Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby doogles on September 27th, 2014, 5:37 am 

I’ve perused this entire thread and given a couple of ‘likes’ on the way.

My general feeling is that the contemplation of a universe having ‘thinking’ power is preposterous – on the basis that we still do not have consensus of what represents a ‘thought’ within our own species on this isolated planet.

Come on! We need some discussion of “What is a human thought?” before we can even begin to extrapolate our own understanding of ‘thinking’ to any other entity. Discussing interrelationships between preons and quarks and any other subatomic particles as meaningful mechanisms of thought at this stage of our own understanding of ourselves is pure science fiction. As PT said, “It just may be right”, but the same could be said of a million other theories on anything.

Please let’s get some facts together on human thinking first.

Who amongst us has a starting point on human thinking, let alone ‘thinking’ by the universe?
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Paradox on September 27th, 2014, 5:44 am 

Greetings Doogles~

The simplest definition I can give here is that thinking is simply processing information.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Philosophytalks on September 27th, 2014, 7:37 am 

Owleye,
I am not just posting my beliefs, I am engaging with some of the problems by which dualism does involve and I have tried providing answers to them. I have also attacked materialism and have equally presented arguments which seem to cause problems for them, however as of yet you have not actually responded to any of these criticisms for materialism which I did post (in regards to why you cannot reduce mental states to the physical states that occur within the brain).

Like you said, Philosophy is not about answers. I never once said that I have the answers, I just posted problems for materialism and have argued for dualism by seemingly showing how you cannot reduce mental states.
Mental causation is a problem for dualism and I thank braininvat for actually pointing out the problem of dualism in a non-condescending fashion. There is one or two responses which I could somewhat give to this issue (granted they probably have problems themselves but then every argument has problems):

1) The mind may not actually be causing anything. My analogy of the man and the computer and the virus was to show how the mind can still exist even if an Identity Theorist posed the problem of brain damage and how brain damage correlates with mental damage. In this analogy though, if I were to just change it slightly, it will show that the mind can exist without the need to cause anything:
The man (mind) is on the computer (the brain/body). He is not doing anything but he is on it. He has an opportunity to use it but he does not actually use it in the sense of he is not writing any information or anything like that. However, we can see that the man is on the computer because we can see him through a webcam built into the computer (introspection to show the mind and not the brain).
Now, this somewhat shows how the mind can be located within the universe but not part of it but not actually causing anything. The brain states and stimulus is what affects our mental states, but are not the same as mental states because as I showed earlier it seems hard to reduce mental to physical. This would be a response to the problem of mental causation because the mental states aren’t causing anything else to occur, but are occurring and are existent at the same time. Then after death, the mind is free from the material and so goes elsewhere.

2) Another response is that the universe could actually be located within the mind or that the universe is a product of the mind and of a creator. The universe, as we know it, is a product of the mind synthesising it. This means that the problem of mental causation would be not as much as a problem, because if the universe is a depiction of our mind then our mind would be able to cause things to occur within our body. The only thing is that the mind cannot create things in the universe, the necessary being does that, but we are able to view whatever the necessary being allows us to view, or we are able to take immaterial information (which the necessary being creates and which we cannot change) and which we synthesis into material information so that we can synthesis the information in a regular way. This would suggest how the world seems so ordered and regular.

3) Our thoughts within the mind act as an unknown stimulus for the physical states to occur. The thoughts we have, desires, cognitions etc stimulate the physical brain just like physical stimulus’s do. Just because the connection is unknown does not mean that it is non-existent. However, the reason that we do not know how this occurs is because science does not look at the supernatural like I stated earlier and so would never be able to show how it works unless it started considering different options.

Now, I have tried to give a response to the issues that braininvat highlighted as well as showing that I do not just highlight my beliefs in this forum but do actually respond to criticisms and try to argue for a certain view constructively.
Rather than critique my responses Owleye, why don’t you try to stick up for the problems for materialism for which I posed earlier which you have not responded to? I don’t know everything there is too know about the mind/body problem, but I do try to argue and find ways out of problems that people pose. Now that I’ve done that, why don’t you do the same rather than just argue that I am posing my beliefs and ignoring the criticisms that I gave to you?
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Philosophytalks on September 27th, 2014, 7:51 am 

I agree with Paradox on that idea of thought as well Doogles.

"Thoughts" or "Thinking" is to do with processing information surrounding various concepts. However, I would say that "thought" is different to other things associated with the mind such as beliefs and desires. That is why when people spoke of the universe as being some sort of entity that seems to possess a mind, I disagreed.

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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 8:26 am 

A word to the wise, Philosophytalks - there's a 'quote' feature which makes reading quoted posts much easier; press the 'QUOTE' button on the post you wish to comment on (this will quote it and provide a link back to it). If you want to split a quoted post up and comment on separate parts of it, start each part with QUOTE in square brackets [], and end it with /QUOTE in square brackets.

I'll skip the dualist interaction problem, which has been mentioned by someone else.

Philosophytalks » September 26th, 2014, 10:04 pm wrote: Youre arguing that mental states are physical states, however it isn’t certain that they are. It depends on the viewpoint that you are endorsing...

Nothing is certain, but some things are beyond reasonable doubt. Whether something is physical or not is independent of viewpoint - that's fundamental to science.

A mental state, such as pain, has no spatial location. You cannot feasibly say that my experience of pain takes up space. You can argue that the neurons causing the pain are within a location, for they are in my hands for example, but the experience of pain itself does not take up any space. On this note, mental states cannot be reduced to physical states because to be a physical state you must take up space.

You claim it has no spatial location, but I can equally claim it does. When I experience pain, it is spatially localised - I feel it in the injured area, or in the case of a headache, in my head ;) But seriously, the experience of pain, like consciousness itself, is a process, like a spreadsheet calculation, running, or a game of chess. Spatial location is only relevant to the physical elements participating in the process.

Another reason is that mental states have qualia experience but physical states do not. For example, I know what it feels like to have the experience of pain. However, I do not know what it feels like for certain neurons to be fired from the neurons, through my spinal cord, to my brain and whatnot.

You do know what it feels like. When you experience pain, that is what it feels like when certain neurons are fired from other neurons, through your spinal cord, to your brain and whatnot. The activities of those neurons is constructing the 'you' that experiences it (see Damasio's 'Self Comes to Mind'). A quale is the name for the effect a particular physical process has when that process is part of, or influences your conscious processes.

There's a nice illustration (literally) of the physical computational nature of the qualia effect - a paper by Paul Churchland called 'Chimerical Colors', where he uses a simple model of how colours are coded by the color-opponent neurons in our primary visual pathways, and uses this to describe the human phenomenological colour space, and predict ways in which it can be extended to produce entirely novel colour experiences not accessible in the everyday world. He then uses this to print examples that you can use to experience three types of these novel colours (stygian, self-luminous, and hyperbolic). Sadly, the full paper is now private (I think he wants to sell a book), but here's the abstract, and a relevant excerpt, and the wikipedia article which has a sample template. Using a physical neural model to predict novel 'qualia' and provide the physical means to generate them, tells me they're physical phenomena.

Finally, you can learn about your mental states through introspection, however you cannot learn about your physical states through introspection. I can know through introspection that I have the feeling of being angry or have the desire of wanting to reply to your comment, but I cannot know through introspection the neuronal activity which is occurring. Due to this, it would again seem that mental states cannot be reduced to physical states, and thus my argument would still be valid.

You must have missed the bit where I explained about the patterns. It is the patterns of neural activity, at a higher level of abstraction than the neurons themselves, that make up the content of our experience. When you introspect you are turning your focus of attention on those patterns. What seems to be and what actually is are often very different. Intuition can be a poor guide to reality.

The physical states can be identified and so I do understand that you can broadly distinguish between different thoughts, but this doesn’t mean that physical states are the same as mental states.

True, but it's both consistent with that hypothesis, and suggestive of it. It is this, together with a mass of other consistent and supporting evidence, together with the lack of evidence and plausible mechanisms for hypotheses to the contrary that makes it the best available model.

As I showed above how mental states do not seem to be the same as mental states, it doesn’t mean that mental states can influence physical states and vice versa. They are able to influence one another but would never be able to be the same.
Can they or can't they? I can't follow what you'retrying to say here. Have you solved the interaction problem?

So when you are “mind-reading”, you are distinguishing between the mental states, but you will not be able to actually see or read the actual thought that the person is having. The only way to do this would be to find a way to read mental states and as of yet we haven’t got a way of doing this.

As I said, technically it is not (yet) feasible to resolve the full details of neural activity, and it's true that, even if we could, we still have to map those thoughts to a common language. Brains are grossly similar, but each is different and develops differently, so we can never exactly know another person's subjective experience, it must always be translated or mapped to some common approximation. This has nothing to do with any distinction between mental and physical states.

Now the reason why we have issues with reconciling the physical states and the mental states is because the mind is a different thing, but instead it just uses the brain as a medium by which it can express itself.
... an identity theorist would then complain about how deterioration of the brain seems to show the deterioration of the mind. If we go back to my analogy of the man and the computer, I can show how this objection can be undermined:

The man is on the computer completing various tasks. Now, a virus has got onto the computer (the deterioration process). The man is now unable to carry out specific tasks because the computer is disfunctioning.

On this analogy, the mind is unable to express its true self when the brain deteriorates because the brain is the medium by which the mind can express itself. If the brain deteriorates, it Is not the mind that is deteriorating but instead its ability to express itself because the medium by which it is expressing itself is dying. The mind remains intact but the brain does not.

It's an interesting argument, but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. When we look at the specificity of brain injury on the function of the mind, we discover that not only is the brain handling those functions to the finest level we can discriminate, leaving nothing for a hypothetical controlling mind to do, but also that such damage can also change characteristics that are supposedly the province of that mind - for example, how does your piggy-back mind hypothesis account for personality change due to brain damage? or for the belief that your kin are strangers, or have been replaced by alien replicas? or for the feeling that you are the messiah? or feelings of paranoia?

You may say that such effects are due to damage to the brain affecting the non-material controlling mind, but the parsimonious explanation (Ockham's Razor) is that the immaterial mind is redundant, it has no substantive function, no supporting evidence, and no plausible mechanism. To paraphrase Laplace, "we have no need of that hypothesis". That we don't understand certain aspects of subjective experience doesn't mean we should introduce unexplained, unsupported, physically impossible entities to explain them. That's magical thinking akin to god-of-the-gaps. It's OK to admit we don't understand everything but we're making steady progress.

I'm curious to know what functions you believe the mind provides that the brain has not been shown to do for itself.

As an addendum (which probably merits its own thread), there is also the sldegehammer argument that, with the latest confirmation of the Standard Model (Quantum Field Theory) by discovery of the predicted Higgs field, we now have a complete model for the physics of the everyday world. If we accept this model, within it's known boundaries, we can rule out any theory of the everyday world of human experience that requires more than the known particles & forces - in terms of everyday experience at human scales (e.g. things that can affect the workings of our brains) this means electromagnetism, protons, neutrons, and electrons. For a full explanation of this conclusion, I refer you to Sean Carroll (the whole video is well worth watching, but skip to 33 mins to cut to the chase, and listen very carefully to what he says):

Last edited by dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 10:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Athena on September 27th, 2014, 9:58 am 

Paradox » September 27th, 2014, 3:44 am wrote:Greetings Doogles~

The simplest definition I can give here is that thinking is simply processing information.


Our cars process information and I don't think we want to label this as thinking? In a similar way, amoeba process information and I don't think we want to call this thinking. The whole universe processes information and I don't think we want to call this thinking, but we do want to acknowledge this is happening. Not to prove a God, as some atheist may be concerned, but simply to acknowledge what is happening. And we need to do this so that we are better adjusted to reality.

May I state the problem is materialism and linear logic, does not adequately explain reality. The universe is not just matter, but also forces. The Chinese and Aztecs have been able to speak of these forces from the beginning of their civilizations, and most primitive have had an awareness of how nature works that is difficult for us to comprehend, because our consciousness is descended from materialistic Rome, and the linear logic of Greeks. Our language and logic blinds us, and now that we are moving into quantum physics this is a serious handicap. Our challenge is not just to determine if the universe thinks, but to wrap our minds around a way of thinking that has been taboo to us, largely because of Rome and Christianity. It is our thinking that needs to be adjusted, and this big, really, really big! It will change our concept of reality perhaps more than pictures from Hubble have changed our understanding of the universe.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby owleye on September 27th, 2014, 10:20 am 

Philosophytalks » Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:37 am wrote:Owleye,
I am not just posting my beliefs, I am engaging with some of the problems by which dualism does involve and I have tried providing answers to them. I have also attacked materialism and have equally presented arguments which seem to cause problems for them, however as of yet you have not actually responded to any of these criticisms for materialism which I did post (in regards to why you cannot reduce mental states to the physical states that occur within the brain).


i begin reading a person's post from its beginning. If it get stuck in the first paragraph, or even a bit later on, I'm not inclined to read the rest of what is written. I draw conclusions from it, perhaps unfairly, but if it bothers me, that will be enough not to read further. Perhaps someday I'll discover why you feel the need to attack materialism and what your argument is for the failure to reduce mental states to physical states. Without any clues in the above, I can only think the failure is a lack of imagination on your part. Note that you'd be hard pressed to discover on this forum that I have any strong bias on what constitutes reality. I'm fairly open, you see. My commitments are shallow in this area. I find it one of the most difficult questions that philosophy engages in. These questions have been with us for centuries, if not millennia.

Philosophytalks wrote:Like you said, Philosophy is not about answers. I never once said that I have the answers, I just posted problems for materialism and have argued for dualism by seemingly showing how you cannot reduce mental states.


The posts that I have critiqued begin with an argument (which I cite) which runs something like the followings: Because materialism doesn't provide all the answers, it leaves room for a dualist interpretation, which you favor. Indeed, dlorde's critique began similarly by his "making an argument from incredulity" declaration. My translation was "making an argument from ignorance". Note that this doesn't mean you have an ignorance of science (which I have an additional objection to), but that you rely on science not (yet) having a firm hold on the nature of consciousness (or whatever). It's similar to the God of the gaps kind of argument. And this has been my basis objection and the reason for advising you to address the problems in your own position.

Philosophytalks wrote:Mental causation is a problem for dualism and I thank braininvat for actually pointing out the problem of dualism in a non-condescending fashion. There is one or two responses which I could somewhat give to this issue (granted they probably have problems themselves but then every argument has problems):

1) The mind may not actually be causing anything. My analogy of the man and the computer and the virus was to show how the mind can still exist even if an Identity Theorist posed the problem of brain damage and how brain damage correlates with mental damage. In this analogy though, if I were to just change it slightly, it will show that the mind can exist without the need to cause anything:
The man (mind) is on the computer (the brain/body). He is not doing anything but he is on it. He has an opportunity to use it but he does not actually use it in the sense of he is not writing any information or anything like that. However, we can see that the man is on the computer because we can see him through a webcam built into the computer (introspection to show the mind and not the brain).
Now, this somewhat shows how the mind can be located within the universe but not part of it but not actually causing anything. The brain states and stimulus is what affects our mental states, but are not the same as mental states because as I showed earlier it seems hard to reduce mental to physical. This would be a response to the problem of mental causation because the mental states aren’t causing anything else to occur, but are occurring and are existent at the same time. Then after death, the mind is free from the material and so goes elsewhere.


One difficulty with this has to do with the relation you are projecting in the use of prepositions. For example, you say "He... is on it." How should I understand that preposition? The concept seems to refer to a spatial relationship, as we might think we are sitting on a rock. It percolates into common usage on the basis that we evolved in a gravitational field in which the vertical direction yields a differential direction in the way we mean something. On, under, below, over, beneath, ... These are helpful relationship identifiers because they tell us quickly what that relationship is. However, for the non-materialist, it isn't really informative.

More specifically, however, since you seem to think the mental can exist within the physical, how would you characterize what goes on in the simple act of lifting one's arm? You seem to say you cannot cause it to lift. Yet, at the same time it's difficult for me to understand why you would deny that we are able to lift our arm. This is such a common thing that it is sometimes used to affirm that we favor something when asked. What's going on?

The second difficulty has to do with the issue you gloss over here, respecting how mental states are affected by physical states. Physical states interact only with other physical states. "Ghosts", not considered to be physical cannot be affected by physical states, that is, unless you can tell me how. (Note that I'm not implying that ghosts are part of your ontology. I use that term to give you an idea of what I'm referring to.)

Philosophytalks wrote:2) Another response is that the universe could actually be located within the mind or that the universe is a product of the mind and of a creator. The universe, as we know it, is a product of the mind synthesising it. This means that the problem of mental causation would be not as much as a problem, because if the universe is a depiction of our mind then our mind would be able to cause things to occur within our body. The only thing is that the mind cannot create things in the universe, the necessary being does that, but we are able to view whatever the necessary being allows us to view, or we are able to take immaterial information (which the necessary being creates and which we cannot change) and which we synthesis into material information so that we can synthesis the information in a regular way. This would suggest how the world seems so ordered and regular.


This position sounds more like how idealists consider their ontology. It's not dualist, however.

Philosophytalks wrote:Rather than critique my responses Owleye, why don’t you try to stick up for the problems for materialism for which I posed earlier which you have not responded to? I don’t know everything there is too know about the mind/body problem, but I do try to argue and find ways out of problems that people pose. Now that I’ve done that, why don’t you do the same rather than just argue that I am posing my beliefs and ignoring the criticisms that I gave to you?


I don't have a firm ontology, though I'm more persuaded by physicalism, than idealism, and monism over dualism. With respect to defending physicalism, I would rely on emergent properties, reducible to underlying physical properties. Consciousness is thereby situated as an emergent property with an as yet settled upon underlying physical process within the brain. dlorde and neuro, the latter an actual neuroscientist, describes the kind of brain activity that might achieve consciousness. I don't find it entirely adequate but it has its virtues. And consciousness is best described in terms of intentionality, with its self-world structure, most closely related to the properties of being sensed and being felt. And there are a variety of states of consciousness. There is as well an important distinction between the contents of consciousness and its representation. Consciousness is a feature of certain creatures in the animal kingdom and has evolved in the course of its descent so that there is some greater awareness (sometimes used as a synonym for consciousness) in some lines of descent over other lines. It's possible that octopi are conscious but this is by no means settled. In any case, intelligence is somewhat of a separate issue relative to what constitutes consciousness, about which we attribute a mind and mental activities. The greater intelligence seems to imply a greater role for the content of consciousness, one that has within it compartments derived from various parts of the brain. Humans, being particularly intelligent, have expanded the role of perception into imagination, the role of motivation into the realm of decision making and deliberation, and complex responses from pools of emotional forms, probably all made possible by our having a language capability, sufficient to build empires under the rule of law.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Athena on September 27th, 2014, 10:20 am 

Dlorde said
You claim it has no spatial location, but I can equally claim it does. When I experience pain, it is spatially localised - I feel it in the injured area, or in the case of a headache, in my head ;) But seriously, the experience of pain, like consciousness itself, is a process, like a spreadsheet calculation, running, or a game of chess. Spatial location is only relevant to the physical elements participating in the process.


The problem with what you said is our failure to understand pain. Those of us who live with pain, are so aware than a doctor can determine the source of many pains and remove it. Recently my granddaughter went to the hospital with terrible pain and her appendix was removed. Weeks later she again had the terrible pain, and the doctor checked to be sure her appendix was removed and it was. Like if she were the only one having an experience like this, I would just right it off as strange and forget it, but many, many of us have pain that can not be explained. As far as the experts can tell, there is no reason for many of our pains. It can not be removed with an operation, so while we may experience it is in our gut, or our entire body, it is not a physical thing in that space that doctors can find.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Hendrick Laursen on September 27th, 2014, 11:14 am 

Upon thought:
And there must be an intellectual whose destiny and intention is ultimate, and intellect and intellectual and intellectualized all appear the same to him[the intellectual]. Intellectual is knowing, so he[the existent being] is knowing too. Thus, knowledge, knowing(as the subject) and the known are all the same to him. He is the ultimate sage as being sage is from his essence. Sagacious equals being sage for the same reason.
As, any of us who's labeled as alive, is in the relation with the cause that makes [or has made] intellect in him. He[the reason] is the verity of the life.
Avicenna, Risalat-al-Aroos, page 27.

So, we conclude, if the universe was our cause, that non-God-believers must accept , certainly it is capable of thinking and is in such a zenith of it that makes the universe identical with "THINKING/THINKER/THOUGHT". Remember, if and only if the universe was our cause.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Braininvat on September 27th, 2014, 12:29 pm 

As far as the experts can tell, there is no reason for many of our pains. It can not be removed with an operation, so while we may experience it is in our gut, or our entire body, it is not a physical thing in that space that doctors can find....
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An explanatory gap is not perforce a supernatural mystery. Not having the found neural mechanism for some pains doesn't mean that they are being generated in some astral realm. These things take time. Phantom limb syndrome used to be quite mysterious, but now the neurological basis is better understood and sophisticated techniques, like the mirror box therapy, are alleviating it.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 1:13 pm 

Athena » September 27th, 2014, 3:20 pm wrote:The problem with what you said is our failure to understand pain. Those of us who live with pain, are so aware than a doctor can determine the source of many pains and remove it. Recently my granddaughter went to the hospital with terrible pain and her appendix was removed. Weeks later she again had the terrible pain, and the doctor checked to be sure her appendix was removed and it was. Like if she were the only one having an experience like this, I would just right it off as strange and forget it, but many, many of us have pain that can not be explained. As far as the experts can tell, there is no reason for many of our pains. It can not be removed with an operation, so while we may experience it is in our gut, or our entire body, it is not a physical thing in that space that doctors can find.

As I understand it, we know broadly where pain sensation is generated in the brain. Whatever its source trigger, whether a stubbed toe or a pain in the neck, it's in the activity of two brainstem nuclei, the nucleus tractus solitarius and the parabrachial nucleus, which generate primitive felt states like pleasure & pain. There is some complex routing of the sensory pain signals to these areas and that maps them to locations on the sensory map of the body, known as the sensory homunculus (a literal map of the body in the brain), and distributes them to various other places, including cortical areas for awareness. A problem sometimes occurs that the mapping isn't correct for various reasons; perhaps there is cross-talk in spinal ganglia, perhaps an adjacent area in the mapping is activated, so the pain seems to come from the wrong place. This is called referred pain. Also, neurons or collections of neurons may become activated due to failure of suppression, or due to 'noise' in the system, or a hyperactive neuron, or an incorrect connection, which results in the pain centres activating without an ongoing sensory pain stimulus. This will result in pain without clear cause.

We know the broad mechanisms and rough layout of the pathways that generate these sensations, but not in detail, and it's generally extremely difficult to identify exactly what causes a particular instance of unsourced or intractable pain. There's a lot more work to be done mapping these pathways, and better scanners may eventually be able to locate the problem that causes such pain. Even if it becomes possible to identify precisely the cause of a pain problem, it will probably need a corresponding advance in medical intervention to be able to correct it. Current progress with the treatment of problems like epilepsy and Parkinson's gives reasonable cause for optimism.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Philosophytalks on September 27th, 2014, 4:11 pm 

Dlorde and Owleye,

I will agree that your viewpoints are strong and you do argue for them very well. Materialism/Physicalism is strong especially like you said because science can back it up very effectively.
Equally, I know that there are many problems with Dualist theories especially the point you have made about the mental causation. For the problem of mental causation, I would be more inclined to say that the mental states are different from physical states but may not actually cause anything (abit like property dualism in the sense that it states the brain has physical states and mental states but they are different - I know I have somewhat argued for Cartesian Dualism in my previous posts, but I am drawn to property dualism also, I just havent made up my mind on which to fully go with as of yet).

I just think that mental states still cannot be reduced to physical states though.

Dlorde wrote:“You claim it has no spatial location, but I can equally claim it does. When I experience pain, it is spatially localised - I feel it in the injured area, or in the case of a headache, in my head ;) But seriously, the experience of pain, like consciousness itself, is a process, like a spreadsheet calculation, running, or a game of chess. Spatial location is only relevant to the physical elements participating in the process.”


The pain receptors etc are spatially localised, that I can definitely agree with. However, the feeling of pain itself does not seem to be located. You feel it in the injured area, but the feeling itself is a non-physical thing. By spatial location, I mean it takes up no space. The sensation of pain seems to come from the area of injury, because thats where the neurons are firing, but the sensation itself doesnt take up any space. (This is kind of what I mentioned earlier about how physical states and mental states can run hand in hand but arent the same thing; The physical state of pain creates the mental space of pain). The feeling takes up no space because it is a feeling. For example, the feeling of anger doesnt seem to take up any space, it just seems that whatever neurons are firing and causing the feeling do take up space, but when you feel angry you dont feel it somewhere, you just feel it about something. In my opinion, it seems odd to think that the feeling itself takes up space.
Another example is to imagine two new drugs. One drug is able to stop the feeling of pain without stopping the neurons from firing, the other drug is able to create the feeling of pain without any neurons firing. It seems possible that there is a world in which we could have the feeling of pain without any physical explanation or we could have no feeling pain even though the pain neurons are firing. This would seem to suggest that physical states couldnt be reduced to mental states.

Dlorde wrote:You must have missed the bit where I explained about the patterns. It is the patterns of neural activity, at a higher level of abstraction than the neurons themselves, that make up the content of our experience. When you introspect you are turning your focus of attention on those patterns. What seems to be and what actually is are often very different. Intuition can be a poor guide to reality.


Owleye wrote:With respect to defending physicalism, I would rely on emergent properties, reducible to underlying physical properties. Consciousness is thereby situated as an emergent property with an as yet settled upon underlying physical process within the brain.


Unless I have misunderstood, the points that both Dlorde and Owleye state in both of their responses are roughly concerning the same point? Both of you here are stating that it seems consciousness comes from the patterns of neuronal activity that occur, and this is how consciousness arises? (If im wrong here please tell me, I just have put them both together so that I could possibly try and respond to both without having to repeat myself twice).

In regards to the neuronal activity then, I can understand what you are saying about the "mental states" emerging from underlying physical states or properties and this is why it seems that the world is actually just physical. This is a strong point, but I think I may be able to respond to it by giving an analogy again (In this analogy, 0=something that doesnt think and 1=something that does think);

If physicalism is true or if consciousness arises from neurons, then it would seem that 0+0+0+0...=1? All of those neurons which are unable to think individually, joined together with more neurons that are unable to think individually, are eventually able to produce something that exists? Materialism, in my opinion, seems to believe that consciousness can arise from a combination of things which themselves have no ability to be conscious individually?

This point is similiar to the point that Jackson makes in his Knowledge Argument. Mary, in her black and white room, knows every physical fact about the physical universe (including facts about colour). However, when she is released she learns something new about the experience of the colour red. If she learns something new about the colour red, it seems that she has learnt something that is not physical (for in her room she learnt every physical fact). If this is the case, then it would seem that there are things other than the physical, and this is what leads me to believe that you cant reduce mental states of experience and feelings etc to physical states. (Granted there are objections to it and Jackson himself changed his viewpoint and rejected this argument, it doesnt necessarily mean it is wrong and I think it still does highlight how mental states and physical states are different).

In my opinion, for Physicalism to be true we all of our observations in science must be correct. "An extension of the quantum theory goes beyond even this; it paints a picture in which solid matter dissolves away, to be replaced by weird excitations and vibrations of invisible field energy" (Paul Davies and John Gribbin, The Matter Myth, Chapter 1). Granted science has many contradictory proposals, but if things are replaced by an invisible field energy, it seems that this field energy isnt physical. Therefore it is non-physical, and physicalism would be wrong? (Ill be honest, I dont know a heck of a lot about quantum physics so if I have stated something wrongly I do apologise and do please tell me).

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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Braininvat on September 27th, 2014, 5:32 pm 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_error

I recommend the sect. titled "Gilbert Ryle."
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 27th, 2014, 8:01 pm 

Philosophytalks » September 27th, 2014, 9:11 pm wrote:If physicalism is true or if consciousness arises from neurons, then it would seem that 0+0+0+0...=1? All of those neurons which are unable to think individually, joined together with more neurons that are unable to think individually, are eventually able to produce something that exists? Materialism, in my opinion, seems to believe that consciousness can arise from a combination of things which themselves have no ability to be conscious individually?

That's emergence for you. I refer you back to Conway's Game of Life. The individual cells are static and have a binary state. A few trivially simple rules and iteration over time results in moving, interacting patterns that can be arranged to compute anything computable - in principle, they could emulate an entire human brain (albeit rather slowly); if that doesn't stretch your imagination, I suspect you haven't understood it. On a more natural stage, take the shapes of shoaling fish, or a murmuration of starlings; these are not properties of the individuals. Take the wetness of water and turbulent flow - these are not properties of individual water molecules.

This point is similiar to the point that Jackson makes in his Knowledge Argument. Mary, in her black and white room, knows every physical fact about the physical universe (including facts about colour).

I'm familiar with the argument, but I don't see how that is similar to emergence.

Granted science has many contradictory proposals, but if things are replaced by an invisible field energy, it seems that this field energy isnt physical. Therefore it is non-physical, and physicalism would be wrong?

No, it is physical - it is the basis of everything physical. Only scale gives matter the appearance of solidity. Not everything physical is visible. Take ultra-violet, infra-red, radio, microwaves, and X-rays, for example; manifestations of the electromagnetic field. Don't confuse our limited sensory experience with the extent of physicality. The universe as we know it is comprised of physical fields and forces. Elementary particles are excitations of the fields at very small scales. At these scales, the definition of 'touching' or 'contact', between your bottom and the chair when you sit down, requires careful consideration.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby owleye on September 27th, 2014, 8:36 pm 

Philosophytalks » Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:11 pm wrote:This is a strong point, but I think I may be able to respond to it by giving an analogy again (In this analogy, 0=something that doesnt think and 1=something that does think);

If physicalism is true or if consciousness arises from neurons, then it would seem that 0+0+0+0...=1? All of those neurons which are unable to think individually, joined together with more neurons that are unable to think individually, are eventually able to produce something that exists? Materialism, in my opinion, seems to believe that consciousness can arise from a combination of things which themselves have no ability to be conscious individually?


Well, temperature is an emergent property based on kinetic interactions of molecules within a volume. It is a product of the interactions of n molecules each of which according to your argument would be taken as a zero. Apparently it is very important to you to find a flaw in physicalism. What is your motivation here? It's quite reasonable to be a critic of physicalism, as long as you didn't have some ulterior motive for it, say something that you hold sacred, needing to defeat any pretenders or idols. If that is the case, I don't think philosophy is your calling.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby DragonFly on September 27th, 2014, 8:53 pm 

More is different than one, for then there can be connections.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby doogles on September 28th, 2014, 6:54 am 

Paradox » Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:44 am wrote:Greetings Doogles~

The simplest definition I can give here is that thinking is simply processing information.


Yes , thank you Paradox, I agree that thinking is ‘processing information’, but of course not all ‘information processing’ is a thought. I think of a calculator as an example of the latter.

We need some very basic starting points for what we mean by a ‘thought’. For example, is there anyone of us who has never sat on a veranda or porch and virtually travelled the world with our own thoughts and memories, WITHOUT getting out of the chair or looking at photo albums – reminiscences of places visited, people we’ve met, discussions we’ve had with acquaintances, and thoughts of chores being neglected while we’re sitting ‘doing nothing’.

And these trains of thought do not necessarily require an external stimulus to commence.

Series of images in the ‘mind’s eye’ goes on incessantly in my mind, even when I’m asleep (except for non-REM sleep). One of several interesting aspects about night dreams is that congenitally blind people do not dream in visual images.

Are there any of us who have NOT experienced such imaging.

And if any of you have had to do a repair job about your home, have you mentally visualised the list of tools you’ve had to gather from your shed to do the job. Or if you’ve decided to do some cooking, do you find yourself mentally imagining the ingredients you need, mentally recalling what’s in your fridge or pantry, and mentally or physically making a list of what's required.

Are these not thoughts?

Of course the next questions to answer are “What constitutes the ‘mind’s eye’, because that’s where the visual imaging takes place? Is it located in one area of the brain or is it a composite of many areas?

The following work by Grafton et al 1996 was interesting because it not only used positron emission tomography to identify multiple areas of brain activity when seven people viewed someone simply grasping an object, but it then recorded the areas stimulated when the human subjects were asked to simply recall the grasping of the object (without moving their hands).
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?ter ... t+al+(1996)+Localization+of+grasp+representations+in+humans+using+positron+emission+tomography%3A+observation+compared+with+imagination.+In+Exp+Brain+Res+1%3A103-111. The interesting finding was that THE IMAGINATION OF THE GRASPING OF AN OBJECT lit up similar multiple areas, but all at a slight distance away from the originals.

This of course suggests that the ‘mind’s eye’ may involve stimuli in composite areas of the brain.

The other question to ask is how and where the sensory image residues are stored in the brain. Well the above research by Grafton et al, does suggest that residues related to the observation of someone grasping an object are lodged in maybe six different areas of the brain in multiple lobes., including the cerebellum. There must be much similar research by now, but I just haven't looked for it yet.

Another epic piece of information-gathering by two neurologists over a period of 30 years, was published in Brain in 1963. The article itself embraced 100 pages of the journal. Penfield and Perot exposed the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex in hundreds of conscious epilepsy patients. They used microelectrodes to stimulate various areas of the lobe and in 40 odd of hundreds of patients (7%), were able to elicit recall of past events. A number of the patients stated that they were able to recall the events much more clearly than they could have by memory alone. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content ... 95.extract . This suggests of course that ‘residues’ of information taken in from our senses are stored somehow in various areas of our brains. They did not discuss why they were able to elicit such responses in only 7% of patients.

That’s enough for one post.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 28th, 2014, 8:54 am 

It might also help to agree on the bounds of 'thought', such as can it be unconscious or subconscious? do any machines think? if not, could they? What's the difference between information processing that is thought and that isn't thought?
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Marshall on September 28th, 2014, 12:55 pm 

dlorde » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:54 am wrote:It might also help to agree on the bounds of 'thought', such as can it be unconscious or subconscious? do any machines think? if not, could they? What's the difference between information processing that is thought and that isn't thought?


We could speculate as to what each of the two authors you introduced me to (Dehaene and Kahneman) might say about it. In answer to "could they [machines]?" I imagine Dehaene saying

Deh: Well DLorde that is an empirical question. We do not know the limits of what we will someday be calling machines. To get a grip on the question we have to try different ways of starting up this process in the machines we have now and see how far we get. Kahneman, do you have any ideas?

Kah: Well I go back to the other question DLorde asked "can it [thought] be unconscious or subconscious?" and I suggest that thought is a complex process consisting of both conscious and subconscious sub-processes. So you might have an AI strategy where you first prepare a machine to RUN A SUBCONSCIOUS BACKGROUND of programs that integrate the sensors and assemble facts, and constantly check stuff in the environment without drawing general logical conclusions.

You might experiment with different versions of the Background program and eventually see which serves best as a support for the Conscious program you plan to build. The Background program might evolve. Dogs seem to have good ones. My sister in law went to Seattle and left her dog with us for 5 or 6 days. The dog is very active and appealing, but a confounded nuisance. It seems to know what is going to happen almost before I do. It is also small and always sits in the place I usually sit when I type with the laptop.

So the strategy would be to have a half dozen different machines A,B,C... with different models of subconscious background integrators (they could generate reflexes, interrupts, alarms THERE IS AN UNUSUAL NOISE! but not think, and also they constantly keep track of the environment and compile correlations etc etc...)

And then the next stage of the "Kahneman" program (smile) would be to construct a Conscious Self program that so to speak lives "on top" of the subconscious Background integrator. Draws conclusions, directs attention, learns, has an Ego and so on. Then one can try different models of the Conscious program out on the different Background machines A, B, C...and so on...
=======================

That seems to me what Kahneman's talk about "fast and slow" thinking and thinking composed of process 1 and process 2 would suggest.
I don't follow AI and have not paid attention to it for many decades, so what I said here could sound very naive and uninformed---the AI people could actually have been constructing experimental AI along just these lines for the past 30 years and I wouldn't know. Or they could have a much better strategy they are using. I am beginning to realize I am quite uncomfortable typing in this chair and I have to do something. Perhaps I will move the black curlyhaired object out of my place on the couch, but then I run the risk of it wanting to lick my face and sniff the keyboard and make me feel guilty and enraged at the same time.


Dehaene's YouTube talk:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSy685vNqYk

Post with some Kahneman links:
viewtopic.php?f=124&p=268454#p268472

Sample Kahneman lecture linked in that post (hour lecture at Uni Zürich):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzJxAmJmj8w
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Paradox on September 28th, 2014, 3:03 pm 

Greetings all~

It appears that since Dave O cannot continue to devote his time toward his Thinking Universe construct at the present time, that we will have to discuss human thinking in the meanwhile. It seems that Dave’s construct is well thought out, logical and possible. A great thought experiment! However, I know that I can prove human thought, because as I posed in the root thread, I must first exist for anything else to exist for it to be real to me. That is my starting point. I do not have any fancy graphics or other reference for this axiom except that it makes perfect sense. It is humans or other sentient beings* thoughts that gives meaning and purpose to the universe. That without us, the universe has no purpose. IMHO I have to fully agree with Marshall’s description of the profound lack of thought in the universe, except if sentient beings count as the universe’s brain.

*That would include the possibility of ET's

Regards,

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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby doogles on September 29th, 2014, 2:59 am 

DIAGRAM HUMAN THINKING.jpg
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby doogles on September 29th, 2014, 4:43 am 

dlorde » Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:54 am wrote:It might also help to agree on the bounds of 'thought', such as can it be unconscious or subconscious? do any machines think? if not, could they? What's the difference between information processing that is thought and that isn't thought?


dlorde, thank you for the comment. I attempted to upload a diagram of my idea of the percentages of total brain function involved in what I consider to be three main areas of function of a human nervous system at least. Some is based on research data eg, as you pointed out yourself recently, there are approx. 86 billion neurons total in the human brain with about 16 billion in the cerebral cortex (Suzanna Herculano-Houzel).

Thus 80% of our neurons are associated with our non-cerebral-cortex central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS), neuro-humeral system (NHS), autonomic nervous system (ANS) control of our body homeostasis - body balance (neuro-musculo-skeletal), cardiovascular function, respiratory function, body temperature homeostasis, alimentary canal smooth muscle function and feedback etc. This includes all of emotional responses. Our entire inner brain is comparable with that of other animals as far back as reptiles, as is our autonomic nervous system and neuro-humeral system. All of these processes are hard-wired and none of us are conscious of their operations, unless we experience emotional responses.

So, on this brief basis alone, my opinion is that at least 80% of our neuronal activity is subconscious. I've cited a sea turtle in other posts as being an example of an almost totally hard-wired animal. It possesses all of the above mechanisms and extremely little cerebral cortex.

My last post touched on what I call our 'sensory-imaging' capacity. I described situations in which we think, or have trains of thought. I invited members to let me know if they were unable to do any of those mundane things. In the absence of any negatives, I assume that we all have those simple capacities of thought that I described. But the fact of the matter is that we can only recall or imagine things that our five senses in touch with the world outside of our bodies have left as residues, traces, or potential memories in our brains. As I said, congenitally-blind people cannot night dream in visual images. So we have to have some basic data input to our brains from our senses before we can daydream or night dream about them.

The only person so far in this forum whom I've heard speak about Introspection is PhilosophyTalks. I've suggested a few times that you can check whether you think subconsciously with either of two techniques. I forget the name, off hand, of the bloke who suggested it, but you can simply take a blank piece of paper, draw a simple five or six pointed star on it, then stare at the star for one minute without thinking about that star or anything else. No one has yet been recorded as passing the test. Your mind will wander off into images of any of millions of possible random 'thoughts'.

The other method is to have a close associate whom you've asked to prompt you any time you appear to be 'staring into the middle distance' to ask you "What are you thinking?". You may be surprised to realise that you were not only daydreaming subconsciously, but that you can trace back an association of scenarios to your present one. No one has yet reported trying this.

I've subjected myself to these tests.
DIAGRAM HUMAN THINKING.jpg
DIAGRAM HUMAN THINKING.jpg
I realise that I think with sensory-imaging processes more than 80% of my time. The evidence suggests to me that it all occurs in my recently evolved cerebral cortex, and also I'm unaware of those trains of thought happening unless one of the scenarios has something to do with the environment immediately around me - and then I tend to say "I've just had a thought." My opinion is that the only time I think consciously is when I'm posting in a forum such as this, or if I am at a meeting sharing ideas and problem-solving with others or if I have a glitch in a working-place procedure.

That's enough for a post for now. I'll try to upload a diagram again. Unfortunately I tend to use a computer the way farmers used a horse. They catch it, use it, then put it away without playing with it.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby neuro on September 29th, 2014, 9:09 am 

After having been strongly tempted to split or lock it, I have the impression this thread has finally turned toward a sensible path: let's define first what we believe thought is, and then we may discuss whether the universe thinks.

I quite agree with the previous posts by dlorde and doogles.

I'd say that there is quite a major fraction of our brain that can be somehow assimiliated to a input-output black box (computer): you enter a (quite high) number of inputs and it produces a (more or less complex) response.

This is not only what doogles refers to a primitive brain, but it also comprizes a major fraction of our quite extensively developed cortex.

We may think of this "processor" as a system that:

1. identifies patterns in incoming information, based on the similitude of stimulus-induced patterns of neuronal activity with endogenous patterns (favored by pre-wired connections)

2. learns to reproduce patterns that have been proposed repetitively or under emotional arousal

3. identifies further patterns in incoming information based on the similitude of stimulus-induced patterns of neuronal activity with LEARNED patterns

4. "interprets" the detected patterns through a "tentative" recognition approach based on likelihood (how strongly an incoming pattern recalls a "known" - instinctual or learned - pattern)

5. produces this way a contnuous "active" (endogenous, creative) activity that is confronted to incoming information to interpret it [this can be thought of as a raw, low-level, imaginative activity]

6. associates gratificational (and possibly motivational) value to each "recognized" object, situation and behavior (based on experience)

7. proposes instinctual relations with recognized objects (via parietal-frontal connections to canonical neurons [movements] and to mirror neurons [actions, aimed behaviors])

8. reinforces or weakens such instinctual relations based on gratificational success (conditioning)

9. learns, based on conditioning processes, new possible relations with objects

10. creates, this way, a set of "heuristics", i.e. experientially consolidated behavioral patterns in response to each possible input (object and situation) = "reactive behavior"

11. at each moment selects among all possible "reactive behaviors", initiates new ones, conciliates behaviors in sequences, switches from one to the other, etc., based on the gratificational and motivational value that has been associated (from experience) to each behavior. This is the main task performed by the basal nuclei, both regarding motor behavior and cognitive behavior.

12. may or may not succeed in producing an effective behavior (i.e. a behavior that fulfills a physiological need, reduces pain, produces pleasure, etc.)

All this does not have to do with "thinking".
It implies quite a lot of "imaginative activity" - in the above-mentioned sense - in that:
- recognition is based on "resonance" between sensory-evoked and acquired and endogenously produced patterns of neuronal activity ("low-level, raw imaginative activity")
- interpretation and attribution of meaning is based on the association of emotions, gratificational value and motivational value to objects, situations and behaviors, based on previous experiences (imaginative recall)
- behavioral control is obtained through the recall of previous experiences and their combination into simulation and prefiguration of possible behaviors and their presumable outcomes (i.e. imagination).

Still, this is "autopilote", and most of it is unconscious.
I'd say it does not qualify as THOUGHT, although quite a lot of "low-level" imaginative activity is implied.
Notice that, since neurons never stop working, all this imaginative activity occurs also in the absence of relevant inputs, and tendentially wanders around in an un-oriented way, recalling, simulating, prefiguring experiences (lived in the past or possible in the future), mostly - once more - in an unconscious way.

Only a marginal fraction of all this activity reaches consciousness, generally because it is associated with strong affective relevance (bottom-up selective attention mechanisms) or is particularly connected with the topic currently elaborated by conscious thought (top-down mechanisms of selective attention).

The point is that this "reactive" black-box, which would be able to control most of the behavior of a mouse, sometimes does not offer "automatically" the right response.
There may be novel situations or elements, the known "heuristics" may fail and produce unexpected outcomes, errors can be made, there might be difficulties, incongruences, conflicts among different needs, etc.

In all these cases the prefrontal cortex is activated by an arousal response. First of all it inhibits "reactive behavior", then it moves relevant information to the working memory system and, through computation, simulation and active prefiguration elaborates an alternative - creative, active and not reactive - behavior.

The systems implied in this kind of "conscious", "oriented", "intentional" and "rational" kind of processing are called into play whenever the "reactive-behavior system" fails or faces some problems, but they also work when no problems are there, and they keep elaborating information in a "conscious", "oriented", "intentional" and "rational" way.

I would propose that when we talk about THOUGH we refer to this kind of activity, "conscious", "oriented", "intentional" and "rational", not merely reactive to inputs but rather actively proceeding on its own, and possibly refocussed by relevant inputs (and especially novelties, errors, difficulties, conflicts).

If anybody were to agree with this view, they would hardly associate this idea with what goes on in the universe, i.e. they would quite hardly be convinced that the universe thinks.

My two cents.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Hendrick Laursen on September 29th, 2014, 10:32 am 

Though 'twas quite Big "couple of cents", but a fine analysis.

Finishing Avicenna's book today, I wanted to add a few points to the excerpt I brought some posts earlier;
My conclusion was quite a misusing of his theory, as he thinks the absolute intellect is God, though I used some of his step-by-step way to describe a way we can generalize "Intelligence" to the universe.

His book, Risalat, is a fine "logic" book, though all of it isn't logic. The excerpt was from the part when he argues on God being all-knowing.
May him rest in peace.

Thank you all.
Farewell.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 29th, 2014, 10:36 am 

Marshall » September 28th, 2014, 5:55 pm wrote:We could speculate as to what each of the two authors you introduced me to (Dehaene and Kahneman) might say about it.

I hesitate to speculate about what experts might or might not say, but I suspect you're fairly close to the mark ;) In fact, Dehaene has a section in the chapter on 'The Future of Consciousness' where he presents some ideas on how machine consciousness 'reminiscent of our own variety of consciousness' might be constructed (pp. 259-266). He concludes that his ideas remain vague, but, 'I see no reason why they would not lead to an artificial consciousness'. Skimming through his book, he doesn't explicitly define 'thought', but tends to use 'thinking' in a general way in the context of higher mental functions, and 'thought' in the context of consciousness and conscious awareness.

I don't know what Kahneman's view of AI might be - I can't recall him mentioning it. He does explicitly refer to fast, non-conscious, high level processing as Type 1 thinking, and conscious, effortful,high level processing as Type 2 thinking, so it seems that he feels 'thinking' encompasses both conscious and non-conscious high level activity, and perhaps ought to be qualified accordingly when used; but I get the sense that 'a thought' (rather than 'thought' as the generic for thinking) typically refers a more or less extended conscious activity.

Sample Kahneman lecture linked in that post (hour lecture at Uni Zürich):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzJxAmJmj8w

A useful recap or overview of the book. His newspaper office metaphor for thinking, where consciousness plays the role of editor, seems a bit more focused than my 'large company, board & CEO' model, particularly in respect of the way we try to generate coherent narratives.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 29th, 2014, 10:42 am 

Paradox » September 28th, 2014, 8:03 pm wrote:It is humans or other sentient beings* thoughts that gives meaning and purpose to the universe. That without us, the universe has no purpose.

I'd rephrase that last to, 'without us, there is no purpose in (or to) the universe', to emphasise that purpose isn't a property of the universe as a whole, it is an attribution of sentient entities.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 29th, 2014, 11:45 am 

doogles » September 29th, 2014, 9:43 am wrote:I've suggested a few times that you can check whether you think subconsciously with either of two techniques.

I think I understand what you mean, but I'm not entirely comfortable with your characterisation of daydreaming as subconscious thinking rather than conscious thinking. I see myself as conscious when I'm daydreaming, (although I'm (mostly) not consciously determining the narrative), because I have conscious access to it, albeit without an explicit focus of attention, i.e. I am aware of the narrative(s).

In Kahneman's video, he suggests varying contributions and roles for Type 1 (fast, parallel, intuitive, no conscious access) and Type 2 (slow, conscious, effortful, deliberative) thinking; most of the time Type 1 thinking directs or guides our behaviour and we have passive conscious access to the results; occasionally, Type 2 thinking directs our behaviour, informed and supported by Type 1. I would describe daydreaming as Type 1 directed, but with conscious awareness - a sort of consciousness-lite ;)

It's a mix of semantic quibble and functional quibble - as Kahneman says, the concept of Type 1 and Type 2 thinking is a useful model, divide between them isn't as clear and unequivocal as it might appear. Similarly, the divide between conscious and subconscious isn't as definite as it might appear. The reality is subtler than the linguistic and conceptual distinctinction we make.

Regarding the diagram, I noticed that 'rationalising' spans both conscious and subconscious, whereas Kanheman explicitly characterises it as Type 2 (conscious, effortful) thinking. It may be that you're including the Type 1 contributions that underlie all conscious processing, but it looks odd...
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Paradox on September 29th, 2014, 1:23 pm 

I'd rephrase that last to, 'without us, there is no purpose in (or to) the universe', to emphasise that purpose isn't a property of the universe as a whole, it is an attribution of sentient entities.
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TY Dlorde,

That does seem to make better sense. However, what is the difference between "with out" and “without” to you? Not to get off track, but is anything written here protected by copyright laws? I mean would one be accused of plagiarism if they do not reference the source in another writing?

Regards,

Paradox~

PS I got your name right this time.
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby dlorde on September 29th, 2014, 2:10 pm 

Paradox » September 29th, 2014, 6:23 pm wrote:... what is the difference between "with out" and “without” to you?

Huh? the first doesn't mean anything to me as it stands, the second means 'outside' or 'excluding'. Why?

...is anything written here protected by copyright laws?

In principle, yes. The details of copyright law may vary by country, but in general, the creators of literary work have rights to control copying and adapting of their work (among other things). You would breach of copyright if you copied, modified, or showed the work in public, with the possible exception of 'fair use' extracts, criticism or reporting, and some specific exceptions.

I mean would one be accused of plagiarism if they do not reference the source in another writing?

You might be accused of plagiarism if you passed off someone else's work as your own.

The UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, says the author has a moral right to be identified as the author and to object to derogatory treatment; quite what that means in law, I don't know, but it's considered seriously bad form to quote online without attribution.

PS I got your name right this time.

Thanks ;)
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Re: Can the universe think? (split from #1 truth thread)

Postby Paradox on September 29th, 2014, 2:36 pm 

DLorde,

I know about book author protection. I mean if a regular bloke writes something of their own in a comment here, is it protected, would I be plagiarizing if I copied it from this type of forum? I ask that because young PT will be going to college where such is enforced in writing. I remember college writing being a thin line between what is commonly known to all which needs no reference, to what someone specifically wrote that needs to be referenced.

I believe that there will come a time when it will be impossible to plagiarize for two reasons:

1. Compter programs will become so powerful and full of data, it would be nearly impossible for them to miss a repeated statement from and official writer.

2. Most information will eventually be reclassified as common knowledge at some point in the future.

Sorry to get off topic.

Paradox~
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