Weak and Strong Emergence, what is it?

  • Thread starter Q_Goest
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Q_Goest said:
Again, we are not talking about ANY GoL, we are talking about THE GoL. THE GoL is totally consistant with weak emergence,
Of course, just about everything is!
 
Hi Q_Goest

moving finger said:
I disagree. Why do you think strong emergence implies irreducible laws of physics?
Q_Goest said:
Note that this was the statement used to tell you what I was about to explain. I'd suggest reading the entire post before commenting.
Q_Goest, as you know, I did read your entire post (and responded to it). Nowhere in your post can I find any explanation (which stands up to rational scrutiny) as to why you think strong emergence implies irreducible laws of physics (unless you mean only epistemically, and not ontically, irreducible – in which case, as I said in my last post, I agree).

Q_Goest said:
What you're arguing is along the same lines as what Chalmers is suggesting, but you need to better understand three basic points which lead to his conclusion.
And with respect, having read the whole of your post, you need to understand that I am replying to (and arguing with) YOUR comments in YOUR posts – whether or not that means I agree with Chalemrs or not is irrelevant – I am taking issue with YOUR comments.

moving finger said:
This is true only up to a point. Games of life (GoL) that we can conceive of are relatively simplistic. But imho it is possible in principle to have a GoL which is sufficiently complex that it does give rise to consciousness – as an emergent property within the game.
Q_Goest said:
We are not talking about ANY GoL, we are talking about THE GoL. Your observation regarding emergence in a more complex GoL has already been considered and agreed to by Chalmers. This in fact is his point, see his discussion regarding the COBAL example.
Q_Goest, I am responding to your posts in this thread. If you make reference to Chalmers that is up to you, but I’m not going to check everything you claim is said by Chalmers to verify that it is actually said by Chalmers. I trust you. But when YOU make comments (as you do) that

Q_Goest said:
We can know everything about the game of Life if we simulate it.
and
Q_Goest said:
There is nothing "extra", nothing unknowable or not understandable about this game
and
Q_Goest said:
nor would we say there is some phenomena about this game that can't be understood
Then I disagree (with YOU, not necessarily with Chalmers). For exactly the reasons explained in my last post. Making references to Chalmers doesn’t change the fact that I disagree with your statements If you wish to defend your statements with rational and logical argument then please do so, but simply making oblique references to Chalmers does nothing to defend your statements in this thread.

moving finger said:
No. It is only completely knowable as long as there is no agency emergent within the game which can have a subjective perspective (hence observe properties) from within the game rather than from outside the game.
Q_Goest said:
Again, we are not talking about ANY GoL, we are talking about THE GoL. THE GoL is totally consistant with weak emergence, and this is the first point which needs to be better understood.
I do not agree with you. THE GoL is not necessarily totally consistent with weak emergence. You are assuming it is.

Q_Goest said:
To reiterate my prior post: "This is key to understanding the problem, because here we see that Life is completely knowable and has no additional features, nor does it create any phenomena which isn't completely understandable by examining the rules and creating a simulation." That is, we don't need to ever suggest there is something more (ex: the phenomenon of zortnore) which exists as a byproduct of the actions of the game. Note that zortnore is a ficticious phenomena about which one may make any claims which are completely unverifyable and unknowable, even in principal.
I do not agree. How do you know that all of the properties of THE GoL are completely knowable by an entity external to the game? How do you know that there are not some properties which are internal self-referential properties of the game, which would not be (epistemically) accessible to an external observer?

moving finger said:
I disagree. Your description assumes that the “network” does not possess perceptual/cognitive abilities. If it does, then the property of “what it feels like” for that network to perceive or experience something is a property which is in principle inaccessible to us, it is a property which cannot be understood by us simply by examining the microdynamics of the components.
Q_Goest said:
You've misunderstood what Chalmers is saying.
Q_Goest, you keep referring to Chalmers, but I am responding to your posts in this thread. If you wish to defend Chalmers position then please do so and I will gladly argue against it, but it is no defence to simply say “you’ve misundertood what Chalmers is saying” – if you have not explained your/his argument clearly enough such that I might understand what you are saying then (with deepest respect), that’s your problem, not mine.

Q_Goest said:
He's not saying the network doesn't possess perceptual/cognitive abilities. In fact, he's saying it DOES! Please read that portion more carefully and you'll see the distinction he's making is that the BEHAVIOR is what can be considered weakly emergent, analogous to the behavior of the GoL. The BEHAVIOR of the GoL is the resulting "gliders" and other patterns which emerge. The BEHAVIOR of a computational system is the computation itself, and what is knowable by examining the microdynamics of the components. This is the second key to understanding what Chalmers is getting at that you need to understand prior to making the next step.
The thing YOU need to understand, Q_Goest, is that YOUR comment in YOUR post was :
Q_Goest said:
Everything we want to know about the seemingly 'cognitive' behavior which emerges from computations which may or may not be consciously aware can be understood simply by examining the microdynamics of these "threshold logic units".
And it is YOUR comment that I am disagreeing with! We cannot necessarily “know” everything about the system simply by examining the microdynamics, because external knowledge of the microdynamics tells us nothing about self-referential properties of the system! This is the whole point of the argument – the point that YOU are making in YOUR posts – and you referring to Chalmers here is irrelevant, because I am arguing with YOUR statements here!

Q_Goest said:
We need to make a case which suggests something else exists which can explain the phenomena of consciousness within a computer, despite the fact we can understand the BEHAVIOR without resorting to anything else.
Behaviourism is dead! Understanding the behaviour of a system does not mean that you understand everything about the system! This is the 3rd person science fallacy – that we can completely understand a system “from the 3rd person perspective”, that there is nothing at all about the system which is “not knowable” form that perspective. But it’s false! You CANNOT, in principle, know exactly what it is like to be me by examining me from the outside. This does not mean (a la Chalmers) that we need new laws of physics, it only means that we must understand that many properties depend upon perspective, and self-referential properties require a self-referential perspective which NO external agent can perfectly simulate.

Q_Goest said:
The BEHAVIOR of the computational device does NOT need anything BUT weak emergence to understand it. The behavior of a computational device is perfectly understandable without resorting to strong emergence. This is the second key to understanding the problem. Behavior is what we can measure and know. We can measure and know exactly what a computer is doing, right down to the individual switches. This is ALL that needs to be understood in order to understand it's behavior, regardless of whether or not we postulate the computer is conscious and has this extra phenomenon of zortnore; or it is not conscious and is only a p-zombie. There is no difference between a conscious computer and a p-zombie computer that we can detect or measure.
I disagree. The zombie hypothesis assumes consiousness is epiphenomenal, and I do not agree that this assumption is true. If you want to go into discussion of the incoherent nature of the zombie argument I am quite happy to get into that.

Q_Goest said:
They are identical, and furthermore, we can know everything about either one and through weak emergence alone, we can understand everything it is doing, just like THE GoL.
You are assuming that a conscious agent and a zombie agent are in principle indistinguishable to an external agent, but you have not shown that they are. I believe your assumption is false.

Q_Goest said:
So the second issue says that we should, in principal, be able to know everything about an allegedly conscious computer through weak emergence alone. We should not need to resort to anything else, but of course, we will because we are stuck with this fancifull concept of computationalism!
(check spelling of principle). That we should be able to know everything about an allegedly conscious computer is a premise you have assumed to be true, but I dispute the truth of this premise.

Q_Goest said:
Your discussion about these alleged properties is a problem for this discussion. You've said:
moving finger said:
The more interesting properties as far as consciousness is concerned are the self-referential ones – the properties of the conscious state S as judged by the consciousness itself.
Q_Goest said:
Note this is a perfectly circular argument. You can't claim there are self-referential properties in order to explain the phenomena of self-awareness! That's circular.
It’s no more circular than the proposition “all bachelors are unmarried”. Self awareness entails self-reference – by definition! It’s an analytical truth that self-awareness entails self-reference (in the same way, saying that “all bachelors are unmarried” is an analytical truth by definition)! And it is precisely the properties of self-reference which makes any particular self-referential state unique, and impossible in principle to be modelled by an external agent. Agent X cannot have access to the self-referential properties of agent Y, and since self-awareness entails self-reference agent X cannot be self-aware in precisely the same way that agent Y is self-aware. It’s transparently obvious.

Another way to look at this is in the way of perspective. Agent Y has a unique perspective on agent Y, a perspective which no other agent can achieve, because agent Y knows agent Y “from the inside” – the self-referential perspective of agent Y upon Y cannot be modelled precisely by any other agent. The only self-referential perspective that agent X can have is of agent X, agent X can never perfectly model a self-referential perspective of agent Y upon Y.

Q_Goest said:
We need to examine how knowing the microdynamics can be had for the case of an allegedly conscious computer (which we can, and therefore it should be by definition, weakly emergent).
I don’t understand your expression ;
Q_Goest said:
We need to examine how knowing the microdynamics can be had for the case of an allegedly conscious computer
moving finger said:
Computationalism isn’t in trouble at all.
Q_Goest said:
I disagree. Understanding the second key to this puts computationalism in a lot of trouble, which is why Chalmers trys to address this issue (the second issue) directly.
Your argument is based on the premise that consciousness is epiphenomenal, which I believe is false.

moving finger said:
This is Chalmers’ going off the deep end with “gosh, maybe we need a whole new physics!”. Absolute poppycock.
Q_Goest said:
Yes, this is a perfect lead in to the third issue. We need to explain how a computational device, which can be perfectly understood in terms of behavior and what it is doing, can possibly create some phenomena which we can not understand or know or measure, in any way, even in principal.
Two premises seem to be fundamental to your argument, and I disagree with them both :
(1) that we can perfectly understand all devices (including knowing exactly the self-referential properties of those devices)
(2) that consciousness is epiphenomenal

Q_Goest said:
This, despite the fact that we don't NEED to. We don't NEED to suggest there is something more because everything this allegedly conscious machine is doing is perfectly understandable from a weak emergence perspective.
Not necessarily. You are assuming consciousness is epiphenomenal.

Q_Goest said:
A computational machine, conscious or not, performs what it does without the need to resort to strong emergence whatsoever.
No, it does not. Consciousness entails self-reference, and self-reference is a strongly emergent property – it cannot be modelled completely by simply knowing the microdynamics as an external observer.

Q_Goest said:
We don't need strong emergence here,
Yes we do.

Q_Goest said:
but Chalmers is a computationalist and would like to understand how it could be that such things emerge and thus he proposes there are things we don't understand that may need some kind of new physics to explain, thus he resorts to strong emergence.
Strong emergence is NOT the same as saying we need new laws of physics.

Q_Goest said:
It seems clear to me from reading your response that you're not understanding what Chalmers is saying, yet you DO seem to agree with much of what he says. Chalmers has found a fine line within the arguments that you're not understanding though and if you're to see the problems with computationalism, you'll need to understand his work more better. ;)
It seems clear to me from reading your responses that you think I am arguing against Chalmers much of the time, when in fact I am arguing against YOUR statements. If you would respond in this thread as Q_Goest, instead of responding apparently as an apologist for Chalmers, we might make some progress. :wink:

Q_Goest, I suggest, if we continue, that we argue the actual issues, instead of continually making references to what Chalmers says or does not say, because what I am arguing against here are YOUR statements in this thread.

Best Regards
 
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Q_Goest

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Hi Tournsel,
Q_Goest said: I believe Chalmers is correct in arguing that consciousness is a strongly emergent phenomena.
Tournsel said: There are more than two varieties of emergentism. The strongest
varieties involve downward causation, which Chalmers rejects.
To be clear, I think Chalmers correctly concludes that consciousness must be strongly emergent given computationalism is true. I think his conclusion is valid from that point of view.

What Chalmers believes is laid out in his paper. He says, "My own view is that, relative to the physical domain, there is just one sort of strongly emergent quality, namely, consciousness. I do not know whether there is any strong downard causation, but it seems to me that if there is any strong downard causation, quantum mechanics is the most likely locus for it." He would say this I believe because computationalism precludes strong downward causation.

Personally, I would disagree that ANY computation or series of computations creates strongly emergent phenomena. However, I'm not interested in discussing my own views, so please ignore that statement, I only mean to point out that I'm not debating my own views - this thread is intended to discuss the definition of, the implications of, and the validity of weak and strong emergence, with Bedau and Chalmer's work as a foundation. I'd welcome any other work presented which may have bearing on this, such as what you've proposed, especially a discussion on "innocent emergence" if you'd like to tackle that definition.

Tournsel said: Why would they be inaccessible ? Your argyument that
conscious states of humans are inaccessible seems
to hinge on their complexity. But whatever goes on
in a GoL is comprehensible and predictable in principle,
no matter how complex. Is this an in-principle
inaccesbility, or an in-practice inaccessability ?
Yes, this is exactly it, isn't it? I think you would agree then that the actions of any computational system SHOULD be weakly emergent only, is that correct?

Tournsel said: But computationalism implies that mentallity is entirely
comprehensible, in principle, form a 3rd-person persepctive, since
all computer programmes are.
Do you agree that Chalmers argues against this? He's suggesting there is something more, a phenomena which isn't comprehensible, even in principal.

Ignoring your own beliefs: If you assume computationalism, do you see any alternative than to suggest there is such a thing as strong emergence?

If things have "insides" in some irreducible sense, phsyicalism
is false.
Please elaborate, references would be great. I don't necessarily disagree, but I can't see how this could be proven.

Q_Goest said: Again, we are not talking about ANY GoL, we are talking about THE GoL. THE GoL is totally consistant with weak emergence,
Tournsel said: Of course, just about everything is!
Are you suggesting everything is weakly emergent? Please elaborate.
 
Q_Goest said:
Please elaborate, references would be great. I don't necessarily disagree, but I can't see how this could be proven.

Physicalism says everything has only physical
properties.

Mathematics is the language of physics.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only
mathematical properties

Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person.

Are you suggesting everything is weakly emergent? Please elaborate.
Weak emergence just means that there is some high-level behaviour that is
interesting to an observer, as in Life.
 
Tournesol said:
Physicalism says everything has only physical
properties.

Mathematics is the language of physics.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only
mathematical properties

Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.
I disagree. mathematics does not necessarily have any particular perspective, third person or first person.
Tournesol said:
Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person.
Since I disagree with your premise that mathematics necessarily assumes a third-person perspective, it follows that I disagree with your conclusion.

Best Regards
 

Q_Goest

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Hi Movingfinger.
My appologies for not responding to your last post. I honestly couldn't think of how best to respond & then went on vacation for a week. Had a very nice time, but back now. I'll see if I can respond to a few things you wrote.

Regarding Tournsel's last post, I honestly think he's hit a proverbial nail but, Tournsel's response is confusing to certain perspectives because it's not well laid out, and because he's not provided proof along with the statements made.

Physicalism says everything has only physical
properties.
Could be better written: Physicalism says everything has measurable properties.

Mathematics is the language of physics.
Could be better written: Anything measurable is calculable using mathematics

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only
mathematical properties
Could be better written: Therefore, physicalism says that all properties are calculable.

Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.
Could be better written: Calculable properties are entirely objective and third person.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person.
Could be better written: Therefore, physicalism says everything has only properties that are entirely calculable to any third-person.

The point is that subjective experience can not be calculated in the classical sense. I inserted "classical" to indicate that there is no specific calculation that can be done to determine the magnitude or amplitude, nor any other feature or property of, anything which might be remotely defined as a "subjective experience".

We can't say for example, that a "subjective experience" (ie: seeing the color 'red') has some type of property, analogous to the properties an electron has or analogous to the properties liquid has when compared to other phases of matter, or the hardness that an object has, or the emissivity a reflective surface has, which is measurable. I think that's all the point Tournsel is making, but I think it's a very incitefull one.

I won't offer proof for this series of statements, but I think that proof exists.

How do you know that all of the properties of THE GoL are completely knowable by an entity external to the game? How do you know that there are not some properties which are internal self-referential properties of the game, which would not be (epistemically) accessible to an external observer?
What properties regarding the game of Life are we trying to measure? We see the 'gliders' and other phenomena. These are all perfectly definable. A glider is defined as: <insert definition here> but what you've pointed out is the question we need to answer regarding consciousness. What properties regarding the game of Life can be had by the game but which are not measurable or calculable? If we say the game of Life has some properties which are measurable such as 'gliders' but there are also some properties which are not measurable such as 'subjective experience', then we make a distinction between these two phenomena such that one is measurable and calculable, but the other is not measurable, nor is it calculable.

Punchline: The Jehova Witnesses have knocked at my doorstep for decades in an attempt to convince me that I should convert to their religion because . . . . . <insert unmeasurable, uncalculable reasoning here>.

Why should anyone accept an unknowable, uncalculable theory? If you read through Bedau's paper, you realize he's talking about features or properties of a phenomena which are both measurable and calculable. What he incinuates is that no other properties or phenomena of any type exist! That's beautiful! It exactly follows what Tournsel outlined.

If you read though Chalmers' paper, you find that computationalism forces us to believe in something which is not measurable, nor calculable without creating unknown laws which may or may not depend on local interactions and may or may not depend on causal relationships. It forces us to believe that something exists which we can't meausure, and therefore we can't predict. If we can't predict it, it is certainly not calculable. If it's not calculable, it is not a physicallist explanation. Thus, chomputationalism forces us to believe in "strong emergence".
 
Moving Finger said:
This is true only up to a point. Games of life (GoL) that we can conceive of are relatively simplistic. But imho it is possible in principle to have a GoL which is sufficiently complex that it does give rise to consciousness – as an emergent property within the game.
Tournesol said:
In what sense of "emergent" ? Would it then have properties beyond phsycial and computational ones.
I do not believe emergent properties are necessarily non-physical or non-computational. They may simply be perspectival.

Moving Finger said:
Once this happens then it opens the door also to strong emergence – because there are properties of that GoL (subjective properties as experienced from the perspective of the emergent consciousness within the GoL) which properties are in principle inaccessible from our perspective “on the outside looking in”.
Tournesol said:
Why would they be inaccessible ? Your argyument that conscious states of humans are inaccessible seems to hinge on their complexity. But whatever goes on in a GoL is comprehensible and predictable in principle, no matter how complex. Is this an in-principle inaccesbility, or an in-practice inaccessability ?
No, it does not hinge simply on complexity. It hinges on perspective. Every “observation” assumes a perspective. 3rd person science assumes we can ignore (or compensate for) effects of perspective – but this assumption is an approximation and is not necessarily true under all conditions. The predictability of the GoL is predictability of it’s properties based on an external perspective (from outside the GoL) – there is no way, using data from an external perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL. It is an in-principle inaccessibility.

Moving Finger said:
But subjective properties ARE self-referential – by definition! That is precisely the reason why we cannot experience the same properties – because we have a completely different frame of (conscious) reference.
Tournesol said:
If physicalism is true "frames of refernce" are as third-person comprehensible as anything else.
Subjective properties are bound up with (convolved with) the frame of reference. 3rd person science assumes properties can be measured independently of the frame of reference, hence 3rd person science cannot be applied (in principle) to the explanation of subjective properties.

Moving Finger said:
I cannot know (exactly) what it is like to be a perceiving computer (any more than I can know what it is like to a bat) unless I actually BECOME a perceiving computer (or a bat)
Tournesol said:
IOW, there are irreducibly 1st-personal facts and phsyicalism is false. You seem to be trying to have your cake and eat it.
Not at all – you seem to be using a different definition of physicalism to me. I do not define physicalism to exclude 1st person subjective properties. Physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical – it is NOT the thesis that all properties are explainable from a 3rd person perspective.

Moving Finger said:
– but then by definition it wouldn’t be “me” knowing it – it would be the computer (or the bat). You simply “can’t get there from here”.
Tournesol said:
If physicalism is true, everything is entriely comprehensible, in principle, form a 3rd person POV, and it therefore doesn't matter where you start from.
Again, you seem to be using a very strange and restricted definition of physicalism which entails that everything must be comprehensible from a 3rd person. Could you provide a link to where you get this definition from?

Moving Finger said:
Each “experiment” of consciousness is unique and different to every other “experiment” of consciousness, and there is no way in principle that we can precisely replicate one agent’s conscious experiment within another agent - because the precise make-up of the agent is one of the variables in the experiment. Simple as that. It’s all in the perspective. No new laws needed.
Tournesol said:
That doesn't quite follow. A smarter agent could replicate the structure of a dumber one, however unique it is. (Unless there are irreducibly 1st-personal properties, and physicalim is false).
It’s not simply about structure – it’s also about perspective – that’s the point you are missing. Two identical agents (from a structural point of view) can have different perspectives because they occupy different positions and orientations in space. If you want to perfectly replicate an agent’s PoV, you must replicate it’s perspective as well as its structure.

Moving Finger said:
Computationalism isn’t in trouble at all. You just have to recognise that a perception implies a perspective – and there ain’t no way to get the true perspective of a “perceiving computer” from the perspective of a human being.
Tournesol said:
The wouldn't be if there are irreducibly 1st-persoanl properties, But computationalism implies that mentallity is entirely comprehensible, in principle, form a 3rd-person persepctive, since all computer programmes are.
No, computationalism does not imply such a thing (again unless you are using a very strange definition of computationalism). Computationalism is simply the thesis that cognition is a form of computation – it does not necessarily entail a 3rd person perspective comprehension of cognition.

Moving Finger said:
Just like there ain’t no way to get the true perspective of Q-Goest from the perspective of Moving Finger – it’s impossible by definition.
Tournesol said:
By whose definition ? Calculating literal perspectives is just geometry. Physicalsim means everything is 3rd personal, including all "frames" and "perspectives".
Again, you seem to be using a strange definition of physicalism.

Moving Finger said:
None of this is at odds with computationalism.
Tournesol said:
Yes it is , as demonstrated.
No it’s not, as shown above. Your definitions of computationalism and physicalism seem strange. Could you perhaps explain what definitions you are using?

Moving Finger said:
There is nothing we have discussed here which cannot be explained based on a perspectival account of subjective perception.
Tournesol said:
There are no irreducible perspectives under physicalsim and computationalism.
Where do you get this from?

Moving Finger said:
Remember that “not deducible” simply means “not epistemically accessible”. Just because I have no (epistemic) access to the “inside” of your consciousness (I cannot see the world precisely as you see it) does NOT mean that there are new laws of physics at work,
Tournesol said:
If things have "insides" in some irreducible sense, phsyicalism is false.
Not at all. Again, I’ll need to see your definition of physicalism, because I suspect it is different to mine. The thesis of physicalism simply says that everything supervenes on the physical – it does not say that things do not have “insides”, and it does not say that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person perspective.

Moving Finger said:
and it does NOT mean that determinism or reductionism (in the ontic sense) has failed. There is no way in principle that Moving Finger can see the world in exactly the same way that Q_Goest sees it,
Tournesol said:
According to whose principle ? According to physicalism there is such a way. Just understand Q Goest from a 3rd-person perspective.
Once again, physicalism does not entail that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person perspective.

Moving Finger said:
What new physical laws? Don’t swallow the Chalmers’ hyperbole hook, line and sinker. There are no new laws, and none are necessary. Everything can be understood and explained based on “it all depends on your perspective”.
Tournesol said:
Once you have abandoned the central claim of physicalism, there is not much point worrying about the laws.
The only central claim to physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical. A “3rd person perspective account of all phenomena” is certainly not a central claim of physicalism.

Best Regards
 
Hi Q_Goest

Q_Goest said:
Hi Movingfinger.
My appologies for not responding to your last post. I honestly couldn't think of how best to respond & then went on vacation for a week. Had a very nice time, but back now. I'll see if I can respond to a few things you wrote.
Glad you had a nice time – I also took 2 weeks off and am now catching up.

Q_Goest said:
Regarding Tournsel's last post, I honestly think he's hit a proverbial nail but, Tournsel's response is confusing to certain perspectives because it's not well laid out, and because he's not provided proof along with the statements made.
The proverbial nail seems very rusty and bent to me, as you will see from my responses above :wink:

Q_Goest said:
Physicalism says everything has measurable properties.
I don’t agree that it does – physicalism simply says that everything supervenes on the physical. Period. It does NOT say that everything is measurable. But even if I accept your statement, we must ask “Measurable by whom?” What you measure often depends on your perspective – thus the properties measured may not be independent of the measurer.

Q_Goest said:
Therefore, physicalism says that all properties are calculable.
Again, calculable by whom? If measured properties depend on perspective, then so do calculated properties.

Q_Goest said:
Calculable properties are entirely objective and third person.
Absolutely not. Since properties are perspectival (depend on the frame of reference) it follows that the calculated properties are also perspectival.

Q_Goest said:
Therefore, physicalism says everything has only properties that are entirely calculable to any third-person.
Physicalism says only that everything supervenes on the physical – it is silent on the question of whether all properties are entirely calculable to any third-person.

Q_Goest said:
The point is that subjective experience can not be calculated in the classical sense.
Subjective experience cannot be “calculated” using 3rd person science – I agree. But physicalism does not entail that all properties are calculable from a 3rd person perspective.

Q_Goest said:
I inserted "classical" to indicate that there is no specific calculation that can be done to determine the magnitude or amplitude, nor any other feature or property of, anything which might be remotely defined as a "subjective experience".
The inability to calculate the magnitude of a subjective experience using 3rd person science does not imply that subjective experience is incompatible with physicalism.

Q_Goest said:
We can't say for example, that a "subjective experience" (ie: seeing the color 'red') has some type of property, analogous to the properties an electron has or analogous to the properties liquid has when compared to other phases of matter, or the hardness that an object has, or the emissivity a reflective surface has, which is measurable. I think that's all the point Tournsel is making, but I think it's a very incitefull one.
It’s a misdirected point. All this shows is that subjective experience cannot be completely understood (comprehended) from a purely 3rd person perspective – and I agree with this - but this is not incompatible with physicalism.

Q_Goest said:
What properties regarding the game of Life are we trying to measure? We see the 'gliders' and other phenomena. These are all perfectly definable. A glider is defined as: <insert definition here> but what you've pointed out is the question we need to answer regarding consciousness. What properties regarding the game of Life can be had by the game but which are not measurable or calculable? If we say the game of Life has some properties which are measurable such as 'gliders' but there are also some properties which are not measurable such as 'subjective experience', then we make a distinction between these two phenomena such that one is measurable and calculable, but the other is not measurable, nor is it calculable.
Depending on perspective. There may be “internal properties” of the GoL which are accessible only to a consciousness within the GoL. Such properties would not necessarily be accessible to an agent observing the GoL from the outside.

Q_Goest said:
Why should anyone accept an unknowable, uncalculable theory?
A "theory that some things are unknowable" is NOT the same as an "unknowable theory". Godel's theorem says that any sufficiently complex system cannot be both complete (ie knowable) and consistent; and the HUP says that not everything is knowable. These are accepted principles.

It makes perfect sense that an observation is convolved with (depends on) perspective. And one can perfectly replicate an observation only if one can also perfectly replicate that perspective. Completely logical and rational. The theory that knowledge depends on perspective is not an unknowable theory - but it IS a theory that not everything is knowable from one single perspective (which is not the same thing).

Q_Goest said:
If we can't predict it, it is certainly not calculable. If it's not calculable, it is not a physicallist explanation.
Incorrect. Physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical – it is NOT the thesis that everything is calculable. If this were correct, then an indeterministic world would be non-physical by definition. And even some deterministic systems can be unpredictable – depending on perspective – but it does not follow that they are therefore non-physical.

Best Regards
 
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MF said:
Tournesol said:
Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.
I disagree. mathematics does not necessarily have any particular perspective, third person or first person.
It isn't subjective. Whether you call that third-personal
or impersonal is a matter of taste. (Of course
it does contain *literal* perspective, as a branch
of geometery. Presumably your usage is is
of "perspective" is mataphorical here).

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person.
Since I disagree with your premise that mathematics necessarily assumes a third-person perspective, it follows that I disagree with your conclusion.
The distinction you have drawn doesn't make a difference.
 
QG said:
Physicalism says everything has only physical
properties.

Could be better written: Physicalism says everything has measurable properties.
No, that wouldn't be better. Not everything is directly measureable
in physics, but everything has a mathematical representation.
 
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MF said:
This is true only up to a point. Games of life (GoL) that we can conceive of are relatively simplistic. But imho it is possible in principle to have a GoL which is sufficiently complex that it does give rise to consciousness – as an emergent property within the game.
In what sense of "emergent" ? Would it then have properties beyond phsycial and computational ones.
I do not believe emergent properties are necessarily non-physical or non-computational. They may simply be perspectival.
In what sense of "emergent"? You use odf "perspectival" implies a weak, epistemic definition of emergence.
The weak forms of emergence are trivially true. But elsewhere you seem to think you ar deomstratig strong emergence.



Once this happens then it opens the door also to strong emergence – because there are properties of that GoL ... which
are in principle inaccessible from our perspective “on the outside looking in”.
Why would they be inaccessible ? Your argyument that conscious states of humans are inaccessible seems to hinge on their complexity. But whatever goes on in a GoL is comprehensible and predictable in principle, no matter how complex. Is this an in-principle inaccesbility, or an in-practice inaccessability ?
No, it does not hinge simply on complexity. It hinges on perspective. Every “observation” assumes a perspective. 3rd person science assumes we can ignore (or compensate for) effects of perspective – but this assumption is an approximation and is not necessarily true under all conditions.
It is necessarily true under phsyicalism as I define it , and it is necessarily true under the GoL.

The predictability of the GoL is predictability of it’s properties based on an external perspective (from outside the GoL) – there is no way, using data from an external perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL. It is an in-principle inaccessibility.
That doesn't follow at all. Everything about a perspective within the GoL is predictbale from an external
perspectve, including the limitations of an internal perspective within the GoL. Perhaps you mean there is no way, using data from an internal perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL.

But that boils down to epistemic limitation, and therefore to weak emergence.



But subjective properties ARE self-referential – by definition! That is precisely the reason why we cannot experience the same properties – because we have a completely different frame of (conscious) reference.
If physicalism is true "frames of refernce" are as third-person comprehensible as anything else.
Subjective properties are bound up with (convolved with) the frame of reference. 3rd person science assumes properties can be measured independently of the frame of reference,

3rd person science assumes that the influence of (literal) frames of reference can be compensated for.

hence 3rd person science cannot be applied (in principle) to the explanation of subjective properties.
If they are irreducible. But if they are phsyicalism is false in the first place.



I cannot know (exactly) what it is like to be a perceiving computer (any more than I can know what it is like to a bat) unless I actually BECOME a perceiving computer (or a bat)
IOW, there are irreducibly 1st-personal facts and phsyicalism is false. You seem to be trying to have your cake and eat it.
Not at all – you seem to be using a different definition of physicalism to me. I do not define physicalism to exclude 1st person subjective properties. Physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical – it is NOT the thesis that all properties are explainable from a 3rd person perspective.
"Everything supervenes on the physical" is a circular defintion of physicalism. I have arrived
at my version of by unpacking the meaning of "the phsyical". Do you have an alternative unpacking ?


– but then by definition it wouldn’t be “me” knowing it – it would be the computer (or the bat). You simply “can’t get there from here”.
If physicalism is true, everything is entriely comprehensible, in principle, form a 3rd person POV, and it therefore doesn't matter where you start from.
Again, you seem to be using a very strange and restricted definition of physicalism which entails that everything must be comprehensible from a 3rd person. Could you provide a link to where you get this definition from?



Each “experiment” of consciousness is unique and different to every other “experiment” of consciousness, and there is no way in principle that we can precisely replicate one agent’s conscious experiment within another agent - because the precise make-up of the agent is one of the variables in the experiment. Simple as that. It’s all in the perspective. No new laws needed.
Originally Posted by Tournesol
however unique it is. (Unless there are irreducibly 1st-personal properties, and physicalism
is f
alse).
It’s not simply about structure – it’s also about perspective –

Perspective reduces to structure in a physicalist universe.

that’s the point you are missing. Two identical agents (from a structural point of view) can have different perspectives because they occupy different positions and orientations in space. If you want to perfectly replicate an agent’s PoV, you must replicate it’s perspective as well as its structure.
And there is no barrier to that in a physicalist universe



Computationalism isn’t in trouble at all. You just have to recognise that a perception implies a perspective – and there ain’t no way to get the true perspective of a “perceiving computer” from the perspective of a human being.
The wouldn't be if there are irreducibly 1st-persoanl properties, But computationalism implies that mentallity is entirely comprehensible, in principle, form a 3rd-person persepctive, since all computer programmes are.
No, computationalism does not imply such a thing (again unless you are using a very strange definition of computationalism). Computationalism is simply the thesis that cognition is a form of computation – it does not necessarily entail a 3rd person perspective comprehension of cognition.
Not by itself, but no-one thinks computer oprogrammes have mysterious, irreducible
properties, so that follows on readilly.



Just like there ain’t no way to get the true perspective of Q-Goest from the perspective of Moving Finger – it’s impossible by definition.
By whose definition ? Calculating literal perspectives is just geometry. Physicalsim means everything is 3rd personal, including all "frames" and "perspectives".
Again, you seem to be using a strange definition of physicalism.
As opposed to what ? The claim that the physical is physical.

None of this is at odds with computationalism.
Yes it is , as demonstrated.
No it’s not, as shown above. Your definitions of computationalism and physicalism seem strange. Could you perhaps explain what definitions you are using?
I have.

"Physicalism says everything has only physical
properties.

Mathematics is the language of physics.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only
mathematical properties

Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person."


Can you de-circularise *your* definition?


There is nothing we have discussed here which cannot be explained based on a perspectival account of subjective perception.
There are no irreducible perspectives under physicalsim and computationalism.
Where do you get this from?
".....Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person."


Remember that “not deducible” simply means “not epistemically accessible”. Just because I have no (epistemic) access to the “inside” of your consciousness (I cannot see the world precisely as you see it) does NOT mean that there are new laws of
physics at work,
If things have "insides" in some irreducible sense, phsyicalism is false.
Not at all. Again, I’ll need to see your definition of physicalism, because I suspect it is different to mine. The thesis of physicalism simply says that everything supervenes on the physical – it does not say that things do not have “insides”, and it does not say that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person perspective.

And what is this "physical" that everything supervenes on ?



and it does NOT mean that determinism or reductionism (in the ontic sense) has failed. There is no way in principle that Moving Finger can see the world in exactly the same way that Q_Goest sees it,
According to whose principle ? According to physicalism there is such a way. Just understand Q Goest from a 3rd-person perspective.
Once again, physicalism does not entail that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person perspective.
It does accoreding to the only (non-circular) defintion so
far offerered.

What new physical laws? Don’t swallow the Chalmers’ hyperbole hook, line and sinker. There are no new laws, and none are necessary. Everything can be understood and explained based on “it all depends on your perspective”.
Once you have abandoned the central claim of physicalism, there is not much point worrying about the laws.
The only central claim to physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on the physical. A “3rd person perspective account of all phenomena” is certainly not a central claim of physicalism.
No, it's an implication.
 
Hi Tournesol

Good talking with you, as always.

moving finger said:
mathematics does not necessarily have any particular perspective, third person or first person.
Tournesol said:
It isn't subjective. Whether you call that third-personal or impersonal is a matter of taste. (Of course it does contain *literal* perspective, as a branch of geometery. Presumably your usage is is of "perspective" is mataphorical here).
Yes, you are correct, I mean perspective in the metaphorical sense. I agree that mathematics is objective (ie assumes no particular perspective), but I don’t see that it has any meaning to describe mathematics as having either a third-person or first-person perspective. Objectivity/subjectivity on the one hand and third-person/first-person perspectives on the other do not necessarily mean quite the same thing.

Tournesol said:
The distinction you have drawn doesn't make a difference.
A difference to what? Physicalism does not say that everything has only properties that are entirely objective or third-person. Physicalism says only that everything supervenes on the physical, it is completely silent on whether any properties are necessarily third-person or first-person. See later.

Tournesol said:
Not everything is directly measureable in physics, but everything has a mathematical representation.
This latter is not a tenet of physicalism. That everything has a mathematical representation is a premise (which may be true or false) which is independent of the truth of physicalism.

Tournesol said:
In what sense of "emergent"? You use odf "perspectival" implies a weak, epistemic definition of emergence. The weak forms of emergence are trivially true. But elsewhere you seem to think you ar deomstratig strong emergence.
Then you will need to define just what you mean by weak and strong emergence, because that is not the way that the OP defined the terms (and the definition I am using here).
Q_Goest said:
We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principal from truths in the low-level domain.
Positing the existence of agents with (first-person) perspective creates a higher-level “domain” supervenient on the lower-level physical domain. There is no way that we can deduce truths about such first-person perspective from the truths in the underlying physical domain – hence such a phenomenon is (according to the way we have defined strong emergence in this thread, as per the OP) strongly emergent.

moving finger said:
Every “observation” assumes a perspective. 3rd person science assumes we can ignore (or compensate for) effects of perspective – but this assumption is an approximation and is not necessarily true under all conditions.
Tournesol said:
It is necessarily true under phsyicalism as I define it , and it is necessarily true under the GoL.
This then seems to be a peculairity of your personal definition of physicalism. Physicalism simply says that everything supervenes on the physical, it does not say that the 1st person perspective can be subsumed in the 3rd person perspective.
How do you conclude (ie can you show how you arrive at the conclusion) that this is necessarily true under the GoL, or is this just your assumption?

moving finger said:
The predictability of the GoL is predictability of it’s properties based on an external perspective (from outside the GoL) – there is no way, using data from an external perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL. It is an in-principle inaccessibility.
Tournesol said:
That doesn't follow at all. Everything about a perspective within the GoL is predictbale from an external perspectve, including the limitations of an internal perspective within the GoL.
Now it is my turn to say “that doesn’t follow at all”.

Tournesol said:
Perhaps you mean there is no way, using data from an internal perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL.
No, I mean there is no way, using data from an external perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on an internal perspective.

Tournesol said:
But that boils down to epistemic limitation, and therefore to weak emergence.
Again, I am using the definition offered in the OP.

Tournesol said:
If physicalism is true "frames of refernce" are as third-person comprehensible as anything else.
Again, you seem to have a strange notion of physicalism. Physicalism says only that everything supervenes on the physical, it does not say that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person perspective.

Tournesol said:
3rd person science assumes that the influence of (literal) frames of reference can be compensated for.
Agreed – and this is an approximation which does not always hold. Hence the reason why 3rd person science cannot explain 1st person (subjective) properties. But this is not at odds with physicalism.

moving finger said:
hence 3rd person science cannot be applied (in principle) to the explanation of subjective properties.
Tournesol said:
If they are irreducible. But if they are phsyicalism is false in the first place.
Again, you seem to have a strange notion of physicalism. Physicalism says only that everything supervenes on the physical, it does not say that everything is reducible to a 3rd person perspective.

Tournesol said:
"Everything supervenes on the physical" is a circular defintion of physicalism.
Not at all. If I had said “physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on physicalism” that would have been circular. But “physical” and “physicalism” are not the same thing. See later for definition of physical.

Tournesol said:
I have arrived at my version of by unpacking the meaning of "the phsyical". Do you have an alternative unpacking ?
You have arrived at your version via an unsound argument. See below.

Tournesol said:
Perspective reduces to structure in a physicalist universe.
And if you build two identically structured universes then you will have perspectives within those two unverses which are also identical with each other. But within any one universe, you can have a single structure with multiple different perspectives.

moving finger said:
that’s the point you are missing. Two identical agents (from a structural point of view) can have different perspectives because they occupy different positions and orientations in space. If you want to perfectly replicate an agent’s PoV, you must replicate it’s perspective as well as its structure.
Tournesol said:
And there is no barrier to that in a physicalist universe
Agreed. I can replicate a (mammalian) bat, but I (moving finger) can never know what it is like to be that bat, because by definition my perspective is determined by the fact that I am moving finger, not a bat. To take the perspective of the bat, I would have to become the bat, but then I would be the bat, and not moving finger. Hence moving finger can never know what it is like to be a bat.

moving finger said:
Computationalism is simply the thesis that cognition is a form of computation – it does not necessarily entail a 3rd person perspective comprehension of cognition.
Tournesol said:
Not by itself, but no-one thinks computer oprogrammes have mysterious, irreducible properties, so that follows on readilly.
If a machine is able to perceive, then it has a first person perspective, which we could never experience or get access to using 3rd person science. If you wish to call these properties “mysterious” then the machine has “mysterious” properties.

Tournesol said:
As opposed to what ? The claim that the physical is physical.
No, the claim that everything supervenes on the physical. See below.

Tournesol said:
"Physicalism says everything has only physical properties.

Mathematics is the language of physics.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only mathematical properties

Mathematical properties are entirely objective and third-person.

Therefore, physicalism says everything has only proeprties that are entirely objective and third-person."
Mathematics can be used to describe some aspects of the physical world, but it does not follow from this that physical properties are equivalent to mathematical properties, which is what your argument seems to assume.

Since mathematics is simply a language, what constitutes a “mathematical property” anyway (it’s a bit like suggesting that the English language has “properties”)? To me, a mathematical property is simply a particular observation derived from mathematics, such as the fact that 1729 is the sum of two cubes in two different ways. How is such a mathematical property equivalent to any physical property of the world?

Once you have explained exactly what you mean by a mathematical property, you then need to justify the substitution in the third line where you assume an implicit premise that physical properties are equivalent to mathematical properties. Bear in mind that in many cases, “physical” and “mathematical” are often regarded as antonyms, as in “this mathematical solution has no basis in physical reality”

Since I am claiming this implicit premise is false, your argument is unsound and simply reduces to “Physicalism says everything has only physical properties”, which is exactly what I am saying. Your definition of physicalism is therefore essentially the same as mine, but your claim that physicalism entails that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person persopective is based on an unsound argument with a false implicit premise.

Tournesol said:
Can you de-circularise *your* definition?
I agree with your statement that physicalism says everything has only physical properties (this is simply another way of saying that everything supervenes on the physical), but the rest of your argument (containing as it does a false premise) is unsound.

*my* definition comes from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/

Tournesol said:
And what is this "physical" that everything supervenes on ?
Physical = pertaining to physics, which is the study of the properties and principles related to matter and energy, and of systems comprising matter and energy.

moving finger said:
A “3rd person perspective account of all phenomena” is certainly not a central claim of physicalism.
Tournesol said:
No, it's an implication.
It’s a conclusion derived from an unsound argument.

Best Regards
 
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It isn't subjective. Whether you call that third-personal or impersonal is a matter of taste. (Of course it does contain *literal* perspective, as a branch of geometery. Presumably your usage is is of "perspective" is mataphorical here).
Yes, you are correct, I mean perspective in the metaphorical sense. I agree that mathematics is objective (ie assumes no particular perspective), but I don’t see that it has any meaning to describe mathematics as having either a third-person or first-person perspective.
if subjective equates to first-person, objective equates to third-person.

Objectivity/subjectivity on the one hand and third-person/first-person perspectives on the other do not necessarily mean quite the same thing.
What is the difference ?


The distinction you have drawn doesn't make a difference.
A difference to what?
Anything.

Physicalism does not say that everything has only properties that are entirely objective or third-person. Physicalism says only that everything supervenes on the physical, it is completely silent on whether any properties are necessarily third-person or first-person. See later.
You never give another defintion of "the physical", so my point stands.


Not everything is directly measureable in physics, but everything has a mathematical representation.
This latter is not a tenet of physicalism.
Who knows? You have not defined "the physical".

That everything has a mathematical representation is a premise (which may be true or false) which is independent of the truth of physicalism.
Who knows? You have not defined "the physical".





In what sense of "emergent"? You use odf "perspectival" implies a weak, epistemic definition of emergence. The weak forms of emergence are trivially true. But elsewhere you seem to think you ar deomstratig strong emergence.
Then you will need to define just what you mean by weak and strong emergence, because that is not the way that the OP defined the terms (and the definition I am using here).


Q_Goest said:
We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principal from truths in the low-level domain.
In the GoL evything is deducile in principle. Thereofe, in the GoL, nothing has stronhly emergent
features.

Positing the existence of agents with (first-person) perspective creates a higher-level “domain” supervenient on the lower-level physical domain.
That depends on what you mean by "perspective". Literal, geomoetrical perspective has features, and only has features,
which can be deduced in principle. So that does not give you strong meergence. You can posit
some other kind of perspective, but it is a posit.


There is no way that we can deduce truths about such first-person perspective from the truths in the underlying physical domain – hence such a phenomenon is (according to the way we have defined strong emergence in this thread, as per the OP) strongly emergent.
Depending on what you mean by "perspective". But there are no
such perspectives within the GoL.


How do you conclude (ie can you show how you arrive at the conclusion) that this ("we can ignore (or compensate for) effects of perspective") is necessarily true under the GoL, or is this just your assumption?
The GoL is an entirely objective, determinsitic game of perfect information. Everyhting within
it is determinavle in principle.

The predictability of the GoL is predictability of it’s properties based on an external perspective (from outside the GoL) – there is no way, using data from an external perspective, to accurately predict the properties based on a perspective from within the GoL. It is an in-principle inaccessibility.
That doesn't follow at all. Everything about a perspective within the GoL is predictbale from an external perspectve, including the limitations of an internal perspective within the GoL.

Now it is my turn to say “that doesn’t follow at all”.

Well, it does. Everything is predictable in Life, so perspectives are predictable. "Everything"
means everything.



But that boils down to epistemic limitation, and therefore to weak emergence.
Again, I am using the definition offered in the OP.
Again that doesn't help your case. Everything is predictable in Life. Everything.



3rd person science assumes that the influence of (literal) frames of reference can be compensated for.
Agreed – and this is an approximation which does not always hold.

"In principle" means "in principle". Approximations are practical limitations.

Hence the reason why 3rd person science cannot explain 1st person (subjective) properties.
That would be an in-practice limitation.

But this is not at odds with physicalism.
"In principle" is not interchangeable with "in practice"

hence 3rd person science cannot be applied (in principle) to the explanation of subjective properties.

If there are such things/ Are there ? Are they physical ? What do you mean by physical
? Are you ever going to answer that question ?

"Everything supervenes on the physical" is a circular defintion of physicalism.
Not at all. If I had said “physicalism is the thesis that everything supervenes on physicalism” that would have been circular. But “physical” and “physicalism” are not the same thing. See later for definition of physical.
Well, that's interesting. Presumably you would regard "goodness is being good" as non-circular
as well.



Mathematics can be used to describe some aspects of the physical world, but it does not follow from this that physical properties are equivalent to mathematical properties, which is what your argument seems to assume.
Physicalism means everything is physical. Physical means describable by physics. Describable
by physics means describable in mathematical terms. So physicalism means [n]everything[/b] i s
describable in mathematical terms. "Everything" means everything.

Since mathematics is simply a language, what constitutes a “mathematical property” anyway
A property that can be fully described in mathematical language, without
any residue of subjective mystery.


Once you have explained exactly what you mean by a mathematical property, you then need to justify the substitution in the third line where you assume an implicit premise that physical properties are equivalent to mathematical properties.
Physical properties are mathemtically describable (fully) properties.

Bear in mind that in many cases, “physical” and “mathematical” are often regarded as antonyms, as in “this mathematical solution has no basis in physical reality”
"All physical properties are mathematical(ly describable)" doesn't imply
"All mathemacital descriptions have physical counterparts", so that in no objection.


Since I am claiming this implicit premise is false, your argument is unsound and simply reduces to “Physicalism says
everything has only physical properties”, which is exactly what I am saying.
It doesn't reduce to what you are saying, and what you are saying doesn't say anything.

Your definition of physicalism is therefore essentially the same as mine, but your claim that physicalism entails that everything is comprehensible from a 3rd person persopective is based on an unsound argument with a false implicit premise.
Physical properties are "equaivalent" to mathemtical properties in the sense
of being fully describable by them. They are not "equivalent" in the sense of
being identical.



Can you de-circularise *your* definition?
I agree with your statement that physicalism says everything has only physical properties (this is simply another way of saying that everything supervenes on the physical), but the rest of your argument (containing as it does a false premise) is unsound.

*my* definition comes from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here : http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/
Indeed it does. And they don't define physical either. So we are not in a position
where you have one definition of physical and I have another. We are in aposition
where I have a definition which you can neither accept nor improve on.

And what is this "physical" that everything supervenes on ?
Physical = pertaining to physics, which is the study of the properties and principles related to matter and energy, and of systems comprising matter and energy.

Indeed. And nobody disputes that physics uses mathematical descriptions so that takes us into my argument.

A “3rd person perspective account of all phenomena” is certainly not a central claim of physicalism.
No, it's an implication.
It’s a conclusion derived from an unsound argument.
You have not shown my argument is unsound, you are making inaccurate guesses.
 
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Q_Goest

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Interesting discussion about physicalism and emergence. I have a rather narrow focus on emergence right now, so I apologize if I don't respond to everything you've both commented on.

I'd agree that physicalism says that everything supervenes on the physical. But I don't think that's a very good explanation, it can be interpreted in different ways, so first I'd like to understand exactly what is meant by that. The dictionary provides this definition of supervene:
Philosophy. To be dependent on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.
Still needs some explanation, but from that I would say that physicalism is the belief that all matter and energy is dependant on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.

I suspect this definition is still unclear, so if anyone wants to suggest improvements feel free.

Tournsel proposed a series of statements which I rewrote as follows:
- Physicalism says everything has measurable properties.
- Anything measurable is calculable using mathematics.
- Therefore, physicalism says that all properties are calculable.
- Calculable properties are entirely objective and third person.
- Therefore, physicalism says everything has only properties that are entirely calculable to any third-person.

Radioactive decay for example, is a measurable property, though it may or may not be a deterministic one. Thus, if I want to calculate the probability of this property resulting in a decay event, I can use mathematics. So the first two statements above seem quite reasonable to me, the use of the concept of something having properties, regardless of whether they are deterministic or not, seems straightforward to me.

Looking back at the definition of physicalism, I see one might take the definition to mean that these properties may not be measurable in any way from a 3'rd person perspective. Movingfinger seems to suggest that these properties may only be accessible to a specific set or group of matter and energy. In other words, I believe what you're saying, MF, is that physicalism suggests that although the properties (such as consciousness) may be had by a specific set or group (ie: a person is a set or group of matter & energy), those properties may not be accessible to another specific set or group (a 3'rd person perspective). The facts and properties can be had by the 1'st person but not the 3'rd person perspective. Is that what you're suggesting MF?

If on the other hand, we suggest that all properties are accessible from a 3'rd person perspective, and I don't know any that aren't except consciousness, then we must accept that all properties are measurable (and calculable using mathematics) by anyone. Thus, we can say that all properties are calculable*. I think that's what Tournsel has suggested, so please correct me if I've misinterpreted.

MF said: Positing the existence of agents with (first-person) perspective creates a higher-level “domain” supervenient on the lower-level physical domain. There is no way that we can deduce truths about such first-person perspective from the truths in the underlying physical domain – hence such a phenomenon is (according to the way we have defined strong emergence in this thread, as per the OP) strongly emergent.
I think this is a good jumping off point for strong emergence as it relates to physicalism.

From the perspective of a third person, one can know all the "facts or properties" a computer has with the possible exception of consciousness. We can measure and know all the states of all the switches inside any computational device at all periods of time, and we can even predict with deterministic precision any future state as long as we know exactly all the inputs. From the third person perspective, there is nothing we can't measure except this strange phenomenon of consciousness, or at least that is what we might be led to believe if we assume only weak emergence. Note that this is exactly what Bedau is saying about the GoL, and it's why he says it is weakly emergent.

Despite these measurable properties as described by weak emergence, MF and others would have us believe that computationalism is true, and thus there are facts and properties which are not deducible ("truths" which are not deducible) from a third person perspective. Is that correct MF?

Chalmers doesn't seem to be satisfied with this approach. That's understandable, because if there are no other new physical laws which can be applied to the computer to explain conscious phenomena, then IFF** computationalism is true, we must accept that the computational device possess facts and properties we can't "deduce truths about", just as pointed out by MF! I think that's an important conclusion we must either agree on or otherwise debate.

If what MF points out is true, and we can't deduce certain truths from a third person perspective, then this brings up a real problem. Why should consciousness be the only "undeducible truth"? What possible other experiences can other systems have which are not deducible truths? If we accept this, I believe this leads us to believe in panpsychism. It also leads to the possibility that there are other phenomena that are created by computationalism which are not conscious but are similarly undeducible truths.

If we accept one undeducible truth we must accept any number of others. For example, we might suggest the moon can see the other side of the universe where an army of aliens are preparing to invade Earth. Since the moon can't tell us what it sees, this belief doesn't violate faster than light communication. Similarly, any undeducible truth must be acceptable as long as it doesn't violate any known laws of physics. I see no way of defending the idea of computationalism if this is what is expected of its supporters. Computationalism then becomes something that one can't prove or disprove, much like any religious belief.

Chalmers has an answer for this.

Chalmers claims there must be other organizational physical laws, higher order laws. Chalmers claims that if we were to learn what these laws are and understand how they worked and then apply them to the computer, we might finally be able to know and even measure these properties of consciousness (from a third person perspective).

Ok, so maybe there are other physical laws that we can add or create that can explain how and why a computer becomes self aware. In fact, they might then determine if there are other experiences or phenomena which other systems of matter and energy posses, such as the moon being able to see the far side of the universe but still unable to tell us what it sees.

Personally, I don't like this idea of adding on additional physical laws in order to explain the properties a computer might possess. I think it's enough to assume the computer possesses only those properties we can measure.

Note that this problem is based on the presumption of computationalism. If computationalism is not true, then we might find a different outcome and thus avoid these problems of assuming either undeducible truths as MF suggests or having to add new physical laws to explain properties of unknowable phenomena as Chalmers suggests.

If there's any interest in an alternative concept of "strong emergence" I'd like to introduce a paper by Laughlin, as I think it has some bearing on the debate and may point to an interesting alternate direction. However, I think we need to agree first whether the above is what is being argued by Bedau and Chalmers, especially - how strong emergence is defined with respect to computationalism and physicalism, and the need for additional physical laws.

~

*Albeit, we may have to convert values or amplitudes of those properties depending on perspective. We may measure kinetic energy differently for example, depending on our velocity with respect to the mass being measured, but the kinetic energy of something can always be converted depending on your perspective to show all perspectives agree.

**Meaning if, and only if "computationalism" is true. If computationalism is NOT true, then there is a different outcome to the problem.
 
Q_Goest said:
Looking back at the definition of physicalism, I see one might take the definition to mean that these properties may not be measurable in any way from a 3'rd person perspective. Movingfinger seems to suggest that these properties may only be accessible to a specific set or group of matter and energy. In other words, I believe what you're saying, MF, is that physicalism suggests that although the properties (such as consciousness) may be had by a specific set or group (ie: a person is a set or group of matter & energy), those properties may not be accessible to another specific set or group (a 3'rd person perspective). The facts and properties can be had by the 1'st person but not the 3'rd person perspective. Is that what you're suggesting MF?
Exactly. Except consciousness is not just one single property, it is a particular set of properties, each of which is accessible from the first person perspective only.

Q_Goest said:
thus there are facts and properties which are not deducible ("truths" which are not deducible) from a third person perspective. Is that correct MF?
Correct.

Q_Goest said:
If what MF points out is true, and we can't deduce certain truths from a third person perspective, then this brings up a real problem. Why should consciousness be the only "undeducible truth"?
Consciousness is not the only undeducible truth. Godel's theorem tells us that no sufficiently complex mathematical decsription can be both consistent and complete (ie there are in principle undeducible truths within any such system if we wish to maintain consistency), and the HUP says that in principle not everything about the world is knowable. There are thus potentially many "undeducible truths" in the world. I'm simply saying that all 1st person perspective properties are "undeducible" from the 3rd person perspective. You are focussing on consciousness, but consciousness is simply a particular set of such 1st person perspective properties.

Q_Goest said:
It also leads to the possibility that there are other phenomena that are created by computationalism which are not conscious but are similarly undeducible truths.
Agreed.

Q_Goest said:
Computationalism then becomes something that one can't prove or disprove, much like any religious belief.
The fundamental premises of most philosophies cannot be proven or disproven. You are free to reject computationalism, but what would you put in its place, and can you argue that the fundamental premises of your pet explanation can be proven or disproven?

Q_Goest said:
Chalmers claims there must be other organizational physical laws, higher order laws. Chalmers claims that if we were to learn what these laws are and understand how they worked and then apply them to the computer, we might finally be able to know and even measure these properties of consciousness (from a third person perspective).
You cannot get at 1st person laws from the 3rd person perspective. You and Chalmers are free to try, but you're tilting at windmills.

Q_Goest said:
Ok, so maybe there are other physical laws that we can add or create that can explain how and why a computer becomes self aware.
I can "explain" how and why this happens based on our existing laws, I don't need any new laws (and I certainly don't need to posit any supernatural entities such as primordial consciousness) to show how consciousness is an emergent phenomenon based purely on physicalism. But what I cannot do is to comprehend that computer's 1st person perspective from my perspective.

Q_Goest said:
In fact, they might then determine if there are other experiences or phenomena which other systems of matter and energy posses, such as the moon being able to see the far side of the universe but still unable to tell us what it sees.
You cannot get at 1st person "laws" from the 3rd person perspective. You and Chalmers are free to try, but you're tilting at windmills.

Best Regards
 
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Hi again Tournesol

Tournesol said:
if subjective equates to first-person, objective equates to third-person.
They don’t equate, that’s the whole point.

Tournesol said:
What is the difference ?
Objective = a view without any bias whatsoever, is independent of any perspective
Subjective = a view with some kind of bias, is dependent on a particular perspective
1st person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the inside” of the same entity
3rd person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the outside” of that entity

Now, the important point here (which is crucial to this entire argument) is that science is predicated on the 3rd person perspective - everything in science (all experiments, all hypotheses, all explanations and interpretations of the results) is based on this perspective, ie that we measure entities "from the outside". Often in science we ASSUME that this provides us with an objective view of the world - but that is an approximation. A truly objective view is a view from NO perspective, a view from "nowhere and nowhen" - but all of our science is bound up inextricably with the 3rd person perspective, the view from the outside only. We cannot, by definition, get "inside" the experiment to get a perspective from the inside (because in doing so we change the experiment - this is why moving finger can never know what it is like to be Tournesol). Thus science is in principle (by definition) strictly not truly objective (even though we can often approximate objectivity). All science is subjective (ie it is based on a 3rd person perspective, and any view from a perspective is subjective by definition), and we simply assume that this gives us an objective view. The assumption is an approximation.

moving finger said:
A difference to what?
Tournesol said:
Anything.
The distinction as explained above makes a whole world of difference.

Tournesol said:
You never give another defintion of "the physical", so my point stands.
Read my post again, you’ll find the definition of physical. If you disagree with it please feel free to provide your own.

Tournesol said:
Not everything is directly measureable in physics, but everything has a mathematical representation.
moving finger said:
This latter is not a tenet of physicalism.
Tournesol said:
Who knows? You have not defined "the physical".
Yes I have. Read my previous post again. Then show me where the claim “everything has a mathematical representation” is a tenet of either physicalism or physics.

Tournesol said:
In the GoL evything is deducile in principle. Thereofe, in the GoL, nothing has stronhly emergent features.
How do you deduce 1st person perspective properties (properties of perspectives from within the GoL) of the GoL?

Tournesol said:
Literal, geomoetrical perspective has features, and only has features, which can be deduced in principle. So that does not give you strong meergence. You can posit some other kind of perspective, but it is a posit.
How do you deduce 1st person perspective properties (properties of perspectives from within consciousness) of conscious entities from a 3rd person perspective?
At the end of the day, everything is based on a posit, so what does that prove?

Tournesol said:
But there are no such perspectives within the GoL.
How do you know that? Is that your posit?

Tournesol said:
The GoL is an entirely objective, determinsitic game of perfect information. Everyhting within it is determinavle in principle.
How do you know that? Is that your posit?

Tournesol said:
Well, it does. Everything is predictable in Life, so perspectives are predictable. "Everything" means everything.
The response “Well, it does” is not a coherent logical argument. How do you predict the 1st person perspective properties of a conscious entity from your 3rd person perspective? According to you, everything is predictable from the 3rd person perspective….. so how is it done? Or is the assertion that “everything is predictable from the 3rd person perspective” simply your unsubstantiated posit?

Tournesol said:
Again that doesn't help your case. Everything is predictable in Life. Everything.
That’s obviously your posit.

Tournesol said:
3rd person science assumes that the influence of (literal) frames of reference can be compensated for.
moving finger said:
Agreed – and this is an approximation which does not always hold.
Tournesol said:
"In principle" means "in principle". Approximations are practical limitations.
Your claim did not say “in principle”, it said “science assumes”. An assumption does not equate to a principle. Which law of physics says that everything in physics is in principle deducible from the 3rd person perspective?

Tournesol said:
That would be an in-practice limitation.
Is that your posit?

Tournesol said:
"In principle" is not interchangeable with "in practice"
You have not established that there is any principle involved, you simply assume there is one.

Tournesol said:
If there are such things/ Are there ? Are they physical ? What do you mean by physical? Are you ever going to answer that question ?
Read the entirety of my previous post.

Tournesol said:
Presumably you would regard "goodness is being good" as non-circular as well.
I have defined physical in terms independent of physicalism, and I have defined physicalism in terms of physical. There is no circularity involved. A circular definition is a definition of a word in terms of itself (ie the same word). Are you suggesting that “physicalism” and “physical” are identical? (note – similarity in spelling does not equate to identical - the “ism” on the end is a significant clue!).

Tournesol said:
Physicalism means everything is physical. Physical means describable by physics. Describable by physics means describable in mathematical terms.
There is no accepted law of nature or physics which says that all physical properties are necessarily mathematically describable, except perhaps in your personal philosophy.

moving finger said:
Since mathematics is simply a language, what constitutes a “mathematical property” anyway
Tournesol said:
A property that can be fully described in mathematical language, without any residue of subjective mystery.
Thus a mathematical property is a property that can be fully described in mathematical language….. and you accuse me of using circular definitions?

Tournesol said:
Physical properties are mathemtically describable (fully) properties.
That is your posit. There is no accepted law of nature or physics which says that all physical properties are necessarily mathematically describable, except perhaps in your personal philosophy.

Tournesol said:
It doesn't reduce to what you are saying, and what you are saying doesn't say anything.
I am saying that your claim that all physical properties are necessarily mathematically describable is your unsubstantiated posit, a posit that I claim to be false. You don’t agree with my claim, but it doesn’t follow from this that what I am saying “doesn’t say anything”.

Tournesol said:
Physical properties are "equaivalent" to mathemtical properties in the sense of being fully describable by them. They are not "equivalent" in the sense of being identical.
Being “fully describable by mathematics” is your posit, the truth of which is here disputed.

Tournesol said:
And nobody disputes that physics uses mathematical descriptions so that takes us into my argument.
That “physics uses mathematical descriptions” is simply a contingent fact based on the efficacy of mathematical language in describing many physical phenomena – but it does not follow from this that all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics – you are simply assuming this to be the case.

Tournesol said:
You have not shown my argument is unsound, you are making inaccurate guesses.
Dear Tournesol, at the end of the day, you have your posit (which is that “all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics”) and I have mine (which is that “NOT all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics”). You cannot show my posit to be false, neither can I show yours to be false. Its a bit like the distinction between determinism and indeterminism (on which you and I also disagree) - whether one believes the world is fundamentally deterministic or not is a posit, it cannot be proven either way (which is why my personal philosophy does not assume determinism to be either true or false, I accept that the world may be indeterministic but I simply see no efficacy in indeterminism, ie the posit of indeterminism explains nothing about the world which cannot also be explained based on determinism).

All philosophies boil down to this in the end. Call my posit an “inaccurate guess” if you wish, but that’s simply your subjective opinion, and you’re in a glasshouse yourself so I suggest you think twice before throwing stones.

The problem you face with your posit is that you then have trouble explaining conscious phenomena - since you believe all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics. It seems this leads you (and perhaps Q_Goest and perhaps Chalmers) to reject physicalism (ie there must be "something else", over and above physicalism, which explains consciousness). For me, however, there is no problem - from my posit, I can explain how consciousness emerges based entirely on physicalism.

Whether that makes your theory "better" than mine, or vice versa, is simply a matter of opinion. It simply depends on one's perspective. :smile:

Best Regards
 
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MF said:
Objective = a view without any bias whatsoever, is independent of any perspective
Subjective = a view with some kind of bias, is dependent on a particular perspective
1st person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the inside” of the same entity
3rd person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the outside” of that entity
Literal or metaphorical perspective ? Surely a metaphorical perspective just is subjective bias.

Now, the important point here (which is crucial to this entire argument) is that science is predicated on the 3rd person perspective
Literal or metaphorical perspective ? Surely science is based on the
avoidance of personal bias, which is metaphorical perspective.


- everything in science (all experiments, all hypotheses, all explanations and interpretations of the results) is based on this perspective, ie that we measure entities "from the outside".
From the outside, taken literally is literal perspective. And literal perspective can
be compensated for.

Often in science we ASSUME that this provides us with an objective view of the world - but that is an approximation. A truly objective view is a view from NO perspective,
No literal or no metaphorical perspective ? If we understand the difference between the two,
we will understand that in order to achieve lack of bias (metaphorical perspective), we don't need any particual
literal perspective. Any literal perspective is as good as any other, you get rid of bias
by understanding its sources and compensating for them.

a view from "nowhere and nowhen"
Metaphorically, I assume.

- but all of our science is bound up inextricably with the 3rd person perspective, the view from the outside only.
Literal or metaphorical perspective ?

We cannot, by definition, get "inside" the experiment to get a perspective from the inside
We can't literally get inside. But what we
are aiming for is freedom of from subjective bias , which is metaphorical perspective.

It could be the case that things have an inherent (metaphtorical) perspective of their
own (over and above the literal, geometrical perspective), and that the only mode of epistemic
access to such a metaphorical perspective is to stand in the shoes (almost literally)
of the thing in question. But it doesn't have to be. It is not an implication
of ny kind of physicalism. It could also be the case that things don't have
tricky metaphtorical perspectives of that kind, and in that case the
fact that we cannot literally stand in their shoes is epistemically irrelvane.
we woudn't learn anything if we did.

The GoL is an illustraton of this.
As an external observer, you have complete information about
what is going on in the Life world. Since already you have complete information,
there is nothing you can learn by projecting yourslef into the Life world.
All you would gain is a merely literal perspective, a set of epistemic
limitations which were predictable from your outside-observer stance ITFP.


(because in doing so we change the experiment
If you are dealing with a Life world, the way in which
you
would change the experiment are themselves predictable.

- this is why moving finger can never know what it is like to be Tournesol). Thus science is in principle (by definition) strictly not truly objective
Science may not be truly objective your sense, but that is not [e]because[/b]
of the existence of literal perspectives, and it is not because of oberver effect,
both of which can be predicted/compensated objectivity.

Science can only fail to be objective if the universe has a certain kind
of metaphyics, a kind which is contradictory to physicalism (as opposed
ot materialism), not the kind the completely objective ontology the GoL has.

(even though we can often approximate objectivity). All science is subjective (ie it is based on a 3rd person perspective, and any view from a perspective is subjective by definition),
Literal or metaphorical perspective ? Literal perspective isn't subjective by definition. It is just
a matter of angles and vanishing points. And that is the only kind you
get "for free" with phsyicalism. Any other kind has to be posited.



and we simply assume that this gives us an objective view. The assumption is an approximation.
The people who assume that are assuming one kind of ontology -- an ontology
which is physicalist in my sense -- and the others are assuming something else.


Read my post again, you’ll find the definition of physical. If you disagree with it please feel free to provide your own.

Your definition is really two definitions


1) Physical = pertaining to physics,


2) which is the study of the properties and principles related to matter and energy, and of systems comprising matter and energy.


(1) is the same as my definition. Physcalism per se, physicalism properly so-called.

(2) is a claim about what kind of stuff the world is made of: matter and energy. As such,
it is really a defintion of materialism, not physicalism. It is logically possible
that the world consits of nothing but material bodies experiencing
qualia, with no mathematical and measurable properties. That would mean
physics, as the attempt to explain the world mathematically, was doomed from
the start. If it is logically possible to assert (2) and deny (1), the two
definitions cannot be the same.

That ontology is not being seriously proposed. The kind of ontology
that is in under scrutiny is the kind where (2) is true, but (1)
is false; everything is matter/energy, but some properties
are closed to physical investigation. Not everything supervenes
on "the phsyical" where "the physical" is that which pertains to Physics.

That is the way the world must be in order for it to be the case
that there are certain things which are epistemically closed
to you depending on where you are in the world. A physical(2)
world is entirely knowable, in principle, objectively,
just like a GoL world, and all perspectives in it are
only literal , and thus predictable and compensatable.

(To look at it another way:
If physical does not, and never did, have
any implication about subjectivity or qualia,
why do avowed physicalists like Dennet
and the Churchlands so strenuoulsy qualiaphobic?)


Not everything is directly measureable in physics, but everything has a mathematical representation.
This latter is not a tenet of physicalism.
Who knows? You have not defined "the physical".
Yes I have. Read my previous post again. Then show me where the claim “everything has a mathematical representation” is a tenet of either physicalism or physics.
"the physical" pertains to physics, and "Physical definitions, models and theories are invariably expressed using
mathematical relations." If there
is something which does not have a mathematical representation, it does not
supervene on the physical.

Of course, "everything has a mathematical representation" is not a tenet of materialism.


In the GoL evything is deducile in principle. Thereofe, in the GoL, nothing has stronhly emergent features.
How do you deduce 1st person perspective properties (properties of perspectives from within the GoL) of the GoL?
Literal or metaphorical perspective?

Assuming literal:-
If the GoL contained a pattern of cells constituting an intelligent agent, it would presumably
rely on gliders, or some such pattern, to interact with its environment, just as
we rely on photons and sound waves. This would place certan epsitemic limitations on it.
For instance, if there were a Life pattern which a glider could pass thorough unchanged,
that would be "invisible". All this is predictable in principle.

Of course you might have meant metaphorical perpective -- subjectivity, qualia,
and so on. But then you need to show that exist in the Life world
in the first place. I don't doubt that they exist in our world, but htat might
just mean our world has a different ontology.



Literal, geomoetrical perspective has features, and only has features, which can be deduced in principle. So that does not give you strong meergence. You can posit some other kind of perspective, but it is a posit.
How do you deduce 1st person perspective properties (properties of perspectives from within consciousness) of conscious entities from a 3rd person perspective?
Literal or metaphorical perspective?

i don't have to accept that "1st person perspective properties" are literal prespective.

At the end of the day, everything is based on a posit, so what does that prove?
Some sets of posits are mutually incompatible. Atheism isn't compatible with creationism.
And strong emergence isn't compatible with everything-has-only-mathematicallly-describable-properties
physicalism.

But there are no such perspectives within the GoL.
How do you know that? Is that your posit?
No, I don't need to posit it.

i) The external oberver has complete information about the Life world.
ii) IF there were metaphorical perspectives of the kind youfavour within the life
world, an external observer would learn something by projecting himslef into
the Life World.
iii) But an extrnal observer cannot learn anything new; he has complete information.
iv) Reductio: Either i) or ii) is false. i) is true, so ii) is false.


The GoL is an entirely objective, determinsitic game of perfect information. Everyhting within it is determinavle in principle.
How do you know that? Is that your posit?
It's a fact. If you dispute it , you need to learn more about Life.

http://www.math.mcgill.ca/~wilds/research/life/index.html [Broken]


Well, it does. Everything is predictable in Life, so perspectives are predictable. "Everything" means everything.

The response “Well, it does” is not a coherent logical argument.
Not it isn't. It is a waste of time to argue for facts. Facts should be looked up
That is what encyclopedias are for.



Your claim did not say “in principle”,
You are working toward the claim that there are strongly emergent features in a
physicalist/life world. "Strong Emergence" is defined in terms of in-principle
predicability.

it said “science assumes”. An assumption does not equate to a principle. Which law of physics says that everything in physics is in principle deducible from the 3rd person perspective?
As I said before, it is an implication.


That would be an in-practice limitation.
Is that your posit?
No, it follows from the meaning of "approximation".

"In principle" is not interchangeable with "in practice"
You have not established that there is any principle involved, you simply assume there is one.
You established that there is a principle involved when you appealed to
Chalmer's definition of Strong Emergence.



Presumably you would regard "goodness is being good" as non-circular as well.
I have defined physical in terms independent of physicalism, and I have defined physicalism in terms of physical. There is no circularity involved. A circular definition is a definition of a word in terms of itself (ie the same word). Are you suggesting that “physicalism” and “physical” are identical? (note – similarity in spelling does not equate to identical - the “ism” on the end is a significant clue!).
"Goodness" isn't spelt the same as "being good", so the anwer is presumably "yes".


Physicalism means everything is physical. Physical means describable by physics. Describable by physics means describable in mathematical terms.
There is no accepted law of nature or physics which says that all physical properties are necessarily mathematically describable, except perhaps in your personal philosophy.
It is a methodological principle of phsyics. It characterises it as a science.

"Physical definitions, models and theories are invariably expressed using mathematical relations."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics

Since mathematics is simply a language, what constitutes a “mathematical property” anyway
A property that can be fully described in mathematical language, without any residue of subjective mystery.
Thus a mathematical property is a property that can be fully described in mathematical language….. and you accuse me of using circular definitions?
If you don't know what "mathematical" means, you can look it up here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics


That is your posit. There is no accepted law of nature or physics which says that all physical properties are necessarily mathematically describable, except perhaps in your personal philosophy.
"Physical definitions, models and theories are invariably expressed using mathematical relations."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics


And nobody disputes that physics uses mathematical descriptions so that takes us into my argument.
That “physics uses mathematical descriptions” is simply a contingent fact based on the efficacy of mathematical language in describing many physical phenomena – but it does not follow from this that all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics – you are simply assuming this to be the case.
If a "physcial phenomenon" is a phenomenon pertaining to physics
and if physics is a mathematical science by defintion, which it is, all physcial
phenomena are mathematically decribable...by defintion. You comment only
makes sense if there is some way way of defining physical other than "pertaining to physics".
Well, there is the matter/energy definition. It is possible that matter could have non-mathematical
properties. But that is a posit. There is certainly nothing non-mathematical goping on
in the Life world. The GoL is a mathematical construct by a mathematician.

Dear Tournesol, at the end of the day, you have your posit (which is that “all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics”) and I have mine (which is that “NOT all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics”).
What I say is factually supportable. What you say isn't even consistent.

You cannot show my posit to be false, neither can I show yours to be false.
There are questions of internal consistency as well. We may not know
which ontology the real world has, but we know what the Life world
is, and you have made claims about thatas well.

Its a bit like the distinction between determinism and indeterminism (on which you and I also disagree) - whether one believes the world is fundamentally deterministic or not is a posit, it cannot be proven either way (which is why my personal philosophy does not assume determinism to be either true or false, I accept that the world may be indeterministic but I simply see no efficacy in indeterminism, ie the posit of indeterminism explains nothing about the world which cannot also be explained based on determinism).
It can, in fact, explain why it is complex.

All philosophies boil down to this in the end.
There are questions of internal consistency and factual evidence as well. It's not all
"posits"

problem you face with your posit is that you then have trouble explaining conscious phenomena - since you believe all physical phenomena are describable by mathematics.
I am not saying that physicalism as I have defined it is actually true. I do
think qualia conflict with physicalism. OTOH, I am not saying "qualia exist in the real
world, therefore quaia exist in the GoL".

It seems this leads you (and perhaps Q_Goest and perhaps Chalmers) to reject physicalism (ie there must be "something else", over and above physicalism, which explains consciousness). For me, however, there is no problem - from my posit, I can explain how consciousness emerges based entirely on physicalism.
Your argument rests on the double meaning of "perpective".

Whether that makes your theory "better" than mine, or vice versa, is simply a matter of opinion. It simply depends on [one's perspective.
Aaagh!!!
 
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Q_Goest said:
I'd agree that physicalism says that everything supervenes on the physical. But I don't think that's a very good explanation, it can be interpreted in different ways, so first I'd like to understand exactly what is meant by that. The dictionary provides this definition of supervene:
Philosophy. To be dependent on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.
Still needs some explanation, but from that I would say that physicalism is the belief that all matter and energy is dependant on a set of facts or properties in such a way that change can occur only after change has occurred in those facts or properties.

The point is that physicalism about the mental means
that mental facts supervene on physical facts.


Personally, I don't like this idea of adding on additional physical laws in order to explain the properties a computer might possess.
Chalmers thinks we need those laws to
explain properties we possess. He also thinks that
a brain can be slowly transofemd into a
functionally equivalent computer, and the brains's
qualia would not slowly fade out during the process.
 
Tournesol said:
He also thinks that a brain can be slowly transofemd into a functionally equivalent computer, and the brains's qualia would not slowly fade out during the process.
I agree with Chalmers on this. His "fading qualia" argument is a good one. And completely consistent with physicalism.

Best Regards
 
He states quite clearly that his theory is not
consistent with physicalism. what mistake is he making, IYO?
 
Tournesol said:
He states quite clearly that his theory is not
consistent with physicalism. what mistake is he making, IYO?
why is it (ie on what grounds is he claiming it is) not consistent with physicalism?

Best Regards
 

selfAdjoint

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Tournesol said:
He states quite clearly that his theory is not
consistent with physicalism. what mistake is he making, IYO?

His difference from physicalism is that he introduces a new ontological principle, a new kind of causality. He distinguishes "Naturalism", which he claims to adhere to, from "Physicalism" which he sees as overly limited.
 
Hi again Tournesol

moving finger said:
Objective = a view without any bias whatsoever, is independent of any perspective
Subjective = a view with some kind of bias, is dependent on a particular perspective
1st person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the inside” of the same entity
3rd person perspective = a view with a particular perspective of an entity “from the outside” of that entity
Tournesol said:
Literal or metaphorical perspective ?
Both.

Tournesol said:
Surely a metaphorical perspective just is subjective bias.
You seem to be agreeing with me : Subjectivity entails perspective. Objectivity entails absence of perspective. Science is based on a 3rd person perspective, hence science is not objective (although it often approximates to objectivity).

moving finger said:
Now, the important point here (which is crucial to this entire argument) is that science is predicated on the 3rd person perspective
Tournesol said:
Literal or metaphorical perspective ? Surely science is based on the avoidance of personal bias, which is metaphorical perspective.
Both literal and metaphorical.

Again we seem to agree. Experimental/empirical investigation in science assumes that a 3rd person perspective is somehow equivalent to objectivity – but this is an approximation only. If we can always separate “observer” from “observed”, such that changing the observer has no impact on what is being observed, then we can claim objectivity in our measurements. This is a fundamental premise of all scientific investigation. In most experiments we can probably claim that this can be achieved (however there are some who believe that the outcome of experiments in quantum mechanics is inextricably linked with the observer, in which case objectivity is not achieved). But when we start investigating consciousness, we can no longer claim objectivity, because the 1st person perspective of conscious experience inextricably binds up both observer and observed, such that this perspective is inaccessible to any other observer, by definition.

If we study any system which possesses (as part of the system) an internal 1st person perspective on the world, there is no way (in principle) that we can fully understand that 1st person perspective from our 3rd person vantage point. There is no compensation we can make that converts our 3rd person perspective “of the behaviour of a conscious subject” or “of the neural correlates of consciousness” into anyting which resembles the subject’s 1st person perspective of conscious awareness “from the inside”. It is impossible in principle.

True objectivity is the absence of any particular (literal and metaphorical) perspective, 3rd person, 1st person, or any other. How can any external observer profess to have an objective view of my conscious experience, when they have access only to a limited 3rd person perspective of my conscious experience – ie they do not (can not) know it from the inside. All they can do is to observe my external behaviour and to observe “neural correlates” of reported experiences – they cannot observe my conscious experience as I do. An external observer’s observation of me is not objective – it is a subjectively biased observation – biased by the restriction to a 3rd person perspective. And there is no way (by definition) to compensate for this bias.

moving finger said:
- everything in science (all experiments, all hypotheses, all explanations and interpretations of the results) is based on this perspective, ie that we measure entities "from the outside".
Tournesol said:
From the outside, taken literally is literal perspective. And literal perspective can be compensated for.
That’s the whole point – it can’t always be done. How can you “compensate for” your 3rd person perspective (either literal or metaphorical) on my consciousness (you have access only to observations of my behaviour, and to the external (3rd-person observable) properties of neural processes in my brain) to achieve the unique 1st person perspective on my consciousness which only I have (which is accessible and knowable by definition only by me, from the “inside of me”)?

You are the one claiming that all perspectives can always be compensated for – so I welcome you explaining to us how it’s to be done in the example above?

moving finger said:
Often in science we ASSUME that this provides us with an objective view of the world - but that is an approximation. A truly objective view is a view from NO perspective,
Tournesol said:
No literal or no metaphorical perspective ?
Both.

Tournesol said:
If we understand the difference between the two, we will understand that in order to achieve lack of bias (metaphorical perspective), we don't need any particual literal perspective. Any literal perspective is as good as any other, you get rid of bias by understanding its sources and compensating for them.
In principle yes one gets rid of bias in experiments by understanding the sources of bias and compensating for them. But you cannot compensate for this bias when the observer is inextricably bound up with the observed (as in the case of conscious experience). In principle there is no way to “compensate for” your 3rd person perspective (on my consciousness) in order to achieve my 1st person perspective (on my consciousness), because you cannot understand all of the sources of the 3rd person and 1st person bias, and compensate for them, from within the system (the “system” here is the entire experimental setup which includes observer, you, and observed, me). You literally “cannot get there from here”.

moving finger said:
a view from "nowhere and nowhen"
Tournesol said:
Metaphorically, I assume.
Both metaphorical and literal.

moving finger said:
- but all of our science is bound up inextricably with the 3rd person perspective, the view from the outside only.
Tournesol said:
Literal or metaphorical perspective ?
Both.

moving finger said:
We cannot, by definition, get "inside" the experiment to get a perspective from the inside
Tournesol said:
We can't literally get inside. But what we are aiming for is freedom of from subjective bias , which is metaphorical perspective.
We cannot metaphorically get inside it either. How can you (ie what is the process whereby you can) metaphorically get inside my head in order to get exactly the same 1st person perspective (on my conscious experience) that I have from within my head? It cannot be done – in principle – because my conscious experience is part of what makes me “me”, and it is impossible to substitute (either literally or metaphorically) another observer into that conscious experience and at the same time claim that this other observer has the same 1st-person perspective that I have. You cannot remove the subjectivity of 1st person perspectives on consciousness, because the person is part of the conscious experience. Either moving finger experiences moving finger’s brain “from the inside”, or Tournesol experiences (if such a thing is physically possible) moving finger’s brain “from the inside” – but these are and always will be two different (literal and metaphorical) perspectives on possible conscious experience within that brain. In the case of conscious experience, the observer is always inextricably convolved with the observation, which makes the observation subjective by definition. There is simply no way to achieve an objective perspective on conscious awareness “from the inside”.

Cannot be done.

Tournesol said:
As an external observer, you have complete information about what is going on in the Life world. Since already you have complete information, there is nothing you can learn by projecting yourslef into the Life world. All you would gain is a merely literal perspective, a set of epistemic limitations which were predictable from your outside-observer stance ITFP.
How do you know (ie what is the evidential justification to support the belief) that you have complete information? All the information you have is limited to 3rd person perspective information about properties of the GoL as viewed from the outside of the GoL. You don’t know (you cannot know) what the properties of the GoL are from the perspective of an agent which is within the GoL. In the same way you might claim to “have complete information about what is going on” in moving finger’s conscious brain by examining my neural states from the outside – but you would be wrong. Because you would have no idea of the internal properties of my conscious experience (ie my consciousness as viewed by an observer inside that consciousness, ie by me) simply from studies of the external properties. It cannot be done.


Tournesol said:
If you are dealing with a Life world, the way in which you would change the experiment are themselves predictable.
Predictable by whom? Since an external observer has no access to the internal properties of such a world (ie properties as detected by an internal observer), no external observer can predict those internal properties. Just as Tournesol cannot predict the properties of moving finger's conscious awareness that are detected (experienced) by moving finger, because Tournesol is limited to a 3rd person perspective view of moving finger’s concsiousness, ie from the outside.

moving finger said:
- this is why moving finger can never know what it is like to be Tournesol). Thus science is in principle (by definition) strictly not truly objective
Tournesol said:
Science may not be truly objective your sense, but that is not [e]because[/b] of the existence of literal perspectives, and it is not because of oberver effect, both of which can be predicted/compensated objectivity.
Tournesol, I’m going to cut it short at this point. Not because I don’t find this dialogue interesting, but because we seem to be going round and round in circles repeating the same things from one paragraph to the next, and it seems pointless to just keep repeating myself all the time. I’ll therefore just summarise my argument :

How can you (ie what is the process whereby you can) either literally or metaphorically get inside my head in order to get exactly the same 1st person perspective (on my conscious experience) that I have (on my conscious experience) from within my head? It cannot be done – in principle – because my conscious experience is part of what makes me “me”, and it is impossible to substitute (either literally or metaphorically) another observer into that conscious experience and at the same time claim that this other observer has the same 1st-person perspective that I have. You cannot remove the subjectivity of 1st person perspectives on consciousness, because the person is part of the conscious experience. Either moving finger experiences moving finger’s brain “from the inside”, or Tournesol experiences (if such a thing is physically possible) moving finger’s brain “from the inside” – but these are and always will be two quite different (literal and metaphorical) perspectives on possible conscious experience within that brain. In the case of conscious experience, the observer is always inextricably convolved with the observation, which makes such observation subjective by definition. There is simply no way to achieve an objective perspective on conscious awareness “from the inside”.

Best Regards
 
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Q_Goest

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Hi MF. You seem to be defending the idea that there are undeducible truths (facts and properties) which are not measurable nor are they in any way discernable from a third person perspective, and you've cited Gödel's theorem and HUP in defense.

First, I disagree these are valid for defense of your views. Gödel's theorem applies to mathematics, it does not address anything physical. Physical things may be measurable and calculable, but I disagree you can turn that around and say that mathematics has physical properties. We may not be able to determine through algorithm, some truths regarding mathematical theorems, but this isn't to say there is something physical we don't have the ability to discern or measure. There is no first person perspective to mathematics.

Regarding HUP, again this is not valid. We can measure and we can calculate radioactive decay for example, and the probability of the location and momentum of a particle, just not at the same time. Radioactive decay and particle location and momentum can be regarded as facts and properties. Thus the saying, "Just shut up and calculate." because these properties are measurable and calculable. That is quite different than not having any insight whatsoever into a phenomenon such as subjective experience (seeing the color red). So I don't see those two examples having any bearing on what you're proposing, specifically that there are facts and properties about which we have no way of measuring in any way whatsoever. The HUP argument comes slightly closer to the mark than the Gödel theorem argument because at least the HUP argument regards something physical, but HUP simply says we can't know exactly, it doesn't say we can't measure facts and properties.

It sounds like you also would like to argue for some kind of panpsychism because you're supporting a first person perspective for such things as the GoL and any computational system in general. From my perspective, that's unacceptable even for the more extreme philosophers and is quite out of the mainstream. Both Searle and Putnam have pointed out there are serious difficulties in our definition of computationalism which lead to panpsychism, and I see your arguments as directly contradicting efforts by philosophers such as Copeland and Chalmers to defend computationalism while avoiding panpsychism.

In fact, your arguments are very similar to both Searle and Putnam's arguments which show that computationalism leads to panpsychism, specifically Searle's argument regarding a wall being a computational structure and Putnam's argument regarding open FSA's that he published in his book "Representation and Reality". Copeland later wrote a paper entitled "What is Computation" in order to defend the panpsychism attack on computationalism. Chalmers wrote, "Does a Rock Implement Every Finite-State Automaton" also in defense of computationalism and against the attack Putnam made.

Take for example your response in another thread:
Even if the HUP did not exist as a limitation to epistemology, there is no way any agent within a finite universe could know all the details of that universe. Let's say the universe comprises N particles. To record the positions and momentum of each of those particles in 3 dimensions at one moment in time would require 6 real numbers, that's 6*N real numbers for a system of N particles. Leaving aside the problem that a real number might not be fully specifiable with a finite number of digits, where/how do you store those 6*N real numbers if you only have N particles in your universe? It cannot be done.
I think this statement is in error but I'll disregard as I certainly understand what you're trying to get at. Note however, that the manipulation of matter and energy is in fact a computation. We don't need a computer with N raised to some very high power to compute what the universe is doing, because the universe is in essence a computational structure. It is also a vastly complex one, much more complex than any computer we can manufacture for exactly the reasons you describe. Imagine a single neuron not being able to compute the entire brain. Similarly, a computer can't calculate an entire universe, so if you say a computer can be self aware, but only if it is large and complex enough, then we must conclude the universe is also aware.

These are exactly the kind of problems philosophers are trying to get away from. Thus, I see your argument that there are first person facts and properties which can't be measured or known in any way from a third person perspective to be an argument that is very far from mainstream and also counter to the intent of the science of consciousness.

I apologize if that sounds like a harsh view to take of your beliefs, it's not meant to be. I simply don't understand where you're going with these first person/third person perspective ideas. It seems to me, computationalism is failing because of exactly the lack of consideration to the definition of computationalism that you've made here. There needs to be a more precise definition of computationalism, for example, see Copeland's paper.

One other thing I'd like to mention is that in order for there to be a science of consciousness, we need to have measurable facts and properties from a third person perspective. I'll accept that it is possible that I may not be able to access your subjective experiences, but I can't accept that the facts and properties of subjective experiences are fundamentally unknowable from a third person perspective.

I also don't think strong emergence as defined by philosophers such as Chalmers is the right answer for all the reasons I've given in previous posts. Not sure why you still think I'm supporting his views, I'm not. I'm only trying to point out what the arguments are for each case in order to make some headway into a new area.
 
Hi Q_Goest

Thanks for the reply.

Q_Goest said:
You seem to be defending the idea that there are undeducible truths (facts and properties) which are not measurable nor are they in any way discernable from a third person perspective, and you've cited Gödel's theorem and HUP in defense.

First, I disagree these are valid for defense of your views. Gödel's theorem applies to mathematics, it does not address anything physical. Physical things may be measurable and calculable, but I disagree you can turn that around and say that mathematics has physical properties. We may not be able to determine through algorithm, some truths regarding mathematical theorems, but this isn't to say there is something physical we don't have the ability to discern or measure. There is no first person perspective to mathematics.
You seem to misunderstand my argument.

I think the term “undecidable truths’ is misleading. I believe you introduced this term into the discussion? I think a better and more accurate term would be “meaningless questions”. Why? Because “undecidable truths” implies that there is a truth behind the question, and the truth is just inaccessible to us (ie it is simply a question of epistemology). Whereas “meaningless questions” implies that there is no truth behind the question at all (ie it is a question of ontology rather then epistemology).

I am not at all saying that mathematics has physical properties, I have no idea where you get this notion from. Mathematics is simply a language that we choose to use to describe some aspects of the physical world. It does not follow, however, that the physical world is completely describable using mathematics.

Godel’s theorem is strictly a theorem about complex formal systems, as opposed to a theorem only about mathematics. Godel was a logician rather than a mathematician. Mathematics just happens to be one langauge that we can use to decribe the properties of formal systems. Godel’s theorem says that no sufficiently complex formal system can be both consistent and complete. In other words, if you describe your complex formal system using mathematics, then for your description to be consistent it follows that not every statement which can be framed in the language that you use to describe your formal system necessarily has a formal meaning (in the sense of being interpretable). Godel’s theorem finds application in logical arguments more often than in mathematics.

There are many types of questions, in all langauges, that may be meaningless. For example :

Is the King of France bald?
If the barber of Seville shaves everyone in Seville who does not shave himself, does the barber shave himself?
What happened (temporally) before the Big Bang?
What is the largest natural number?
Given the precise position of this quantum object, what is its precise momentum?

The answer (imho) to each of the above is “mu” (the Zen Buddhist term meaning in effect “to answer would be meaningless, because the question has no answer”).

The above questions do NOT hinge on “undecidable truths”; they are simply meaningless questions. It is not the case (for example) that there IS a largest natural number (and we just don’t know what it is); rather it IS the case that there is no largest natural number, therefore asking “what is that number?” is a meaningless question. Similarly, it is not the case that, given the exact position of a quantum object there IS simultaneously an exact momentum (and we just don’t know what it is) rather it IS the case that given an exact position there is simultaneously no exact momentum, therefore asking “what is that momentum?” is a meaningless question.

All I am saying is that questions of the type “what is it like to be a bat?” (which entail projecting one conscious perspective inside another) are also meaningless. Conscious perspective is unitary, there is simply no way that agent A can get exactly the same perspective on agent B’s conscious perceptions that agent B gets on those same conscious perceptions. NOT because they represent an “undecidable truth”, but because the question is meaningless.

Now, it also seems to be your premise (as well as Tournesol’s) that we can fully describe the physical world using mathematics. But that’s a premise. Can you describe your first person perspective of consciousness using mathematics? If yes, how? If no, doesn’t that suggest your premise may be false?

Q_Goest said:
We can measure and we can calculate radioactive decay for example, and the probability of the location and momentum of a particle, just not at the same time.
Exactly. Thus there are unanswerable (meaningless) questions about the physical world. The word “just” in your above comment says it all. If you know precisely the location then you do not know precisely the momentum; if you know the momentum you do not know the position. Not because the precise momentum “exists” and we simply cannot measure it, but because for a quantum state there is no such thing as a well-defined momentum simultaneous with a well-defined position. Thus an unanswerable question is “given a precise position X, what is the precise momentum?” Why is it unanswerable? Because the concept of a simultaneously precise position and momentum for a quantum object is incoherent or meaningless, thus the question is meaningless. Mu. (Here I am taking the precision to be without limit).

The same is true if we ask “what would be Q_Goest’s 1st person perception of moving finger’s 1st person conscious states?”. Physically implanting Q_Goest into my brain somehow (even if such a thing were possible) would NOT result in Q_Goest experiencing moving finger’s conscious states, it would result in “some other entity” (some strange combination of Q_Goest plus moving finger) experiencing that other entity’s conscious states. The question is meaningless. The answer is Mu.

Q_Goest said:
Radioactive decay and particle location and momentum can be regarded as facts and properties. Thus the saying, "Just shut up and calculate." because these properties are measurable and calculable.
But that is precisely where you are wrong! We cannot accurately (to unlimited precision) calculate the simultaneous position and momentum of a quantum object, because the concept (of simultaneous position and momentum in this case) is meaningless. The SUAC philosophy does not say that we can calculate everything with unlimited precision, it recognises that there are fundamental limits to what we can calculate about the world, and what we cannot know we have no business asking questions about.

Q_Goest said:
It sounds like you also would like to argue for some kind of panpsychism because you're supporting a first person perspective for such things as the GoL and any computational system in general. From my perspective, that's unacceptable even for the more extreme philosophers and is quite out of the mainstream. Both Searle and Putnam have pointed out there are serious difficulties in our definition of computationalism which lead to panpsychism, and I see your arguments as directly contradicting efforts by philosophers such as Copeland and Chalmers to defend computationalism while avoiding panpsychism.
Absolutely not. With respect, you seem to be trying to label me according to your own prejudices. Panpsychism, in philosophy, is either the view that all parts of matter involve mind, or the more holistic view that the whole universe is an organism that possesses a mind. I do not believe either of these. I believe that conscious awareness (and the associated 1st person perceptual phenomena that accompany such awareness) is an emergent property of the physical world, and what we call a mind is simply the particular physical arrangement that gives rise to the emergence of that conscious awareness. My position does not entail any primordial consciousness, it does not entail that all parts of matter involve mind, it does not entail that the whole universe is an organism that possesses a mind. If you believe the thesis that consciousness emerges from the physical entails panpsychism then you are very much mistaken.

Even if I were advocating panpsychism (which I am not), whether such a view is “unacceptable” from your perspective or not is (with respect) neither here nor there. What you need to do is to present and defend rational arguments to show why my view is unacceptable, and not simply to suggest that mainstream philosophers think differently. Argumentum ad Verecundiam (argument from authority, ie “that cannot be correct, because the experts say so”) does not amount to a “hill of beans” in philosophical debate. Simply quoting names such as Searle, Putnam, Chalmers etc does not an argument make (though I have noticed that many people often feel strangely comforted if they think they can somehow link their personal philosophical position to popular names).

Q_Goest said:
In fact, your arguments are very similar to both Searle and Putnam's arguments which show that computationalism leads to panpsychism, specifically Searle's argument regarding a wall being a computational structure and Putnam's argument regarding open FSA's that he published in his book "Representation and Reality". Copeland later wrote a paper entitled "What is Computation" in order to defend the panpsychism attack on computationalism. Chalmers wrote, "Does a Rock Implement Every Finite-State Automaton" also in defense of computationalism and against the attack Putnam made.
Saying that consciousness arises from the physical does not imply or entail that all physical objects possess consciousness. A wall can be a computational structure (depending on how one defines computational, and the physical characteristics of the wall), but it does not follow from this that all walls are necessarily computational structures. I fundamentally disagree with Searle’s philosophy (his Chinese Room argument is fallacious, but it unfortunately beguiles and deceives the unwary); but if you want to start discussing his ideas we better start a whole new thread.

Q_Goest said:
I think this statement is in error but I'll disregard as I certainly understand what you're trying to get at.
Imho there is little point in claiming my statement is in error if you are not prepared to explain, and defend, why you think this.

Q_Goest said:
if you say a computer can be self aware, but only if it is large and complex enough, then we must conclude the universe is also aware.
This does not follow at all, and I am frankly very surprised that you fall into such an obviously fallacious line of reasoning. Not all complexity gives rise to self awareness. You are following the same line of naïve reasoning of “affirming the consequent” as does Searle, by saying “well, if consciousness is simply due to complexity, then the universe must be conscious because the universe is certainly complex!”.

“Affirming the consequent” is a non-validating form of fallacious argument in propositional logic which goes :

1) If p then q.
2) q.
3) Therefore, p.

This a fallacious argument.

Your argument (and Searle’s apparently) seems to be basically the following :
1) If an entity is conscious then the entity is complex.
2) The entity is complex.
3) Therefore the entity is conscious.

Another example :
1) If it's raining then the streets are wet.
2) The streets are wet.
3) Therefore, it's raining.

Obviously fallacious arguments. Consciousness entails complexity, but it does not follow that everything complex is therefore conscious. That’s your mistake (and Searle’s).

Q_Goest said:
These are exactly the kind of problems philosophers are trying to get away from. Thus, I see your argument that there are first person facts and properties which can't be measured or known in any way from a third person perspective to be an argument that is very far from mainstream and also counter to the intent of the science of consciousness.
Again, “far from mainstream” is an argument that does not amount to a hill of beans in philosophical debate. The intent of the science of anything is fundamentally one of understanding. Understanding entails comprehending the difference between meaningful and meaningless questions. Is accepting the principle of the HUP “counter to the intent of the science of quantum mechanics”? No, it is simply accepting that some questions are meaningless.

I’m not a great fan of Kant, but he did have some good insights. As he said :
To know what questions may reasonably be asked, is already a great and necessary sign of sagacity and insight. For if a question is absurd in itself and calls for an answer where none is required, it not only brings shame on the propounder of the question, but may betray an incautious listener into absurd answers, thus presenting, as the ancients said, the ludicrous spectacle of one man milking a he-goat and the other holding a sieve underneath.
(Immanuel Kant (1724-1804); From: Critique of Pure Reason)

To me, Chalmers’ attempts to suggest we need a “whole new science” of consciousness invokes such a ludicrous spectacle as Kant describes.

Q_Goest said:
I apologize if that sounds like a harsh view to take of your beliefs, it's not meant to be.
Hey, I don’t mind harsh views at all, if they are supported by rational argument. But a harsh view amounts to nothing more than your subjective personal opinion if its not backed up with clear rational argument. Present your argument and I will gladly defend my views agains it – but to claim that my views are wrong simply because in your opinion they are “not mainstream” is an argument that (as I said already above) does not amount to a hill of beans in philosphical debate. There is no single "mainstream", there are many opposing views on the science of consciousness, and if your personal philosophy is to unquestioningly and blindly follow what you think is the mainstream, without being prepared to defend your position using rational argument, then I wish you luck.

Q_Goest said:
I can't accept that the facts and properties of subjective experiences are fundamentally unknowable from a third person perspective.
Countless numbers of people had, and still have, the same problem with accepting quantum uncertainty. Many people are appalled at the idea that some things are fundamentally unknowable in principle, and reject the notion outright. The implication of Godel's theorem (that any sufficiently complex formal system must be incomplete if it is to be consistent) is similarly difficult for many laypeople to accept, which is why there is continued interest in so-called paradoxes such as the barber paradox.

The same refusal to accept unknowability in principle also underscores the confusion that abounds in debates on the nature of knowledge, with many people insisting that knowledge must be "certain knowledge" if it is to qualify as knowledge (which is why so many people find it hard to understand and accept the JTB analysis). But simply accept that all knowledge claims are predicated on belief, and "I believe that I know that X" does not entail "I am certain that I know that X" (ie knowledge claims are fallible) and the problem vanishes completely.

Thus, with respect, the fact that you cannot accept the notion that some questions are meaningless is your problem, not mine. That you cannot accept that some questions are meaningless is not a rational argument against the notion that some questions are meaningless.

Best Regards
 
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