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4 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

"Meat machines" is a vulgarity, especially when you consider the complexity of DNA.

For me a meat machine is a cow being fattened for slaughter.

If I had small children I wouldn't let you near them. I'd not let them be informed they are morally equivalent to cows--a calumny.

It's also a simple lie. If it wasn't you wouldn't feel superior to 95% of the human race, albeit a dubious proposition in itself.

--Brant

Have you ever thought of trying out for the Conclusion Jumping Olympics?   I bet you could win the Gold.

I think the ideas of matter and energy  self-organizing  and operating according to the laws of thermodynamics  to produce a Thinking Machine  is damned near miraculous.  And it is all Just Plain Nature doing her thing.   There is more in Heaven and Earth then is drem't of in your (puny) philosophy.   And people are just beginning to scratch the surface.  Think of where we might be in the next 500  years. 

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53 minutes ago, moralist said:

It doesn't.

That's just your secular liberal amoral narcissistic fantasy.:P

 

Greg

Yes it does.  I am physical down to the Ground Floor.  I have been scanned by some of the most advanced machines available.  No sign of Mind, Soul or Spirit. Not the least indication.  I have seen my own physicality (assisted by some fancy machines).  Maybe you have a Soul, but I don't. 

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31 minutes ago, anthony said:

I'm returning lately to my first notion and most basic explanation for determinism, that it all starts at those first moments of self-awareness...

My explanation is a bit different.  It is that this choice point reoccurs daily, hourly, maybe every second.  And it comes not in just an awareness of aloneness, but in many different experiences.  And we make choices on how to focus (or not focus).  I agree with your understanding of the choice made leading to choices in philosophy, etc.  But I see it as not a single event, but a repeated cycle, a recursive loop where we use the product of awareness, our current knowledge in the context of the moment, past experiences that relate, our imagination of what might be in this context, our emotional impulses of the moment, our kind and level of motivation in the area.  With that as the input and setting, we exert a tiny bit of control on the pointing of our focus and on the kind of focus, which shifts things towards one alternative over the others - making a choice.  The choice may be so small, like should I read a bit more, say of a topic that is bringing up uncomfortable feelings.  It is really a choice between engaging in a kind of avoidance behavior instead of looking at the discomfort to see what it is.   And if we choose to look closer, then we may be presented with two different ways of viewing ourselves and one my be less comfortable, and if we choose to focus on that view we may find we are able to choose between alternatives where one is an act of self-acceptance, and if we choose that it may alter our self-esteem just enough to shift the balance on yet another decision..... maybe on what alternative to choose between two beliefs.

That's a very abbreviated view of my idea of the recursive loop or cycle in which we use focus to shift between alternatives, and where the way we use focus has the effect of opening us to using logic, or on the other hand using defensive mechanisms, emotionalism, blanking out, etc.

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I like the "recursive loop" very much, as the explanation of a free will. It fits well. I hope I understand, Steve: free will has to be constantly 'awakened' as if dormant, focusing, refocusing and steering thought, with growing confidence in one's capability of will(like bio-feedback?)

It's the other, determinist mindset which blocks any self-evidency of free will, I'm confounded by. It does seem to me that a single 'decision' was made with initial self-awareness, fearfully discovering autonomy, and permanently rejecting both - including free will, in one parcel. In that case I surmize the "loop" would die stillborn. 'Clever' arguments referencing physical causality could or will follow, after the fact.

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46 minutes ago, anthony said:

free will has to be constantly 'awakened' as if dormant, focusing, refocusing and steering thought, with growing confidence in one's capability of will(like bio-feedback?)

Yes, that's pretty much what I'm thinking.  I'd tend to use the word volition rather than free will since 'free will' can be too broadly interpreted, but that is just a minor detail.   The act of selecting between imagined alternatives is where the focusing in (or avoiding a clear focus) is what tips the scale for one alternative or another.  Each alternative is like a bundle of pros and cons - reasons and emotions, beliefs and importance rankings.  Better to use the concept of 'self-esteem' than 'confidence' since confidence is dependent on a given skillset or an area of activity and self-esteem is so much broader - just another minor detail.  You clearly have the principle right - growing self-esteem will result from the proper exercise of consciousness in this way (and lower self-esteem will result from avoiding proper focus).  And like bio-feedback the exercise of volition is a mechanism/technique for steering what otherwise is under automatic control of subconscious routines. 

I'm writing a book on human nature where I hope to communicate this theory of volition more completely.  One example I've given many times is to imagine that you are driving to work.... taking the route you've used for months.  And, as usual, thing slow down approaching this one major intersection.  An annoyance at the slow down on this day spurs you to think of a way to get rid of it.  You imagine taking a right a few blocks before the intersection, then after a block or two, taking a left.  Then once past that intersection returning to your original path.  You are imagining something that has never existed before - you taking that new path.  You analyze that alternative.  It adds distance.  The side street traffic flow might be slower.  Going a new path will be fun.  It may be a shorter time.  It takes a bit of psychic energy to break an old habit and that is felt as a kind of lethargy or resistance.  There is the annoyance at sitting in traffic weighting on the old path.  This is a simple example where there is little that would be a major self-esteem issue.  The level of thought energy in putting logic to work is minor.  This process of directing your focus will shift things till an alternative is chosen.  On slightly bigger issues, the pull from negative/defensive motives will often be pitted against positive/rational motives... in the sense of involving being more conscious rather than less, being more responsible for yourself than less, honoring your integrity more or less, etc.  And in those cases self-esteem will be more strongly effected.   It goes on constantly - it is us taking input - evaluating - factoring in purposes - and then having the goal provided that we can act on.  It is fascinating because of the nexus between logic and critical thinking, emotions, motivational psychology, our level of knowledge, our self-awareness, our self-esteem, and the understanding that this is the heart of where we are steering ourselves through life.

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6 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Have you ever thought of trying out for the Conclusion Jumping Olympics?   I bet you could win the Gold.

I think the ideas of matter and energy  self-organizing  and operating according to the laws of thermodynamics  to produce a Thinking Machine  is damned near miraculous.  And it is all Just Plain Nature doing her thing.   There is more in Heaven and Earth then is drem't of in your (puny) philosophy.   And people are just beginning to scratch the surface.  Think of where we might be in the next 500  years. 

And what is even more amazing is that we Primates Version 2.0  with our three pound brains can understand some of this. Hoodah Thunkit?

LOL.

What is my philosophy, btw?

Does science have a puny philosophy?

Puny science?

You can't see the forest of your contradictions for your trees.

--Brant

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26 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

LOL.

What is my philosophy, btw?

Does science have a puny philosophy?

Puny science?

You can't see the forest of your contradictions for your trees.

--Brant

If you think there is -anything- about us that is not material of physical you are in a non-scientific place.  

philosophy has been a drag and anchor or real physical science since the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. 

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5 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

If you think there is -anything- about us that is not material of physical you are in a non-scientific place.  

philosophy has been a drag and anchor or real physical science since the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. 

I happen to agree with you that everything is an expression of matter and energy including consciousness. You haven't been having an argument with me about that. I do dislike your reveling in physical reductionism and traducification of the moral element in human being.

--Brant

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22 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

philosophy has been a drag and anchor or real physical science since the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. 

Philosophy exists as a foundation for science.  I have to ask if you've read Ayn Rand's essay on the need for philosophy?

It was the ancient Greeks that first took thought away from the mysticism of everything is created by the gods and began a journey that led to modern science.  If you think that modern science could have sprung full blown from the minds of people in some pre-Socratic time your instrument is out of tune.  And without the work done by Aristotle, where would logic and critical thinking be today?

It's like you are annoyed with children and propose that women give birth to adult beings who won't annoy you so much.  Good luck with that.  Even the most primitive of tribes provides some degree of order that is at least slightly better for surviving than wandering off in the wilds alone - or living in the complete chaos of a society with no rules, no traditions, no order, no moral code and, as you can imagine, no safety.

Science owes its existence to a philosophy that values reason and its morality that sanctions the pursuit of scientific knowledge.  Without philosophy you would have no civilization, no science, no computer, no time to spend in thoughts unrelated to finding something to eat and hiding from those that would kill you for scraps.

Are you just baiting the people here?  It is hard to believe you are serious... seriously.

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

I happen to agree with you that everything is an expression of matter and energy including consciousness. You haven't been having an argument with me about that. I do dislike your reveling in physical reductionism and traducification of the moral element in human being.

--Brant

Reductionism.  The most successful program for comprehending the world.  Two cheers for reductionism.  It works.  Nothing else has worked.

The reason we are not living in cold caves  is because our smartest people have made smaller problems out of bigger problems. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Reductionism.  The most successful program for comprehending the world.  Two cheers for reductionism.  It works.  Nothing else has worked.

The reason we are not living in cold caves  is because our smartest people have made smaller problems out of bigger problems. 

Doesn't reductionism, a problem, and breaking apart a problem into smaller problems indicate 1) how did you know what to reduce from? That implies an abstraction which implies consciousness beyond the concrete, 2) you said the word problem in a way that a problem was identified, which means you acknowledged identity, and 3) to break the smaller problem down, it implies you know what to break it down to... toward what exists..

There, you have existence, identity, and consciousness, so you can go from there...

You're welcome! :)

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7 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I think the ideas of matter and energy  self-organizing  and operating according to the laws of thermodynamics  to produce a Thinking Machine  is damned near miraculous.

Paraphrasing Terence McKenna, Science (with capital "s") says just give us one free miracle and we'll explain the rest.

:evil: 

Michael

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47 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Doesn't reductionism, a problem, and breaking apart a problem into smaller problems indicate 1) how did you know what to reduce from? That implies an abstraction which implies consciousness beyond the concrete, 2) you said the word problem in a way that a problem was identified, which means you acknowledged identity, and 3) to break the smaller problem down, it implies you know what to break it down to... toward what exists..

There, you have existence, identity, and consciousness, so you can go from there...

You're welcome! :)

The problem with reductionism is that it is a lossy process.  Some aspects of the world are missed by reduction.  As a result reduction cannot produce a complete empirically valid  model of the world.  For this reason the reductionist program has not produced a complete theory of consciousness and it is unlikely to produce a complete theory.  That is why we have problems accounting for qualia  which are  subjective encounters with the world.

Well, one can't have everything, apparently.  That is why the so called Hard Problem of Consciousness remains unsolved and is likely to remain that way.

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5 minutes ago, SteveWolfer said:

I know.... I was watching the baby disappear down the drain with the bathwater.

Which baby?

Without the reductionist program in place we would never have figured out how to make radios  or light bulbs. 

The reductionist program apparently cannot deal with subjective experience completely.  That is why I say two cheers for reduction rather than three.

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1 minute ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The reductionist program apparently cannot deal with subjective experience completely.

The reductionist program isn't even in the right ball park when we are talking about volition.  And any system as adopted by a person that denies the existence of thoughts, of consciousness, of values, of relationships is, at the least, being adopted in the wrong way.

If I attempted to apply the principles of chemistry to writing a software routine I wouldn't have much success.  There is always a context defining the boundaries of the area to which principles are being applied - there has to be a match between the context and the principles. 

Another example would be applying principles of physics to solve a grammar problem.  When you 'reduce' an issue of psychology or of human nature to meat, whatever is left in the bathtub doesn't include the baby.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

The problem with reductionism is that it is a lossy process.  Some aspects of the world are missed by reduction.  As a result reduction cannot produce a complete empirically valid  model of the world.  For this reason the reductionist program has not produced a complete theory of consciousness and it is unlikely to produce a complete theory.  That is why we have problems accounting for qualia  which are  subjective encounters with the world.

Well, one can't have everything, apparently.  That is why the so called Hard Problem of Consciousness remains unsolved and is likely to remain that way.

22 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Which baby?

Take said baby for a minute--how do you account for being able to know what a baby is, and visualize said baby when no baby is in front of you--how do you not attribute that to an aspect of consciousness?
 

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46 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

 

Take said baby for a minute--how do you account for being able to know what a baby is, and visualize said baby when no baby is in front of you--how do you not attribute that to an aspect of consciousness?
 

memory of babies seen or  pictures of babies seen...

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52 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Take said baby for a minute--how do you account for being able to know what a baby is, and visualize said baby when no baby is in front of you--how do you not attribute that to an aspect of consciousness?

Ba'al replied:

5 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

memory of babies seen or  pictures of babies seen...

True.  And software can do facial recognition and software has been created that can recognize an image of a horse in photos or video.  It wouldn't be any harder to have software recognize babies, and to store images of the babies seen, and links to the stored images and any associated meta-data. 

The computer could then 'visualize' (bring into active memory, or onto a screen) a stored image even when no baby is about.  But it would need to be programmed.  It would be determined.  You and I can choose to visualize a baby or not - the computer can't.

Our consciousness includes some form of volition.  We are agents and software can't do that, and reductionism when applied to volition is like applying chemistry principles to grammar problems.  Adopting reductionism as if it were a one-size-fits-all dogma has the effect of putting on blinders that keeps science away from the truth in some areas.

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1 hour ago, KorbenDallas said:

Take said baby for a minute--how do you account for being able to know what a baby is, and visualize said baby when no baby is in front of you--how do you not attribute that to an aspect of consciousness?

 

50 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

memory of babies seen or  pictures of babies seen...

Not exactly what I meant, but even so, isn't the act of pulling up those memories a conscious act?
 

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12 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Yes it does.  I am physical down to the Ground Floor.  I have been scanned by some of the most advanced machines available.  No sign of Mind, Soul or Spirit. Not the least indication.  I have seen my own physicality (assisted by some fancy machines).  Maybe you have a Soul, but I don't. 

Well, we each represent one of two antithetical views, Bob.

Your view is from the brain of a bureaucrat.

And mine is from the mind of a Capitalist. :P

Greg

 

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8 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

 

Our consciousness includes some form of volition.  We are agents and software can't do that, and reductionism when applied to volition is like applying chemistry principles to grammar problems.  Adopting reductionism as if it were a one-size-fits-all dogma has the effect of putting on blinders that keeps science away from the truth in some areas.

Emergencece is that latest attempt to overcome that limitation.  But emergence (whatever it turns out to be) still requires physical causes and embodyment.

There is no self standing volition apart from some kind of physical substrate.  Try as we will we can not get away from matter/energy working in the space/time manifold.  

Two Cheers for reduction.   One cheer for emergence.

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5 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Emergencece is that latest attempt to overcome that limitation.  But emergence (whatever it turns out to be) still requires physical causes and embodyment.

There is no self standing volition apart from some kind of physical substrate.  Try as we will we can not get away from matter/energy working in the space/time manifold.  

Two Cheers for reduction.   One cheer for emergence.

Next time your cell phone rings don't answer it.  It's only radio frequencies...

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22 hours ago, SteveWolfer said:

Yes, that's pretty much what I'm thinking.  I'd tend to use the word volition rather than free will since 'free will' can be too broadly interpreted, but that is just a minor detail.   The act of selecting between imagined alternatives is where the focusing in (or avoiding a clear focus) is what tips the scale for one alternative or another.  Each alternative is like a bundle of pros and cons - reasons and emotions, beliefs and importance rankings.  Better to use the concept of 'self-esteem' than 'confidence' since confidence is dependent on a given skillset or an area of activity and self-esteem is so much broader - just another minor detail.  You clearly have the principle right - growing self-esteem will result from the proper exercise of consciousness in this way (and lower self-esteem will result from avoiding proper focus).  And like bio-feedback the exercise of volition is a mechanism/technique for steering what otherwise is under automatic control of subconscious routines. 

I'm writing a book on human nature where I hope to communicate this theory of volition more completely.  One example I've given many times is to imagine that you are driving to work.... taking the route you've used for months.  And, as usual, thing slow down approaching this one major intersection.  An annoyance at the slow down on this day spurs you to think of a way to get rid of it.  You imagine taking a right a few blocks before the intersection, then after a block or two, taking a left.  Then once past that intersection returning to your original path.  You are imagining something that has never existed before - you taking that new path.  You analyze that alternative.  It adds distance.  The side street traffic flow might be slower.  Going a new path will be fun.  It may be a shorter time.  It takes a bit of psychic energy to break an old habit and that is felt as a kind of lethargy or resistance.  There is the annoyance at sitting in traffic weighting on the old path.  This is a simple example where there is little that would be a major self-esteem issue.  The level of thought energy in putting logic to work is minor.  This process of directing your focus will shift things till an alternative is chosen.  On slightly bigger issues, the pull from negative/defensive motives will often be pitted against positive/rational motives... in the sense of involving being more conscious rather than less, being more responsible for yourself than less, honoring your integrity more or less, etc.  And in those cases self-esteem will be more strongly effected.   It goes on constantly - it is us taking input - evaluating - factoring in purposes - and then having the goal provided that we can act on.  It is fascinating because of the nexus between logic and critical thinking, emotions, motivational psychology, our level of knowledge, our self-awareness, our self-esteem, and the understanding that this is the heart of where we are steering ourselves through life.

Nice, I have also analogised and explained a volitional consciousness very similarly, as roads and potential routes taken or not taken according to chosen destination, circumstances or habit, and hurry or leisure, and sometimes a random 'other' route, for the hell of it (you just feel like driving under the oaks along one road, or a bridge over water, another).

What do you make of 'neural-mapping' of neuroscience with respect to this? Its an exciting research, validating volition - I think. 

"An act of consciousness", a N. Branden phrasing I believe, a process regularly and instantly performed by dint of will alone and found powerfully effective will definitely endorse self-efficacy and therefore self esteem, I'm sure you're right. To go a step further, while those "acts" receive more coverage as volitionally focused thinking towards existential ends, getting less attention are acts toward virtue, I think. I see these latter as "acts" which create a "state" (of consciousness) which is "a character"-one volitionally aspired to, and volitionally adhered to. Honesty and integrity have their own causality, of course.

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