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  • Meson

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Meson (3/13)



  1. Functionalism rather evades the issue. F. e., it gives no account on qualia and other important properties of consciousness. I mean that dismissing such sources of knowledge as intuition, introspection and empathy on the grounds of thier being "unscientific" is not reasonable, as much of the content of common science may be labeled "unscientific" as well. P-zombie is different by not perceiving qualia, not perceiving oneself, being in fact a soulless machine. It is totally different from the point of view of itself. The question is: is it different from the viewpoint of an external observer? As we presumably obtain all the information about external world through our "physical" senses, we cannot discern a real p-zombie (would it really exist). We would be able to do this if we posess some non-physical means of communacation between souls, and it is a debatable issue by itself.
  2. The point is: it CANNOT by proven by whatever rational means, at least at the present state of science. However, I'm almost sure people with whom I closely interact aren't p-zombies. This certainty comes not from reason but from a sort of empathy. You should recognize that reason in the form of logical deduction is't alone capable of providing all information on reality, and it was proven many times by many people, back from Hume to Goedel. Some other sources of information are necessarry, and empathy is one of these, at least while a real p-zombie is built by scientists capable of passing the most complicated Turing test.
  3. But most people get the similar results through it, e.g. the feeling of free will, the feeling of personal identity throughout their lives. etc. "Being subject to the actions of physical phenomena" doesn't equate to "being a physical phenomenon" How would you tell the entity you'd produce IS conscious? Even if it perfectly mimics human behavior, how to be sure it really posess consciousness at all? The problem is: how to describe conscious, how to distinguish its peculiar properties, which are objectively observable?
  4. What kind of prove you suppose here? To prove anything about consciousness, one should observe it. And there are no objective means to do it. One could observe behavior, reactions, brain waves, etc., but not conscious per se. As a matter of fact, introspection is the only possible method to directly observe consciousness and its properties. And one of the properties we all surely introspect is our sense of uniqueness and oneness throughout our lives. The other one is a strong perception of the certain unique "control center" receiving all perceptions and guiding all voluntary acts. Another one is a strong sense of the presence of free will. The problem is that modern science tends to discard knowledge provided by introspection on the ground of its "subjectiveness". The point is, however, that there aren't any other source of information about consciousness. So we either somehow use this "subjective" knonwledge or abandon any effort to study consciousness at all
  5. As far as I know, the neuroscience is still too far from explaining the phenomenon of consciousness as a whole, just some of its aspects. Consciousness must not be mixed up with cognitive faculties that do not require it to be present at all. It's neither understood WHAT is consciousness nor how its arises. So all being sayed on this issue are rather tentative hypotheses. In my opinion, consciousness could not principally be understood by the matherialistic approach of modern science. Only one example: the phenomenon of our unique identity. While we are constantly changing throughout our lifes (and so are our brains) we remaining the ONE and te SAME person. The only feasible explanation is the presence of soul that renders us our uniqueness.
  6. That's wrong, salt water does freeze, though requiring a bit lower temperature to do so, depending on the level of salinity. If it couldn't, there would be no sea ice.
  7. Why wouldn't it? Ice caps form when snow falling in winter can't be melt over during the warm season. If it gets colder, ise would surely re-freeze, the water would again become rather saline, and all conveyor would start working again.
  8. Well, should it get colder in Arctica, the ise will build up again. Then the Gulfstream will come back, and everything will return to normal.
  9. Sorry, it was my mistake. I've meant n+1 possible values, in case there are 100 balls in an urn it results in 101 (0,1,2,...,100). Replacements doesn't mean much in my example. You can imagine an urn with a very large amount of balls, so the replacement of several balls won't sufficiently influence the probability. You are right, at the beginning there is no information. But it comes up as you are beginning to draw balls. Imagine, if you take a shuffled pack of cards, draw a dozen cards and all them are spades, than your subjective probability to draw spades should be more than just 1/4, as you have a strong reason to suggest there are more spades in a pack than just 1/4. My question was: how to determine and calculate such probabilities.
  10. Let's take a classical example of an urn containing red and green balls. Balls are drawn from it without returning them back. If you know that there are r red balls in an urn from the total amount of n, then the probability that a random ball drawn from it is r/n. Now let's assume you know nothing about the ratio of red and green balls in an urn. In such a case all 101 possible values of r are equiprobable, and the subjective probability of drawing a red ball is 0.5. But, assuming you have drawn the first ball and it proved to be red, what is the chance that the next one will be red as well? I suppose it would be more then 0.5 since drawing a red ball somewhat increases chances that there are more red balls in the urn. For example, if you've drawn 10 balls and all of them turned out red, then you get almost sure there are more red balls in the urn, and the chance to draw next red ball gets substantially higher than 0.5. What I'd like to ask is how to quantify such things, e. g. is there a way to calculate how the subjective probability changes when you get an additional evidence. I suppose the Bayes theorem is applicable here, I know how to apply it to calculate probabilities of dicrete events, but how to calculate the changes in subjective probability distributions (like the distribution of probable number of red balls in my example)? Thank you in advance.
  11. It's not a side-step. It is an answer to the question you put to me and indeed my key argument: it's impossible to evaluate anything from the point of view of the biosphere (or an ecosystem), because there isn't such thing as an integrate point of view of biosphere or some ecosystem. I never argued against the need or utility to acquire such an information. The question is -- how we to use it: to improve human well-being or to preserve some abstract ecological parameters, espousing the absurd and unscientific concept of "nature conservation". Please elaborate on this: what current ecological models speak against my views? No, you haven't. I'll summarise my point once again for your concenience. Humans shouldn't bother themselves with securing a constancy of ecological parameters (like biodiversity) with hazy meaning and significance. Instead, they should at the first place improve living standards of their fellow humans, and these requires a careful consideration of all possible consequences (including, of course, ecological ones) for all involved humans, including hygienic, aestetical, educational, etc., and also consequences for future generations, other nations and so on. If diminishing local biodiversity will be shown to harm human well-being in the short or long run, in should be avoided, if not, we shouldn't bother about it. Now please would you show where you find inconsistency here. I never argued against the need or utility to acquire such an information. The question is -- how we to use it: to improve human well-being or to preserve some abstract ecological parameters, espousing the absurd and unscientific concept of "nature conservation". The modern ecology, regretably, is less of a science and more of an irrational faith. Please, once more, explain what "well-founded ecological principles" I'm arguing against. No species would sacrifice it's own direct benefit for some abstract and ideological considerations. E. g., a lion will not refuse to hunt and stay hungry to preserve biodiversity.
  12. I object to efforts to evaluate anything from the point of view of the biosphere as a whole, as if it were a conscious subject. Non-selfishness means caring for somebody else. To be non-selfish, for whom you gonna care? Why don't care for rats, spreading rubbish all over the streets, or for oil-eating bacteria, spilling oil over the seas? Your reasons for not doing so would be very antropocentric: rats are unaesthetic and unhygienic, and bacteria are non-visible for human eye, so even if some got extinct, you probably won't care much. Let me ask you: do you really believe that the biosphere is a conscious super-organism, and all species including humans are merely its tiny cells? Only in this case your arguments make sense. You are arguing against antropocentrism, so you are bound to provide an alternative approach. Otherwise your argument is void. Before whom? Rats and cockroaches should be grateful for us. You constantly charge me with incosistency, which is getting a bit annoying. Please show precisely any two lines of my argument that is inconsistent with one another. When you quit smoking or other harmful habit caring for your future health, don't you act in behalf of yourself? Right the same thing is the management of natural processes to avoid future negative consequences of our activities for ouselves. It's not correct to put an = sign between selfishness and short-sightness. During biological evolution animals have been developing more and more complex nervous system and with it the abilities to reflect on their environments and themselves. Humans are by far the smartest creature on that planet. I believe the appearance of humans was not an accidental event, but was prepared throughout all evolution process. Views like yours are natural for people believing in God as a being highly overpassing humans in intelligence and power, so humans are obliged to submit to his will. But for non-religious people to adhere to such views seems to be a sort of selfhumiliation. So I would coin another one: ecomasochism.
  13. Here is what I dare to blankly object to -- the very notion that something could really benefit (or harm) biosphere, or ecosystem. These consist of different species, and what is good for one species is often bad for another. Thus, human civilisation, while causing extinction of thousands of species, really benefited many others like wheat, rice, rats, dogs, and cockroaches. It's really hard (if possible at all) to assess something from non-antropocentric point of view, because than we must to clearly define a subject from which point to assess (be it some other species, ecosystem property, God's will etc.) When I early pointed out that the roots of your ecological views are religious ones, I just meant that it is irrational to put intrinsic value on nature per se. I thing the antropocentric approach is the best and, indeed, the only viable one when making decisions concerning ecology. And, surely, it doesn't confined to securing a short-term economical benefit, but involves a careful consideration of all possible consequences for all involved humans, including hygienic, aestetical, educational, etc., and also consequences for future generations, other nations and so on. The conceivable supplement to the antropocentring approach could be the protection of animal rights and, possibly, the rights of species to exist. And, if you anyway want to consider the "benefit of biosphere", recall that humans are at the top of evolution scale. The biosphere (and, probably, the Universe) has been developing for billions of years just for us to be here. And the better it's for humans, the better is for the biosphere.
  14. It is at odds only if you assert that every decrease in biodiversity or trophic net complexity even on a local scale would necessarily harm human well-being. This is not always true. Just note that throughout the human history the biodiversity has decreased in most areas, while the human wellfare has increased. Surely, if and when the loss in local biodiversity harms humans it should be avoided, but it is not always the case at all. Well, you introduced that expression (in your post from 06/12), you probably better know its meaning. Why should I look for some "middle groung" between concrete and sometimes pretty urgent human problems and needs, and abstract and often vaguely defined ecological parameters with unknown significance and meaning? If drying out a lake of a swamp will benefit local human population, than should it be objectable only because it will decrease local biodiversity?
  15. This is true for animals with a high infant mortality, and not true for humans. Presently, even for poor and uneducated, the child mortality is pretty low, so even when "investments" in children are low, they are nevertheless likely to survive and procreate. In wild animals, there is a direct relation between prosperity and procreation, and for modern humans such relation seems to be an opposite one.
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