Causality and consciousness

Discuss philosophical concepts and moral issues.
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subsymbolic
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Post by subsymbolic » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:32 pm

[quote=""plebian""]Subsymbolic, it just occurred to me, you take a position surprisingly close to George Mead's. Is that a coincidence? I seem to recall you once saying that the American pragmatists didn't make a deep impression on you.[/quote]

I'm no sort of pragmatist. My starting point is that the only rational explanation for the neat way that everything knits together in here is that there's really something out there which is more real than I am. Whether that's physics and the 'real' world or whichever language game I'm worrying about and the platonic worlds isn't really the point...

That said, you need to purify your philosophy of mind before you have a rat in hell's chance of getting a philosophy of science that isn't basically (Plato's?) cave painting.

I think Russell hit the nail on the head when he observed that we sit in exactly the right place to fall foul of all the stuff Gödel came to worry about once Russell had pointed it out. Worse, I think we are bicameral creatures and the stuff that comes out of biology (phenomenology) and the stuff that comes out of language games (intentionality) is deeply and messily interlinked, as arethe public and private aspects.

So some of us can only be understood by sidling up the neurons and some of us can only be grasped through narration. The guy who really nailed narrative is Paul Ricoer, but it's Donald Davidson who gave it legs.

Then there's the self, but hey, we've done that...

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Post by Grendel » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:11 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]

I'm no sort of pragmatist. My starting point is that the only rational explanation for the neat way that everything knits together in here is that there's really something out there which is more real than I am.[/quote]

What do you mean when you propose 'something out there'?

By more 'real' than you do you mean a complex structure that is indicated by the pattern matching you observe around you and which gives rise to perception, or do you mean a simplex build up from base fundamentals to a complex crystalline structure such as you?

Are you hinting at a spiritual something?

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Post by plebian » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:58 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674227 wrote:Subsymbolic, it just occurred to me, you take a position surprisingly close to George Mead's. Is that a coincidence? I seem to recall you once saying that the American pragmatists didn't make a deep impression on you.
I'm no sort of pragmatist. My starting point is that the only rational explanation for the neat way that everything knits together in here is that there's really something out there which is more real than I am. Whether that's physics and the 'real' world or whichever language game I'm worrying about and the platonic worlds isn't really the point...

That said, you need to purify your philosophy of mind before you have a rat in hell's chance of getting a philosophy of science that isn't basically (Plato's?) cave painting.

I think Russell hit the nail on the head when he observed that we sit in exactly the right place to fall foul of all the stuff Gödel came to worry about once Russell had pointed it out. Worse, I think we are bicameral creatures and the stuff that comes out of biology (phenomenology) and the stuff that comes out of language games (intentionality) is deeply and messily interlinked, as arethe public and private aspects.

So some of us can only be understood by sidling up the neurons and some of us can only be grasped through narration. The guy who really nailed narrative is Paul Ricoer, but it's Donald Davidson who gave it legs.

Then there's the self, but hey, we've done that...[/QUOTE]
Thanks. I find the edges very fuzzy around the ontological aspects. I don't know that pragmatism requires a disbelief in reality exactly but your point about neurons is taken. So too, it your point about mind and science which is where I connected you with Mead. Anyway, it just occurred to me so I asked.

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Post by subsymbolic » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:33 pm

[quote=""Grendel""]
subsymbolic;674271 wrote:
I'm no sort of pragmatist. My starting point is that the only rational explanation for the neat way that everything knits together in here is that there's really something out there which is more real than I am.
What do you mean when you propose 'something out there'?

By more 'real' than you do you mean a complex structure that is indicated by the pattern matching you observe around you and which gives rise to perception, or do you mean a simplex build up from base fundamentals to a complex crystalline structure such as you?

Are you hinting at a spiritual something?[/QUOTE]

No. There's only one sort of stuff. There's more than one way of experiencing it. Then there are patterns with a necessity all of their own.

It's fairly unlikely that every legal move in, say, Go, has been played. What do you want to say about the existence of a legal move that has never been played?

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:25 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;673507 wrote:
subsymbolic;673502 wrote:
plebian;673501 wrote:Hundred percent agree with that. So where are those linguistic entities located?
I'm not sure, shall I send you a letter, a text, a phone call, voip, morse, semaphore or just tell you in person? Wherever it is, it ain't in the head. The bottom line is intersubjective agreement about what to do with these symbols... however they are instantiated. Intentions are public states of language as Wittgenstein proved in the forties. Qualia are private states of biology that can never directly play a role in a language game.
What about the internal linguistic dialogue? The running narrative?
Post 30 paragraph 1.

We are, quite literally, talking to ourselves. You can approach this from the neurobiology. Brocca's area kicks off doing the encoding of the the serial and ballistic job of coordinating speech. However in speech the supplementary motor area lights up turning that encoding into specific actions, while in silent speech it doesn't. (Or rather something more complex and inhibitory happens...) Vgotsky got there first on this but modern imaging just confirms it.

You can also approach it from theory. Wittgenstein demonstrated beautifully that the very criteria that would make a language private would also make it systematically unlearnable. Language has to be a logically public phenomenon that just happens to be contingently private in the case of private speech.

Ironically, while intentions are impossible to locate in the head, the linguistic vehicles of them, the (un)spoken words are all to easy to find in the prevocalised instructions to the SMA. When we finally get mind reading tech, this is as deep as it will go. Anything down stream of this will be unreadable. The output of Broca's is isomorphic to speech just encoded to control the SMA controlling the MNS.

It's public.[/QUOTE]

I just got your point in this post. Not sure why it took so long. Very interesting. How would a Churchland style eliminativist deal with it?

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:29 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;673517 wrote:
subsymbolic;673500 wrote:
plebian;673495 wrote: Ok. Then I'm either not following you or you're not following me. I'm asking why anyone would expect symbolic representation to have location. That just seems like a straw man. My own contention is that the symbolic representation is, from a physiological perspective, the qualia of a particular pattern which itself involves looping between experiential data and pattern data. It's still ultimately not modelable from a purely physicalist perspective because it suggests recursive interplay between coding and decoding. In other words, the emergent properties of the system take an active and actual role in any useful model of the emergent system.

I am beginning to think I may be a stronger instrumentalist than I would like to admit.
I wouldn't. I see the two as essentially disconnected, with any feedback loop effectively being external. As in we encode and decode the narrative as if speaking and listening. Phenomenology on the other hand, I treat as identical to the biology. As in, a givenmental state is identical to the physical state that constitutes it, just seen from a different perspective - that of the person having that state. Intentional states are not identical.

Qualia have a precise location as a chord of activation and are veery much located in
The brain. It makes no sense to try to locate intentions at all, because they are no more and no less than predictions and explanations of the behaviour of the whole system. To try to locate them in the brain is to misunderstand what role they play in folk psychology. Intentions are linguistic not biological entities.
Hmm. Paragraph one of this post. Ok. I think the power of narrative, as in homo narrans, is the only part that actually matters to use as people creating desires. While there is a lower level of organization, it is irrelevant to us as humans. Folk psychology is the only relevant issue to what we are as humans. The rest is medicine.
I absolutely disagree. The other critical part is the sense of self that comes from actually having a conscious and self conscious first person perspective that these stories can revolve around. The biology gives us phenomenology, the brute fact that, metaphorically, the lights are on, that it is like something to be you. The narratives, and especially the intentional narrative unifies and locates this perspective in time, space and culture through stories. Dennett's says the self is the centre of narrative gravity, I say it is at the centre of narrative gravity which is formed by being something that it is like something to be. A self is made up through the unification of these bicameral elements.[/QUOTE]

This is so close to Mead's "social behaviorism" concept of self identity that it almost looks like a restatement. You might have to revisit his version of pragmatism.

Eta: http://www.iep.utm.edu/mead
Eta 2: this part in particular: http://www.iep.utm.edu/mead/#H3
Last edited by plebian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by subsymbolic » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:04 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;673515 wrote:
plebian;673507 wrote:
subsymbolic;673502 wrote:
I'm not sure, shall I send you a letter, a text, a phone call, voip, morse, semaphore or just tell you in person? Wherever it is, it ain't in the head. The bottom line is intersubjective agreement about what to do with these symbols... however they are instantiated. Intentions are public states of language as Wittgenstein proved in the forties. Qualia are private states of biology that can never directly play a role in a language game.
What about the internal linguistic dialogue? The running narrative?
Post 30 paragraph 1.

We are, quite literally, talking to ourselves. You can approach this from the neurobiology. Brocca's area kicks off doing the encoding of the the serial and ballistic job of coordinating speech. However in speech the supplementary motor area lights up turning that encoding into specific actions, while in silent speech it doesn't. (Or rather something more complex and inhibitory happens...) Vgotsky got there first on this but modern imaging just confirms it.

You can also approach it from theory. Wittgenstein demonstrated beautifully that the very criteria that would make a language private would also make it systematically unlearnable. Language has to be a logically public phenomenon that just happens to be contingently private in the case of private speech.

Ironically, while intentions are impossible to locate in the head, the linguistic vehicles of them, the (un)spoken words are all to easy to find in the prevocalised instructions to the SMA. When we finally get mind reading tech, this is as deep as it will go. Anything down stream of this will be unreadable. The output of Broca's is isomorphic to speech just encoded to control the SMA controlling the MNS.

It's public.
I just got your point in this post. Not sure why it took so long. Very interesting. How would a Churchland style eliminativist deal with it?[/QUOTE]

Paul is convinced that there are other languages that will be developed in the future that are not as misleading. Ultimately, even these are halfway houses.


Part of his position is that while he is keen to eliminate the 'prescientific theory of mind', he's less concerned about a post scientific theory of mind. His problem is less with language, more with propositional attitude talk as a theory of mental content.

While he's very right in all sorts of ways, I just think that in this, he's bitten off more than he can possibly chew.

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Post by subsymbolic » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:09 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;673522 wrote:
plebian;673517 wrote:
subsymbolic;673500 wrote:
I wouldn't. I see the two as essentially disconnected, with any feedback loop effectively being external. As in we encode and decode the narrative as if speaking and listening. Phenomenology on the other hand, I treat as identical to the biology. As in, a givenmental state is identical to the physical state that constitutes it, just seen from a different perspective - that of the person having that state. Intentional states are not identical.

Qualia have a precise location as a chord of activation and are veery much located in
The brain. It makes no sense to try to locate intentions at all, because they are no more and no less than predictions and explanations of the behaviour of the whole system. To try to locate them in the brain is to misunderstand what role they play in folk psychology. Intentions are linguistic not biological entities.
Hmm. Paragraph one of this post. Ok. I think the power of narrative, as in homo narrans, is the only part that actually matters to use as people creating desires. While there is a lower level of organization, it is irrelevant to us as humans. Folk psychology is the only relevant issue to what we are as humans. The rest is medicine.
I absolutely disagree. The other critical part is the sense of self that comes from actually having a conscious and self conscious first person perspective that these stories can revolve around. The biology gives us phenomenology, the brute fact that, metaphorically, the lights are on, that it is like something to be you. The narratives, and especially the intentional narrative unifies and locates this perspective in time, space and culture through stories. Dennett's says the self is the centre of narrative gravity, I say it is at the centre of narrative gravity which is formed by being something that it is like something to be. A self is made up through the unification of these bicameral elements.
This is so close to Mead's "social behaviorism" concept of self identity that it almost looks like a restatement. You might have to revisit his version of pragmatism.

Eta: http://www.iep.utm.edu/mead
Eta 2: this part in particular: http://www.iep.utm.edu/mead/#H3[/QUOTE]

I really will not. He's treating the biology as an effective tabula rasa and making the silly claim that literally everything mental is public. He's imagining the worst sort of zombie.

'We talk of states and processes and leave their nature undecided...'

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:57 pm

Hmm. I read him as saying something a bit different- more as a compliment to Dewey than a counterpoint. But in a search for a fully consistent realism, I can see that the externalized zombie would be a sticking point. I guess it's his definition of the process of creating self that struck me as similar. The model of language, play, and the game seems to offer a useful way of structuring the nature of what is public and how it feeds back into what is private.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:56 am

[quote=""plebian""]Hmm. I read him as saying something a bit different- more as a compliment to Dewey than a counterpoint. But in a search for a fully consistent realism, I can see that the externalized zombie would be a sticking point. I guess it's his definition of the process of creating self that struck me as similar. The model of language, play, and the game seems to offer a useful way of structuring the nature of what is public and how it feeds back into what is private.[/quote]

Sure, it seems to, but only once all the other pieces are in place. That some psychologists have done quite well at describing what can be seen, while denying what can't, isn't really such a complement. Sure, the American and Russians have done infinitely better than the Germans at not making shit up, but that's a bit like saying Sikhism, for example, is the most accurate religion...

Better to ignore the rafts of baggage. If they have a real insight that is helpful, but missing, then that's great, but it's never going to be more than insight ram raiding... if that.

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Post by plebian » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:13 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674325 wrote:Hmm. I read him as saying something a bit different- more as a compliment to Dewey than a counterpoint. But in a search for a fully consistent realism, I can see that the externalized zombie would be a sticking point. I guess it's his definition of the process of creating self that struck me as similar. The model of language, play, and the game seems to offer a useful way of structuring the nature of what is public and how it feeds back into what is private.
Sure, it seems to, but only once all the other pieces are in place. That some psychologists have done quite well at describing what can be seen, while denying what can't, isn't really such a complement. Sure, the American and Russians have done infinitely better than the Germans at not making shit up, but that's a bit like saying Sikhism, for example, is the most accurate religion...

Better to ignore the rafts of baggage. If they have a real insight that is helpful, but missing, then that's great, but it's never going to be more than insight ram raiding... if that.[/QUOTE]

Heh. And this is where instrumentalist and realist perspectives collide. My colleagues sometimes call me an instrumentalist as a mild pejorative. While I don't think the shoe fits perfectly, I can certainly put it on. I wonder if there are just ways of approaching ideas that are more natural for some than for others. I almost always take only what is useful to me out of a set of ideas and have no problem putting aside that which conflicts. Cherry picking I guess. But there are better and worse ways to cherry pick and my method is at least intellectually honest.

In my experience, insight can be found in the most unlikely places if you remain open to it. And, the root issue in this particular case is that I actually am heavily influenced by Dewey so I have a natural affinity for those who worked in his shadow.

I haven't thought about Mead in decades but your idea earlier about the externalized public space is exactly what I took from Mead so it seems reasonable to connect them. I doubt I will go back and read his society book again though because I know that the external public space is the only thing I took from it. Still, it's a powerful idea with a lot of practical value when isolated from the larger context.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:49 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674337 wrote:
plebian;674325 wrote:Hmm. I read him as saying something a bit different- more as a compliment to Dewey than a counterpoint. But in a search for a fully consistent realism, I can see that the externalized zombie would be a sticking point. I guess it's his definition of the process of creating self that struck me as similar. The model of language, play, and the game seems to offer a useful way of structuring the nature of what is public and how it feeds back into what is private.
Sure, it seems to, but only once all the other pieces are in place. That some psychologists have done quite well at describing what can be seen, while denying what can't, isn't really such a complement. Sure, the American and Russians have done infinitely better than the Germans at not making shit up, but that's a bit like saying Sikhism, for example, is the most accurate religion...

Better to ignore the rafts of baggage. If they have a real insight that is helpful, but missing, then that's great, but it's never going to be more than insight ram raiding... if that.
Heh. And this is where instrumentalist and realist perspectives collide. My colleagues sometimes call me an instrumentalist as a mild pejorative. While I don't think the shoe fits perfectly, I can certainly put it on. I wonder if there are just ways of approaching ideas that are more natural for some than for others. I almost always take only what is useful to me out of a set of ideas and have no problem putting aside that which conflicts. Cherry picking I guess. But there are better and worse ways to cherry pick and my method is at least intellectually honest.

In my experience, insight can be found in the most unlikely places if you remain open to it. And, the root issue in this particular case is that I actually am heavily influenced by Dewey so I have a natural affinity for those who worked in his shadow.

I haven't thought about Mead in decades but your idea earlier about the externalized public space is exactly what I took from Mead so it seems reasonable to connect them. I doubt I will go back and read his society book again though because I know that the external public space is the only thing I took from it. Still, it's a powerful idea with a lot of practical value when isolated from the larger context.[/QUOTE]

Quite so. If I hadn't ram raided the idea from elsewhere, I'd feel the same way...

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Post by plebian » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:41 pm

I take something close to a realism perspective from the notion that core ideas like that seem to pop up independently all over the place during the same time periods. The cultural elements that contribute to that phenomenon seem tied to the scientifically consilient ideas of the epoch and may even be inextricable in causal nature from each other. Zeitgeist is a powerful concept. As much as I didn't get much from postmodern theorists, the break from positivist logics does make a lot of sense when applied to a generally realist framework. Reality is clearly not a giant clockwork. But consilience does emerge even from postmodern deconstruction when we add stochastic and chaotic concepts back in. There is a huge opening in sociology right now I think for a theory of emergent and supervening processes resulting from language and involving institutions.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:14 pm

[quote=""plebian""]I take something close to a realism perspective from the notion that core ideas like that seem to pop up independently all over the place during the same time periods. The cultural elements that contribute to that phenomenon seem tied to the scientifically consilient ideas of the epoch and may even be inextricable in causal nature from each other. Zeitgeist is a powerful concept. As much as I didn't get much from postmodern theorists, the break from positivist logics does make a lot of sense when applied to a generally realist framework. Reality is clearly not a giant clockwork. But consilience does emerge even from postmodern deconstruction when we add stochastic and chaotic concepts back in. There is a huge opening in sociology right now I think for a theory of emergent and supervening processes resulting from language and involving institutions.[/quote]


I'd be very cautious of this sort of synchronicity being evidence for realism. I suspect it is far more likely to be evidence of culture, more specifically of the effects of ubiquitous intersubjective agreement. To put it another way, as Newton said, 'I see so far because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants'. When everyone is standing on broadly the same shoulders, the view must look pretty similar...

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Post by plebian » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:25 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674352 wrote:I take something close to a realism perspective from the notion that core ideas like that seem to pop up independently all over the place during the same time periods. The cultural elements that contribute to that phenomenon seem tied to the scientifically consilient ideas of the epoch and may even be inextricable in causal nature from each other. Zeitgeist is a powerful concept. As much as I didn't get much from postmodern theorists, the break from positivist logics does make a lot of sense when applied to a generally realist framework. Reality is clearly not a giant clockwork. But consilience does emerge even from postmodern deconstruction when we add stochastic and chaotic concepts back in. There is a huge opening in sociology right now I think for a theory of emergent and supervening processes resulting from language and involving institutions.

I'd be very cautious of this sort of synchronicity being evidence for realism. I suspect it is far more likely to be evidence of culture, more specifically of the effects of ubiquitous intersubjective agreement. To put it another way, as Newton said, 'I see so far because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants'. When everyone is standing on broadly the same shoulders, the view must look pretty similar...[/QUOTE]

Oh definitely. That's why I said the bit about sociology. But there's something a little bit deeper in it too. The process has the appearance of direction, Kuhn notwithstanding. As theory develops, accounting for backwards momentum due to politics, the level of consilience does seem to increase. While paradigms do seem to be involved, that sort of accounting can be viewed as evidence of a sort of realism. Maybe more of a Buddhist style realism but still a sort of realism.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:29 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674358 wrote:
plebian;674352 wrote:I take something close to a realism perspective from the notion that core ideas like that seem to pop up independently all over the place during the same time periods. The cultural elements that contribute to that phenomenon seem tied to the scientifically consilient ideas of the epoch and may even be inextricable in causal nature from each other. Zeitgeist is a powerful concept. As much as I didn't get much from postmodern theorists, the break from positivist logics does make a lot of sense when applied to a generally realist framework. Reality is clearly not a giant clockwork. But consilience does emerge even from postmodern deconstruction when we add stochastic and chaotic concepts back in. There is a huge opening in sociology right now I think for a theory of emergent and supervening processes resulting from language and involving institutions.



I'd be very cautious of this sort of synchronicity being evidence for realism. I suspect it is far more likely to be evidence of culture, more specifically of the effects of ubiquitous intersubjective agreement. To put it another way, as Newton said, 'I see so far because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants'. When everyone is standing on broadly the same shoulders, the view must look pretty similar...
Oh definitely. That's why I said the bit about sociology. But there's something a little bit deeper in it too. The process has the appearance of direction, Kuhn notwithstanding. As theory develops, accounting for backwards momentum due to politics, the level of consilience does seem to increase. While paradigms do seem to be involved, that sort of accounting can be viewed as evidence of a sort of realism. Maybe more of a Buddhist style realism but still a sort of realism.[/QUOTE]

I'm not sure what Buddhism style realism is. Are Buddhists?

However, your key point now seems to be slightly different. That I agree with as theories establish ever increasing connections, consillience is to be expected if there is something out there. The only thing it doesn't tell you is about the fundamental instantiation...

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Post by plebian » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:43 pm

It's pretty hard to develop a model of reality using language. There are some inherent limitations.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:54 pm

[quote=""plebian""]It's pretty hard to develop a model of reality using language. There are some inherent limitations.[/quote]

And you think Buddhists avoid that trap? I sometimes use the idea of enlightenment as a way of getting people to think about post elimination minds. However, as always, religion is a blind alley - I think it profoundly unlikely that language is suppressing a better way that has been lost or even that losing language would be the key to instantly finding it. More to the point, while I have great sympathy for Buddhism as a stoic philosophy, every Buddhist I have spoken to talks bollocks. Worse, I'm acutely aware that most classic Koans have their genesis in misunderstandings of a variation of ordinary language philosophy practised in China rather a long time ago.

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Post by plebian » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:51 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674362 wrote:It's pretty hard to develop a model of reality using language. There are some inherent limitations.
And you think Buddhists avoid that trap? I sometimes use the idea of enlightenment as a way of getting people to think about post elimination minds. However, as always, religion is a blind alley - I think it profoundly unlikely that language is suppressing a better way that has been lost or even that losing language would be the key to instantly finding it. More to the point, while I have great sympathy for Buddhism as a stoic philosophy, every Buddhist I have spoken to talks bollocks. Worse, I'm acutely aware that most classic Koans have their genesis in misunderstandings of a variation of ordinary language philosophy practised in China rather a long time ago.[/QUOTE]
As with the earlier matter, I think it's a matter of cherry picking. I think Buddhism addresses the issue that language is a poor way to represent reality. Whether or not they got it right is sort of immaterial. So to speak. I tend to think Buddha did and some Buddhists have. But it's an open question short of enlightenment.

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Post by subsymbolic » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:53 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674364 wrote:
plebian;674362 wrote:It's pretty hard to develop a model of reality using language. There are some inherent limitations.
And you think Buddhists avoid that trap? I sometimes use the idea of enlightenment as a way of getting people to think about post elimination minds. However, as always, religion is a blind alley - I think it profoundly unlikely that language is suppressing a better way that has been lost or even that losing language would be the key to instantly finding it. More to the point, while I have great sympathy for Buddhism as a stoic philosophy, every Buddhist I have spoken to talks bollocks. Worse, I'm acutely aware that most classic Koans have their genesis in misunderstandings of a variation of ordinary language philosophy practised in China rather a long time ago.
As with the earlier matter, I think it's a matter of cherry picking. I think Buddhism addresses the issue that language is a poor way to represent reality. Whether or not they got it right is sort of immaterial. So to speak. I tend to think Buddha did and some Buddhists have. But it's an open question short of enlightenment.[/QUOTE]

So you think enlightenment is a real thing? Usual rules: how well does such a notion fit with everything we know?

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Post by plebian » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:19 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674365 wrote:
subsymbolic;674364 wrote:
plebian;674362 wrote:It's pretty hard to develop a model of reality using language. There are some inherent limitations.
And you think Buddhists avoid that trap? I sometimes use the idea of enlightenment as a way of getting people to think about post elimination minds. However, as always, religion is a blind alley - I think it profoundly unlikely that language is suppressing a better way that has been lost or even that losing language would be the key to instantly finding it. More to the point, while I have great sympathy for Buddhism as a stoic philosophy, every Buddhist I have spoken to talks bollocks. Worse, I'm acutely aware that most classic Koans have their genesis in misunderstandings of a variation of ordinary language philosophy practised in China rather a long time ago.
As with the earlier matter, I think it's a matter of cherry picking. I think Buddhism addresses the issue that language is a poor way to represent reality. Whether or not they got it right is sort of immaterial. So to speak. I tend to think Buddha did and some Buddhists have. But it's an open question short of enlightenment.
So you think enlightenment is a real thing? Usual rules: how well does such a notion fit with everything we know?[/QUOTE]

In many ways I think there is enlightenment. What that may be from a physiological perspective is perhaps a matter of debate. But yeah. I am ok with the idea in a sort of general way.

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subsymbolic
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Post by subsymbolic » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:44 am

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674387 wrote:
plebian;674365 wrote:
subsymbolic;674364 wrote:
And you think Buddhists avoid that trap? I sometimes use the idea of enlightenment as a way of getting people to think about post elimination minds. However, as always, religion is a blind alley - I think it profoundly unlikely that language is suppressing a better way that has been lost or even that losing language would be the key to instantly finding it. More to the point, while I have great sympathy for Buddhism as a stoic philosophy, every Buddhist I have spoken to talks bollocks. Worse, I'm acutely aware that most classic Koans have their genesis in misunderstandings of a variation of ordinary language philosophy practised in China rather a long time ago.
As with the earlier matter, I think it's a matter of cherry picking. I think Buddhism addresses the issue that language is a poor way to represent reality. Whether or not they got it right is sort of immaterial. So to speak. I tend to think Buddha did and some Buddhists have. But it's an open question short of enlightenment.
So you think enlightenment is a real thing? Usual rules: how well does such a notion fit with everything we know?
In many ways I think there is enlightenment. What that may be from a physiological perspective is perhaps a matter of debate. But yeah. I am ok with the idea in a sort of general way.[/QUOTE]

I guess the devil is in the definition...

I don't think that there is a definition that satisfies both Buddhist dogma and fits with our understanding of how brains and the world works.

plebian
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Post by plebian » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:37 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674397 wrote:
subsymbolic;674387 wrote:
plebian;674365 wrote: As with the earlier matter, I think it's a matter of cherry picking. I think Buddhism addresses the issue that language is a poor way to represent reality. Whether or not they got it right is sort of immaterial. So to speak. I tend to think Buddha did and some Buddhists have. But it's an open question short of enlightenment.
So you think enlightenment is a real thing? Usual rules: how well does such a notion fit with everything we know?
In many ways I think there is enlightenment. What that may be from a physiological perspective is perhaps a matter of debate. But yeah. I am ok with the idea in a sort of general way.
I guess the devil is in the definition...

I don't think that there is a definition that satisfies both Buddhist dogma and fits with our understanding of how brains and the world works.[/QUOTE]

Dogma is notorious for being inaccurate. I think any sort of useful model of the external world that includes the internal world will need to include the model itself which is something that Buddhist enlightenment seems potentially to do. But that's a self-reference issue which is also notoriously tricky.

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Post by subsymbolic » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:31 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674398 wrote:
plebian;674397 wrote:
subsymbolic;674387 wrote:
So you think enlightenment is a real thing? Usual rules: how well does such a notion fit with everything we know?
In many ways I think there is enlightenment. What that may be from a physiological perspective is perhaps a matter of debate. But yeah. I am ok with the idea in a sort of general way.
I guess the devil is in the definition...

I don't think that there is a definition that satisfies both Buddhist dogma and fits with our understanding of how brains and the world works.
Dogma is notorious for being inaccurate. I think any sort of useful model of the external world that includes the internal world will need to include the model itself which is something that Buddhist enlightenment seems potentially to do. But that's a self-reference issue which is also notoriously tricky.[/QUOTE]

As I understand it Buddhist philosophy explicitly, in the doctrine of Anatta, denies the existence of a representing self. The Buddha is even more precise when he diagnoses that even denying the self is going to far as it implies there is something about which the question can be asked.

Of course, this is just the collision of the Mingjia school of linguistic philosophy with early Chinese Buddhism. The Buddhist misunderstood the ordinary language approach of this school and, just as many do today with 1950s ordinary language philosophy and subsequently talked bollocks about it. As Buddha probably would have said: Gavagai!

plebian
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Post by plebian » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:58 pm

Some Zen or Taoist type person once summarized a tenet of their schema in a fashion close to the following: Processes and words about processes are not the same and should not be treated as equivalent. When we discover an incongruity between words about processes and perceptions of those processes, there is nothing to do but laugh.

That always struck me as being a very reasonable ontological hedge.

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