Illusion of Freedom

 
 
Avatar
 
 
kikl
Total Posts:  122
Joined  10-05-2011
 
 
 
18 November 2012 08:02
 
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.

 
 
 
Avatar
 
 
srrr
Total Posts:  233
Joined  22-10-2011
 
 
 
18 November 2012 09:32
 
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)?

 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
18 November 2012 10:09
 
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.

 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
20 November 2012 08:02
 
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.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
kikl
Total Posts:  122
Joined  10-05-2011
 
 
 
20 November 2012 08:18
 
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.

 
 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
20 November 2012 08:34
 
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?

 
 
Avatar
 
 
kikl
Total Posts:  122
Joined  10-05-2011
 
 
 
20 November 2012 09:47
 

“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.

 
 
 
Avatar
 
 
kikl
Total Posts:  122
Joined  10-05-2011
 
 
 
20 November 2012 09:51
 
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.

 
 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
20 November 2012 10:03
 
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.

 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
20 November 2012 10:09
 
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.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
srrr
Total Posts:  233
Joined  22-10-2011
 
 
 
21 November 2012 07:21
 
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 by srrr]
 
 
Avatar
 
 
srrr
Total Posts:  233
Joined  22-10-2011
 
 
 
21 November 2012 07:24
 
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.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
srrr
Total Posts:  233
Joined  22-10-2011
 
 
 
21 November 2012 07:38
 
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.

 
Rami Rustom
 
Avatar
 
 
Rami Rustom
Total Posts:  226
Joined  10-09-2012
 
 
 
21 November 2012 08:08
 
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.

 

 

 
 
Avatar
 
 
kikl
Total Posts:  122
Joined  10-05-2011
 
 
 
21 November 2012 09:58
 

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.