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Old 19 Mar 2012, 09:56 PM   #345473 / #401
Koyaanisqatsi
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For the last time, the pain--the sensation--is real in the sense that one section of the brain is sending a pain signal to another section of the brain. The fact that a "pain" signal is being processed is real. The fact that a "pain is in the left leg" signal is being processed is also real. The fact that a "pain is in the left leg, which is therefore still intact" signal is being processed is likewise real.

As you well know, what is not real is that the pain is actually emanating from his left leg.

Thus to say to your patient, "The pain you're feeling in your left leg is real" would be an unnecessarily misleading statement based primarily on the equivocation of the term "real." To whit:
  1. That you're feeling a pain sensation is real.
  2. That you're feeling a pain sensation emenating from your left leg is real.
  3. That there is actually a pain sensation emenating from your left leg is not real.
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Old 19 Mar 2012, 10:13 PM   #345478 / #402
BWE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
For the last time, the pain--the sensation--is real in the sense that one section of the brain is sending a pain signal to another section of the brain. The fact that a "pain" signal is being processed is real. The fact that a "pain is in the left leg" signal is being processed is also real.
Thank you. Was that so hard?
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The fact that a "pain is in the left leg, which is therefore still intact" signal is being processed is likewise real.

As you well know, what is not real is that the pain is actually emanating from his left leg.
As you don't appear to know, explanations aren't a part of physical reality. The pain isn't actually emanating from anywhere. Pain is an interpretation of a signal. The objective fact from the doctor's perspective is that the leg is amputated. The objective fact from the patient's perspective is that there is a pain in the left leg. Once the patient discovers there is no left leg, the objective fact will change.

What you are doing is removing experience from reality because the models don't always fit. But the models are mental, they don't exist in physical reality. Gravity doesn't exist. Or do you deny that? Do you think gravity exists?

What you are saying is that last thursdayism is not only valid but probable.
Quote:

Thus to say to your patient, "The pain you're feeling in your left leg is real" would be an unnecessarily misleading statement based primarily on the equivocation of the term "real." To whit:
But I wouldn't say that. I would say that the leg had been amputated. You want me to say that but I don't want to. It would be a category error of the map-landscape type. Since I donb't want to say something I know to be confusing, I choose to present my observation as fact and let the patient figure out how to incorporate the information before I cram all the information which follows down his throat. The next step in the sequence is, "This is going to take some getting used to. There are several ways we can help. We will go over the details when you are ready."
Quote:
  1. That you're feeling a pain sensation is real.
  2. That you're feeling a pain sensation emenating from your left leg is real.
  3. That there is actually a pain sensation emenating from your left leg is not real.
Koy, you seem to think the I is just a bit player in this drama. If that were so, why do you think you are so emphatic about arguing your point?
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Old 20 Mar 2012, 01:55 PM   #345819 / #403
Koyaanisqatsi
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Originally Posted by BWE View Post
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
For the last time, the pain--the sensation--is real in the sense that one section of the brain is sending a pain signal to another section of the brain. The fact that a "pain" signal is being processed is real. The fact that a "pain is in the left leg" signal is being processed is also real.
Thank you. Was that so hard?
It's what I've been saying the entire time, BWE all through your's and FUG's petty insults and false accusations that I'm not understanding the grand and glorious esoteric mystery wisdom only you and he can see.

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The fact that a "pain is in the left leg, which is therefore still intact" signal is being processed is likewise real.

As you well know, what is not real is that the pain is actually emanating from his left leg.
As you don't appear to know, explanations aren't a part of physical reality. The pain isn't actually emanating from anywhere. Pain is an interpretation of a signal. The objective fact from the doctor's perspective is that the leg is amputated. The objective fact from the patient's perspective is that there is a pain in the left leg. Once the patient discovers there is no left leg, the objective fact will change.

What you are doing is removing experience from reality because the models don't always fit.
No, I'm not but please keep stuffing these pointess strawmen.

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But the models are mental, they don't exist in physical reality.
Non sequitur.

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Gravity doesn't exist.
Would you care to rephrase that so that it matches what you wrote about models? Gravity doesn't exist in physical reality. Now do you want to stick with that ridiculous statement?

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What you are saying is that last thursdayism is not only valid but probable.
Again, no, I'm not but don't let that stop you at this point.

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Thus to say to your patient, "The pain you're feeling in your left leg is real" would be an unnecessarily misleading statement based primarily on the equivocation of the term "real." To whit:
But I wouldn't say that. I would say that the leg had been amputated.
If you're not going to be honest then this is utterly pointless, BWE.

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You want me to say that but I don't want to.
Because it would reveal the fact that you're being unnecessarily pedantic?

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It would be a category error of the map-landscape type. Since I donb't want to say something I know to be confusing, I choose to present my observation as fact and let the patient figure out how to incorporate the information before I cram all the information which follows down his throat.
You mean the information "You're experiencing phantom pain"?

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The next step in the sequence is, "This is going to take some getting used to. There are several ways we can help. We will go over the details when you are ready."
That's a mighty pretty dance you're doing to avoid conceding the obvious. The aspie pedant dance! Yee haw! And what do you know? It's similar to what the brain likely does in regard to how much and what kind and the timing of the information it provides to the "I" as well, which is probably what phantom pain is all about (that or a misfiring).

So thanks at least for inadvertantly demonstrating my point.

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Koy, you seem to think the I is just a bit player in this drama.
And more mischaracterization of what I "seem to think." What I do think (and it's incredibly non-controversial) is that there's more to reality than just the experience of the "I" and the way we know this/access this is via inference. Not exactly a proposition from Wittgenstein (well, not directly anyway) and yet, page after page of this endless bullshit.

We're done here BWE. This is pointless so long as you refuse to be honest. You would tell your patient that they're experiencing "phantom pain" and you know it. What you certainly would not do is go to extraordinary lengths to try to preserve the sanctity of the experience of pain in left leggedness because it's a category error of the map-landscape type, or the like.

Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 20 Mar 2012 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 24 Mar 2012, 03:21 AM   #347227 / #404
mood2
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sorry for the delay koy, doing the boldy inserty thing again if you're still interested?

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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
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Originally Posted by mood2 View Post
here's a scenario for you - I wake up in a hospital bed feeling pain in my leg.
Ok, but technically you don't feel it in your leg; you feel it in your brain and then your brain ascribes it to your leg, so you're already lying to yourself. How's that for fun?

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A surgeon tells me my leg has been amputated and it is phantom pain. Feeling pain is the only part of this scenario I can directly know is true.
And that the feeling is in your brain.

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When I first woke up I inferred from the pain that my leg was injured, not gone.
Because one section of your brain was either "lying" to the "self" and/or the "self" misinterpreted the signals it was receiving etc.

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Later on after talking to the surgeon I revise my explanation, and my world model no longer includes having two attached legs.
Even though it feels as if you still have two legs, another part of your brain overrides the false information that is coming from another part of your brain. Got it.

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And then after all it turns out the surgeon's a bit of a tease and she was only kidding! Voila - my leg's back in the model. Or was she...

So my leg has been in out, in out (shaking it all about) because I've been re-shaping my world model (ie making new inferences/creating new explanations) based on the one unchangeable thing I do directly know - which is that I'm experiencing pain.
No. You've been changing your world model (making new inferences/creating new explanations) based on the initial false inference that the pain one section of your brain was telling another section of your brain is real, was current. The second false inference you made was that the current pain was coming from an intact leg.

The reason why one section of your brain was essentially lying to another section of your brain (and somehow must have "known" it was doing so, no less) was in order to keep that constructed self from having an even stronger adverse reaction to the fact that a leg was missing.

thought you might take this tack, but hoped you wouldn't, cos I think it's more of the 'not seeing the wood for the trees' thing. the point I wanted you to take from it is that if I can't rely on inference to tell me something as close to direct experience as whether or not I have a leg, then I can't rely on all the other (more complex and abstract) inferences I make which form my model of the external world.

Had there been no doctor, however, to further confuse the myriad of signals being sent back and forth, you would have awoken thinking you still had two legs, and one was injured until the true information was provided from one section of your brain to another etc. IOW, the illusory part of "you" that we call "I" would have eventually sifted through the conflicting date being fed to it and arrived at the proper objective state that it missed all along, which was that a leg was mssing.

The point of which is that there was evidently (at least) two "selves" involved; one that had direct knowledge of a missing leg and one that was being mislead, either by the other self or selves, or by faulty wiring. Which is all to reiterate the fact that everything is inference, particularly when it comes to the "self" because the "self" is pretty much the most ignorant part of what the brain does, at least when it comes to the small amount of data/information it is allowed to process by the other sections of the brain.

Subjective experience like feeling pain isn't inference, it's not inferred from anything. The explanations are inference, and therefore unreliable. In the scenario above - do I feel pain? - yes (direct experience therefore no ambiguity). Why? - well it might be this or that reason (inference - stories which could account for the fact that I feel pain). A story which would fit that fact just as well as yours is that I'm a brain in a vat being stimulated in a particular way. etc.



All of which started with the fundemantal choice you made (tacitly) at some point in your life, which is "my senses are not lying to me." From there the rest is inference.

My senses do lie to me tho, and I don't need to pretend they don't. What I need to know is that they're usually good at helping me create a useful and reliable model which works for my purposes - ie making decisions based on reliable predictions. Remember the table example? My senses tell me it's solid because what I need to know is whether I can rest my coffee mug on it without it falling through, not because it's truely solid.

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Originally Posted by mood2
Quote:
Originally Posted by koyaanisqatsi
Once you make that initial choice (tacitly, usually) you can then forever let inference guide you, so if by "starting point" you actually mean "genesis" (i.e., that one needn't constantly reinvent one's own epistemological wheel, so to speak), then I agree.
That's a practical solution to the problem of not knowing, it's not knowledge.
Irrelevant semantics. It is the way we know everything and the only way we can know anything.

[BNo not semantics, it's about making useful models - and utility isn't the same thing as knowledge. It might well be that the models are useful precisely because they correspond with some external objective reality, and I'm happy to act as if that's the case. But I can't know, so why pretend I can?[/B]

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hopefully my compelling scenario above has convinced you that direct experience (thoughts and feelings) is the one thing which can't be illusory, unlike the models/inferences I create to explain it to myself.
And hopefully my summary breakdone of some of the processes involved in your scenario demonstrate the illusory nature of what you are calling "direct experience."

Your summary of the processes is a possible explanation of my direct experience, but so is being a brain in a vat. Or something much weirder.

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Originally Posted by mood2
Quote:
Originally Posted by koyaanisqatsi
Think in these terms: you build an AI, turn it on and it says, "I think, therefore I exist." For the AI, this thought would appear to be its original referent, but objectively speaking, what came first was the mechanistic process that generated the thought. You would know this being the AI creator, but since we don't have any such creator, we must use inference to arrive at this same conclusion, so the answer to which came first, the chicken or the egg is: the mechanism to produce the question.

Or something to that effect. I haven't had my morning coffee yet.
Isn't your scenario begging the question by observing the AI from outside and thereby already assuming the objective perspective is the true one?
No, because there is no "question" to beg, except in pointless philosophical mental circle jerks like this one .

heh fair point. what I meant by begging the question is that you set up a scenario which is designed to show that inferred models can be relied on to show objective truth, but I have to accept the objective truth of the scenario model from the outset. The real question would be, how can an AI which understands the nature of subjective experience and inference know the scenario is true?

You necessarily behave as if you exist in an objectively "true" reality. Ironically, every "direct experience" as you put it that you have proves this every nano-second of your existence, including those experiences that may seem to disprove them initially (such as dreams or hallucinations or the above phantom pain scenario).

Yes I act as if my model is true for as long as it works for me, and I adjust it when a better one comes along which works better.

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I'm calling thinking and feeling direct experience, what happens inside my mind. So for example the act of inferring is direct experience because it's me thinking, creating models. Whether those models correlate to something existing outside of my mind I can't know because I can't directly experience being them.
You can know, via inference. You just can't know to an absolute degree of certainty, but again, you don't need to.

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Originally Posted by mood2
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Originally Posted by koyaanisqatis
I obviously disagree, but am willing to to explore further. It may help matters if we stop equivocating paradigms (i.e., conflating the philosophical terms with the practical terms)?
Not sure exactly what you mean
Well, saying things like, "that begs the question" is a good place to start . Really, who gives a shit except for pedants preaching to their choirs? It provides us with no insight and gets us nowhere to say shit like, "I have no way of knowing..." Solipsism is an intellectual cul-de-sac. It necessarily can go nowhere and it provides no insight. The only ones who hang out there are pedants and those who wish to justify their own petty delusions and because of the nature of the cul-de-sac, they can.

cmon that's just playing to the cliche'

Beg the question philosophically and then answer it by pragmatism and move on with your life. Iow, stub your toe!
Pragmatism is going with what works, not pretending you know stuff you can't know.
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Old 24 Mar 2012, 03:36 AM   #347230 / #405
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hey mood2, I liked your answers to koy 'the thrice confused'...

I specially liked your amputated leg example: Truly, pain felt is real pain, independently of it having an 'external' correlation.

That's the thing about dreams or illusions: They are real phenomena, and truly one saw and heard and felt; what isn't real is their content - in regards to the scale of perception called 'external reality'.

If one feels a hand touching one's back, then one really felt a hand touching one's back, independently of there not being a person present, since that simply means there being a person present is not part of that experience.
ta yeah I've been pondering on dreams and I think you're right. Whichever state I'm in, waking or dreaming, it's just as real. But it's sort of like dreams are one-off self-contaiined dramas which interrupt the on-going soap opera of waking life. I'm not even sure if the only reason it's useful to distinguish between waking and dreaming is the continuous narrative nature of waking...
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Old 26 Mar 2012, 04:14 PM   #348053 / #406
Koyaanisqatsi
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The problem with the majority of your response mood2 is that it once again assumes that "to know" means "to know to an absolute degree of certainty."

Thus when you write:

Quote:
what I meant by begging the question is that you set up a scenario which is designed to show that inferred models can be relied on to show objective truth, but I have to accept the objective truth of the scenario model from the outset.
No, you don't, because you don't live in a snapshot of experience; you live in a continuum of experiences that you know (via inference) are faulty and susceptible to all kinds of variables and malfunctions, etc. To whit:

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The real question would be, how can an AI which understands the nature of subjective experience and inference know the scenario is true?
The answer to that question is, "Via inference." That's how the AI would know the scenario is true. It would know that it was created; it would know that it is mechanical; it would know that it was turned on, etc. and therefore it would infer that because of all of that what it is experiencing must be the result of those processes working in tandem somehow. IOW, it would "trust" its senses are telling it the truth about its environment and its position within that environment and it would compare the information it is gathering through its sensory input/output devices against the self-knowledge it was programmed with, etc., etc., etc. In short, it would make an educated guess; test it; and form a conclusion, just like we do.

See, this is the problem with these kinds of hypotheticals. They always isolate and remove any scenario from real world conditions. The phantom leg pain, for example, cannot be isolated and then deconstructed as if it were a template to extrapolate from.

If for some unknown reason you woke up on a desert island missing a left leg--and you never before in your life experienced such an abnormal experience; i.e., you never hallucinated, you never had a dream you could remember, etc--then your initial response of, "Ow, I feel this pain in my left leg" and then looked down to see that you had no left leg would obviously be incredibly disturbing. And it would remain so until such time as your brain provided the correct information to your "I" and you had to move around and find food and live your life without that leg, etc. to confirm that your eyes are not the sense that is deceiving your "I"; it is, instead, the sense of pain that is deceiving your "I" about the objective state of your leg. But you would eventually infer the correct ultimate objectively true condtion that you awakened within, regardless of the fact that you may initially have fooled yourself (i.e, one part of your brain fooled the "I" into thinking the wrong thing about the existence of your left leg).

The totality of that experience tells you that you can fool yourself, no doubt about it, but it also tells you that you correct yourself. That the pain you were sure was in your left leg, could not have been in your left leg and thus you would come to the conclusion (on your own) via inference that your brain fucked up, basically. And it would do so because one sense (sight) was contradicting another sense (pain), which would force the brain to reconcile the differences and discover the truth by invoking other senses and the process of inference (or deduction; which).

Now, for everyone else in the real world that has had a dream before that they remember upon waking, the idea that you can fool yourself and that you then correct yourself is not new. Thus, for that person, feeling phantom pain would certainly be a new experience, but not philosophically paralyzing, to coin a phrase. Particularly once the brain stopped sending the wrong information to the "I" and the phantom pain ceased.

For that person (the normal, every day person) they would more or less immediatley infer that the brain fooled itself into thinking that the leg is still there when in fact it isn't; that their eyes were telling the truth. What would not happen, is that the person would forever exist in a fantasy world of "I experience only left-leggedness" or "I can never know that I am a man dreaming I am a buttefly, or a butterfly dreaming I am man" or the like.

And this fact--that there is evidently some sub-conscious or "meta" conscious or (as I prefer) alternative process that keeps track of the objective reality we subjectively experience--always seems to go missing in these kinds of discussions. Why? What is monitoring your brain/body during sleep while the "I" experiences a dream? What is generating the dream, for that matter? What is monitoring the brain/body during acid trips? Etc. Because there is something doing all of that. Much like the inner ear gauges our spatial orientation, there is some aspect of our brains that knows better than our "I" what the state of the body is; what the state of the body and the "I" is in relation to an objective reallity that we subjectively experience. That's why we "know" that we're no longer dreaming; that's why we say we're "coming down" off a trip and know while we're on a trip or in a lucid dream that this is what's happening. There are also many cases where people don't "come back" and go insane etc. Iow, we know a great deal about how consciousness can be altered or otherwise affected by many different things, from chemicals we synthesize to brain damage.

To dismiss all of that with an archaic, "Oh, that's the autonomic system" or "That's just instinct" or, worse, woo like "That's just the antenae malfunctioning" or the like is not only misleading, it's intellectually lazy.

So, we know all of this and that's how we infer "the pain I am currently experiencing emanating from my left leg is not real; I have no left leg; my brain is lying to itself." Regardless of the symantics games, that's the objective truth of the total situation and we would eventually arrive at it whether or not a doctor told us, or we found ourselves on a desert island having never experienced any such phenomenon before and the end result would be, "Wow, my brain is complicated and has the capacity to fool itself, so I need to be extra special careful to perform bias checks" or the like (if we were aspie pedants, of course ).

Which is a long way of saying, the way we know shit is by inference and that knowledge does not need to be absolute in order to say that's how we know it's true; we factor all of the evidence, make an educated guess, test it and form a conclusion. Often all within nano-seconds and the fact that except in extreme exceptions (that prove the rule) such as with phantom pain we are almost always correct shouldn't just be swept under the rug because its more fun to mentally masturbate on what the .000000001% uncertainty inherent to solipsism might entail.

That's the intellectual cul-de-sac that provides no insight and offers no deeper understanding of what reality "really" is.

Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 26 Mar 2012 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 26 Mar 2012, 07:34 PM   #348161 / #407
Koyaanisqatsi
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Whichever state I'm in, waking or dreaming, it's just as real.
Bullshit. Sorry, but bullshit. If that were true then you would have no way of distinguishing the two and wouldn't even be talking in terms of "waking" or "dreaming."

This is exactly what I'm on about. You are simply denying or ommitting a tremendous amount of empirical evidence that contradicts such poetic nonsense including and especially this basic fact that you are distinguishing between the two states! You somehow knew, for example, that you were dreaming (sometimes in the dream; sometimes it takes several minutes after you waken; sometimes immediately upon waking; etc). So the deeper, more pertinent question should be, "How do I differentiate between these two disparate experiences?" That and/or, "How do I know when I'm no longer dreaming?"

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But it's sort of like dreams are one-off self-contaiined dramas which interrupt the on-going soap opera of waking life.
See? And further you appear to be curiously incurious as to who is therefore writing those self-contained dramas that your "I" is experiencing. Indeed the whole proces of sleeping/dreaming just seems to be dismissed as irrelevant compared to what the "I" experiences, and yet we know that there is a whole shitload of complicated "maintenance" procedures that occurs while the "I" is dreamtripping, including the fact that some other part of the brain is evidently monitoring the dream and administering certain drugs to paralyse the muscles (and releasing them from paralysis) so that what the "I" exeperiences doesn't cause bodily harm or the like.

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I'm not even sure if the only reason it's useful to distinguish between waking and dreaming is the continuous narrative nature of waking...
But again the point is that you do distinguish between the two and there must be some method--some process--by which this is accomplished, which certainly seems to me anyway to be an important point.

The "I" is like a spoiled child that never has to work for a living and therefore is just oblivious to how things actually work in the world in order for it to go about its tunnel-vision existence. It can certainly do that, I guess, but it does so out of ignorance, not skepticism or a desire for deeper understanding in my humble opine.

ETA: Think of the many times you've seen someone else (your lover, your parent, your sibling, etc) sleeping and then consider the fact that they don't actually go anywhere; what's happening in their brain is a drug trip. They may wake up and say, "Holy shit! I was in Paris and I could fly and I lived one hundred years!" But of course they did none of those things. Setting aside for the moment that they nevertheless had the experience (at least in a dream state) of doing such things, their body did not actually do those things.

So how did they "experience" what they experienced? What was the process involved? Some people don't give a shit about the process and have decided that experience is experience and nothing else matters, but that's a cop out. That's stopping short. You can, but again, you're not an honest seeker of truth if you do in my book.

Some people think that, like a ghost, you actually go to some other "realm" and thus the experiences are "legitimate" evidence for spirituality or the like, but we're grown ups and supposedly skeptics and we know at the very least that what is going on during sleep/dreaming is a complicated electro-chemical process in our brains that somehow involves a generated observer and the observed as well as a separation between the "dream" body and the "waking" body; an experience so powerfully "real" to us while it is occuring that we (men) can actually ejaculate in the real world by thought alone.

So, going strictly on the evidence, there's clearly a lot more going on than just what the "I" experiences.

Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 26 Mar 2012 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 27 Mar 2012, 02:00 AM   #348329 / #408
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
The problem with the majority of your response mood2 is that it once again assumes that "to know" means "to know to an absolute degree of certainty."

Thus when you write:

Quote:
what I meant by begging the question is that you set up a scenario which is designed to show that inferred models can be relied on to show objective truth, but I have to accept the objective truth of the scenario model from the outset.
No, you don't, because you don't live in a snapshot of experience; you live in a continuum of experiences that you know (via inference) are faulty and susceptible to all kinds of variables and malfunctions, etc. To whit:

Quote:
The real question would be, how can an AI which understands the nature of subjective experience and inference know the scenario is true?
The answer to that question is, "Via inference." That's how the AI would know the scenario is true. It would know that it was created; it would know that it is mechanical; it would know that it was turned on, etc. and therefore it would infer that because of all of that what it is experiencing must be the result of those processes working in tandem somehow. IOW, it would "trust" its senses are telling it the truth about its environment and its position within that environment and it would compare the information it is gathering through its sensory input/output devices against the self-knowledge it was programmed with, etc., etc., etc. In short, it would make an educated guess; test it; and form a conclusion, just like we do.

See, this is the problem with these kinds of hypotheticals. They always isolate and remove any scenario from real world conditions. The phantom leg pain, for example, cannot be isolated and then deconstructed as if it were a template to extrapolate from.

If for some unknown reason you woke up on a desert island missing a left leg--and you never before in your life experienced such an abnormal experience; i.e., you never hallucinated, you never had a dream you could remember, etc--then your initial response of, "Ow, I feel this pain in my left leg" and then looked down to see that you had no left leg would obviously be incredibly disturbing. And it would remain so until such time as your brain provided the correct information to your "I" and you had to move around and find food and live your life without that leg, etc. to confirm that your eyes are not the sense that is deceiving your "I"; it is, instead, the sense of pain that is deceiving your "I" about the objective state of your leg. But you would eventually infer the correct ultimate objectively true condtion that you awakened within, regardless of the fact that you may initially have fooled yourself (i.e, one part of your brain fooled the "I" into thinking the wrong thing about the existence of your left leg).

The totality of that experience tells you that you can fool yourself, no doubt about it, but it also tells you that you correct yourself. That the pain you were sure was in your left leg, could not have been in your left leg and thus you would come to the conclusion (on your own) via inference that your brain fucked up, basically. And it would do so because one sense (sight) was contradicting another sense (pain), which would force the brain to reconcile the differences and discover the truth by invoking other senses and the process of inference (or deduction; which).

Now, for everyone else in the real world that has had a dream before that they remember upon waking, the idea that you can fool yourself and that you then correct yourself is not new. Thus, for that person, feeling phantom pain would certainly be a new experience, but not philosophically paralyzing, to coin a phrase. Particularly once the brain stopped sending the wrong information to the "I" and the phantom pain ceased.

For that person (the normal, every day person) they would more or less immediatley infer that the brain fooled itself into thinking that the leg is still there when in fact it isn't; that their eyes were telling the truth. What would not happen, is that the person would forever exist in a fantasy world of "I experience only left-leggedness" or "I can never know that I am a man dreaming I am a buttefly, or a butterfly dreaming I am man" or the like.

And this fact--that there is evidently some sub-conscious or "meta" conscious or (as I prefer) alternative process that keeps track of the objective reality we subjectively experience--always seems to go missing in these kinds of discussions. Why? What is monitoring your brain/body during sleep while the "I" experiences a dream? What is generating the dream, for that matter? What is monitoring the brain/body during acid trips? Etc. Because there is something doing all of that. Much like the inner ear gauges our spatial orientation, there is some aspect of our brains that knows better than our "I" what the state of the body is; what the state of the body and the "I" is in relation to an objective reallity that we subjectively experience. That's why we "know" that we're no longer dreaming; that's why we say we're "coming down" off a trip and know while we're on a trip or in a lucid dream that this is what's happening. There are also many cases where people don't "come back" and go insane etc. Iow, we know a great deal about how consciousness can be altered or otherwise affected by many different things, from chemicals we synthesize to brain damage.

To dismiss all of that with an archaic, "Oh, that's the autonomic system" or "That's just instinct" or, worse, woo like "That's just the antenae malfunctioning" or the like is not only misleading, it's intellectually lazy.

So, we know all of this and that's how we infer "the pain I am currently experiencing emanating from my left leg is not real; I have no left leg; my brain is lying to itself." Regardless of the symantics games, that's the objective truth of the total situation and we would eventually arrive at it whether or not a doctor told us, or we found ourselves on a desert island having never experienced any such phenomenon before and the end result would be, "Wow, my brain is complicated and has the capacity to fool itself, so I need to be extra special careful to perform bias checks" or the like (if we were aspie pedants, of course ).

Which is a long way of saying, the way we know shit is by inference and that knowledge does not need to be absolute in order to say that's how we know it's true; we factor all of the evidence, make an educated guess, test it and form a conclusion. Often all within nano-seconds and the fact that except in extreme exceptions (that prove the rule) such as with phantom pain we are almost always correct shouldn't just be swept under the rug because its more fun to mentally masturbate on what the .000000001% uncertainty inherent to solipsism might entail.

That's the intellectual cul-de-sac that provides no insight and offers no deeper understanding of what reality "really" is.
I do get why you say all that, and you could well be absolutely right. I live my life as if all that's true. My model of the world is incredibly vivid, it's vastly complex and detailed, it self-corrects, it's largely internally consistent both as an explanatory model and by responding in ways I'd expect (and can usually give good reasons when it doesn't), even the fact that it doesn't explain everything gives it credence as a model which is engaging with objective reality.

You don't have to keep explaining this to me in different ways hoping one will click, just take all that as read OK .

So... why don't I think all that is good enough not just to Act As If my model is an accurate representaion of objective reality, but also to say it's True.

Well it has to do with the nature of subjectivity and the inherent limits it places on making objective claims. You see knowledge as some sliding scale of certainty, where inference can fill in where direct subjective experience can't go, and you can pretty much give them equal weight.

I don't think that's justified. I see knowledge as what I subjectively experience. I can never know anything which isn't me, I'll always get it wrong, and I can't even know how wrong without that direct subjective access. As a subject, everything which isn't Me (direct experience) is explanation - ways of accounting for the direct experience I know I have.

The reason I say I can't even know how wrong I am about anything which isn't me, is because the only touchstone of knowing I can rely on is subjective experience. So I can construct internally consistent models like you describe above which account equally well for my subjective experiences which are identical except in one model I see myself as a brain in a vat, in another I'm a computer AI which has just been turned on, etc. I have no way of stepping outside myself and looking down to see which is objectively true.

Because I don't have access to an all-seeing objective p.o.v. I can only use my subjective direct experiences to test my model against. As long as my model is internally consistent (all the inferences work together to form something coherent and reliable) and fits my direct subjective experience then it'll do the job. It actually doesn't matter if it's true, it matters if it's useful.

My own guess is that objective reality exists, and that my model is a crude, flat and distorted reflection of a tiny corner of something I'm not even equipped to imagine. wooooooooo....
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Old 27 Mar 2012, 03:15 PM   #348505 / #409
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You don't have to keep explaining this to me in different ways hoping one will click, just take all that as read OK .
Fair enough.

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So... why don't I think all that is good enough not just to Act As If my model is an accurate representaion of objective reality, but also to say it's True.
Because you're equivocating?

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Well it has to do with the nature of subjectivity and the inherent limits it places on making objective claims. You see knowledge as some sliding scale of certainty, where inference can fill in where direct subjective experience can't go, and you can pretty much give them equal weight.

I don't think that's justified. I see knowledge as what I subjectively experience.
Except that, you clearly do not. You subjectively "experience" that you live in an objectively true reality that remains constant no matter what you do to alter it. Your experience is such that you always "come down" or "wake up" etc. Thus you, ironically, are the one using inference in regard to this "limbo" supposition of yours in direct contradiction to your every day experience.

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I can never know anything which isn't me
Again, this is not your experience. Typing on your keyboard and posting to this online discussion forum is proof enough that this isn't true, unless once again you are conlfating "know" with "know to an absolute degree of certainty," but even in that case you'd still be contradicting your experience.

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I'll always get it wrong, and I can't even know how wrong without that direct subjective access. As a subject, everything which isn't Me (direct experience) is explanation - ways of accounting for the direct experience I know I have.
Again, false. What you just wrote above is something you've inferred, not something you experience (at least not in regard to the overwhelming majority of your daily, mundane experiences).

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The reason I say I can't even know how wrong I am about anything which isn't me, is because the only touchstone of knowing I can rely on is subjective experience.
Which, again, is always of an objective reality that everyone else shares and relates almost identical experiences! There are subtle nuances and people may get certain details wrong or have different impressions, but those are exceptions that prove the rule.

Have you read Dennett on Quining Qualia, by any chance? Good stuff!

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So I can construct internally consistent models like you describe above which account equally well for my subjective experiences which are identical except in one model I see myself as a brain in a vat, in another I'm a computer AI which has just been turned on, etc. I have no way of stepping outside myself and looking down to see which is objectively true.
Again, false. You do have a way. You have several ways, in fact. One way is inference. Another way is to simply ask two or more people that you know and trust, etc. Pragmatically speaking, you have many ways of confirming and thereby "knowing". Philosophically speaking (i.e., in a vacuum of mental masturbatory abstractions that never likely obtain in any experience you've ever had nor ever will have) this is an issue and once again, that issue is inferred, not directly experienced.

You are contradicting your own tacit epistemological edict.

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Because I don't have access to an all-seeing objective p.o.v. I can only use my subjective direct experiences to test my model against.
And there you've just invoked the absolute certainty standard. Why? Please justify the need to compare anything against an absolute certainty standard for you to know something? Knowledge does not need to be absolute for it to be knowledge.



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As long as my model is internally consistent (all the inferences work together to form something coherent and reliable) and fits my direct subjective experience then it'll do the job. It actually doesn't matter if it's true, it matters if it's useful.
Then, again, why are you conflating "True" with "Objectively True In All Possible Worlds" or the like?

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My own guess is that objective reality exists, and that my model is a crude, flat and distorted reflection of a tiny corner of something I'm not even equipped to imagine. wooooooooo....
And once again you have contradicted your experience in favor of an inference. A needlessly self-limiting inference at that.

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Old 27 Mar 2012, 09:21 PM   #348750 / #410
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Btw, please ignore my dyslexia. It frustrates the hell out of me as well (but serves as an excellent reason why I'm taking the position I am; my malfunctioning subjective experience is constantly objectively verified ).
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Old 07 Apr 2012, 02:39 PM   #352501 / #411
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and.... we're back where we started. fun dance tho!

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Old 12 Apr 2012, 03:26 PM   #354122 / #412
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and.... we're back where we started. fun dance tho!



You stated, "I see knowledge as what I subjectively experience." You experience, however, an objective reality. You can't prove it's an objective reality (to an absolute degree of certainty), but that's what you experience. So, due to the pecular circumstances inherent to solipsism--a learned concept--you infer that you are subjectively experiencing an objective reality. Thus, inference is how you know anything.

Nice bunnies, btw
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Old 13 Apr 2012, 02:06 PM   #354414 / #413
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and.... we're back where we started. fun dance tho!



You stated, "I see knowledge as what I subjectively experience." You experience, however, an objective reality. You can't prove it's an objective reality (to an absolute degree of certainty), but that's what you experience. So, due to the pecular circumstances inherent to solipsism--a learned concept--you infer that you are subjectively experiencing an objective reality. Thus, inference is how you know anything.

Nice bunnies, btw
ta


k, try this. we agree that inference must have a foundational referent. So tell me

A) what sort of things you know without the use of inference. ie what is the knowledge base you use to make subsequent inferences from?

2) now you have isolated your non-inferred knowledge base - what method did you use to gain this foundational subset of knowledge?
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Old 13 Apr 2012, 04:26 PM   #354450 / #414
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we agree that inference must have a foundational referent.
No, not necessarily. It can (and it seems to me must) have only a provisional referent. Unless by "foundational referent" you mean one's experiences, but even that's sketchy because "one's experiences" consist of trillions of bits of information constantly and dynamically interracting with the trillions of atoms that comprise your body and that information has so many different scales to it that it's nearly impossible to parse (which is why there are several different stages and several different levels of information processing that goes on in the brain) etc.

And as has been pointed out, one's experiences can be deceiving. Or so we infer

We spent thousands/millions of years without any "foundational referent." You spent your formative years without any "foundational referent." It wasn't until your teen years (typically)--corresponding with the physical maturity of your brain's ability to perform abstract thought--that you even began to contemplate such things as "foundational referents" and the like. But that's what inference affords, of course; the ability to hold one thing as provisionally true so that you can infer all kinds of things about and from that supposition.

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A) what sort of things you know without the use of inference.
Again, that would be nothing. You can't even know "I experience" without inferring from your experiences that there is an "I" and that it experiences. All knowledge is inferred. Even the "self" is inferred.

Descartes got it wrong. It should have been, "I infer that I exist, I think."

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Old 15 Apr 2012, 12:16 PM   #355001 / #415
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we agree that inference must have a foundational referent.
No, not necessarily. It can (and it seems to me must) have only a provisional referent. Unless by "foundational referent" you mean one's experiences, but even that's sketchy because "one's experiences" consist of trillions of bits of information constantly and dynamically interracting with the trillions of atoms that comprise your body and that information has so many different scales to it that it's nearly impossible to parse (which is why there are several different stages and several different levels of information processing that goes on in the brain) etc.

And as has been pointed out, one's experiences can be deceiving. Or so we infer

We spent thousands/millions of years without any "foundational referent." You spent your formative years without any "foundational referent." It wasn't until your teen years (typically)--corresponding with the physical maturity of your brain's ability to perform abstract thought--that you even began to contemplate such things as "foundational referents" and the like. But that's what inference affords, of course; the ability to hold one thing as provisionally true so that you can infer all kinds of things about and from that supposition.

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A) what sort of things you know without the use of inference.
Again, that would be nothing. You can't even know "I experience" without inferring from your experiences that there is an "I" and that it experiences. All knowledge is inferred. Even the "self" is inferred.

Descartes got it wrong. It should have been, "I infer that I exist, I think."
hmmm ok, so the knowledge chicken/ egg thing boils down to (hehe) experience being either the foundational referent vs provisional referent? (sorry bout the ugly terminology btw)

there's a prob tho, in that experience in itself isn't knowledge - things might happen to me which I'm not aware of and therefore don't know, so experience isn't the right word here.

so I'd say What I Think And Feel is my foundational referent (what I;d call direct knowledge as opposed to inferred knowledge). Whether my thoughts correlate accurately to some objective reality doesn't mean it's not true that I'm having these thoughts. See the distinction? If it was only provisionally true that I'm having these thoughts/feelings this would mean I might not exist. What is provisional and open to speculation, inference and error is whether my thoughts correlate accurately to some objective reality.

(I'd also say that What I Think And Feel is what I mean when I say 'I'. )

You can never not think and feel what you think and feel. But you can completely clear the decks of everything inferred, all the stuff about atoms and brains, the possible sources of thoughts and feelings, and you're left with this foundational referent, your basis of all knowledge.

Try it. Then take two possible sources of your thoughts and feelings -

* what you believe about objective reality is roughly true.

* you are an AI character in a sophisticated computer simulation capable of thinking and feeling.

How can inference enable you to determine which is true?

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Old 16 Apr 2012, 03:16 PM   #355322 / #416
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hmmm ok, so the knowledge chicken/ egg thing boils down to (hehe) experience being either the foundational referent vs provisional referent? (sorry bout the ugly terminology btw)
I think it all must necessarily be provisional due to the inherent problem of solipsism. Iow, there is no "foundational" referent in any primary sense; there may be an inferred foundational referent--the "I" or the "self" or the "observer" etc.--but we know this isn't foundational either.

And the chicken/egg thing is a misnomer. The brain came first.

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there's a prob tho, in that experience in itself isn't knowledge
Exactly. Inferrence is the method by which we know something. Experience is merely the dynamic interraction, or data input processing, I guess, to be technical.

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things might happen to me which I'm not aware of and therefore don't know
Let's clarify that a bit. Things do happen to your body that your illusory sense of "self" is deliberately not made aware of by the other processors and/or is simply ignored by whichever higher processor is generating the illusory "I" at any given moment. My money is on the neocortex as the primary "I" generator, but I hold with the implications of the Triune Brain theory that there are three higher function processors that all dynamically contribute to the continuous illusory sense of self in much the same way that a thaumatrope works.

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so I'd say What I Think And Feel is my foundational referent (what I;d call direct knowledge as opposed to inferred knowledge).
And you'd be incorrect, because what you "think and feel" are not only two distinctly different processes, but they are both the end results of trillions of earlier processes and therefore could not possibly be "direct." You are inferring that they are "direct" because that's how you experience them, but they are by no means direct.

So where does that put your "foundational referent" belief knowing as you do that thougts and feelings cannot possibly be "direct" actions?

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Whether my thoughts correlate accurately to some objective reality doesn't mean it's not true that I'm having these thoughts.
The truth that you're parsing here is: I'm having these thoughts. Not the content of the thoughts; merely that there is a process--a function--that results in "thoughts." But of course, there must also be another process involved; one that is more of an audience member than an active agent who says, "I'm having these thoughts" (as opposed to the infinite number of possible thoughts).

See the distinction?

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If it was only provisionally true that I'm having these thoughts/feelings this would mean I might not exist.
And you might not. Well, your body would, but "you" might not.

See, the "truth" is--and if you want to infer that this is a foundational referent you certainly can--the truth is that your body (your brain) is constantly dynamically processing trillions of bits of information and at least one part of your brain (I would contend three parts) is basically sitting back in a chair watching that information on a screen in its filtered form and editing a narrative out of that filtered information and then slapping labels on that information (i.e., "stubbed toe" or "fell off bike" or "lost virginity" etc).

So the only "foundational referent" is experience (or "processor of information").

Again, there's not even an "I" that exists in any capacity that can be called "foundational" because the "I" is something illusory; something generated by the brain through its functioning. We know this is true because when it ceases to function and/or when its functioning is impaired, the results are more or less normative.

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What is provisional and open to speculation, inference and error is whether my thoughts correlate accurately to some objective reality.
Except that, once again, you know that your thoughts and feelings are the very things that are the most provisional and that what isn't provisional is that you exist in an objective realtiy. That's your experience every single second of every single minute of every single day. You have it exactly backwards, because on paper, you can. That's it. In the abstract, you can. In practice, however, you simply do not ever act on or in any way practically apply any such abstract beliefs such as these.

Your second by second experience is that you exist in an objectively "true" reality. You ironically infer, however, that due to the structure of your brain and the inherent abstract problems of solipsism, that you could be a brain in a jar or the like and therefore all of the abstract conditions you've stated obtain.

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You can never not think and feel what you think and feel.
Well, again, you'd have to parse that down to whether or not you're talking about the illusory self thinking and feeling what the illusory self thinks and feels, or if you're breaking down the process by which the body and brain generate the illusory sense of self.

"You" certainly can just stop at the illusory self and be done with it (many have), but in doing so you would be unsupportably rejecting a tremendous amount of evidence establishing that there is much more to your existence than just what you "think and feel" (as well as much more to how it is you think and feel).

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But you can completely clear the decks of everything inferred, all the stuff about atoms and brains, the possible sources of thoughts and feelings, and you're left with this foundational referent, your basis of all knowledge.
Nice bit of inference .

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take two possible sources of your thoughts and feelings -

* what you believe about objective reality is roughly true.

* you are an AI character in a sophisticated computer simulation capable of thinking and feeling.

How can inference enable you to determine which is true?
That's the wrong question. The right question is, "What other method could enable you to determine which is true?"

ETA: Note that when I use the term "you" what I mean is, "the total physical body that comprises mood2." When you use the term "you" you mean, "the thoughts and feelings that the illusory self experiences." The body generates that self, which is why its primary and more important than what the self experiences, imo, for all the reasons so far given.

While it's true, of course, that we only experience life through the illusory self, that doesn't mean we should just ignore how that self gets generated and all that entails and what that in turn teaches us about the nature of our existence. You can't just stop at the acid trip and say, "Eureka, I know the nature of reality!" You also need to factor in how it is you go on the trip and why you come down from the trip as equally (if not more) important to the nature of reality.

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Old 17 Apr 2012, 03:17 PM   #355540 / #417
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the reason the question seems wrong to you is that you're not prepared to put aside what you believe about the world and take a step back to a position where it has to compete with other possibilities on equal terms.

if every answer you give assumes from the outset the truth of the very thing which you're being asked to justify, nothing I can say will make any difference. this question is a way of asking you to put aside your assumptions for a moment and see what, if anything, is left.
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Old 17 Apr 2012, 06:06 PM   #355584 / #418
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the reason the question seems wrong to you is that you're not prepared to put aside what you believe about the world
Please. The reason the question is wrong is because it's a false dillema.

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and take a step back to a position where it has to compete with other possibilities on equal terms.
Yeah, I remember my first joint too .

What are those other possibilities and how are you arriving at them? How do you experience the world?

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if every answer you give assumes from the outset the truth of the very thing which you're being asked to justify, nothing I can say will make any difference.
I don't need to justify anything. You, however, would need to justify the fact that you're using inference to assert that you have "direct knowledge" or that your "thoughts and feelings" are in any way direct just because one part of your brain essentially fools other parts of your brain into "experiencing" them that way.

Everything you've stated is the result of inferrrence. You have inferred, for example, that you cannot be certain (to an absolute degree) that you are not living in the matrix. So what does your experience tell you? What are your "thoughts and feelings" about whether or not you're a brain in a vat?

Those are rhetorical questions, of course.

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this question is a way of asking you to put aside your assumptions for a moment and see what, if anything, is left.
No, it isn't. As stated above, it's a false dillema due to the inherent problem of solipsism, which is why the correct question is the one I asked you. What other method could enable you to determine which is true? How do you know that you are no longer dreaming? Why do you "come down" off a drug trip? Etc.

Reboot (if you will) the missing leg scenario. The "direct knowledge" as you would have it is that you are not missing a leg. That's what you would be thinking and feeling, correct? But is that the case that you are not missing a leg? No. So your "foundational referent" would be what in that scenario and, more to the point, by what method would you arrive at the truth of that scenario?

This is why I argue that there can be no such thing as a "foundational referent" (beyond brute experience); it is always provisional due to the problem of solipsism and therefore knowledge can only be arrived at via inference.

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Old 18 Apr 2012, 03:06 PM   #355875 / #419
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you still don't seem to get just how minimal my claims to knowledge are. I don't know if I'm in the matrix, I don't know if I have a leg, I don't know if I have a brain, I don't know if the outside world exists.

what I do know is that I have sensations and thoughts. The nature of being a subject is that I can know these things first hand. I can't know external objects in the same way. I have to rely on my sensations and make mental models which explain them in a way which seems to work. Then don't worry about it and act as if they're True unless/until they're no longer useful.

That's it.

There's nothing weird about this position.

The point of the phantom leg example is that it acts as a reminder that my model is always tentative and open to revision, even something which feels about as real as can be to me like my own body. The belief that I have senses experiencing some external reality is itself part of the model. And your rebuttal that yes I can know if I have a leg by examining what's going on in my brain is just another version of the model, because my brain is just as much part of the model as my leg.

Does any of that matter? nah. Whether I'm an AI or a brain in a vat or generating these sensations and thoughts myself, or my model is pretty darn close to an objective reality makes no difference, so it's not worth worrying about. I don't see any point claiming I can know the answer tho.
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Old 18 Apr 2012, 04:03 PM   #355893 / #420
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you still don't seem to get just how minimal my claims to knowledge are. I don't know if I'm in the matrix, I don't know if I have a leg, I don't know if I have a brain, I don't know if the outside world exists.
Ffs. Sorry, but this is just sophomoric drivel that you do not ever act on in real life. It's meaningless; what I call the solipsistic intellectual cul-de-sac and you can go around and around and around it but so what? It provides absolutely no information or insight into your existence. None, beyond the tautological. The observer can't prove (to an absolute degree of certainty) the nature of the observed. And? Nobody said you had to.

The method by which you do know that you have a leg, however, and that you're not in the matrix and that you do have a brain and that the outside world does exist is inference and that's the point. That's how you know anything precisely because solipsism is an intellectual cul-de-sac and "knowledge" does not need to be incontrivertibly true in order for it to still be either useful or true.

Where this equivocation came from baffles me, but it's always there and never acknowledged.

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what I do know is that I have sensations and thoughts.
Parse what you just wrote and tell me what two aspects are you referring to? There's the "I" of "What I do know" (i.e., the direct "I") and then there's the "I" of "I have sensations and thoughts" (i.e., the referential "I"). You've already betrayed the fact that you are inferring at least two sets of "I"; two different selves; one that "directly" eperiences and one that is aware of the one that directly experiences. And you've compartmentalized them and described how they interract!



Case in point:

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The nature of being a subject is that I can know these things first hand.
"I" can know these things "first hand." Do you see the duality inherent in such a statement; the inherent reliance on process this statement requires in order for it to be true?

And again you know (or you can know if you just crack a book on neuroscience) that the manner in which the brain/body operates is to constantly process trillions of bits of information on a nano-second to nano-second level, the vast majority of which never reaches the "higher" cognitive processors. Your neocortex (the processor that handles pattern recognition/problem solving and is arguably the primary generator or maintainer of the illusory sense of a continuous "I") is very much like an editor sitting in a dark, secluded editing bay cut off from any other distractions--food, survival, emotion, etc.--and all it does is review packets of information that have been filtered and honed by such other processors as the optic processors, eidts that information into a narrative (what you would call "modelling" I guess), slaps a label on it and then stores it in the memory vault.

Let's take the whole optical processing thing for a second. If you were to just look around your room--just turn your head and scan your room from left to right in one second--the amount of information your eyes actually take in would drive you insane if it weren't filtered. Billions of bits of information are tagged and discarded in literally the blink of your eye such that by the time the one second event of "scan of my room" hits your higher cognitive processors, it's literally like the difference between a sunset and a polaroid of a sunset.

But this is a known aspect of your body/brain. It's what it does; it's how it processes information. In fact, you could say that it's all your body really is; one giant incredibly complex sensory input/output/processing machine with at least three higher processors (the reptillian and mammalian "brains" from evolution and the neocortex of homo sapiens sapiens) generating the illusory sense of self; of analogue; of "I in a place." If you want to refer to this as modelling and mapping, by all means; samey samey.

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And again I can't know external objects in the same way.
There's no such thing as "external" or "internal" is the point. If you really want to have your "mind" blown, consider the fact that you're nothing but a glowing fog of atoms that pees and then you'll really start getting into the true nature of your existence. Keep hanging out in the solipsistic cul-de-sac however and you're just a cheese eating high school kid who just discovered pot for the first time.

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I have to rely on my sensations and make mental models which explain them in a way which seems to work.
Aka, you have to hold something to be provisionally true in order to use inference to explore the ramifications of it being objectively true. A state you know can't be proved to an absolute degree of certainty, but doesn't need to be proved to an absolute degree of certainty.

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There's nothing weird about this position.
Agreed. It's entirely based on inference, which is what I've been saying all along.

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The point of the phantom leg example is that it acts as a reminder that my model is always tentative and open to revision
Aka, "provisionally" true.

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even something which feels about as real as can be to me like my own body. The belief that I have senses experiencing some external reality is itself part of the model. And your rebuttal that yes I can know if I have a leg by examining what's going on in my brain
No, my rebuttal was that you can know by relying on other senses (your eyes, your touch, etc) and then using your brain to infer the objective truth value; i.e., resolve the conflicting information being sent by different sections of your brain to your higher processing centers.

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Does any of that matter? nah. Whether I'm an AI or a brain in a vat or generating these sensations and thoughts myself, or my model is pretty darn close to an objective reality makes no difference, so it's not worth worrying about. I don't see any point claiming I can know the answer tho.
You may if you'd stop using the word "know" in the context of "knowing to an absolute degree of certainty." There is no requirement to know something to an absolute degree of certainty to nevertheless say we know something to be true just as there is no requirement that the word "true" is to be defined as "true to an absolute degree of certainty."

You know you exist in an objective reality because you experience it that way and you confirm with others that they experience it that way so you infer from these two conditions (at least) that you in fact do live in an objective reality and that this is (provisionally) true.

That's all you need to do to claim that it is true and/or that you know it is true. Unless you run into aspie pedants online or in a Philosophy 101 class who can't seem to find their way out of the intellectual cul-de-sac .

Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi; 18 Apr 2012 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 18 Apr 2012, 04:26 PM   #355898 / #421
Marquez
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Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post

You may if you'd stop using the word "know" in the context of "knowing to an absolute degree of certainty." There is no requirement to know something to an absolute degree of certainty to nevertheless say we know something to be true just as there is no requirement that the word "true" is to be defined as "true to an absolute degree of certainty."
This is the key. People fall into radical skepticism easily, and unless they're able to filter what they consider "knowing" through a reasonable lens, they essentially drop into the philosophical abyss. While Nietzsche seems to think there's something manly about staring into the abyss, I'd say it's much more reasonable to look at the abyss, recognize it for what it is, and take a casual walk around it in order to have substantive conversations with other thinkers.
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Old 18 Apr 2012, 05:03 PM   #355912 / #422
Koyaanisqatsi
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Originally Posted by Marquez View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post

You may if you'd stop using the word "know" in the context of "knowing to an absolute degree of certainty." There is no requirement to know something to an absolute degree of certainty to nevertheless say we know something to be true just as there is no requirement that the word "true" is to be defined as "true to an absolute degree of certainty."
This is the key. People fall into radical skepticism easily, and unless they're able to filter what they consider "knowing" through a reasonable lens, they essentially drop into the philosophical abyss. While Nietzsche seems to think there's something manly about staring into the abyss, I'd say it's much more reasonable to look at the abyss, recognize it for what it is, and take a casual walk around it in order to have substantive conversations with other thinkers.
Precisely! The intellectual cul-de-sac abyss .

And while I'm not sure about Nietzche's motives (but I can hazard a guess), it seems like most people I encounter that wallow in the cul-de-sac are doing so because that's where pet beliefs can hide and be justified.
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Old 20 Apr 2012, 07:19 PM   #356889 / #423
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whether or not my position's an intellectual cul-de-sac has no bearing on whether it's right. so stop saying that as if it's an argument. And I'm fed up with the repeated patronising 'sophomoric' crap too.

if you come up with a way of distinguishing why one internally coherent model which matches what I sense/feel/experience is true while another is not, then you'll have an argument. repeatedly pointing out that your model is internally coherent isn't good enough, because others are too.

Last edited by Marquez; 20 Apr 2012 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 20 Apr 2012, 07:48 PM   #356897 / #424
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Unless, of course, the coherence theory of truth is the best model.

P.S.
mood 2 -- I accidentally hit "edit" on your post when putting my message in. I didn't actually add or remove or change anything in your post. My apologies -- newbie Mod mistake.
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Old 20 Apr 2012, 08:01 PM   #356903 / #425
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no probs
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