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  1. #1
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    Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Here I would posit, that ideas are inherently not physical. The physical can only ever be representative of ideas. This applies on every level, and ultimately even to the brain.

    One will say that ideas are just information, but no physical system can have access to the information that it represents, because it just kicks the can down the road. What does "access" here mean? Access is the ability to evaluate and manipulate.

    An example. The idea of a chess queen. This can be represented by literally any physical thing. Like wise, the piece can be moved around the board by any kind of physical force. Yet, access to the idea of a chess queen, is not accessible to any of those physical things themselves.

    This is because there exists a wall between ideas and physical manipulation. This is evidenced by the "Chinese room" thought experiment. What this experiment shows is that the moving of symbols by physical force or rules (whatever they may be) does not gain access to the IDEAS that the symbols represent. As all physical interactions fall into this category, thus purely physical things can have no access to ideas.


    Objection #1
    One may say, but we access ideas. Indeed we do, but because of the above "wall" of separation between ideas and purely physical things, we should reject a purely physical explanation, unless some solution is shown to be plausible with explanatory power.



    Related thread, where I think I presented too much at one time.
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...-rule-them-all
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  2. #2
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    I counterpoint that ideas are merely representations of the properties of real things. Ideas only exist as information and only when used as a reference. Your notion of access is really just the act of making a comparison between an idea and actualized reality.

    There is no wall between ideas and reality, ideas are simply reflections in a pond, shadows on a path, or paintings in drawn on our minds.

    All the Chinese room demonstrates is how symbolic reference works and that there is more to the human mind than pure symbolic reference.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    I counterpoint that ideas are merely representations of the properties of real things.
    This is not an actual distinction from what I said.
    The problem is, that ideas are not physical things themselves. As such, purely physical things do not have access to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Ideas only exist as information and only when used as a reference. Your notion of access is really just the act of making a comparison between an idea and actualized reality.
    That is exactly what the Chinese room shows. That there is a difference between manipulating an idea, and something physical that symbolizes that idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    There is no wall between ideas and reality, ideas are simply reflections in a pond, shadows on a path, or paintings in drawn on our minds.
    While this is poetic, it is not informative. At best you are appealing to mystery. Which is not a rebuttal.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    All the Chinese room demonstrates is how symbolic reference works and that there is more to the human mind than pure symbolic reference.
    Sure, and that difference can not possibly be a purely physical one.
    There is no possible distinct feature of the brain itself, that can possibly act differently than the Chinese room, on a purely physical basis.
    There is no magic element of chemistry, that can access the idea a symbol represents. As its very nature is the exact same as that of the Chinese room.
    Appealing to mystery is not adding information to the debate on this, and that is what the original creator of the Chinese room experiment does.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    This is not an actual distinction from what I said.
    It is, but you don't understand why.

    The problem is, that ideas are not physical things themselves. As such, purely physical things do not have access to it.
    They are physical in fact. Just like words on a page are physical or memory in a computer is physical. The ideas in your head are physical in that exact same sense. If you destroy the part of your brain that has an idea, that idea is gone.

    That is exactly what the Chinese room shows. That there is a difference between manipulating an idea, and something physical that symbolizes that idea.
    No, it doesn't. It only shows that a symbol, robbed of a connection to what it represents, can no longer represent it. All the CR does is to posit ignorance of the meaning of words.

    Sure I can teach someone to manipulate symbols without telling them what those symbols normally represent. And that would just be what it is, a form of ignorance of information. I can also teach a person, a Chinese room or a computer more information.

    While this is poetic, it is not informative. At best you are appealing to mystery. Which is not a rebuttal.
    You would only think that if you don't understand it, so I will presume you don't understand it. I am not appealing to mystery, I am saying ideas are just representations of real things. Those representations are physical. But they are still only representations. And all of these representations, like ideas, have physical forms.

    Sure, and that difference can not possibly be a purely physical one.
    No, it does not demonstrate that.

    There is no possible distinct feature of the brain itself, that can possibly act differently than the Chinese room, on a purely physical basis.
    Sure there is. It can hold more information than the Chinese room does. The Chinese room intentionally leaves out information about the symbols it processes. Simply by including those, it would be more like the human mind. If every symbol was linked to a series of images, sounds, related words, related images, related sounds and so on, then the "meaning" would be there and it would all be physical.

    There is no magic element of chemistry, that can access the idea a symbol represents. As its very nature is the exact same as that of the Chinese room.
    No magic is needed. Put a bever in a box and you can reference the meaning of the Chinese character for Beever. After all, the actual Beever is what the symbol represents. Your "idea" of a beaver is nothing more than the images or memories you have of experiencing one. And it is all stored as chemistry or electricity in your brain. Shut it down, and that idea ceases to exist or at least ceases to be accessible and relatable by you.

    Appealing to mystery is not adding information to the debate on this, and that is what the original creator of the Chinese room experiment does.
    You are the one appealing to mystery here. You are saying there is some magical thing called an idea that is unbound by the physical world and that it has some magical power of understanding and meaning.

    You are the one claiming that if I brought you a robot that could discuss philosophy with you in great detail, that wouldn't be real because it is too physical to truly be thining even though it can do everything you can do, you have some magic power it doesn't possess that makes you real and it some kind of mere simulation.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The problem is, that ideas are not physical things themselves. As such, purely physical things do not have access to it.
    1. I don't think you have shown that ideas are not/can not be physical in nature.
    2. You have not shown why a physical mind does not have access to non physical ideas. IOW, you are saying a physical mind can ONLY "access" physical things.

  6. #6
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    It is, but you don't understand why.
    To say this nicely... that is not helpful or useful as a response.

    The reason that it isn't an actual distinction from what I said, is because what I said is to highlight that there is a difference between an idea, and physical things.
    Your statement, does not counter that, but relies upon it. So it isn't a counter point that makes a different distinction.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    They are physical in fact. Just like words on a page are physical or memory in a computer is physical. The ideas in your head are physical in that exact same sense. If you destroy the part of your brain that has an idea, that idea is gone.
    Words are not the idea themselves, neither is memory in a computer. Both must be interpreted by a Mind that has access to those ideas.
    It isn't necessarily true that if you destroy part of your brain that the idea is gone. At best you are showing destroyed access.
    What you are saying is kinda like saying, if you poke out your eyes, then there is no more light. You have supported nothing greater than this.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    No, it doesn't. It only shows that a symbol, robbed of a connection to what it represents, can no longer represent it. All the CR does is to posit ignorance of the meaning of words.
    That there needs to be a "connection" highlights the point being made, and the way the Chinese room is being appealed to.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Sure I can teach someone to manipulate symbols without telling them what those symbols normally represent. And that would just be what it is, a form of ignorance of information. I can also teach a person, a Chinese room or a computer more information.
    So? Your just appealing to more of the same process. That doesn't fix the problem or even address the problem that is being pointed out.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    You would only think that if you don't understand it, so I will presume you don't understand it. I am not appealing to mystery, I am saying ideas are just representations of real things. Those representations are physical. But they are still only representations. And all of these representations, like ideas, have physical forms.
    So I point to a wall, and you say "na-huh".
    gotcha

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    No, it does not demonstrate that.
    I'll file this as a kind of commentary of the conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Sure there is. It can hold more information than the Chinese room does. The Chinese room intentionally leaves out information about the symbols it processes. Simply by including those, it would be more like the human mind. If every symbol was linked to a series of images, sounds, related words, related images, related sounds and so on, then the "meaning" would be there and it would all be physical.
    not really. Your just stacking rooms and acting like there is a difference.
    The Chinese room does in fact show exactly what I have said.
    The point of the room is to distill the concept, all your doing is adding more of the same and calling it different.
    your "added" information, is just more symbols being moved around, more physical things being moved through physical processes.
    The Chinese room stands as evidence that, such a process is insufficient to grant access to ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    No magic is needed. Put a bever in a box and you can reference the meaning of the Chinese character for Beever. After all, the actual Beever is what the symbol represents. Your "idea" of a beaver is nothing more than the images or memories you have of experiencing one. And it is all stored as chemistry or electricity in your brain. Shut it down, and that idea ceases to exist or at least ceases to be accessible and relatable by you.
    Your just conflating the distinction you have already appealed to. That being that and idea of a thing, and a thing itself is not the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    You are the one appealing to mystery here. You are saying there is some magical thing called an idea that is unbound by the physical world and that it has some magical power of understanding and meaning.
    False I am not appealing to mystery. I offered evidence and examples and logic. None of which are appeals to mystery. I don't say.. gee i don't know how this works, therefore bla bla. Maybe you just didn't understand what I'm saying? I mean, a person who understand what I am saying would never say what you have said. So I'll just assume you don't understand what I am saying.
    (see that kinda language can go both ways)

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    You are the one claiming that if I brought you a robot that could discuss philosophy with you in great detail, that wouldn't be real because it is too physical to truly be thining even though it can do everything you can do, you have some magic power it doesn't possess that makes you real and it some kind of mere simulation.
    haha! Question begging at it's finest.
    lets just stay on topic.

    --
    It boils down really simply. The kind of interaction in the Chinese room, (physical manipulation of objects) is shown to not be capable of accessing ideas those objects are to represent.
    Your "solution" is to add more of the same, in ways that don't actually challenge the objection, only veil it in langue in order to appeal to biases you already hold.


    ------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    1. I don't think you have shown that ideas are not/can not be physical in nature.
    So, the idea of a chess queen, is the same as the oddly shaped potato on a patterned board?

    Quote Originally Posted by BELTHAZOR
    2. You have not shown why a physical mind does not have access to non physical ideas.
    It seems pretty obvious that non physical things on naturalism are held to not effect the physical world.
    So I am simply appealing to that notion to show why naturalism is insufficient to produce access to nonphysical things.

    Quote Originally Posted by BELTHAZOR
    IOW, you are saying a physical mind can ONLY "access" physical things.
    Sure.
    The problem is that physical things can only ever "represent" ideas.
    Things are not the ideas themselves. A horse is not the idea of a horse.
    After all, if all horses died, we could still have the idea. Just as ideas of things that never existed or never could exist, can themselves yet exist.
    This is evidence that ideas and things are separate in nature.
    Even the embodiment of an idea, doesn't make it the idea itself.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Mind Trapped by: Nature of Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    To say this nicely... that is not helpful or useful as a response.
    Frankly MT, neither was you saying what you think I have not demonstrated. I respond to folks as they respond to me. Don't use empty rhetoric and I won't either. Use empty rhetoric and I will counter with my own.

    The reason that it isn't an actual distinction from what I said, is because what I said is to highlight that there is a difference between an idea, and physical things.
    Your statement, does not counter that, but relies upon it. So it isn't a counter point that makes a different distinction.
    You may be conflating two different ideas.
    1. ideas are not physical things
    2. Ideas are not the physical things they represent or correspond to. (aka a picture of a given horse is not actually that horse)

    I only claim the latter, you seem to claim both.

    Words are not the idea themselves, neither is memory in a computer. Both must be interpreted by a Mind that has access to those ideas.
    1. Words are not the idea words are used to represent.
    2. Ideas are not the physical reality ideas are used to represent.
    3. Ideas are memory in a computer. (it just so happens you are that computer)
    4. A mind is just a computer of sorts.
    5. Ideas only exist to be interpreted, they have no other meaning but that doesn't mean the must do anything, they are tools, not ends.

    It isn't necessarily true that if you destroy part of your brain that the idea is gone. At best you are showing destroyed access.
    I think it is necessarily true. I cannot prove it to you, only provide evidence to lead you to that conclusion. But if we use the computer analogy, if I melt the chip the data is in, the data is gone is it not? True, I could simply destroy access depending on which part of the chip I damaged, but what matters, the physicality of the data, is still not in question.

    I contend ideas in your mind are the same from a metaphysical standpoint. It's just stored information and it can be physically destroyed just like I can set fire to a photograph.

    What you are saying is kinda like saying, if you poke out your eyes, then there is no more light. You have supported nothing greater than this.
    No, that is not what I am saying and I know far better what I am saying than you do.

    That there needs to be a "connection" highlights the point being made, and the way the Chinese room is being appealed to.
    No, not really. I think the problem is that you don't see all the connections in human ideas that I do. Take your idea of a horse. What is it really? It is a set of images, a set of property names, some sounds you have heard, some information about historical uses of horses, some information about their biology, some information about your emotional response to them. All that information is linked to other information, where you saw the horse, when you saw it, etc.... lots and lots of connections to discrete pieces of data.

    The Chinese room takes one piece of data and robs it of all the usual connections. But those connections are not magical, they can be modeled in the Chinese room or a computer or any physical system you care to name. You can create physical connections from one piece of data to the next. That is what programming computers is all about. It does not demonstrate this is impossible, it only doesn't bother to demonstrate how it works.

    So I point to a wall, and you say "na-huh".
    Ya, again, you are saying I am doing something that is not at all what I am doing, it just makes you seem like you can't understand what I am telling you.

    not really. Your just stacking rooms and acting like there is a difference.
    That is the difference, it is one of complexity and not of kind. A car is just atoms, but you arrange them in a given way and they take on a whole set of emergent behaviors. The human mind is like that. It's simple at its core, but due to its complex arrangement and the sheer volume of information, it can process it is able to do a lot of pretty cool stuff. Before long, we will have computers that can do everything the human mind can do and then some. The only way you will know it is not a human mind is if you have outside verification, not because of what it can actually do.

    The Chinese room stands as evidence that, such a process is insufficient to grant access to ideas.
    No, all it shows is that if you exclude information from a model, it won't have that information in it. Your "ideas" are just further data. That data is not magical. It is either in the room or isn't in the room.

    A blind woman can't know what orange is the way you can. Your ideas of it are different because you have different data. All an idea is, is information recorded in some way. The Chinese room lacks information about what the symbols represent because you didn't put that information in there. That's all it demonstrates. You can say, it doesn't understand. but all that understanding is, is a set of extended information.

    False I am not appealing to mystery. I offered evidence and examples and logic. None of which are appeals to mystery. I don't say.. gee i don't know how this works, therefore bla bla.
    Really, so how exactly do we access ideas?
    What are the essential properties by which I can identify an idea?
    How can I test if a computer has access to an Idea or not?

    Since you are not appealing to a mystery I'd love to hear the answers to these questions.

    Maybe you just didn't understand what I'm saying?
    Perhaps. I doubt it, but if you can demonstrate with an explanation that then I'd love to understand better.

    haha! Question begging at it's finest.
    Explain to me how.

    Are you saying that it is impossible to create an AI that can argue philosophy with you?
    If I could show you such an AI what would your reaction to it be? Would you accept that it is, in fact, thinking and has access to ideas?
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