All of Dan3's Comments + Replies

I'm just now, belatedly, realizing that this means our linguistic tools for dealing with physical objects are among the big problems with quantum dynamics ... which is interesting. There's been a lot said and done regarding the ubiquity of spatial metaphors in language, which would partially explain why our intuitive grasp of quantum dynamics is ordinarily so poor.

Chalmers gets the attention because his type of argument is both popular with philosophers and full of implied dualism (boo! hissss! dualism!). It's not so much foil-seeking as chasing the red cape, in my opinion. I would choose a nicer metaphor, but I seriously doubt any philosophers involved would change their opinion on the matter for any reason that's anything short of earth-shaking. For instance, if Chalmers caught an epiphenomenal virus ... but, yes, you get the idea.

Tanasije: That works, yes. Thanks for the clarification.

HA: I think there's sort of a boundary between what you mean and what people are reading from your comments. Specifically, I don't know that you and the people you're arguing with mean the same things when you say "zombie", which kind of messes things up. Your definition of zombie appears to be nonstandard, and also really vague as expressed. I think the biggest problem, though, is that other people assume you mean one thing (basically the Chalmers version of "zombie") when I don't think that's precisely what you mean. If I've got your ... (read more)

"There exist sophisticated arguments for philosophical zombies, but I won't tell you them!"

However, I also agree that enough attention has been paid to zombies, except for me it's on the basis that they're badly-founded from the start. However, a movie about an epiphenomenal virus is, in fact, far too funny not to enjoy. My only complaint is that the philosophers use real words, when we all know that real philosophers speak badly-mangled Latin mixed with made-up words.

Jesus Christ, the complex plane. I half-remember that.

Eliezer, this may come as a shock, but I suspect there exists at least some minority of individuals beyond just me who will find the consistent use of complex numbers at all to be the the most migraine-inducing part of this. You might also find that even those of us who supposedly know how to do some computation on the complex plane are likely to have little to no intuitive grasp of complex numbers. Emphasis on computation over understanding in mathematics teaching, while pervasive, does not tend to ser... (read more)

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Dan - We have different projects; I'm not trying to "fix the counterintuitiveness of consciousness." I'm interested in whether it is in principle susceptible to physical reduction. (We can answer these sorts of questions by understanding alone. I don't need to do science in order to appreciate the conditional that if physical investigation reveals particles that play such-and-such a role, then objects such as hands will be reducible to said arrangements of particles. There is no coherently conceivable 'hand-zombie' world, analogous to the phenome... (read more)

Dan - I don't know what "emergent property" or "complex system" are supposed to mean, but Unknown got "bridging law" just right. Granted, it's one thing to assert there's a bridging law, and another to actually provide one. To say that their might be a "bridging law" without naming any of its properties is to say nothing at all. It's like saying that there might be a thermodynamic law or a falling law, but you have no idea what it might be. It can't be measured or seen, only imagined. It might as well be voodoo, bec... (read more)

Yes and when I hit my radio with a rock it might stop working, change the station, if I rip out transistors it might make the sound distorted, etc. That really doesn't prove that the song is stored inside the radio, does it?

Well, no. All else being equal, however, and absent evidence for radio waves, the most parsimonious explanation IS that the song is stored in the radio. Absent evidence of immaterial souls, the same applies to brains. Heraclitis could fairly easily have been wrong, since he was just going on the effects of gross trauma. Fortunately, we ... (read more)

I can't presume to answer for Eliezer, but I don't think he's yet claimed to know how the brain works. He's also paid considerable attention to the nonsensical nature of some attempts to say that we might "already" know how- IE "emergence", "complexity", and other non-explanations. I'd go so far as to say that it follows directly from the fact that we can't make our own brains from first principles that we don't really understand the ones currently in circulation.

That said, it would be a serious defiance of all precedent if br... (read more)

"Eliminative fingerists" is amusing. I think that particular projection fallacy as pertains to minds is part of a larger tradition, however. Radical behaviorists, for instance, really ought to be included. They feel left out, off on their lonesome, busily declaring that the "mind" is a convenient fiction because it can't be measured.

... and seperately, I might note that I've read through much of your archives and enjoyed it immensely. Keep it up!