From: Marc Geddes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Dec 07 2005 - 22:05:50 MST
>>>David Clark wrote:
>Ben, I think you might be giving Marc more credit
than he deserves. I could make a program that spewed
out a bunch of rubbish on philosophical and
meta-physical topics and some smart people could pick
out some interesting lines here and there. These few
lines might be insightful to their intelligent minds
where the rest of the text was discarded as rubbish.
program couldn't be considered intelligent at all and
if not for the intelligence of the reader, nothing of
value could come from this randomly created text. I
believe this is what Marc Geddes does.
David all I've seen from you on the list is whining.
What have you contributed to AGI theory? If you think
my own ideas are all a load of rubbish you should try
developing your own AI theory instead of whining at
>If Marc can't back up any of this hypothesis or
insights with something other than he believes it
might be true, then what difference does it make if
something he says might be correct by accident. Does
he get credit for something that he
never intended or understood?
I'm withdrawing from messageboards because they're
obviously a waste of time. I've never seen such a
bunch of wet blankets and whiners (Ben Goerztel is the
sole exception - a smart, hip poster).
But if you all want one intelligent thing backed up by
arguments here it is below - (of course you David
won't understand a word because you're obviously
totally ignorant of the rudiments of philosophy).
This is an edited forwarding of a posting I made on
another messageboards which clearly explains why I so
strongly disagree with the currrent Sing Inst
--- The comparison between 'Qualia' and 'Numbers' is well made. Because the same general kinds of philosophical arguments that are made about phenomenological entities also apply to mathematical entities. If I could just ask: Where does the number '4' exist? Is the proof of 'Fermat's Last Theorem' real or a fiction? If the proof is real, is it part of the causal processes taking place in the brain? What about other mathematical entities? Are they real or fiction? How do they fit into physical causal networks? I think you can see that the 'Qualia' question is not as clear cut as (some) are making out. Again, if you are prepared to believe in the objective existence of mathematical entities, and if you agree that the relationship between mathematical entities and causal brain-networks is not a direct one, then why could the same not be true for Qualia? Of course it's trivially true that all metaphysical entities have to be related to causal processes *in some sense* (in order to produce observable effects). But this by itself establishes little. It doesn't follow that all metaphysical entities are fully reducible to descriptions in terms of *physical* causality at all - where I am here defining physical causality as: 'cause and effect relations between objects with spatial extensions and the forces and motions associated with these objects'. To try to explain away Qualia by demanding that everything be fully describable in terms of physical causality is simply to presuppose the very thing you are trying to prove (circular reasoning). A believer in Qualia could easily rebut simply by redefining the definition of 'causality' and demanding that everything be explained, not in terms of physical causality, but in terms of direct experience. Now it *may* well prove to be the case that talk of Qualia can be eliminated and replaced entirely by explanations in terms of physical causality (eliminative materialism). But it may not. The facts of the matter can only be determined through a combination of theory and observation, just like everything else in science. Suppose for instance that there's some kind of fundamental law of cognitive science and information theory such that no explanation phrased entirely in terms of physical causality can fully predict sentient behavior? For instance suppose that for some *in principle* theoretical reason computational intractability prevents accurate real-time predictions of sentient behavior if these predictions are phrased solely in terms of physical processes? Suppose that in order to achieve an accurate model of sentient behavior one needs to introduce mental concepts into one's explanations right from the start - i.e. suppose this is an *in principle* requirement? Then one would have to conclude that some mental concepts are just as 'real' and fundamental as physical ones. So you see, the philosophical arguments advanced in this thread that Qualia have to be a part of the 'causal networks of the brain' don't prove a thing about Qualia one way or the other. On the contrary, the argument is weak, as I have shown by pointing out examples of abstract entities (mathematical concepts) that many (Platonists) take to be objectivity real, yet clearly don't directly fit into the causal networks of the brain at all. The philosophical position known as ‘Eliminative materialism’(the idea that ‘qualia’ don’t exist but are simply misrepresentations of what are really entirely material processes – which seems to be the position Eliezer (is) arguing for) is based on arguments by philosophers Paul and Patricia Churchland and Daniel Dennett (in fact the position traces back to earlier arguments by philosophers Paul Feyerabend an d Quine), to the effect: that (a) qualia are simply abstract (or theoretical entities) and (b) should be replaced by the objective scientific viewpoint. But the argument undermines itself. *Of course* I believe that ‘Qualia’ are ‘theoretical abstractions’ and *of course* I agree that the correct view-point requires an objective scientific account, but the conclusion that Qualia are fictions doesn’t follow from (a) and (b) at all! It’s a total non-sequitur. In fact the very arguments applied by Eliminative materialism to argue *against* Qualia can be used to argue for them! Let look at the first argument of the Qualia skeptics: (a) 'Qualia' are abstractions. I say, of course they are! But this doesn’t prove a thing against Qualia. On the contrary, we could take a Platonic view of these abstractions just as some philosophers do for mathematics. In fact what I was suggesting was not just that Qualia are *similar* to mathematical entities, but that Qualia are in fact *identical* to mathematical entities. That is to say, I think mathematical entities are just Qualia from a different perspective. I think the reason we're all so confused about Qualia is due to a limitation of the human brain - as others have pointed out - we can't *see* qualia from an objective perspective, only a subjective one. This allows skeptics to claim that they’re fictional entities and all that exists are material processes. But as gts rightly pointed out, the fact we can only view Qualia subjectively doesn't mean that Qualia are not objectively real. Eliezer of all people should have known better. The argument against Qualia is based solely on a limitation of the *human* brain and it is folly to suppose that this limitation applies to minds in general. The fact that *we* (humans) can only ever view Qualia from a subjective perspective does not mean that more advanced minds couldn’t view them from an *objective* perspective. Now the human brain does not appear to be capable of direct perception of mathematical entities. I think if the human brain *was* so capable, it would be obvious to everyone that Qualia and mathematical entities are one and the same i.e. we would be having second-order Qualia capable of objectively viewing first-order Qualia. If it’s possible to objectivity view Qualia, the second argument of the Qualia skeptics is also exposed as a total non-sequitur. Recall that the eliminative materialists argue that (b) The most accurate view-point of something is the objective scientific view-point. The believer in Qualia can just say: well of course I agree with (b), but so what? For *Qualia themselves are a part of objective science* ! As I suggested earlier, if it proves that accurate models of sentient behaviour are *in principle* impossible without introducing mental concepts into one’s explanations (perhaps due to some theorem involving computational intractability), then one would have to conclude that some mental concepts are just as fundamental and real as physical concepts and the ontology of objective science would have to be broadened to include these mental concepts. So you see, both the arguments of Eliminative materialists are simply without philosophical merit. But if Qualia and mathematical entities are equivalent as I claim and if as I said, the human brain is not capable of direct perception of mathematical entities, then how is it that we have qualia at all? The answer, I think, lies in the truth of mathematical Platonism. The human brain cannot directly generate perceptions of mathematical entities, but if mathematics is *out there* in reality, then the actions of the brain will still *indirectly* involve mathematical relations (since according to Platonism math is the fabric of reality itself). Hence even without explicit modeling of mathematical entities, there can still be *indirect* Qualia associated with the brain. Clever eh? Are you familiar with Bertrand Russell's theory of 'Dual-aspect monism' ? Well basically, my philosophical theory is vaguely like that, but extended to a more complex 'Seven-fold-aspect monism'. In the Dual-aspect monism of Russell, the *Intrinsic* properties of reality were equated with mental concepts, and the *Relational* properties of reality were equated with physical concepts. But in my theory, I have Seven different general 'aspects' instead of just the two of the original Russell theory. My core idea, as I've explained, is to equate Qualia wih mathematical entities. Panpsychism is a secondary consequence of my theory. Whilst critics of Panpsychism are right to point out that Panpsychism *by itself* doesn't explain anything, it is perfectly logically acceptable to have Panpsychism emerging as a *secondary consequence* of one's metaphysics i.e. a theorem of a deeper explanatory theory. Sooner or later someone smarter than me will independently discover the principles of my Mathematico-Cognition Reality Theory (MCRT) and develop them in rigorous mathematical way. When that happens, the arguments of the Qualia skeptics will collapse, and with them the entire rotten edifice of the current AGI paradigm will crumple (including the ridiculous ideas that you can have general intelligence without qualia, that reasoning is entirely reducible to Bayes etc). ---- GEDDES SHALL BE VINDICATED! Farewell To see a World in a grain of sand, And Heaven in a wild flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. -William Blake Please visit my web-site: http://www.riemannai.org/ Sci-Fi, Science and Fantasy ____________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Movies: Check out the Latest Trailers, Premiere Photos and full Actor Database. http://au.movies.yahoo.com
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