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Author Topic: What is the cause of self-awareness?  (Read 18325 times)
Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2007, 05:13:33 pm »

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What I was getting at was that emotions are necessary for action at all.

No, they are not. Just look at computers or simple organisms (one-celled at least, but possibly things above sponges like cnidarians or echinoderms, with their simple nerve structures.)


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Emotions are the root hooks of our intelligence, the things that make us do what we need to do to do well in evolution.

But why do we need emotions to make us do what we need to do? Why not just do them by a complicated version of the reflex system that one-celled microbes use or based on the direct command of our 'computer' like reasoning part of our brain directly? Just calculate the best action based on the currently available data of the situation and then do it without hesitation.


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There is no gap, which is what I've been saying. The matter is the implementation.

You do not know there is no gap, you are assuming that based on the very limited data you have on the human brain and all the forces that could be a part of the universe.

Remember that things like zero point energy, dark energy, and dark matter are all fairly recent discoveries and we know only so much about, from what I understand. What about the gap between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics? There is so much going on in our universe that we do not yet see clearly and probably others that we are completely oblivious to.


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If you change the matter, you change the state of what it implies.

Like I said, matter would be a part of the trigger system. If it was not, then things like genetics and brain damage would not have an effect on people's minds (which they obviously do.)


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Where do those emotions 'live' if not in our matter?

Unknown at this point. They could be a part of something, made from a lot of something, or dwelling within something we barely even know about or something we have no clue even exists yet. For all I know, they might not 'live' anywhere. They might not be composed of anykind of 'building block'.


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Beating me is fine. Blaming me for interpreting what was said as meaning what was actually said... that's not so happy-making. I promise not to hurt you, even if you do either.

I do not think I was, that was valaggar you were responding to and then I just took the opportunity to insert myself into the conversation.

Either way I am not worried. I had to sell some devices, but my ship is now fully tripped out with class 5 everything. Cool
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Death 999
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #46 on: March 02, 2007, 12:04:09 am »

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What I was getting at was that emotions are necessary for action at all.

No, they are not. Just look at computers or simple organisms (one-celled at least, but possibly things above sponges like cnidarians or echinoderms, with their simple nerve structures.)

This was in the context of a self-aware being in control of itself, not those contexts.


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Emotions are the root hooks of our intelligence, the things that make us do what we need to do to do well in evolution.

But why do we need emotions to make us do what we need to do? Why not just do them by a complicated version of the reflex system that one-celled microbes use or based on the direct command of our 'computer' like reasoning part of our brain directly? Just calculate the best action based on the currently available data of the situation and then do it without hesitation.

Emotions provided a good heuristic system for doing just that! You have several priorities - reproduce, care for young, eat, sleep, etc. The physical needs are top priority, above emotions. The longer-term things I put first are implemented through softer means.

Many animals do act on these urges without hesitation. They are not the smartest animals,. Emotions come in when the brain gets complicated enough that its content cannot be programmed directly through genetics.
Emotions shape the formation of the thought patterns so that they will end up computing the right things.


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There is no gap, which is what I've been saying. The matter is the implementation.

You do not know there is no gap, you are assuming that based on the very limited data you have on the human brain and all the forces that could be a part of the universe.

No, I'm not assuming. Here's my reasoning:
Suppose that there is something not presently recognized as part of our brains, which does part of our thinking. This, in order to have an effect on the brain, must apply a force on it. If it can push on you, I'd call it matter. Repeat as needed. All implementations eventually come down to matter; there is no other way.

The question of matter/not matter is actually a bit of a side-track.
Option 1: determinism. Your actions are fated, but at least they follow from who you are.
Option 2: random. Your actions aren't fated, but they don't follow from who you are.
Option 3: 'you choose'. By what criteria?
If the criteria are adequate to determine your choice, then 3 is really 1 in disguise.
If the criteria are not adequate to determine your choice, then 3 is really 2 in disguise.

Remember that things like zero point energy, dark energy, and dark matter are all fairly recent discoveries and we know only so much about, from what I understand.

They are all still matter, as far as I'm concerned. No matter how fancy or exotic they are, they're still just more matter. Stuff. They're governed by a bunch of field equations. It's not going to yield a soul, if normal matter doesn't do the job.

What about the gap between Relativity and Quantum Mechanics?

General relativity only deviates from special for things that are accelerating extremely quickly or happen to weigh more than the Earth. Nothing in our brains comes close to these criteria.
This, I admit, is a side point. The main thrust is above.

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Where do those emotions 'live' if not in our matter?

Unknown at this point. ...

So, to explain a phenomenon which needs no additional explanation, you postulate the existence of something you cannot characterize.


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Beating me is fine. Blaming me for interpreting what was said as meaning what was actually said... that's not so happy-making. I promise not to hurt you, even if you do either.

I do not think I was, that was valaggar you were responding to and then I just took the opportunity to insert myself into the conversation.

I was speaking to the general 'you'.

Either way I am not worried. I had to sell some devices, but my ship is now fully tripped out with class 5 everything. Cool

You are no longer filth. You are a threat.
Threats deserve greater attention than filth.
Cheesy
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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #47 on: March 02, 2007, 06:24:22 am »

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Emotions come in when the brain gets complicated enough that its content cannot be programmed directly through genetics. Emotions shape the formation of the thought patterns so that they will end up computing the right things.

But do you really need something as complicated as emotions for this purpose, if they are just a hardwired computer program? It seems like there could be a more straight forward way of getting a similar effect. It does not make sense that we would need to "feel" them, especially given:

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Option 1: determinism. Your actions are fated, but at least they follow from who you are.
Option 2: random. Your actions aren't fated, but they don't follow from who you are.
Option 3: 'you choose'. By what criteria?
If the criteria are adequate to determine your choice, then 3 is really 1 in disguise.
If the criteria are not adequate to determine your choice, then 3 is really 2 in disguise.

This all seems like a computer program (whether it creates 100% consistent results given a scenario like Option 1 or not) one which should not benefit from us sitting here "feeling" or hesitating or jumping off of tall platforms because we are too unhappy or pondering whether or not we have a 'soul'. So many of these seem like they are useless or even detrimental from an evolutionary standpoint.


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They are all still matter, as far as I'm concerned.

News to me, I thought matter and energy were still categorized as two separate things (with similarities, of course.)


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They're governed by a bunch of field equations. It's not going to yield a soul, if normal matter doesn't do the job.

Again, I never said they were spirits or something crazy like that. Just that they are new discoveries that expand our understanding of what can possibly exist in this universe and how it interacts or does not interact with various forces. And that there is still a lot we do not understand about the universe.


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So, to explain a phenomenon which needs no additional explanation, you postulate the existence of something you cannot characterize.

Postulate? I do not remember typing that. Perhaps I have taken some shortcuts in my communication and sounded like I am assuming something.

Also, I disagree that it is for sure that there is no additional explanation needed. It seems a little crazy to me, to think that emotions can be boiled down to mathematical formulae. The purely bio-computer explanation also seems to be taking a less direct and efficient route than what is needed, imo.

Finally, I am not a religious individual. If I do not know every detail about something yet then I will just admit that. I am not going to make up a story or pick at random one possibility of many.

At one point, human knowledge was at a level that if you and I were living in that time, you would be supporting the position that the sun rotates around the earth, because its movement across the sky would need no further explanation. But once the mathematics and tools had been discovered to make a more precise examination of the situation, then a more complex (from an earth-bound perspective) explanation would be needed to fit the findings. Had I have guessed before hand that the earth rotates around the sun, I would have been jumping to what you might call a more complicated than necessary explanation, but it would still be the truth.


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I was speaking to the general 'you'.

I am a captain, actually. Unless you meant my evil clone. . .he is a general, now that I think about it. His hearing is not that good, so I don't think he would be able to hear you all the way over from whatever part of the world you are in, anyway.


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You are no longer filth. You are a threat.
Threats deserve greater attention than filth.

Threats please G'Naen Sh'Gar, by helping to spreading her/its love to the weaker lifeforms.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #48 on: March 02, 2007, 08:42:02 pm »

Okay, I'd really like to understand what you're really getting at. You seem to say it's not just matter, with the "I'm not a computer!" line, but then you turn around and say "I never said they were spirits or something crazy like that."

So what is it? Or rather, since you don't know, what might it be?

My argument here has been that free will is compatible with determinism and can be expressed as sufficiently complicated computations.

I am not sure where your protestations that emotions are inefficient are pointing. Simply that emotions could not have evolved in a computing system solely dedicated to self-propagation like the brain? That fallaciously assumes that everything produced by evolution is optimized.

Evolution needs things to be good enough. Humans, with our emotions, think well enough.
Many single-celled creatures digest sugar anaerobically for 2 ATP. It's good enough for them. We get out around 20 times as much energy. Yet there they are.
And here we are, with our emotions.
They may have a purpose you do not know of. They may be the only way evolution found to accomplish its goals, and they would be discarded if some way to avoid them evolved... that didn't cripple the individual.

"It seems a little crazy to me, to think that emotions can be boiled down to mathematical formulae."
Not to a small number of formulae. I'm merely thinking that a model of the whole brain, down to the chemical level, should be adequate, and a smaller representation may be adequate.
Note that that number of formulae, by construction, is more than a human can handle.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #49 on: March 03, 2007, 01:35:39 am »

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but then you turn around and say "I never said they were spirits or something crazy like that."

No, that was only for your assumption that I was saying 'spirits' could be composed of dark matter or something exotic like that. That weird composition is what seemed crazy to me and was not what I meant. That was all I was saying with that line.


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So what is it? Or rather, since you don't know, what might it be?

Well the only other answer that people can come with is a "spirit" or "soul". However, this is actually not a single answer, because it is uncertain what would be the properties or composition (if any) of such a thing. So this could be a number of things.

What do I think it might be? Perhaps just the part of us that feels and decides. No components, no location, influenced and influencing only when it decides to (what is measurable has no static or competely predictable properties).

So that would just be one possibility, a guess in other words, but I told you I do not know for sure (and neither does modern science by any long shot, which is my base point.)


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My argument here has been that free will is compatible with determinism and can be expressed as sufficiently complicated computations.

And my argument here has been that the feeling of emotions cannot be expressed as computations, no matter how complicated.


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That fallaciously assumes that everything produced by evolution is optimized. Evolution needs things to be good enough.

Until something better comes along, which would be more direct in this case, and if we are only computers, you would think that would have happened already with the amount of time provided.


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"It seems a little crazy to me, to think that emotions can be boiled down to mathematical formulae." Not to a small number of formulae. I'm merely thinking that a model of the whole brain, down to the chemical level, should be adequate, and a smaller representation may be adequate. Note that that number of formulae, by construction, is more than a human can handle.

It does not matter to me that it is supposed to be extremely complicated. The brain is an extremely complicated computer, I have no objection to this. Thus, I would not assume that if emotions were bio-chemical code, that they would be simple for some reason.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2007, 03:09:38 pm »

This thread is pretty interesting. One thing I'd like to comment on is this statement:

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Yeah. I know. What I was getting at was that emotions are necessary for action at all. Emotions are the root hooks of our intelligence, the things that make us do what we need to do to do well in evolution.

Our actions and that of animals can be motivated. Such as the need for food (fuel), sex (a need to procreate), fear (to escape predation). Perhaps our free will is only illusionary and can be broken down to a survival function or a more complex mix of survival functions, even if those functions aren't immediately clear?

On a related note, what remains puzzling to me, is how can non-living matter organize itself and evolve  in such ways as to instill these survival instincts in the first place?



« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 06:04:39 pm by RTyp06 » Logged
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #51 on: March 05, 2007, 05:10:41 pm »

Free will is an illusion in the sense that chess is an illusion: there are no rules, there is no game. Just these things that happen to move around in patterns.



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And my argument here has been that the feeling of emotions cannot be expressed as computations, no matter how complicated.

A position you have not defended except by being astonished by the contrary.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #52 on: March 08, 2007, 03:28:00 am »

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A position you have not defended except by being astonished by the contrary.

How can I help it if I am astonished by the stupidity of the opposing argument. . .in fact, it is now my suspicion that this was your plan all along, to stun me with astonishment! You sir are quite good, but not good enough for my nose, I am afraid. It was but a matter of time before I sniffed out your little ploy.

Seriously though, I did not know I was supposed to defend something which was not presently under attack.

Also, you seem to be saying that you cannot say something is wrong unless you have a better theory or idea. I do not see the problem with simply saying "we don't know yet" or "I am unsure".

Finally, there is no evidence that you can create raw feelings through an arrangement of matter. Thus, I do not think this guess has anymore support than does the whole 'spirit' thing. And while the 'spirit' concept does not seem to have any scientific evidence (not that science is anywhere near its zenith of knowledge yet,) you have your personal experience with feelings that science also cannot explain or replicate.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #53 on: March 08, 2007, 10:00:32 pm »

Quote from: Deus_Siddis
How can I help it if I am astonished by the stupidity of the opposing argument.
Please show which argument you are speaking of, then show that it is stupid.

Quote from: Deus_Siddis
I did not know I was supposed to defend something which was not presently under attack.
So, I am both making a stupid counterargument and not making a counterargument at all.

Huh

Quote from: Deus_Siddis
Also, you seem to be saying that you cannot say something is wrong unless you have a better theory or idea. I do not see the problem with simply saying "we don't know yet" or "I am unsure".

I do not know what I have said that could be read that way. I have said that you cannot say something is wrong without saying why it is wrong.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2007, 03:44:05 am »

Free will is an illusion in the sense that chess is an illusion: there are no rules, there is no game. Just these things that happen to move around in patterns.

After further thought, I think we do have true free will and it is probably what sets us apart from the animals. After all, we could put a gun to our own head and pull the trigger where we are not aware of any animal intentionally harming itself. But what stops most of us from doing this to ourselves or others?  Probably our emotions.


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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2007, 03:57:10 am »

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Please show which argument you are speaking of, then show that it is stupid.

I was mostly joking, as you were too hopefully when you came to the conclusion that I have only been expressing astonishment here. Wink

But what I sort of meant was the idea that feelings can be created from scratch from the structuring of a brain seems to be somewhat nonsensical and greatly lacking of evidence to be considered the lead theory on this subject. This is not "astonishing," just more like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole (not exactly the sort of thing that is worth bringing in the orchestra for, but if you did, might I recommend 'Ride of the Valkyries' so as to provide an adequately 'epic' feel.)

It goes back to the simpler explanation of the sun orbiting the earth. This too looks like the most obvious explanation, until you look closer at the specific questions like: "Umm, how do you actually code emotions and feelings?" or "Where is the evidence that you even can?"


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So, I am both making a stupid counterargument and not making a counterargument at all.

I think. . .I was the one making the counter-argument in this case. If you made a counter-counter-argument then that was not what I was talking about.


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I do not know what I have said that could be read that way. I have said that you cannot say something is wrong without saying why it is wrong.

Sorry, it was late and I think I got confused with another thread. Plus my train of thought derailed off of a bridge when the forum went down for a day or two (it is a somewhat complicated topic to keep in RAM for extended periods  Huh .)
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2007, 04:02:57 am »

RTyp06
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I think we do have true free will and it is probably what sets us apart from the animals.

Whoever said that there is anything in particular that separates us from the other animals? Advanced communication and hands with the advanced software to use them as we do only make us mildly special because we have both of these systems in one package whereas some other species only have one of the two.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2007, 03:47:37 pm »

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Please show which argument you are speaking of, then show that it is stupid.

I was mostly joking, as you were too hopefully when you came to the conclusion that I have only been expressing astonishment here. Wink

I did not see anything you said that really seemed to deviate from "I don't see how it can be done, therefore it cannot." which is the classic argument from astonishment, a.k.a. argument from ignorance.


But what I sort of meant was the idea that feelings can be created from scratch from the structuring of a brain seems to be somewhat nonsensical and greatly lacking of evidence to be considered the lead theory on this subject.

Feelings have some effect, correct? We normally diagnose feelings of people by their physical effects. Our feelings end up having physical effects.

So far, agreed?

Okay. Then, there is a physical process which yields those effects.

With me?

Then we would call that physical process the cause of the effects of the feelings, right?


And that means the feelings are that physical process. That is, our subjective experience, emotions included, is an emergent property of the matter of our brains.


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I do not know what I have said that could be read that way. I have said that you cannot say something is wrong without saying why it is wrong.

Sorry, it was late and I think I got confused with another thread. Plus my train of thought derailed off of a bridge when the forum went down for a day or two (it is a somewhat complicated topic to keep in RAM for extended periods  Huh .)

Fair enough.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2007, 04:31:19 pm »

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I did not see anything you said that really seemed to deviate from "I don't see how it can be done, therefore it cannot." which is the classic argument from astonishment, a.k.a. argument from ignorance.

It is not so much that I cannot see it, as there is no real evidence that this can be done and that there does not seem to be any translation between the 'languages' of mathematics and emotions.


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Feelings have some effect, correct? We normally diagnose feelings of people by their physical effects. Our feelings end up having physical effects. So far, agreed? Okay. Then, there is a physical process which yields those effects. With me? Then we would call that physical process the cause of the effects of the feelings, right?

Feelings have an effect on you, but I think you have a lot of control over them, and you ultimately decide the physical effects.

Going in the opposite direction, from physical to feeling, would go back to that system of somehow triggering emotions from a chain reaction of matter.

Note that I am not just trying to talk over what you are saying here but just answer your 'So far, agreed?' sort of questions, with another possibility.


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And that means the feelings are that physical process.

That means your feelings seem to be in one way or another connected to the physical processes, it does not necessarily mean anything beyond that, I don't think.


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That is, our subjective experience, emotions included, is an emergent property of the matter of our brains.

I think this is where the issue is. You are writing this off as an "emergent property", a pattern made up of arrangement of lots of small simple parts. This works for a lot of things like organs or computers, but all of these are purely physical things. Relating them to emotions is not a very accurate comparison at all. Those are not things that can be felt in an emotional sense.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 04:35:20 pm by Deus_Siddis » Logged
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2007, 05:10:34 pm »

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Feelings have some effect, correct? ...

Feelings have an effect on you, but I think you have a lot of control over them, and you ultimately decide the physical effects.

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

Going in the opposite direction, from physical to feeling, would go back to that system of somehow triggering emotions from a chain reaction of matter.

Note that I am not just trying to talk over what you are saying here but just answer your 'So far, agreed?' sort of questions, with another possibility.

Your possibility doesn't touch on the same aspect of the system that my possibility does. You say, "We choose" and I say "It's physically mediated", while holding that that does not contradict choice, as I have described.

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And that means the feelings are that physical process.

That means your feelings seem to be in one way or another connected to the physical processes, it does not necessarily mean anything beyond that, I don't think.

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

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That is, our subjective experience, emotions included, is an emergent property of the matter of our brains.

I think this is where the issue is. You are writing this off as an "emergent property"

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

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

What else could it be? No matter what else there is besides matter, it's going to have state... where in that is a subjective experience? It is necessarily an abstraction. The emergent property abstraction is the minimal one, and it does a perfectly fine job.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 05:13:18 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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