Causality and consciousness

Discuss philosophical concepts and moral issues.
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subsymbolic
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Post by subsymbolic » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:01 pm

[quote=""plebian""]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.[/quote]


I agree that this makes complete sense from an analytic perspective and, as you have probably noticed, is a significant plank in my own position. However, it doesn't fit remotely well with the core philosophy of Buddhism as it sets up a dichotomy that Buddhism has no chance of escaping

The key implication for Buddhism is not merely this insight. If that were the case, then congratulations upon your satori and I'll see you in, or just outside, the Nirvana gig. The key insight is this, internalised to a process level.

Here. of course, is the problem. When you get down to it, there's only one real process set going on in the brain and it is action free, teleology free and not remotely contiguous with any user illusions except in as much as pain and a small range of discrimination happens* to feel like something. Without the other, more language like user illusions, this is a stark place indeed and while satisfyingly subsymbolic, it represents nothing but itself. You want it to mean anything at all, you need the other user illusions - that this is happening to someone rather than merely happening. When the self drops out, so does any top down binding of sensation. Bottom up binding rubs our nose in the inescapable fact that stuff feels like something because it is what that level of recursion happens to feel likeand for no other reason.

That we went on to build selves around this spark of phenomenology doesn't mean that it works on its own. So you can have illusion or nothing. There's no middle ground.

Meanwhile:

https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics ... scheme.pdf

CL. Apparently.

* My assumption is that the sort of recursive feedback loops that ensure that the whole brain gets the whole picture just feel like this to the brain having them and thus that the whole zombie thing is simply yet another bad question that confuses the issue. However, there are plenty who think that qualia exist in the same way as, say gravity, and so everything feels, it's just that we are set up to take advantage of this. Ironically this would make consciousness more real than my approach. If it were true.

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Post by plebian » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:49 pm

I agree that the p-zombie thing is a bad question. But I do wonder if you haven't forced an internal consistency into the wrong part of the model. I don't have enough information on Buddhism to make a detailed academic argument regarding it but I can't help thinking that trying to do that at all is basically what Buddhism is getting around from a different angle. Am I mistaken that Nirvana is not a supernatural concept? For some reason, I thought that was the point of the whole chop wood carry water bit.

Edit: do you mean that people argue qualia are external or objective aspects of the subject-object division?

Edit 2: I think I have the right context for the Davidson paper now so I'll give it a new read.

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Post by subsymbolic » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:08 pm

[quote=""plebian""]I agree that the p-zombie thing is a bad question. But I do wonder if you haven't forced an internal consistency into the wrong part of the model. I don't have enough information on Buddhism to make a detailed academic argument regarding it but I can't help thinking that trying to do that at all is basically what Buddhism is getting around from a different angle. Am I mistaken that Nirvana is not a supernatural concept? For some reason, I thought that was the point of the whole chop wood carry water bit.

Edit: do you mean that people argue qualia are external or objective aspects of the subject-object division?

Edit 2: I think I have the right context for the Davidson paper now so I'll give it a new read.[/quote]

Buddhism started off as a perfectly sensible stoic philosophy that can be accurately summed up as: life sucks, get over it, don't make it worse. As it rolled downhill from there it gathered a lot of bullshit on the way. Mind you, it started with far too much Hindu baggage too.

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Post by ruby sparks » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:24 pm

[quote=""plebian""]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.[/quote]

So, you have 3 things going on there. Processes, perceptions of processes and words about processes. Which two was he/she comparing?

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:15 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674414 wrote:I agree that the p-zombie thing is a bad question. But I do wonder if you haven't forced an internal consistency into the wrong part of the model. I don't have enough information on Buddhism to make a detailed academic argument regarding it but I can't help thinking that trying to do that at all is basically what Buddhism is getting around from a different angle. Am I mistaken that Nirvana is not a supernatural concept? For some reason, I thought that was the point of the whole chop wood carry water bit.

Edit: do you mean that people argue qualia are external or objective aspects of the subject-object division?

Edit 2: I think I have the right context for the Davidson paper now so I'll give it a new read.
Buddhism started off as a perfectly sensible stoic philosophy that can be accurately summed up as: life sucks, get over it, don't make it worse. As it rolled downhill from there it gathered a lot of bullshit on the way. Mind you, it started with far too much Hindu baggage too.[/QUOTE]

I kinda think you are wrong about that summary. Or at least that you've thoroughly filtered it. I think it is maybe a little closer to something like: it turns out we define our existence according to a principle that creates the concept of suffering or unease or frustration or something along those lines. We don't have to do that. There is a way to redefine it so that it is really different and turns out to solve a/the major problem of human experience which was an artifact of the older definition. That definition problem runs extremely deep though so you can't just switch everything without recognizing the point where the problem originates which unfortunately is not communicable through language at first but is communicable through language to someone who already gets it. Here are 8 practices that can help you get it.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:42 am

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674415 wrote:
plebian;674414 wrote:I agree that the p-zombie thing is a bad question. But I do wonder if you haven't forced an internal consistency into the wrong part of the model. I don't have enough information on Buddhism to make a detailed academic argument regarding it but I can't help thinking that trying to do that at all is basically what Buddhism is getting around from a different angle. Am I mistaken that Nirvana is not a supernatural concept? For some reason, I thought that was the point of the whole chop wood carry water bit.

Edit: do you mean that people argue qualia are external or objective aspects of the subject-object division?

Edit 2: I think I have the right context for the Davidson paper now so I'll give it a new read.
Buddhism started off as a perfectly sensible stoic philosophy that can be accurately summed up as: life sucks, get over it, don't make it worse. As it rolled downhill from there it gathered a lot of bullshit on the way. Mind you, it started with far too much Hindu baggage too.
I kinda think you are wrong about that summary. Or at least that you've thoroughly filtered it. I think it is maybe a little closer to something like: it turns out we define our existence according to a principle that creates the concept of suffering or unease or frustration or something along those lines. We don't have to do that. There is a way to redefine it so that it is really different and turns out to solve a/the major problem of human experience which was an artifact of the older definition. That definition problem runs extremely deep though so you can't just switch everything without recognizing the point where the problem originates which unfortunately is not communicable through language at first but is communicable through language to someone who already gets it. Here are 8 practices that can help you get it.[/QUOTE]

Of course I've thoroughly filtered it; I just summed it up in eight words. However, I can assure you that it is spot on.

The core of Buddhism:

Four sights: Old, ill, dead - change is inevitable and causes suffering.
priest - it is not inevitable that change causes suffering.

Three marks:

Anicca - change is inevitable

Anatta - there is no self

Dukkha, life appears unsatisfactory.

Four noble truths

Dukkha

Dukkha because craving (ambition, greed, stability etc)

Stop craving stop Dukkha

Stop dukkha by following the eightfold path

So far this all comes under life sucks, get over it. The eightfold path is entirely get over it or don't make it worse. Ironically, the insight that you see as central to Buddhist soteriology is a much later addition. Originally, the Buddha wasn't remotely concerned with seeing the world as it really was. He explicitly warned against trying to do this as it was implicitly dualistic and entirely misleading - a river doesn't care what the world is like, it just rivers away.


As such, the eightfold path is almost entirely practical and indeed stoical.

Right view - recognise there is a problem (life sucks)
right resolve - don't make it worse
right conduct - don't make it worse
right livelihood - don't make it worse
right speech - don't make it worse
right effort - don't make it worse/get over it
right mind - don't make it worse/get over it
right meditation - less said the better!

All but two of the practices are simply stoical moral imperatives - they are practical advice for life. The other two are acceptance of the Buddhist axioms and style of meditation. Having read the Davidson, you'll see the problem with this approach now. Either we can see it from here, or there's no way there anyway. It's the same issue as Wittgenstein had - the very criteria that make a private language private also make it impossible to learn or describe.

As such, there is no difference (from this perspective) between real enlightenment and bullshit enlightenment. Worse, any criteria for separating the two out can be rejected. All we are left with on this side is a practical stoical philosophy ... and a slide from a common sense assertion that we should live well (and what well means) to a far from common sense assertion that there is more under the hood. Frankly, the moment anyone has monks and nuns then I know that we have an out of control evolutionary process that has sod all to do with our happiness

So what Buddhism has found is a fine conceptual gap in which they can hide the falsifiable. I see no change there when I consider the gaps employed by other purveyors of faith and, as an expert on exactly that particular gap, I call bullshit. Now you can call me a buddhist behaviourist, but I'll just smile enigmatically and chant MU.
Last edited by subsymbolic on Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by ruby sparks » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:14 pm

Obviously, the word enlightenment can have woo baggage when it is used in a religious context.

Outside of that, It's an ok word, imo. I would consider it enlightening, for instance, to understand that the earth is not the centre of the universe or that I am descended from an ape or that there is almost certainly no god.

I also have a soft spot for what might be called 'transcendental enlightenment', but if and when I have ever attained a certain state, involving perhaps an apparent loss of a sense of self or whatever, I don't tend to think that this gives me privileged access to 'the Truth (in any capitalised, absolute sense) under the hood' of everyday experience. It's just an altered state, often pleasant, sometimes useful and calming, or at the very least interesting. At the end of the day, I reckon that active science is going to lead to more enlightenment than any amount of internal and passive rumination.

Without being able to say that I know enough about Buddhism to be sure, I would be surprised if it wasn't, like all religions, full of contradictions and alternative interpretations, and if Buddhist writings aren't treated in a similar way to Christian ones, where everyone gets to cherry-pick their preferred concepts from the whole, then I would take my hat off to Buddhism. Though I'd be surprised if I had to.

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Post by Tharmas » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:58 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
Without being able to say that I know enough about Buddhism to be sure, I would be surprised if it wasn't, like all religions, full of contradictions and alternative interpretations, and if Buddhist writings aren't treated in a similar way to Christian ones, where everyone gets to cherry-pick their preferred concepts from the whole, then I would take my hat off to Buddhism. Though I'd be surprised if I had to.[/quote]

I’m certainly no expert on Buddhism either, but this strikes me as a valid observation. Aren’t there different flavors of Buddhism, such as Zen, etc.? Can one really talk about a monolithic “Buddhism”?

Many years ago I knew a woman who introduced me to meditation, as well as to this chap: (Wikipedia)Sri Chinmoy, who seemed to have some chops. The woman told me that she hoped to achieve Nirvana in her current lifetime so she wouldn’t have to be reincarnated again as some kind of animal.

That did it for me and Buddhism.

Otherwise, I’ve been following this thread with great interest.

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:16 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
plebian;674426 wrote:
subsymbolic;674415 wrote:
plebian;674414 wrote:I agree that the p-zombie thing is a bad question. But I do wonder if you haven't forced an internal consistency into the wrong part of the model. I don't have enough information on Buddhism to make a detailed academic argument regarding it but I can't help thinking that trying to do that at all is basically what Buddhism is getting around from a different angle. Am I mistaken that Nirvana is not a supernatural concept? For some reason, I thought that was the point of the whole chop wood carry water bit.

Edit: do you mean that people argue qualia are external or objective aspects of the subject-object division?

Edit 2: I think I have the right context for the Davidson paper now so I'll give it a new read.
Buddhism started off as a perfectly sensible stoic philosophy that can be accurately summed up as: life sucks, get over it, don't make it worse. As it rolled downhill from there it gathered a lot of bullshit on the way. Mind you, it started with far too much Hindu baggage too.
I kinda think you are wrong about that summary. Or at least that you've thoroughly filtered it. I think it is maybe a little closer to something like: it turns out we define our existence according to a principle that creates the concept of suffering or unease or frustration or something along those lines. We don't have to do that. There is a way to redefine it so that it is really different and turns out to solve a/the major problem of human experience which was an artifact of the older definition. That definition problem runs extremely deep though so you can't just switch everything without recognizing the point where the problem originates which unfortunately is not communicable through language at first but is communicable through language to someone who already gets it. Here are 8 practices that can help you get it.
Of course I've thoroughly filtered it; I just summed it up in eight words. However, I can assure you that it is spot on.

The core of Buddhism:

Four sights: Old, ill, dead - change is inevitable and causes suffering.
priest - it is not inevitable that change causes suffering.

Three marks:

Anicca - change is inevitable

Anatta - there is no self

Dukkha, life appears unsatisfactory.

Four noble truths

Dukkha

Dukkha because craving (ambition, greed, stability etc)

Stop craving stop Dukkha

Stop dukkha by following the eightfold path

So far this all comes under life sucks, get over it. The eightfold path is entirely get over it or don't make it worse. Ironically, the insight that you see as central to Buddhist soteriology is a much later addition. Originally, the Buddha wasn't remotely concerned with seeing the world as it really was. He explicitly warned against trying to do this as it was implicitly dualistic and entirely misleading - a river doesn't care what the world is like, it just rivers away.


As such, the eightfold path is almost entirely practical and indeed stoical.

Right view - recognise there is a problem (life sucks)
right resolve - don't make it worse
right conduct - don't make it worse
right livelihood - don't make it worse
right speech - don't make it worse
right effort - don't make it worse/get over it
right mind - don't make it worse/get over it
right meditation - less said the better!

All but two of the practices are simply stoical moral imperatives - they are practical advice for life. The other two are acceptance of the Buddhist axioms and style of meditation. Having read the Davidson, you'll see the problem with this approach now. Either we can see it from here, or there's no way there anyway. It's the same issue as Wittgenstein had - the very criteria that make a private language private also make it impossible to learn or describe.

As such, there is no difference (from this perspective) between real enlightenment and bullshit enlightenment. Worse, any criteria for separating the two out can be rejected. All we are left with on this side is a practical stoical philosophy ... and a slide from a common sense assertion that we should live well (and what well means) to a far from common sense assertion that there is more under the hood. Frankly, the moment anyone has monks and nuns then I know that we have an out of control evolutionary process that has sod all to do with our happiness

So what Buddhism has found is a fine conceptual gap in which they can hide the falsifiable. I see no change there when I consider the gaps employed by other purveyors of faith and, as an expert on exactly that particular gap, I call bullshit. Now you can call me a buddhist behaviourist, but I'll just smile enigmatically and chant MU.[/QUOTE]

I tend not to assume that religious people are good sources of information on religious philosophy. Or, at least I assume that if I want anything useful out of it, I need to do the meaning-making part myself. I think that the noble truths and eightfold path (or whatever the right words for those concepts are) may well map onto a stoic philosophy but I get something significantly different out of it and to me that mapping is inaccurate. This is certainly a case of lensing though and I don't know a way around that issue. Tharmas' anecdote about the wanting to hurry with enlightenment to avoid the next reincarnation is a good example of the reason I tend not to think institutionalized practice is a good source of personal insight. Yeah, there are a lot of people who've internalized stuff about the religion, it is over 2500 old, but there are also a lot of people who've offered up bits of perspective along the way that are distinct enough from the individual that we can safely discount the individual and just look at the ideas themselves. Once you can get over the people, the ideas are a lot freer to find their own ways into our own schematics.

Like I said earlier though, I am nowhere near the kind of expert who could write up an academic treatise on the subject. All I have is my own interpretation which to me is basically a lens regarding the causal nature of language. The reason I even brought up Buddhist enlightenment had to do with dealing with the problem that a model of reality has to also account for itself which very quickly becomes a recursive nightmare. Also the mapping of language to reality is imperfect to a degree that makes all models involve information loss at infinity-x; itself an impossible language game and yet demonstrably true.

Buddhism may not actually have that sort of puzzle piece but it has occurred to me many times that it might so I tend to keep that door open.

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:44 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]Obviously, the word enlightenment can have woo baggage when it is used in a religious context.

Outside of that, It's an ok word, imo. I would consider it enlightening, for instance, to understand that the earth is not the centre of the universe or that I am descended from an ape or that there is almost certainly no god.

I also have a soft spot for what might be called 'transcendental enlightenment', but if and when I have ever attained a certain state, involving perhaps an apparent loss of a sense of self or whatever, I don't tend to think that this gives me privileged access to 'the Truth (in any capitalised, absolute sense) under the hood' of everyday experience. It's just an altered state, often pleasant, sometimes useful and calming, or at the very least interesting. At the end of the day, I reckon that active science is going to lead to more enlightenment than any amount of internal and passive rumination.[/quote]

Well, I agree with everything you said there but science has a serious language problem that needs some passive rumination.

Without being able to say that I know enough about Buddhism to be sure, I would be surprised if it wasn't, like all religions, full of contradictions and alternative interpretations, and if Buddhist writings aren't treated in a similar way to Christian ones, where everyone gets to cherry-pick their preferred concepts from the whole, then I would take my hat off to Buddhism. Though I'd be surprised if I had to.
I'd be surprised too.

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:45 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
plebian;674410 wrote: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.
So, you have 3 things going on there. Processes, perceptions of processes and words about processes. Which two was he/she comparing?[/QUOTE]

perceptions and words about perceptions. I don't think there is a way to get at the processes beyond perception though.

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Post by subsymbolic » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:03 pm

[quote=""plebian""]
subsymbolic;674435 wrote:
plebian;674426 wrote:
subsymbolic;674415 wrote:
Buddhism started off as a perfectly sensible stoic philosophy that can be accurately summed up as: life sucks, get over it, don't make it worse. As it rolled downhill from there it gathered a lot of bullshit on the way. Mind you, it started with far too much Hindu baggage too.
I kinda think you are wrong about that summary. Or at least that you've thoroughly filtered it. I think it is maybe a little closer to something like: it turns out we define our existence according to a principle that creates the concept of suffering or unease or frustration or something along those lines. We don't have to do that. There is a way to redefine it so that it is really different and turns out to solve a/the major problem of human experience which was an artifact of the older definition. That definition problem runs extremely deep though so you can't just switch everything without recognizing the point where the problem originates which unfortunately is not communicable through language at first but is communicable through language to someone who already gets it. Here are 8 practices that can help you get it.
Of course I've thoroughly filtered it; I just summed it up in eight words. However, I can assure you that it is spot on.

The core of Buddhism:

Four sights: Old, ill, dead - change is inevitable and causes suffering.
priest - it is not inevitable that change causes suffering.

Three marks:

Anicca - change is inevitable

Anatta - there is no self

Dukkha, life appears unsatisfactory.

Four noble truths

Dukkha

Dukkha because craving (ambition, greed, stability etc)

Stop craving stop Dukkha

Stop dukkha by following the eightfold path

So far this all comes under life sucks, get over it. The eightfold path is entirely get over it or don't make it worse. Ironically, the insight that you see as central to Buddhist soteriology is a much later addition. Originally, the Buddha wasn't remotely concerned with seeing the world as it really was. He explicitly warned against trying to do this as it was implicitly dualistic and entirely misleading - a river doesn't care what the world is like, it just rivers away.


As such, the eightfold path is almost entirely practical and indeed stoical.

Right view - recognise there is a problem (life sucks)
right resolve - don't make it worse
right conduct - don't make it worse
right livelihood - don't make it worse
right speech - don't make it worse
right effort - don't make it worse/get over it
right mind - don't make it worse/get over it
right meditation - less said the better!

All but two of the practices are simply stoical moral imperatives - they are practical advice for life. The other two are acceptance of the Buddhist axioms and style of meditation. Having read the Davidson, you'll see the problem with this approach now. Either we can see it from here, or there's no way there anyway. It's the same issue as Wittgenstein had - the very criteria that make a private language private also make it impossible to learn or describe.

As such, there is no difference (from this perspective) between real enlightenment and bullshit enlightenment. Worse, any criteria for separating the two out can be rejected. All we are left with on this side is a practical stoical philosophy ... and a slide from a common sense assertion that we should live well (and what well means) to a far from common sense assertion that there is more under the hood. Frankly, the moment anyone has monks and nuns then I know that we have an out of control evolutionary process that has sod all to do with our happiness

So what Buddhism has found is a fine conceptual gap in which they can hide the falsifiable. I see no change there when I consider the gaps employed by other purveyors of faith and, as an expert on exactly that particular gap, I call bullshit. Now you can call me a buddhist behaviourist, but I'll just smile enigmatically and chant MU.
I tend not to assume that religious people are good sources of information on religious philosophy. Or, at least I assume that if I want anything useful out of it, I need to do the meaning-making part myself. I think that the noble truths and eightfold path (or whatever the right words for those concepts are) may well map onto a stoic philosophy but I get something significantly different out of it and to me that mapping is inaccurate.
I'm pretty certain that I'm ramraiding the Pali Canon which is as far back as Buddhism goes. I'm sure that there are neobuddhist cults that added extra special sauce to taste.
This is certainly a case of lensing though and I don't know a way around that issue.
Have you finished the Davidson yet? How is 'lensing' different?
Tharmas' anecdote about the wanting to hurry with enlightenment to avoid the next reincarnation is a good example of the reason I tend not to think institutionalized practice is a good source of personal insight.
I agree, Tharmas is usually right on the money.
Yeah, there are a lot of people who've internalized stuff about the religion, it is over 2500 old, but there are also a lot of people who've offered up bits of perspective along the way that are distinct enough from the individual that we can safely discount the individual and just look at the ideas themselves. Once you can get over the people, the ideas are a lot freer to find their own ways into our own schematics.
Sure, but they are, when you get down to it, making a cognitive claim. I want to see a difference that makes a difference.
Like I said earlier though, I am nowhere near the kind of expert who could write up an academic treatise on the subject.
You probably are. Religion isn't difficult with a run up.
All I have is my own interpretation which to me is basically a lens regarding the causal nature of language. The reason I even brought up Buddhist enlightenment had to do with dealing with the problem that a model of reality has to also account for itself which very quickly becomes a recursive nightmare.
And here we are back to agreeing.
Also the mapping of language to reality is imperfect to a degree that makes all models involve information loss at infinity-x; itself an impossible language game and yet demonstrably true.
It's not often I say this, but can I have this written slowly without assuming I understand...
Buddhism may not actually have that sort of puzzle piece but it has occurred to me many times that it might so I tend to keep that door open.
Agnostics are just Atheists with commitment issues! :D

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:56 pm

I did read the Davidson paper yesterday but need to print it out and make notes to do it justice. I will say that I have sharp disagreements with a few of his premises.
Alternatively, there is the idea that any language distorts reality, which implies that it is only wordlessly if at all that the mind comes to grips with things as they really are. This is to conceive language as an inert (though necessarily distorting) medium independent of the human agencies that employ it; a view of language that surely cannot be maintained. Yet if the mind can grapple without distortion with the real, the mind itself must be without categories and concepts.
is setting up a purest of strawmen and basically speaks to my criticism of the paper. Not to say I don't like it but I do take some issues with it.

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:12 pm

[quote=""plebian""]I did read the Davidson paper yesterday but need to print it out and make notes to do it justice. I will say that I have sharp disagreements with a few of his premises.
Alternatively, there is the idea that any language distorts reality, which implies that it is only wordlessly if at all that the mind comes to grips with things as they really are. This is to conceive language as an inert (though necessarily distorting) medium independent of the human agencies that employ it; a view of language that surely cannot be maintained. Yet if the mind can grapple without distortion with the real, the mind itself must be without categories and concepts.
is setting up a purest of strawmen and basically speaks to my criticism of the paper. Not to say I don't like it but I do take some issues with it.[/quote]

ETA:
Strawson's The Bounds of Sense begins with the remark that "It is possible to imagine kinds of worlds very different from the world as we know it. Since there is at most one world, these pluralities are metaphorical or merely imagined.
Needs to read Poncaire's The Value of Science ch's 2 & 3, Science and Hypothesis ch's 3-5, and Science and Method ch 1.

ETA2: the order of those is wrong. The first two should be flipped.
Last edited by plebian on Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: added links.

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Post by subsymbolic » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:53 pm

I'm busy for a few days, but I will return to this - mind you, i said that to Tharmas over the M51...

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Post by plebian » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:14 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]I'm busy for a few days, but I will return to this - mind you, i said that to Tharmas over the M51...[/quote]

Me too. I am on a kayaking trip from Thursday through Sunday and that's made work a little more busy than normal this week. We can pick it back up next week.

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Post by ruby sparks » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:40 am

[quote=""Tharmas""]Many years ago I knew a woman who introduced me to meditation, as well as to this chap: (Wikipedia)Sri Chinmoy, who seemed to have some chops. The woman told me that she hoped to achieve Nirvana in her current lifetime so she wouldn’t have to be reincarnated again as some kind of animal.

That did it for me and Buddhism. [/quote]

To me, it's a baby and bathwater thing. Meditation, for example, of itself, without woo attached, can result in an 'altered' state of consciousness, but it's likely no more about accessing the truth than is eating a different type of sandwich about experiencing the 'True Sandwich'.

In any case, our conscious experience 'alters' continuously, for all sorts of reasons, going through cycles even during any given 24 hours, month, year or lifetime.

That said, certain benefits of meditation have been attested to (and studied) including improved cognitive function and improved mood, which, if we don't go beyond them, are imo reasonable claims and aspirations. Improved cognitive function, for example, could reasonably be said to be conducive to enlightenment, just not the sort that Buddhism or any other superstition-based paradigm aims for.
Last edited by ruby sparks on Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:58 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by Tharmas » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:51 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
Tharmas;674446 wrote:Many years ago I knew a woman who introduced me to meditation, as well as to this chap: (Wikipedia)Sri Chinmoy, who seemed to have some chops. The woman told me that she hoped to achieve Nirvana in her current lifetime so she wouldn’t have to be reincarnated again as some kind of animal.

That did it for me and Buddhism.
To me, it's a baby and bathwater thing. Meditation, for example, of itself, without woo attached, can result in an 'altered' state of consciousness, but it's likely no more about accessing the truth than is eating a different type of sandwich about experiencing the 'True Sandwich'.

In any case, our conscious experience 'alters' continuously, for all sorts of reasons, going through cycles even during any given 24 hours, month, year or lifetime.

That said, certain benefits of meditation have been attested to (and studied) including improved cognitive function and improved mood, which, if we don't go beyond them, are imo reasonable claims and aspirations. Improved cognitive function, for example, could reasonably be said to be conducive to enlightenment, just not the sort that Buddhism or any other superstition-based paradigm aims for.[/QUOTE]

I agree with you completely. My son is an advocate of meditation, practices meditation every day, and teaches classes in it, all without too much of the woo creeping in. Like you, I certainly don't disparage meditation per se, just the superstition that is frequently associated with it.

That said, I will affirm that I have never been able to associate meditation with the apprehension of any "reality" outside my own bodily senses.
Last edited by Tharmas on Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: attempted clarity

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Post by plebian » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:21 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]I'm busy for a few days, but I will return to this - mind you, i said that to Tharmas over the M51...[/quote]

When you get back, now that I've had time to read the Davidson article, can you summarize the key logical point in a sentence or two? It's a deconstruction mess for me at the moment and it may be that there's no reason to do that if the main point I'm looking at is different from the main point you are looking at.

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Post by ruby sparks » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:50 pm

[quote=""plebian""].....can you summarize the key logical point in a sentence or two? ....[/quote]

How about.....

'TruthTM is f**king elusive, to the point that searching for it is arguably a waste of one's valuable time on earth, but we're going to keep doing it. It's our job.'

(on behalf of philosphers everywhere)

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Post by subsymbolic » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:14 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
plebian;674745 wrote:.....can you summarize the key logical point in a sentence or two? ....
How about.....

'TruthTM is f**king elusive, to the point that searching for it is arguably a waste of one's valuable time on earth, but we're going to keep doing it. It's our job.'

(on behalf of philosphers everywhere)[/QUOTE]

Well that saves me half an hour of typing.

Of course, this isn't about truth in any way that matters. You see, much as Russell's gibbering about denotation in 1905 paved the way for silly toys like computers and the suchlike, Davidson's pointless bollocks rather imperils the notion of an unbreakable code. Or rather, it blows a hole through the idea that something being say, NP complete is a guarantee of security. Because Gavagai. Or rather because ¬ Gavagai. But hey, what you don't know can't hurt you. Just ask Admiral Raeder.

Obviously this sort of toss has literally no practical implications in the real world because philosophers are just having a wank and no one cares about whether there might be other ways of 'calculating' an NP complete problem that might make it as trivially simple as robbing a 3d bank if you are a 4d creature.

Personally, I've been arguing for years that a true analog net trained by a painfully hard evolutionary method can hit upon ways of doing shit that are not dreamed of in our philosophies. I think that brains are such a device, but they work at a maximum speed that a decent BMW can exceed rather than .75 the speed without the handicap of a working memory on a par with a goldfish with altzheimers...

Of course, no one is doing research that might take us in the direction of non simulated adaptive neural nets...

http://archive.bcs.org/bulletin/jan98/leading.htm

When Adrian says he doesn't know how it works, he's really not joking:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf

Page 10 fig 7...

Because if Davidson is right, then our ideas of what is secure might be as 2D as Edwin Abbot Abbot's.
Last edited by subsymbolic on Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:15 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]Having used the word constitution, rather than identity, begin to limn the relationship between brains and the products of brains, here's the argument that convinced me:

http://people.umass.edu/lrb/files/bak97whyP.pdf

It's not really important here, Davidson and Wittgenstein do the heavy lifting for me, but it's a subtle distinction that really matters further down the road.[/quote]

Just read this for a second time. It sure seems like the Buddhist 'where is the ash in the firewood' question to me. While I know you know I mean it as a compliment, it does strike me as fairly traditional philosowanking, somewhere between the paradox of the heap and a first run at impermanence with a little bit of Kant's a priori tossed in as garnish. It seems obvious that logic can't get at identity to me which probably means I've misunderstood something.

Can this paper be summarized with negligible remainder by stating that identity is assigned rather than inherent?

I wrote a section for paper once about identity in boundary conditions and why we name some classes of things in relation to the problem we're addressing rather than to a universal. If that sounds exciting then I oversold it. Very specific application. But suffice it to say that identity in many forms fascinates me.

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:18 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
ruby sparks;674802 wrote:
plebian;674745 wrote:.....can you summarize the key logical point in a sentence or two? ....
How about.....

'TruthTM is f**king elusive, to the point that searching for it is arguably a waste of one's valuable time on earth, but we're going to keep doing it. It's our job.'

(on behalf of philosphers everywhere)
Well that saves me half an hour of typing.

Of course, this isn't about truth in any way that matters. You see, much as Russell's gibbering about denotation in 1905 paved the way for silly toys like computers and the suchlike, Davidson's pointless bollocks rather imperils the notion of an unbreakable code. Or rather, it blows a hole through the idea that something being say, NP complete is a guarantee of security. Because Gavagai. Or rather because ¬ Gavagai. But hey, what you don't know can't hurt you. Just ask Admiral Raeder.

Obviously this sort of toss has literally no practical implications in the real world because philosophers are just having a wank and no one cares about whether there might be other ways of 'calculating' an NP complete problem that might make it as trivially simple as robbing a 3d bank if you are a 4d creature.

Personally, I've been arguing for years that a true analog net trained by a painfully hard evolutionary method can hit upon ways of doing shit that are not dreamed of in our philosophies. I think that brains are such a device, but they work at a maximum speed that a decent BMW can exceed rather than .75 the speed without the handicap of a working memory on a par with a goldfish with altzheimers...

Of course, no one is doing research that might take us in the direction of non simulated adaptive neural nets...

http://archive.bcs.org/bulletin/jan98/leading.htm

When Adrian says he doesn't know how it works, he's really not joking:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf

Page 10 fig 7...

Because if Davidson is right, then our ideas of what is secure might be as 2D as Edwin Abbot Abbot's.[/QUOTE]

I would be surprised if they weren't. Thanks for this post, btw. That's the sort of thing that makes forums worthwhile.

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Post by ruby sparks » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:48 am

[quote=""plebian""]Can this paper be summarized with negligible remainder by stating that identity is assigned rather than inherent?
[/quote]

Arguably yes, and imo the implications of that could some day turn out to be as significant as Schopenhauer's ideas on metaphysical voluntarism were for the development of modern biogenetics.
Last edited by ruby sparks on Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:37 am, edited 23 times in total.

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Post by plebian » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:51 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
plebian;674814 wrote:Can this paper be summarized with negligible remainder by stating that identity is assigned rather than inherent?
Arguably yes, and imo the implications of that could some day turn out to be as significant as Schopenhauer's ideas on metaphysical voluntarism were for the development of modern biogenetics.[/QUOTE]

Ontologies are weird because of paradigm issues. Don't dis Schopenhauer until you know what he was addressing. Hume laid out a pretty tough question and there are lots of ways of getting at it.

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