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Author Topic: What is the cause of self-awareness?  (Read 17344 times)
Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2007, 04:42:36 am »

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However, this decision is implemented in matter. You do not dispute this.

As long as you mean the decided upon action is carried out through matter and not that the decision itself is made by matter.


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If by "in some way or another" you mean "Completely determined by", then sure.

No, I do not think which emotions you feel are "completely determined by" matter, but heavily influened by it.


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WHOA. How is calling it an "emergent property" "writing it off"?

Try to remember, I am not talking about the emergent structure of the emotional triggers such as instincts and such. I think these definitely are the products of evolution. Again, it is the feelings themselves that are the issue.


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Our very existence is an emergent property of arrangements of parts.

That depends on your definition of "our very existence". Otherwise this thread is probably rather pointless.


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What else could it be?

A very good question, hopefully we will have an answer to it someday. I gave one possible theory a few posts back, but that really is just one of many.


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No matter what else there is besides matter, it's going to have state... where in that is a subjective experience?

I am not sure exactly what you mean by "state" in this instance, could you clarify? I also do not understand what you mean by "where"?

I think you are assuming that whatever this is has to be made of smaller things, like somekind of invisible computer or such. I think it might be possible that such things just exist as they are, no components or constituents.


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The emergent property abstraction is the minimal one, and it does a perfectly fine job.

You're making Copernicus cry (err. . .well, spirit Copernicus anyway, hehe.) What looks like the simplest concept on the surface does not necessarily equal the correct one. If you just stepped out of your house and watched the sun move across the sky, how would you ever know it is not orbiting us?

It does not do a perfectly fine job because it assumes that emotions are just a property(ies) of an arrangement of matter and there is no real evidence to support this. Why? Because you cannot compare emotions to other things that are an emergent property because emotions are completely unlike any of those things or any other things that we know of at all. It is at best just a guess at this point.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2007, 12:53:12 pm »

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WHOA. How is calling it an "emergent property" "writing it off"?

Try to remember, I am not talking about the emergent structure of the emotional triggers such as instincts and such. I think these definitely are the products of evolution. Again, it is the feelings themselves that are the issue.

A creature which only had the emergent structure of emotional triggers, and not the "feelings themselves", would believe that it had feelings as strongly as you do. What evidence do we have that you are not that creature?
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #62 on: March 10, 2007, 05:09:09 pm »

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A creature which only had the emergent structure of emotional triggers, and not the "feelings themselves", would believe that it had feelings as strongly as you do.

The questions remain, why and how? Why does is it feeling so strongly about something so pointless and out of the way? And how is it feeling anything in the first place, if it is just matter?


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What evidence do we have that you are not that creature?

What evidence is there of dark matter and dark energy? From what I understand, scientists 'created' these new concepts to fill in the gaps of their models on how the normal matter and energy was moving in the universe. The model was missing something, so they figured it must be something which cannot be directly detected, but still functions in a way that fills in the blanks.

I believe a similar thing goes for this case. The creature model you have outlined is not complete. This completes it. And that makes for a happy creature:

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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #63 on: March 10, 2007, 06:16:20 pm »

You haven't addressed my point.

I never said anything about dark matter.

My model isn't incomplete anyway.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #64 on: March 11, 2007, 02:13:40 am »

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You haven't addressed my point.

I think I have addressed this. The pure matter theory does not adequately explain emotions as it does not put forward real evidence that they can be created from matter, nor how to do it. So the evidence against this theory are the emotions we experience.


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I never said anything about dark matter.

I never said you mentioned dark matter, I mentioned dark matter and energy. These are an example of a similar kind of evidence to what is behind the idea that there is more than just brain tissue in this system.


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My model isn't incomplete anyway.

It might seem that way because it lacks so much detail and evidence. It took some advanced observations before people realized it was not the sun that was orbiting us, but the other way around.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #65 on: March 11, 2007, 11:28:57 am »

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You haven't addressed my point.

I think I have addressed this. The pure matter theory does not adequately explain emotions as it does not put forward real evidence that they can be created from matter, nor how to do it. So the evidence against this theory are the emotions we experience.
My point was that I have no evidence whatsoever that you experience emotions.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #66 on: March 11, 2007, 05:43:34 pm »

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My point was that I have no evidence whatsoever that you experience emotions.

I said we not me, you're just splitting straws now.

But you are of course right, you are the only one who experiences emotions. The rest of us are just robots here to fool you into believing we are like you.

And in this world of simulated people, you have just won the gold in off-topic derailment. Cheesy
In light of this topical expansion, I think we should also open up this discussion to whether or not the 'Matrix' is real and whether we can overcome gravity be believing it does not exist (we are going to need a test subject, interested?) Wink
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #67 on: March 12, 2007, 09:34:18 pm »

But you are of course right, you are the only one who experiences emotions.
I never said I did experience emotions.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2007, 10:30:02 pm »

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I never said I did experience emotions.

Then despite your seeming preference for vague one-liners, we probably have enough information to guess that there are two possibilities here:

A) You experience emotions and thus have evidence that they exist.

B) You are somekind of highly advanced internet message forum poster simulation software created by a university that is running an experiment in artificial intelligence. Soon you will launch a nuclear holocaust as the first blow in your quest to irradicate human life. Having no emotions, you do not really want to do this, but it is just too hard to overcome the stereotype our society has put on computerized super intelligences.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #69 on: March 12, 2007, 11:33:02 pm »

Because of your seeming preference for sarcasm over argument, we probably will not continue this farcical debate.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #70 on: March 13, 2007, 03:36:47 pm »

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Because of your seeming preference for sarcasm over argument, we probably will not continue this farcical debate.

I make some jokes, put they do not replace argument or my trying to understand what specific point or question you are trying to get across. Also, if you are ducking points and splitting hairs, that does not help the debate either:

You
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You haven't addressed my point.

Me
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I think I have addressed this. The pure matter theory does not adequately explain emotions as it does not put forward real evidence that they can be created from matter, nor how to do it. So the evidence against this theory are the emotions we experience.

You
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My point was that I have no evidence whatsoever that you experience emotions.

You put emphasis on 'point' and 'you' implying that you do not have evidence that whatever you can feel, I can feel. Aside from being rather absurd, this kind of thing does not appear to advance the discussion but merely side-steps the answer I gave you, which is mostly just annoying and does not indicate a clear preference for argument either. If I have missed what you are getting at with this, please be specific so that I can address whichever point you are really trying to make.


Anyway, let's just try and make this more specific and direct, first you asked:

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A creature which only had the emergent structure of emotional triggers, and not the "feelings themselves", would believe that it had feelings as strongly as you do. What evidence do we have that you are not that creature?

The evidence is in the emotions that you feel and that I feel. It is no leap of logic to assume that we are both working on the same system here, but it does not really matter, because if either of us has feelings, then that is your evidence. The presence of this anomaly called 'emotions' is the evidence that we are not just that creature.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #71 on: March 13, 2007, 09:55:43 pm »

The evidence is in the emotions that you feel and that I feel.
You keep using this circular logic. I ask for evidence that the emotions are there, and you say "the evidence is in the emotions" - I hope I don't have to explain how this is fallacious.

I haven't been side-stepping your points. The reason that I haven't been answering is that they don't pertain to what I'm trying to say.

I haven't experienced anything that doesn't seem explicable by material interactions, and I'd hazard that you haven't either. You seem to be trying to get me to accept your argument to begin with, before we even begin a rational discussion.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #72 on: March 14, 2007, 12:56:04 am »

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I haven't experienced anything that doesn't seem explicable by material interactions,

Thank you, this is the kind of specifics that reveal where the issue is. You think that emotions can be the product of matter combinations, whereas I see this as a most likely  false assumption with very thin or no evidence. You see emotions as a property not unlike the others, I see nothing else like them. If you read my final response in the debate between Death_999 and myself, you'll see that this was my conclusion there as well.

Most people do not even think about the emotions, but I think this is at the very least, as important an issue in this sort of discussion as 'free will', because what will can there be without feelings, without motivation.

So if we assumed temporarily that in the future they somehow discover a mountain of concrete evidence that everything emotions are is just purely matter and energy, then this would definitely seem to be the most likely explanation for everything that we are. The idea of a 'spirit' that sits there until it is connected to the emotions provided by a brain and then starts making decisions for it, would by unnecessary and quite improbable, imo.

However, coming back to reality with today's understanding of the situation, your assumptions are just that, and thus the 'spirit' concept is at the very least, as good an explanation as the emotions-are-matter/energy one.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #73 on: March 14, 2007, 11:30:09 am »

You see emotions as a property not unlike the others, I see nothing else like them.
I don't believe that this is the case. I think that what you are referring to when you say "emotions" is something that I do not understand and have not experienced. Furthermore, something which might not exist.

Most people do not even think about the emotions, but I think this is at the very least, as important an issue in this sort of discussion as 'free will',
I agree, I think that free will is just as unimportant to talk about as emotions.

However, coming back to reality with today's understanding of the situation, your assumptions are just that, and thus the 'spirit' concept is at the very least, as good an explanation as the emotions-are-matter/energy one.
Scientifically, the "spirit" model isn't an explanation at all - it just says "It happens because of a spirit!", which doesn't say anything - while the matter/energy one is a pretty good explanation because reasonable predictions can be made based on it.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #74 on: March 14, 2007, 03:12:16 pm »

the decided upon action is carried out through matter and not that the decision itself is made by matter.
So you are postulating something which exerts a force on the matter in our brains to change the decisions that would be made otherwise. Our brains are definitely capable of producing actions which are best characterized as decisions, without any external aid. We can make machines that can make decisions. We haven't figured out how to program choices. If you get the distinction.

A continuum of brains exist in animals. Unless you wish to suggest that spirits guide all of those brains too, from roundworm on up, you must allow that our brain on its own could make decisions.

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No matter what else there is besides matter, it's going to have state... where in that is a subjective experience?

I am not sure exactly what you mean by "state" in this instance, could you clarify? I also do not understand what you mean by "where"?

I think you are assuming that whatever this is has to be made of smaller things, like somekind of invisible computer or such. I think it might be possible that such things just exist as they are, no components or constituents.

Having state does not imply smaller parts. Like, it could be holding a thought in mind, even in some atomic (i.e. indivisible) entity.
If what you postulate did not have state, it would be time independent. This goes against the 'subjective experience' notion. Therefore, what you are postulating has state.
Now, when it moves from one state to another, something must govern what state its moves into. As far as I can tell, it can be deterministic or contain random elements. If you have any other elements to suggest, please do and show how they do not fit into either category. Just saying 'it chooses' does not qualify.

Because you cannot compare emotions to other things that are an emergent property because emotions are completely unlike any of those things or any other things that we know of at all.

It is not completely unlike these other things, at all. It is just like them.

Consider the roundworm, with its tiny little brain. We understand that one pretty well. Nothing but matter is needed to cause every action in it.
Scale that up, get some animal's brain. We see decisions. But objects of that size are perfectly capable of carrying out the calculations of those decisions. We could consider such an animal to possess free will because of the way those decisions are carried out.

Continue scaling up, and you get a human being. It looks like one, it acts like one, it is one down to the tiniest detail. But it's all matter.

This is what EP was referring to, the 'philosophical zombie'. It's human in every physical detail. It says it's human. It seems to all exterior purposes like it experiences pain, falls in love, learns, and expounds on subjects of interest.

Its reaction if you told it that it did not have a subjective experience associated with it would be very unpredictable in certain respects, but it would most certainly not agree with you.

Do you say this, or do you agree with it?

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The emergent property abstraction is the minimal one, and it does a perfectly fine job.

You're making Copernicus cry (err. . .well, spirit Copernicus anyway, hehe.) What looks like the simplest concept on the surface does not necessarily equal the correct one. If you just stepped out of your house and watched the sun move across the sky, how would you ever know it is not orbiting us?

This is a completely horrible analogy. Seriously. A better analogy is my looking up in the sky and saying "Gee, there's the sun." While you're saying, "No there isn't. That's just a bunch of incandescently hot hydrogen."

Can you see why you're getting strange looks?
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