Hmm...let me think.
We seem to have stated our cases, and now be working over some of the same ground again.
Essentially, one of our basic differences is that you believe physical entities can "experience" in a non-metaphorical, "mental" kind of way. I believe there's no evidence for that, but that mental phenomena are obviously real. How we get beyond that difference would be a good question.
Justintruth wrote: ↑
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:12 pm
Evidence cannot be used to support that claim unless you have evidence that it *cannot*. If you have evidence that it *cannot*, then it is you that would need to show it.
Well, I could point out that the burden of proof rests on the one who says that physical "meat" can experience, and that the one who doubts that has no burden until some sort of evidence is provided. But as you have noted, that's not likely to happen, because such things can't really be demonstrated. So again, I think we've got a bit of an impasse there.
Now, again, since you don't seem to want to engage me on it...
I'm sorry...I can't tell to what "it" this phrase refers.
I don't know anything on which I've refused to engage you so far. You might have to specify that.
...let me make another attempt to discredit my own argument. Since you and I say that "minds" are involved, then perhaps an argument can be made like this: Any physical process will have its result determined, at some high probability and high accuracy, by the physical laws. But the outcome of a thought process must proceed based on the validity of the ideas experienced - it must have its own determinism. So, unless there is a very unlikely relationship between physics and the validity thought, then it cannot be true that the results obtained by thinking are generated by the physical laws. In that case there must be something else generating them. This would mean that the brain would need to achieve states that are not physically determinable and are physically determinable which is a contradiction
I'm uncertain whether here, you don't sometimes mean "determination," not Determinism. That makes it hard for me to be sure I'm reading this as you would intend. However, it does seem an interesting line of argument, if I understand it aright, and yes, I agree, it would then seem to be an argument against the suggestion that physics (or physiology) can account for cognition. They do seem to "respond" to very different "criteria."
Have I got your argument right, there?
...we both agree that computation is irrelevant because minds are not just computers...
I think we could potentially go much further, too, and it wouldn't turn out well for Physicalism.
Computers are not only not minds, they are entities that would not even exist without the pre-existence of the human mind of whatever "Bill Gates" invents them. Likewise the software: it only exists because some intelligent programmer created it. And it has never happened, since the foundation of the world, that a computer or computer program has been created by spontaneous generation, chance, or evolution. The design features of both bespeak to us certainly the existence of an ultimate designer.
So if we were to suppose too close an identity between computers and minds, we would have to say that minds too have to have an intelligent creator. That would definitely undermine Materialism, so I doubt that argument would make any Materialists or Physicalists happy. Perhaps, then, we'd best not push that analogy very far, at least not in hopes of getting a footing for monist Physicalism about the brain.
But what about, ethics for example. It is true that an ethical conclusion must flow from ethical principles not determinable from not only the current laws of physics, but future ones? In other words that conclusions must be drawn from premises by a mind in a way where the result is determined by the premises by laws other than any physics which, intellectual laws of some kind that are not logical. If, as I propose, the brain is thinking it would have its result, its answer seemingly determined both by a thought process and a physical process. In some cases this can clearly be done but is there even one where it cannot.
If physics were all that were in play, it should be possible, at least in principle, to have a perfect Consequentialism. That is (admitting that we don't know all the necessary variables) if we DID have a way of calculating all of the relevant variables, we would know what consequences were absolutely predetermined to issue from any particular ethical choice we made. And we could calculate what was ethical based on that.
However, then we would not need ethics. For ethics are the kind of things you only need when you DON'T know what is "best" to do. They are designed to guide and inform the process of making the right decision among different possibilities. So ethics themselves would disappear.
However, we do not live in that kind of world, obviously. We do not know the consequences of our choices, and have to rely on probability calculations based on our incomplete knowledge. Hence, Consequentialism is permanently troubled, and ethics remain necessary. You are correct: ethics involve a mental, not a physical operation. And they cannot me merely physical unless we did possess all the relevant variables, at which time ethics would not be a thing anyway. So if ethics are real, monist Physicalism would again be problematic.
How the brain gets that information is clear: sensation. How about ethics? Can we claim there can be some "ethics sensor" and if it is and is running on physical principles alone the how do we know that what we perceive as being good "really is". Or that what we believe to be true really is. So we have some kind of interaction between the notion of "really is" and notions of "good" that are at least possibly distinct from our notions of the way "really" and our notion of "sensed" works.
I think that's right.
Some will say that good simply does not exist and all we have is the fact that a brain experiences something that we label good and that seems to be consistent across individuals to a remarkable degree. But that, in a sense, means that good is not real . In the case of sensation we have a correspondence between sense and our ideas. How are we to establish that beyond our mutual agreement for good? Is it necessary we do?
This gets into a very deep question about what we mean by "good."
There are instrumental goods, like "X is good for doing Y," as in "a hammer is good for pounding nails." There are also physical goods, like "Eat your vegetables, because they're good for you." And there are other kinds of "good" as well. But there are also moral goods, which often are neither instrumentally expeditious (as in, "Share with your brother, even if you don't want to.) and aren't even particularly healthy (as in, "How sweet it is to die for the good of one's fellow men.") If physics are all that's in play, how do we account for non-instrumental, non-survival-serving "goods" existing at all?
That is a good question...and not merely instrumentally good.
I am not convinced that a sensory model of eternal being, one that includes the good, could be shown to be incompatible with a brain thinking those things. The very basis of experiencing is surely interruptible by anesthesia and that includes all experiencing. And we have no cases of individuals who are ethical without benefit of the brain. There are also cases where individuals have damage frontal lobes and their ethical structures and perceptions were changed.
But I am still concerned with any process that is determined physically, and that is determined in any other way, in the sense that one idea, or state of experience flows from another in a determinism that is not the physical one and simultaneously is the physical one.
Can't quite parse that.
Yeah, I see the problem.
Why? Why does it seem that way to you? I think that you have a failure to consider what I am saying. Not to resolve it but to be able even to consider it. If I say "Meat sees", you seem to think about what you already conceive of as "meat" - maybe even some muscle, or else a brain that is dead or not functioning, or even the "meat" of a brain that is functioning but including only its physical properties when you think of it, (for to you the meat of a dead brain is the same as a live one - which is false.
Well, the "meat" part is certainly the same. But the other stuff going on "in" it, I agree, has changed.
But I think we're back to the same problem I mentioned at the beginning. Your assertion seems to be that a purely physical entity can "think." And as you've pointed out, there's no way to verify that.
Instead of saying that what you already conceive of as "meat" is incompatible with what you conceive of as "seeing", see if you can't *change* what you mean by "meat" so it includes the possibility of something that can see.
I can't see how to do that without attributing the non-physical phenomena like consciousness, personhood, identity, morals, rationality, science, cognition, remembering, problem-solving...etc. to an entity you wish me to say is purely physical -- and that, without having any reason to believe the physical can issue in such things, other than the (possible) correspondence fallacy.
So if I want to take your postulate with all the seriousness it deserves, I have to believe that physical means only physical. And I honestly can see no way we can attribute physical properties to these mental phenomena. To use a somewhat frivolous analogy, it's almost as if you seem to want me to see the brain as a sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg machine, in which falling marbles (or molecules) end up trapping the "mouse" of thought. And honestly, I can't get there. How would that even work?
And if you cannot say why.
Do you think the experiencing goes on when death occurs? Then why doesn't it under anesthesia?
We don't really know what goes on during anaesthesia. We do know that people seem suspended in some way; but is it their thoughts that are suspended, or only their memories of their thoughts? Their autonomic nervous systems continue to function; what else does? We can't really ask them, can we? They don't remember.
Again the bald assertion. It is a lump of meat that *experiences*, not just some garden variety lump, and we need to recognize that and define its implications. We can't be declared "knee dead" in a hospital.
But you won't be declared "brain dead" so long as the mind inhabits it. The minute it doesn't, then that very same meat...every molecule the same...will be "brain dead."
Sorry, but there is no evidence of something leaving when someone dies.
But aren't you blaming a non-physical phenomenon for not being physical? You're thinking that the mind has to have some sort of weight, mass, colour, shape, or something that could be detected as "evidence" physiologically, aren't you? Because if you're not, then there's plenty of evidence that when the non-physical phenomenon of mind leaves the body, the person is dead: in fact, it's pretty much definitionally so.
So your objection is like, "How much does rationality weigh," or "How many intellects can dance on the head of a pin?"
Let's just say only one is necessary, hypothetically. What would your opinion be then? Answer this if nothing else in my post ok?
I'm not sure how to answer this. I'm not sure what it's asking, actually.
Are you asking me to imagine what I think is not so, and then to extrapolate from that?
Can you conceive of a phenomenal situation that is not in fact in effect but which would mean that there was only one entity seeing.
If I could, why would I be debating this question?
Now if you cannot, then please NEVER quote evidence again as your basis, because your claim is not based on factual evidence, but is not realizable in any factual case.
Oh, I don't think that's remotely true. In fact, I think the preponderance of the evidence -- even physically -- is on the side of a non-physical view of mind. Let me give you just one example: people think that when they decide something, they can move their limbs to accomplish it. So their physical actions are physical manifestations of a purely cognitive process. Or when someone dies, they stop moving. Why, if physicality is all there is? Conversely, when someone is in a particular cognitive state, such as "being in love," they experience detectable physiological effects, such as rises in testosterone or endorphins, that were not present before, when they were in the presence of the same person, but not "in love" with her, and which another person who was not "in love" with her would still not experience, even in the same proximity and situation.
That's what makes it so funny for someone to say, "Hey, baby; I really get an endorphin rush in your presence," instead of "I love you." The former is likely to get you to be alone, whereas the other might get you married.
Cognitive states produce myriad physiological effects. But they are not themselves physiological. And that's really intriguing.
So at least two entities are necessary, and even Occam would think so.
Can't you say why when you say such outrageous claims? How do you know what he would think in this case?
I know because his rule is that we should not multiply causal explanations beyond necessity.
He left himself the wiggle room that sometimes more than one entity being posited is way better than a one-entity explanation.
I think I gave you this example before: science used to speak of "matter." Things were said to be "made of matter." And that's a one-posit explanation. But would you honestly think it was a better, or more "Occam" explanation than an explanation involving atoms? But the latter explanation has more posits than the former: it requires belief in protons, neutrons, electrons, energy fields, etc. Can you suppose that Occam would insist that "matter" was a better explanation, for no other reason than that is has only one posit?
Ok, then we need to refrain from arguing that causality itself is a problem and when I say shooting someone in the head causes a loss of consciousness you can object to that but not by saying it could just be a coincidence and that coincidence does not imply a causal connection. Why? Because as you say above "And is that enough? I think so". The epistemic problems with causality are irrelevant.
I'm not a Humean. You needed to pay closer attention to my answer.
I do not think that probabilistic calculations of cause-and-effect are necessarily wrong, or impossible. I think they're probabilistic. And that's vastly different.
Your doctor's estimation that you may have a cold is probabilistic. That does not mean it's impossible to say that the doctor "knows" you have a cold. He "knows" it as well as any doctor can know anything, and perhaps, if he's a good doctor, with 99.999% probability.
Could he be wrong? Yes. Does that mean he IS wrong? No. But it does mean we have to give Hume his due: it is not possible to say for certain that we can close that .001% probability gap.
But so what? Does that need to trouble us? Does it render doctors useless? No.
But we know now that the term "particle" is very misleading and incorrect. What it really describes is a kind of energy field.
First you have to determine whether a simple thing like seeing red can be predicated onto a device. Perhaps we can make a device that sees red, again don't straw man me, I do not mean frequency determination, I mean the experiencing of a color. Perhaps we can make a device that just sees red and is incapable of marriage, or thinking, and the rest. What then?
That's not an easy thing to do. If "seeing" isn't mere "detecting," then we can make machines to do the latter, but have no way of saying the same machine is doing the former.
A laser scanner at a checkout counter detects bar codes. But it does not "see" or "read" them, in a literal sense. There is no system within the machine capable of cognition or of "experiencing" a bar code. The machine will not say to itself, "Hey, that looks like zebra striping," or remark to itself, "You know, this is the third barcode in a row with a double three in it...what are the chances?" But those are exactly the kinds of cognitions it would have if it were "experiencing" in the way human beings do. Laser scanners don't do those things, though. However, they are great at detecting when a bar code is near, and turning that into an expression of data.
Ok, then you agree they might be intelligent or might not be and it's just hard to tell. But you have already said it is impossible for them to experience. It takes a soul right? So why are you so concerned about being fooled?
AI makes it look like entities that cannot have cognitions actually do. And people are incredibly credulous about that. They anthropomorphize computers, and even trust them to perform functions that only human beings can. People have electronic conversation partners, and even electronic therapists; some have electronic "girlfriends," as if that weren't totally creepy.
Some people want to speak of AI "rights," now...there was just an article on it in PN a couple of months ago. And some lunatics even want to sublet our cognitive functions, or even our whole consciousnesses, to computers (like "Extropians") do. At minimum, we have begun to regard "intelligent" computer functions as not insidious, not directed by anybody else's purpose. We forget that everything in the world of computers is a construct -- a fabrication of the fancy or purposes of another human being. And we think we're in charge when we're not.
So what I want to ask is, "How would we know if we ever did create AI?" For certain, we will be able to fool ourselves about that long, long before we can actually do it. We already have. And we're starting to trust programmed entities, computers programmed by other people and according to their purposes and imaginings, as if they were neutral relative to us, and not coercive.
That's the tip of the iceberg. Where else this goes, who knows? But my argument is simply for less credulity.
At least you are thinking that it is possible.
For us to fool ourselves? Yes. I'm not so certain AI is possible. I think it may well be impossible to do anything more than create a series of ever more elaborate fakes of consciousness. And one thing we agree on: there's no absolute test we have. So it's very likely that in future we are going to be way, way too easily fooled.
Sorry, it wasn't me who deleted some of your words it was the Preview button.... but reading I think you can get the gist of it.
I hope I got that gist right.