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Illusion of Freedom
Posted: 08 September 2012 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 151 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 08 September 2012 05:35 PM
toombaru - 08 September 2012 10:42 AM

The root of the problem lies within the concept “free swill” or for that matter the word “will”.
The objectifying mind labels its perceptual input and then mistakes its own labels for reality.
When it observes its own actions, they appear to originate from it own “choices”.
Actually the neurons in the brain react to their uniquely evolved survival program and the sense of self emerges downstream from that process to claim the “choice”.
The sense of being a separate, volitional entity is a dream…...a conceptual overlay.
Find out how substantial the self is and the issue of free will becomes moot.


Hey…..........that’s a good name for a baby.


grin

There is nothing wrong with the model, but that doesn’t give it a claim to truth - only internal consistency.  As I see it, there is the same significant problem with both sides: What evolutionary path could lead to the emergence of [an illusion of/the existence of] free will?  It would need serve a purpose, or be a vestige of some faculty evolved for some other purpose.  Clearly, our neurological processes are creating one or the other,but I have yet to run across an argument that can help me to prefer one over the other.  The only proposition I find convincing thus far is that we don’t have enough evidence to make the call.

 

 

The persona probably emerged when the mind of man first objectified its perceptual input.
Babies don’t really have the sense of a separate self until we fill them up with words.
The brain creates and sustains an imaginary pseudo-reaity.
It colors in a psychological center that individually and en mass defends an imaginary kingdom.
The self is a phantom, totally composed of the brain’s swirling mnemonic debris.
The sense of self, (the I am, the ego, etc) appearing to be a substantial entity offers tremendous advantages to the biological organism.
Its presence helps insure the survival and propagation of the organism’s gene pool.
It is the reason that humans (for the time being) dominate the earth.
It spins out and wraps its self in innumerable religions and philosophies as a way to substantiate its own imaginary existence.
The brain is not programmed to grasp the self’s essential emptiness and will resist any attempt to undermine its own little movie.
There appears to be a condition in which the self loses its opacity and the brain no longer buys into its own raucous screeching.
When the charade is seem, its game over.
This apperception is impossible to grasp by using the very tool out of which the dilemma emerges.
It’s a hell of a problem that doesn’t even exit.

 

 

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Posted: 08 September 2012 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 152 ]  
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toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

The persona probably emerged when the mind of man first objectified its perceptual input.
Babies don’t really have the sense of a separate self until we fill them up with words.
The brain creates and sustains an imaginary pseudo-reaity.
It colors in a psychological center that individually and en mass defends an imaginary kingdom.
The self is a phantom, totally composed of the brain’s swirling mnemonic debris.

Why?

toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

The sense of self, (the I am, the ego, etc) appearing to be a substantial entity offers tremendous advantages to the biological organism.
Its presence helps insure the survival and propagation of the organism’s gene pool.

How?

toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

It is the reason that humans (for the time being) dominate the earth.
It spins out and wraps its self in innumerable religions and philosophies as a way to substantiate its own imaginary existence.
The brain is not programmed to grasp the self’s essential emptiness and will resist any attempt to undermine its own little movie.
There appears to be a condition in which the self loses its opacity and the brain no longer buys into its own raucous screeching.
When the charade is seem, its game over.
This apperception is impossible to grasp by using the very tool out of which the dilemma emerges.
It’s a hell of a problem that doesn’t even exit.

What?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 10:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 153 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 08 September 2012 10:01 PM
toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

The persona probably emerged when the mind of man first objectified its perceptual input.
Babies don’t really have the sense of a separate self until we fill them up with words.
The brain creates and sustains an imaginary pseudo-reaity.
It colors in a psychological center that individually and en mass defends an imaginary kingdom.
The self is a phantom, totally composed of the brain’s swirling mnemonic debris.

Why?

toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

The sense of self, (the I am, the ego, etc) appearing to be a substantial entity offers tremendous advantages to the biological organism.
Its presence helps insure the survival and propagation of the organism’s gene pool.

How?

toombaru - 08 September 2012 06:28 PM

It is the reason that humans (for the time being) dominate the earth.
It spins out and wraps its self in innumerable religions and philosophies as a way to substantiate its own imaginary existence.
The brain is not programmed to grasp the self’s essential emptiness and will resist any attempt to undermine its own little movie.
There appears to be a condition in which the self loses its opacity and the brain no longer buys into its own raucous screeching.
When the charade is seem, its game over.
This apperception is impossible to grasp by using the very tool out of which the dilemma emerges.
It’s a hell of a problem that doesn’t even exit.

What?

 

Perhaps we could approach this by you offering evidence that supports the existence of self.

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Posted: 09 September 2012 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 154 ]  
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toombaru - 08 September 2012 10:51 PM

Perhaps we could approach this by you offering evidence that supports the existence of self.

As I’ve stated, I have none.  I take it as self evident that either the self, or an illusion thereof exists - I just see nothing to make me prefer one explanation to the other.  It doesn’t matter to me either way.  I would change nothing in my behavior if I was made to believe one or the other.  My main interest in the topic stems from the paucity of the arguments raised on both sides.  I am particularly irritated by Dr. Harris’s arguments, because I am such an enormous fan and hold him in such high regard.  As an owner of all of his books, I feel I am owed more than I got when I purchased Free Will. 


After reading the Moral Landscape, I knew which side he would argue.  I was fully prepared to have my mind made up for me once again by the power of his reason.  Instead, I found myself apologizing for his embarrassing breakdown in a largely unblemished record of commitment to reason.  After all, even Hitch sometimes whiffed on the softballs. 

 

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Posted: 09 September 2012 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 155 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 09 September 2012 06:45 PM
toombaru - 08 September 2012 10:51 PM

Perhaps we could approach this by you offering evidence that supports the existence of self.

As I’ve stated, I have none.  I take it as self evident that either the self, or an illusion thereof exists - I just see nothing to make me prefer one explanation to the other.  It doesn’t matter to me either way.  I would change nothing in my behavior if I was made to believe one or the other.  My main interest in the topic stems from the paucity of the arguments raised on both sides.  I am particularly irritated by Dr. Harris’s arguments, because I am such an enormous fan and hold him in such high regard.  As an owner of all of his books, I feel I am owed more than I got when I purchased Free Will. 


After reading the Moral Landscape, I knew which side he would argue.  I was fully prepared to have my mind made up for me once again by the power of his reason.  Instead, I found myself apologizing for his embarrassing breakdown in a largely unblemished record of commitment to reason.  After all, even Hitch sometimes whiffed on the softballs.


When you were dreaming last night, did you think that the dream character was real?

 

 

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Posted: 09 September 2012 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 156 ]  
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toombaru - 09 September 2012 06:50 PM

When you were dreaming last night, did you think that the dream character was real?

I hope you will forgive me for not answering a direct question, but I think a more interesting reply would be to point out that the fact that the human brain is capable of experiencing and even constantly bombarded by illusions (even while we are awake) does not at all imply that everything we experience is an illusion.  Quite the contrary, we know that many things are real and that is how we are able to achieve so much by empirical inquiry.  The question is how best to determine the reality of a purely mental phenomenon.  It’s been done, for example with color perception, but it isn’t an easy thing to do.  If we had studies that could resolve the issue, I’m quite convinced Sam would have cited them in his most recent book.  Instead, he cited studies which I think failed to address the question.

[ Edited: 09 September 2012 07:34 PM by TheCoolinator]
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Posted: 09 September 2012 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 157 ]  
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TheCoolinator - 09 September 2012 07:32 PM
toombaru - 09 September 2012 06:50 PM

When you were dreaming last night, did you think that the dream character was real?

I hope you will forgive me for not answering a direct question, but I think a more interesting reply would be to point out that the fact that the human brain is capable of experiencing and even constantly bombarded by illusions (even while we are awake) does not at all imply that everything we experience is an illusion.  Quite the contrary, we know that many things are real and that is how we are able to achieve so much by empirical inquiry.  The question is how best to determine the reality of a purely mental phenomenon.  It’s been done, for example with color perception, but it isn’t an easy thing to do.  If we had studies that could resolve the issue, I’m quite convinced Sam would have cited them in his most recent book.  Instead, he cited studies which I think failed to address the question.


The “world” that the brain experiences is far from an actuality.
With its extremely limited senses it is confined to the electro-chemical survival language evolved over eons.
The brain converts the sense’s input data into an impression of a world.
It never has access to the actual world.
This is all unspeakably amazing and beautiful but totally beyond its own abilities to grasp.
The brain is far too complex for the brain to understand.
It didn’t evolve tools for that purpose.
It is equipped to deal with things physical.
But it is undertaking an exercise in futility when it tries to sort out things that exist only as its own ideas.
The brain is incapable of determining if it has what it calls free will or not.

 

 

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Posted: 09 November 2012 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 158 ]  
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nv - 11 May 2011 04:56 AM

A new opinion is presenting itself to the mental world, kikl, and background noises from this opinion have been in the air for several years now. It may just be a secular reaction to use of the term free will, which is a term derived out of theistic religion. The new way of seeing things is a philosophical take that relies in part on an extremely fine level of reality’s tiniest detail (as with butterfly-wing effects), but in a practical sense, the potential for human freedom remains entirely intact.


Harris, in TML, addresses the issue poorly in my opinion, as he comes to the unfortunate conclusion that our brains order us around puppeteer-like. Since neurological functioning largely takes place beneath the surface of consciousness, we’re now informed that we have no choice but to blindly follow the impulses our brains send us. These people (neuroscientists) are leaving out the part about how “we” operate our brains in ways analogous to how we operate our computers. We have no need the view—or even be capable of viewing—the trillions of low-level calculations or optical-configuration manipulations that end up resulting in cognitive activity on the user level. Harris et al are letting themselves get confused by the subtle and complex interactions between these various levels of concept and figure manipulation.


Neuroscience as a field of inquiry has a vast and crucially important future. For the present, it seems only to be presenting brain farts to its waiting public.


Your analysis is correct. What you’re talking about is emergence. From neurological physiology emerges our minds. And from our computer hardware emerges our software.


The mind is a level of universality that emerged from the brain (which is a lower level of universality).


Studying properties on one level of universality explains nothing about the properties of another level of universality.


For more on the idea of universality/emergence, see _The Beginning of Infinity_ and join the discussion list:

http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/subscribe


For a discussion about free will and universality/emergence, see this:

http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/browse_thread/thread/b9aec8a14b41757a/5202787efe352703?lnk=gst&q=emergence#5202787efe352703

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Posted: 15 November 2012 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 159 ]  
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Emergence of mind is often used in philosphy, but unfortunately it is more something of a wish than a plausible mechanism. The main problem with it is that noone seems to be able to find any examples of it in nature. If we look at the hardware/software example in the previous post: even software is still plain hardware. There arent any 0’s and 1’s floating around in a computer, the whole thing is physical.

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Posted: 15 November 2012 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 160 ]  
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srrr - 15 November 2012 09:29 AM

Emergence of mind is often used in philosphy, but unfortunately it is more something of a wish than a plausible mechanism. The main problem with it is that noone seems to be able to find any examples of it in nature.

What do you mean “no examples in nature”? Could you clarify? Who was searching? And what were they searching for? And how were they searching for it?

srrr - 15 November 2012 09:29 AM

If we look at the hardware/software example in the previous post: even software is still plain hardware. There arent any 0’s and 1’s floating around in a computer, the whole thing is physical.

The knowledge in the mind is instantiated in the brain. Same as a silicon computer: The knowledge within the software is instantiated in the hardware (as 0’s and 1’s).


Consider what *emergence* means. And *what* is emerging.


Consider the level of universality known as the hardware of a computer. What are its properties? Each of its transistors can be set to 1 or 0. Thats it. Not useful to humans at all at this level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does the AND function and the OR function. This level of universality has properties that do not exist in the lower level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does more functions. And again this is another level of universality that has properties that do not exist in the lower levels of universality.


What emerges from that? Whats at the highest level? At the highest level of universality, we have human readable languages like C# and Visual Basic. And these languages have very useful functions that don’t exist in the lower levels of universality. And people can write programs in these languages without knowing anything about the properties of the lower levels of universality.


The point is that each level of universality has its own properties that don’t exist in the other levels. And this is what is meant by emergence. Its properties that are emerging, properties that don’t exist in lower levels of universality.

[ Edited: 15 November 2012 09:48 AM by Rami Rustom]
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Posted: 15 November 2012 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 161 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 15 November 2012 09:45 AM
srrr - 15 November 2012 09:29 AM

Emergence of mind is often used in philosphy, but unfortunately it is more something of a wish than a plausible mechanism. The main problem with it is that noone seems to be able to find any examples of it in nature.

What do you mean “no examples in nature”? Could you clarify? Who was searching? And what were they searching for? And how were they searching for it?

Let me put it this way: it conflicts with basic physics. Physics tells us everything, no matter how complex, consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces. Thats true for any physical object. Never does anything else emerge from that.

The knowledge in the mind is instantiated in the brain. Same as a silicon computer: The knowledge within the software is instantiated in the hardware (as 0’s and 1’s).


Consider what *emergence* means. And *what* is emerging.


Consider the level of universality known as the hardware of a computer. What are its properties? Each of its transistors can be set to 1 or 0. Thats it. Not useful to humans at all at this level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does the AND function and the OR function. This level of universality has properties that do not exist in the lower level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does more functions. And again this is another level of universality that has properties that do not exist in the lower levels of universality.


What emerges from that? Whats at the highest level? At the highest level of universality, we have human readable languages like C# and Visual Basic. And these languages have very useful functions that don’t exist in the lower levels of universality. And people can write programs in these languages without knowing anything about the properties of the lower levels of universality.


The point is that each level of universality has its own properties that don’t exist in the other levels. And this is what is meant by emergence. Its properties that are emerging, properties that don’t exist in lower levels of universality.

What you are describing here are not actually emerging physical properties, but different mental models that we can have. There are no 0’s and 1’s inside the computer. When you see a 3D world on a computerscreen, there isnt really a 3D softwareworld inside your computer.  The computer consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces, that is what physics tells us. The computerscreen is flat and it emits photons that hit your eyes. It receives electricity through a cable. The software is a bunch of electrons that bounce around in the harddisk/memory (or however it exactly works).


The “higher and lower levels” that are mentioned are actually higher and lower level descriptions. You can describe a rock in terms of its particles, molecules, or just call it a rock (if fact we can invent dozens of more levels to describe a rock at). They are merely different levels of description. Physically, each of those levels is fully reducible to the lowest level (particles and forces). Fully reducible means that the highest level description can be fully described in terms of the lowest one, and that means there is no new property that emerged anywhere.

[ Edited: 15 November 2012 01:40 PM by srrr]
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Posted: 15 November 2012 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 162 ]  
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srrr - 15 November 2012 12:43 PM
Rami Rustom - 15 November 2012 09:45 AM
srrr - 15 November 2012 09:29 AM

Emergence of mind is often used in philosphy, but unfortunately it is more something of a wish than a plausible mechanism. The main problem with it is that noone seems to be able to find any examples of it in nature.

What do you mean “no examples in nature”? Could you clarify? Who was searching? And what were they searching for? And how were they searching for it?

Let me put it this way: it conflicts with basic physics.

How does it conflict?

srrr - 15 November 2012 12:43 PM

Physics tells us everything, no matter how complex, consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces. Thats true for any physical object. Never does anything else emerge from that.

Thats misleading. Its true that everything boils down to physics. But that is not the same as “physics tells us everything”. If you only understood the lowest level of physics, you wouldn’t be able to write a program that runs this forum. You’d have to learn about the other levels of universality.

srrr - 15 November 2012 12:43 PM

The knowledge in the mind is instantiated in the brain. Same as a silicon computer: The knowledge within the software is instantiated in the hardware (as 0’s and 1’s).


Consider what *emergence* means. And *what* is emerging.


Consider the level of universality known as the hardware of a computer. What are its properties? Each of its transistors can be set to 1 or 0. Thats it. Not useful to humans at all at this level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does the AND function and the OR function. This level of universality has properties that do not exist in the lower level of universality.


What emerges from that? A software language that does more functions. And again this is another level of universality that has properties that do not exist in the lower levels of universality.


What emerges from that? Whats at the highest level? At the highest level of universality, we have human readable languages like C# and Visual Basic. And these languages have very useful functions that don’t exist in the lower levels of universality. And people can write programs in these languages without knowing anything about the properties of the lower levels of universality.


The point is that each level of universality has its own properties that don’t exist in the other levels. And this is what is meant by emergence. Its properties that are emerging, properties that don’t exist in lower levels of universality.

What you are describing here are not actually emerging physical properties, but different mental models that we can have. There are no 0’s and 1’s inside the computer.

To my understanding, a 1 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently conducting, and a 0 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently *not* conducting.

srrr - 15 November 2012 12:43 PM

When you see a 3D world on a computerscreen, there isnt really a 3D softwareworld inside your computer.  The computer consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces, that is what physics tells us. The computerscreen is flat and it emits photons that hit your eyes. It receives electricity through a cable. The software is a bunch of electrons that bounce around in the harddisk/memory (or however it exactly works).


The “higher and lower levels” that are mentioned are actually higher and lower level descriptions. You can describe a rock in terms of its particles, molecules, or just call it a rock (if fact we can invent dozens of more levels to describe a rock at). They are merely different levels of description. Physically, each of those levels is fully reducible to the lowest level (particles and forces). Fully reducible means that the highest level description can be fully described in terms of the lowest one, and that means there is no new property that emerged anywhere.


Yes everything can be reduced. All levels of universality can be reduced to lower levels. But that doesn’t mean that the other levels of universality do not *exist*, which is what I think you’re trying to argue for.

 

 

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Posted: 16 November 2012 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 163 ]  
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Rami Rustom - 15 November 2012 02:15 PM

Thats misleading. Its true that everything boils down to physics. But that is not the same as “physics tells us everything”. If you only understood the lowest level of physics, you wouldn’t be able to write a program that runs this forum. You’d have to learn about the other levels of universality.

I dont understand how you can insert a “but” in there. If you acknowledge that every physical object works the way physics has uncovered (that it consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime), then there is simply no room for any extra things to emerge in any physical object.


If i told you that when two rocks collide, a conscious mind briefly appears, would you think that makes sense? Would you believe it? I doubt it. You would instantly recognise that there is no logic to support the idea. The rocks do not contain any characteristics that would make it plausible for a mind to appear out of them. Yet somehow we do believe it when we are told that a giant amount of neurons in the brain can do it.

To my understanding, a 1 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently conducting, and a 0 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently *not* conducting.

A material that is conducting is simply a material that is conducting. It doesnt become a “1”. The “1” is our mental model, an abstraction that exists only in our minds. We can also consider an apple a 1, and a pear a 0.

Yes everything can be reduced. All levels of universality can be reduced to lower levels. But that doesn’t mean that the other levels of universality do not *exist*, which is what I think you’re trying to argue for.

When the higher level descriptions can be reduced to (= described in terms of) the lowest level description, it means the higher level descriptions are redundant. They do not contain anything that cannot be described in lower level terms. That means there is nothing that emerged.

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Posted: 16 November 2012 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 164 ]  
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srrr - 16 November 2012 03:52 PM
Rami Rustom - 15 November 2012 02:15 PM

Thats misleading. Its true that everything boils down to physics. But that is not the same as “physics tells us everything”. If you only understood the lowest level of physics, you wouldn’t be able to write a program that runs this forum. You’d have to learn about the other levels of universality.

I dont understand how you can insert a “but” in there. If you acknowledge that every physical object works the way physics has uncovered (that it consists of elementary particles and fundamental forces in spacetime), then there is simply no room for any extra things to emerge in any physical object.

There is a “but” because: The properties of one level of universality have little bearing on the properties of another level of universality. So, for example, refuting the existence of properties of one level of universality does not have any bearing on the existence of properties of other levels of universality.


A real example is this: Neuroscientists do research in their field and then they conclude that free will doesn’t exist. Their philosophical mistake is that they are applying knowledge that they learned in the field of neuroscience in order to refute knowledge in the field of morality. These are two different levels of universality, which means that discovering something about the existence or nonexistence of properties in the field of neuroscience has no bearing on the existence or nonexistence of properties in the field of morality.

srrr - 16 November 2012 03:52 PM

If i told you that when two rocks collide, a conscious mind briefly appears, would you think that makes sense? Would you believe it? I doubt it. You would instantly recognise that there is no logic to support the idea. The rocks do not contain any characteristics that would make it plausible for a mind to appear out of them. Yet somehow we do believe it when we are told that a giant amount of neurons in the brain can do it.

To my understanding, a 1 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently conducting, and a 0 is a transistor who’s semiconducting material is currently *not* conducting.

A material that is conducting is simply a material that is conducting. It doesnt become a “1”. The “1” is our mental model, an abstraction that exists only in our minds. We can also consider an apple a 1, and a pear a 0.

But that would be meaningless. You can’t use those apples and pears to create another level of abstraction—like you can with a transistors 0 and 1 states.

srrr - 16 November 2012 03:52 PM

Yes everything can be reduced. All levels of universality can be reduced to lower levels. But that doesn’t mean that the other levels of universality do not *exist*, which is what I think you’re trying to argue for.

When the higher level descriptions can be reduced to (= described in terms of) the lowest level description, it means the higher level descriptions are redundant. They do not contain anything that cannot be described in lower level terms. That means there is nothing that emerged.

Humans have free will. This property is a property of the human mind—the highest level of universality. The lower level of universality is the brain (brain physiology). The brain does not have this property. Below that is a level of universality we call chemistry. And below that is physics.


Are you saying that physics has the property of free will? That subatomic particles have the ability to choose? If thats not what you’re saying, then what do you mean by “nothing emerged”?

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Posted: 17 November 2012 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 165 ]  
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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.


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. 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.


I think the reason that emergence of mind in brain is easily accepted by many, is that the brain is very complex, and noone really understands whats happening in there. So they think “well, its so amazingly complex, something special might just happen in there”. The reason people do not accept the statement that two bouncing rocks create consciousness, is because that situation is much simpler and we immediately recognise the absurdity of it. Somehow the less we understand something the more we accept ridiculous notions about it.


As for the levels of universality like biology and chemistry: both of them are merely different levels of description. Physically they are fully reducible to (can be described in terms of) the behaviour of elementary particles and their fundamental forces. Such a description might be extremely long and practically unusuable, and we may socially require a shorter description (like biology) to communicate with eachother. So socially those levels are useful (like the concept of god may also be useful for many people), but physically there is only a giant amount of particles and forces interacting.

[ Edited: 17 November 2012 06:59 AM by srrr]
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