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What is Mind?

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Consul
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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Consul » March 21st, 2014, 10:18 pm

Bohm2 wrote:You do realize that Strawson is a panpsychist?
Yes, and a physicalist, a "real physicalist". However, most physicalists think that physicalism excludes panpsychism. On the other hand, there is allegedly:

"…the very possibility of what I shall call Panpsychistic Materialism.
It is often noted that psychophysical identity is a two-way street: if all mental properties are physical, then some physical properties are mental. But perhaps not just some but all physical properties might be mental as well; and indeed every property of anything might be at once physical and mental."


(Lewis, David. "New Work for a Theory of Universals." 1983. Reprinted in Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, 8-55. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. p. 35)

Should this be called "panpsychophysicalism" or "panphysiopsychicalism"? I don't know.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Lacewing » March 22nd, 2014, 1:35 pm

Subatomic God wrote:Lacewing... Where have you been in all this time that's passed? Your responses and passion for philosophy is nothing short from admirable! Not only are you passionate, but very precise in what you're passionate about.
Thank you SG. Where have I been? Bumping into walls... getting my wings crumpled up... and then smoothing them out again, to fly around the planets. This earth experience... and our spirits... are fascinating.

I have always loved thoughtful discussions about the possibilities beyond commonly-held beliefs or "truths". At times I have thought that "spiritually-minded" or "new-age" people would relate better to me... and so I tried a few of those online forums. I didn't stay long. Too many people are ranting and raving (and being abusive to and disrespectful of each other) instead of listening and questioning the limits of their own thinking. I seem to do better having "cosmic conversations" with one person at a time, from a very small group of trusted friends, or I keep to myself and just breathe in nature and try to flow with a larger flow. There is so much all around... and within every moment!

Back to the "commonly-held beliefs and truths"... so much seems "made up" to me... and being forced to attend church religiously when I grew up, brought up so many more questions than answers. Even as a kid, I felt like people were putting things in neat little boxes they could sit on top of (to keep the lid closed), despite so much more information/logic/sensing to the contrary.

After years of trying to figure things out for myself, I'm now comfortably aware that I don't know anything... and that's actually very freeing. It seems to me that energy can shift and ripple from day to day... possibly changing us and changing everything profoundly at unseen levels. So even if we think we know something in one moment... it can change. It would be like trying to know the position of every drop in a wave in motion.
Subatomic God wrote:Here's something to consider to keep this discussion going, as it's a great one: The human body being generated out of electrical discharges is what allows apparent "life"; when electrocuted, we go down much like any computer struck by an electrical discharge.
It's fascinating. The "mechanics" of us... and the "spirit" of us... functioning alongside each other within our physical forms. Is it any wonder we feel crazy sometimes? There is SO MUCH going on... not just within us, but across the entire network... of which we are very much integrated into (I'm guessing)! Our mechanical system can be shut down... just as our spirits can take a very real hit... individually or collectively. And from the point/vibration we could truly realize the magnitude of all of this, there would probably be no surprise or point to that realization. It's only fascinating and perplexing BECAUSE of the limited scope and ability from which we are trying to fathom and understand it.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Subatomic God » March 22nd, 2014, 4:22 pm

Lacewing wrote:
It's fascinating. The "mechanics" of us... and the "spirit" of us... functioning alongside each other within our physical forms.

What do you mean by "spirit"? The "apparent" essence of what is "self"? What is "self"? Is it "mind"?
What do you call a cat wearing a turtle's shell on its back? A purpoise.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Lacewing » March 22nd, 2014, 8:45 pm

Subatomic God wrote:Lacewing... What do you mean by "spirit"? The "apparent" essence of what is "self"? What is "self"? Is it "mind"?
Whatever that energy is that is more than the mechanical body (if one believes in such a thing). That which does not die when the body dies (again, if one believes in such a thing). Some call it a soul. I think of it as an essence... not a "self" or a "mind". It seems to me that it merges formlessly back into the collective energy... because separateness is probably an illusion that results from being "embodied".

But I'm guessing and making this up every day. :-)

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Subatomic God » March 22nd, 2014, 9:39 pm

Lacewing wrote:
Whatever that energy is that is more than the mechanical body (if one believes in such a thing). That which does not die when the body dies (again, if one believes in such a thing). Some call it a soul. I think of it as an essence... not a "self" or a "mind". It seems to me that it merges formlessly back into the collective energy... because separateness is probably an illusion that results from being "embodied".

But I'm guessing and making this up every day. :-)
I think of "life" as something like the apparent existence of a "tornado". What is "life" isn't an unknown source of energy called the "soul", but rather a complex chain of reactions and functions all working together create what is apparent "life". We're made up of the Universe, via its metaphysical parts, and via its physical parts, even "live" parts, such as animals, hence why the stages of our heart development look like the following animals hearts throughout 4 stages: fish > frog > turtle > human. It all started in the ocean, which goes back to how important water is in the theory I have. Vibrations, functions and reactions are not strictly "energy", but rather are very distinctive in what they do; i.e music requires vibration, and colors require density.
What do you call a cat wearing a turtle's shell on its back? A purpoise.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Bohm2 » March 25th, 2014, 11:43 am

Consul wrote:Blindsighters don't know how they can do what they can do because they don't do what they do on the basis of conscious visual information. The general question is what makes consciousness-independent, unconsciously executable abilities mental as opposed to nonmental. When a consciousnessless robot can solve the same problems that blindsighters can solve, should we say that it therefore has mental abilities? – I don't think so.
Computers/robots are products of human intentions so there is no fact about their design that exists apart from those intentions. Moreover, why draw some line between mental and non-mental, particularly given that we don't have a clear concept of what the "physical" is? As Chomsky wrote:
I will be using the terms "mind" and "mental" here with no metaphysical import. Thus I understand "mental" to be on a par with "chemical", "optical", or "electrical". Certain phenomena, events, processes and states are informally called "chemical" etc., but no metaphysical divide is suggested thereby. The terms are used to select certain aspects of the world as a focus of inquiry. We do not seek to determine the true criterion of the chemical, or the mark of the electrical, or the boundaries of the optical. I will use "mental" the same way, with something like ordinary coverage, but no deeper implications. By "mind" I just mean the mental aspects of the world, with no more interest in sharpening the boundaries or finding a criterion than in other cases.
Chomsky is basically arguing that trying to delineate such boundaries as mental/non-mental is on par with delineating the boundary of the “chemical”/non-chemical, "electrical”/non-electrical, etc. From a naturalistic perspective, it’s pointless because common-use terms (ordinary discourse) may not map that well to scientific distinctions.

I've looked at the debate between Searle and Chomsky on this topic of "unconscious" mental stuff and I don't find Searle's argument convincing. This is summarized in a paper by Peter Ludlow in A. Martinich and D. Sosa (eds.) A Companion to Analytic Philosophy:
Chomsky has also clashed with Searle over the possibility of rules in cognitive science that are “in principle” inaccessible to consciousness. Can there be aspects of the mental which are not “in principle” accessible to consciousness? Searle argues that there cannot. Chomsky (1990, 1994b) argues that the notion of “in principle” in Searle’s argument is vacuous....Chomsky also notes that Searle must introduce the notion of “blockage” to cover those cases in which an individual, perhaps through brain damage, is able to correctly solve a problem, but be unable to say how it was solved. On Searle’s theory, such a person has “in principle” access but suffers from “blockage”. But Chomsky observes that it is entirely arbitrary as to what counts as blockage and what counts as in principle inaccessibility (e.g., perhaps an unfortunate mutation blocked our access to the language faculty). Accordingly, Chomsky argues that such notions have no role in naturalistic inquiry into the nature of the mental (and indeed, cognitive science rightly ignores such notions).
But then you might argue that why should we even consider such unconscious or 'tacit' knowledge as being "mental"? Because we have zero idea how such properties can be constructed of neurons and the like. Whereas, the more abstract models put forth by linguists/cognitive scientists do offer explanations:
In the present case, the theories of language and mind that seem best established on naturalistic grounds attribute to the mind/brain computational properties of a kind that are well-understood, though not enough is known to explain how a structure constructed of cells can have such properties.
This is not to deny that in the future we may come to understand such stuff from a neurophysiological perspective. Alternatively, such a perspective may never be adequate because it may turn out to be mistaken; that is, we may be in the same boat as chemists were in the previous century before the advent of QM which overthrew Newtonian mechanics. The chemist's abstract models proposed were considered 'useful fictions' by the physicists of that time because they could not be accommodated by the physics of the time. It turns out that the chemists were right. The physics was just wrong. With the advent of QM, unification between chemical and physical was then, to a large extent, established. So the argument is that just because some of these more abstract models proposed by linguists/cognitive scientists cannot be unified with our present conception of the neurophysiological/neurons/cells/neural networks, etc. doesn't tell us that these models are incorrect or unfruitful, particularly since they provide much more adequate explanatory function than the neurophysiological.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Neznac » March 26th, 2014, 2:31 am

This documentary by Tom Shedyac is perhaps what all the mystic posters on these threads are speaking about. I think of people like Radar and Subatomic God when I watched this but also of Belinda and Greta, and Dlaw and Neopolitan, and Bohm2 and Consul, and Lacewing and myself . . . and even Syamsu (especially in that latter part when they talk about the heart as the true source of awareness).

When I talked about personal "reincarnation" as a way to get into direct appreciation of the intelligent sentience of the body that is you . . . that's what this movie is about, for me anyway. Of course it's about love, not only embodied love but "reincarnated" love . . . (From post #309 in this thread)
Neznac wrote: I find your overall assessment Greta to be a fine view of where we stand today and perhaps where we are going. This last statement interests me very much. I've long been of the opinion that there are no such things as individual minds, but that there are individual mindings, which means that each of us "pays attention to" reality from a unique, action oriented perspective. There is only the 'hive mind' that actually exists in some form that I have called intersubjectivity which is made manifest in the languages we use.

This 'h-mind' is really still in its infancy as you suggest, but I can only see it evolving into the most incredible form of cognitive engagement ever imagined! In my view, step #1 in this evolution is to realize that each one of us individually needs to get cognitively 'reincarnated' - that is, we each have to realize that these living bodies are the foundation of our intelligence. How we experience space, how we experience time, how we experience life, others, communicating, spacetime, etc., are all provided by the sentience of these bodies (brain included). Once we each get 'reincarnated' (we realize that what we thought were 'minds' are just instances of minding activity as accomplished by these bio-neurological bodies) we can then begin to figure out what is the realistic optimum future/expectation of the h-mind for our benefit. It was the h-mind (through language and reflective thought) that created each of us as "disembodied" individuals, and once 'reincarnated' we can then move on to the next step in our cognitive evolution. It should be clear to anyone reading this that without 'reincarnation' there is no possibility of coming to know the h-mind.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Misty » March 26th, 2014, 5:27 am

Kiwi wrote:Where do the thoughts come from? How does the 3 lb mass of grey matter that is my brain give rise to the felt experience of sensations and thoughts? It sometimes seems essentially inconceivable that the water of material processes could give rise to the wine of consciousness.

It is part of the mystery of human creation. It is innate, if the brain is not damaged. Babies are created and ready to receive and discern information. Abilities to do this are innate, part of the brains design.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Lacewing » March 26th, 2014, 1:09 pm

Neznac wrote:This documentary by Tom Shedyac is perhaps what all the mystic posters on these threads are speaking about...
I just watched this again... prompted by your posting of it. Thank you. It's so thought-provoking and eye-opening about so many levels that we are connected on... and how our energy fields affect so much without saying anything! And our evolving science supports/proves much of it! Can we step beyond the destructive models/structures we feel so identified with and tied to? If only we realize how much greater we actually are, then the fear/embarrassment of our ego can fall away, and the value of stepping beyond the destructive models becomes obvious, and vastly more freeing and empowering and profoundly fulfilling than the destructive models can ever be capable of.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Misty » March 26th, 2014, 1:43 pm

Lacewing wrote:
Neznac wrote:This documentary by Tom Shedyac is perhaps what all the mystic posters on these threads are speaking about...
I just watched this again... prompted by your posting of it. Thank you. It's so thought-provoking and eye-opening about so many levels that we are connected on... and how our energy fields affect so much without saying anything! And our evolving science supports/proves much of it! Can we step beyond the destructive models/structures we feel so identified with and tied to? If only we realize how much greater we actually are, then the fear/embarrassment of our ego can fall away, and the value of stepping beyond the destructive models becomes obvious, and vastly more freeing and empowering and profoundly fulfilling than the destructive models can ever be capable of.
Interesting. I posted reference to the Tom Shadyac documentary I Am on post #190 and was ignored. Oh well, glad it was viewed.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

I am Lion, hear me ROAR! Meow.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Lacewing » March 26th, 2014, 2:14 pm

Misty wrote:Interesting. I posted reference to the Tom Shadyac documentary I Am on post #190 and was ignored. Oh well, glad it was viewed.
Just one of those cosmic timing things, I'm guessing. You planted a seed somewhere in the cosmic garden... and it popped up in another spot. :-)

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Neznac » March 27th, 2014, 12:52 pm

Misty wrote:Interesting. I posted reference to the Tom Shadyac documentary I Am on post #190 and was ignored. Oh well, glad it was viewed.
Hey Misty. I guess we're on the same page, so to speak! A friend of mine texted me on March 23 that I should watch it, so I did and figured it speaks to the issues in this thread. Now that I went back to post #190, I remember reading your suggestion, but obviously I ignored it too. Weird? We must be connected through something?

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Consul » April 21st, 2014, 11:10 am

Bohm2 wrote:Moreover, why draw some line between mental and non-mental, particularly given that we don't have a clear concept of what the "physical" is? As Chomsky wrote:
I will be using the terms "mind" and "mental" here with no metaphysical import. Thus I understand "mental" to be on a par with "chemical", "optical", or "electrical". Certain phenomena, events, processes and states are informally called "chemical" etc., but no metaphysical divide is suggested thereby. The terms are used to select certain aspects of the world as a focus of inquiry. We do not seek to determine the true criterion of the chemical, or the mark of the electrical, or the boundaries of the optical. I will use "mental" the same way, with something like ordinary coverage, but no deeper implications. By "mind" I just mean the mental aspects of the world, with no more interest in sharpening the boundaries or finding a criterion than in other cases.
Chomsky is basically arguing that trying to delineate such boundaries as mental/non-mental is on par with delineating the boundary of the “chemical”/non-chemical, "electrical”/non-electrical, etc. From a naturalistic perspective, it’s pointless because common-use terms (ordinary discourse) may not map that well to scientific distinctions.
But, as he says, Chomsky isn't interested in drawing a precise scientific distinction between the mental and the nonmental, claiming that this distinction doesn't have any metaphysical/ontological import. However, he thereby begs the question against those who claim it does. So we are in the midst of a genuinely philosophical debate over the concepts of mentality and physicality. And these concepts are not so hopelessly vague that it is impossible to make any meaningful definitions of them and distinctions between them. However, as for the concept of mentality, the more independent it is of the concept of consciousness/experience, the vaguer it becomes.
Bohm2 wrote:I've looked at the debate between Searle and Chomsky on this topic of "unconscious" mental stuff and I don't find Searle's argument convincing. This is summarized in a paper by Peter Ludlow in A. Martinich and D. Sosa (eds.) A Companion to Analytic Philosophy:
Chomsky has also clashed with Searle over the possibility of rules in cognitive science that are “in principle” inaccessible to consciousness. Can there be aspects of the mental which are not “in principle” accessible to consciousness? Searle argues that there cannot. Chomsky (1990, 1994b) argues that the notion of “in principle” in Searle’s argument is vacuous....Chomsky also notes that Searle must introduce the notion of “blockage” to cover those cases in which an individual, perhaps through brain damage, is able to correctly solve a problem, but be unable to say how it was solved. On Searle’s theory, such a person has “in principle” access but suffers from “blockage”. But Chomsky observes that it is entirely arbitrary as to what counts as blockage and what counts as in principle inaccessibility (e.g., perhaps an unfortunate mutation blocked our access to the language faculty). Accordingly, Chomsky argues that such notions have no role in naturalistic inquiry into the nature of the mental (and indeed, cognitive science rightly ignores such notions).
But then you might argue that why should we even consider such unconscious or 'tacit' knowledge as being "mental"?
I haven't yet formed an opinion about the distinction between in-principle inaccessibility and blocked accessibility; but as for your question, one can indeed go one step further and doubt or deny the mentality of so-called mental dispositions (dispositional mental properties) such as knowledge, beliefs, desires, preferences, interests, intellectual skills, which are unconscious as long as they are unmanifested, i.e. not part of the present (affective, cognitive, or conative) content of one's consciousness. If one considers consciousness to be the mark of the mental, then this step is logical.

Nevertheless, in this case one can still distinguish between those nonmental phenomena which are premental and those ones which are not: A nonconscious neural disposition is premental iff its manifestation is a conscious experience, otherwise it is non-premental. Of course, this turns "premental" and "preconscious"/"pre-experiential" into synonyms. We then have two basic sorts of mental phenomena: conscious ones (= experiences) and preconscious ones (= mental dispositions). Preconscious phenomena are nonconscious but "conscifiable", i.e. they can become conscious phenomena, being accessible to consciousness.
Bohm2 wrote:Because we have zero idea how such properties can be constructed of neurons and the like. Whereas, the more abstract models put forth by linguists/cognitive scientists do offer explanations:
In the present case, the theories of language and mind that seem best established on naturalistic grounds attribute to the mind/brain computational properties of a kind that are well-understood, though not enough is known to explain how a structure constructed of cells can have such properties.
This is not to deny that in the future we may come to understand such stuff from a neurophysiological perspective. Alternatively, such a perspective may never be adequate because it may turn out to be mistaken; that is, we may be in the same boat as chemists were in the previous century before the advent of QM which overthrew Newtonian mechanics. The chemist's abstract models proposed were considered 'useful fictions' by the physicists of that time because they could not be accommodated by the physics of the time. It turns out that the chemists were right. The physics was just wrong. With the advent of QM, unification between chemical and physical was then, to a large extent, established. So the argument is that just because some of these more abstract models proposed by linguists/cognitive scientists cannot be unified with our present conception of the neurophysiological/neurons/cells/neural networks, etc. doesn't tell us that these models are incorrect or unfruitful, particularly since they provide much more adequate explanatory function than the neurophysiological.
According to cognitive science, there are nonconscious mental processes which are "computations over mental representations". But if the brain doesn't really work like a computer and there aren't really any mental items with semantic properties in the nonconscious, nonconsciously active sphere of the brain, then the question is what makes such a fictional model explanatorily useful and fruitful when the "theoretical entities" postulated by cognitive science, i.e. nonconscious (and "nonconscifiable") mental images, concepts, propositions, rules (algorithms), are in fact nonentities. How can reality be accurately and correctly explained by a model which misrepresents it?

Anyway, even if those inherently nonconscious mental processes as postulated by cognitive science existed, they couldn't be known to exist, because they'd be neither externally, third-personally perceptible nor internally, first-personally perceptible (introspectible). That is, if they existed, they would be perceptually, experientially inaccessible in principle. Are scientists qua scientists allowed to believe in entities for which there can be no empirical evidence? Of course, if the cognitive scientists admit that their model of the mind represents a fictional world rather than the real world, then they are free from any serious ontological commitment to their "theoretical entities". (But then, again, the question is how the real can be explained in terms of the fictional, the unreal.)
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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Neznac » April 21st, 2014, 12:59 pm

Consul wrote:Preconscious phenomena are nonconscious but "conscifiable", i.e. they can become conscious phenomena, being accessible to consciousness.
Is this jsut a matter of language? Once a person (first or third) can put the dispositions into words, then they become real or at least their potential to be real is greatly increased. Maybe something more than the application of language needs to happen . . . something has to be verified?
Bohm2 wrote: This is not to deny that in the future we may come to understand such stuff from a neurophysiological perspective. Alternatively, such a perspective may never be adequate because it may turn out to be mistaken; that is, we may be in the same boat as chemists were in the previous century before the advent of QM which overthrew Newtonian mechanics. The chemist's abstract models proposed were considered 'useful fictions' by the physicists of that time because they could not be accommodated by the physics of the time. It turns out that the chemists were right. The physics was just wrong. With the advent of QM, unification between chemical and physical was then, to a large extent, established. So the argument is that just because some of these more abstract models proposed by linguists/cognitive scientists cannot be unified with our present conception of the neurophysiological/neurons/cells/neural networks, etc. doesn't tell us that these models are incorrect or unfruitful, particularly since they provide much more adequate explanatory function than the neurophysiological.
I guess I just said the same thing you're saying above?
Consul wrote:Anyway, even if those inherently nonconscious mental processes as postulated by cognitive science existed, they couldn't be known to exist, because they'd be neither externally, third-personally perceptible nor internally, first-personally perceptible (introspectible). That is, if they existed, they would be perceptually, experientially inaccessible in principle. Are scientists qua scientists allowed to believe in entities for which there can be no empirical evidence? Of course, if the cognitive scientists admit that their model of the mind represents a fictional world rather than the real world, then they are free from any serious ontological commitment to their "theoretical entities". (But then, again, the question is how the real can be explained in terms of the fictional, the unreal.)
Somehow there needs to be a meeting/overlap of the "fictional" and the "real" - but putting that into words looks like a difficult task.

(Edited to reflect the proper citations. Thanks Consul for straightening me out!)
Last edited by Neznac on April 22nd, 2014, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is Mind?

Post by Consul » April 22nd, 2014, 9:25 am

Neznac wrote:
Consul wrote: This is not to deny that in the future we may come to understand such stuff from a neurophysiological perspective. Alternatively, such a perspective may never be adequate because it may turn out to be mistaken; that is, we may be in the same boat as chemists were in the previous century before the advent of QM which overthrew Newtonian mechanics. The chemist's abstract models proposed were considered 'useful fictions' by the physicists of that time because they could not be accommodated by the physics of the time. It turns out that the chemists were right. The physics was just wrong. With the advent of QM, unification between chemical and physical was then, to a large extent, established. So the argument is that just because some of these more abstract models proposed by linguists/cognitive scientists cannot be unified with our present conception of the neurophysiological/neurons/cells/neural networks, etc. doesn't tell us that these models are incorrect or unfruitful, particularly since they provide much more adequate explanatory function than the neurophysiological.
I guess I just said the same thing you're saying above?
I didn't write what you quote above. The author is Bohm2. Please correct the mistake!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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