Dualism

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Re: Dualism

Postby MysticWav » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:33 pm

How do you know "faking it" is a meaningful distinction? If a given piece of matter behaves exactly as we expect from conscious beings, what's the distinction between the piece of matter and me? What's the difference?


That was my point. From the outside we cannot know if there is one or not. I don't /know/ you are conscious anymore than you know I am or either of us know that the AI would be. That said, we each have direct first hand evidence that we ourselves are different from a theoretical automaton that acts just like us. Again, though, I think it more likely to everyone else like me is also conscious than to assume I am a lone single consciousness surrounded by a bunch of very convincing fakes. In a situation where proof is not readily available, or even conceivable, it seems like a safe enough assumption to go with.

I agree with you on the animal front, I just didn't want to confuse the issue so I stuck to the lowest common denominator of agreement. :)

I don't think the biochemical arrangement is sufficiently distinct. The properties of matter don't change at the scale of cells. You can make it do lots of wonderful things with regards to energy exchange and mechanical motion and computation, but the properties of the matter that those things work off are just as present in a bowling ball as a brain. Most of us don't find muscles particularly conscious but they aren't all that different from a neuron in terms of the physics they are running on. If you are trying to go the classic monism route you need to thing there is something reallly reallly reallly special about the way matter is arranged that causes something on a level par with an electromagnetic field or gravity to suddenly kick where it nowhere else does. I can't think of anything else that works that way. Not even close. Can you? Something like that qualifies as odd to me. :)

Life is not particularly mysterious at this juncture. I think that's a red herring in this discussion. :)

You guys seem to be confusing complexity with magic in a lot of these posts. "If we just make this /complex/ enough, there is nothing that it can't do!" Well no, that's not the case. If all I have are gears, no matter how many gears I string together, I'm not going to have a working engine. I need fuel, or a battery, or some energy source, which is not something gears have shown even a hint of producing. If you're going to make the claim that something is a natural product of it's parts, you have to show how those parts are capable of providing that property.

Does your blue ball scenario hold? Isn't that acting with assumption that their are blue balls in the bag when we have no evidence that there are any? It seems to me more like we've got a blue ball on the table and a bag where we pull out red ball after red ball after red ball. We haven't fully emptied the bag yet, but it's getting close and we still haven't seen a single blue. It seems to me we ought to start to find it credible that the blue one came from somewhere else.
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Re: Dualism

Postby MysticWav » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:45 pm

Let's assume you're right, however. How does a non-physical object affect a physical object? How does it make a neuron fire or make dura matter release neurochemicals? It has to be moving something physical, be it calcium ions or manipulating cellular machinery or producing ATP or something. Where does it get the energy to do that? Why can't we measure that energy? Why haven't we seen these spontaneous firings? Or any evidence that our neuromusculature is doing anything at all without a physical cause? Or does it control the body? Is consciousness just an epiphenomenon? Are we just a ghost floating in here pretending to have control? (Psst, this is why I asked you what type of dualism you're espousing.)


First of all, let's be clear. We're not talking about magic or ghosts or deities or aliens (though I do believe in a deity). We're just talking about something outside the current matter-energy paradigm. It's that "dualism is so wacky while materialism is perfectly normal" stigma I've been fighting in previous posts. We see gravitational anomalies and we posit dark matter even though we don't know what it is. We call it matter because matter is currently the only source of gravity we have. We see an accelerating universe and posit dark energy, not because we know what it is but because as far as we know energy is the only thing that produces acceleration. I'm just similar stating we see consciousness, which correlates with neither, we should posit Something Else. It doesn't have to be moving something physical, and it doesn't have to have energy. We can't measure its energy because it's not energy. I'd personally be on board with the ghost without control theory, but I don't pretend to have the answers. I can think of a few scenarios for interactive dualism, but nothing I've worked out far enough to plant a flag on and say "Hey, it's probably this."
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Re: Dualism

Postby crayzz » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:09 pm

That was my point. From the outside we cannot know if there is one or not. I don't /know/ you are conscious anymore than you know I am or either of us know that the AI would be.


No no, I've been unclear. I'm not asking you how to detect the difference. I'm asking you to describe the difference. What is the distinction between a robot faking consciousness so well that we can't distinguish it from conscious beings?

I don't think the biochemical arrangement is sufficiently distinct.


Could you define "sufficiently distinct?" Its a distinction that appears in all observed forms of consciousness, and a similar distinction appears in all observed instances of similar-to-consciousness. I'm not sure what more you need in order to be sufficient.

The properties of matter don't change at the scale of cells. You can make it do lots of wonderful things with regards to energy exchange and mechanical motion and computation, but the properties of the matter that those things work off are just as present in a bowling ball as a brain. Most of us don't find muscles particularly conscious but they aren't all that different from a neuron in terms of the physics they are running on.


Nor are the physics on which a muscle runs very distinct from the physics of a computer; in fact, the same physical laws apply, yet I wouldn't expect a muscle to be able to factor 7465. You seem to think that because two things follow the same laws, the must have the same properties, but that simply isn't true.

If you are trying to go the classic monism route you need to thing there is something reallly reallly reallly special about the way matter is arranged that causes something on a level par with an electromagnetic field or gravity to suddenly kick where it nowhere else does.


What? No I don't, any more than I need to define something "reallly reallly reallly special about the way matter is arranged" to form a tree, or an ant colony.

Emergent properties from the interaction of simple rules are nothing new. I don't need to posit special rules that only apply in specific circumstances to have properties that only exists under certain circumstances. I need only posit that the property be caused by a specific interaction of those simple rules. Magnetic forces and quantum mechanics determine the properties of atoms, but a pile of sub-atomic particles aren't going to have the same properties as a carbon atom. Thermodynamics and kinetics rule chemistry, but a pile of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen will not have the same properties as amino acids. I don't know the laws of consciousness, but that a pile of biochemical molecules does not share the same properties as the arrangements found in conscious beings does not mean that I need to choose between special, situational rules and dualism.

Does your blue ball scenario hold? Isn't that acting with assumption that their are blue balls in the bag when we have no evidence that there are any? It seems to me more like we've got a blue ball on the table and a bag where we pull out red ball after red ball after red ball. We haven't fully emptied the bag yet, but it's getting close and we still haven't seen a single blue. It seems to me we ought to start to find it credible that the blue one came from somewhere else.


But this misses my point; you're arguing that a given cause is unlikely, so it must be this other cause instead. Except the other cause has no likelyhood; it hasn't even been established as a possibility. If you want to attack monism on the grounds that it has yet to be sufficiently established, then fine. But to attack it on its supposed likelyhood, only to introduce an explanation for which likelyhood can't even be defined is hardly convincing.

EDIT:

You guys seem to be confusing complexity with magic in a lot of these posts. "If we just make this /complex/ enough, there is nothing that it can't do!"


I've made no argument like this, and I don't see that anyone else has, either. I'm not sure what you're talking about.

DOUBLE EDIT:

If you're going to make the claim that something is a natural product of it's parts, you have to show how those parts are capable of providing that property.


I can't tell you why water reflects polarized light, but I'm perfectly happy accepting that the behaviour is materially rooted. I don't need to produce a mechanism to conclude that. This is actually an issue with genetic heredity. Heredity is vastly complex, with various mechanisms, and how certain traits are passed down can be a very difficult question. Still, evolutionary biologists are capable of concluding, with varying degrees of confidence, whether specific traits are hereditary, without knowing the actual mechanism.
Last edited by crayzz on Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dualism

Postby Leibowitz » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:22 pm

MysticWav wrote:
You guys seem to be confusing complexity with magic in a lot of these posts. "If we just make this /complex/ enough, there is nothing that it can't do!" Well no, that's not the case. If all I have are gears, no matter how many gears I string together, I'm not going to have a working engine. I need fuel, or a battery, or some energy source, which is not something gears have shown even a hint of producing. If you're going to make the claim that something is a natural product of it's parts, you have to show how those parts are capable of providing that property.



Nonsense. You can absolutely make a working engine with gears, and only gears. The energy source is simple: you put enough gears in one place that they wind up with significant gravity, then you drop gears down the gravity well. Loads of energy!

"That's absurd," you say.

"Humans are absurd. The whole point of our argument is that you are not thinking creatively enough about the properties of material objects," say I. "Put them in the right configuration and you get all kinds of unexpected effects."

MysticWav wrote:
Does your blue ball scenario hold? Isn't that acting with assumption that their are blue balls in the bag when we have no evidence that there are any? It seems to me more like we've got a blue ball on the table and a bag where we pull out red ball after red ball after red ball. We haven't fully emptied the bag yet, but it's getting close and we still haven't seen a single blue. It seems to me we ought to start to find it credible that the blue one came from somewhere else.


Nah. More like there's a blue one on the table, and we start pulling balls from the bag and get loads of red, a couple of green, some yellow, purple, red, orange, chartreuse, one with a mirror-finish, a couple of really bluish blue-green that aren't quite blue, and so forth. And we're nowhere near the bottom of the bag. We haven't pulled a blue yet, but this bag turns out all kinds of colored balls, that blue one's probably from here.
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Re: Dualism

Postby MysticWav » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:35 pm

Crayzz, is the source of our miscommunication the definition of properties? I'm not talking about about attributes. A computer can factor numbers, but it's not because the matter in it has different properties than in the muscle. An amino acid will in fact have most of the same properties as the piles of atoms. It'll have mass, it'll have a temperature, it'll have a momentum. It won't have a glortch factor. The stuff that it is made of had no glortch attunement nor fractions of a glortch factor. You can get different functions out of matter by arranging it in different ways. You can get different values for a property. You're not going to get wholly new properties.

Nonsense. You can absolutely make a working engine with gears, and only gears. The energy source is simple: you put enough gears in one place that they wind up with significant gravity, then you drop gears down the gravity well. Loads of energy!


I'd love to see that blue print. :)

No no, I've been unclear. I'm not asking you how to detect the difference. I'm asking you to describe the difference. What is the distinction between a robot faking consciousness so well that we can't distinguish it from conscious beings?


Conscious beings are actually conscious? The entire premise of this debate? :) Apologies if /I'm/ being unclear in this answer. I hate how tangled language gets in this area. :)

I've made no argument like this, and I don't see that anyone else has, either. I'm not sure what you're talking about.


I'm sorry if you don't think you have been. And I wonder if the reason I thought you were was the property discussion at the top of this post.

Could you define "sufficiently distinct?" Its a distinction that appears in all observed forms of consciousness, and a similar distinction appears in all observed instances of similar-to-consciousness. I'm not sure what more you need in order to be sufficient.

We can also table this pending the property resolution.

Nah. More like there's a blue one on the table, and we start pulling balls from the bag and get loads of red, a couple of green, some yellow, purple, red, orange, chartreuse, one with a mirror-finish, a couple of really bluish blue-green that aren't quite blue, and so forth. And we're nowhere near the bottom of the bag. We haven't pulled a blue yet, but this bag turns out all kinds of colored balls, that blue one's probably from here.


Agree to disagree. :)
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Re: Dualism

Postby JustinReilly » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:36 pm

MysticWav wrote:
Let's assume you're right, however. How does a non-physical object affect a physical object? How does it make a neuron fire or make dura matter release neurochemicals? It has to be moving something physical, be it calcium ions or manipulating cellular machinery or producing ATP or something. Where does it get the energy to do that? Why can't we measure that energy? Why haven't we seen these spontaneous firings? Or any evidence that our neuromusculature is doing anything at all without a physical cause? Or does it control the body? Is consciousness just an epiphenomenon? Are we just a ghost floating in here pretending to have control? (Psst, this is why I asked you what type of dualism you're espousing.)


First of all, let's be clear. We're not talking about magic or ghosts or deities or aliens (though I do believe in a deity). We're just talking about something outside the current matter-energy paradigm. It's that "dualism is so wacky while materialism is perfectly normal" stigma I've been fighting in previous posts. We see gravitational anomalies and we posit dark matter even though we don't know what it is. We call it matter because matter is currently the only source of gravity we have. We see an accelerating universe and posit dark energy, not because we know what it is but because as far as we know energy is the only thing that produces acceleration. I'm just similar stating we see consciousness, which correlates with neither, we should posit Something Else. It doesn't have to be moving something physical, and it doesn't have to have energy. We can't measure its energy because it's not energy. I'd personally be on board with the ghost without control theory, but I don't pretend to have the answers. I can think of a few scenarios for interactive dualism, but nothing I've worked out far enough to plant a flag on and say "Hey, it's probably this."

It's not a stigma, it's a lack of evidence. We know dark matter exists, it moves shit around. Big shit. Galaxies. We can see where it is through gravitational lensing. Matter that doesn't easily interact with normal matter isn't that odd. Trillions of neutrinos blast through your body like it's a vacuum every day, this isn't weird. Some forms of matter just don't interact through the electromagnetic force. From what we can tell, dark matter is just clumpy and slow instead of everywhere and fast, so we haven't found it yet, though we haven't been looking that long. Dark energy is almost certainly not energy, but some sort of property inherent to the fabric of spacetime from what I can surmise. But I'd need ten years of devoted study to even start to really understand the theories about it. Besides, we only discovered it existed 15 years ago. A bit soon to just chuck physics in the bin.

If it's able to control the body in any way, it's moving something physical. Moving something physical requires energy. Energy can be measured. We're pretty damn good at measuring energy. For that matter, energy is also physical. Neurons are firing. Muscles are contracting. Cells are pumping enzymes and neurotransmitters and hormones all over the place. We basically know how cells and tissues function and what triggers them to do the things they do. You can't just handwave the question of mind-body interaction. If there's something outside the physical realm somehow making things happen in the physical realm, we'd see energy and matter moving around without physical cause. That would be really fucking weird. People would notice that. It would be measurable. Energy would be being created and destroyed, and anything breaking the first law of thermodynamics would raise an eyebrow or two.

As for epiphenomenalism, I don't think that helps you much, either. We are noticeably self-aware. We can reflect on ourselves and use that reflection to change our behavior. So, the part of us doing the thinking, reflecting, planning, and deciding; you personality, thoughts, feelings, everything that makes you you must still reside in your brain. What's the mind doing? Just experiencing. And it's doing a shitty job of that, because it thinks it's in control of everything. What's the point?
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Re: Dualism

Postby MysticWav » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:40 pm

It's not a stigma, it's a lack of evidence.

Both sides lack evidence for consciousness. And both require some fairly weird assumptions to work with it. But at the same time we know it exists. I'm not sure why one side without evidence gets to pretend it's saner than the other. ;)

A bit soon to just chuck physics in the bin.

No one proposed chucking physics.

As for epiphenomenalism, I don't think that helps you much, either. We are noticeably self-aware. We can reflect on ourselves and use that reflection to change our behavior. So, the part of us doing the thinking, reflecting, planning, and deciding; you personality, thoughts, feelings, everything that makes you you must still reside in your brain. What's the mind doing? Just experiencing. And it's doing a shitty job of that, because it thinks it's in control of everything. What's the point?

Since when does reality need a point?
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Re: Dualism

Postby JustinReilly » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:52 pm

@MysticWav - Alright I was about to start responding, but I've got to head out. I'll respond in the morning.
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Re: Dualism

Postby Inverse » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:21 pm

Phineas Gage got a railroad spike through his skull and turned into a different person. The mechanistic approach to consciousness accepts this readily: his brain-meats got scrambled, they started to do different things, and thus the effects they produce are different. How does the dualistic approach explain this, or the many (many, many) other ways that we can affect consciousness by exerting direct physical effects on people's brains?

A bunch of neutrons, protons, and electrons in no particular arrangement will have certain properties. A couple atoms of silicon will have different properties. A piece of silicon will have still different properties, and if I keep adding bits to it, I'll eventually get a device which can do all sorts of crazy things, up to, including, and beyond letting me send text to the other side of the world. That's a property that a silicon slice doesn't have and subatomic particles don't really. There's a clear example of a specific arrangement which exhibits extremely complicated properties that its components didn't and couldn't.
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Re: Dualism

Postby RyukaTana » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:27 pm

If I put a pilot in a plane, and then smash the plane's engine, the plane will stop functioning the same way. Does this mean the pilot has no effect on how the plane functions?
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