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geordief

The relationship between the mind and the observed world.

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9 minutes ago, geordief said:

Also wonder how people who  variously feel that the internal and external worlds  are separate or interwoven  might conduct themselves differently in their everyday activities.

I suspect they might score higher in things like compassion and empathy?

13 minutes ago, Eise said:

Formally you are right. However the practical difference between solipsism and realism evaporates by the observation that also a solipsist is confronted with the fact that his influence on his virtual world is just as limited as that of the realist. Just because the sun exists in 'his imagination' only, he cannot 'think it away'. Same for the experience of his body, and the need for food. He has to see that his body is also just a projection of his mind, which must regularly be fed by projections of food. And as he shares this experience with all these other 'virtual' people doing exactly the same, he could just as well be a realist.

I think that is a good argument. On the other hand, a schizophrenic cannot stop hearing the voices even if they are self-aware to know that they are purely a product of their mind. So, if solipsism were real, it doesn't necessarily follow that you would have arbitrary control over your world.

15 minutes ago, Eise said:

But except on this methodological playground, solipsism is an empty idea.

Agreed. It is useful as introduction to the processes of philosophy and not much beyond that.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Eise said:

Formally you are right. However the practical difference between solipsism and realism evaporates by the observation that also a solipsist is confronted with the fact that his influence on his virtual world is just as limited as that of the realist. Just because the sun exists in 'his imagination' only, he cannot 'think it away'. Same for the experience of his body, and the need for food. He has to see that his body is also just a projection of his mind, which must regularly be fed by projections of food. And as he shares this experience with all these other 'virtual' people doing exactly the same, he could just as well be a realist.

The only step in the direction of solipsism I see, is the idea that we cannot observe the world as it is in itself, but this is more or less common sense for modern scientists. We create the models, sure, but they have to be tested against factual observations of 'reality'. For a solipsist however this would already be funny: why can't he have a full grasp of reality, when reality is just a product of is mind? 

So I think that only under a 'methodological hammer' solipsism makes sense, or better, as you say, is not unfalsifiable. But except on this methodological playground, solipsism is an empty idea.

 

Nicely explained.Since it does relegate solipsism  to irrelevance ,does that also do away  with any need for a "realist" standpoint if it is the only game in town? 

 

And why , I wonder does  the solpsistic view have any traction at all (as it once did with me  in the dim distant past for  a  very short period)? 

Edited by geordief

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2 hours ago, geordief said:

And why , I wonder does  the solpsistic view have any traction at all (as it once did with me  in the dim distant past for  a  very short period)? 

We have to start somewhere.

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2 hours ago, geordief said:

Those delusional people will assume that the evidence for their delusions is false (everyone else can be in on the plot to fool them).

 

I think they may agree they have imagined episodes but only after their medical  condition has cleared up.

This isn't true. To various degrees I think we all have moments were we misinterpret the external world and later realize it. Schizophrenia is a more extreme example but I think most people have episodes where they think the see something or someone only to later realize it isn't there. The mind must interpret the data it receives from the eyes, ears, skins, nose, etc and use it to create a full working understanding of the world around oneself in real time. Sometimes the mind does this better or worse. When a person is tired, sick, dehydrated, etc they are more susceptible to confusion and misinterpreting the world around them. 

3 hours ago, Strange said:

That is why I don't believe it. But it is important to know that it is just a belief. There is no way of empirically testing it.

There is no way to know for sure what is in anyone's mind. Even if a person attempts to tell you what's in their mind they can be mistaken or lying. However individual senses can be tested. Those sense are what provided the mind the data it uses to create an understand of the outside world. Different people have measurably different levels of hearing, eyesight, smell, equilibrioception, etc, etc. So it is logical to assume that it the data collected is different the conclusions determined from that data would be different.

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14 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

This isn't true. To various degrees I think we all have moments were we misinterpret the external world and later realize it. Schizophrenia is a more extreme example but I think most people have episodes where they think the see something or someone only to later realize it isn't there. The mind must interpret the data it receives from the eyes, ears, skins, nose, etc and use it to create a full working understanding of the world around oneself in real time. Sometimes the mind does this better or worse. When a person is tired, sick, dehydrated, etc they are more susceptible to confusion and misinterpreting the world around them. 

 

Yes ,I have mistakenly heard  things which weren't there ,so I suppose seeing things that aren't there would be the same kind of thing.

And yes , schizophrenia  is too extreme to generalize from.

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3 hours ago, geordief said:

Those delusional people will assume that the evidence for their delusions is false (everyone else can be in on the plot to fool them).

I think they may agree they have imagined episodes but only after their medical  condition has cleared up.

There are people with schizophrenia, or other disorders, who are fully aware that the voices or visual hallucinations are not real, but that make them appear any less real. I heard an interview with a woman who had schizophrenia and said she knew the voices were not real, but it was still very hard to put up with "people" continually shouting abuse at her. It was quite sad.

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10 minutes ago, Strange said:

There are people with schizophrenia, or other disorders, who are fully aware that the voices or visual hallucinations are not real, but that make them appear any less real. I heard an interview with a woman who had schizophrenia and said she knew the voices were not real, but it was still very hard to put up with "people" continually shouting abuse at her. It was quite sad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)

 

Was a beautiful film.

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23 minutes ago, geordief said:
Quote

It was well received by critics, but has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash's life, especially his other family and a son born out of wedlock. However, the filmmakers have stated that the film was not meant to be a literal representation of Nash's life.

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

It was well received by critics, but has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash's life, especially his other family and a son born out of wedlock. However, the filmmakers have stated that the film was not meant to be a literal representation of Nash's life.

Ironic that I would take the representation ( of Nash and his hallucinations) for the reality.

Edited by geordief

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2 minutes ago, geordief said:

Ironic that I would take the representation ( of Nash and his hallucinations) for the reality.

Missed that, but I was drunk at the time...🙂

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19 hours ago, Strange said:

Our mind tells us that everyone else has a similar view of the world. 🙂 We have no independent way of establishing that. I know this starts to sound like solipsism. But solipsism is unfalsifiable.

Yes, that's true. But then the question arises of course - if there is no 'external' world, why would the mind need to conjure up any models at all? There seems to be no discernible reason for it, if the mind is already all that exists. In the realist view, at least you can pinpoint a practical reason for the mind's building of a world-model, namely to maximise the individual's chances of survival and procreation. Which is in itself an important point: the mind's model of the world is not designed to reflect actual reality, it is designed to ensure survival and procreation. Thus you have all kinds of distortions, filters and overlays going on that have no analogue in the external world, but do serve a specific evolutionary purpose.

Overall I would say that there being an external world is the more likely and philosophically less problematic position - but I would also say that the external reality in itself is almost certainly very different from our mind's model of it.

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5 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

but I would also say that the external reality in itself is almost certainly very different from our mind's model of it

Can you  give a  hopefully representative example of how an individual mind's model of external reality  might differ from  what he or she is attempting to model?

An extreme  example would also be interesting.

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5 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

but I would also say that the external reality in itself is almost certainly very different from our mind's model of it.

In that case, I might use your question: why would the mind create a model very different from the external reality? (And why would everyone's minds appear to do roughly the same thing?) 

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23 minutes ago, Strange said:

In that case, I might use your question: why would the mind create a model very different from the external reality?

In order to maximise one’s chances of survival and procreation.
For example, if you are in the middle of the Savanna, and come across a hungry lion, it is not in the mind’s interest to create an accurate model of all colour variations in the leaves on that bush, or the fragrance of the morning air, or the patterns of the clouds above you. Instead, it will create a model that is almost exclusively focused on the lion, and what you are going to do about it in terms of self-preservation, and the feeling of fear, anxiety, and being threatened. Everything else gets largely filtered out. That isn’t an accurate representation of the world around you at that moment (which consists of much more than the lion, and doesn’t contain anything that corresponds to the emotions felt), but it is one that serves your evolutionary interests in that particular situation.

36 minutes ago, geordief said:

Can you  give a  hopefully representative example of how an individual mind's model of external reality  might differ from  what he or she is attempting to model?

Would the above example work?

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48 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

For example, if you are in the middle of the Savanna, and come across a hungry lion, it is not in the mind’s interest to create an accurate model of all colour variations in the leaves on that bush, or the fragrance of the morning air, or the patterns of the clouds above you. Instead, it will create a model that is almost exclusively focused on the lion, and what you are going to do about it in terms of self-preservation, and the feeling of fear, anxiety, and being threatened. Everything else gets largely filtered out. That isn’t an accurate representation of the world around you at that moment (which consists of much more than the lion, and doesn’t contain anything that corresponds to the emotions felt), but it is one that serves your evolutionary interests in that particular situation.

That is a very good point. (I have seen he same argument extended to say that external reality must therefore be completely different than we perceive, which I find harder to swallow).

I was going to say that we can, when not under that pressure, look at all the colour variations, stop to smell the roses, and join the Cloud Appreciation Society. But actually, there are colours we can't see, odours we can't smell etc. So the world is bigger and more complex than our senses allow. (But that's why we have science!)

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

Would the above example work?

It is good but  it is a snapshot.I wonder how that would feed into the mind's ongoing picture.

 

Also those filters are extremely interesting.I wonder in which parts of the brain  they could be situated?  Obviously those parts that process memory are involved  but I think I have heard that the brain is decentralized and so the relevant areas are probably not necessarily located in any one area.

I am also interested I realize in the methods available to interfere with the "filter functions"...might that explain the popularity of mind altering drugs?(and the interest of the CIA and possibly some of Trump's acquaintances during his time in Russia)

Edited by geordief

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23 hours ago, geordief said:

Yes ,I have mistakenly heard  things which weren't there ,so I suppose seeing things that aren't there would be the same kind of thing.

And yes , schizophrenia  is too extreme to generalize from.

As such there can be a distinction between your mind and the observable world?

9 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Yes, that's true. But then the question arises of course - if there is no 'external' world, why would the mind need to conjure up any models at all?

Considering we cannot philosophically say why there is life at all to begin with any philosophical question about life that starts with why be either the begin or end of discussion.

 

9 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Overall I would say that there being an external world is the more likely and philosophically less problematic position - but I would also say that the external reality in itself is almost certainly very different from our mind's model of it.

I agree with this overall conclusion minus the philosophically less problematic part. I think that part is relative.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

As such there can be a distinction between your mind and the observable world?

Not quite sure what "as such" implies but no I don't see a clear demarcation between them.

There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between them  and ,I suppose to another mind ,my mind is  (to it )something external ,an object of potential study even.

 

To an  individual mind everything seems external  but when it observes (or attempts to observe) its own functioning  does it consider that external or internal?(or something else perhaps:does dynamism change the description?)

 

 

Edited by geordief

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47 minutes ago, geordief said:

Not quite sure what "as such" implies but no I don't see a clear demarcation between them.

There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between them  and ,I suppose to another mind ,my mind is  (to it )something external ,an object of potential study even.

 

To an  individual mind everything seems external  but when it observes (or attempts to observe) its own functioning  does it consider that external or internal?(or something else perhaps:does dynamism change the description?)

 

 

The distinction I am referencing is between the observed world (what ones mind observes) and the external world. Ones mind can falsely observe things. When I realize I have seen, heard, felt, smelled, remembered, etc things which are not real I am realizing that distinction. What I observe in my mind in a moment and what can be observed with consistency (by oneself over time, collectively by peers, with measuring devices, etc) are different things.

That doesn't make the external world real. It just means there is a distinction between what creates the data the mind receives and the way the mind processes data. If the two were the same there wouldn't be discrepancies between what is observed and what is believed to be. I would never hear something which I determine not to be there.

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1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

The distinction I am referencing is between the observed world (what ones mind observes) and the external world. Ones mind can falsely observe things. When I realize I have seen, heard, felt, smelled, remembered, etc things which are not real I am realizing that distinction. What I observe in my mind in a moment and what can be observed with consistency (by oneself over time, collectively by peers, with measuring devices, etc) are different things.

That doesn't make the external world real. It just means there is a distinction between what creates the data the mind receives and the way the mind processes data. If the two were the same there wouldn't be discrepancies between what is observed and what is believed to be. I would never hear something which I determine not to be there.

You are surely not suggesting that the external world is not real?

 

I thought I had decided (for myself)  that that implied solipsism.

 

 

 

That we either had realism or solipsism (which I disagree with) .

 

Think it was here....  https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/122617-the-relationship-between-the-mind-and-the-observed-world/?do=findComment&comment=1149137

 

Is there ground in between?

 

You went on to say that  the mind can process data in a way that leads to a discrepancy....are there any analogous situations where there are events in the external (ie mindless) world where there are "discrepancies" ,or is a mind required at some point in the chain for a "discrepancy" to occur?  A mutation ,perhaps?

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42 minutes ago, geordief said:

You are surely not suggesting that the external world is not real?

No, I am merely pointing out that I am not making any definitive claims about the external world.

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53 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

No, I am merely pointing out that I am not making any definitive claims about the external world.

Well I think you may be saying that we  cannot trust any  observation to be a   completely faithful record of an observed series of events.

 

Another thing we can be sure of then  (after death and taxes) ;the "information deficit "

:(

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1 hour ago, geordief said:

Well I think you may be saying that we  cannot trust any  observation to be a   completely faithful record of an observed series of events.

 

Another thing we can be sure of then  (after death and taxes) ;the "information deficit "

:(

I've told this story before in another thread here so I will summarize it this time. True story, my wife and I we in a minor fender bender back in 2009. I was driving and have a crystal clear memory of the event. I remember the people driving the the other vehicle, the make and color of the vehicle, etc, etc. A couple years back for whatever reason my wife and I were discussing the event and she remembered a different color, make, and different passengers. My wife keeps all her old cell phones. She she pulled out her old phone, charged it up, and produced photos from the fender bender. Her memory was accurate and mine was not. I misremembered the make, color, and passengers.

Craziest part is now that I am away of the truth my memory is still of the wrong make, color, and people. I just know that it is wrong now.

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Memory is very unreliable and easy to manipulate.

Elizabeth Loftus on "Radiolab":

Quote

For many years, I and other psychologists were doing experiments in which we distorted the memories of events which people had actually experienced. So we would take somebody who’d seen a simulated auto accident or a simulated crime and we would alter the details in their memory report. We’d make people believe that they saw a car go through a stop sign instead of a yield sign. And we found it was not that hard to alter people’s memories of these previously experienced events. But more recently we’ve gone even further and shown that you can plant entirely false memories into the minds of people. Memories for things that didn’t happen.

We planted a memory that when you were about 5 or 6 years old you were lost for an extended period of time in a shopping mall you were frightened, you were crying. And ultimately you were rescued by an elderly person and reunited with the family.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/episodes/91569-memory-and-forgetting

The thing is that once people have these false memories they will be absolutely certain they are true because the only referent they have to confirm it is ... there memory. And as Ten oz points out, even if you "know" intellectually that you are wrong your memory is still just as real as it was before you knew that. This is relevant to understanding the Mandela Effect, UFO sightings, and many other things that depend only on eye witness accounts.

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22 hours ago, Strange said:

I have seen he same argument extended to say that external reality must therefore be completely different than we perceive

It could be completely different, in the sense that much of what we take to be indispensable properties of the world (space, time, causality,...) might not actually be aspects of external reality at all. It would be like the UI on a computer - we see all those pretty little icons and menus and windows, and manipulate them with a mouse or our finger. But in actual reality, what is in a computer is just bits of information, sequences of '0' and '1'. There is nothing there that even remotely resembles an icon, or a mouse pointer, or a window - that graphical user interface is just a constructed model of what the computer's RAM modules contain. We need such a model in order to make sense of the information within the memory, since a long sequence of binary bits would be meaningless to us. Could it be similar in the case of the mind? It is at least conceivable.

22 hours ago, geordief said:

Also those filters are extremely interesting.I wonder in which parts of the brain  they could be situated?  Obviously those parts that process memory are involved  but I think I have heard that the brain is decentralized and so the relevant areas are probably not necessarily located in any one area.

I am also interested I realize in the methods available to interfere with the "filter functions"...might that explain the popularity of mind altering drugs?(and the interest of the CIA and possibly some of Trump's acquaintances during his time in Russia)

I can't answer this...are there any neuroscientists here?

 

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