On Idealism, repeated

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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#441  Postby Frozenworld » Nov 18, 2021 12:06 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Frozenworld wrote:Wouldn't calling solipsism nonsense just be a case of Appeal to Consequences then? It might be useless but that doesn't make it less true as a result.

And in the case of language which is often cited as a hard argument against it there is evidence that language doesn't need an intelligent mind to give it meaning: https://youtu.be/eJCmerK0DjQ?t=1042

But does that invalidate the language argument then?


We're not arguing with some third party on youtube. It's up to you to make the case that language doesn't need an intelligent mind to give it meaning. That's harder than you seem to think. The question of solipsism doesn't automatically make this guy's youtube video interesting to anyone but you, so far. I mean, if solipsism is true, the guy in the youtube video is just a figment of your mind. Is that how you propose to imply that you're making an argument? If it is, then you first need to establish that solipsism is true. Is that what's keeping you up nights, Bunky?

The fact that an intelligent mind isn't necessary doesn't establish that intelligent minds don't exist. You're still stuck with your hypothetical "if solipsism is true..." but that should motivate you to demonstrate that solipsism is true. Something like presuppositional apologetics and its axioms is how some people establish that at least one intelligent mind exists. You start by assuming that the Christian bible, including the OT, is the true word of God. Clearly, the language argument is pushing you toward Logos, but maybe that's just where you're coming from, and you're maintaining deep cover on a skeptic website.


It's irrelevant if he's a figment of my mind, the point that is being argued (and I even skipped to the point where it is shown language can evolve outside of an intelligent mind) is still there. You can't even be bothered to watch a couple minutes?

Unfortunately, you've also failed to show it's true. You haven't even managed to construct a sound argument yet. All you've done is appeal to ignorance and then slap on your desired consequence without offering reason to go there.


You've also done the same, in addition you have failed to make the case for an external reality.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#442  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 18, 2021 2:59 am

Frozenworld wrote:
It's irrelevant if he's a figment of my mind,...


/point and laugh


Frozenworld wrote:the point that is being argued (and I even skipped to the point where it is shown language can evolve outside of an intelligent mind) is still there.


You still don't grasp that the ability to arrange words into a declarative phrase doesn't lend the resulting sentence a jot of validity. If you seek to convince people that you're not talking utter dreck, then you're going to need to furnish evidence, or employ logical reasoning - your assertions, borrowed or not from some possible figment of your imagination ( :lol: ), are not worth the time you take to write them.


Frozenworld wrote: You can't even be bothered to watch a couple minutes?


You've not provided a single reason why anyone should waste time on your flaccid contentions. When you get round to making your own argument some time, perhaps you might garner some interest?


Frozenworld wrote:
Unfortunately, you've also failed to show it's true. You haven't even managed to construct a sound argument yet. All you've done is appeal to ignorance and then slap on your desired consequence without offering reason to go there.


You've also done the same, in addition you have failed to make the case for an external reality.


Yet this is manifestly not the case as can be seen in this very thread. You ignoring inconvenient rebuttals to your baseless make-believe doesn't make those rebuttals go away, although that would be consistent with the brand of vacuous and narcissistic solipsism you appear to have uncritically bought into. What it does show is how utterly unwilling you are to engage in any level of discourse, and that your close-minded mentality is the only thing holding this farce together.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#443  Postby Greg the Grouper » Nov 18, 2021 3:07 am

Frozenworld wrote:You can't even be bothered to watch a couple minutes?


I'm willing to believe at this point, Frozen, that you'd have more success grappling with our rebuttals and even your own ideas if you were to bother to try and explain yourself, by yourself.

By all means, take ideas from this video you're asking them to watch, but consider taking the Feynman route with it. Explain it to us. Hell, pretend that you're dumbing it down for us, if you must.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#444  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 18, 2021 3:35 am

Frozenworld wrote:You can't even be bothered to watch a couple minutes?


Well, that's really making my point for me. You're bothered by the question of solipsism. I'm not. I'm not bothered because I can't make myself into a deep thinker by finding youtube videos compelling, and there are hard questions being asked by someone besides the narrator of a youtube video. I find these other questions more interesting. If you want someone to play your game with you, it's on you to make your question appealing. Begging your audience to watch youtube videos is lazy, and it is also a contradiction of solipsism. This suggests solipsism is not really the issue; rather, you've simply constructed a futile and infantile campaign to control at least one public conversation in your life. That is difficult to do in a youtube comments thread, but you'd be far better off publishing your rant there, where you can at least assume others are there to watch the same video you seem to think helps make your point.

Frozenworld wrote:in addition you have failed to make the case for an external reality.


You're still having exceptional difficulty understanding burden of proof and deciding whose case it is to make. You're opting instead to flail around trying to control the conversation. Telling you that you have contradicted yourself is not the same as insisting that there's an external reality. You might simply be the solitary mind that spends its effort on self-contradiction.

For a couple of decades or more, the mathematician Stephen Wolfram has been pressing the question of whether the universe we observe is simply a computation of cellular automata that is unfolding in an as-yet unknown way. You don't seem to know anything that Stephen Wolfram knows. Yet here you are, trying (rather desperately) to control the conversation when the task you're faced with is to make the question of solipsism interesting to people who have studied topics beyond the trivial version of solipsism you claim anyone (let alone you) has achieved.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#445  Postby BlackBart » Nov 18, 2021 9:34 am

I think I'm going to start a forum inside Grand Theft Auto and demand the NPCs provide proof they exist. That'll be fun won't it?
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#446  Postby zoon » Nov 18, 2021 11:56 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Similarly, humans are as much an evolved species as oak trees, and we are not inherently purposive any more than acorns are?


I can't photosynthesize, trees can't intend. I don't think there's any contradiction to consider the latter just as much an evolved ability, but it's one that trees don't have. To say that the acorn/tree is purposive is to engage in metaphor (useful linguistically to convey ideas), whereas to say a human plans an outcome is not metaphorical but literal.

My argument is that purpose is central and foundational when we think of a human being as a person, but that purpose is not a central, foundational concept when we think of a human being as an organism which evolved through natural selection.

I’m supposing, perhaps wrongly, that you would here point out that humans have mental models of their goals, and that this gives human intentions a physical reality which is absent from an acorn’s “purpose” to become an oak tree. A nineteenth-century watchmaker machining a cogwheel will have had, encoded somewhere in his brain’s processes, an idea of the finished cogwheel, and this is the defining feature of teleology.

Our intentions are also felt to have causal power. In particular, I identify my own intentions, and I am aware from moment to moment of my intentions causing my actions. If I form the intention to go shopping for groceries, it is immediately obvious to me that that intention, my wanting the outcome of having groceries, is the driving force behind my preparations, my walk to the shops etc. I assume, reasonably enough, that the same goes for other people. In our ordinary social lives, intentions are central, fundamental and causal.

However, when we think of ourselves as evolved organisms consisting of atoms which are described by the models of physics and chemistry, our intentions are no longer foundational or causal, they are transient patterns of brain activity. Potentially at least, my actions could be far more accurately predicted by tracking and modelling neural events in my brain than by regarding my intentions as primary causes. OK, the modelling would need to be probabilistic rather than exact, but even so it has the potential to be more accurate.

In particular, our predictions of other people are currently based on Theory of Mind and not on science or on direct observation. I predict another person by guessing their intentions and not by tracking their brain activity, so as far as I am concerned I see their intentions as the cause of their actions. But in this case, there is a huge source of uncertainty, since I cannot observe their intentions directly and I am relying on my own brain’s simulation of what is going on in the other person’s brain. We often guess other people’s intentions wrongly, sometimes wildly so, and we are sometimes even mistaken about our own motivations, especially when they are socially dodgy.

We are already predicting other people fairly effectively using an evolved method, I see no reason why scientific, probabilistic predictions based on neural activity should not eventually overtake Theory of Mind predictions in accuracy. There is no requirement here that the science should be perfectly accurate, only that it should routinely outperform Theory of Mind. If you are saying that complex brain activity cannot possibly be predicted because of all the uncertainties of quantum theory and the general noise of a wet and warm environment, then you are also claiming that we couldn’t possibly predict each other using any other method, including Theory of Mind.

For the time being, science is nowhere close to predicting people in ordinary life as accurately as we can predict each other with Theory of Mind. For this reason, it is the case for the foreseeable future that intentions are indeed foundational and causal in our models of other people, and by extension ourselves. It may be that science will never predict human beings better than we already predict each other, but I see no reason to rule out the possibility. Again, I would stress that the criterion isn’t perfectly accurate prediction, only predictions which are routinely, even if only slightly, more accurate than the evolved guesswork and simulation involved in Theory of Mind.

On the mentalistic, Theory of Mind, model of a person, intentions are foundational and causal. On the scientific model of a person, intentions still exist, but as patterns of brain activity without causal efficacy. On the scientific model, the watchmaker’s intention to make a cogwheel, the mental model of the finished object, does not qualify as a cause, but rather as a somewhat unreliable indicator of the watchmaker’s subsequent behaviour. This is the case whether or not science actually overtakes Theory of Mind for predicting people in practice.

If I say that I know my intentions are causal because I can feel them causing my actions, then I am using Frozenworld’s “argument”. Brains can create ongoing illusions.

Perhaps “cause” is just a fuzzy term, it may be fair to say that a “cause” is what we’ve identified as the best available guide to future events? For the time being, identifying intentions is the best guide we have to another person’s future behaviour, so intentions qualify as causes for now, at least for practical purposes. If neuroscience ever reaches the stage of predicting people more accurately, even if only slightly more accurately, than we can predict them with Theory of Mind, then we would be likely to see the causes of our behaviour in terms of atomic interactions or whatever quantum theory may have come up with by that time, and intentions would become irrelevant if not non-existent?
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#447  Postby zoon » Nov 18, 2021 12:19 pm

BlackBart wrote:I think I'm going to start a forum inside Grand Theft Auto and demand the NPCs provide proof they exist. That'll be fun won't it?

Yes, I think I’m arguing that on the scientific model intentions have the same sort of existence as NPCs. Existence is another fuzzy term.

Perhaps “existence”, “cause” and “intention” are all terms which are mostly useful when dealing with other people’s deceptiveness, but which tend to become fuzzy and less useful in other contexts? In social life, most of what we know comes from other people, but people routinely lie to each other for advantage. When dealing with a flat lie such as an email informing me that a someone has vast sums of money which they want to transfer using my bank account, and that they will give me a large cut, then I can assume that the stated money and intention are totally fraudulent and to be dismissed, it doesn’t matter whether they have some sort of “real” existence in a mental model? We are constantly dealing with (not to mention using) half-lies and social half-truths, and needing to be aware of people’s “real” intentions.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#448  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 19, 2021 1:43 pm

zoon wrote:I see no reason why scientific, probabilistic predictions based on neural activity should not eventually overtake Theory of Mind predictions in accuracy.


Well, that should be considerably easier to implement once we're all wearing miracle tinfoil hats that link all our neurological activity together. You, zoon, really need to learn something about computability and the challenges of computing a solution when the running time increases exponentially in the size of the problem, such as number of units of neural activity (you have not specified what you think the computational unit is). Once you flesh out your model of how these probabilistic predictions are to be accomplished, other than by jackass hand-waving, we'll be able to say more carefully what is possible and what is not. This should be some competition for a "Theory of Mind" that is poorly specified to an even greater degree other than that "it seems to work well enough". Well enough is what you'll end up with and it's what we have now. Nobody this side of Jeff Bezos is likely to be funding tinfoil hats and Jeff seems to be savvy enough to avoid shit like this.

zoon wrote:
If I say that I know my intentions are causal because I can feel them causing my actions, then I am using Frozenworld’s “argument”. Brains can create ongoing illusions.


Nothing creates the illusion of success quite like failure does. If you want to identify success or failure, you have to specify the target before you launch the projectile.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#449  Postby Frozenworld » Nov 20, 2021 3:18 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Frozenworld wrote:
It's irrelevant if he's a figment of my mind,...


/point and laugh


Frozenworld wrote:the point that is being argued (and I even skipped to the point where it is shown language can evolve outside of an intelligent mind) is still there.


You still don't grasp that the ability to arrange words into a declarative phrase doesn't lend the resulting sentence a jot of validity. If you seek to convince people that you're not talking utter dreck, then you're going to need to furnish evidence, or employ logical reasoning - your assertions, borrowed or not from some possible figment of your imagination ( :lol: ), are not worth the time you take to write them.


Frozenworld wrote: You can't even be bothered to watch a couple minutes?


You've not provided a single reason why anyone should waste time on your flaccid contentions. When you get round to making your own argument some time, perhaps you might garner some interest?


Frozenworld wrote:
Unfortunately, you've also failed to show it's true. You haven't even managed to construct a sound argument yet. All you've done is appeal to ignorance and then slap on your desired consequence without offering reason to go there.


You've also done the same, in addition you have failed to make the case for an external reality.


Yet this is manifestly not the case as can be seen in this very thread. You ignoring inconvenient rebuttals to your baseless make-believe doesn't make those rebuttals go away, although that would be consistent with the brand of vacuous and narcissistic solipsism you appear to have uncritically bought into. What it does show is how utterly unwilling you are to engage in any level of discourse, and that your close-minded mentality is the only thing holding this farce together.


"Naïve realism (naïve being an apposite moniker) is a philosophical dead end. It can’t explain consciousness (hard problem), qualia, or subjectivity. Realism is attractive to non-abstract thought and proffers illusory evidence which pacifies the credulous.

There is no external reality in what we believe the physical world to encompass. All we can be certain of is that our experience is subjective. Anent the problem of other minds, as I explained to my Ian, which our Ian rejected, is that our realities are all in superposition with each other. You believe superposition is a function of the quantum world — which it is, but it’s also a fundamental state of physical reality.

The problem (not a problem in my solipsistic universe) is those words have been and are created by my choices as in “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” (created by the student’s need).

Solipsism by its very nature is autodidactic and nothing besides things that are defined to be consistent within their definition can be proven. If philosophies were subject to proof, they wouldn’t be philosophy. The others have minds (that’s why they are other minds), just like you do (my you is necessarily deficient compared to your you, but that will change +/- depending on my perception), the same goes for their (my) behaviors."
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#450  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 20, 2021 3:46 am

"What a load of bollocks."

"Some muppets are prepared to believe anything so long as it makes them feel they're special."

"The difference between assertion and ass is ertion."
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#451  Postby zoon » Nov 20, 2021 11:19 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Similarly, humans are as much an evolved species as oak trees, and we are not inherently purposive any more than acorns are?


I can't photosynthesize, trees can't intend. I don't think there's any contradiction to consider the latter just as much an evolved ability, but it's one that trees don't have. To say that the acorn/tree is purposive is to engage in metaphor (useful linguistically to convey ideas), whereas to say a human plans an outcome is not metaphorical but literal.

I’m taking another tack in attempting to respond to the point you are making here.

Given that photosynthesis and intentions are both evolved functions, it should be possible to specify the criteria by which a robot could be judged to have those functions?

For example, if the criterion for photosynthesis is that the robot is taking energy from sunlight and using it to power the synthesis of organic compounds from water and from carbon dioxide in the air, then even a crude, non-biological robot which fulfilled that criterion would be displaying real, non-metaphorical photosynthesis. (This criterion would hold whether or not a non-biological photosynthesising robot is actually built.)

What would be the criteria by which a robot might be judged to have real, non-metaphorical intentions?

For example, a robot might be built in vaguely human shape, with moving arms and legs, and with a video screen inside its head. The video screen shows pictures of the robot as seen from outside. The robot could be built so that, before it moves one of its limbs, it runs a clip of itself executing the planned movement on the screen. Building this robot would not be outside the scope of current technology. Would this then be a robot with real and non-metaphorical, though exceedingly crude, intentions?

I would not dismiss that possibility. For example, humans are ultra-social animals, and when we are in company our body language is constantly sending out signals to the people around us. A running internal pre-check on what our actions are about to signal to other people could well be a brain process that would come about through natural selection, and it’s not unlike my awareness of my own intentions?

It’s when that internal “video”, where our own actions are pre-viewed as from outside, is interpreted as having spooky teleological causal power over our actions that we might start to suppose “real” intentions are impossible to replicate mechanically?

Similarly, a robot might be built with an internal video showing the room as seen by another robot in the same room – not by any direct connexion with the other robot, but by tracking lines of vision from that robot’s position. Again, there’s no conceptual difficulty about building that robot, and that brain process could well evolve through natural selection in a social animal. (There is evidence that we automatically track what another person can or cannot see from their position, an example 2013 paper is here.)

It’s when the internal “video” from the other person’s viewpoint is interpreted as a whole ghostly other world associated with that person, that the “hard problem” of consciousness arises.
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Re: On Idealism, repeated

#452  Postby hackenslash » Nov 20, 2021 11:52 am

Frozenworld wrote:Solipsism by its very nature is autodidactic


Obvious word salad. Solipsism cannot be autodidactic because it can't be any kind of didactic, or did you miss the bit where, under solipsism, NO KNOWLEDGE IS POSSIBLE?

If philosophies were subject to proof, they wouldn’t be philosophy.


And this is the dumbest thing you've ever said, in an extremely strong field.

You do get that 'proof' is a philosophical construct, right?
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