In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

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

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Skepdick
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:04 am He was saying that he couldn't not exist if he was thinking.
Yes, but that doesn't answer the question: Was he actually thinking?

If the true answer to that question is "no", could he then doubt his existence?

Self-awareness/self-reference (unverbalised) is sufficient for existence. In so far as I am concerned.

I
Gary Childress
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:07 am
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:04 am He was saying that he couldn't not exist if he was thinking.
Yes, but that doesn't answer the question: Was he actually thinking?
I would assume that he was thinking at that time that he made the statement. I sort of fancy Descartes meditating pretty deeply and thoughtfully to come up with that axiom.
If the true answer to that question is "no", could he then doubt his existence?
No, he couldn't doubt his existence because if he's not thinking then he can't "doubt."
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 am I would assume that he was thinking at that time that he made the statement.
This brings us back to the same issue of "consciousness". Descartes was doing SOMETHING alright.

But does he truly know whether that which he was DOING was thinking, and not computing?
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 am No, he couldn't doubt his existence because if he's not thinking then he can't "doubt."
If he is computing he can doubt.

He couldn't not exist if he was thinking.
He couldn't not exist if he was computing.

Was he thinking or computing?

(and so on and so on goes the silly Philosophical Language game. Was he really doubting, or was he just uncertain?)
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:19 am
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 am I would assume that he was thinking at that time that he made the statement.
This brings us back to the same issue of "consciousness". Descartes was doing SOMETHING alright.

But does he truly know whether that which he was DOING was thinking, and not computing?
I assume only Descartes had the definitive answer to that. If he was conscious, then he was thinking. If he wasn't then I suppose he may have been "computing".
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 am No, he couldn't doubt his existence because if he's not thinking then he can't "doubt."
If he is computing he can doubt.
I'm not sure if that's true or not. In a sense, I suppose only a computer can know that for sure.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:28 am I assume only Descartes had the definitive answer to that. If he was conscious, then he was thinking. If he wasn't then I suppose he may have been "computing".
So back to the original question of self-knowledge/self-assertion.

How does one determine (beyond any doubt) that they are conscious?

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:28 am I'm not sure if that's true or not. In a sense, I suppose only a computer can know that for sure.
You are a computer. Computation is what humans DO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_ ... scription)

If you can answer the question "Am I conscious?" you should also be able to answer the question "Am I doubting?"
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:46 am I am not asking you for "proof" - I am asking you for a procedure.

Given a room full of entities, all I am asking you is to sort those entities into two groups (categories): conscious and unconscious. I am sure you know HOW to do that (because you know what consciousness means to you), but what I am asking you to do is to teach ME how to do it.

I am asking you to put your sorting/categorization algorithm in language. So that I can reproduce it. I am asking you to explain to me (or anybody else) how you draw the distinction between "conscious" and "unconscious" entities.

Good ol' science.
If there is a "procedure" for determining something is conscious or not I"m not aware of what it is. Like I say, no one can open my skull, look at my brain and determine if I am conscious or not conscious at a given moment. I mean, I hear that people in a coma report having dreams but nothing shows up on scans of brain activity to that effect. Consciousness is a black box. At least at this point.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:30 am
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:28 am I assume only Descartes had the definitive answer to that. If he was conscious, then he was thinking. If he wasn't then I suppose he may have been "computing".
So back to the original question of self-knowledge/self-assertion.

How does one determine (beyond any doubt) that they are conscious?

As I've said, I can't give you an algorithm, if that's what you are looking for.
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:28 am I'm not sure if that's true or not. In a sense, I suppose only a computer can know that for sure.
You are a computer. Computation is what humans DO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_ ... scription)

If you can answer the question "Am I conscious?" you should also be able to answer the question "Am I doubting?"
Am I really a computer? If I am a computer, then presumably either we murder our IPads when we put them in the dumpster or else killing a human is just erasing their hard drive. Consciousness is all the difference.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 am If there is a "procedure" for determining something is conscious or not I"m not aware of what it is.
OK, but you know HOW to do it.

You CAN sort things into two categories: conscious and not-conscious.

So you clearly have KNOW HOW. You clearly have knowledge. You just can't express/communicate this knowledge in a language others can understand.

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 am Like I say, no one can open my skull, look at my brain and determine if I am conscious or not conscious at a given moment.
But you didn't answer my question: what observation/measurement/evidence in your brain would lead somebody to determine whether you are conscious or not?
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 am Consciousness is a black box. At least at this point.
That's impossible, Gary. A "black box" reveals absolutely no information to any observer.

In order for you to give a yes/no answer to the question "Is X conscious?" you require exactly 1 bit of information (that is the definition of a bit).

If X is a black box then it reveals no information. So how did you answer the yes/no question?
Last edited by Skepdick on Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:39 am Am I really a computer? If I am a computer, then presumably either we murder our IPads when we put them in the dumpster or else killing a human is just erasing their hard drive. Consciousness is all the difference.
Your conception/referent for a "computer" is an iPad. A digital computer.

That's not what a computer is. Humans are computers. Ipads are machines made in our own abstractly-computational image.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetware_computer
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:39 am
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 am Like I say, no one can open my skull, look at my brain and determine if I am conscious or not conscious at a given moment.
But you didn't answer my question: what observation/measurement/evidence in your brain would lead somebody to determine whether you are conscious or not?
I did answer your question. I've been answering them all along. I don't know how to observe, measure etc. conscoiusness. If you walk into a room how do you sort things into conscious vs. non-conscious? What "algorithm" do you use? I'd love to hear the definitive answer. Then maybe I could use it to make my discernments.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Gary Childress »

Skepdick wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:40 am
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:39 am Am I really a computer? If I am a computer, then presumably either we murder our IPads when we put them in the dumpster or else killing a human is just erasing their hard drive. Consciousness is all the difference.
Your conception/referent for a "computer" is an iPad. A digital computer.

That's not what a computer is. Humans are computers. Ipads are machines made in our own abstractly-computational image.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetware_computer
Maybe that's the hanging point. When I think of the word, "computer", I think of something that is only capable of making computations but isn't conscious. Consciousness seems like something extra to me. In a sense, perhaps it's even superfluous to operating successfully in the world.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Dontaskme »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:52 am
Dontaskme wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:39 am In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

It's wrong because when he made the claim ( '' I think therefore I Am '' ) it implied that when 'thought' was present then so must be a ''someone'' who is being aware of the ''thought''

Descartes is implying there must be a 'someone' who is aware of the 'thought' and that this 'someone' exists soley because the 'thought' informs of such. But this whole process is a phenomena known as a ''phantom invertion'' in the sense that an unknown subject turns itself into a known object...as if it's the object aka the ('thought') who is the one aware of the 'thought'.

Objects aka ''thoughts'' ARE NOT AWARE... there is no such dualism there in reality, so he was wrong.As 'thoughts' do not 'think' nor are 'thoughts' aware.

.
How do you know Descartes was wrong in saying "I think therefore I am"? Did he not exist? Perhaps he doesn't now but at the time he thought up his self-evident axiom he presumably did.
The ''He'' exists as a known objective concept in no conceptually known ''He'' .....as concepts are KNOWN by no known concept.

So what or who does apparently know the concept?

Answer: Non-conceptual Awareness does, and not the concept it is aware of. The known concept knows nothing.

There is no ''He'' being the I AM ''thought'' in reality there is no object that is the thinker.

Man is not the thinker.

Thoughts arise in no 'He'.

Thoughts arise in Awareness, the assumed 'He' is Awareness aware of the concept 'He', and so cannot be the ''He'' which is just a thought./

'He' is a ''thought'' ...which comes and goes in Awareness... which does not come and go.

Awareness does not come and go, and that's who and what you ARE

Notice the 'thought labeled 'He' comes and goes...while that which is Aware of that 'thought' DOES NOT

That's who and what you are...you are that which does not come and go for there is no where to go, there is always just HERE.
HERE can NEVER NOT BE HERE.

There is only ( Herenow / Nowhere ) a very convincing inversion, the mother of all illusions.

I know this because I have self inquired into the 'who or what' exactly is it that exists... I have not settled or attached to what someone else aka ''other'' has informed me, rather, I have tested this out for myself from my own direct experience.

Everyone can do this.

There is no separate I thinking. Thoughts are spontaneously self arising, they do not belong to a ''someone''. They cannot belong to a 'Me' because the 'Me' thought ) comes and goes in 'Me' the awareness that is being aware of the thought coming and going while I Awareness ALWAYS STAYS...

.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:46 am I did answer your question. I've been answering them all along. I don't know how to observe, measure etc. conscoiusness.
That's the crux of it - if you weren't able to measure consciousness you wouldn't be able to draw a distinction between "conscious" and "not conscious".

Being able to sort things into "conscious" and "not-conscious" necessitates that you are able to measure (detect? identify? recognise?) consciousness.
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:46 am If you walk into a room how do you sort things into conscious vs. non-conscious? What "algorithm" do you use? I'd love to hear the definitive answer. Then maybe I could use it to make my discernments.
I can't give YOU an answer. The algorithm is in your head. I am trying to get you to "copy" that algorithm from your head into my head.

It seems you rely on intuition, however and you are unable to verbalise (read: define) "consciousness"
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Skepdick »

Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:49 am Maybe that's the hanging point. When I think of the word, "computer", I think of something that is only capable of making computations but isn't conscious. Consciousness seems like something extra to me.
OK, so "consciousness" is everything that a digital computer isn't? The "gap" between you and the ipad? Whatever that gap is.

Just keep in mind that as we develop new knowledge/invent new technology that gap keeps closing. And perhaps one day that gap will disappear entirely.
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:49 am In a sense, perhaps it's even superfluous to operating successfully in the world.
That largely depends on what your criteria for "success" are.

Digital computers are significantly more successful at certain tasks (relative to humans), and absolutely atrocious at other human endeavours.
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Re: In what sense is Descartes's dualism wrong?

Post by Satyavan »

I have no time to reply to all your observations, so I just pick up these ones.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:20 pm One more time:

What is:
1. An explanation?
2. A problem?
3. A solution?
I don't understand why you are fixed with defining these words? For me these terms are self-evident and do not need further clarification. I can only use analogies. For example, if a couple of marbles in NY collide and cause pigs to fly in Beijing, then I have a "problem" with that, which needs an "explanation"/"solution". Whereas you tell that it is just a causal chain we should no further question. From A follows B and you are happy with that. I'm not.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:20 pm
Satyavan wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:09 pm If an experience is a physical process this does not imply that a physical process gives rise to an experience.
It does imply it. Unless you are making mystical claims. Are you not a monist? Thats precisely where Descartes went wrong!
No, I thought it is clear that I'm a dualist (... well not even that... but I don't want to digress on this).
Stating that a physical process gives rise to an experience is a mystical claim as well. There is no obvious logic in saying that a physical process implies experience other than by a leap of faith. Your claim is reminiscent of panpsychism that equates matter as a form of mind/experience as fundamental and prior to matter itself. Take a chemical reaction. Does it give rise to a subjective experience of someone/something becoming sentient? If the answer is yes, then you are making a mystical claim. If the answer is no, then back to the basics.... the hard problem of consciousness did not receive any kind of answer. We only know that in this universe, from the causal chain of processes that we can described from a third-person perspective something emerges that can only be experienced from a first-person perspective. There is an abysmal explanatory gap that is not in the least addressed by talking about algorithms, recursions, models, neural networks, neurobiology, etc. It completely misses the point.
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