The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

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Togo1
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Togo1 » November 6th, 2017, 10:32 am

Consul wrote:Yes, but if physicalism is true, what is ruled out a priori is the possibility that the AI machine or robot in question is a philosophical zombie in the sense of being a nonconscious physical duplicate of a conscious agent. Its behavior might be extremely similar to or virtually indistinguishable from that of a conscious agent, but there would still be certain internal structural and functional differences making the difference between nonconsciousness and consciousness.
Depends on the kind of physicalism, surely?

The above is true only if you subscribe to some variation on Identity Theory, the idea that the physical world is all there is because all mental events are physical events, the two are just different descriptions of the same thing. In that formulation,P-zombies are impossible, because physical duplication entails mental duplication.

It doesn't work if you subscribe to some form of Eliminativism, where mental events are either non-existant, unimportant or illusory, or where they reduce to physical events to the extent that they are simply inaccuarte representations of same. Under that, physical duplication does not entail mental duplication, and it's easy to imagine a P-Zombie that did not include these unimportant elements, nor is there any reason to suppose it would be impossible.

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Consul
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Consul » November 6th, 2017, 2:43 pm

Togo1 wrote:
Consul wrote:Yes, but if physicalism is true, what is ruled out a priori is the possibility that the AI machine or robot in question is a philosophical zombie in the sense of being a nonconscious physical duplicate of a conscious agent. Its behavior might be extremely similar to or virtually indistinguishable from that of a conscious agent, but there would still be certain internal structural and functional differences making the difference between nonconsciousness and consciousness.
Depends on the kind of physicalism, surely?

The above is true only if you subscribe to some variation on Identity Theory, the idea that the physical world is all there is because all mental events are physical events, the two are just different descriptions of the same thing. In that formulation,P-zombies are impossible, because physical duplication entails mental duplication.

It doesn't work if you subscribe to some form of Eliminativism, where mental events are either non-existant, unimportant or illusory, or where they reduce to physical events to the extent that they are simply inaccuarte representations of same. Under that, physical duplication does not entail mental duplication, and it's easy to imagine a P-Zombie that did not include these unimportant elements, nor is there any reason to suppose it would be impossible.
If eliminative materialism were true, then zombies would exist in the actual world, since we would then all be zombies. But both reductive and nonreductive materialism are inconsistent with the ontological possibility of zombies, because they both claim that the instantiation of mental/experiential properties is (not only nomologically but) ontologically necessitated by the instantiation of certain physical properties. This condition is trivially satisfied by reductive materialism (aka materialist identity theory) since, according to it, mental/experiential properties are physical properties; and if M/E = P, then it obviously follows that if P is instantiated, M/E is necessarily instantiated too. According to nonreductive materialism, M/E ≠ P, but there is still a necessary ontological connection between them, such that you cannot possibly have P without M/E (and zombie duplicates of conscious beings are absolutely impossible).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Atreyu » November 6th, 2017, 4:57 pm

There is matter behind all phenomena. Or perhaps I should say "matter" in quotations, since this "matter" may not be recognizable as such.

In the case of "physical" phenomena, the matter in question can be, and is, known and defined. In the case of "non-physical" phenomena, like awareness, thought, feeling, etc, the matter is simply not known or defined, and cannot be.

Is this what somebody is calling "physicalism"? If so, I'd object to the term.

To me, "physicalism" would imply that everything can be explained by already known and defined matter.

I'd call my view "materialism", because it only implies that matter, as a general principle, should be a part of explaining phenomena. But in this view this "matter" might not be recognizable, definable, or knowable in any way. It can be matter outside the boundaries of empiricism. It might only be able to manifest itself to us in the form of "energy" or "motion" or thought or feeling, i.e. we may not be able to perceive it as something material or physical, but nonetheless it may be a necessary and integral part of the phenomena under consideration.

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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Togo1 » November 7th, 2017, 7:05 am

Consul wrote:If eliminative materialism were true, then zombies would exist in the actual world, since we would then all be zombies. But both reductive and nonreductive materialism are inconsistent with the ontological possibility of zombies, because they both claim that the instantiation of mental/experiential properties is (not only nomologically but) ontologically necessitated by the instantiation of certain physical properties.
I'm not following what you mean by 'ontologically necessitated'. Let's take an example. Say I am a materialist who believes that mental events exist as a separate caregory from physical events, but that mental events are ineffective and illusory. There is no contradiction for me in saying that a P-Zombie could exist - it's simply a person with the unecessary bits removed. Where's the ontological necessity there?

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Consul
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Consul » November 7th, 2017, 1:59 pm

Togo1 wrote:
Consul wrote:If eliminative materialism were true, then zombies would exist in the actual world, since we would then all be zombies. But both reductive and nonreductive materialism are inconsistent with the ontological possibility of zombies, because they both claim that the instantiation of mental/experiential properties is (not only nomologically but) ontologically necessitated by the instantiation of certain physical properties.
I'm not following what you mean by 'ontologically necessitated'. Let's take an example. Say I am a materialist who believes that mental events exist as a separate caregory from physical events, but that mental events are ineffective and illusory. There is no contradiction for me in saying that a P-Zombie could exist - it's simply a person with the unecessary bits removed. Where's the ontological necessity there?
Many materialists argue that if there are mental events and they are dependent (supervenient) on and determined by, but different from and irreducible to physical events—this view is nonreductive or emergent(ist) materialism—, then they must be "ineffective" in the sense of being epiphenomenal, i.e. noncauses, because the physical world is causally closed in the sense that no nonphysical factors or forces interfere with or intervene in the causal processes taking place therein.

I'm not sure what you mean by "illusory". In his famous classification of positions in the philosophy of mind, Charlie Broad calls the view that "mentality is delusive" pure materialism, which is equivalent to eliminative materialism.

As for the concept of necessitation:

"The paradigmatic sort of ontological entailment is necessitation: P necessitates Q when the conditional 'If P then Q' is metaphysically necessary or when it is metaphysically impossible for P to hold without Q holding. It is widely agreed that materialism requires that P necessitates all truths (perhaps with minor qualifications)."

(Chalmers, David J. "Consciousness and Its Place in Nature. In The Character of Consciousness, 103-139. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. p. 110)

So necessitation is the ontological counterpart of logical entailment or implication.

All versions of materialism (eliminative, reductive, nonreductive/emergent) include the claim that any physical duplicate of the actual world is a total duplicate of it; that is, the physical facts necessitate (determine/fix) all the facts, including the mental ones (provided there are any). So all versions of materialism rule out the ontological possibility of zombies. Note that eliminative materialism does so too, although it denies the existence of mental entities and facts. For its adherents still subscribe to the counterfactual conditional that if there were mental facts, they would be necessitated by the physical facts.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Kathyd
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Kathyd » November 8th, 2017, 3:14 pm

It seems that in this discussion it's very important to differentiate between "material/materialism" and "physical".

"Physical" is not the same as "matter" or "material", and is a subset of it.

"Matter" can be broadly defined, as Atreyu suggests. It can be said to consist of all known matter, as defined by compounds and the elements of the periodic table in chemistry, as well as all unknown matter, which science would currently call "dark matter", as well as other matter perhaps not even posited yet by science.

"Physical", however, is a certain attribute of some known matter. "Physical" merely designates that the matter in question can elicit the sensation of touch in humans, i.e. that it is tangible. Matter is "physical" when you can feel and touch it, but it is considered "not physical" or "intangible" when it is acknowledged that it definitely exists, and yet it cannot elicit the sensation of touch in us, and often cannot be seen at all, either with the naked eye or even with any instruments.

Therefore, "materialism" is not the same as "physicalism", and confusion is bound to occur in any discussion unless this is clearly agreed on.

In light of all I've said above, how would you all now describe "naturalism" in relation to the above two principles?

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Consul
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Consul » November 8th, 2017, 6:52 pm

Kathyd wrote:It seems that in this discussion it's very important to differentiate between "material/materialism" and "physical".

"Physical" is not the same as "matter" or "material", and is a subset of it.

"Matter" can be broadly defined, as Atreyu suggests. It can be said to consist of all known matter, as defined by compounds and the elements of the periodic table in chemistry, as well as all unknown matter, which science would currently call "dark matter", as well as other matter perhaps not even posited yet by science.

"Physical", however, is a certain attribute of some known matter. "Physical" merely designates that the matter in question can elicit the sensation of touch in humans, i.e. that it is tangible. Matter is "physical" when you can feel and touch it, but it is considered "not physical" or "intangible" when it is acknowledged that it definitely exists, and yet it cannot elicit the sensation of touch in us, and often cannot be seen at all, either with the naked eye or even with any instruments.
Physics isn't only the science of matter, but all matter it deals with is physical matter, simply because there is (and can be) no nonphysical matter: matter is physical stuff. And "physical" isn't synonymous with "tangible".
Kathyd wrote:Therefore, "materialism" is not the same as "physicalism", and confusion is bound to occur in any discussion unless this is clearly agreed on.
Yes, materialism is the same as physicalism, and in contemporary philosophy the two labels should be used synonymously—and they are in fact used synonymously by most contemporary philosophers.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Kathyd
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Kathyd » November 8th, 2017, 9:35 pm

Consul wrote:
Physics isn't only the science of matter, but all matter it deals with is physical matter, simply because there is (and can be) no nonphysical matter: matter is physical stuff. And "physical" isn't synonymous with "tangible".

Yes, materialism is the same as physicalism, and in contemporary philosophy the two labels should be used synonymously—and they are in fact used synonymously by most contemporary philosophers.
Yes, I know, that's why I proposed differentiating between the two.

When I think of the term "physical", I'm usually thinking of an object I can see and touch, like a stone or a brick. It is even a common context for the word to be used to describe the properties of our bodies, as opposed to "mental".

However, when I think of "matter", I think, or at least can think, in a much more broader context. I think of "stuff" - atoms, molecules, dark matter, electrons, protons, etc - a broad collection of things, many of which are invisible, intangible, and some of which their existence is only theorized based on evidence (dark matter).

"Matter" appears to be a much more general and even abstract concept, while "physical" appears to normally designate a much more specific and concrete concept. For example, saying something has "physical" properties to me implies it much be composed of some kind of matter. But just saying "matter" does not imply to me at all that the substance in question even has any known or defined properties at all. In other words, it appears that anything "physical" must also be "matter", but it doesn't necessarily follow that anything made of "matter" must also be considered "physical".

That might not corroborate with the standard definitions, but I think intuitively most people do differentiate between these two terms, at least in a subtle way.

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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Consul » November 9th, 2017, 4:00 pm

Kathyd wrote:When I think of the term "physical", I'm usually thinking of an object I can see and touch, like a stone or a brick. It is even a common context for the word to be used to describe the properties of our bodies, as opposed to "mental".

However, when I think of "matter", I think, or at least can think, in a much more broader context. I think of "stuff" - atoms, molecules, dark matter, electrons, protons, etc - a broad collection of things, many of which are invisible, intangible, and some of which their existence is only theorized based on evidence (dark matter).

"Matter" appears to be a much more general and even abstract concept, while "physical" appears to normally designate a much more specific and concrete concept. For example, saying something has "physical" properties to me implies it much be composed of some kind of matter. But just saying "matter" does not imply to me at all that the substance in question even has any known or defined properties at all. In other words, it appears that anything "physical" must also be "matter", but it doesn't necessarily follow that anything made of "matter" must also be considered "physical".

That might not corroborate with the standard definitions, but I think intuitively most people do differentiate between these two terms, at least in a subtle way.
* First all of, if "physical" were defined as "nonmental", then dualism would be true by definition—which it shouldn't be. From the perspective of materialism, the mental is part of the physical, being the psychophysical and thus a type of physical phenomena.

"We have a tendency to read 'nonphysical' when we see the word 'mental', and think 'nonmental' when we see the word 'physical'. This has the effect of making the idea of physical reduction of the mental a simple verbal contradiction, abetting the misguided idea that physical reduction of something we cherish as a mental item, like thought or feeling, would turn it into something other than what it is. But this would be the case only if by 'physical' we meant 'nonmental'. We should not prejudge the issue of mind-body reduction by building irreducibility into the meanings of our words. When we consider the question whether the mental can be physically reduced, it is not necessary—even if this could be done—to begin with general definitions of 'mental' and 'physical'; rather, the substantive question that we are asking, or should be asking, is whether or not things like belief, desire, emotion, and sensation are reducible to physical properties and processes. We can understand this question and intelligently debate it, without subsuming these items under some general conception of what it is for something to be mental. If 'mental' is understood to imply 'nonphysical', it would then be an open question whether or not belief, desire, sensation, perception, and the rest are mental in that sense. And this question would replace the original question of their physical reducibility. We cannot evade or trivialize this question by a simple verbal ploy."

(Kim, Jaegwon. "The Mind-Body Problem at Century's Turn." In The Future of Philosophy, edited by Brian Leiter, 129-152. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. p. 138)

* Yes, the naive idea of a physical object is that of a sensible solid body. For example, a stone is paradigmatic physical object. But even if the physical is equated with the corporeal, philosophers use a much broader concept of a body. For example:

"Body is whatever coincides or is coextensive with a part of space, and does not depend on our thought."

(Hobbes, Thomas. Elementorum philosophiae, sectio prima: De corpore (1655, Engl. 1656), Part II, Ch. 8: Body and Accident, 8.1 The Definition of "Body")

Given this definition—according to which a body is a filled volume or filling of a volume of space—, bodies needn't be solid, and e.g. a mass of water and a mass of air are bodies too.

* In physics, the concept of matter is used to refer to the elementary particles and all systems composed of elementary particles. These are the material objects, and matter is then the totality of material objects. But "matter" can also be used to refer to the universal stuff of which all elementary particles consist, such that they are different forms of it.

* Of course, it's a matter of definition; but it makes no sense to deny that all material entities are physical entities. Are all physical entities material entities? Well, if "material" is defined narrowly in terms of (solid, liquid, or gaseous complexes of) elementary particles, then there are physical entities which aren't properly called material such as electromagnetic fields, gravitational waves, and regions of space.

* The contemporary materialist/physicalist philosophers agree with Jack Smart:

"For me, the material is just the physical, and I feel entitled to believe in all the entities which the physicist needs to assume."

(Smart, J. J. C. "The Revival of Materialism." 1976. In Essays Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers, 240-245. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. p. 240)

That is, in this very broad and general sense of the term—in which "physical" means "physics-al"/"physicSal"—, an entity is physical if and only if it belongs to the (nonpsychological) ontology of physics or is nothing over and above a complex or system of entities belonging to that ontology.
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Togo1
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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Togo1 » November 9th, 2017, 8:14 pm

Consul wrote:So all versions of materialism rule out the ontological possibility of zombies. Note that eliminative materialism does so too, although it denies the existence of mental entities and facts. For its adherents still subscribe to the counterfactual conditional that if there were mental facts, they would be necessitated by the physical facts.
I don't agree that they do. While I'm very fond of Chalmers, I find it's better to get definitions of materialism from materialists. I've certainly run into materialists who believe there is no casual or necessary link between the physical and the mental at all, such that a physical duplicate would not necessitate any kind of mental event. It's a position typically adopted to try and avoid a basic problem with eliminativism, which is that once you admit the existance of mental events, you either need to be able to explain their necessitation by physical events, or conceed that our view of the physical world is fundamentally incomplete.

It also ignore the rare class of materialist who claim themselves to be P-Zombies, and to lack mental experience.

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Re: The Weaknesses of Naturalsim

Post by Atreyu » November 13th, 2017, 6:50 pm

My position is that if you duplicate all the matter a human being is composed of, both known and unknown, then you would have a complete replica of the original human, including his psyche. Their mind and feelings would be identical for a brief moment after the replication, and would only become different later due to the fact that they will now be experiencing different things.

However, if you merely duplicated all the known matter of a human being, you would not have a replica of the original human's psyche in the least. Only the physical body would be an "exact" replica, although it would only be "exact" concerning the known matter which was replicated. The unknown matter not replicated might not have any discernible effect on the physiological functions of the body (although it probably would), but it definitely would have a discernible effect on the psychology of the duplicate. His thoughts and feelings might be quite different than the original's, even to the point where the duplicate could be insane, completely dysfunctional, or the duplicate might not even survive.

And this is so because not all of the matter which is responsible for the existence and function of our psyches is known or defined by science.

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