell me if I understood. “Are all properties fully reducible to properties of lower levels of universality?” My answer to that is yes.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 172 ]  
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kikl - 18 November 2012 08:02 AM

I think the question is: How do non-physical properties emerge from purely physical properties. Physics describes the world in terms of particles and forces. A complete physical description provides the position and impulse of each partical, as far as this can be determined. But no matter how you arrange the particles and forces, physics alone won’t give you any additional properties than these properties alone.

So if conscience is a physical property, then it would have to be some kind of function of the particles and forces. This would just be a different presentation of the same kind of information, you wouldn’t be adding anything new. For example, macroscopic ideas such as temperature can be described in terms of particles and forces… But, we have no idea whatsoever and no starting point, which makes it possible to assume that such a function of the particles and forces could represent conscience. However, this is what you have to assume as a pure physicalist.

An alternative solution could be to assume that the physical particles have a certain property that we haven’t identified yet. This “conscience property” only emerges and becomes observable if the particles are arranged in a particular fashion…

No. In general…


The cognitive properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely neurological physiology.


The neurological physiological properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely biology.


The biological properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely chemistry.


The chemical properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely physics.


I said in general because what I’ve just described is not actually just 4 levels of universality. Each field that I just described is many levels of universality.


The point is this. At each level of universality, there exists properties that do not exist in the other levels. So, the cognitive property of consciousness *does not* exist in any other level of universality—it only exists in minds. This consciousness property emerged from the properties of neurological physiology. So, the consciousness property does not emerge from the subatomic level of universality—it requires many levels of universality in between.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 173 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 20 November 2012 08:02 AM
kikl - 18 November 2012 08:02 AM

... But, we have no idea whatsoever and no starting point, which makes it possible to assume that such a function of the particles and forces could represent conscience. However, this is what you have to assume as a pure physicalist.

An alternative solution could be to assume that the physical particles have a certain property that we haven’t identified yet. This “conscience property” only emerges and becomes observable if the particles are arranged in a particular fashion…

No. In general…


The cognitive properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely neurological physiology.


The neurological physiological properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely biology.


The biological properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely chemistry.


The chemical properties emerged from a lower level of universality, namely physics.


I said in general because what I’ve just described is not actually just 4 levels of universality. Each field that I just described is many levels of universality.


The point is this. At each level of universality, there exists properties that do not exist in the other levels. So, the cognitive property of consciousness *does not* exist in any other level of universality—it only exists in minds. This consciousness property emerged from the properties of neurological physiology. So, the consciousness property does not emerge from the subatomic level of universality—it requires many levels of universality in between.

“The point is this. At each level of universality, there exists properties that do not exist in the other levels.”

That’s a false, all of these properties exist in the higher level. Chemistry is just the physics of valence electrons. Biology is the physics and chemistry of living organisms and neural physiology is just a part of biology. It is just a different presentation of the same information. Every chemical reaction or bond can be described in terms of the position and impuls of particles; the particles involved are the valence electrons and their respective atoms. Every biological phenomenon can also be described in terms of the position and impulses of particles, the particles that make up the living body.

I don’t think that you grasp the problem. You must describe consciousness as a function of the position and impulses of particles. Even if we do not know the answer now, does there exist any plausible theory which could explain how particles somehow create consciousness? I don’t think so.

That’s the mind / body problem.

At this point in time, the best answer to the question is: We do not have an answer.

Claiming that consciousness merely emerges from physics is just as unfounded and irrational as the belief in god.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 174 ]  
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kikl - 20 November 2012 08:18 AM

“The point is this. At each level of universality, there exists properties that do not exist in the other levels.”

That’s a false, all of these properties exist in the higher level. Chemistry is just the physics of valence electrons. Biology is the physics and chemistry of living organisms and neural physiology is just a part of biology.

You are confusing these two ideas:


#1 All properties can be reduced to their smallest parts, thus revealing properties of a lower level of universality. And the lowest level if subatomic physics.


#2 All properties exist in all levels of universality.


#1 is true. #2 is false.


Here’s an example. DNA replicates itself. This replicative property does not exist in any other level of universality. No other molecules replicate themselves. No other physical, chemical, nor biological objects replicate themselves (I’m not counting birth nor cell division as replication since there are huge changes involved in the process—and in DNA replication there are no changes besides the mistakes inherent in the fallible process of DNA replication). If you agree with this, then you agree that #2 is false.


Agreed?

kikl - 20 November 2012 08:18 AM

It is just a different presentation of the same information. Every chemical reaction or bond can be described in terms of the position and impuls of particles; the particles involved are the valence electrons and their respective atoms. Every biological phenomenon can also be described in terms of the position and impulses of particles, the particles that make up the living body.

I don’t think that you grasp the problem. You must describe consciousness as a function of the position and impulses of particles.

Right.

kikl - 20 November 2012 08:18 AM

Even if we do not know the answer now, does there exist any plausible theory which could explain how particles somehow create consciousness? I don’t think so.

Why does it matter whether or not the theory exists today? Are you saying that since we don’t know such a theory now then that means we can’t discover such a theory in the future?

kikl - 20 November 2012 08:18 AM

That’s the mind / body problem.

At this point in time, the best answer to the question is: We do not have an answer.

Claiming that consciousness merely emerges from physics is just as unfounded and irrational as the belief in god.

Thats an unexplained assertion. What is your explanation for that assertion?


Do you realize that your idea conflicts with idea #1 above?

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Posted: 20 November 2012 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 175 ]  
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“Here’s an example. DNA replicates itself. This replicative property does not exist in any other level of universality. No other molecules replicate themselves. No other physical, chemical, nor biological objects replicate themselves (I’m not counting birth nor cell division as replication since there are huge changes involved in the process—and in DNA replication there are no changes besides the mistakes inherent in the fallible process of DNA replication). If you agree with this, then you agree that #2 is false.”


Agreed?

I disagree. DNA does not replicate itself. It is replicated in a cell.

So again, your premise is false. Nothing completely new can arise in this manner.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 176 ]  
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kikl - 20 November 2012 09:47 AM

“Here’s an example. DNA replicates itself. This replicative property does not exist in any other level of universality. No other molecules replicate themselves. No other physical, chemical, nor biological objects replicate themselves (I’m not counting birth nor cell division as replication since there are huge changes involved in the process—and in DNA replication there are no changes besides the mistakes inherent in the fallible process of DNA replication). If you agree with this, then you agree that #2 is false.”


Agreed?

I disagree. DNA does not replicate itself. It is replicated in a cell.

So again, your premise is false. Nothing completely new can arise in this manner.

Oh, by the way: The replication of DNA can be described completely in terms of the position and motion of particles. How can conscience be described in terms of the position and motion of particles? How does conscience arise from unconscious particles?

If you knew a plausible answer, I would be very surprised.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 177 ]  
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kikl - 20 November 2012 09:47 AM

“Here’s an example. DNA replicates itself. This replicative property does not exist in any other level of universality. No other molecules replicate themselves. No other physical, chemical, nor biological objects replicate themselves (I’m not counting birth nor cell division as replication since there are huge changes involved in the process—and in DNA replication there are no changes besides the mistakes inherent in the fallible process of DNA replication). If you agree with this, then you agree that #2 is false.”


Agreed?

I disagree. DNA does not replicate itself. It is replicated in a cell.

So again, your premise is false.

Yes. How does that contradict what I said?

kikl - 20 November 2012 09:47 AM

Nothing completely new can arise in this manner.

What do you mean by “completely new”? I don’t know what you’re referring to in that sentence.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 178 ]  
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kikl - 20 November 2012 09:51 AM

Oh, by the way: The replication of DNA can be described completely in terms of the position and motion of particles. How can conscience be described in terms of the position and motion of particles? How does conscience arise from unconscious particles?

If you knew a plausible answer, I would be very surprised.


I don’t have an answer. No one today has created a theory that can explain that. You and I already agreed about this. And I asked you a question, and you didn’t answer me. Did you accidentally forget to answer my question? Or are you evading?


Here’s the question again:


Do you think that just because we don’t have a theory explaining consciousness that that means we won’t have such a theory in the future?


If you answer no, then I don’t understand why you brought this up twice—as if to say that not having a theory of consciousness “proves” your idea that consciousness is not a property reducible to physics.


If you answer yes, you’ve made a philosophical mistake.  Its equivalent to saying that since we didn’t have a theory of gravity in the year 1,000 AD that means that we won’t have a theory of gravity in the future.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 179 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 20 November 2012 10:09 AM

I don’t have an answer. No one today has created a theory that can explain that. You and I already agreed about this. And I asked you a question, and you didn’t answer me. Did you accidentally forget to answer my question? Or are you evading?


Here’s the question again:


Do you think that just because we don’t have a theory explaining consciousness that that means we won’t have such a theory in the future?


If you answer no, then I don’t understand why you brought this up twice—as if to say that not having a theory of consciousness “proves” your idea that consciousness is not a property reducible to physics.


If you answer yes, you’ve made a philosophical mistake.  Its equivalent to saying that since we didn’t have a theory of gravity in the year 1,000 AD that means that we won’t have a theory of gravity in the future.

I actually do have proof that consciousness (C) is not reducible to nonconscious ingredients:

________________________________________________
P1: The only things reductionism reduces, are our own misconceptions.
P2: Misconceptions require C.
C: To say that C is reducible, is to say that C is a misconception that requires C.
________________________________________________

As you see, the conclusion doesnt get rid of C. The statement “C is reducible” can be compared with the statement “C is dreamable” or “C is an illusion”. Even if C is dreamable, there is still a C that is dreaming it. That is why C is not reducible to non-C things.

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 07:27 AM by srrr]
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Posted: 21 November 2012 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 180 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 20 November 2012 08:02 AM

The point is this. At each level of universality, there exists properties that do not exist in the other levels. So, the cognitive property of consciousness *does not* exist in any other level of universality—it only exists in minds. This consciousness property emerged from the properties of neurological physiology. So, the consciousness property does not emerge from the subatomic level of universality—it requires many levels of universality in between.

I understand your point, and my point is that those emergent properties that you talk about, actually dont exist. All that exists physically are the elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime. If you zoom in at any supposed emergent property found in chemistry, you will see it is fully reducible (=describable in terms of) those particles and forces. There really is nothing else to squeeze in there.

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