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Edit: I dug through OP's post history and found this thread. The thread gives better context to what /u/reguru is trying to say.

A tip: very little is gained by couching your ideas in this self-aggrandizing, condescending tone. Your over-reliance on second person is also an annoying tic, though some make it work. You don't, however.

You come off as very arrogant and immature, and very few people will bother wading through this. The few that will do it only in hopes of correcting you.

If you're at all interested in improving the quality of your writing, consider, at the very least, reading a few other top level, highly upvoted posts. They do not have these problems, and you'd be served by emulating them.

Reality is arational. Everything you do is arational.

"Reality is arational." is an easily defensible position, though it would take some work to make an idea worth entertaining out of it.

"Everything you do is arational." is flatly solipsistic and useless. You must agree that words have meaning, if only subjunctively, by your usage of them. 'Rational' means something, and it describes behavior. Behavior is goal-directed, and be judged by how well it achieves those goals. That is what bare rationalism is. If you disagree with this, you'll need better justifications.

You aren't aware of it because you lack awareness. By becoming aware that you are unaware, you have increased your awareness.

Contradiction can be used for effect, but always err on the side of 'don't do it'. You're work is better served rigorous than poetic.

Yet still, you will always lack awareness. ... My definition of awareness is the subjective experience of separating thoughts from awareness. You can become aware of thoughts, and if an "I" thought appears, that was not you, you simply became aware of it.

Y'know, despite myself, I found this passage genuinely pleasing on a aesthetic level. It's a mess of negation and recursion and strange loops that I can only compare to the bizarre logic of time travel, or perhaps the descriptive amalgams of cosmic horror. This is not a compliment.

You seem to be equating awareness with at least four different things, three if that was supposed to be a recursive definition.

1) awareness as total self-knowledge ("you will always lack awareness") Since this is pure armchair speculation anyway, I'm sure the mere existence of quines) makes "You will never reach total awareness" false as a theorectical proposition.

2) awareness as consciousness/the self ("separating thoughts from awareness")

3) awareness as noticing something ("You can become aware of thoughts,")

4) your own definition

My point is that I think that you, confuse the map for the territory. Now I made the same mistake, because "map not being the territory" is a map. In all actuality, all types of communication are, and equally untrue.

Solipsistic and useless.

The way I see it is that reality is the way it is and it is arational. Gravity does not exist. We may create a layer on top of arational reality and call it reality, while in all actuality it is a virtual reality.

Useless and solipsistic.

It is simply a human projection on top of the arational reality. Arationality is completely independent of reasoning, everything rational and irrational exists within a matrix (virtual reality) of the arational.

Do I need to say it?

It's fine to do physics, math or other science but it is still a human projection.

I think this is false. Mathematics is interesting precisely because of its non-humanity. The joy of doing mathematics is incommensurate with an imagination of the joy of doing mathematics. The missing ingredient, of course, is the unknown, of discovering something outside yourself.

To call it a human projection is to miss the entire point of preforming these actions in the first place, which is curiosity, exploring the unknown.

You might think that there is no alternative to using maps (like I do here) but I am simply pointing out that you can discover arational reality without creating another map to point out its existence.

The "map/territory" dichotomy is just another map, as you yourself said. In reality, there is only atoms and the void. Self/other, subject/object are all a part of reality itself, and the delineation is only useful, never necessary.

If you want to find out for yourself, what happens when you become silent of all thoughts? Does reality disappear?

The point is that you can sit down, become aware of all the maps

you cannot

Because it is an illusion. The illusion that some maps are better than others when they are all the same from the perspective of the arational.

The arational has no perspective, because it is not the type of thing to have perspectives. Reality has no mind, no agency.

Reality is, however, patterned and models exploit this patterning.

Suppose one person (call her Alice) choose to act as if there exists models better than other models, while another person (call him Bob) chooses to not do this. One may object to using words like 'true' or 'accurate' to describe their approaches, but there is a certain quality the former would have that the latter does not. The former may make a habit ingesting certain objects, or preforming pointless tasks for useless trinkets. The other would object that 'hunger' and 'money' are just models and no model is better than another.

These approaches lead to certain outcomes. Again, one might not like describing one as 'true' and the other as 'false', but there is a certain pattern there to be found there.

What's the point of this post? It's an invitation, you have to figure it out yourself.

While I'm sure there are many people here who enjoy puzzles, obscurantism is frowned upon.

The social contract of lesswrong is the opposite of your epigram: "What's the point of this post?" You have to figure that out on your own. It's not our job, but yours. I don't doubt you have some insight here. I'm sure it could even be couched into a post fit for this community. But you have to do the job of filtering your thoughts, crafting your posts and hoping against hope you didn't make an embarrassing mistake.

Finally, I apologize for combative tone of this post. This was written out of sympathy rather than disgust or disrespect. (at the very least, notice if being offensive was my aim, I could have done a better job of it)

Cognitive psychologists generally make better predicitons about human behavior than neuroscientists.

I grant you that; my assertion was one of type, not of degree. A predictive explanation will generally (yes, I am retracting my 'almost always' quantifier) be reductionist, but this a very different statement than the most reductionist explanation will be the best.

Here it seems to me like you think about philosophy as distinct from empirical reality.

Less 'distinct' and more 'abstracted'. The put it as pithy (and oversimplified) as possible, empiricism is about what is (probably) true, philosophy is about about what is (probably) necessarily true.

I could be more precise and accurate about my own thoughts here, but philosophy is one of those terms where if you ask ten different people you'll get twelve different answers. The relation between philosophy and empirical reality depends on what 'philosophy' is.

To me your post didn't feel inaccurate but confused.

I think confusion is inaccuracy at the meta level.

And besides that, I actually felt when writing that post that I was repeating 'I was confused' to the point of parody. Illusion of transparency, I suppose.

A mix of saying trival things and throwing around terms where I don't know exactly what you mean

I'm for being ambiguous, but you'll have be more precise about what I'm being ambiguous about. I can't be clear about my terminology without knowing where I'm being unclear.

I'm not sure whether you have thought about what you mean exactly either.

I don't think it's worth debating what I meant when I don't mean it anymore.

You can also make great predicions on believes that the function of the heart is pumping blood even if there are no "function-atoms" around.

It's not clear what you're saying here. If you're talking about why the heart pumps blood instead of doing something else, that requires a historical explanation, a 'why is it like this instead of like that' and presumes the heart was optimized for something, and would have been optimized for something else if something had willed it.

If this is what you're saying then yeah, the explanation will not be reductionist.

If you're saying you can predict the broad strokes of what the heart will do without reducing all the way to the level of 'function atoms' then I completely agree. The space of explanations of reality at the level of atoms is large enough that even if most of them don't even vaguely resemble reality there still isn't enough motivation or information to exhaust the search space. Incomplete reductions are fine until there's motivations for deeper explanations.

If you weren't saying either of these things, then I've misunderstood you.

Mary is presumed to have all objective knowedge and only objectve knowledge, Your phrasing is ambiguous and therefire doesnt address the point.

The behavior of the neurons in her skull is an objective fact, and this is what I mean to referring to. Apologies for the ambiguity.

When you say Mary will know what happens when she sees red, do you mean she knows how red looks subjectively, or she knows something objective like what her behaviour will be

The latter. The former is purely experiential knowledge, and as I have repeatedly said is contained in a superset of verbal (what you call 'objective') knowledge, but is disjoint with the set of verbal ('objective') knowledge itself. This is my box metaphor.

Is that supposed to relate to the objective/ subjective distinction somehow?

Yes. Assuming the Godel encoding is fixed, [the metaphor is that] any and all statements of PA are experiential knowledge (an experience, in simple terms), non-Godel statements of PA are purely experiential knowledge; the redness of red, say, and finally the Godel statements of PA are verbal knowledge, or 'objective knowledge' in your terminology.

Despite not being Godel statements in the encoding, the second item in the above list is still mathematical, and redness of red is still physical.

So? The overall point is about physicalism, and to get to 'physicalism is false', all you need is the existence of subjective knowledge, not its usefulness in making prediction. So again I don't see the relevance

What does this knowledge do? How do we tell the difference between someone with and without these 'subjective experiences'? What definition of knowledge admits it as valid?

I think your post seems to have been a reply to me. I'm the one who still accepts physicalism. AncientGreek is the one who rejects it.

Whose idea of reductionism are you criticising? I think your post could get more useful by being more clear about the idea you want to challenge.


I think this is closest I get to having a "Definiton 3.4.1" in my post

...the other reductionism I mentioned, the 'big thing = small thing + small thing' one...

Essentially, the claim is that to accurately explain reality, non-reductionist explanations aren't always wrong.

The confusion, however, that I realized elsewhere in the thread, is that I conflate 'historical explanation' with 'predictive explanation'. Good predictive explanation will almost always be reductionist, because, as it says on the tin, big are made of smaller things. Good historical explanations, though, will be contra-reductionist, they'll explain phenomena in terms of its relation to the environment. Consider evolution; the genes seem to be explained non-reductionistically because their presence or absence is determined by it effect on the environment i.e. whether its fit, so the explanation for how it got there necessarily includes complex things because they cause it.

I also get the feeling that use bailey in a context where motte would be the right word.

Right you are. Pretty embarrassing, really.

I've edited the OP with this in mind, but it somewhat pointless as the thesis is no longer supported IMO.

Apart from that I don't know what you mean with theory in "Reductionism is a philosophy, not a theory." As a result on using a bunch of terms where I don't know exactly what you mean it's hard to follow your argument.

Artifact of confusion; if contra-reductionism is a valid platform for explanation, then the value of reductionism isn't constative -- that is, it isn't about whether it's true or false, but something at the meta-level, rather than the object level. The antecedent is no longer believed, so now I do not believe the consequent.

The conceit I had by calling it a philosophy, or more accurately, a perspective, is essentially that you have a dataset, then you can apply a 'reductionist' filter on it to get reductionist explanations and a 'contra-reductionist' filter to get contra explanations. This was a confusion; and only seemed reasonable because I I was treating the two type of explanation -- historical and predictive -- as somehow equivalent, which I now know to be mistaken.

P.S, I've added most of this comment to the OP so future readers know my revised opinion on the accuracy of this post. If you object to this tell me.

That's what I mean by complexity, yeah.

I don't know if I made this was clear, but the point I make is independent of what high level principles explain thing, only that they are high level. The ancestors that competed across history to produce the organism of interest are not small parts making up a big thing, unless you subscribe to causal reductionism where you use causes instead of internal moving parts. But I don't like calling this reductionism (out even a theory, really) because it's, as I said, a species of causality, broadly construed.

[Why You Don't Think You're Beautiful](

[Why You Don't Think You're Beautiful](

Mary's room seems to be arguing that,

[experiencing(red)] =/= [experiencing(understanding([experiencing(red)] )] )]

(translation: the experience of seeing red is no the experience of understanding how seeing red works)

This is true, when we take those statements literally. But it's true in the same sense a Gödel encoding of statement in PA is not literally that statement. It is just a representation, but the representation is exactly homomorphic to its referent. Mary's representation of reality is presumed complete ex hypothesi, therefore she will understand exactly what will happen in her brain after seeing color, and that is exactly what happens.

You wouldn't call a statement of PA that isn't a literally a Gödel encoding of a statement (for some fixed encoding) a non-mathematical statement. For one, because that statement has a Gödel encoding by necessity. But more importantly, even though the statement technically isn't literally a Gödel-encoding, it's still mathematical, regardless.

Mary's know how she will respond to learning what red is like. Mary knows how others will respond. This exhausts the space of possible predictions that could be made on behalf of this subjective knowledge, and it can be done without it.

what Mary doesnt know must be subjective, if there is something Mary doesn't know. So the eventual point s that there s more to knowledge than objective knowledge.

Tangentially to this discussion, but I don't think that is a wise way of labeling that knowledge.

Suppose Mary has enough information to predict her own behavior. Suppose she predicts she will do x. Could she not, upon deducing that fact, decide to not do x?

Mary has all objective knowledge, but certain facts about her own future behavior must escape her, because any certainty could trivially be negated.

There are two things you could mean when you say 'reductionism is right'. That reality is reductionist in the "big thing = small thing + small thing" sense, or that reductionist explanations are better by fiat.

Reality is probably reductionist. I won't assign perfect certainty, but reductionist reality is simpler than magical reality.

As it currently stands, we don't have a complete theory of reality, so the only criteria we can judge theories is that they 1) are accurate, 2) are simple.

I am not arguing about the rightness or wrongness of reductionism. Reductionism and contra-reductionism are containers, and they contain certain classes of explanations. Contra-reductionism conatins historical explanations, explaining the state of things by the interactions with outside forces, and reductionism contains predictive explanations, explaining the future behavior in terms of internal forces.

At least this tells me I didn't make a silly mistake in my post. Thank you for the feedback.

As for your objections,

All models are wrong, some models are useful.

exactly captures my conceit. Reductionism is correct in the sense that is, in some sense, closer to reality than anti- or contra-reductionism. Likely in a similar sense that machine code is closer to the reality of a physical computation than a .cpp file, though the analogy isn't exact, for reasons that should become clear.

I'm typing this on a laptop, which is a intricate amalgam of various kinds of atoms. Hypothetically, you could explain the positioning of the atoms in terms of dense quantum mechanical computations (or a more accurate physical theory, which would exist ex hypothesi), and/or we could explain it in terms of economics, computer science and the vagaries of my life. The former strictly contains more information than the latter, and subsumes the latter to the extend that it represents reality and contradicts it to the extend it's misleading.

At an objective level, then, the strictly reductionist theory wins on merit.

Reductionism functions neatly to explain reality-in-general, and even to explain certain orderly systems that submit to a reductionist analysis. If you want completeness, reductionism will give you completeness, at the limit. But sometimes, a simple explanation is nice. It'd be convenient to compress, to explain evolution in abstract terms.

The compression will be lossy, because we don't actually have access to reality's dataset. But lossy data is okay, and more okay to more casual the ends. Pop science books are very lossy, and are sufficient for delivering a certain type of entertainment. A full reprinting of a paper's collected data is about as lossless as we tend to get.

A lossless explanation is reductionist, and centribus paribus, we ought to go with the reductionist explanation. Given a choice between a less lossy, very complex explanation and a lossy, but simple explanation, you should probably go gather more data. But failing that, you should go with one that suits your purposes. A job where every significant bit digit of accuracy matters chooses the first, as an example.

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