Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Atla
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Atla »

Speakpigeon wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:25 pm So?
If you can't articulate your point, I won't do it for you.
But didn't you make the point? "Subjective" in contrast to, or as opposed, what? Okay, if not in contrast to "objective", then what? Isn't that like a front without a back?
No, the image is not the impression. Words matter and I mean what I say. If you don't understand, try again. The impression of looking at the Moon can only be based on some sort of image. It can't be the image itself. An image is not an impression. There's no "image of looking at the Moon".
And I'm definitely not talking about "objective". It's all yours.
That doesn't make sense to me considering the last 100 years of advancements made in psychology, neuroscience. Why can't the image be part of the impression? The human mind is one interconnected whole, I don't understand how we can extract parts of it which we call "subjective impressions" and be certain of those, but not certain of the rest?
Whenever I have an impression, there is an impression and I know I have an impression. If I don't know I have an impression, then I don't have an impression and there is no impression. How could I have the impression of looking at the Moon if I don't know the impression that I am looking at the Moon or if there is no impression to begin with?
And this has nothing to do with an subjective/objective duality.
But how do you know for sure that it's an impression, or that it's "yours"?
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Speakpigeon
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Speakpigeon »

Atla wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:08 pm
Speakpigeon wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:25 pm So? If you can't articulate your point, I won't do it for you.
But didn't you make the point? "Subjective" in contrast to, or as opposed, what? Okay, if not in contrast to "objective", then what? Isn't that like a front without a back?
I didn't talk of the subjective in contrast of something else. You're making this up.
Isn't ironic, you're reproaching me my Dualism and then you're the one insisting subjectivity should be contrasted? Isn't that asking for a kind of Dualism? You're being incoherent.
Atla wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:08 pm
No, the image is not the impression. Words matter and I mean what I say. If you don't understand, try again. The impression of looking at the Moon can only be based on some sort of image. It can't be the image itself. An image is not an impression. There's no "image of looking at the Moon".
And I'm definitely not talking about "objective". It's all yours.
That doesn't make sense to me considering the last 100 years of advancements made in psychology, neuroscience.
You're welcome to quote the relevant scientific sources to back that up. Meanwhile...
Atla wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:08 pm Why can't the image be part of the impression? The human mind is one interconnected whole, I don't understand how we can extract parts of it which we call "subjective impressions" and be certain of those, but not certain of the rest?
Again, words matter. If you want to have a rational debate using one word for another, don't count on me.
Having an impression of an image cannot be the same as having an image. You're free to articulate your analysis or your philosophy of mind but please don't redact my assertions.
Atla wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:08 pm
Whenever I have an impression, there is an impression and I know I have an impression. If I don't know I have an impression, then I don't have an impression and there is no impression. How could I have the impression of looking at the Moon if I don't know the impression that I am looking at the Moon or if there is no impression to begin with? And this has nothing to do with an subjective/objective duality.
But how do you know for sure that it's an impression, or that it's "yours"?
???
Am I supposed to give you a rundown of the biophysics of the human brain?
Let's be reasonable. I call "impression" whatever I feel and when I feel something I know it, otherwise I wouldn't feel it. Having an impression is knowing you have an impression. And anything I feel I call it my own because other people report having impressions and those, I don't feel them. So, it's perfectly reasonable to make the distinction between my impression, the ones I have, and impressions other people report having, impressions I don't have myself.
EB
Scott Mayers
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Scott Mayers »

I have to pick my battles and this one is just one of those that is not worth wasting my time on. If the OP wants to have a real philosophical discussion, he needs an introductory lesson on philosophy and especially its essential need to understand basic logic with the primary concept that one needs to define their terms first.
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Speakpigeon
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Speakpigeon »

Scott Mayers wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:04 pm I have to pick my battles and this one is just one of those that is not worth wasting my time on. If the OP wants to have a real philosophical discussion, he needs an introductory lesson on philosophy and especially its essential need to understand basic logic with the primary concept that one needs to define their terms first.
Here is my post:
Speakpigeon wrote: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:01 pm I don't think I could possibly know that the Moon exists at all since all I know to exist are subjective impressions, and none of them is as such what I call the Moon.
Do you think you know that the Moon exists?
Please identify any word I used here that would need to be defined beyond definitions found in ordinary English dictionary.
And, obviously, assuming I provided the definitions you ask for, you could then ask that I define all the terms used in these definitions.
Yeah, logic.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Scott Mayers »

Speakpigeon wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:20 pm
Scott Mayers wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:04 pm I have to pick my battles and this one is just one of those that is not worth wasting my time on. If the OP wants to have a real philosophical discussion, he needs an introductory lesson on philosophy and especially its essential need to understand basic logic with the primary concept that one needs to define their terms first.
Here is my post:
Speakpigeon wrote: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:01 pm I don't think I could possibly know that the Moon exists at all since all I know to exist are subjective impressions, and none of them is as such what I call the Moon.
Do you think you know that the Moon exists?
Please identify any word I used here that would need to be defined beyond definitions found in ordinary English dictionary.
And, obviously, assuming I provided the definitions you ask for, you could then ask that I define all the terms used in these definitions.
Yeah, logic.
EB
And I understood you even with dictionary definitions. But this very kind of question gives rise to the WHOLE field of "Epistemology", and why it isn't even as simple a question you think it is.

I hear you saying that you cannot assert that the moon (the literal thing supposedly out there) exists because you only 'know' what you can observe through your senses, which are in turn not your thoughts but the subjective secondary impressions to your mind.

I'm not disagreeing with what you are thinking but provided my interpretation with more depth on the topic. If you think you are the first to ask these kinds of questions rationally, you are not. These were asked long before even the first philosophical books were written.
AlexW
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by AlexW »

Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:31 pm I found myself idle.
I had 5 minutes to spare.
I recognized that I can reply to you OR get coffee.

I literally gave up coffee to reply to you... You ungrateful sod.
How exactly did you find yourself idle and decided that now would be the time to make a new decision?
Has someone told you that you are in this state? Have you seen it, heard it, or tasted it?
Or was there simply a thought, spontaneously happening, popping out of the blackbox of your Oracle machine stating: "I am idle..." and then another one "Coffee?" and then another one: "Nah... maybe later, might as well reply to that ungrateful sod..."

Now, you can call this decision making, I call it simply a chain of spontaneously arising thoughts.

Yes, sure, there are certain "rules" inside of this blackbox - they have been put there over years of learning, conditioning etc. and now the blackbox processes inputs according to these "rules" and generates certain outputs (thoughts).
But this doesn't mean that the blackbox is making decisions, it simply processes input patterns and generates output patterns (= conceptual interpretations).
One of the basic blackbox-rules reads: "I am a separate self that makes decisions."
You, like many other people, make the mistake of identifying with this mental creation and now actually believe that you ARE this blackbox.
But: Life is actually happening outside this box, reality is outside the box, You are outside the box (you just don't seem to know it).
Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:47 pm You don't have to understand everything.
I am perfectly fine with that :-)
Logik
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Logik »

AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:54 pm How exactly did you find yourself idle and decided that now would be the time to make a new decision?
Has someone told you that you are in this state? Have you seen it, heard it, or tasted it?
You don't know how to tell that you are doing nothing?

Strange.
AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:54 pm Or was there simply a thought, spontaneously happening, popping out of the blackbox of your Oracle machine stating: "I am idle..." and then another one "Coffee?" and then another one: "Nah... maybe later, might as well reply to that ungrateful sod..."
And how is that any different than the process I described?
AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:54 pm Now, you can call this decision making, I call it simply a chain of spontaneously arising thoughts.
The difference being - some thoughts are acted upon. Some are not.

Whether the thoughts arise in parallel or in series is immaterial. As long as multiple thoughts are examined before any one of them is acted upon.
AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:54 pm Yes, sure, there are certain "rules" inside of this blackbox - they have been put there over years of learning, conditioning etc. and now the blackbox processes inputs according to these "rules" and generates certain outputs (thoughts).
But this doesn't mean that the blackbox is making decisions, it simply processes input patterns and generates output patterns (= conceptual interpretations).
Nonsense. The black box produces action. You are reading this, are you not? I have no coffee in my hand.

Clearly I acted upon one of the options.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by AlexW »

Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:05 pm Nonsense. The black box produces action. You are reading this, are you not? I have no coffee in my hand.

Clearly I acted upon one of the options.
That one thing happened and not another is no proof for the "black box producing action".
You might conclude such a thing by again invoking the blackbox - and sure, it will tell you that something only happened because it previously produced a certain output... but is it true?
Q: What connects the action and the previous output/"decision"?
A: Nothing more than another blackbox output stating that there is such a connection.
You believe the blackbox is right. I know it is not.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Logik »

AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:12 pm That one thing happened and not another is no proof for the "black box producing action".
You might conclude such a thing by again invoking the blackbox - and sure, it will tell you that something only happened because it previously produced a certain output... but is it true?
Q: What connects the action and the previous output/"decision"?
A: Nothing more than another blackbox output stating that there is such a connection.
You believe the blackbox is right. I know it is not.
You are getting stuck in the philosophical realm.

The point being: you are reading this - I have no coffee.

It could have gone the other way. How? If I chose differently.

Everything else is a model-theoretic framework called decision-theory.

Is it "true", do I "believe" in it? Dunno. It works. I apply it when writing software and the automation I build with this framework does what I expect it to do. It makes decisions predictably and in the same way I would've done it. It's deterministic!

That's all I could ever ask for.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by AlexW »

Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:19 pm It could have gone the other way. How? If I chose differently.
I find it quite interesting how human beings believe that they have this power of decision, that there actually is a decision maker (blackbox or whatever) when all the rest of the universe functions perfectly without such a belief.
A tree doesn't decide to grow towards the sun, rain doesn't decide to fall from the sky, the earth doesn't decide to follow a certain path around the sun... yet, you "decide" to get coffee (or not)...

I am not getting philosophical at all - I only try to point out the obvious which seem to be obscured by such complicated trains of conceptual thought that the simplicity of the underlying truth is overlooked.
Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:19 pm I apply it when writing software and the automation I build with this framework does what I expect it to do. It makes decisions predictably and in the same way I would've done it
No! It does not make decisions!
A piece of software is like a tree.
It does what it is meant to do - full stop.
It follows the path (the specific program) and produces output, but it doesn't make decisions on its own. Just like "you" don't make decisions on your own.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Logik »

AlexW wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:33 pm I am not getting philosophical at all - I only try to point out the obvious which seem to be obscured by such complicated trains of conceptual thought that the simplicity of the underlying truth is overlooked.
I am not after simplicity - I am after utility.

Having decision theory at my disposal means I can make a machine do the same thing I do.
It means I can delegate my work to a machine! Compound interest!!!

Are the contents of one black box the same as the contents of another black box? If they are functionally identical - I don't care.
If you can't tell the difference between two black boxes - you shouldn't care either!
Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:19 pm No! It does not make decisions!
A piece of software is like a tree.
It does what it is meant to do - full stop.
It follows the path (the specific program) and produces output, but it doesn't make decisions on its own. Just like "you" don't make decisions on your own.
*yawn*
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by AlexW »

Logik wrote: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:57 pm Having decision theory at my disposal means I can make a machine do the same thing I do.
It means I can delegate my work to a machine!
I am not saying it is not useful to anticipate potential paths - like in a program - and define certain actions based on a path being taken/activated.
That's not what we are discussing, is it?

What we are talking about is that you say "I make decisions!" whereas I say "I don't"
Sure, when you come to a fork you will eventually take the left or the right fork (or you remain stationary).
You might think ahead of what might happen when taking one or the other path and based on these thoughts a conclusion arises, left or right.
The train of thought is like a computer program, it follows the rules that exist inside the blackbox, and the eventual output, left or right, is a child of these rules - but: the output is simply an output, not a decision.
A decision requires an independent decision maker, yet there is none.
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Logik »

AlexW wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:15 am I am not saying it is not useful to anticipate potential paths - like in a program - and define certain actions based on a path being taken/activated.
That's not what we are discussing, is it?
What I am discussing is functional equivalence.

I am not sure what you are discussing.
AlexW wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:15 am What we are talking about is that you say "I make decisions!" whereas I say "I don't"
Interpretation. Because First Order Logic is consistent-but-undecidable you can start with any premise and produce an internally-consistent set of propositions. I don't play that game.

If there is no way to empirically distinguish a positive claim from its contrapositive logical equivalent - I am not interested.

AlexW wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:15 am the output is simply an output, not a decision. A decision requires an independent decision maker, yet there is none.
This line of reasoning reminds me of this article: https://philosophynow.org/issues/46/New ... aser_Sword
He delivered this with an air of triumph.

“My programs make mistakes,” I told him patiently. “I’ve trained a neural net to recognise the digit 3 written on an array. It frequently tells me that a 5 is a 3. If I correct its response often enough, it then tells me that a 3 is a 5. If I train it on 3’s and 5’s alternately it eventually gets them right but by then it thinks everything is either a 3 or a 5. I haven’t had the patience to make sure it gets every digit correct, but given the time and possibly a bigger network, I am confident it would get all the digits right. Until then, it will make mistakes.”

“Ah,” he said with the air of a man delivering certain knowledge, “but they aren’t real mistakes. Really it is doing what it has to do because you programmed it.”

For reasons which every scientist but not all philosophers will understand I was getting a little impatient.
I urge you to read the full article.

You are welcome to call it an output if the word "decision" triggers you. The fact of the matter is that the black box could output A or it could output B.

The thing which chooses between A or B given a set of rules is a "decision engine".
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by AlexW »

Logik wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:58 am You are welcome to call it an output if the word "decision" triggers you. The fact of the matter is that the black box could output A or it could output B.

The thing which chooses between A or B given a set of rules is a "decision engine".
Then you could call the whole universe a "decision engine"... sun shines - flower opens...
If everything that happens is a "decision", does it make sense to still call it a decision? (by the way: I have no problem with the word itself, also not with the conventional use of the phrase "I decide to have coffee" - as long as one understands what is actually happening "behind the curtain of thought").

Also, where do you draw the border between spontaneous happenings and something happening due to a previous decision?
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Re: Do you think you know that the Moon exists?

Post by Logik »

AlexW wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:33 am Then you could call the whole universe a "decision engine"... sun shines - flower opens...
If everything that happens is a "decision", does it make sense to still call it a decision? (by the way: I have no problem with the word itself, also not with the conventional use of the phrase "I decide to have coffee" - as long as one understands what is actually happening "behind the curtain of thought").
No. You are pre-supposing a clockwork (deterministic) universe.

I am treating determinism as a human value. It MAY be a property of the universe. I don't know. In fact - evidence leans towards the universe being probabilistic so that puts us at odds with the Universe. Awkward place to be...

Humans like determinism/predictability/control. We want to know that tomorrow we will have food on the table, roofs over our heads and I will have fresh cookies in the bakery down the road.

We most definitely do not like unpleasant surprises and we are wired to react to unpleasant changes (pain) far more adversely than positive changes (tasty apples!)

Decision theory and programming gives me determinism.

I know that on the 1st day of the month my bills will be paid (automatically), my budget will be compared to previous months and any anomalies will be e-mailed to me for review (automatically). I know that if my automated-payment or automated-budgeting systems break I will be alerted of it (automatically).

I know that any drastic changes in my investment portfolio will be responded to (with buy or sell orders) faster than I could ever make the decision myself. And then I will be alerted as to the emergent action done on my behalf (automatically).

The end result is determinism. What happens is EXACTLY what I expected will happen. Because I made it happen.
My intention is captured in a machine which has causal effect on and responds to changes in reality.

Does that mean it has "agency"? Don't know - don't care. It has a causal effect on reality that is reflective of my intent/desires.

AlexW wrote: Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:33 am Also, where do you draw the border between spontaneous happenings and something happening due to a previous decision?
Why do I have to?

The metaphor I like to use is a boat in the ocean. If I choose to keep the engine off I will go wherever the wind blows and wherever the current flows.
But at any moment I decide the ocean has me headed straight for the rocks, I can turn on the engine to adjust course and avoid disaster.

As long as any previous decision hasn't painted me into a corner (say - not putting enough fuel in the boat) I have options.
If I have options - I can make choices. I can avoid the ocean's "plan" for me - which is to smash me against the rocks.
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