What is belief?

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A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:01 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:I would disagree that the rat has no meaning that we can detect. In fact, if the rat intentionally presses the lever in order to get fed, then it has drawn a correlation, association, and/or connection between it's own behaviour and getting fed. That association requires the attribution/recognition of causality, which in turn requires future expectations
That is regarding a distinction between classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Those are two very different sorts of learnings.

And, in order for a creature to be able to create expectations, it must be have the ability to consider time, sequences, and think ABOUT them, and then respond to itself in relation to those considerations.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:24 am

Here is a distinction:

Responding to 'when x happens, y happens' is stimulus-response.

Responding to 'when x happens, y happens, means z' is about belief...consciously thinking about an imagined causal relationship, punctuated, and making meaning out of it.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:51 am

A Human wrote:
Rats (appear to be) missing something that metacognition requires, a Digital NOT.

To think ABOUT requires a language system that has a true/false (digital) NOT.

Us humans, having a system as part of our neurology are able to construct X causes Y which means Z (NOT something else)

So, from my viewpoint, a belief is talk ABOUT X causes Y which means Z. If it's just X causes Y then we're talking about stimulus-response, not belief.

(i do value highly what you are communicating, this is about exchange of ideas for me, not competition)
Indeed! Rats are most certainly missing something that metacognition requires... language replete with the ability to recognize and isolate(name) one's own mental ongoings("emotions", "thought", "belief", "attitudes", "states of mind", etc.). I'm not sure what "a digital NOT" has to do with anything at all aside from it's being an element of the framework you're putting to use. Seems an unnecessarily complex additive that offers no additional clarity.

It simply does not follow from the fact that humans are able to construct "X causes Y which means Z" that that particular construct is necessary and/or sufficient for all thought/belief. To quite the contrary, it cannot be. The reason for that was hinted at, but now needs to be made clear. The form consist of two separate beliefs. The first(X causes Y) doesn't require the second(which means Z). The second most certainly requires the first. You see, the second is metacognitive. It is ABOUT the first. The second is metacognition at work - it is thinking about the first.

So, the second would be entirely empty of all content without the first. It only follows that the first is prior, for the second is existentially contingent upon the first. Further, it only follows from this that the first is not existentially contingent upon the second. Thus, whatever the first consists in/of, the second is existentially contingent upon as well.

With all this in mind...

It cannot be the case that a belief is only talk ABOUT X causes Y which means Z, because X causes Y constitutes being a belief AND that is the case regardless of whether or not it's followed by which means Z. By necessity alone, prioe to being able to think that X causes Y means Z, one must first be able to think X causes Y. We need only to look at everyday facts/events/states of affairs to confirm that much...

One can learn that fire hurts when touched without ever thinking about meaning. One need not think about meaning in order to attribute it. I mean, that much is obvious, if one has never attributed meaning, what's there to think about? Hence, one can learn that fire hurts when touched(one can attribute meaning to the act of touching fire) without thinking in the form of X causes Y which means Z(without thinking about meaning).

If the recognition/attribution of causality counts as stimulus response, then you've a rather complex notion of what counts as being a stimulus response mechanism. A leaf can react to sun without ever attributing/recognizing causality. That counts as stimulus response. A Pitcher plant can react to an insect(or a bit of twig). That counts as stimulus response. The rat learning that pushing different levers has different results also counts as stimulus response. As does my reply. So, the task here is to further discriminate between different types of stimulus response cases.

Correct me if I have this wrong, but it seems to me that you're setting a criterion, that when met, you're further claiming that that candidate counts as being a case of belief as compared/contrasted to a case of mere stimulus response. I'm left with the distinct idea that - on your view - the criterion for crossing over from mere stimulus response to full-blown belief requires two beliefs in succession. The latter belief must be about the meaning of the former.

Given what's been argued in this post, do you not see the untenability of that?

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:58 am

creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
Rats (appear to be) missing something that metacognition requires, a Digital NOT.

To think ABOUT requires a language system that has a true/false (digital) NOT.

Us humans, having a system as part of our neurology are able to construct X causes Y which means Z (NOT something else)

So, from my viewpoint, a belief is talk ABOUT X causes Y which means Z. If it's just X causes Y then we're talking about stimulus-response, not belief.

(i do value highly what you are communicating, this is about exchange of ideas for me, not competition)
Indeed! Rats are most certainly missing something that metacognition requires... language replete with the ability to recognize and isolate(name) one's own mental ongoings("emotions", "thought", "belief", "attitudes", "states of mind", etc.). I'm not sure what "a digital NOT" has to do with anything at all aside from it's being an element of the framework you're putting to use. Seems an unnecessarily complex additive that offers no additional clarity.

It simply does not follow from the fact that humans are able to construct "X causes Y which means Z" that that particular construct is necessary and/or sufficient for all thought/belief. To quite the contrary, it cannot be.
You just verified what I said, you said 'cannot', which is required for belief. For a belief to be, what is not the belief must cannot be...do you understand this yet? A belief presupposes something IS, and it also presupposes something is NOT that. It's that simple.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:07 am

A Human wrote:
I train cats as well as many other living creatures. They respond a bit differently than dogs, they're more like dolphins. They learn more socially than directly.

For example, you won't find cats out in the wild stuck in trees. When one cat climbs up and gets 'stuck', another cat will climb the tree a bit and then go down. The 'stuck' cat' will observe this and then leave the tree.

The cats who have been brought up alone, in homes, are the ones who get stuck after climbing up trees.
Nice. Sounds about right. I suppose the difference between learning "socially" and learning "directly" is a matter of distinguishing between learning that requires social interaction and learning that doesn't? More specifically, learning that is possible with and/or without a teacher? That direction seems a good way to go...

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:08 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:I'm not sure what "a digital NOT" has to do with anything at all aside from it's being an element of the framework you're putting to use. Seems an unnecessarily complex additive that offers no additional clarity.
Um, no. Without digital NOT, categories cannot exist.

In fact, without digital NOT, logical systems would not have been able to be created.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:12 am

A Human wrote:

...A belief presupposes something IS, and it also presupposes something is NOT that. It's that simple.
'X causes Y' is a belief, is it not?

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:20 am

creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:

...A belief presupposes something IS, and it also presupposes something is NOT that. It's that simple.
'X causes Y' is a belief, is it not?
At the moment you consider it and make a generalization about it, then it is what we would call a belief.

You're now considering and determining what it means to you.

If you had not observed and classified it using an epistemological knife, then it would not have become what you call a belief.

Beliefs don't create themselves...they don't exist on their own.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:31 am

See you next time... hopefully in the next day or so. There's much to consider and cross-posting doesn't help. A careful reader sees that you're failing to draw and maintain a meaningful distinction that is crucial, dare I say - imperative - to a more complete understanding of everything you're talking about:The distinction between thought and thinking about thought(cognition and metacognition).

Epistemic cuts are highly metacognitive exercises that absolutely require complex language. Simple(rudimentary) belief does not require complex language. Therefore, simple belief does not require epistemic cuts.
Last edited by creativesoul on Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:32 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:

...A belief presupposes something IS, and it also presupposes something is NOT that. It's that simple.
'X causes Y' is a belief, is it not?
At the moment you consider it and make a generalization about it, then it is what we would call a belief.

You're now considering and determining what it means to you.

If you had not observed and classified it using an epistemological knife, then it would not have become what you call a belief.

Beliefs don't create themselves...they don't exist on their own.
More directly...beliefs don't exist at all, whatsoever...they're just a metaphor we use for the process of choosing a punctuated sequence of cause and effect and making up a meaning for that arbitrarily punctuated sequence.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:34 am

The distinction between belief and thinking about belief(cognition and metacognition).

Do you acknowledge it?

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:37 am

creativesoul wrote:See you next time... hopefully in the next day or so. There's much to consider and cross-posting doesn't help. A careful reader sees that you're failing to draw and maintain a meaningful distinction that is crucial, dare I say - imperative - to a more complete understanding of everything you're talking about:The distinction between thought and thinking about thought(cognition and metacognition)
Quite the contrary...if you wish to understand intentionality, what you are attempting to consider above, I'm right there to explain it and get you to maybe understand when you come back here.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:38 am

creativesoul wrote:The distinction between belief and thinking about belief(cognition and metacognition).

Do you acknowledge it?
I've been explaining it all along.

Beliefs about beliefs change how beliefs work.

It's that simple.

Londoner
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Re: What is belief?

Post by Londoner » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:39 am

creativesoul wrote:
Many folk equate belief to religious conviction, and/or other belief(s) where the holder of the belief cannot justify and/or offer any reason for holding the belief. That does not make it equivalent to religious belief. Rather, that is also the case where the believer has no reasons/justification known to themselves for having formed and/or held the belief in question. That is not the case for all belief. It is only the case for unexamined belief, or for belief that is taken on faith alone. "Faith" here is not religious faith, which is about having certainty in some religious teaching or another despite any and all argument and/or evidence to the contrary.
Yes, that was my point in my earlier post (Monday, 5.31). I brought in belief in that sense (which claims certainty) because it distorts the way we understand 'belief' in other contexts, where certainty is not implied.
All belief consists entirely of mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. For a speaker to claim that s/he holds no belief is either to kid oneself, and/or have a gross misunderstanding of what counts as belief, for the very claim itself is nothing other than a statement of belief....
I do not think so. First, 'mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself' begs the question. How can I ever know if, or how, my psychological/mental idea of X does correlate with the object X'? It would only be possible if I could perceive the X without it involving my own mind, such that I could say; here is the X in itself, here is my mental idea of the X, here are the areas where the two are correlated. But we can't, we can never see the X from outside our own heads and make that comparison.

To say 'I have no beliefs' would be understood as 'there is nothing about which I can be entirely certain'. That would not be a belief. It would not be a belief because it is analytic, it is saying that it is impossible to satisfy the description 'certain'.
There are other cases quite easy to understand. Think about a lost item... One does not search in places that they do not believe it could be. We're not over at our neighbor's house looking through the wife's top dresser drawer. We're not looking on top of our roof. We're not looking in places like that, but we are looking. We are looking in places where we do believe the item may be.
'Believe it could be'. We believe it to be in a particular place - but we are still 'looking'. I think this demonstrates how loose the meaning of 'belief' is. There is no suggestion of certainty.
I strongly agree with Terrapin here regarding the notion that every human forms and holds a literally unquantifiable number of beliefs. We can understand this by virtue of 'looking' at how language acquisition works...

Learning that that is(called) "a tree" necessarily requires believing that something is there(wherever there may be). One cannot learn how to use the word "tree" without the attribution of meaning. Attributing meaning to a word requires drawing a correlation, association, and/or connection between the word/vocalization - "tree" - and an object of physiological sensory perception(the thing being pointed at - hopefully a tree in this case).
The connection between the word 'tree' and the object has nothing to do with sensory perception, indeed there is no connection between that noise or those marks on a page with the object. I do not understand 'tree' as the proper name of some particular object. I learn what 'tree' means by how other people use the word.

If people used 'albero' instead, or as well, or did not distinguish between trees and other plants, or if 'tree' was used to describe wood generally, that would work too. To say 'I believe that object is a tree' might be an assertion about botanical classification, it might be an assertion about English nouns, it might be a guess about a shape seen in the fog.

Again, the meaning of 'belief' is vague, it depends on context. It is not an assertion of certainty.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:24 am

Alright Human...

After re-reading our exchanges, it is clear to me that there are a couple of different things going on here. Stepping back and taking an account of the discussion and it's direction is on order. I have but one point to argue at the moment. Whereas it seems that you're arguing a succession of points, all hinging upon the first, I have been arguing one point all along. My objection is to the form that you've put forward and subsequently claimed to be a form which every belief follows. For convenience, here it is again...

X causes Y which means Z

Now...

I've already noted that that is not representative of a single belief, but rather it is two beliefs. You have agreed to that much. If it is the case that that is a form that consists of two beliefs then it is also a form which requires two beliefs. Thus, it cannot be the case that it is a form which every belief follows, for the first belief within the form(X causes Y) does not follow the form X causes Y which means Z.

So, it is not the case that all belief follows the form X causes Y which means Z.

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