On the absurd hegemony of science

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Atla
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » October 15th, 2020, 11:15 pm

Gertie wrote:
October 15th, 2020, 7:57 pm
I don't write off Atla's monist Idealism position either, if we're going for monism why not go with the substance we directly know exists, rather than go with the substance it presents as a representative model? It's a fair point.
I'm not really a monist, not an idealist and reject substance theory. The issues are subtle: Western monism, idealism and panpsychism are still subtle forms of dualistic thinking for various reasons. And substance theory is just ancient nonsense.

Think of it this way: if we go in the direction of 'monistic panpsychism', and then go through it, leave the scope of Western philosophy alltogether, and still keep going, our views eventually collapse into the rather Eastern version of nondualism I subscribe to.

It's actually even more complicated than that, because first we arrive at the 'monistic' nondualism that most people subscribe to, but we have to still keep going forward and finally arrive at the lesser known 'non-monistic' nondualism (I haven't seen it categorized better yet). It's the only worldview I know of that's naturally compatible with all of science and also automatically solves things like the Hard problem etc.

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Faustus5
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Faustus5 » October 16th, 2020, 7:48 am

Atla wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 11:06 pm

Sure, but how can you tell that those feels and tastes that the subjects describe, actually exist? How does science measure experience itself?
If subjects report specific feels and tastes and we see, via brain imaging, the kinds of brain activities typically measured when other subjects report the same feels and tastes, we would have no justifiable reason for thinking the subject is lying or delusional.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » October 16th, 2020, 12:07 pm

Faustus5 wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 7:48 am
Atla wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 11:06 pm

Sure, but how can you tell that those feels and tastes that the subjects describe, actually exist? How does science measure experience itself?
If subjects report specific feels and tastes and we see, via brain imaging, the kinds of brain activities typically measured when other subjects report the same feels and tastes, we would have no justifiable reason for thinking the subject is lying or delusional.
It's not about lies or delusions, we can assume that the subjects are sane and honest.

We measure the brain activity, but how does it follow from that, that those feels and tastes actually exist? Maybe they all just behave as if they were experiencing feels and tastes, but actually they aren't.

If we invoke Occam's razor, well the idea of those alleged feels and tastes is unnecessary, it has no explanatory value, and they are undetectable by neuroscience, so why don't we just conclude that they are made up woo?

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Terrapin Station
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station » October 16th, 2020, 12:11 pm

Atla wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 12:07 pm
We measure the brain activity, but how does it follow from that, that those feels and tastes actually exist? Maybe they all just behave as if they were experiencing feels and tastes, but actually they aren't.
For one, we're not talking about robots researching this stuff, we're talking about other humans researching it. Other humans who have tastes and feels and who can see what sort of brain states (from a third-person perspective) those amount to.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by GE Morton » October 16th, 2020, 9:04 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 12:11 pm

For one, we're not talking about robots researching this stuff, we're talking about other humans researching it. Other humans who have tastes and feels and who can see what sort of brain states (from a third-person perspective) those amount to.
Third parties observing brain states can see that there is a correlation between those states and the (reported) tastes and feels. They cannot conclude that those (inferred) tastes and feels "amount to" those brain states, i.e., that they are identical. That conclusion is gratuitous.

There is no third-party perspective on those tastes and feels.

GE Morton
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by GE Morton » October 16th, 2020, 10:21 pm

Gertie wrote:
October 15th, 2020, 7:57 pm

I just don't have a bias against panpsychism. I suspect our attraction to monism might be more about us than the way the universe necessarily has to be. Monism is tidy, and unity is 'elegant' and satisfying, but maybe it's just us bringing those type of criteria to the table.
Well, I agree with your assessment of monism. In my view it is as wrong-headed as dualism. Any view that strives to "reduce" existents to one or a few "basic" or "fundamental" substances is wrong-headed; there is no need for any "basic" substances, and efforts to identify and characterize them only lead to dead-ends.

We have to keep in mind that all ontological theories are conceptual constructs --- verbal structures we can use to communicate information about, and explain, our experiences. Explanation consists in noting relationships and regularities that permit us to predict future experience. We're entirely free to postulate as many existents or categories of existents as we wish, none of which need be any more "basic" than any other --- whatever works to improve our ability to anticipate (and thus control) future experience.

I also agree that we "bring unity to the table." That demand, that whatever entities and processes we postulate exhibit some coherence, some unity, is built into our conceptual apparatus; it is what Kant called the "unity of apperception." Unity is also an axiom of ITT, with regard to percepts. But it extends to concepts also. We don't like "nomological danglers" --- phenomena that seem to have no relationships to anything else. (Term popularized in J. C. C. Smart's classic paper, "Sensations and Brain Processes":

https://fewd.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/use ... review.pdf

But unity does not presume, or require, a "basic substance." A correlative/causative relationship between brain processes and mental phenomena is sufficient to unify them.

The utility of a theory, however, is a function of its explanatory power --- the extent to which it permits us to predict future experience. A theory that postulates phenomena forever inaccessible to observation --- to experience -- has no explanatory power.
Then there's the Hard Problem. If experience is fundamental its existence and nature doesn't need explaining (except in terms of why is there something rather than nothing). What is still left unexplained is the details of the mind-body relationship, but with panpsychism perhaps a science of consciousness becomes potentially doable, like IIT is trying to come up with.
I agree with Tononi (and Kant, of course) that experience is fundamental, in the sense that it is the raw material, the starting point, of all conceptualizing and theorizing. But being fundamental in that sense doesn't imply that it is universal, or a "basic" substance or constituent of the universe at large. It is only fundamental for conscious creatures endeavoring to explain their experience. To be sure, any such explanation requires an external world --- but one we can never experience directly, and thus are in no position to speculate on what might be its "basic" components or structure. All we can do is construct theories that help us better predict and control our own experiences

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Terrapin Station
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Terrapin Station » October 17th, 2020, 8:26 am

GE Morton wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 9:04 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 12:11 pm

For one, we're not talking about robots researching this stuff, we're talking about other humans researching it. Other humans who have tastes and feels and who can see what sort of brain states (from a third-person perspective) those amount to.
Third parties observing brain states can see that there is a correlation between those states and the (reported) tastes and feels. They cannot conclude that those (inferred) tastes and feels "amount to" those brain states, i.e., that they are identical. That conclusion is gratuitous.

There is no third-party perspective on those tastes and feels.
They can conclude that, especially because there's not only no evidence of anything else, but the other ideas floated for it are incoherent.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Gertie » October 17th, 2020, 2:45 pm

GE
Gertie wrote: ↑
October 15th, 2020, 7:57 pm

I just don't have a bias against panpsychism. I suspect our attraction to monism might be more about us than the way the universe necessarily has to be. Monism is tidy, and unity is 'elegant' and satisfying, but maybe it's just us bringing those type of criteria to the table.
Well, I agree with your assessment of monism. In my view it is as wrong-headed as dualism. Any view that strives to "reduce" existents to one or a few "basic" or "fundamental" substances is wrong-headed; there is no need for any "basic" substances, and efforts to identify and characterize them only lead to dead-ends.

We have to keep in mind that all ontological theories are conceptual constructs --- verbal structures we can use to communicate information about, and explain, our experiences. Explanation consists in noting relationships and regularities that permit us to predict future experience. We're entirely free to postulate as many existents or categories of existents as we wish, none of which need be any more "basic" than any other --- whatever works to improve our ability to anticipate (and thus control) future experience.

That's true. But Philosophy of Mind has to take certain things as implicit in order to provide a framework for discussing the issue. It mostly roughly assumes there is a real world we share, we can know things about (in a flawed and limited way), about brains, evolution and so on. Otherwise if we end up questioning every thing, we ultimately end up in the dead end of solipsism, with absolutely everything else being utility based. (A problem which I think Idealism has to face, in its rejection of materialism).


As long as we realise we're dealing with a flawed and limited model which we also model ourselves as inhabiting, we can coherently categorise existents, infer causality from patterns, identify reducibility and so on. And also recognise what we've learned about our own flaws and biases from the model.


So when we compare notes inter-subjectively about our shared model, we can come up with a materialist model whereby material stuff is reducible, and interacts based on forces. And note this model doesn't account for experience. Which results in concepts like substance dualism or panpsychism, or identity theory. These concepts give us a handle on how to adjust our model to include all existents and their relationships. But that this is a model should always be the caveat.

I also agree that we "bring unity to the table." That demand, that whatever entities and processes we postulate exhibit some coherence, some unity, is built into our conceptual apparatus; it is what Kant called the "unity of apperception." Unity is also an axiom of ITT, with regard to percepts. But it extends to concepts also. We don't like "nomological danglers" --- phenomena that seem to have no relationships to anything else. (Term popularized in J. C. C. Smart's classic paper, "Sensations and Brain Processes":

https://fewd.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/use ... review.pdf

But unity does not presume, or require, a "basic substance." A correlative/causative relationship between brain processes and mental phenomena is sufficient to unify them.

How so? There has to be something which is a relationship with another something, a relationship isn't a thing in itself.

The utility of a theory, however, is a function of its explanatory power --- the extent to which it permits us to predict future experience. A theory that postulates phenomena forever inaccessible to observation --- to experience -- has no explanatory power.

Then we say we don't know. There is a state of affairs regardless of us knowing it. If we accept material stuff exists (as something other than experience), and experience exists, we can say we observe a correlated relationship, and also that we can't explain the nature of that relationship within our (current) model.
Then there's the Hard Problem. If experience is fundamental its existence and nature doesn't need explaining (except in terms of why is there something rather than nothing). What is still left unexplained is the details of the mind-body relationship, but with panpsychism perhaps a science of consciousness becomes potentially doable, like IIT is trying to come up with.
I agree with Tononi (and Kant, of course) that experience is fundamental, in the sense that it is the raw material, the starting point, of all conceptualizing and theorizing. But being fundamental in that sense doesn't imply that it is universal, or a "basic" substance or constituent of the universe at large.

Right. Those are two different issues, epistemological and ontological. We need to be clear which we're talking about. I think you and I diverge here, I see you sometimes blurring that, re AI for example, while at other times talking as if brains etc are real/material stuff. I'm thinking which framework we're using at any time nedds to be explicitly stated, and divergences signalled.


It is only fundamental for conscious creatures endeavoring to explain their experience. To be sure, any such explanation requires an external world --- but one we can never experience directly, and thus are in no position to speculate on what might be its "basic" components or structure. All we can do is construct theories that help us better predict and control our own experiences

But to do so we use a model of stuff and processes. If our notion of what stuff and processes are changes (via better technology/more knowledge/paradigmatic conceptual shifts/whatev), our explanations change, and we have better explanations which we have reason to believe better represents the actual ontological state of affairs.

Without checking in on that ontological actual state of affairs in the 'real world' beyond our experience, I think (not sure) all roads inevitably to lead to solipsism and simply ''acting as if'' a real world exists beyond 'my' experience.

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Faustus5
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Faustus5 » October 17th, 2020, 4:16 pm

Atla wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 12:07 pm

We measure the brain activity, but how does it follow from that, that those feels and tastes actually exist? Maybe they all just behave as if they were experiencing feels and tastes, but actually they aren't.
Until someone puts together a convincing reason to think this makes any sense at all and is a plausible scenario, it can safely be dismissed as nonsense only a philosopher would dream up.

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Faustus5
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Faustus5 » October 17th, 2020, 4:18 pm

GE Morton wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 9:04 pm


Third parties observing brain states can see that there is a correlation between those states and the (reported) tastes and feels. They cannot conclude that those (inferred) tastes and feels "amount to" those brain states, i.e., that they are identical. That conclusion is gratuitous.
That conclusion, far from being gratuitous, is the only reasonable conclusion a scientifically literate person whose views haven't been contaminated by silly metaphysics would ever come to.

Atla
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » October 17th, 2020, 11:43 pm

Faustus5 wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 4:16 pm
Atla wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 12:07 pm

We measure the brain activity, but how does it follow from that, that those feels and tastes actually exist? Maybe they all just behave as if they were experiencing feels and tastes, but actually they aren't.
Until someone puts together a convincing reason to think this makes any sense at all and is a plausible scenario, it can safely be dismissed as nonsense only a philosopher would dream up.
Okay so we can sum up you position as:

- only idiotic philosophers would dismiss the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)
- only idiotic philosophers would believe in the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)

Dennett logic for the win..

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Greta » October 18th, 2020, 12:01 am

Atla wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 11:43 pm
Faustus5 wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 4:16 pm

Until someone puts together a convincing reason to think this makes any sense at all and is a plausible scenario, it can safely be dismissed as nonsense only a philosopher would dream up.
Okay so we can sum up you position as:

- only idiotic philosophers would dismiss the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)
- only idiotic philosophers would believe in the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)
That would leave only one sensible option: to remain on the fence.

Personally, I agree with the first statement, although in less pejorative terms. (These kinds of debates can be as much a matter of definition as perception). Still, I see the dismissal of qualia is ungrounded thinking because, arguably, the most basic fact of existence is that we are conscious, that we experience our existence.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » October 18th, 2020, 8:03 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
October 15th, 2020, 7:47 am
No, "refuted" means "disproven", and these things have not been proven or disproven. And "proven" - unqualified; without context - does give us "absolute certainty", although the prefix is approaching overkill. Things like dualism lost the consensus, and most of us accepted and agreed that dualism is not a great way of looking at things. This is the way our conclusions are differently-expressed once we accept that certainty is a dream. So we do agree, but I still prefer a more honest way of expressing and acknowledging the more, er, tentative nature of what we actually know. Nothing was "beaten into oblivion" - we have abandoned certainty as a bad idea, yes? But we have managed to select certain ideas over others because they're more useful, a state that could change in the future, as science does when new data becomes available. For now, we know of no useful application for dualistic ideas; can we agree on that? I think we can. 👍🙂

Atla wrote:
October 15th, 2020, 10:11 am
"Proven" unqualified doesn't give us "absolute certainty" in any intelligent conversation, I'd say claiming that it does, merely insults people's intelligence.

The other problem is that you seem to have very little idea about some of the more recent scientific discoveries, which had major implications for philosophy. I'd say 90%+ of people on philosophy forums have very little idea, so that's a common issue. By disproven/refuted I did mean disproven/refuted (no absolute certainty talk), but we could start at least 5 more topics based on the few things a listed, and there's more.
You oppose my position with emotional attacks, and vague promises of evidence that is not presented or identified? No philosophical response seems called-for.

It appears this exchange is over, and I have not learned, as I hoped to, how dualistic approaches to science and philosophy have 'been refuted'. Shame. 😐
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Faustus5
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Faustus5 » October 18th, 2020, 9:34 am

Atla wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 11:43 pm

Okay so we can sum up you position as:

- only idiotic philosophers would dismiss the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)
- only idiotic philosophers would believe in the existence of qualia (such as feels and tastes)

Dennett logic for the win..
You love making up crap, don't you?

I get it; it's literally all you have left.

GE Morton
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by GE Morton » October 18th, 2020, 10:16 am

Faustus5 wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 4:18 pm
GE Morton wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 9:04 pm


Third parties observing brain states can see that there is a correlation between those states and the (reported) tastes and feels. They cannot conclude that those (inferred) tastes and feels "amount to" those brain states, i.e., that they are identical. That conclusion is gratuitous.
That conclusion, far from being gratuitous, is the only reasonable conclusion a scientifically literate person whose views haven't been contaminated by silly metaphysics would ever come to.
In a previous exchange you wrote, "Golly gee wilikers, maybe this is a clue that when it comes to mind/brain identity, the difficulty of the issue comes from mistakenly thinking we should be using common definitions of identity. Did this thought ever occur to you? Perhaps consciousness is the one area where thinking "normally" about identity is the very thing that trips people up."

Whereupon I asked you, if you are eschewing the common definitions of "identity," what definition you are using, what criteria must be satisfied in order to pronounce two apparently different things to be identical.

You have yet to answer that question.

There is no metaphysics involved in denying that mental states and brain states are identical, BTW. It is a straightforward, strictly empirical observation (assuming the common definitions of "identity," of course).

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