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Posts posted by geordief

  1. 34 minutes ago, Bufofrog said:

    What's the benefit of understanding our free will?

    Just the obvious that we are responsible for our own actions.

    Would that be material  for a Jim Careyesque film  where instead of being omnipotent the main character  learns that he or she is not responsible for their own actions? 


    They would have to convince their  company that this was the case -and that it applied to them too(because he had seen the light and was 100%  aware of this)


    Are their  situations  where mundane  interrelationships would change as a result of 1,2 or more people being on board?


    Would people ,perhaps carry chips on their person to indicate to their  companions whether or not a likely action would be carried out faithfully by the individual involved (if external circumstances did not intervene to much? Rather like medium range weather forecasting...)

  2. 40 minutes ago, Sensei said:

    but parallel means that there is independent variable with the same x,y,z,t..

    How does it fit into your "Concentric Universe" theory.. ?


    Back to the drawing board :(

    (you are running rings around me)

    Unless we are talking about a Glass Onion class of the Concentric Universe.

  3. 9 minutes ago, studiot said:

    There I was, browsing for a new telephone.


    So here is the unexpected humerous example that the elementary AI algorithm offered me

    Why it thinks that folks frequently buy washing powder and plastic plants along with a telephone I can't imagine.

    But it is amusing.



    A phone in the house  used to be a status symbol- think Hyacinth Bouquet (I never got a phone until  I was in my 50s -still awkward with them )

    And you do have to keep them clean.You should see my remote control.

  4. 45 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Depends on what you mean by meander ;) 

    So long as it doesn't become a billabong?

    46 minutes ago, TheVat said:

    Have you ever seen a philosophy discussion that doesn't meander?  

    I thought the anthropology sidebar was sort of relevant to how we arrived at modern Western definitions of mind and how that impacts our intuitions about free will.  

    TV Judge:  I'll allow it.  You may proceed, counsel.

    I am fascinated by how the human (or from other species) mind  developed.

    When ,at age 11 I left that school I mentioned before  where the teacher let me recite Flannan Isle in return for getting out early the last thing he said to the class was "Never forget where you came from"

    Our progenitors go back all the way to the primordial swamp

    It has to be fascinating to try and understand  how those minds worked at the beginning  of their evolutionary  paths.


    I wouldn't mind betting that we carry quite a few  remnants with us still.

  5. 32 minutes ago, TheVat said:

    The anthropological stuff I've read suggests that the concept does vary somewhat (though I think Julian Jaynes's "bicameral mind" has been mostly rejected).  The only way to really get at what pre-literate societies thought would be either artistic remnants, burial rituals, or looking at modern H-G bands that have preserved their pre-agriculture way of life and might be comparable. Jaynes explored this somewhat, but unfortunately (IMO) tended to cut everything he encountered to fit his theory.  From what I read, some ancient cultures didn't identify their living essence specifically with a mind or intellect, but in a more general way, sometimes referring to their breathing as a soul,  or placing a soul in some other anatomical location, like the heart or the gut.  But there are also very ancient peoples (like Cro-Magnon) whose skeletal remains show evidence of trepanation, as if they were trying to fix the troubled brain by incising a hole in the skull.  (mean comment about former president deleted)  

    I am trying to imagine a situation in a society where communication techniques were very primitive(lots of gestures  and some vocalisations?)

    If you wanted someone else to pay attention to something would you point to your eyes and the object that had to be attended to?

    Would that finger be pointing at  the seeing mechanism in general  (and paying attention)?

    Would a "mind" be implied by such a gesture even if the word itself had not been designated as such?

    Would a word corresponding to our "mind"  have appeared in due course simply to describe what people were actually doing to survive?

  6. 25 minutes ago, iNow said:

    IMO, no. “Mind” is yet another arbitrary concept (or set of concepts) we try to force fit into the world in an attempt to explain our experiences and communicate with one another, but it’s a rough and often unuseful map/model of the what’s actually happening, AFAICT.  

    A model that appears as if it is alive** when it is just an (approximate) tool?

    Or is it just forever out of reach of analysis (the "mind"  ,not the mental activity) for the reason that we cannot look directly at ourselves and so the "mind" cannot interrogate  the "mind" without intermediary?

    So a subjective understanding of the mind is impossible leaving only the objective analysis of the brain's activity and what we hypothesize might account for our subjective experience of what we call the mind.

    I wonder again whether the concept of the mind applies to all cultures(but how might we show that the concept in one culture applied to the same phenomenon in another culture even if the name seemed the same or similar?)


    **Is the "mind" the seat of what it feels to be alive or are some people  quite unaware of having a "mind" and still feel quite alive?

  7. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    The same parts of your brain that write stories or make sense of the ones you’re reading. 


    Is it accurate to think of minds as being composed of distinct actors, which may not necessarily be in direct communication with each other?

    We naturally lump them all together as one  but it is more collegiate.

    An ad hoc arrangement with a common interest in survival?

    1 hour ago, iNow said:

    Maybe bicameral

    No I am not familiar with that term or theory(will take a look at the article though)

  8. 20 hours ago, AIkonoklazt said:

    The mind isn't limited to the brain or even to the body, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's universal.

    (Uh, I see that iNow has downvoted one of my replies. The link went with the entire paragraph which asked for a different way to look at causation as simply corresponding from perceived physical "symptoms"....... yeah whatever)

    Thanks.Good reads.

    That is how I see it regarding extensions.(along the lines of the first link)

    What if two are more people share the some mental prosthesis?

    Do they share the same mind?

    Suppose two people have their brain circuitry connected to the same thing(the controls of a car ,say)

    They both drive the car (and crash unless they learn to establish a modus vivendi)


    Are their minds connected or do we just have two minds trying to do the same job in two different ways?

    Is that  example really  any different from the close collaboration that exists between friends and colleagues where lifetime bonds can be formed? 

    9 hours ago, TheVat said:

    I think our language tends to cause a creeping in of dualism when we speak of minds and brains, as if those are separate things that interact with each other.  The implication is a false Cartesian split.  Rather than use umbrella terms like mind, it seems more useful to look at specific cognitive processes in a neutral monism stance, trying to see how that process, e.g. intending to purchase beer, plays out through neurological operations, physical movements (checking in the cellar and fridge, writing beer on a list, placing money or card in a pocket, etc.), spatial shift, vocalizations to other bodies, etc.  The parity principle (Chalmers et al) is a useful one here.  Thanks to @AIkonoklazt for bringing that.  This moves our understanding away from the mind as a thing that influences other things, and perhaps towards a truer understanding of mind as an array of dynamic processes that extend through the world.  One pitfall of having created a memory narrative we call The Self is that we tend to defend it by making it separate from the world.  This invites the fallacies of dualism, or at least aspect dualism.

    My approach has been to view the brain as a part of the body.

    A specialized ,signal processing and channeling one but still the body.

    As we seem to be saying, the "body"  can extend  outward to distances only limited by the speed of light and the concomitant  relativistic effects.

    I am still left with the conundrum  of understanding  what I still want to call "my mind"

    The concept seems to serve no purpose and feels like a useful fiction but I still need to understand the mechanism behind creating  this concept .

    I wonder whether there are cultures who never invented the concept of the mind (cultures which don't value the individual as an element of the group?)

    Or is the idea of a mind hard wired into us all  and just waits for the right description of the phenomenon to recognize it

    16 hours ago, Anirudh Dabas said:

    1. How would you define the mind's reality in a way that separates it from its plasticity?

    2. What aspects of the mind do you consider to be inherently plastic or non-plastic?

    3. How do you reconcile the mind's plasticity with its fundamental nature as a real and influential entity?

    I think it is only in fairly recent times has the idea of the brain being "plastic" come to the fore**

    In the sense ,I think that it deforms in a useful  way that improves or adapts its function.


    Previously it must have been appreciated that the brain was not set in stone but that it ,on the one hand increased its abilities through use whilst on the other deteriorated through disease  etc.


    I struggle to answer your point (1) but I feel there should surely be some characteristics of the mind that are separate from its plasticity.

    The difficuly may be because it is so hard (for me) to define  the mind as dissociated from the brain activity.


    So much that I question whether it exists at all  and is an illusion.

    But what ,I ask myself creates this illusion, if it is an illusion?


    ** I can't remember the term being used when I was  much younger


  9. 10 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Maybe, but consider: what is the “shape” of fresh cream mixing into coffee after being poured? 

    We can describe it with Brownian motion and related equations, but saying it has a ”shape” IMO ignores the more important parts and also ignores how it’s ever changing. 

    The mind is much more like that old saying that you can never walk through the same river twice than something which can be described using a metric like shape. 

    Aka: A post-dictive narrative 

    When I said "a shape" I was  imagining a moving shape but with as many dimensions as   might be needed to  describe brain activity.

    I don't think it could be visualized except mathematically and even then I am not sure how categorizing the different shapes (if it were  possible) could be used to describe different states of the mind.

    How many states of the mind could there be,I wonder?

    The Eskimos have dozens of words to describe "white".Could there be  a huge number of different states of the mind that we are unaware of?

    3 minutes ago, AIkonoklazt said:


    And something external could be affecting both?

    I don't see that. If we can separate brain activity from "the mind"  then I would  imagine the two might work together as a conjoined entity

    I can see the brain activity being open to the external world but the mind ,imo only communicates with that brain activity and nothing else(unless one posits a universal mind-as some  apparently do)

    That might be a kind of "back door"

  10. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    Technically, it regarded you saying computers and robots couldn’t ever have minds because they lacked referents. I reminded you that referents weren’t prerequisite to having a mind. 

    In some weird attempt to avoid updating your thinking, you then began arguing that the mind is unalterable and that thinking doesn’t change the way it functions. 

    It very much does, regardless of how often you claim category errors are being made and how baffled you feel at “having to explain” this remedially false assertion. 


    Yes. I understand that just bc people carry umbrellas when it rains doesn’t mean the umbrellas caused the rain.

    Did you have a particular point you were trying to make when sharing this correlation <> causation article?


    Definitely not. It’s how signals conduct and propagate across that shape which seem to matter far more. 

    The paths and correlations  could be described as having a "shape" though,couldn't they?

    Obviously not some kind of a 3 dimensional or even 4 dimensional volume but  (I think I understand that Hilbert space might describe  this) a multi dimensional  set of relationships that would have a dynamic form or shape.

    What we experience as the mind  appears to me to be featureless ,like a screen upon which the physical workings  of the brain are somehow projected.(sounds a bit like Socrates'  or Plato's cave)

    It feels like the mind is what orchestrates the activity in the brain but when you look for the mind ,there is nothing there.

    Like it is a fiction that the various parts of the brain  create to synthesise  everything.

    When I think of "the mind" part of me thinks it is everything and part of me thinks there is nothing there.(no bloody moving parts)


    Just checked ,we are in General Philosophy  so things don't have to make sense here.



  11. 1 hour ago, AIkonoklazt said:

    My main point is that the mind is what the mind is, irrespective of how anyone conceives of it. I'm not pointing to any particular conception of the mind, physical included. If someone thinks the mind is physical, then okay; I can go with that, for the sake of the conversation. Yes, I can agree that if we define it as something that is real and has an effect on the world, then the mind could be considered tangible. This excursion was an exercise in untangling the conflation of two concepts- The reality of the mind which was my focus, and its "non-plasticity," which I never even hinted at.

    I assume that you're asking for speculation and not theory. Here is my educated guesses in order:

    1. If we're just going by physical evidence, then the answer appears to be "no." This is from something I've written somewhere:

      One way this could be interpreted is that even within a single individual animal, the mind is unique at every instance of physical operative time.

    2. The common denominator of a term in all of its uses is in its definition https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mind This is why we must be absolute sticklers for definitions, and why we should not create new meanings when few would correctly use and most would just misinterpret (esp. "technical meanings" such as "learning" in "machine learning" or even "intelligence" in "artificial intelligence"; I can go very much in depth into this as in write an entire article but maybe elsewhere)

    3. I wouldn't say "mirror image." However, minds exist even if not in isolation. ("Can minds exist in isolation" is some other topic altogether)

    4. Minds have a subjective character that's partially epistemically locked from externality. Here's the old question of "Do you know exactly what it is like to be me?"

    (okay now I realize that the item #1 should include "it's subjective in character")

    Is the mind just the (shifting and responsive) "shape" of the brain?

    After all,"shape"  is another word that may be as hard to define as the mind.

    It is equally defined by its environment  and you cannot say that you can "touch" a shape.

  12. 2 hours ago, AIkonoklazt said:

    The entire "dispute" was regarding whether the mind is a tangible entity. As I've already pointed out, to have something tangible suddenly become something not tangible simply by virtue of plasticity of that thing is committing an obvious category mistake.

    iNow basically has forgotten where the ball went in the tennis match. Everything he said, quoted, and even linked to only supports my point regarding tangibility. Even in the latest reply- He mentioned physical damage, which affects this tangible entity. The plasticity is also how the mind deal with changes in the environment. He doesn't even realize what he's writing, because he uses "it" to refer to the mind. I mean, if it's not tangible then what in the world is this "it" he's speaking of? I just find his responses to be silly at this point.

    It's going to be damaged the way it's going to be damaged no matter how you conceive it or its damage. It's going to be changed no matter how you conceive the change or how the change happens. It's baffling how I'd have to explain this to anyone.

    Do you think the mind  can be said to follow any  procedures which do not vary from one mind to another  or one circumstance to another?


    Are there things that can be aid about the concept of "mind" that apply in all circumstances?


    Or are all minds just a mirror image of the circumstances they are  embedded in and react to?


    Are all "rules of the mind" purely ad hoc  or might we say there are distinguishing features of the phenomenon  that  only apply to minds and so define them?

  13. 7 minutes ago, Janus said:

    I came across some new info that solidifies the idea that I have at least some Sámi in my ancestry.  It was a YouTube video which broke down the DNA of a Sámi male.  It used results from the same test I took.

    It identified one of the genetic groups as matching one of mine.

    It returned a result of 7% Inuit, which adds weight to my suspicion of where my 2% result came from.

    The icing on the cake was in another video on the Sámi, which had a photo of a Sámi girl.  I saw a strong resemblance to my sister.  I called my wife over and asked her if the photo reminded her of anyone( without giving her any other context), and she said my sister.

    So while still not 100% conclusive, I'd say that the odds are pretty high.

    The last Sami I spoke to bought us  youngsters  two  meals in exchange for ordering a beer at the same time.

    They had strict drinking laws in Norway then (probably especially up North)  and you could only buy a drink with a meal.

    That must have been reindeer season I guess (this was on the coast)and they may have been taking a rest after a long treck across country.


    I think they suffered from the effects of  Chernobyl so I don't know if their lifestyle has continued apace since then  or if some of them have had to leave the reindeer industry/go on the dole. 

    Norwegian beer was top class  but very expensive .

  14. 6 hours ago, StringJunky said:

    @geordief Are you aware there's a vaccine now for it and existing sufferers can take it to deal with future eruptions? Over 70 it's free in the UK.

    Yes ,I know it is available

    I have read that it is effective but less so than the Covid vaccine.

    I have a penchant for putting things on the long finger  and especially so when it comes to visiting the doctor....

    The reason ,incidentally that my second shingles infection also went untreated was that it also , naturally showed up on a Sunday -as well as my being convinced that you could not get shingles twice. (so that I ignored the signs until it was quite late and so had to go to hospital for a week)

  15. My partner got an attack of shingles ,naturally on a Sunday at the beginning of this year.  We were unable  to even see a doctor until the following day.

    I knew how important it is to take the antiviral as soon as possible and I happened to have some left over medication from my own bout of shingles around 8 years previous to that.


    I had kept them for such an eventuality(I have already had shingles twice)

    I thought I should ring around the hospitals and the all night medical numbers for advice as to whether we should use these date expired medicines until such time as we could get  proper medicine from a doctor.

    I was repeatedly  told not to do this (some circumlocutions) and as a result we started the treatment some 36 hours later than  we otherwise might have.

    Should I have disregarded this advice and started the treatment anyway with the old medication? (acyclovir ,from memory).

    As it turned out my partner has had to be prescribed the shingles antiviral 3 times since and ,some 10 months on from the initial infection  is just now ,hopefully putting it behind her.

    I understand that the medication I had had doubtless lost efficacy but felt they might have been of some use in the circumstances .

    But I didn't want  to go against the  medical advice I was given over the phone.

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