The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

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Ginkgo
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:26 am

HexHammer wrote:
See a journalist made up a completely babble article and called it scientific, it passed and was taken into 2 respected science media.
https://web.archive.org/web/20161121183 ... ?aid=81030

So just because some reviewers has accepted this nonsense and babble, doesn't mean it's actually worth anything. You are being fooled.
At least I can string together a coherent sentence. Your grammar is appalling. When it comes to choosing between respected academic articles and your nonsense and babble I know which way I am leaning.

What does your link on ethics have to do with anything we have discussed to date?

HexHammer
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by HexHammer » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:50 am

Ginkgo wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
See a journalist made up a completely babble article and called it scientific, it passed and was taken into 2 respected science media.
https://web.archive.org/web/20161121183 ... ?aid=81030

So just because some reviewers has accepted this nonsense and babble, doesn't mean it's actually worth anything. You are being fooled.
At least I can string together a coherent sentence. Your grammar is appalling. When it comes to choosing between respected academic articles and your nonsense and babble I know which way I am leaning.

What does your link on ethics have to do with anything we have discussed to date?
See, you didn't understand ANYTHING of that link I just posted, it was a decoy article that fooled many academics that proofed it, that simple fact escaped you, and the journalist that wrote it had to spell it out for the proofers that it was a false article.
So Ginkgo you don't comprehend very much, the deeper points always escapes you!

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attofishpi
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by attofishpi » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:52 am

Some time ago I had an email correspondence with Davo - in his last email he stated "Good luck with those A.I. Gods' !!

aaahahahahahah!!

Ginkgo
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:24 am

HexHammer wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
See a journalist made up a completely babble article and called it scientific, it passed and was taken into 2 respected science media.
https://web.archive.org/web/20161121183 ... ?aid=81030

So just because some reviewers has accepted this nonsense and babble, doesn't mean it's actually worth anything. You are being fooled.
At least I can string together a coherent sentence. Your grammar is appalling. When it comes to choosing between respected academic articles and your nonsense and babble I know which way I am leaning.

What does your link on ethics have to do with anything we have discussed to date?
See, you didn't understand ANYTHING of that link I just posted, it was a decoy article that fooled many academics that proofed it, that simple fact escaped you, and the journalist that wrote it had to spell it out for the proofers that it was a false article.
So Ginkgo you don't comprehend very much, the deeper points always escapes you!
Ah, but of course, the old decoy article ploy. Good thinking 99

RickLewis
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by RickLewis » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:14 pm

attofishpi wrote:Some time ago I had an email correspondence with Davo - in his last email he stated "Good luck with those A.I. Gods' !!

aaahahahahahah!!
He's a good guy and very helpful, especially given how eminent he is and how busy he must be with his various projects. I'm sorry I've never succeeded in persuading him to write for the mag. He did once review a philosophy of mind article for us, and made numerous suggestions for changes.

We had an interview with him in this issue of Philosophy Now, back in 1998:

https://philosophynow.org/issues/21

Belinda
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Belinda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:20 pm

attofishpi wrote:Some time ago I had an email correspondence with Davo - in his last email he stated "Good luck with those A.I. Gods' !!

aaahahahahahah!!

A.I. Gods' what?

RickLewis
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by RickLewis » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:24 pm

Greta wrote:Should we declare this thread officially dead?

It seems we are not allowed to have a civilised chat about Chalmers.
Yes, this thread did sort of fizzle - seems it became mainly a discussion about HexHammer rather than about David Chalmers' book. Never mind! I'd love to discuss the book itself if anyone is still on for that. I'm just trying to read it myself now. (I did read a large chunk of it some years ago, but that was a while back and somehow now I'm only left with a sketchy recollection of some of the main ideas.)

Two arguments in the book which clearly stand out are:

(1) Chalmers' distinction between the hard and the easy problems of consciousness. (As Gingko already mentioned in this thread)

and

(2) Chalmers' philosophical zombie thought experiment, which he uses as evidence that the mind must be something more than the activity of the physical brain.


I suppose you could say that (1) is not actually an argument, but on the other hand I understand that philosophers such as Daniel Dennett deny the existence of a "hard problem" as such - so to assert the distinction must involve making an argument.

(2) Is definitely an argument. Not one I find convincing, but I might be wrong and I'd be delighted for the chance to discuss it!

Wyman
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Wyman » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:15 pm

RickLewis wrote:
Greta wrote:Should we declare this thread officially dead?

It seems we are not allowed to have a civilised chat about Chalmers.
Yes, this thread did sort of fizzle - seems it became mainly a discussion about HexHammer rather than about David Chalmers' book. Never mind! I'd love to discuss the book itself if anyone is still on for that. I'm just trying to read it myself now. (I did read a large chunk of it some years ago, but that was a while back and somehow now I'm only left with a sketchy recollection of some of the main ideas.)

Two arguments in the book which clearly stand out are:

(1) Chalmers' distinction between the hard and the easy problems of consciousness. (As Gingko already mentioned in this thread)

and

(2) Chalmers' philosophical zombie thought experiment, which he uses as evidence that the mind must be something more than the activity of the physical brain.


I suppose you could say that (1) is not actually an argument, but on the other hand I understand that philosophers such as Daniel Dennett deny the existence of a "hard problem" as such - so to assert the distinction must involve making an argument.

(2) Is definitely an argument. Not one I find convincing, but I might be wrong and I'd be delighted for the chance to discuss it!
I wrote a nice long post here (I thought) about Chalmers and Kripke that I won't try to duplicate. Maybe I hit the wrong button or something and erased it. The long and short of it was that I have the book on my Kindle and would enjoy a conversation about it; and that it would be great if Gingko got involved since he is very knowledgeable on this subject.

Wyman
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Wyman » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:01 pm

The first chapter is mostly concerned with making a distinction between two types of mental concepts or types of consciousness: psychological versus phenomenal. Psychological theories of the mind are concerned with causation, behavior and are generally - or perhaps just often - functional.

The phenomenal aspects of consciousness are basically what I have always called 'qualia' - and Chalmers uses this term as well as 'phenomena' and 'experience.'

The other major point he makes in the first chapter is that the existence of phenomenal consciousness is presupposed in the book. He says that people are of two kinds - those who believe there is a hard problem of consciousness and those who do not. He is not really arguing for the former position, but assuming it.

He talks some of Ryle and Wittgenstein as what are known as 'logical behaviorists,' who believed that consciousness (or mind) could be fully described in functional terms. I remember Rorty, discussing the same subject matter in 'Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature', making the same point. That is, many or most philosophers 'give' Ryle and Wittgenstein such mental concepts as belief, understanding, hope, desire and all the so-called 'propositional attitudes.' It is generally believed, however, that functional theories run into trouble with what Rorty calls 'raw feels.' Raw feels are the seemings, the pains, the toothaches and generally, again, what we call 'qualia.'

As an aside, here is Plato's take on qualia in the Theaetetus, where he basically acknowledges that there is a 'hard problem' at play:

SOCRATES: There are many ways, Theodorus, in which the doctrine that every opinion of every man is true may be refuted; but there is more difficulty in proving that states of feeling, which are present to a man, and out of which arise sensations and opinions in accordance with them, are also untrue. And very likely I have been talking nonsense about them; for they may be unassailable, and those who say that there is clear evidence of them, and that they are matters of knowledge, may probably be right; in which case our friend Theaetetus was not so far from the mark when he identified perception and knowledge.

But the problem here is epistemic - qualia are immediately known, subjectively. This is the same problem Descartes wrestled with in the Meditations, where he tried to base his metaphysical theory of mind upon the foundation of the certainty of (impossibility of doubting) qualia. Descartes 'thinking' is basically of the same scope as Chalmers' 'experience,' at least int he first chapter.

RickLewis
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by RickLewis » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:28 pm

Wyman wrote: I wrote a nice long post here (I thought) about Chalmers and Kripke that I won't try to duplicate. Maybe I hit the wrong button or something and erased it. The long and short of it was that I have the book on my Kindle and would enjoy a conversation about it; and that it would be great if Gingko got involved since he is very knowledgeable on this subject.
Yes, similar things have happened to me occasionally (carefully craft long posts that then mysteriously disappear in the blink of an eye), so I completely sympathise.

I also have a copy of this book on Kindle. I find it good if I need to locate occurrences of a particular key word.

Wyman
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Wyman » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:24 pm

Supervenience Part I

The second chapter (more or less) of Chalmers' book lays out the idea of supervenience, for use in his later analysis of the relationship between consciousness and physical systems.

Supervenience purports to describe a relationship between two 'systems.' I want to first give an example of what I think is the - or 'a' - model of what philosophers base such ideas upon. The example I give is of number theory, but geometry could do as well. Chalmers uses mostly examples from the physical sciences such as the relation between physics and biology, but such examples already introduce many ambiguities that take away from elucidation of the concept.

Here is a short, user-friendly demonstration of how number theory 'logically supervenes upon' set theory. No mathematical skills are necessary and no technicalities are utilized (unlike certain philosophers who go on and on with useless technical language obscuring the forest for the trees):

First, number theory can be constructed fairly simply from ordered pairs. Everyone knows what an ordered pair is - you used them extensively in geometry class to denote points on the Cartesian plane - (a,b). But ordered pairs do not have to be thought of as points, of course (and here is where number theory meets analytic geometry, or geometry meets algebra, but that is another story).

From the ordered pair, it is easy to define ordered triples, quadruples, and all the way up.

From ordered sequences, it is easy to define relations. Relations are sets of ordered pairs. We define certain characteristics of relations, such as symmetry, reflexivity, and transitivity (and their negations).
- Relations are of the form 'aRb' and we all know relations from grade school math - a=b, a>b, etc.. As an example, 'equality' is symmetrical,
reflexive and transitive, since a=a (reflexive), if a=b then b=a (symmetric) and if a=b and b=c then a=c (transitive). To see how relations are
just sets of ordered pairs, think of the natural numbers (1,2,3...). The '>' relation is just the set of all ordered pairs (x,y) such that x is greater
than y.

From relations, we have the tools necessary to create the axioms of number theory (by which I mean the natural numbers - from them we can build and get to rationals and irrationals). For instance, the 'basic' axiomatic relation used in number theory is just the 'successor' relation.

Now, back to set theory. An ordered pair is defined as (a,b) = {{a},{a,b}}. Don't ask why or try to understand it - all it means is that for every situation in which (a,b) is used (the ordered pair), we could replace it by the set-theoretical equivalent, {{a},{a,b}} - i.e. it just 'comes out right.' Any attempt to use the set theory notation beyond simple ordered pairs - to triples and beyond and relations - leads to pages of chicken-scratch, with brackets upon brackets upon brackets such that no one can keep it straight (only computers). But we know, in theory, that all ordered pairs can be so translated, and that is the important part.

The only other important ingredient are the numbers themselves. These can be defined in terms of sets. Very smart mathematicians such as Von Neumann and Cantor came up with satisfactory set-theoretic definitions of natural numbers. What they boil down to, simplistically, is that the number 'one' is the set of all sets with one element, 'two' is the set of all sets with two elements, etc.. If you wonder how that is not circular (defining 'one' in terms of sets with 'one' element), that is where the magic of the smart mathematicians comes in and you'll just have to take my word for it (it is not that difficult, just not necessary to understand what I am explaining).

Do not let any math nerds tell you it is 'more complicated than that.' It is, slightly, but the complications are not that complicated and if you understand what I've laid out, you understand how number theory is definable in terms of set theory. Nothing in number theory can fail to be expressible in set-theoretic terms. Therefore, any 'fact' of number theory supervenes upon set theory. That is, any 'fact,' such as '7 + 5 = 12' is in a way 'determined' by set theory - if the fact is proved in set theory, it cannot fail to be proved in number theory.

The analogue to what Chalmers discusses would be something like: any 'fact' (true proposition) of biology can be described, theoretically, in terms of physics (quarks and such). So any fact of biology cannot fail to be a fact of physics - stipulating that there are such things as 'truths' of biology and 'truths' of physics.

Chalmers wants to see whether the 'facts' of consciousness supervene upon the 'facts' of physics. If they do not, he says that that shows that consciousness cannot be described within a physical theory.

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Greta
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Greta » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:41 pm

Wyman wrote:From the ordered pair, it is easy to define ordered triples, quadruples, and all the way up.
Do you know how, or if, theory handles thresholds and emergence? That is, after a certain level of aggregation, continued linear development is no longer possible and there is a state change, eg. star ignition, abiogenesis, consciousness.

Wyman
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Wyman » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:43 pm

Greta wrote:
Wyman wrote:From the ordered pair, it is easy to define ordered triples, quadruples, and all the way up.
Do you know how, or if, theory handles thresholds and emergence? That is, after a certain level of aggregation, continued linear development is no longer possible and there is a state change, eg. star ignition, abiogenesis, consciousness.
No, not at all. I have only a passing knowledge of science. Part of the reason I am skeptical of Chalmers' approach (I am only on the second part of the book) is that I can't see how what I would call 'analytic frameworks' or theories have anything to do with physical or biological questions such as the nature of consciousness.

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Greta
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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Greta » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:19 am

Wyman wrote:
Greta wrote:
Wyman wrote:From the ordered pair, it is easy to define ordered triples, quadruples, and all the way up.
Do you know how, or if, theory handles thresholds and emergence? That is, after a certain level of aggregation, continued linear development is no longer possible and there is a state change, eg. star ignition, abiogenesis, consciousness.
No, not at all. I have only a passing knowledge of science. Part of the reason I am skeptical of Chalmers' approach (I am only on the second part of the book) is that I can't see how what I would call 'analytic frameworks' or theories have anything to do with physical or biological questions such as the nature of consciousness.
I suppose they can't because the physical sciences concern themselves with physical processes, not what it feels like to be, although they may be because we currently lack the computing power to work out all the relations between the many complex feedback loops in a body with a nervous system. Perhaps science itself will be subject to emergence when a sufficient level of calculation is achieved?

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Re: The Conscious Mind by David Chalmers

Post by Belinda » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:52 am

Wyman wrote:
Chalmers wants to see whether the 'facts' of consciousness supervene upon the 'facts' of physics. If they do not, he says that that shows that consciousness cannot be described within a physical theory.
Wyman, I would be obliged if you would tell me if Chalmers very clearly and knowlegeably defines what he means by "consciousness" for the purposes of his argument?

I have not read the book and your summary above interests me.I don't want to buy the book unless Chalmers has defined consciousness.

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