Free Will

on fundamental matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and ethics.

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Re: Free Will

#13921  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 9:39 am

Theory of Mind is not 'a theory'. I can see why the name might confuse someone who's not bothered to look past the title, but wants to pretend that they know what they're talking about.

Theory of Mind isn't about 'what someone is thinking' - it is about ascribing mental states to other people, i.e conceiving of motivations for their actions, empathizing with what they feel given an event, intuiting their desires based on perceived conditions.

There is no suggestion whatsoever that 'science' has to be able to tell exactly what someone's thinking - your bait and switch doesn't even follow logically. Rather, despite your apparent complete disinterest with what's actually occurred in the sciences over the last decades, many scientific methodologies in routine use today in many areas of the world can predict peoples' actions with a very high degree of accuracy.

Why are you pretending to knowledge you clear don't have, Destroyer? If you think you can convince me you know what you're talking about while writing such utter shite, I am sorry to say that you're going to be disappointed.

Destroyer wrote:
Correction, this will be final say on the topic.


No. Pop you hubris back whence it came: you don't decree what the final say is on a topic, and particularly not so when you're clearly functionally ignorant about that topic.
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Re: Free Will

#13922  Postby hackenslash » Apr 10, 2022 9:48 am

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Re: Free Will

#13923  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 9:53 am

Once again, despite both Zoon and Destroyer working so diligently to ignore the direct challenge to Zoon's claim - the claim I've been challenging for 6+ pages and all I keep getting back are irrelevancies, distractions, and whatever ignorant posturing just motivated Destroyer....

Zoon wrote:Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


This was repeated more than half a dozen times in various different formulations, but the assertion remains absent a single jot of support.

I know - why don't one of you distract me from my clearly stated challenge to a specific claim by telling me AGAIN what ToM is - just cos you failed the prior 27 times, doesn't mean this time ain't the charm, eh?

The reason you can't support it is because it's false.
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Re: Free Will

#13924  Postby hackenslash » Apr 10, 2022 10:01 am

Spearthrower wrote:Theory of Mind isn't about 'what someone is thinking' - it is about ascribing mental states to other people, i.e conceiving of motivations for their actions, empathizing with what they feel given an event, intuiting their desires based on perceived conditions.

There is no suggestion whatsoever that 'science' has to be able to tell exactly what someone's thinking - your bait and switch doesn't even follow logically. Rather, despite your apparent complete disinterest with what's actually occurred in the sciences over the last decades, many scientific methodologies in routine use today in many areas of the world can predict peoples' actions with a very high degree of accuracy.


A couple of noteworthy things:

First, it's incredible telling that the one advocating for ToM in this thread has - multiple times - completely failed to ascribe motivation, and of course it's always worth pointing out the enormous numbers of failure of ToM to correctly ascribe motivation or appeal to motivation wouldn't be a) a fallacy and b) almost always pure projection. ToM, were it remotely capable of delivering on the woo-laden promises, wouldn't result in the kind of political systems we end up getting screwed by, with progressives incorrectly ascribing a motivation to be good on regressives and regressives ascribing the opposite motivations to progressives. It's why the generally outnumbered regressives keep getting in power, because they're motivated to get out and vote against the nefarious motivations while progressives generally feel that people will do the right thing - in the face of all the evidence, I might add. I mean, we have actual data about how these motivations work and ToM still fails.

Second, fMRI can do considerably better at ascribing motivation, because different motivations light up different areas of the brain.

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Re: Free Will

#13925  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 10:20 am

hackenslash wrote:
Second, fMRI can do considerably better at ascribing motivation, because different motivations light up different areas of the brain.


Amygdala firing up? We can certainly predict with a very high level of accuracy what a person is feeling, and what choices they're more likely about to make. Hypothalmus signalling the adrenal glands to shoot out some epinephrine? We can certainly predict with a very high level of accuracy what a person is feeling, what choices they are more likely about to make, and probably even accurately predict the actions they will take over the coming seconds. There are hundreds of similar measurements we can make with 'science' that map out to mental states and predictable future behavior on an order of detail and precision vastly outstripping projecting a mental state onto them.

We can't tote an MRI around with us on the off-chance of catching someone being attacked by a tiger, but we can know what the sensation of fear does to the body, and consequently to mental states, decision-making, and even what actions a person is going to take far better with 'science' than just positing that the person is terrified with our mind-theorizing.

I am going to use quotes on 'science' because I fear that the other two have employed some cartoon version of it - but even that cartoony version is vastly more capable than they apparently realize.

I don't know when scientists might have last believed that ToM was the high bar of accurately predicting people, but it's definitely, unarguably not been the case for the entire modern period dating back decades and decades.

I want to spell out that I was very straight forward on this point many times - appeals that 'science' says X, or that all science supports X amounts to an obligation to provide satisfactory material support for such a claim - an obligation that it seems fair for me to now say that Zoon doesn't want to meet - employing Creationist-style wish-thinking about science is absurd, and I'm more than justified in roundly dismissing it. It's far more fucking impolite to bullshit to try and win arguments on the internet than it is to call said bullshit out, and anyone who disagrees with that can go suck it, frankly.
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Re: Free Will

#13926  Postby hackenslash » Apr 10, 2022 10:26 am

Spearthrower wrote:It's far more fucking impolite to bullshit to try and win arguments on the internet than it is to call said bullshit out, and anyone who disagrees with that can go suck it, frankly.


Precisely why I've never had any compunction in treating it with the complete contempt it deserves.
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Re: Free Will

#13927  Postby Destroyer » Apr 10, 2022 12:12 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Theory of Mind is not 'a theory'. I can see why the name might confuse someone who's not bothered to look past the title, but wants to pretend that they know what they're talking about.

Theory of Mind isn't about 'what someone is thinking' - it is about ascribing mental states to other people, i.e conceiving of motivations for their actions, empathizing with what they feel given an event, intuiting their desires based on perceived conditions.

There is no suggestion whatsoever that 'science' has to be able to tell exactly what someone's thinking - your bait and switch doesn't even follow logically. Rather, despite your apparent complete disinterest with what's actually occurred in the sciences over the last decades, many scientific methodologies in routine use today in many areas of the world can predict peoples' actions with a very high degree of accuracy.

Why are you pretending to knowledge you clear don't have, Destroyer? If you think you can convince me you know what you're talking about while writing such utter shite, I am sorry to say that you're going to be disappointed.

Destroyer wrote:
Correction, this will be final say on the topic.


No. Pop you hubris back whence it came: you don't decree what the final say is on a topic, and particularly not so when you're clearly functionally ignorant about that topic.


I actually meant to say this will be my final word on the topic. However, your failure to understand is amazing. The theory in ToM is that we can understand other people with guesswork.
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Re: Free Will

#13928  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 12:54 pm

Destroyer wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Theory of Mind is not 'a theory'. I can see why the name might confuse someone who's not bothered to look past the title, but wants to pretend that they know what they're talking about.

Theory of Mind isn't about 'what someone is thinking' - it is about ascribing mental states to other people, i.e conceiving of motivations for their actions, empathizing with what they feel given an event, intuiting their desires based on perceived conditions.

There is no suggestion whatsoever that 'science' has to be able to tell exactly what someone's thinking - your bait and switch doesn't even follow logically. Rather, despite your apparent complete disinterest with what's actually occurred in the sciences over the last decades, many scientific methodologies in routine use today in many areas of the world can predict peoples' actions with a very high degree of accuracy.

Why are you pretending to knowledge you clear don't have, Destroyer? If you think you can convince me you know what you're talking about while writing such utter shite, I am sorry to say that you're going to be disappointed.

Destroyer wrote:
Correction, this will be final say on the topic.


No. Pop you hubris back whence it came: you don't decree what the final say is on a topic, and particularly not so when you're clearly functionally ignorant about that topic.


I actually meant to say this will be my final word on the topic.


Oh well, then how terrible of me for having read what you wrote rather than what you meant to write! :roll:

Plus, I think it's pretty damn clear that it's not the last time you're going to shove an ignorant oar in to this thread.



Destroyer wrote:However, your failure to understand is amazing.


Nice try for someone who's just shown their knowledge of the topic doesn't stretch past the title of the topic.


Destroyer wrote:The theory in ToM is that we can understand other people with guesswork.


You're still stating bullshit as fact, you're still wrong, and it's still absurd that you think you can blag this. The word 'theory' in 'theory of mind' would be better written as 'concept of mind' - we have a concept of mind, an assumed intentionality. No theorizing takes place, either formally or informally.
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Re: Free Will

#13929  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 1:13 pm

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/membe ... yer/posts/

1874 posts dating back to 2010; the vast majority of those posts in the philosophy subforum, and the very first ever mention made of 'theory of mind' by Destroyer is in this thread, a few weeks ago. Seems incredible, really. My first post on 'theory of mind' on this forum is from 2011 with literally dozens of other references to it over the years, and the vast majority of my posts aren't even in philosophy or psychology.

I submit that it is evident that this is the first time Destroyer ever heard about theory of mind given how many false statements he's making about it; his grasp doesn't even amount to an overview paragraph from wikipedia, even if he is trying to pretend that copying and pasting from its opening paragraph means he knows what he's talking about.

Why do people insist on pretending that they know shit that they clearly don't? Don't they realize that anyone who does know that shit isn't going to be fooled?
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Re: Free Will

#13930  Postby zoon » Apr 10, 2022 8:36 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Here's an example of 'science', as in, formalized hypotheses being tested:

http://brain4cars.com/pdfs/iccv2015.pdf

Abstract
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have made driving safer over the last decade. They prepare vehicles
for unsafe road conditions and alert drivers if they perform a dangerous maneuver. However, many accidents are
unavoidable because by the time drivers are alerted, it is already too late. Anticipating maneuvers beforehand can
alert drivers before they perform the maneuver and also give ADAS more time to avoid or prepare for the danger.
In this work we anticipate driving maneuvers a few seconds before they occur. For this purpose we equip a car
with cameras and a computing device to capture the driving context from both inside and outside of the car. We propose
an Autoregressive Input-Output HMM to model the contextual information along with the maneuvers. We evaluate our
approach on a diverse data set with 1180 miles of natural freeway and city driving and show that we can anticipate
maneuvers 3.5 seconds before they occur with over 80% F1-score in real-time.


Here we have a stated methodology, complete with real world results, and an actual measurement of accuracy.

It doesn't even need to be very good science to show how lacking Zoon's repeated claim about ToM being more effective at predictions than 'science' is - even if the case here in this paper is overstated, even if the science here is motivated by commercial interests, even if there are numerous other areas in which humans can predict human behavior in other ways; this still amounts to a vastly superior way of discussing this topic than emoting at it with deep conviction. This is a non-human capable of predicting a complicated series of human actions multiple seconds in advance with a clearly measured accuracy rate. Where's the paper showing anything like this for ToM?

Thanks for the link, that’s impressive technology. I’m happy to assume for the purposes of this discussion that the system is indeed predicting what manoeuvre a driver will carry out before, say, a passenger in the car would be able to make that prediction. So I’m taking it that the system is beating human Theory of Mind in speed and accuracy in that limited context (whether or not a close reading of the paper would come to that conclusion).

As Destroyer has been saying about my posting, I do think that there’s no inherent reason why science should not eventually be better at predicting people than our evolved systems are for predicting each other. I’m impressed but not surprised that in some limited contexts it’s already there, and I expect that it will improve; I would further expect that if we don’t blow ourselves up first, technology could eventually outperform evolved Theory of Mind as comprehensively as it already outperforms us in mathematical calculations.

As I understand the current state of this discussion, you are making 2 separate claims with which I would disagree:

1) Technology is already better than at predicting humans than we are across the board, or at any rate in so many respects that our lives are currently significantly changed.

2) There is good reason to doubt that our evolved predictions of each other are based on Theory of Mind rather than on some other method of prediction, such as the methods by which we predict inanimate objects.

Considering the first claim, I’m quoting your post #13904 above:
Spearthrower wrote:
zoon wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Even then, it's on a one-to-one basis, whereas technology can predict the behaviors of a much larger number of people, and to a better degree of accuracy.


I should say that this isn't even close to summarizing what current computational science can do right now, let alone consider how quickly it's developing - month by month in some respects.

Data science, machine learning, algorithms - train an ape to press a few buttons while viewing something and programs have all they need to start calculating, amending their forecasting algorithms reactively, and retesting their own models iteratively. It's vastly more potent in so many respects.

It's not just a larger number of people that are reached (it's sort of not fair to compare a computer programs potential points of contact to just one person having encounters with real people in meat space, but human ToM doesn't network and thus is necessarily individual, unshared and independent - islands of mind theories) but the quality of prediction is also vastly more detailed.

If any given human can look at some other human and generally be right in mind-theorizing that person is upset, or determined, or fraught - it's not actually a predictor of what that other human is going to do next; there's no detailed behavioral prediction, more of an emotional state.

Meanwhile, a site like Facebook can - without human oversight in the slightest - correlate various data points drawn from your past behavior in tandem with your current use of a new Canon camera and make predictions on a suite of your future activities - namely purchases - that you are likely to make. That's a prediction that entails seeing much further into the future than any ToM, with far more complex behavior and emotions over a longer period of time accurately predicted.

And we've seen that this isn't just restricted to predicting purchasing behavior, but what this can mean when it comes to engineering opinion with, for example, Cambridge Analytica.

It's kind of quaint to believe that humans just know humans best; there's something earthy there. But I think the real differences between people just figure large to us rather than being particularly distinctive - zebras and their unique stripes. In reality, computers strip away a lot of the emotional baggage that can hamper our ToM predictions and just quietly store away data points until they become statistically meaningful, and at that point, it's no longer a contest.

Is this post your evidence that science outperforms Theory of Mind, or should I wait for another?


I don't know - maybe, given your obvious reticence to support your frequently repeated claim despite me challenging it for 5 or so pages, I should wait for you to get round to that first? You know - burden of proof right?

All those large-scale data-crunching marketing predictions depend entirely on people repeating what they have done before, or following the behaviour of others. Certainly, at the scale on which this is done, the vendors can get very useful results, but I’m not so sure that it’s yet making much difference to our lives on a practical basis? As I said above, I very strongly agree with you that technology has the potential to predict us more effectively than we already predict each other, and this may well be happening more quickly than I’m aware of, but I would have expected more impact on ordinary life if machines were taking over? The system for predicting drivers’ manoeuvres is much more like human predictions, in that it's individual and in real time, but it is an extremely limited context, it’s only predicting the direction and speed of the car’s travel, assuming the driver has the one goal of getting from A to B without crashing. Even then it needs a database of 2 million videos. Again, I’m not disputing that this level of prediction is impressive and that the technology is advancing at speed. I am arguing that so far the technology of predicting humans is far below the level needed, for example, for encouraging or persuading a group of people to cooperate on some project.

Moving on to claim 2, which I think is the one you have been trying to get me to answer: you appear to be claiming that there is good reason to doubt that we use Theory of Mind rather than some other method of prediction, when we are predicting other people. You have been asking me for experiments which demonstrate that we use Theory of Mind when we predict others, and I’ve admittedly failed to find any such experiments.

My counter-claim is that the reason there have been no experiments to demonstrate our use of Theory of Mind is that it’s so blatantly obvious to any normal person that experiments would be pointless. In order to substantiate that claim I need to start by giving evidence that most people do consider it obvious (OK, that’s not enough, but it’s a necessary start). I shall start by presenting evidence that experts in the fields of human psychology and neuroscience consider it obvious; I’ll quote briefly from papers recently published in Nature, Science, PNAS, Phil Trans B and PLoS One, which are all highly-rated scientific journals. None, as far as I am aware, give any references to experiments designed to find out whether humans use Theory of Mind.

1) Article published in Nature 23rd March 2022: "Evidence of the role of the cerebellum in cognitive theory of mind using voxel-based lesion mapping". Link here.
First sentence of article:
Theory of Mind (ToM) is a social-cognitive skill that allows the understanding of the intentions, beliefs, and desires of others.


2) Article in Science 15th Sept 2021, “Social prediction modulates activity of macaque superior temporal cortex”. Link here.
Opening sentences of the abstract and the introduction (Reference 1 is to Premack and Woodruff 1978, which I discuss below in this post):
Abstract
The ability to attribute thoughts to others, also called theory of mind (TOM), has been extensively studied in humans; however, its evolutionary origins have been challenged......
Introduction
The ability to attribute mental representations to others, called theory of mind (TOM) (1), is key to complex human social interactions (2, 3).


3) Article in Science 20th June 2014 “The Cultural Evolution of Mind Reading”
Cecilia Heyes and Chris Frith. Link: (This links first to a summary, then to the whole review article) here.
Quote from the beginning of the summary:
We use “theory of mind” or “mind reading” to understand our own thoughts and feelings and those of other agents. Mind reading has been a focus of philosophical interest for centuries and of intensive scientific inquiry for 35 years. It plays a pivotal role in human social interaction and communication. Mind reading allows us to predict, explain, mold, and manipulate each other’s behavior in ways that go well beyond the capabilities of other animals; therefore, mind reading is crucial to understanding what it means to be human.


4) Article in PNAS 31st Jan 2018 "Conceptualizing degrees of theory of mind". Link here.
First 2 sentences of abstract (again, the reference is to Premack and Woodruff 1978),
Successful navigation of the social world requires making accurate inferences about the contents of other people’s minds, being able to represent in one’s own mind the thoughts, beliefs, and intentions of another. This “theory of mind” (ToM) ability allows us to explain and predict others’ behavior in terms of their mental states (1).


5) Article published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 14th October 2020, "Actions do not speak louder than words in an interactive false belief task". Link here
Opening to the introduction:
Theory of Mind (ToM) describes our capacity to ascribe mental states like beliefs, intentions, and desires to others and ourselves. At the conceptual heart of ToM lies meta-representation: representing how subjects represent the world, accurately or inaccurately.


6) Article published in PLoS One 12th Sept 2013, "Theory of Mind in the Wild: Toward Tackling the Challenges of Everyday Mental State Reasoning". Link here
The opening of the introduction (reference 2 is to Premack and Woodruff 1978):
One of the most complicated and interesting problems human beings face in their day-to-day lives is making sense of what others around them are doing. From the perspective of cognitive science, accomplishing this task is a truly remarkable achievement. Human behavior is unimaginably complex and essentially limitless. Yet, when we watch the people around us, we do not experience their behavior as a confusing string of disconnected actions. Instead, we effortlessly interpret their behavior in terms of a finite set of conceptual entities – mental states like desires and beliefs. This ability to interpret, predict, and explain the actions of others in terms of underlying mental states is theory of mind (ToM); a set of cognitive capacities that has been studied over the past three decades from many different perspectives, including comparative psychology [1], [2], cognitive development, [3]–[7], and cognitive neuroscience [8]–[12].


Each of those papers has an opening statement to the effect that the “ability to interpret, predict, and explain the actions of others in terms of underlying mental states is theory of mind (ToM).” As far as I’m aware none of them refer to any experiments which have been done to demonstrate that we use Theory of Mind to predict each other, the references are to articles which similarly take our use of Theory of Mind for granted. A paper which is often cited in support of the opening statement about Theory of Mind is Premack and Woodruff (1978) “Does the Chimpanzee have a Theory of Mind?”, link here. This article, although it is about chimpanzees, sparked off the current interest in “Theory of Mind” in humans; the phrase in its present usage comes from the title of the paper. This article, like the ones quoted above, starts by taking for granted that we use attribution of mental states to predict each other; the opening of the abstract reads:
Premack and Woodruff (1978) wrote:An individual has a theory of mind if he imputes mental states to himself and others. A system of inferences of this kind is properly viewed as a theory because such states are not directly observable, and the system can be used to make predictions about the behaviour of others.

Most of the rest of the paper is about chimpanzees, not humans. However, the last two sections of the paper do discuss whether this assumption is justified for humans, and I quote those two sections below, leaving out (with a row of dots) a paragraph which digresses into an unrelated matter. The authors are defending their view that humans obviously attribute mental states such as beliefs and intentions to each other, and so have what they have termed “Theory of Mind”. The people who they are arguing against are primarily positivists (as in the Logical Positivism of the Vienna Circle) and behaviourists, who agree with Skinner’s behaviourism. Both positivism and behaviourism deliberately avoid attributing unseen causes to events, and both were more influential in 1978, when the paper was written, than they are now. Premack and Woodruff argue that it takes active effort on the part of a human not to see another person in terms of unseen mental states. They explicitly admit that obviousness doesn’t necessarily make it true that we use Theory of Mind, but they make no attempt to provide further experimental evidence, and the contributors to, and editors of, major scientific journals appear to agree that it’s unneeded.
Premack and Woodruff (1978) wrote:Two parties that would hold a noninferential view: positivists and young children

We have urged that when the adult chimpanzee watches the film showing the trainer struggling to reach inaccessible bananas, he makes sense of the scene by imputing a purpose to the trainer. The reader, we suspect, will find it so natural to read the scenes in this same way that he may ask, "who would not read them in this way?" We can think of two groups, one sophisticated and the other naive. Positivists and other highly trained parties would not read them in this manner. Having learned to distinguish data from inference, they will, we think first read the scene in an inferential manner, like everyone else, but then go on to inhibit or suppress the inference. Having inhibited their natural tendency, they could then provide a description roughly along these lines: "Keith is in a cage-like area. Bananas are above his head. Keith is jumping up and down. He extends his arm above his head, in the direction of the bananas." The exact form of the description is unimportant; it is simply the lack of inference to which we wish to call attention.

The second group who might give a "description" quite surprisingly like the positivist's would be young children, so young that they did not understand the scene. Since the material in question is very simple, we may find it necessary to encourage the children's failure to understand by chopping up the scene and presenting it out of sequence. This makes understanding difficult, and in some cases even impossible. In studying children's comprehension of picture stories, we have found that older children, and of course adults, are able to make sense of picture stories even when the pictures are out of order, but that children, younger than about four cannot (Poulsen, Kintsch, Kintsch and Premack, in press). Young children's descriptions of out-of-sequence pictures are very reminiscent of the kind of description we have ascribed to the positivists. The young child's account does not attribute any purpose or intention to the actors. Indeed, it is exactly the absence of these inferences that makes the description senseless and disjointed; for example, "a man, a dog, a tree, the dog is running." In normal perception, the elements are joined together by imputing mental states to the actors; for example, "the dog is afraid of the man and is running away," and so forth. It is inferred mental states that "organize" scenes, holding together the disparate elements into which scenes otherwise threaten to dissolve.

The important point here is that assigning mental states to another individual is not a sophisticated or advanced act, but a primitive one. Only on two occasions are the inferences not found: when there is not enough understanding of the scene to permit the inference, as in the young, confused child, or when the inference indeed occurs, but is quite deliberately suppressed, as by a sophisticated adult who, having been taught the differences between data and inference, elects on this occasion to give what he calls an objective "description." We think that an analogy can be drawn with causal inference, in which the conditions seem much the same. Whenever A precedes B, the belief that A causes B is, we think, the primitive one. This is a belief that would occur under all conditions except the two described above. The sophisticated human adult has been taught to demand more than co-occurrence as a basis for assuming causality. He will block the primitive inference and impose further tests. Are there any occasions when A occurs and B does not? When A does not occur and yet B does? When B occurs and A does not? When B does not occur and yet A does? If the answers to these four questions are appropriate, the sophisticated adult will drop the barrier and allow the primitive inference of causality to go through. The actual content of a sophisticated causal inference may not differ importantly, however, from the content of a primitive one: what differs is the process by which the inference is reached.

Concluding remarks

In assuming that other individuals want, think, believe, and the like, one infers states that are not directly observable and one uses these states anticipatorily, to predict the behavior of others as well as one's own. These inferences, which amount to a theory of mind, are, to our knowledge, universal in human adults. Although it is reasonable to assume that their occurrence depends on some form of experience, that form is not immediately apparent. Evidently it is not that of an explicit pedagogy. Inferences about another individual are not taught, as are reading or arithmetic; their acquisition is more reminiscent of that of walking or speech. Indeed, the only direct impact of pedagogy on these inferences would appear to be suppressive, for it is only the specially trained adult who can give an account of human behavior that does not impute states of mind to the participants. All this is to say that theory building of this kind is natural in man. Are we to believe, however, that we are the only species in which it is natural? Our series of comparative studies is devoted to this and related questions. Although here we have talked only about the chimpanzee, the same videotapes, with only a few exceptions, are used with two other populations: normal and retarded children. The group of studies is designed to answer the questions: Does a chimpanzee make inferences about another individual, in any degree or kind? Are at least some retarded children deficient in specifically this form of theory building? What is the developmental course of such theory building in the normal child?

…………………….

Having decided that behaviorism is unnatural because it requires suppressing primitive inferences, whereas theories of mind are natural, can we conclude that mentalism is, therefore, preferable, and more likely to lead to valid theories? Regrettably, there seems to be no way of answering this question that will grant major catharsis to either camp. On the one hand, beliefs cannot be extolled simply because they are natural; naturalism does not guarantee validity. Indeed, some quite interesting recent work is concerned exactly with deciphering the miscalculations to which human reasoning is naturally prone (Tversky& Kahneman, 1977). Certainly, holding causal inferences in check, until all four cells in the contingency table (described above) have been tallied, is a highly unnatural but excellent idea.

On the other hand, if mental theories are indeed natural, this fact must have untoward consequences for behaviorism. After being shown that not only man but also apes had theories of mind, suppose a behaviorist were to reply, "Yes . , . and they are both wrong." Would this save behaviorism? We think not, for to admit that animals are mentalists compels the admission that behaviorist accounts of animals are at best profoundly incomplete. Moreover - and we add this with more than facetious intent - it would waste the behaviorist's time to recommend parsimony to the ape. The ape could only be a mentalist. Unless we are badly mistaken, he is not intelligent enough to be a behaviorist.
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Re: Free Will

#13931  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 8:59 pm

Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


Can you support that?

Theory of Mind means we posit mental states.


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is accepted by experts in the field!


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is how people attempt to understand other peoples' action.


Yes, yes, I know what Theory of Mind is - but how about addressing your contention that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Look at all these scientific articles that reference Theory of Mind.


How does that offer any support at all for your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science'?

You've cast doubt on whether we really use Theory of Mind to predict other people.


No, I really have not - what I've said so many times I am starting to think you don't really care what I've said is that your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' is completely unsupported, so would you like to provide that support some time, or is this purely dogma speaking?

Well, my argument is that Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


YES, I KNOW... can you SUPPORT that?

Theory of Mind is about understanding other peoples' motives.


Le sigh

So the answer to the one single question I've posed to you really is 'No' by omission - no, you can't support your repeated contention.

There's a reason for that.
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Re: Free Will

#13932  Postby newolder » Apr 10, 2022 9:00 pm

More anecdotes about what ToM is: no data showing results of tests. :yawn:

I'm out. :wave:
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Re: Free Will

#13933  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 10, 2022 9:02 pm

newolder wrote:More anecdotes about what ToM is: no data showing results of tests. :yawn:

I'm out. :wave:



Theory of Mind is the capacity to understand other people by ascribing mental states to them.

...

.....

.......


Theory of Mind is the capacity to understand other people by ascribing mental states to them.

...

.....

.......


Theory of Mind is...
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Re: Free Will

#13934  Postby romansh » Apr 10, 2022 9:15 pm

Do we have any data supporting that "science" is better than ToM at predicting people's actions? What evidence do we have that science predicts human actions other than Libet type stuff?

What scientific type prediction will we have for you stopping perseverating on Zoon having evidence for ToM being better than science at predicting human actions?
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Re: Free Will

#13935  Postby zoon » Apr 10, 2022 9:45 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


Can you support that?

Theory of Mind means we posit mental states.


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is accepted by experts in the field!


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is how people attempt to understand other peoples' action.


Yes, yes, I know what Theory of Mind is - but how about addressing your contention that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Look at all these scientific articles that reference Theory of Mind.


How does that offer any support at all for your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science'?

You've cast doubt on whether we really use Theory of Mind to predict other people.


No, I really have not - what I've said so many times I am starting to think you don't really care what I've said is that your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' is completely unsupported, so would you like to provide that support some time, or is this purely dogma speaking?

Well, my argument is that Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


YES, I KNOW... can you SUPPORT that?

Theory of Mind is about understanding other peoples' motives.


Le sigh

So the answer to the one single question I've posed to you really is 'No' by omission - no, you can't support your repeated contention.

There's a reason for that.

I am claiming that science cannot yet predict people as effectively as we predict each other with evolved Theory of Mind (though most of the “quotes” in your post are not in fact direct quotes of what I have said).

My claim is a negative one, scientists are hardly going to spend much time pointing out that science has not yet caught up with human brains in the matter of predicting each other. I’ve just provided a series of quotes and links to peer-reviewed articles in which the authors make it clear that we use Theory of Mind, with no hint that science is about to take over. One of those articles is in PNAS 31st Jan 2018 "Conceptualizing degrees of theory of mind". Link here.
First 2 sentences of abstract:
Successful navigation of the social world requires making accurate inferences about the contents of other people’s minds, being able to represent in one’s own mind the thoughts, beliefs, and intentions of another. This “theory of mind” (ToM) ability allows us to explain and predict others’ behavior in terms of their mental states (1).


Your claim is the positive one, you are saying that science has caught up with evolved Theory of Mind. The burden of proof is on you, not on me.

So far, you have provided a link to only one peer-reviewed paper as evidence for your claim that science already outperforms Theory of Mind. The link is in your post #13917 here. The authors claim that they have created a system which predicts what manoeuvre a car driver will carry out, several seconds before the driver does so. For the purposes of this discussion, I have accepted that claim, and also your further claim that the system is outperforming Theory of Mind in that specific situation. You have talked about databases in a way that sounds like marketing hype, I'd like to see the peer-reviewed articles claiming that they have improved on our capacity for predicting each other - this would be a scientifically very interesting claim. Are you saying that that system for predicting car drivers is about to take over our predictions of each other in all the variety of ordinary life?
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Re: Free Will

#13936  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 11, 2022 5:31 am

zoon wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


Can you support that?

Theory of Mind means we posit mental states.


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is accepted by experts in the field!


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is how people attempt to understand other peoples' action.


Yes, yes, I know what Theory of Mind is - but how about addressing your contention that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Look at all these scientific articles that reference Theory of Mind.


How does that offer any support at all for your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science'?

You've cast doubt on whether we really use Theory of Mind to predict other people.


No, I really have not - what I've said so many times I am starting to think you don't really care what I've said is that your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' is completely unsupported, so would you like to provide that support some time, or is this purely dogma speaking?

Well, my argument is that Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


YES, I KNOW... can you SUPPORT that?

Theory of Mind is about understanding other peoples' motives.


Le sigh

So the answer to the one single question I've posed to you really is 'No' by omission - no, you can't support your repeated contention.

There's a reason for that.

I am claiming that science cannot yet predict people as effectively as we predict each other with evolved Theory of Mind (though most of the “quotes” in your post are not in fact direct quotes of what I have said).

My claim is a negative one, scientists are hardly going to spend much time pointing out that science has not yet caught up with human brains in the matter of predicting each other. I’ve just provided a series of quotes and links to peer-reviewed articles in which the authors make it clear that we use Theory of Mind, with no hint that science is about to take over. One of those articles is in PNAS 31st Jan 2018 "Conceptualizing degrees of theory of mind". Link here.
First 2 sentences of abstract:
Successful navigation of the social world requires making accurate inferences about the contents of other people’s minds, being able to represent in one’s own mind the thoughts, beliefs, and intentions of another. This “theory of mind” (ToM) ability allows us to explain and predict others’ behavior in terms of their mental states (1).


Your claim is the positive one, you are saying that science has caught up with evolved Theory of Mind. The burden of proof is on you, not on me.

So far, you have provided a link to only one peer-reviewed paper as evidence for your claim that science already outperforms Theory of Mind. The link is in your post #13917 here. The authors claim that they have created a system which predicts what manoeuvre a car driver will carry out, several seconds before the driver does so. For the purposes of this discussion, I have accepted that claim, and also your further claim that the system is outperforming Theory of Mind in that specific situation. You have talked about databases in a way that sounds like marketing hype, I'd like to see the peer-reviewed articles claiming that they have improved on our capacity for predicting each other - this would be a scientifically very interesting claim. Are you saying that that system for predicting car drivers is about to take over our predictions of each other in all the variety of ordinary life?




Zoon, who do you think you're fooling here?

I never had you down as someone who would let their ego dictate their behavior to this degree.

The claim you made, which I have asked you to support, is not a 'negative claim'. Don't fucking lie to my face and pretend you're engaging in civil discourse.

The burden is squarely on you, has been for pages, and your failure even to acknowledge this is no longer excusable.
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Re: Free Will

#13937  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 11, 2022 5:32 am

romansh wrote:Do we have any data supporting that "science" is better than ToM at predicting people's actions? What evidence do we have that science predicts human actions other than Libet type stuff?


Well, considering the only form of evidence so far submitted is for science, while Zoon's offered none, the answer is clearly 'yes'.


romansh wrote:What scientific type prediction will we have for you stopping perseverating on Zoon having evidence for ToM being better than science at predicting human actions?



How about 'any fucking evidence at all for the claim'?

Yes, that.

And why exactly should Zoon receive a free pass? Since when were assertions just taken as gospel absent evidence? Is this April Fool's still?
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Re: Free Will

#13938  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 11, 2022 6:15 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


Can you support that?

Theory of Mind means we posit mental states.


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is accepted by experts in the field!


Yes, I know - but how about your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Theory of Mind is how people attempt to understand other peoples' action.


Yes, yes, I know what Theory of Mind is - but how about addressing your contention that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' - can you support that?

Look at all these scientific articles that reference Theory of Mind.


How does that offer any support at all for your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science'?

You've cast doubt on whether we really use Theory of Mind to predict other people.


No, I really have not - what I've said so many times I am starting to think you don't really care what I've said is that your claim that ToM predicts people more effectively than 'science' is completely unsupported, so would you like to provide that support some time, or is this purely dogma speaking?

Well, my argument is that Theory of Mind predicts people more effectively than science


YES, I KNOW... can you SUPPORT that?

Theory of Mind is about understanding other peoples' motives.


Le sigh

So the answer to the one single question I've posed to you really is 'No' by omission - no, you can't support your repeated contention.

There's a reason for that.



Aside from the first one (which is the quote that spawned this song and dance) - the other 'quotes' were not meant to be actual quotes, which is why I didn't claim you said them Zoon.

Instead, this is the pattern of your responses.

You claimed that ToM predicts people more effectively than science.

When I ask you to support that claim - you tell me what ToM is.

You have done this a dozen times or more. Even your response above just attempts to avoid your burden of proof to support your contention. It's not exactly hard to follow.

Now you want the claim to just be accepted absent evidence because how could you possibly be required to support your claim when it's 'obvious' and 'of course science isn't going to do X' - this just amounts to an acknowledgment, albeit a snide one, that you can't provide so much as a jot of evidence in support of your repeatedly stated claim.

If there are no scientific studies showing the efficacy of ToM, then you don't have a good reason to believe that ToM is particularly effective, and you certainly can't make comparisons with anything else.

All you really had to do was say something like 'Well, perhaps I overstated the case' 7 pages ago.


This does go further, and it is do with a misconception on your part as to what ToM actually means and what it involves. ToM isn't about predicting complex behavior - it's about positing mental states, about projecting intentionality.

I've already explained why the concept of 'effectiveness' here is erroneous, for example by showing that we can use ToM to posit the mental state of an entirely imaginary person engaged in an entirely imaginary scenario.


Bob puts an apple in the fridge then goes to the bathroom.

While Bob is out of the room, Claire takes the apple out of the fridge and puts it in the oven.

When Bob returns to the room, he wants to eat his apple - where does he look?

When he looks in the fridge and the apple's not there, how does he feel?

Why did Claire do this?


We can posit mental states for Bob and Claire throughout; we can explain the immediate actions they take, the motives for their behavior, and the feelings they probably possess. How accurately?

Well, the point here is that neither Bob nor Claire actually exists - where and how is 'accuracy' relevant? They're not real people with real mental states engaged in real behavior - yet still we can readily posit mental states for them. That's what ToM is - it's not a tool for predicting behavior, but a means of understanding what we see in terms of intentionality.

20 odd years ago I worked with what is now the Medical Research Council - Cognitive Development Unit in London studying autism following along work by Baron-Cohen. At the time, false-belief tasks were all the rage in assessing whether deficits in the development of theory of mind could account for autists' impairments in social reciprocity, but over the intervening years, far more research has shown that the suite of usual impairments suffered by autists can not empirically be associated to any compelling degree with deficits in the development of theory of mind. Regardless of the developments here and how our understanding has changed over the year, the point remains that ToM is a developed skill, and it is expressly based on social experience. Autists approach theory of mind tasks not as social insights (induction), but as logical reasoning problems (deduction), and can learn to perform as well as non-autistic peers through exposure and experience. While young autists struggle with false belief tasks, many do well on other theory of mind tests in line with the developmental sequence of their peers, and they do so without having an equally well developed theory of mind. One well known example is that autistic children who test well for vocabulary scores also perform better at false-belief tasks (Happe ́,1995, The role of age and verbal ability in the theory of mind task performance of subjects with autism. Child Development, 66 (see how easy it should be to support a quantitative claim?)). This has spawned more than a decade of discussion in the field, so any contention of 'consensus' is also false, in my opinion.

While we can certainly talk about theory of mind as a concept for positing emotional states, for reasoning by inference from our experiences, any claim about how effective it is in predicting behavior must be supported - you can't simply just wave lazily at psychologists talking about theory of mind as 'proof' that it must therefore be comparatively more effective than 'science'. That's not remotely how science operates, as well you ALL know. Instead, when you're making a quantitative statement, you need to be pointing to quantitative data - despite your repeated attempts to strawman myself and posts by Newolder - the lack of objective empirical data which is a requirement to support your claim means that your claim is simply unacceptable.

It is STILL your burden of proof to support your claim. Retracting that claim now might be emotionally more difficult for you as it might seem like you're conceding to me, but really, you'd just be acknowledging that you made a false statement you can't support and you're actually doing everyone a disservice by maintaining this absurd misdirection trying to shift the burden to others.
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Re: Free Will

#13939  Postby hackenslash » Apr 11, 2022 6:59 am

zoon wrote:My claim is a negative one, scientists are hardly going to spend much time pointing out that science has not yet caught up with human brains in the matter of predicting each other.


So you're saying the answer to the question is 'no', that you can't support your assertion with anything other than assertion.

FYI, from a purely logical perspective, your assessment of your claim is, in fact, wrong. I suspect this is an attempt to absolve you of your onus probandi, which might work in corners of the net where logical literacy is low, but you're not getting away with that shit here.

Onus probandi is one of those things that trips up all sorts of people, including people reasonably well versed in logic (Matt Dillahunty gets this wrong all the time).

So, first, your claim isn't really a 'negative' one (I'm assuming you mean negating here). That might be a useful tactic with somebody who actually understood the difference between an affirming declarative and a negating declarative. In fact, this situation is slightly different from the norm, because the opposing claims aren't actually structured as affirmative and negating declaratives, they're set up as comparative affirmatives, with your chosen claim being declared superior, which makes both prongs of the dilemma affirmative. You're not erecting an alternate and a null, you're erecting two alternates.

Sorry, but that crap isn't going to fly here, and you are actually going to have to fulfil your onus probandi, because you've made an affirmative claim of superiority for your faith.

So, back to the question: Can you support your contention that your magic beans are better for gold acquisition than mining?
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Re: Free Will

#13940  Postby Spearthrower » Apr 11, 2022 7:00 am

Theory of Mind is the capacity to understand other people by ascribing mental states to them.





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