Dennett's predecessor brings it all together...


by Mentat
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hypnagogue
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#73
Mar11-04, 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
Actually, as I stated before, it is wholy possible for non-physical whatever to exist, although it escapes me as to how you would prove it. However, there is no logical reason to include it, either. Since you cannot detect, define, or measure the non-physical, there is no logical way to use it in a theory of anything. It is a fancy way of saying "I don't know", and then filling in whatever ideas make you feel warm and squishy inside.
I would agree that this critique applies to terms such as 'spirit,' 'life force,' etc.

However, it does not apply to subjective experience, because by definition we can detect it. No, we cannot detect it objectively, but we quite obviously observe it all the time subjectively. It is thus quite logical to speak of subjective experience-- any logical difficulties only arise when we try to combine our concept of the 1st person POV with our concept of the 3rd person POV.
Zero
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#74
Mar11-04, 01:10 PM
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Actually, I may have come up with a "reductive theory of consciousness", but I can't be sure, since I'm not a navel-gazer by trade or general inclination.
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#75
Mar11-04, 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
I would agree that this critique applies to terms such as 'spirit,' 'life force,' etc.

However, it does not apply to subjective experience, because by definition we can detect it. No, we cannot detect it objectively, but we quite obviously observe it all the time subjectively.
Actually, this could go somewhere. So, you don't buy into "spirit", "life force", etc, correct, at least for the sake of this argument?
hypnagogue
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#76
Mar11-04, 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
Actually, this could go somewhere. So, you don't buy into "spirit", "life force", etc, correct, at least for the sake of this argument?
Correct.
Zero
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#77
Mar11-04, 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Correct.
And you claim that your evidence of "subjective experience" is the experience itself?
hypnagogue
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#78
Mar11-04, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
And you claim that your evidence of "subjective experience" is the experience itself?
Yes.
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#79
Mar11-04, 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
Yes.
So, how do you know that you are percieving it correctly, in order to state that it cannot arise from the purely physical?
hypnagogue
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#80
Mar11-04, 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
So, how do you know that you are percieving it correctly, in order to state that it cannot arise from the purely physical?
It's not a question of 'correct' or 'incorrect.' I imagine you are planning to say that it could just be an illusion. But that would not get us anywhere, because then we would have the same problems explaining the illusion itself.

What is that problem? One way to phrase the problem is that subjective experience possesses intrinsic properties, whereas our physical theories speak only of extrinsic properties. The objective notion of length, for example, has no meaning if I do not have some reference marker with which to compare quantities of length. However, my subjective notion of 'redness' does not come by way of comparison or reference to other colors or concepts; it is self-defining, in a way, and so it is said to have an intrinsic quality.

For instance, suppose you are floating in the center of a large, uniformly lit (such that there are no shadows or gradations of color), atmosphereless white sphere with nothing in it but yourself. (You can survive because you are in a space suit, although you cannot remove any part of your suit.) Suppose that you and the sphere are stationary, so you cannot approach its edge. Can you tell how wide the sphere is? No, you can't, because you have no references with which to compare it. You cannot go up to it and measure its circumference with a tape measure, you cannot calculate how far its edge is from you by yelling and estimating the time delay of the echo, and so on. In the absence of a reference, the sphere's width is undefined to you; not surprising, since extension is an extrinsic property. At best, you know it is at least a bit bigger than yourself, but you only know that by way of reference to your own body's physical dimensions.

But you can perceive that the sphere is white. You do not have to compare its color to anything else to know this; you don't have to look down at your boot and say "OK, now that I see both my boot and the sphere, I can tell that the sphere is white." You simply perceive its white-ness, and even in the absence of any other reference colors, you know it is white. That is because your perception of the sphere's color is an intrinsic property.

So if subjective experience is to be physical, that is equivalent to saying that there must be some way to get intrinsic properties from extrinsic properties. But this is not possible. We cannot use a set of things that are inherently defined with respect to other things to create something that is entirely defined by itself. The best we can do from a set of extrinsic (relational) properties is create more complex chains of relations, but we can't somehow manipulate relationships to get something that is characterized by its lack of relationship with anything else.
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#81
Mar11-04, 02:13 PM
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"Redness" is referenced against the first imprinted "red" color, as it was explained to us. It is exactly the same as how a computer recognizes your passwords, only more subtle. The first red thing we identify as such is "red", and then all other "redness" is checked against it. The notion of "red" is absolutely measured against a reference. In fact, humans can detect huge variations of colors, based on comparing to stored data in the brain. I don't get your point, unless I am missing something.
hypnagogue
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#82
Mar11-04, 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
"Redness" is referenced against the first imprinted "red" color, as it was explained to us.
Even if I grant you that for the sake of argument-- what was the first experienced redness referenced against?

Besides, your counterargument might be valid for something like color recognition, which can be explained objectively (there is even a sense, objectively of course, in which a red-and-green pair of 3D glasses 'recognizes' certain colors)-- but at bottom it does not address how the extrinsic properties of the brain account for the intrinsic properties of experience.

It is exactly the same as how a computer recognizes your passwords, only more subtle.
A computer recognizes passwords, but does it experience passwords?

The first red thing we identify as such is "red", and then all other "redness" is checked against it.
You are talking about objective 'recognition' or discerning of light wavelengths. Thus you are talking about the wrong type of phenomenon: objective and not subjective. I can build a machine that does exactly what you have described without expecting it to experience color, just like I do not expect that my computer actually experiences passwords. Moreover, it can be shown that both you and I can recognize color without experiencing it (eg with an experiment involving unconscious primes). So recognizing a color in this sense is not the same thing as experiencing a color.

edit: Or, to use a better phrasing: Recognizing a wavelength of light is not the same thing as experiencing a color.
Jeebus
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#83
Mar11-04, 04:52 PM
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One quick question about the computer. Couldn't a computer recognize from awareness of validity of the 'correct' password and the 'incorrect' password. Wouldn't this awareness be semi-synonymous with the term experience?
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#84
Mar11-04, 04:57 PM
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
.

edit: Or, to use a better phrasing: Recognizing a wavelength of light is not the same thing as experiencing a color.
Yes it is...I just did it, to test myself.
Fliption
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#85
Mar11-04, 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
And, Fliption, I know you dig having me around, don't fight the feeling![6)]
I always knew you believed whatever you wanted to regardless of the evidence. Thanks for the proof.
hypnagogue
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#86
Mar12-04, 09:03 AM
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Originally posted by Zero
Yes it is...I just did it, to test myself.
But I already gave you scientific evidence that you can recognize something without subjectively experiencing it. They are not the same thing, even if they overlap in our usual daily experience; they can be dissociated.

I should mention that the opposite direction works too; for instance, someone with capragas syndrome (I believe that's the correct term but I couldn't verify it with google) can subjectively experience faces without being able to recognize them.
Zero
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#87
Mar12-04, 09:10 AM
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
But I already gave you scientific evidence that you can recognize something without subjectively experiencing it. They are not the same thing, even if they overlap in our usual daily experience; they can be dissociated.

I should mention that the opposite direction works too; for instance, someone with capragas syndrome (I believe that's the correct term but I couldn't verify it with google) can subjectively experience faces without being able to recognize them.
i'm going to back out now, this is wasting my time and yours, I think. We're both pretty well convinced of our positions. We will reject any argument that the other person has. I'm just going to call it a draw and move on.[:D]
Fliption
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#88
Mar12-04, 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by Zero
i'm going to back out now, this is wasting my time and yours, I think. We're both pretty well convinced of our positions. We will reject any argument that the other person has. I'm just going to call it a draw and move on.[:D]
Is this a philosophy forum or a kindergarten class? The whole point isn't to "win" anything or even have a "draw". It's to try to understand where the views diverge and why. All of this in an effort to learn.
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#89
Mar12-04, 10:02 AM
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Originally posted by Fliption
Is this a philosophy forum or a kindergarten class? The whole point isn't to "win" anything or even have a "draw". It's to try to understand where the views diverge and why. All of this in an effort to learn.
Sure, but I know his position, he knows mine, and coming up with more and more elaborate examples of our positions probably isn't going to change his mind or mine. No, it isn't about winning or losing, which is why I don't mind pulling out of the conversation when it doesn't seem to me to be getting anywhere. I figured calling it a "draw" was a more graceful way of putting an end to my end of the discussion.

The semi-traditional way of ending this sort of thing is to say "I give up on trying to convince you, you are too stupid to understand so I'm putting you on ignore, you are a worthless waste of bandwidth!" I've got to much respect for hypnagogue and his posting on this thread to insult him that way, but I wanted him to know I wasn't planning on carrying on my end of the discussion anymore. [6)]
Fliption
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#90
Mar12-04, 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by Zero
Sure, but I know his position, he knows mine, and coming up with more and more elaborate examples of our positions probably isn't going to change his mind or mine. No, it isn't about winning or losing, which is why I don't mind pulling out of the conversation when it doesn't seem to me to be getting anywhere. I figured calling it a "draw" was a more graceful way of putting an end to my end of the discussion.
[6)]
I see. I didn't perceive that you were doing a very elaborate job of giving examples or trying to respond to his. That's why I posted my last response. For example, his logical proof (which doesn't prove anything, it just illustrates the problem being discussed), wasn't even addressed by you except to say that assumption number 1 wasn't a valid assumption. Even though in a later post you agreed that it is an assumption you have as well. Mostly, you just ignore the details like these and resort to the "where's the evidence?" type of statements. This topic is about whether consciousness can be reductively explained. The only evidence that needs to be shown is that no one can explain it. This discussion just centers around why that fact will never change. The only evidence remaining for such a discussion is logical proofs.


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