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Illusion of Freedom
Posted: 21 November 2012 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 181 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 20 November 2012 10:09 AM

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?

Personally i dont believe such a theory will come. Consciousness and physical properties share virtually no similarities (expressing conscious experiences in physical terms results in meaningless statements: how much does the number 9 weigh? How heavy is pain? Etc.), so i dont know why people so readily accept that both are the same. If i told you that a rock is actually a dog, would you believe it? Some people use the word “physical” as a sort of containerterm that they shove everything into, but really it is very specific and it is determined by that which physics measures and identifies. As it stands, consciousness cannot be measured at all. In fact when we talk about “measuring” we are talking about empiricism, which is the basis of all science. Empiricism means “to experience”, which happens to be what consciousness is.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 182 ]  
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srrr - 21 November 2012 07:21 AM

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

Proof is a false concept. Its part of the Justified True Belief epistemology that Aristotle created and that 99.999+% of the population today uses. Karl Popper refuted JTB—a “proof” of an idea does not make that idea true because the proof could be false. Instead determine truth by guesses and criticism.

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:21 AM

P1: The only things reductionism reduces, are our own misconceptions.

I don’t know what that means. Reductionism is the idea that properties can be reduced to their smallest components, thus revealing a lower level of universality—which is a set of lower level properties that don’t exist in any other levels of universality.


Our misconceptions are unrelated to that.


Our misconceptions have to do with our knowledge of reality. Humans are fallible. That means that we cannot know which of our ideas is mistaken (aka “is a misconception”). A mistaken idea means that it does not completely correspond with reality. So how do we find out which of our ideas is a misconception? We look for flaws in our ideas (by criticizing them). Then we create new ideas that don’t have those flaws. So basically we go from mistaken idea to less mistaken idea to less mistaken idea.

srrr - 21 November 2012 07:21 AM

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.


I don’t understand why you linked reductionism with the idea that humans have misconceptions. Please explain.

 

 

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Posted: 21 November 2012 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 183 ]  
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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.

I’ll try to say this differently:

A reductionist has the following theory: I can represent any form of consciousness as a function of physical properties.

This act of representing any form of consciousness is in and of itself a form of consciousness.

Consequently, I can represent the act of (representing any form of consciousness as a function of physical properties) as a function of physical properties…

Consequently, I can represent the act of representing the act of (representing any form…

Consequently, I can represent the act of representing the act of representing the act of (representing any form…

Since you get an infinite number of statements. So I think you have a problem there. Maybe you can solve this problem, but it won’t be simple. The basic problem ist that we are consciously trying to create a meta-theory of consciousness. There is an aspect of circularity in this form of reasoning. Science just uses conscious experience in order to describe the non-conscious physical world.

At this point, we should get hold of some mathematician who has studied logical theories. This somehow reminds me of problems that arise in this domain.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 184 ]  
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kikl - 21 November 2012 09:58 AM

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.

I’ll try to say this differently:

A reductionist has the following theory: I can represent any form of consciousness as a function of physical properties.

Why do you have the “I” in there? Take it out.


Consciousness is a property reducible to its smaller parts (aka lower level properties).

kikl - 21 November 2012 09:58 AM

This act of representing any form of consciousness is in and of itself a form of consciousness.

I don’t know what that means. Why are you talking about “forms of consciousness”? Do you mean the “property of consciousness”? Or are you talking about the different conscious properties between different species?

kikl - 21 November 2012 09:58 AM

Consequently, I can represent the act of (representing any form of consciousness as a function of physical properties) as a function of physical properties…

Consequently, I can represent the act of representing the act of (representing any form…

Consequently, I can represent the act of representing the act of representing the act of (representing any form…

Since you get an infinite number of statements. So I think you have a problem there.

Thats known as a regress problem.

kikl - 21 November 2012 09:58 AM

Maybe you can solve this problem, but it won’t be simple. The basic problem is that we are consciously trying to create a meta-theory of consciousness. There is an aspect of circularity in this form of reasoning. Science just uses conscious experience in order to describe the non-conscious physical world.

At this point, we should get hold of some mathematician who has studied logical theories. This somehow reminds me of problems that arise in this domain.

I don’t think math will help here. Although some math guys would disagree. Check out this discussion between a math guy and I about the mind/body problem: http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fabric-of-Reality/message/24735

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Posted: 21 November 2012 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 185 ]  
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This act of representing any form of consciousness is in and of itself a form of consciousness.

I don’t know what that means.

It means that representing an act of consciousness as a function of a physical property is something that your mind performs. It is an act of consciousness. If you say: I believe that every mental act can be represented as a function of physical properties, then you are preforming a mental act. Any form of conscious thinking is a state of consciousness.

I am quite convinced that this has to do with predicate logic. Let P be the predicate of consciousness. F by a certain function and X represent a state of the physical world. In logical terms you are saying:

VP€FP(F(x))

V = for all quantor
€ = there exists quantor

For all P exists an F, such that PF(X)

That’s what you are telling us. Every conscious mental state corresponds to a state X of the physical world and can be represented as a function of X. So this is a form of 2.end order predicate logic. Let S be the logical statement: S= VP€FP(F(X)); The predicate of this statement is also true: VP€FP(F(S)); this is also a logical statement, and so on and so forth….

I don’t know how you deal with these kind of problems. But, you can’t say that this is no problem, because you don’t understand what it means.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 186 ]  
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kikl - 21 November 2012 11:52 AM

This act of representing any form of consciousness is in and of itself a form of consciousness.

I don’t know what that means.

It means that representing an act of consciousness as a function of a physical property is something that your mind performs. It is an act of consciousness. If you say: I believe that every mental act can be represented as a function of physical properties, then you are preforming a mental act. Any form of conscious thinking is a state of consciousness.

I am quite convinced that this has to do with predicate logic. Let P be the predicate of consciousness. F by a certain function and X represent a state of the physical world. In logical terms you are saying:

VP€FP(F(x))

V = for all quantor
€ = there exists quantor

For all P exists an F, such that PF(X)

That’s what you are telling us. Every conscious mental state corresponds to a state X of the physical world and can be represented as a function of X. So this is a form of 2.end order predicate logic. Let S be the logical statement: S= VP€FP(F(X)); The predicate of this statement is also true: VP€FP(F(S)); this is also a logical statement, and so on and so forth….

I don’t know how you deal with these kind of problems. But, you can’t say that this is no problem, because you don’t understand what it means.

Oh no, I got it wrong, it is a lot simpler: Simply P(S) - S hat the property of being a mental state. P(P(S))... and so on and so forth…

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Posted: 21 November 2012 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 187 ]  
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kikl - 21 November 2012 11:52 AM

It means that representing an act of consciousness as a function of a physical property is something that your mind performs.

Why are you talking about representations of acts? And why have you started using the term function?

kikl - 21 November 2012 11:52 AM

It is an act of consciousness. If you say: I believe that every mental act can be represented as a function of physical properties, then you are preforming a mental act. Any form of conscious thinking is a state of consciousness.

I haven’t said that. You are the one adding in the “I believe that” before the idea. The idea being that “all properties are reducible to smaller components”.


Truth exists independent of minds.

kikl - 21 November 2012 11:52 AM

I am quite convinced that this has to do with predicate logic. Let P be the predicate of consciousness. F by a certain function and X represent a state of the physical world. In logical terms you are saying:

VP€FP(F(x))

V = for all quantor
€ = there exists quantor

For all P exists an F, such that PF(X)

That’s what you are telling us. Every conscious mental state corresponds to a state X of the physical world and can be represented as a function of X. So this is a form of 2.end order predicate logic. Let S be the logical statement: S= VP€FP(F(X)); The predicate of this statement is also true: VP€FP(F(S)); this is also a logical statement, and so on and so forth….

I don’t know how you deal with these kind of problems. But, you can’t say that this is no problem, because you don’t understand what it means.

The problem I see is that you have added the words “I believe that” in front of the idea and you haven’t explained why we should add that.


It sounds like you think truth does not exist except in the minds of humans. And this is false. Truth is objective, i.e. independent of minds.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 188 ]  
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“The problem I see is that you have added the words “I believe that” in front of the idea and you haven’t explained why we should add that.

Well, if you actually don’t believe it, then we have nothing to talk about, right? So you are no longer claiming that you believe in this? wink

I think that you don’t want to understand the problem and are trying to weasel your way out in a disingenuous manner!

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Posted: 21 November 2012 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 189 ]  
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kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

“The problem I see is that you have added the words “I believe that” in front of the idea and you haven’t explained why we should add that.

Well, if you actually don’t believe it, then we have nothing to talk about, right? So you are no longer claiming that you believe in this? wink

Whether or not I believe an idea does not matter. We discuss the content of the idea on the merit of the content. Agreed? Or do you think its important to consider the source of an idea in determining whether or not that idea is true?


The only reason that I do believe the ideas that I believe is because I currently do not have any criticisms of my ideas.

kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

I think that you don’t want to understand the problem and are trying to weasel your way out in a disingenuous manner!

Dangerous? Who’s in danger?


I’m weaseling (aka evading)? But I addressed your ideas. And I pointed out the flaws that I noticed. And I asked you questions that you didn’t answer—hence you evaded.

 

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Posted: 21 November 2012 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 190 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 21 November 2012 12:25 PM
kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

“The problem I see is that you have added the words “I believe that” in front of the idea and you haven’t explained why we should add that.

Well, if you actually don’t believe it, then we have nothing to talk about, right? So you are no longer claiming that you believe in this? wink

Whether or not I believe an idea does not matter. We discuss the content of the idea on the merit of the content. Agreed? Or do you think its important to consider the source of an idea in determining whether or not that idea is true?


The only reason that I do believe the ideas that I believe is because I currently do not have any criticisms of my ideas.

kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

I think that you don’t want to understand the problem and are trying to weasel your way out in a disingenuous manner!

Dangerous? Who’s in danger?


I’m weaseling (aka evading)? But I addressed your ideas. And I pointed out the flaws that I noticed. And I asked you questions that you didn’t answer—hence you evaded.

If you don’t believe in this sentence, then you are playing games, because you have stated that you believe in this over and over again.

“We discuss the content of the idea on the merit of the content.” Sure, but the content of the idea is thinking.

“Or do you think its important to consider the source of an idea in determining whether or not that idea is true?” No, I think it is necessary to seriously consider objections, which you don’t!

Let me explain this to you once more:

Why are you talking about representations of acts?

Because conscious thinking is an act. Our topic is consciousness!

And why have you started using the term function?

Because according to you consciousness merely emerges from physical states. This means that consciousness is a function of the physical world X; it depends on the state of the physical world F(X). Finally, consciousness is a property P, a predicate of the physical world; P(F(X)) There you go!

For (V) all states of consciousness (P) there exists (€) a function (F), such that P(F(X)), wherein X is a state of the physical world.

Since you believe in this, I may add:

Rami Rustom believes: VP€FP(F(X))

Since such a belief is a state of consciousness no matter who believes it, you go right into the loop.

And there you go into your eternal loop! Let’s see how you jump out of this without stating again: I don’t believe in this!

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Posted: 21 November 2012 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 191 ]  
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kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

“Or do you think its important to consider the source of an idea in determining whether or not that idea is true?” No, I think it is necessary to seriously consider objections, which you don’t!

By objections, I think you mean criticisms. A criticism is an explanation of a flaw in an idea. So, you’re saying that you’ve explained some flaws in my ideas and that I didn’t address them? Hmm. Thats news to me. Please point out (quote) your criticisms that I haven’t addressed.

kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

Let me explain this to you once more:

Why are you talking about representations of acts?

Because conscious thinking is an act. Our topic is consciousness!

And why have you started using the term function?

Because according to you consciousness merely emerges from physical states. This means that consciousness is a function of the physical world X; it depends on the state of the physical world F(X). Finally, consciousness is a property P, a predicate of the physical world; P(F(X)) There you go!

I’m confused here. You said *consciousness is a function of the physical word*, and then you said *consciousness is a property*. Which one is it?

kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

For (V) all states of consciousness (P) there exists (€) a function (F), such that P(F(X)), wherein X is a state of the physical world.

Since you believe in this, I may add:

Why do you think I believe in something that I don’t even understand (yet)?

kikl - 21 November 2012 12:17 PM

Rami Rustom believes: VP€FP(F(X))

Since such a belief is a state of consciousness no matter who believes it, you go right into the loop.

And there you go into your eternal loop! Let’s see how you jump out of this without stating again: I don’t believe in this!

What are you talking about? I don’t even understand this loop stuff. I don’t understand why you think there is a loop. And that is the part I’ve been trying to get you to explain.


Aside from all of that. If you don’t believe that consciousness is reducible to physical properties, then what rival theory do you believe? Where does consciousness come from?

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Posted: 21 November 2012 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 192 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 21 November 2012 08:08 AM

I don’t know what that means. Reductionism is the idea that properties can be reduced to their smallest components, thus revealing a lower level of universality—which is a set of lower level properties that don’t exist in any other levels of universality.

When a physical phenomenon can be reduced, it means it can be better understood in terms of its smaller ingredients. For example, a water molecule can be better understood as H2O. People used to think atoms were indivisible, but even the 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom can be better understood in terms of their elementary particles and their forces. So there is a more complete understanding as the phenomenon gets reduced. Its the same as when you think a parked car is a solid, static, motionless object. Further investigation reveals the car to consist of a huge amount of moving atoms with lots of space between them. The initial idea of the car as being a solid motionless object, was a misconception and it has been reduced to a more accurate view of the physical situation.


Reductionism doesnt actually physically reduce anything out there, it only reduces our misconceptions. The notion of indivisible atoms, and that of a solid motionless car, only exist because of our flawed perceptions and lack of understanding of the world around us.


So you see that C cannot be reduced to non-C ingredients. To state that C is a flawed notion like that of an indivisible atom (one that can be reduced away) leaves C fully intact because a flawed notion only exists by grace of a conscious being that has a misunderstanding.

[ Edited: 21 November 2012 01:26 PM by srrr]
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Posted: 21 November 2012 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 193 ]  
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“I’m confused here. You said *consciousness is a function of the physical word*, and then you said *consciousness is a property*. Which one is it?”

It is both, consciousness depends on state of the physical world is conscious and it is also a property - a higher level propery - of the physical word. F is the function and P is the property.

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Posted: 21 November 2012 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 194 ]  
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“Why do you think I believe in something that I don’t even understand (yet)?”

Because that’s what you’ve been saying over and over again: Consciousness merely emerges from the physical world. This means two things: 1. It is a property of the physical world and 2. It depends on the physical world.

S=All states of consciousness merely emerge from the physical world. That is your reductionist statement.

Since you believe in S and a belief is a state of consciousness P, the statement S corresponds to a state of consiousness P, P(S)

Consequently, you must also believe P(S); since belief is a state of consciousnessP, the statement P(S) corresponds to a state of sonsciousness PP(S).

Consequently, you must also believe PP(S); since this belief is a state of consciousness P, the statement PP(S) corresponds to a state of consciousness PPP(S)....

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Posted: 21 November 2012 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 195 ]  
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srrr - 21 November 2012 01:03 PM
Rami Rustom - 21 November 2012 08:08 AM

I don’t know what that means. Reductionism is the idea that properties can be reduced to their smallest components, thus revealing a lower level of universality—which is a set of lower level properties that don’t exist in any other levels of universality.

When a physical phenomenon can be reduced, it means it can be better understood in terms of its smaller ingredients. For example, a water molecule can be better understood as H2O. People used to think atoms were indivisible, but even the 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom can be better understood in terms of their elementary particles and their forces. So there is a more complete understanding as the phenomenon gets reduced. Its the same as when you think a parked car is a solid, static, motionless object. Further investigation reveals the car to consist of a huge amount of moving atoms with lots of space between them. The initial idea of the car as being a solid motionless object, was a misconception and it has been reduced to a more accurate view of the physical situation.

Reductionism doesnt actually physically reduce anything out there, it only reduces our misconceptions.

Not exactly. Lets take a real example.


Newton’s theory of gravity approximately explained a subset of all situations. I said approximate because there is some error. Newton’s theory does not correspond to reality 100%. But its fairly accurate for situations involving big objects moving slowly. It horribly wrong for other situations.


Einstein noticed the flaw that Newton’s theory of gravity is horribly wrong in explaining situations involving objects moving close to the speed of light. So Einstein created his theory which approximately explained a larger subset of situations than did Newton’s theory did—hence less of a misconception that Newton’s theory was.


The point is this. Newton’s theory of gravity and Einstein’s theory of gravity exist independently of humans. If we create a computer program that applies algorithms consistent with these theories, and we let them process inputs and give outputs, and then all humans die, these theories will still exist and those programs will still process inputs and give outputs consistent with Newton’s and Einstein’s theories.

srrr - 21 November 2012 01:03 PM

The notion of indivisible atoms, and that of a solid motionless car, only exist because of our flawed perceptions and lack of understanding of the world around us.

Why did you say perceptions this time? Perceptions are distinct from conceptions (aka theories).

srrr - 21 November 2012 01:03 PM

So you see that the consciousness cannot be reduced to nonconscious ingredients.

No I don’t see that. How does that follow?

srrr - 21 November 2012 01:03 PM

We may have a flawed understanding of consciousness, but that cannot be the cause it exists at all.

What?

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