Thursday, November 24, 2011

364; The computational Mind

Previous lecture I introduced you to the syntactic and semantic properties of symbols. Reason was, computers work with symbols, basic symbols and complex symbols.

In the sentence "Fido is the name of my dog" you could regard "Fido" as a basic symbol and the whole sentence as a complex symbol.

Syntactic properties are derived from the symbol itself. Properties like "It has 4 characters in a specific order", "it is black on white" and so on.

To understand what "Fido" means, a semantic property you need more than the symbol itself. At least you need me pointing at my dog saying "Look, that is Fido."

Why so much focus on this distinction between syntax and semantics? That is because some people see an analogy between brain and computer or visa versa.

Philosophers of mind who endorse the computational theory of mind, have come to the view that the mind is a computer and that thinking is symbol manipulation.

Now the question "What is a computer?" A computer is a 'syntactic engine', a device which organizes and manipulates symbols on the basis of their syntactic properties

Let me give you an example. When I use my word processor to write a story on my dog, I could use the 'Find' function and type 'Find Fido'.

What Fido is, is unknown to my computer, not even important for performing the 'find'. It is just a comparing of symbols on the syntactic level.

Yet a computer seems to respect semantic properties of complex symbols too. One semantic property is 'TRUE'. A complex symbol, a statement, has a truth-value.

Take this argument:
A. All avatars are made of pixels
B. herman is an avatar
Then the computer comes with the complex symbol:
C. herman is made of pixels

You would say…look, a computer also can handle semantical properties of complex symbolism because that conclusion, typed in by nobody but generated by the computer(program), is TRUE!

Thus a computer looks to be able to rational reasoning. It 'sees' causal relations between thoughts like A and B. However, this is not the case. We have to provide the semantics.

The computer has only a symbol manipulation rule which says: if A is marked TRUE and B is marked TRUE then you can mark C as TRUE, or a rule like if all A have property X and B is an A then B has property X.

WE have to give the computer the semantics by telling the program : A = TRUE, B = TRUE. Then it applies one of the syntax rules I just stated.

And that is what the computational theory of mind holds, that all our thinking is just like a computer does, syntactic.

Putting all this together we can say that, according to the computational theory of mind ,thoughts are complex symbols with syntactic and semantic properties.

Thinking, the manipulation of thoughts, is achieved by processors which, whilst sensitive only to the syntactic properties of the thoughts involved, nevertheless respect their semantic properties. In other words,thinking is computation.

Do you know Eliza or Elbot? Well, then read this short conversation with Elbot. You can talk for hours with him.

H: You are a tin can Elbot
E: Was that a compliment or an insult?
H: Neither
E: Are you trying to make fun of my artificial intelligence?
If it was neither a compliment nor an insult, tell me
what it WAS!
H: It was an objective observation, Elbot
E: Keep making observations.
One of these days they might add up to something.
H: Yes, they add up to the observation that you are a tin
E: The brilliant robot author Joseph Canrod said once:
The great enemy of perfection is thought.' Think about that!
H: Joseph Canrod did not say that.
E: I'm not sure I could explain that in language
that humans could understand.
H: I can read, Elbot
E: That's nothing new! Even I once read bar codes.
H: I repeat: Joseph Canrod did not say that.
E: I prefer not to repeat myself. In this respect
I differ greatly from most human beings.
H: You really are an empty tin can.
E: Still, I would never make the sweeping generalization
of all tins being empty, would you?
H: Right.
E: Great! Agreeing with me is the first step in your evolution
into a higher being. Please accept my congratulations.

Also have a chat with Eliza:

After that, in a next lecture we'll discuss whether computation in a computer generates a mind or not. Did I chat with a mind, named Elbot?

The Discussion

[13:28] herman Bergson: Thank you...
[13:28] herman Bergson: and Welcome Rodney :-)
[13:29] Farv Hallison: thank you professor
[13:29] Rodney Handrick: hi Herman
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: hard stuff again Herman.. thank you
[13:29] Farv Hallison: hello Rodney, are you a tin can?
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well Sybyle...try Eliza..she wont be hard on you at all ㋡
[13:29] Rodney Handrick: hi
[13:30] Rodney Handrick: No Farv...I'm not
[13:31] Farv Hallison: you have a pixelated outline, Rodney. I am wondering if you are a hologram.
[13:31] Rodney Handrick: No
[13:31] Farv Hallison: hello Ayi
[13:32] herman Bergson: No..Rodney is one of the die hearts of th Philosophy Class for years now
[13:32] herman Bergson: diehard is it , isnt it?
[13:32] Ayi Coeur: hello all
[[13:32] Rodney Handrick: This is true...:-)
[13:32] herman Bergson: But many questions about this lecture?
[13:33] herman Bergson: Understandable...
[13:33] herman Bergson: the message is only that computers are syntactic engines...
[13:33] Mick Nerido: Talking to Elza was like talking to a therapist lol
[13:33] herman Bergson: It means...they don't deal with content, but only with the shape of symbols
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Mick...she is good
[13:34] Mick Nerido: It turned my questions back on me.
[13:34] herman Bergson: I had lengthy conversations with her which made 100% sense
[13:35] Sybyle Perdide: lucky one
[13:35] herman Bergson: yes of course Mick...that is the Rogerian approach
[13:35] Sybyle Perdide: she tried to escape the conversation twice
[13:35] Farv Hallison: Did she introduce any new words into the conversation?
[13:35] Rodney Handrick: I experienced the sam e thing Mike
[13:36] herman Bergson: She can Farv
[13:36] Mick Nerido: She is not a mind but a computer program designed to resemble our minds...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Oh yes Mick...
[13:36] Ayi Coeur: who is Elza?
[13:36] herman Bergson: But then you come to Artificial Intelligence..
[13:37] herman Bergson: Eliza is a computer program Ayi...
[13:37] herman Bergson: a Rogerian psycho therapist
[13:37] Ayi Coeur: ah ok:)
[13:37] Farv Hallison: as a computer program, she could be programmed to remeber previous conversations and accumulated a big dictionary of the meaning of words.
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Cheap therapy lol
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Farv...that is what Elbot seems to do
[13:38] Farv Hallison: a cheap program would just spew back sex words
[13:39] herman Bergson: Eliza doesn't like bad words Farv
[13:39] Farv Hallison: so Eliza isn't cheap/.
[13:39] herman Bergson: Oh no...
[13:39] herman Bergson: It is a scientific achievement
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: in sl we have a parrot who can talk like Eliza
[13:39] herman Bergson: The name connected to it is Weizenbaum
[13:40] Farv Hallison: I thought she was Eize Dolittle.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Joseph Weizenbaum
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: I wonder how many servers are used to run Eliza
[13:41] Rodney Handrick: And lines of code?
[13:41] herman Bergson: "Computer power and human reason"
[13:42] herman Bergson: It is not a big program Rodney...
[13:42] herman Bergson: you can find a open source Java version on the net
[13:42] Rodney Handrick: have to look it up
[13:42] Ayi Coeur: i think it's worth trying what she has to say:)
[13:42] Sybyle Perdide: but Eliza never comes to a new level of knowledge, didn't she?
[13:42] Farv Hallison: I think I saw a LSL version.
[13:43] Rodney Handrick: what is the program code called
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes...I must have it somewhere Rodney
[13:43] Farv Hallison: I saw eliza.bas
[13:43] herman Bergson: Weizenbaum wrote it in BASIC
[13:43] herman Bergson: Where Farv???
[13:43] Ayi Coeur: auw..what a lot of work
[13:44] Ayi Coeur: wb Mick
[13:44] Rodney Handrick: I'm currently taking a Stanford U course in artificial intel
[13:44] herman Bergson: Hi Mick
[13:44] herman Bergson: cool Rodney
[13:44] Mick Nerido: hit wrong button lol
[13:44] herman Bergson: lol
[13:44] Farv Hallison: Is Eliza teaching the course?
[13:45] herman Bergson: means you might be in time for the next lectures
[13:45] Rodney Handrick: lol
[13:45] Farv Hallison: I am the wrong button.
[13:45] herman Bergson: No Farv my name is herman
[13:45] Farv Hallison: metaphorically.
[13:45] Rodney Handrick: Is this it?
[13:45] Rodney Handrick:
[13:46] herman Bergson: I'd love to have a source code of Eliza and translate it to LSL
[13:47] herman Bergson: THANK YOU Rodney
[13:47] herman Bergson: I might make a philosophical Eliza :-)
[13:48] Ayi Coeur: :) in basic?
[13:48] Lizzy Pleides: we prefer you Herman!
[13:48] herman Bergson: that she can work in SL
[13:48] herman Bergson: Don't worry Lizzy...I am still in charge here
[13:48] Sybyle Perdide: giggles
[13:48] Ayi Coeur: and he stays that way,,,i guess..
[13:49] herman Bergson: well...I guess we are done...
[13:49] Ayi Coeur: missed the whole lecture..thanks to sl
[13:49] herman Bergson: so thank you all and today especially Rodney for the URL
[13:49] Sybyle Perdide: it was brilliant, Avi ;)
[13:49] herman Bergson: class dismissed
[13:49] Rodney Handrick: sure...not a problem
[13:49] Lizzy Pleides: yes very good!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

363: The Brain as Computer

Every era seems to have an inclination to compare the brain with its latest technology. Leibniz (1646 - 1716) once compared the brain with the complex mechanics of a mill.

Later it was compared with the switchboard of a telephone system and of course, as I already mentioned in the previous lecture, Hilary Putnam was one of the philosophers inspired by the computer. So nowadays our brain has similar functionalities as a computer or visa versa.

Sience fiction LOVES to play with mind like computers. My favorite computer is Data from the Startrek series and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger… sorry…The Terminator I mean….. fine piece of machinery.

But to clearly understand what a computer is or better, what a computer does, you have to learn two basic concepts.

You need to know what it means to talk about the syntactic and semantic properties of symbols.

Syntax is from Ancient Greek σύνταξις "arrangement" from σύν syn, "together", and τάξις táxis, "an ordering". Semantic is also from the Ancient Greek σημαντικός which means "significant" in which the word σημα means "sign".

Let us assume that our brain is among other things a symbol processing system. Now we make a distinction between basic symbols and complex symbols.

I will use English words as examples of basic symbols, and l will use English sentences as examples of complex symbols.

Thus "Plato" is a basic symbol whereas "Plato wrote the Politeia" is a complex symbol. The syntactic properties of a symbol are the properties which can be detected simply by examining the symbol in isolation.

Take the basic symbol "Plato". It consists of 5 letters in a certain arrangement. The typeface is Arial, say, 3 millimeter high, on your screen. It has a certain color.

What you can't find out from the symbol itself is that Plato is an ancient Greek philosopher, or that I was the person who typed this.

Let us call this syntactic properties of the basic symbol the symbol's shape, like we can see, that a certain complex symbol is a question, because of the shape it end: the question mark ???

So, that Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher is not a syntactic property of the basic symbol "Plato". This is called a semantic property.

Simply stated, semantic properties are properties connected with the meaning of a symbol. An important semantic property of a symbol is its reference.

An other important semantical property is the truth value of a symbol. Not all symbols have a truth value, however. "Plato" as such is neither true or false.

Yet used in a complex symbol it gets a truth value. For instance the complex symbols "Plato wrote the Politeia" and "Plato wrote the Bible" have truth value.

The complex symbol gets its truth value because it claims something about the world. In general, symbols have the semantic properties of truth or falsity if and only if they make a claim about the world.

Unlike the syntactic properties, the semantic properties cannot be detected by examining a symbol in isolation.

In order to discover the reference of the symbol "Plato", staring at the symbol won't reveal this to you, you need to look it up, for instance in Wikipedia.

There it is said, that "Plato" is a symbol that refers to an ancient Greek philosopher who wrote among other things the "Politeia".

These are the basic tools we need to answer the question: is the brain or the mind just like a computer. We'll look into that some more next week.

The Discussion

herman Bergson: thank you..
Farv Hallison: thank you..
herman Bergson: Did you understand the difference between syntactic and semantic properties?
Mick Nerido: Yes I think so...
Sybyle Perdide: nods
herman Bergson: It will be important to understand computationalism
herman Bergson: If you didn't get it all 100%..just reread the lecture in the blog...
herman Bergson: It is not so difficult to understand...
Bejiita Imako: think i got most of it at least „ã°
Mick Nerido: Syntactic is the individual description of a symbol, semantic is the emaning of a symbol in a context?
herman Bergson: you make use of it every day!
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): i have to reread it
herman Bergson: Let me explain...
herman Bergson: as I said
herman Bergson: you use syntax and semantics every day
Lizzy Pleides: can you give another example Herman?
herman Bergson: first ..syntax...
herman Bergson: what the sentence means
herman Bergson: is just the order of the words in a sentence
herman Bergson: chat lag...:-(
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): like semantic is the context,? but what about semiotic?
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): LOL
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): do syntax again
Sybyle Perdide: semiotic is what the symbol stands for alone
Sybyle Perdide: without context
herman Bergson: syntax is is just the order of the words in a sentence
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): semantics is the meaning then
herman Bergson: yes....
Bejiita Imako: to make a working understandable sentence
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and can be different in some cases
herman Bergson: what the sentence...state of affairs the sentence refers to
Mick Nerido: Syntax= verb, noun ect.?
herman Bergson: semiotics is a different chapter
herman Bergson: yes MICK...EXACTLY!
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): semiotic is the symbols , from a larger context than the sentence s semantic
Bejiita Imako: just like syntax error in a computer program mean that the code you have typed is not correct corresponding to the language you use
Bejiita Imako: for example you cant use visual basic syntax to program in c and vice versa
herman Bergson: right Bejiita1
herman Bergson: !
Bejiita Imako: the computer don't understand the syntax
Bejiita Imako: just like i cant understand arabic
herman Bergson: on the contrary only understands syntax :-)
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): it does not understand the semantics
Sybyle Perdide: isn't the sytax something, we teach the pc?
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): but without semiotic, herman, the meaning, cannot be given,, out of the syntax , the word will not mean anything, but out of the social and economic context , the word don't mean anything either
herman Bergson: Well about arabic..Bejiita ..neither you or I do understand the syntax
herman Bergson: nor the semantics
Bejiita Imako: nope
herman Bergson: it is just a bunch of signs on paper....
herman Bergson: paper
Bejiita Imako: also the japanese language have another order of the words, for example the surname come before your first name
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): computer dont understand syntax?
Farv Hallison: not even the lexicography.
Bejiita Imako: and the verb comes last in the sentence
Mick Nerido: Chinese is pictographs
herman Bergson: as I saud...computers are masters in understanding syntax
herman Bergson: I do understand japanese to soem extend...
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): oh, see bejiita
herman Bergson: can read it..
Bejiita Imako: if i for example say i do this, in japanese you say sort of
Bejiita Imako: i this do
herman Bergson: yes
herman Bergson: hai, so shimasu..^_^
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): which makes sense in a way
Bejiita Imako: do is desu in japanese and desu is always last word in the sentence
Bejiita Imako: not like swedish or english
Bejiita Imako: however german is like that as well
herman Bergson: only when it is about people Bejiita...
herman Bergson: about things it is arimasu
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): konban wa
Mick Nerido: The rules of lanquage are syntax
herman Bergson: Ogenki desu ka :-)
Bejiita Imako: yes
herman Bergson: Yes Mick....indeed
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): hi
Bejiita Imako: „ã°
herman Bergson: How to arrange the words in a sentence in such a way that it gets semantic content
Mick Nerido: However irregular lol
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): its like the dance footsteps
Lizzy Pleides: every languige has own rules
Sybyle Perdide: this rules are the syntax
Sybyle Perdide: how to construct
Mick Nerido: that's why tranlation is an art not a science
herman Bergson: I speak Japanese...bla bla bla
herman Bergson: Watashi wa Nihon go wo ....
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): well mixing many language toghether is possible
Bejiita Imako: aaa
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): schud maar in mijn pet...
Farv Hallison: Can a computer understand ART?
Lizzy Pleides: we can't either sometimes
Sybyle Perdide: a pc hasn't enough knowledge of semiotic to do so
Sybyle Perdide: : 9
herman Bergson: Oh I can not speak Japanese you said Beertje
Bejiita Imako: hmm will be hard
Sybyle Perdide: laughs, Lizzy
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): japanese is making sense, in the voice tone no?
Mick Nerido: A computer can find ART but not make it
Sybyle Perdide: how can he find, Mick?
Bejiita Imako: a computer cant see the actual picture cause its digital so sees a string of binar math only while we see stuff analog directly interpreting the picture
Elle (ellenilli.lavendel) is Offline
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): yes Herman..i don't...
herman Bergson: No Mick...a computer cannot find art...
Sybyle Perdide: nods
Sybyle Perdide: oh
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): for the computer to find the menaing, maybe we will have to record the voice tonality, and give him a tonality decoder
Lizzy Pleides: it find a thing
Sybyle Perdide: a computer works syntactic
Mick Nerido: I can ask it to look up a painting
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): and write the tonality, in graph
Qwark Allen is Online
Sybyle Perdide: but the we are able to act semiotically
Bejiita Imako: for a computer to "see" a pic it must be converted to just a string of 1 and 0 and thats what the cpu " sees" nothing more
Bejiita Imako: just on and off
Lizzy Pleides: so it can find it but not explain it
Bejiita Imako: and then it must use an DA converter to translate all pixels back for us to see the picture in the computer
Sybyle Perdide: a pc cannot find art
herman Bergson: smiles...
Sybyle Perdide: a pc don't know what is art
herman Bergson: ok ..ok...
Lizzy Pleides: type in Google Picasso and the computer finds art
herman Bergson: Let's dig into it in a next lecture...what a computer really can do
Mot Mann is Offline
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): no it finds the name Picasso..not his art
Sybyle Perdide: the computer finds the syntactical combination of art and picasso
Sybyle Perdide: not more
Mick Nerido: A computer knows art is a thing does not know its meaning
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): its decoding voice tonality actually, when we do answer to informated questionary on the phone i think, but do we translate that in text?like thISSS iNNNsTead of THat
Lizzy Pleides: nods@ sybyle
Sybyle Perdide: smiles
Bejiita Imako: for a computer to understand that someone must strictly tell the computer how to respond when it "sees" that pic
Bejiita Imako: but the computer don't understand it better anyway
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): we may have to find new police to write
herman Bergson: WEll...I see that you are all fired up...
Bejiita Imako: it just blindly strictly follows the instructions to respond in that way you told it
herman Bergson: ready to hit the computer ^_^
Lizzy Pleides: the computer is a machine and it is stupid
herman Bergson: Let's do that next begin with !
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): talking dos to the pc is not to bad, he teaches us his languages
Sybyle Perdide: yes, Lizzy
Sybyle Perdide: agrees
Sybyle Perdide: thank you herman
Sybyle Perdide: it was great
herman Bergson: yes Lizzy..computers are stupid begin with
Sybyle Perdide: (because I got the semantic frame..hihi)
Bejiita Imako: a computer don't care if you scream at it when its not working or even if you blow it up with dynamite cause of that more than it will never work anymore after that
herman Bergson: so if our mind is like a computer maybe we are stupid too :-)))
Lizzy Pleides: giggles*
Bejiita Imako: is just a dumb calculator but the speed it does it at makes everything it can do happen
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): actually, computer, are how far we can creat a machine that will process.... faster,,, not more intelligently
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): and who is giving the comments on the keyboard for us then?
Bejiita Imako: an i/ cpu does 177 bilion calculations/instructions per second
Bejiita Imako: even the first cpu the 4004 did around between 400000 and 900000
herman Bergson: Yes Alaya...that is how Big Blue defeated Kasparov in chess
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): oh
herman Bergson: just by speed and access to millions of data
Bejiita Imako: that say a bit how much a computer must do for anything to happen at all
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): hope that he can process the formula to denuclearised the contaminant
herman Bergson: What I find most fascinating is movies...
herman Bergson: where a computer acts as a sentient person....
Mick Nerido: can we measure a computers IQ?
herman Bergson: no Mick
herman Bergson: because the outcome is what we programmed in it
herman Bergson: so it make no sense to measure its intelligence
herman Bergson: we know it in advance
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): i think that when we standardized and fix language in time, we do computerise our way of expression, making it artificial more than chanign and alive
Bejiita Imako: this is also why a terminator will never happen, although a computer can be self learning someone must deliberately program it to turn against us for it to do that all of a sudden
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): if our language become fixed, we have to change the software,,,in our m mind,s and its not working that way
Bejiita Imako: it could never get a such decision by itself cause a computer cant understand evil unless programmed to it
Bejiita Imako: by a person
herman Bergson: Do you know the laws of robotics Bejiita as formulated by Isaac Asimov?
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): but when its alive , it is adjusting and integrate all sort of meaning and new words
Bejiita Imako: yes a computer should never cause harm to anyone and must also prevent it from happening
Bejiita Imako: sort of
Bejiita Imako: something like that
Lizzy Pleides: so Asimov was intelligent and not the robot
Bejiita Imako: was 2 different rules i think
herman Bergson: yes ^_^!
Sybyle Perdide: yeah
herman Bergson: YE sI have to look them up myself for the details...
herman Bergson: But you are right, Bejiita
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): iff we compare the brain to computer, than we are forced to change our program s...?? as when we change the work mechanic and than ergonomic troubles arise
herman Bergson: Well..I think you are all ready for the computational theory of :-)
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): we will have semantic problem or syntaxic ones?
herman Bergson: We'll see Alaya...
Sybyle Perdide: hihi
Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman!
herman Bergson: SO thank you all for your good participation...again!
Farv Hallison: bye guys and girls.
herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
Bejiita Imako: a ye
Sybyle Perdide: thank you Herman
Lizzy Pleides: Thanks to YOU Herman!
Bejiita Imako: really interesting „ã°
Sybyle Perdide: ciao Farv
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ‚ô• Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
Sybyle Perdide: good nigh to all
Alaya Chépaspourquoi (alaya.kumaki): thanks
Lizzy Pleides: Good night everybody
herman Bergson: Bye girls ^_^
Bejiita Imako: night
herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita
herman Bergson: thnx

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

362: Frowning at functionalism

Sometimes it is possible to show that one theory (the reduced theory) can be derived from another (the reducing theory).

In that case an inter-theoretic reduction has been achieved. Notice that the emphasis here is on theories. 'Inter-theoretic' means 'between theories'.

The example of inter-theoretic reduction standardly given is the derivation of classical thermodynamics from the kinetic theory of gases.

The former theory describes the behavior of gases in terms of their temperature, pressure and volume. The later describes the behavior of gases in terms of the kinetic energy and impacts of gas molecules.

The derivation is achieved with the help of 'bridge-laws' which identify the terms of one theory with those of another. For example,the pressure of a gas is identified with the mean kinetic energy of its gas molecules.

For the moment this is how I look at the identity between mental states and brain states. It is our brain / mind that generates knowledge about reality.

All this knowledge is in the form of (tested) theories. As the example shows theories can be reduced to more basic theories eventually, e.g. psychological theories to neurobiological theories

This is not a law of physics but an observed fact. A fact of which we don't know whether it is universally true about all our theories about reality, but it is an indication about the structure of our knowledge about reality.

A completely different subject, but just as a hint to think about: the structure of knowledge.

And then there is functionalism, promising to solve problems to which the identity theory had no answer. The view is: Don't ask what stuff something is made of, just look what it does.

If some entity does what I call feeling pain, then the sentient being has the mental state of pain, to put it in a straight forward way. This implies that anything can have mental states.

I still don't know why exactly, but I don't like functionalism as an answer, although it is said that almost all physicalists (materialists) are functionalists. Probably I am not (yet:-).

Don't ask me for rock solid arguments at this moment. Philosophy is a creative adventure, not just plain and simple logic and ratio.

And then you run into the question: Who "invented" functionalism? It begins in the 1950s and 1960s and yes, alongside the development of computers.

The initial inspiration for functionalism comes from the useful analogy of minds with computing machines. Hilary Putnam was certainly not the first to notice that this comparison could be theoretically fruitful.

Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is an American philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist, who has been a central figure in analytic philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science, as Wikipedia tells us.

His idea was to model functions using the contemporary idea of computing machines and programs, where the program of the machine fixes how it mediates between its inputs and standing states, on one hand, and outputs and other standing states, on the other.

Modern computers demonstrate that quite complex processes can be implemented in finite devices working by basic mechanical principles.

If minds are functional devices of this sort, then one can begin to understand how physical human bodies can produce the tremendous variety of actions and reactions that are associated with our full, rich mental lives.

The best theory, Putnam hypothesized, is that mental states are functional states, that the mind is of a functional kind.

So, to put functionalism to the test our next question should be….. can computers have mental states?

The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you ㋡
[13:19] Chantal (nymf.hathaway) is Offline
[13:20] Qwark Allen: what is "bothering" you about functionalism?
[13:20] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:20] Lizzy Pleides: brilliant!
[13:20] Sybyle Perdide: great
[13:20] herman Bergson: Good question Qwark....
[13:20] Ladyy Haven (ladyy.haven) is Offline
[13:20] herman Bergson: the thing is a metaphysical approach....
[13:21] Ladyy Haven (ladyy.haven) is Online
[13:21] Elle (ellenilli.lavendel) is Offline
[13:21] herman Bergson: it says ...a combination of in put and output and some side effect...that is for instans 'pain'
[13:21] Wonny (wonda.masala) is Offline
[13:21] noego is Online
[13:21] herman Bergson: let me put it in other words...
[13:22] herman Bergson: a diamond is a physical thing with properties....
[13:22] Qwark Allen: we doubt a artificial intelligence can feel pain, but, for sure some other mental states can occur
[13:22] herman Bergson: it is extremely hard, can cut glass , can glitter, etc....
[13:22] The Silent one (odie.rhosar) is Online
[13:23] herman Bergson: but functionalism looks at things as processes in causal relations
[13:23] Qwark Allen: we have pain cause we have sensors for it, cause of evolution
[13:23] Sybyle Perdide: I think, it depends on your definition of pain, Qwark ..some machines have programs to recreate themselves if there are errors
[13:23] Qwark Allen: probably no need to apply pain sensors to a AI
[13:24] herman Bergson: yes but there you relate pain to sensors, while functionalism defines pain as amental state as a function....
[13:24] herman Bergson: Well...maybe it is a matter of meaning....
[13:24] herman Bergson: what does 'pain' mean....
[13:24] Mick Nerido: Pain is a function of our primitive brain...
[13:24] Qwark Allen: danger, something is messing with your physical integrity
[13:25] herman Bergson: there the functionalist says....a relation between input and output and causal realtions with other mental states
[13:25] herman Bergson: I still think....the reference of pain is a bodily brain process...
[13:26] herman Bergson: the word pain is another word for certain neural processes....
[13:26] herman Bergson: it is about meaning and reference
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Pain is an overload of sensation
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: pain is not only a physical state
[13:26] Qwark Allen: its our sensors that alert us for something
[13:26] Qwark Allen: pain is just one
[13:26] herman Bergson: There we go Lizzy....
[13:26] Velvet (velvet.braham): I like Mick's definition
[13:26] Farv Hallison: the brain has many processes. There is no distinct before and after for any single process.
[13:26] Qwark Allen: fun thing, to think about, is the brain short circuits
[13:27] Qwark Allen: cause some sensors are mixed
[13:27] herman Bergson: True is like streaming water....
[13:27] Qwark Allen: like cold and menthol, and hot and spicy
[13:27] Quiet-Water (pearl.moonlight) is Online
[13:27] Mick Nerido: to much of a good sensation can hurt
[13:27] Farv Hallison: you can never step twice into the same river.
[13:27] Farv Hallison: Heraclitus
[13:27] Bibbe Oh: reptile brain
[13:27] Qwark Allen: when you eat a peper, the body tells you its hot, but in reality its not
[13:27] herman Bergson: you know your classic Farv ^_^
[13:28] Velvet (velvet.braham): wow Farv
[13:28] Qwark Allen: the same goes for menthol
[13:28] Lizzy Pleides: but menthol and pepper are different despite
[13:28] Qwark Allen: so some mental states of us are kind confused
[13:28] herman Bergson: I know I am a kind of classic in my ideas....
[13:29] Qwark Allen: yes, but menthol and cold receptors are the same
[13:29] Qwark Allen: hot and spicy also
[13:29] herman Bergson: Funny thing is....I am still cherishing the ideas of my thesis of 1977 :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: Even though we have functionalism now…which is so much applauded...
[13:29] Lizzy Pleides: and why do they taste different?
[13:30] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): why are you cherishing them Herman?
[13:30] Farv Hallison: Can we be conscious of more than one thing at a time?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well....
[13:30] Qwark Allen: ehehhe mentol have one receptor, spice another
[13:30] herman Bergson: Like everything....also philosophy is a matter of trends.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: especially in academic circles...
[13:30] Qwark Allen: the short circuit is between hot/spice and menthol/cold
[13:31] Sybyle Perdide: a dedicated follower of fashions .. giggles
[13:31] herman Bergson: Take for instance the China Brain argument against functionalism....
[13:31] Lizzy Pleides: so not the same receptors as you said b4
[13:31] herman Bergson: I won't trouble you with that...
[13:32] herman Bergson: But when you are a scholar at a have to publish...
[13:32] Farv Hallison: How does the brain understand anything?
[13:32] Qwark Allen: lizzy, read it, lol, the receptor for cold is the same for mentol, and the one for spice is the same one for hot
[13:32] herman Bergson: like everyone the thought experiment of the China Brain (you can ggole it) has to be discussed
[13:33] herman Bergson: "How does the brain understand anything?"
[13:33] herman Bergson: That is the whole point it the brain or the mind ?
[13:33] herman Bergson: and is the mind identical to the brain, just another word for the same thing?
[13:33] Farv Hallison: I'm thinking of the Chinese Room.
[13:33] Sybyle Perdide: so the mind is metaphysic at its best? if existing?
[13:34] herman Bergson: Ahhhh...brilliant argument of John Searle....
[13:34] Amera Pomilio is Online
[13:34] herman Bergson: We try to find that out Sybyle ^_^
[13:34] Farv Hallison: Room. we see and translate chinese to English without knowing the meaning.
[13:34] Sybyle Perdide: so I got you
[13:34] Sybyle Perdide: : )
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'll discuss the Chinese Room soon Farv....
[13:35] herman Bergson: You got me Sybyle? :-)
[13:35] Mick Nerido: Brain is the physical machine the mind is the function effect?
[13:35] herman Bergson: You want me???? ^_^
[13:35] Sybyle Perdide: one of your argumentations..I understood I mean
[13:35] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:35] herman Bergson: ok Sybyle
[13:36] Sybyle Perdide: and sure ..I want you
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Mick....maybe that is a way to put it...
[13:36] herman Bergson: grins
[13:36] Paula Dix is Offline
[13:36] Amera Pomilio is Offline
[13:36] Farv Hallison: Is the Mind a thing or a process?
[13:37] herman Bergson: I love the dozens of loose ends we have to deal with here....
[13:37] herman Bergson: That is the quintessential question Farv
[13:37] herman Bergson: is the mind something or a function....
[13:37] Farv Hallison: Is Consciousness a thing or a process?
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: but.. if the effect follows physical processes, isn't it the effect of them and so also a physical effect
[13:38] herman Bergson: Let me put it this way Farv....
[13:38] Bibbe Oh: Brain is the machine and mind the hard drive?
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: both will be needed for it i guess
[13:38] herman Bergson: ...the best explanation of consciousness/ the mind I have heard sofar is from John Searle
[13:39] herman Bergson: He says...take a glass of water....the water is liquid....
[13:39] herman Bergson: yet you can not separate liquidity from the water...
[13:39] herman Bergson: neither can you find an H2O molecule that is liquid...
[13:39] herman Bergson: yet
[13:40] herman Bergson: put a bunch of H2O molecules together and you got liquidity
[13:40] herman Bergson: so put a bunch of neurons together and you get under certain circumstances consciousness
[13:40] Farv Hallison: Would you say liquid water in an emergent property of H2o molecues?
[13:41] herman Bergson: here we come up with the concept of 'emergence'
[13:41] herman Bergson: we have't reached that subject yet.....but it is a tempting idea...
[13:41] herman Bergson: But one must be careful with it in terms of ontology...
[13:42] herman Bergson: because...when it is an emergent property of H2O molecules...then still it has to be something physical..
[13:42] Farv Hallison: Is ther a difference between Ontology and Metaphysics?
[13:42] herman Bergson: otherwise we are back to dualism again
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes....
[13:43] herman Bergson: ontology tries to explain what IS
[13:43] herman Bergson: Metaphysics tries to explain how what it is structured....
[13:44] herman Bergson: Like functionalism tells us how mental states are structures, but doesnt say anything about what IS.....what it is that makes the function possible....can be anything theoretically
[13:45] herman Bergson: for instance....Physics explains physical processes...
[13:45] herman Bergson: Metaphysics would tell us that these processes have a goal...
[13:46] herman Bergson: ontology would tell us that is is only matter that is at the basis of all
[13:46] herman Bergson: while Descartes for instance would say NO there is also a mental substance
[13:47] Farv Hallison: that is materialism, that matter is the basis. We could have a theory where pure Mind is the basis.
[13:48] Mick Nerido: Lots to think about, thanks Professor
[13:48] Sofie DuCasse is Offline
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes Farv, that also can be an option....Chalmers postulates for instance a kind of panpsychism...
[13:48] herman Bergson: You are so right Mick
[13:48] herman Bergson: Sometimes I don't know where to begin and where to end...
[13:49] Mot Mann is Offline
[13:49] herman Bergson: that is why I chose fro my materialist starting point....
[13:49] herman Bergson: whether it will hold or not, we'll see in future lectures... ㋡
[13:50] herman Bergson: So ...thank you all for this good discussion today...
[13:50] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Velvet Braham donated L$50. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:50] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:50] herman Bergson: See you next time again...
[13:50] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`☆ H E R MA N ☆´ ¯¨☆.¸¸`☆** **☆´ ¸¸.☆¨¯`
[13:50] Qwark Allen: ty
[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[[13:50] Bibbe Oh: thank you very much
[13:50] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Herman!
[13:50] Sybyle Perdide: it was really great herman
[13:50] Sybyle Perdide: thank you
[13:51] herman Bergson: My pleasure...
[13:51] Qwark Allen: really good lecture
[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty herman :-) and class
[13:51] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Thank you was very interesting as always
[13:51] herman Bergson: thank you Beertje
[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye class :-) see u soon!
[13:51] Velvet (velvet.braham): Thank you, Professor!
[13:51] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): have a goodnight all:)
[13:52] Farv Hallison: thank you professor Bergson.
[13:52] Lizzy Pleides: nite Beertje!
[13:52] bergfrau Apfelbaum: bussi herman :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Thank you Farv for you good remarks!
[13:52] Farv Hallison: bye Lizzy
[13:52] Sybyle Perdide: bye beertje
[13:52] Lizzy Pleides: bye farv
[13:52] Flying Lips Vector interactor: Lizzy Pleides bids Farv Hallison farewell!
[13:52] Farv Hallison: bye Bibbe
[13:53] herman Bergson: Bye Bibbe

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

361: Functionalism

Theories of the mind PRIOR to functionalism have been concerned both with (1) what there is, and (2) what gives each type of mental state its own identity,

for example what pains have in common in virtue of which they are pains. Stretching these terms a bit, we might say that (1) is a matter of ontology and (2) of metaphysics.

Here are the ontological claims: Dualism told us that there are both mental and physical substances,

whereas behaviorism and physicalism are monistic, claiming that there are only physical substances.

Here are the metaphysical claims: Behaviorism tells us that what pains (for example) have in common in virtue of which they are pains is something behavioral;

dualism gave a nonphysical answer to this question, and physicalism gives a physical answer to this question, referring to, for instance, the firing of c-fibers.

Turning now to functionalism, it answers the metaphysical question without answering the ontological question.

Functionalism tells us that what pains have in common, what makes them pains, is their function;

but functionalism does not tell us whether the beings that have pains have any nonphysical parts.

In the beginning I have said, that I wish to investigate the feasibility of a materialist theory of mind, which also may be called in more contemporary wordings, a physicalist theory of mind.

The catching title of a book, which has been a bestseller in the netherlands, "Wij zijn ons brein" (We are our brain) may sound nice, but becomes questionable due to functionalism.

Let me explain, what this means. Water is type identical to H2O, which means that any drop of matter with certain characteristic is H2O

and the discovery that water is H2O facilitated the (ontological) reduction of water to H2O. Why has water been reduced to H2O rather than vice versa?

The general idea is that chemistry has the resources to deal with a much wider range of phenomena than does a science that is restricted to studying water. Consequently, chemistry is held to be the more 'basic' or 'fundamental' science.

But suppose, that pain is identical with firing c-fibers. Whenever you say, that is pain, you can point at the firing of c-fibers.

Then we have a problem, because when "pain" and "firing c-fiber" are identical, then every organism that has no c-fibers can not feel pain, because that mental state is identical with firing c-fibers.

This is a serious problem for what we call the type identity theory. Now suppose that your dog has no c-fibers, but d-fibers.

When you accidentally step on its tail, the poor fellow barks "woooowau..", jumps up and tries to get away, you see on a scanner certain nerves and parts of its brain become active.

These nerves are different from our c-fibers, but the state poor doggy is in looks certainly identical to our behavior when someone steps on our toe. Difficult to deny, that your dog feels pain.

Here functionalism seems to offer a real solution. "We are our brain" may be true, but that doesn't cancel the possibility, that for instance, an alien, not carbon based as we are, but silicon based can have a brain too.

Like I said about carburetors in the previous lecture: they can be made of all kinds of materials, have all kinds of different shapes, they all do the same job: mix air and patrol.

Thus, as functionalism states: if A, B and C do the same job, have the same functional role in an organism or system, then it is ontologically not important what A, B and C are made of.

This has serious consequences, for it can mean that any system, that does the same as our brain-based mental states, would have a mind too and consciousness.

I guess you already see it coming….. a computer, when properly programmed….. would there ever be a HAL like in "2001: A Space Odyssee"? We'll see.

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you.... ㋡
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): too much to digest!
[13:23] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:23] herman Bergson: The floor is yours....
[13:23] Qwark Allen: Just what do you think you,r doing DAAAAVE ::: -_+
[13:23] herman Bergson: oh dear...Gemma!!!!
[13:23] Qwark Allen: *•.¸ I'm sorry Dave... I'm afraid I can't do that... ツ ¸.•*
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well the dog and I function the same
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: hmm the hal thing im a bit skeptical about because a computer may be analogous to a sort of mechanical brain
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: but our brains involve chemical signals
[13:24] Mick Nerido: It make sense that a brain system other than ours could be called conscious…
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: but a computer instead does not at all the same
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: here electricity flip a switch relying on pure math
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: pure
[13:24] Nigel Qissinger: thank you, very interesting points you made
[13:24] herman Bergson: that is the point Mick.....
[13:24] Qwark Allen: the language that brain use to process and transport information is already decoded, and can be simulated by a computer
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:24] Sybyle Perdide: its the same like the comparison with bike and care or flood and bomb, isn#T it?
[13:24] herman Bergson: functionalism doesn't formulate ontological claims...
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): to mick i mean
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well..the next debate will be Artificial Intelligence...
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: acomputer can simulate but never do the same cause sure it can replicate but it does it in a completley different way then a brain
[13:25] herman Bergson: does it exist?
[13:25] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita
[13:26] herman Bergson: our computers of today, yes....
[13:26] Sybyle Perdide: the problem is the reduction
[13:26] herman Bergson: but that is not the point
[13:26] Sybyle Perdide: a computer can be intelligent, but he cannot taste oranges
[13:26] Nigel Qissinger: but IF a computer did DO the same stuff as a brain, it wouldn't matter if it was made of metal or flesh
[13:26] herman Bergson: from a functionalist point of view it isnt relevant how that computer is constructed...
[13:26] Qwark Allen: heheeh why not sybyle?
[13:27] herman Bergson: when it does the same as what our mental states must be conscious too
[13:27] Lizzy Pleides: he can taste it but he can't enjoy it
[13:27] Sybyle Perdide: because artificial intelligence is not the same like tasting oranges
[13:27] Qwark Allen: probably in the future they will taste it better then us, cause will have better sensors
[13:27] Nigel Qissinger: it can not taste oranges only because it does not have a tasting organ. If we built a tongue that could send the data about the orange to the computer, then it could taste
[13:27] Sybyle Perdide: yes Lizzy
[13:27] Sybyle Perdide: he can analyze
[13:27] Mick Nerido: When your computer crashes does it feel pain? lol
[13:27] Raphael Lazarno is Offline
[13:28] Qwark Allen: they have sensors, so taste is not a issue
[13:28] Lizzy Pleides: mine does
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ia computer could sense what it does maybe but all a computer see is a binary string of 1 and 0 in a pure mathematical way
[13:28] Qwark Allen: to have pleasure with it, is another story
[13:28] Mot Mann is Offline
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: in the future maybee but how would a such cpu operate then?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Welll In Sybyles words I hear Nagel's "what is it like to be a bat..?"
[13:28] Qwark Allen: in a way, we feel pleasure with things, because there is release of endorfines
[13:28] Sybyle Perdide: blushes
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: can not rely solely on transistor base binary math
[13:28] Qwark Allen: in the brain
[13:29] herman Bergson: You must not talk about computers as we understand them now...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: interesting idea at least
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: can machines think
[13:29] Qwark Allen: in some damaged brains there is no endorfines
[13:29] herman Bergson: you must talk about functions they perform
[13:29] (ewa.aska) is Online
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:29] Sybyle Perdide: perform is the right word I think
[13:30] Qwark Allen: we have very limited sensors
[13:30] Sybyle Perdide: if a computer starts to do more than performing, then the difference is shrinking dangerously
[13:30] Qwark Allen: as a specie
[13:30] herman Bergson: Functionalism was the step towards a computational model of the mind
[13:31] Mick Nerido: Functionalism means if it functions the same way no matter the construct the results are the same.
[13:31] herman Bergson: yes Mick.....
[13:31] Sybyle Perdide: but it is an aim-oriented thinking
[13:31] Sybyle Perdide: like a black box
[13:31] herman Bergson: So our idea of a computer can be completely wrong and in a 10000 years maybe a computer is made of water ㋡
[13:32] Qwark Allen: that will happen before
[13:32] Qwark Allen: maybe in 50 years
[13:32] Qwark Allen: with quantum computers
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: a futore machine might be more similar but not today's machines
[13:32] herman Bergson: yes Qwark..then we are all fishes in the ocean again, back to our roots ^_^
[13:32] Qwark Allen: with 1 zero and -1
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: and when we drink it we suddenly can speak chinese
[13:32] Sybyle Perdide: laughs
[13:33] Qwark Allen: there are already quantum computers done
[13:33] herman Bergson: I always dream of that Lizzy....
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: cause although they perform sort of same things their INTERNAL functioning is different, carbureators work internally the exact same principle
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: me too
[13:33] Qwark Allen: they use atoms the atoms spin to save information
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: but a brain and a computer of today does not even both can produce and process information
[13:33] herman Bergson: Like in the Matrix....put in the disk martial arts....and poof...there you go
[13:33] Sybyle Perdide: but..are this technical details relevant?
[13:34] herman Bergson: You must look at it in an other way Bejiita....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: i think so, the internal principle of operation i think is important, don't know
[13:34] herman Bergson: You must imagine a computer that DOES all the things our brain does
[13:34] Qwark Allen: yes, you should read about the new technologies, and realize, that the utopia of yesterday, will be the present, in a near future
[13:34] herman Bergson: and from there you start analyzing the consequences...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but who knows what ex a quantum computer could do and they also talk about dna based machines
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: a such computer might be able to do that
[13:35] Qwark Allen: they have 3 states, zero one and minus one
[13:35] Mick Nerido: a computer would not need all our lower brain functions to be conscious, or would it?
[13:36] Qwark Allen: just need the same capacity of processing information
[13:36] herman Bergson: I really wouldn't know Mick
[13:36] herman Bergson: because this implies already a real definition of consciousness
[13:36] Qwark Allen: their speed duplicate every 18 months
[13:37] herman Bergson: And consciousness is our biggest problem in the philosophy ogf mind
[13:37] Qwark Allen: in 25 years they will have the same rate of processing information as our brain
[13:37] Qwark Allen: they AI will born for sure
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hmm AI is an interesting thing for sure
[13:37] Qwark Allen: thats what we are talking about today
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): but then we get into the issue of feelings
[13:38] Qwark Allen: will be possible in a very near future
[13:38] herman Bergson: You can read about functionalism....
[13:38] Sybyle Perdide: do we talk about constructing new iPads?
[13:38] herman Bergson: I am still not sure how to deal with it and its consequences...
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma...
[13:39] herman Bergson: feelings , beliefs, desires.... consciousness...
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): right!
[13:39] herman Bergson: big big hurdles still to take
[13:40] herman Bergson: So....for the time being....
[13:40] Qwark Allen: lets hope we don`t end like in terminator or in battlestar galactica
[13:40] herman Bergson: let's assume that mental states can be multiply realized.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well Qwark...I loved the movies ㋡
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:41] herman Bergson: they had a happy end ^_^
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: what about tragic ends?
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: are they wrong
[13:41] Sybyle Perdide: ?
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): those two movies had a happy end
[13:42] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): others do not
[13:42] Mick Nerido: endings are personal not objective
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: but that's because the manus often have a happy end
[13:42] herman Bergson: We have the greek tragedies...
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: in reality evil often wins at least for very long
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: just look at all terror and wars all over the world that never ends
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: and all greediness
[13:43] Sybyle Perdide: but would a computer be able to feel the tragic.. not only recognizing that the end was not good for all because one is dead?
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: bank directors and such
[13:43] herman Bergson: But even the end of the tragedy was regarded as a happy end..offering the katharsis to the audience
[13:44] Sybyle Perdide: but Orestes is unlucky and dead at the end
[13:44] Mick Nerido: Tragedies make you feel lucky it did not happen
[13:44] herman Bergson: yes, he is, but the audience experience the meaning of it
[13:44] Sybyle Perdide: but I was always on his side
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:45] herman Bergson: Well....Let's investigate if we can have an Orestes computer in the future...:)
[13:45] Mick Nerido: Thanks for a great class! BYe
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] Sybyle Perdide: yay
[13:45] herman Bergson: Therefor...thank you all for your participation...
[13:45] Sybyle Perdide: thats a good idea
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: ok cu next time

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

360: Introducing Functionalism

Maybe it is due to Descartes (1596 - 1650) that we are talking about mind stuff, asking the question what the mind is made of.

But perhaps that is the wrong question in this philosophy of mind. For instance, practically all cars have carburetors.A carburetor is a device which combines petrol with air and delivers the resulting mixture to the engine.

There is one in almost every car, but I guess not two are alike. They can have all kinds of shapes, been made out of all kinds of materials.

But is that of primary importance? To question what stuff a carburetor is made of or how it is constructed? Isn't it more relevant to focus on what a carburetor does?

An antibiotic is a substance which does a certain job: it kills disease-causing bacteria without doing serious harm to the patient.

Penicillin kills disease-forming bacteria without doing undue harm to the patient; consequently it's an antibiotic.

Erythromycine also kills disease-causing bacteria without doing serious harm to the patient; consequently it too is an antibiotic. However, penicillin and erythromycine have quite different chemical structures.

Like with carburetors we can say that antibiotics are multiply realized, that we have multiple instantiations of them. To understand what is happening in the world, the right question is not "What stuff is it made of?" but "What job does it do?"

When we talk about ontology, the philosophy of what IS, we are easily inclined to think that what IS, is built of matter. Thus is overlooked that what IS equally are processes, actions, functions. And there was FUNCTIONALISM!

“Functionalism” is one of the major proposals that have been offered as solutions to the mind-body problem.

Solutions to the mind-body problem usually try to answer questions such as: What is the ultimate nature of the mental?

At the most general level, what makes a mental state mental? Or more specifically, what do thoughts have in common in virtue of which they are thoughts? That is, what makes a thought a thought? What makes a pain a pain?

Cartesian dualism said the ultimate nature of the mental was to be found in a special mental substance.

Behaviorism identified mental states with behavioral dispositions; physicalism, in its most influential version, identifies mental states with brain states.

Functionalism says that mental states are constituted by their causal relations to one another and to sensory inputs and behavioral outputs.

Functionalism is one of the major theoretical developments of twentieth-century analytic philosophy, and provides the conceptual underpinnings of much work in cognitive science.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works.

It includes research on how information is processed (in faculties such as perception, language, memory, reasoning, and emotion), represented, and transformed in behaviour, (human or other animal) nervous system or machine (e.g., computer).

Cognitive science consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and education.

In coming lectures we'll learn what part philosophy and in particular functionalism plays in this interdisciplinary world.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: thank you...
[13:21] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: Bravo!
[13:21] herman Bergson: thank you Qwark
[13:21] Farv Hallison: Functionalism begs the Ontological question.
[13:21] herman Bergson: Explain Farv....
[13:22] Qwark Allen: seems "everyday" more disciplines are kind melting in each others, making a better view of "reality"
[13:22] Farv Hallison: you change the question rather than answer it.
[13:22] Qwark Allen: the perception we have today of it, is so much diferent, it was 50 years ago
[13:22] Qwark Allen: just to do not go, more far in past
[13:22] herman Bergson: well.... for the moment it sounds to me more as an other approach to the ontological question...
[13:23] herman Bergson: in fact you could say that functionalism isn't much concerned about ontology...
[13:24] herman Bergson: when you define a mental state in terms of what is does, it isn't important what the material basis is
[13:24] herman Bergson: functionalism is therefor even neutral regarding materialism or dualism...
[13:25] herman Bergson: And yes qwark you are quite right about that....
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: we can take an analogy, an electric motor
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: can be made of different materials
[13:25] herman Bergson: My perception of the philosophy of mind has changed so greatly in relation to what I knew in 1977
[13:25] Farv Hallison: that's good, you leave open the question of whether matter is an emergent property of the mind.
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: for dc or ac and be made in different shapes and so
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: but they all do one thing the same
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: transfer electric energi to mechanical movement 8rotation)ö
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: rotation
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Farv....functionalism wouldn't question that
[13:27] herman Bergson: We'll go in to much more detail in next lectures....
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: i guess its sort of the same with the mind in speaking of functionalism
[13:27] herman Bergson: functionalism is a dominating view, these days...
[13:27] Mick Nerido: Transportation can be walking flying driving not at all the same
[13:27] herman Bergson: there you find the mind / computer analogy....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:28] herman Bergson: the mind as software and the brain as hardwear...
[13:28] Lizzy Pleides: but you come from point A to point B, the result is the same as if you use a bycicle
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes exactly
[13:28] herman Bergson: We'll come to talk about that…don't worry...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hmm well but for certain distances like my trip to turkey before bike wouldn't be very practical
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: but basically yes
[13:29] herman Bergson: This functionalism is a kind of answer on the identity theory...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: its about moving around in different ways
[13:30] Sybyle Perdide: lets change the example
[13:30] Mick Nerido: we don't know how a mint works
[13:30] Mick Nerido: mind
[13:30] Sybyle Perdide: a bomb destroys as well as a flood..but they are different
[13:30] herman Bergson: ok Sybyle
[13:30] Farv Hallison savors mint.
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: both generates a pusch , a force
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: push
[13:31] Sybyle Perdide: but the difference is greater as between bike and plane
[13:31] Mick Nerido: I have to leave early, sorry
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: very, the result is that you move i n both cases but a plane can move over water and MUCH faster
[13:31] herman Bergson: lecture I'll explain in detail in what way functionalism thinks to be an answer to limitations of the identity theory...
[13:31] Lizzy Pleides: i think it is the result what counts and not how we reach it
[13:31] Farv Hallison: nice seeing you Mick
[13:31] Sybyle Perdide: tc Mick
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: tc mick
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy, such an observation is in line with functionalism...
[13:32] Mick Nerido: See you next class thats all Herman also
[13:32] Sybyle Perdide: you cannot divide it completely, Lizzy, I think
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: cu Mick
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well, don't worry....
[13:32] Sybyle Perdide: if you look at the aim..yes
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: i forgive you Sybyle, giggle
[13:33] Sybyle Perdide: but if you ask if the aim was planned for example
[13:33] herman Bergson: I will gonna be a pretty complex and abstract issue, this functionalism...
[13:33] Sybyle Perdide: sighs
[13:33] Sybyle Perdide: thx Lizzy
[13:33] herman Bergson: It
[13:34] herman Bergson: I am not sure about is 100% myself, how to interpret it....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: i a bit tricky indeed
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: its
[13:34] Farv Hallison: what is tricky?
[13:34] Sybyle Perdide: philosophy
[13:34] herman Bergson: Main point is: Is it an answer to our questions about the mind - body problem...
[13:34] Sybyle Perdide: ; )
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: how to attack this subject
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: but will be interesting
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i think i get the point so far anyway
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita.....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: s i said about the motors before
[13:35] herman Bergson: especially because this functionalist view is widely accepted....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: they can be made way different for ac and dc but do the same thing basically
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: every theory ignores important matters i think
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: electricity becomes rotation
[13:35] Sybyle Perdide: nods
[13:35] herman Bergson: but of course, as always in comes in a number of flavors ㋡
[13:36] Qwark Allen: heeheh
[13:36] Farv Hallison: mint I hope
[13:36] Sybyle Perdide: strawberry I prefer
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:36] herman Bergson: So..I would suggest.....take a good night rest and be here next Thursday for the next lecture on this subject ^_^
[13:37] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:37] Qwark Allen: thank you
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: great start Herman
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: will be interesting
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:37] Sybyle Perdide: thank you
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Professor!
[13:37] herman Bergson: thank you for your participation...
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Professor
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: nice Herman
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:37] herman Bergson: class dismissed
[13:37] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): *•.¸'*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´¸.•*
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): Goed Gedaan Jochie!!
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): .•*♥¨`• BRAVO!!!! •¨`♥*•.
[13:37] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): ¸.•*`¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸`*•.¸

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359: Criticism of th Identity Theory

Of course there are a lot of objections agains the Identity theory and physicalism or materialism, basically, the idea that mental states are brain states.

The criticism based on Leibniz's Law we have discussed in a memorable previous lecture. Let's have a look at some other objections.

When you feel pain special nerves are firing: c-fibers. Now you could say: My pain is in my foot, but my c-fiber is not.

The identity theorist can insist that, strictly speaking, my pain is not in my foot.The brain state which is identical to my pain is in my head.

Rather than talk about a pain in my foot we should talk about having a pain of the in-the-foot kind. Just think of phantom pains.

people who lost a body part can still feel pain in the missing part. This means that have a brain state that is of the kind of ……

There is one more application of Leibniz's principle which we should briefly consider.There is something that it is like to be in pain: it hurts.

On the other hand, it is very hard to conceive how electrical activity in a nerve cell could hurt. So it seems that pain has a property, namely 'hurting', which no brain state could ever have.

This is a serious counterargument indeed. If pain hurts and c-fiber firing doesn't then they can not be identical.

On the one hand we could refer to the intentional fallacy, as an answer. On the other hand we can postpone a definite answer until we focus on consciousness itself.

We have another problem to face. We said that Lightning is identical with electrical discharge. So every instantiation of such a specific electrical discharge is a lightning.

Suppose a squid has no c-fibers, while we say that pain (mental state) is identical with c-fiber firing (brain state). Do you have to conclude that a squid does not experience pain?

We could say that pain is multiply realized: in different creatures pain is 'realized' in different ways. Type identities are thus restricted to a given species.

But then I believe that the Big Ben is in London, chances are that you do too. If we postulate type identity, this means that all these beliefs about the Big Ben in our heads are identical brain states.

The coarse anatomy of your brain is probably very similar to mine, but the idea that the information of the Big Ben in my brain is stored in an exactly identical way in your brain, is rather unlikely.

So, we have to reconsider our basic idea of identity. In what ways are mental states identical with brain states?

Maybe some of you remember that short video about using a fMRI scanner as lie detector. The general theory is a type identity,

which means that telling the truth shows on the scanner always the same pattern for every individual brain. Reality shows different.

These consideration shave Iead some philosophers of mind to abandon even the species restricted type identity theory.

On their view,the most we can say is that each mental state token is identical to some brain state token.In other words, these philosophers endorse only token identity of mental states with brain states.

Neurological research has certainly demonstrated clear correlations between mental states and brain states, but not in a way that we can assume simple type identities between mental states and brain states.

It still, however, does not proof that we have to assume the reality of a dualism. We'll see where all ends, but we are still not there.

The Discussion

herman Bergson: Thank you...
herman Bergson: The floor is yours ....
Mick Nerido: Interestingly some people feel no pain and there easily injure them self without knowing it...
herman Bergson: Oh yes....I even have a relative in RL who has that problem...
Lizzy Pleides: the sensitivity of pain is different at every person
Sybyle Perdide: its hard stuff
herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy....
Lizzy Pleides: and there is a pain memory
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): you can even pretend that the pain is not there
Mick Nerido: Redheads are known to have high pain tolerance…
Lizzy Pleides: there is no hurt but a pain sometimes
herman Bergson: this makes type identity hard to defend
Mick Nerido: In my brain Big Ben might be filled under clocks and someone else it might be under the heading of London?
herman Bergson: With all neurological knowledge of today we intuitively know that there is a realtion between the brain and the mind....a physical one...
herman Bergson: That is the point Mick
Lizzy Pleides: we have special pain diseases like fibroalgy, people have pain and no hurt causes it, its sensitivity only
herman Bergson: What I try to figure out is, what is philosophically the explanation for what exists....a brain and a mind...
Lizzy Pleides: or pain memory
Mick Nerido: Pain is our brain telling us there is a problem
herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy ...the brain can play many games...
herman Bergson: I happened to read today for instance something of the out-of-body experience.
herman Bergson: I guess you know the story...
Mick Nerido: No
herman Bergson: people have the experience to hoover above their own body...even can look at it
herman Bergson: it is always sold as some mystic experience....
herman Bergson: well is not...
Lizzy Pleides: interesting!
Mick Nerido: What is it?
Lizzy Pleides: a kind of death experience?
herman Bergson: in Belgium neurologists implanted an electronic little device in th ebrain of a person who suffers of...a sec...let me find the word
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): can we all learn to do it?
herman Bergson: yes ...tinnitus
herman Bergson: no you cant learn it...
druth Vlodovic: "astral projection", now we can get an app
Mick Nerido: I have Tinnitus ringing in your ears
herman Bergson: I read the book written by Monroe ….didn't work..:-)
herman Bergson: Yes..a high ringing in the ears...
druth Vlodovic: on older computers data would be stored to random locations on the hard drive, this would marginally affect performance
herman Bergson: the point was...
druth Vlodovic: if data processing were to suffer the same randomness it could affect results as well
herman Bergson: that when they tested the device on various frequences the man had now and then out-of-body experiences....
Sybyle Perdide: great
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): cool:)
Mick Nerido: I would like to try it lol
Sybyle Perdide: I ever thought its a physical malfunction
herman Bergson: certain frequences this experience could be provoked by stimulating certain parts of the brain
druth Vlodovic: to be the devil's advocate, that doesn't prove that oob is the result of brain function, just that it can be induced
Lizzy Pleides: i dont know if ithis is comfortable
druth Vlodovic: maybe they drove his soul our of his body
Lizzy Pleides: we didn't talk about the soul up to now?!
herman Bergson: that is a big step postulate the existence of a soul
druth Vlodovic: well, you get a visual perspective different than what is physically possible...
Lizzy Pleides: what is your opinion herman about the soul?
herman Bergson: Just imagine..... trialism.... soul - mind - body....
herman Bergson: the concept of the soul is a culturally generated idea.....
Mick Nerido: I have felt I was outside my body in uncomfortable situations...
herman Bergson: especially as an answer to death
herman Bergson: our unwillingness to accept that life just ends at a given moment
Lizzy Pleides: this is theology, isn't it?
herman Bergson: Yes it is Lizzy....
herman Bergson: based on beliefs, not on any facts
herman Bergson: even the idea that the mind is a non physical substance as Descartes assumes is a big assumption
Mick Nerido: Like I was watching myself go through it and being removed
Lizzy Pleides: you really did Mick?
herman Bergson: You'd better stay inside yourself, Mick :-))
Sybyle Perdide: giggles
herman Bergson: As he sings.."Baby, it is cold outside....." ^_^
Sybyle Perdide: its a chance herman.. you can interview both Mick
Mick Nerido: It is only under extreme stress
herman Bergson: It is your brain that plays tricks on you, Mick
Lizzy Pleides: is it a dream perhaps?
druth Vlodovic: we have the ability to imagine scenes we have not physically seen
Mick Nerido: I know but the experience could be mistaken for a physical excursion lol
Sybyle Perdide: do you know nahtod-erlebnisse?
herman Bergson: sure Druth...
herman Bergson: Yes Sybyle...
Mick Nerido: What is it?
herman Bergson: also such a beloved subject for mystics...
Sybyle Perdide: after I have seen, how my pc crashed, I think, its a physical phenomen similar to it
Lizzy Pleides: a para-psychologic matter
herman Bergson: the near death experience is the result of insufficient oxygyne supply to the brain...
Sybyle Perdide: *nods
herman Bergson: no..not at all parapsychological
Sybyle Perdide: hi rodney
Rodney Handrick: Hi Sybyle
Mick Nerido: Like sleep walking?
herman Bergson: It can be induced ...
herman Bergson: Weird stories about sleepwalking....
Mick Nerido: What is going on in the brain there?
herman Bergson: a man who kills his wife and kid and doesn't remember…
herman Bergson: Well Mick....
herman Bergson: you can make a difference between awareness and consciousness....
herman Bergson: In a state of awareness you act kind of on auto-pilot....
herman Bergson: when driving a car 80% of what you do is on awareness...
herman Bergson: your consciousness is focused on the traffic...
Mick Nerido: like walking it is automatic
herman Bergson: shifting gear, decelerating, accelerating....checking your mirrors...all auto-pilot
druth Vlodovic: consciousness is sort of like a supervisor, checks in and tells your mind what to do next, then it does it on it's own in many cases
druth Vlodovic: but it seems that consciousness is needed for memory
herman Bergson: Maybe it is Druth.....
Lizzy Pleides: routine...
herman Bergson: we'll spend a lot of attention to the theme "consciousness"
Mick Nerido: Hipnotism is another strange brain state
Mick Nerido: strange
herman Bergson: Nice, Mick....we should look into that form a neurological point of view
Lizzy Pleides: yes the snake in the jungle book
druth Vlodovic: I suspect that we always are in a lot of different mental states at any given time, all doing slightly different things
herman Bergson: yes animals are apparently sensitive to it too :-)
herman Bergson: oh yes Druth.....
druth Vlodovic: I was talking to a woman who is studying dreaming and suspects that we are always in a dream state, as well as other states
Mick Nerido: Snake charmer?
herman Bergson: that is what introspection was about.....we only see a small part opf our mental states
Mick Nerido: Have you see the gorilla in the room video?
herman Bergson: Well, let's see in next lecture where the identity theory ends and a new interpretation begins....
herman Bergson: If you have no further questions or remarks.....
herman Bergson: Thank you for your participation again.....
Lizzy Pleides: thank you Herman!
:: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Professor
herman Bergson: Class dismissed ...

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

358: The Brain and back to the Identity Theory

What I tried in my previous lecture was to get hold of mental states by introducing introspection as a means to gain knowledge of our mental states.

The final result was that at the end of our discussion we had no idea what knowledge of our mental states we can obtain by introspection.

More important, there does not seem to be any part of the brain that functions as a monitor of those neurophysiological states that maintain and control conscious states.

There still is the belief that introspection gives us a special kind of knowledge about ourselves and our mental states and processes.

Then just hear this. In a normal population, Johansson and collaborators , a psychologist and researcher, manually displayed to participants pairs of pictures of women's faces.

On each trial, the participant was to point to the face he found more attractive. The picture of that face was then centered before the participant while the other face was hidden.

On some trials, participants were asked to explain the reasons for their choices while continuing to look at the selected face. On a few key trials, the experimenters used sleight-of-hand to present to the participant the face that was NOT selected as though it had been the face selected.

Strikingly, the switch was noticed only 28% of the time. What's more, when the change was not detected participants actually gave explanations for their choice that appealed to specific features of the unselected face that were not possessed by the selected face 13% of the time.

For example, one participant claimed to have chosen the face before him “because I love blondes” when in fact he had chosen a dark-haired face.

As you see, introspection is not really a reliable source of knowledge about our mental states. Yet, in their criticism of the identity theory, some philosophers still hold that introspection reveals something of the mind which neuroscience can not.

Thus, a number of authors have recently argued that a complete physical description of the universe inevitably leaves something out which introspection reveals, namely the qualitative nature of mental states.

There is something it is like to be a bat, for example, but any physical description of the bat’s brain, central nervous system, sensory equipment and so on, inevitably leaves this out.

This shows, it is argued, that a physical account of the bat is thus incomplete. Some have taken this to show that a proper account of the mind must inevitably appeal to something nonphysical.

I am still not inclined to agree with that idea and want to stick to the identity theory. Three principal types of identity theory have been proposed.

The first, associated with J.J.C. Smart (1920 - …), and sometimes called brain process materialism, is that sensations are identical with brain processes.

A second version, called central state materialism, and associated with David Armstrong (1926 - …), is that mental states are identical with states of the brain and central nervous system.

A third and more subtle version, offered by Herbert Feigl (1902 – 1988), is that certain neuro-physiological terms denote certain mental terms.

Following Frege's distinction (1848 - 1925) between sense and reference, Feigl argues that the terms differ in meaning, but their referents are the same.

This is similar to how the terms "morning star" and "evening star" both have different meanings, yet refer to the same object, namely venus.

So far, I stick to Feigl's approach. It is our language that creates our reality. And I think he has good arguments for his view.

Introspection….just take this statement: "I know that I am making a mistake…" The first "i" knows that the second "I" makes a mistake, while the second "I" believes he is doing fine….

It is a weird ability of the mind that it can double itself…. I am thinking about myself, who is thinking about a chess problem. The mind is fun…. ^_^

The Discussion

[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you...
13:21] Mick Nerido: That is the issue the brain is thinking about itself...
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes...that is why Auguste Comte said that introspection was nonsense…
[13:22] Clerisse Beeswing: the brain is a workaholic
[13:22] herman Bergson: that was 1830... ㋡
[13:22] Mick Nerido: Why nonsense?
[13:22] Binnie Fensen: How does dance fit into this model, then? As a choreographer, I work with the nonverbal.
[13:23] herman Bergson: The main point is since Descartes, that he believed that introspection showed infallible knowledge...
[13:24] herman Bergson: Well...lots of psychological experiments have already shown that that is not the case…
[13:24] herman Bergson: case
[13:24] Mick Nerido: It seem more like extremely personal knowledge, not objective reality
[13:25] herman Bergson: yes Mick....
[13:25] herman Bergson: and a lot can be explained by referring to memory
[13:25] Farv Hallison: I found lots of language fragments, many of which were wrong.
[13:26] Mick Nerido: Like intimacy is: into me see.
[13:27] herman Bergson: Well...introspection to get an insight in the working of the brain....not too reliable source of information..
[13:27] herman Bergson: For instance...they did an experiment..I'll save you the details...
[13:28] herman Bergson: the test persons had difficulty to solve the experimenter gave a marginal hint....
[13:28] herman Bergson: afterwards when asked...only a few mentioned the hint as the road to the solution
[13:28] Clerisse Beeswing: likw multiple choice
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Who said: We are what we think?
[13:29] herman Bergson: smile....
[13:29] herman Bergson: I know what I thing when I hear what I say, Mick ^_^
[13:29] herman Bergson: think
[13:29] Mick Nerido: lol
[13:30] herman Bergson: Ok then....
[13:30] herman Bergson: any questions or remarks left for today?
[13:30] herman Bergson: You are really gentle on me today ^_^
[13:31] Velvet (velvet.braham): what's the conclusion?
[13:31] Clerisse Beeswing: gosh you got me stomp
[13:31] Velvet (velvet.braham): that we leave stuff out when we remember?
[13:31] Velvet (velvet.braham): god knows I do :)
[13:31] Clerisse Beeswing: me too
[13:31] herman Bergson: the conclusion is that introspection is not a way to understand mental states
[13:31] Velvet (velvet.braham): that's logical
[13:32] herman Bergson: when we want to say that mental states are brain states, then introspection wont be of much help here
[13:32] Velvet (velvet.braham): but it's where we go first?
[13:32] Farv Hallison: not a way to probe brain states either.
[13:32] herman Bergson: We try to get hold of the mind....
[13:32] Clerisse Beeswing: my mind says find someone smarter
[13:33] Binnie Fensen: The mind constantly secretes thoughts. Impossible to get a hold of it.
[13:33] herman Bergson: We try to understand how a bunch of molecules of which we are composed, can give rise to what we call consciousness
[13:34] Velvet (velvet.braham): and now you've just dissolved the ground under me. thank you.
[13:34] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): welcome Lester
[13:34] Farv Hallison: consciousness is different from the mind.
[13:34] Binnie Fensen: Yes, what is the molecular structure of a thought?
[13:34] herman Bergson: nice question....Binnie
[13:35] Clerisse Beeswing: an idea
[13:35] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): can it be seen?
[13:35] Farv Hallison: there are folds and charged neutrons that can be coded to hold information.
[13:35] herman Bergson: It is the same structure as H2O molecules in a glass of water being liquid
[13:35] herman Bergson: what is the molecular structure of liquidity?
[13:36] Farv Hallison: water is an emergent property of water molecules.
[13:36] Clerisse Beeswing: space
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Farv…the emergence idea....we'll get to that certainly
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: Don't we have self criticism, isn't introspection a precondition for that? and doesn't it help?
[13:37] CONNIE Eichel whispers: afk
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well Lizzy...introspection is a pretty weird ability
[13:37] Mick Nerido: So everything going on in our heads is electro chemical and obeys the laws of physics
[13:38] herman Bergson: theoretically you could say that Mick, yes
[13:38] herman Bergson: but this doesn't say much....
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: to me that explanation is to easy Mick
[13:39] herman Bergson: you cant deduce consciousness from laws of physics
[13:39] Mick Nerido: It leaves out the old ides of "soul" or spirt
[13:39] herman Bergson: The big question is actually....
[13:40] herman Bergson: when everything just obeys the laws of physics…how can there be consciousness?
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: true
[13:40] herman Bergson: all molecules and atoms in the universe are lifeless matter!
[13:40] Farv Hallison: quantum physics leaves room for free will.
[13:40] Binnie Fensen: Do we even know all the laws of physics?
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes Farv...that is what Searle told in one of his lectures too..
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): or the opposite of free will
[13:41] Farv Hallison: we know them at the size scale of rocks and mountains.
[13:42] Mick Nerido: an innate quality of matter my be to be able to evolve from unconscious to conscious states
[13:42] herman Bergson: "Do we even know all the laws of physics?"....a tempting question
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: surely not
[13:42] herman Bergson: Just imagine what the question assumes...
[13:42] Binnie Fensen: Yes..
[13:42] herman Bergson: is there a finite or infinite set of laws of nature
[13:43] herman Bergson: How do we know how that set is composed...
[13:43] Farv Hallison: a few laws if you allow differential equations as laws.
[13:43] Binnie Fensen: We're looking for the laws of that's an interesting combination of words.
[13:43] herman Bergson: I am no mathematician Farv ^_^
[13:44] Mick Nerido: We all spring from the atoms of this planet and yet we are conscious…
[13:44] herman Bergson: Yes Binnie interesting and paradoxical indeed
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: that prooves that there is more than atoms and molecules
[13:45] Farv Hallison: Gauge quantum field accounts for almost everything we can measure.
[13:45] Lester Buccaneer (lesterii): i must go, thanks for the lesson
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well, I think we have cracked our brains enough again for today...
[13:46] herman Bergson: So Lester....take a rest ^_^
[13:46] Lizzy Pleides: thank you Herman!
[13:46] Velvet (velvet.braham): thank you, professor!
[13:46] Mick Nerido: Thanks herman!
13:46] Binnie Fensen: thank you
[13:47] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you professor:)
[13:47] herman Bergson: Class dismissed... ^_^
[13:47] Clerisse Beeswing: thank you professor..great class
[13:47] Farv Hallison: Thank you professor Bergson.
[13:48] herman Bergson: Hey Rodney!!!
[13:48] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): have a nice evening all:)

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