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Re: [existlist] Re: shaping essence

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  • eduardathome
    Jim, On the contrary, I think that running programs and applying formulas do illuminate our philosophy. There is no run button , as your brain is running from
    Message 1 of 67 , Apr 28, 2013
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      On the contrary, I think that running programs and applying formulas do
      illuminate our philosophy.

      There is no "run button", as your brain is running from the time you are
      born. It doesn't stop until you are dead. In fact, one definition of
      "dead"; that is, "brain dead".

      Basically the same things are happening and the use of the term
      "programming", is apt, although I can appreciate it does create some
      difficulty, because it implies a robot and people like Will Smith have a
      thing against robots.

      The difference is that the computer requires an outside entity [the human
      for now] to assess the validity of the result and the inputs. The phrase is
      "garbage in = garbage out".

      We know that 1+3=4. The computer, however, may come up with up with 1+3=2.
      The human overseer can look at the inputs and may find that the binary input
      of 3 which is 11 is missing a digit [perhaps a disconnection or failed
      diode]. Thus the process [addition] is correct, but the one of the inputs
      is false. The computer itself doesn't know.

      For the human computer, there isn't anyone on hand to immediately identify
      whether an input is false. Perhaps later when the mistaken result is
      obtained and applied. Why did he set that bomb??

      The thing about the brain is that it is designed to give answers [the
      decisions] and there is no criteria in the brain to validate an input. At
      least not when you need a fast answer. In fact, since the brain is required
      to give an answer, it will invent an input just to get the answer. I would
      suggest that this is so important that the brain can lead to the death of
      the person it is connected to, if it cannot find an answer. In large part,
      that's why people commit suicide.

      The brain will use an input that appears [to itself] to be valid. Even if
      it is not valid, as seen by others.

      Talking of philosophy, consider Genesis. In Genesis, the world is described
      as being at the bottom of an ocean ... as if contained in an overturned yet
      sunken boat. The firmament is the hull and if you create a hole therein,
      you will allow water to enter [as needed for the Flood] and also light,
      since God's heaven is just above the ocean which isn't that deep.

      This description makes great sense, particularly as no one 3000 years ago
      flew in airplanes or shuttles. Even today, if you ignore the airplanes and
      such, you can believe in a flat earth. Some people still do. Yes some
      ancient people did experiments to show that the world was round, but it
      really didn't enter the communal brain.

      The reason why people were burnt at the stake for saying the earth was
      round, is because the particular world view program was effectively owned by
      the church. If your brain doesn't have the same program as the church, you
      are seen as a threat who is to be eliminated. The same thing was happening
      in Stalin's Russia and in McCarthy's USA. You must go with the official
      program ... otherwise ....

      I would further suggest that brain programming explains all of philosophy.
      Even Existentialism. Where we are going down a blind alley is when we
      attempt to explain philosophy without taking the brain and its programing
      into account. We speak instead of an "Existential crisis", but it is only a
      crisis, because the brain cannot come up with an answer for the inputs of;
      (1) we have the potential to do anything, and (2) we will die before doing
      much. The brain goes nuts over that one, so it invents stuff like an
      afterlife where you have an eternity to do whatever. The Islamic inputs for
      belief in their heaven are fascinating.

      It also explains the idea of souls. George is dead on a slab. He used to
      be full of life and action. The problem for the brain is; (1) George did
      stuff yesterday and (2) he looks exactly the same today ... except a bit
      stiff and he isn't breathing or moving. The (1) and (2) inputs do not give
      a comfy answer. So the brain [more appropriately the communal brain]
      invents a third input ... (3) George had a soul which contained all his
      attributes. The answer then is obvious; (1)+(2)+(3)=George's soul has left
      and is now elsewhere. It only remains to define the "elsewhere". That is
      done by the church and you have to buy into their interpretation in order to
      get a ticket. If you don't pay, you go to a holding cell until someone does
      pay. Oh ... and you have to believe in [have the input in your brain] their
      guy, not the guy down the road. Lots of people lost their head [pun
      intended] for that one.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim
      Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 5:52 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: shaping essence


      Thank you for your detailed response.

      When talking about computers and computer programs I think you need to
      distinguish between traditional computers which have a "Central Processing
      Unit" (CPU) and which work by executing one command at a time, and "neural
      network" computers which, like the human brain, have thousands, millions,
      billions of neurons, each connected to hundreds of others.

      The traditional computers can be loaded with programs which can then be run
      via a "Run" command.

      Neural networks – like our brains, and the next generation of computers –
      are not programmed as such, rather they "learn" by trial and error – where
      "success" states are reinforced, strengthening certain neuronal connections
      and weakening others. For neuronal networks it doesn't really make sense to
      talk about them being "programmed" – or so I understand things.

      I also think your metaphors of "applying formalas" or "running scripts" are
      suspect. The problem here is the spectre of an infinite regress. What runs
      the scripts, or applies the formulas? Another script/formula. And what runs
      that script/formula? Another script/formula. And so on to infinity. There is
      no tiny homunculus inside our brains to direct things, there is no "master
      neuron" which controls all the others.

      For these reasons I think it best just to talk of persons, individuals, who
      make decisions and initiate and sustain actions. Sure my brain's neuronal
      activity is the physical basis for my decisions, my actions, my thoughts and
      feelings, but still it is I, Jim Stuart, the human person, who makes the
      decision and is responsible for the consequences of the decision.

      Sure our memories are somehow "stored" in the neurons and the neuronal
      connections, but I still think talk of running programs and applying
      formulas, even if taken metaphorically, does not illuminate our conscious
      mental life and our human behaviour, and sends our philosophical thinking
      down blind alleys.



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    • eduardathome
      I still get the feeling that it is words for the sake of words. Take for example your statement of .... Since to be a living being has diversity within
      Message 67 of 67 , May 10, 2013
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        I still get the feeling that it is words for the sake of words.

        Take for example your statement of ....

        "Since to be a living being has "diversity within itself", e.g., human
        beings are living beings, it cannot be the same as pure being".

        You have prior defined things "pure" as having no diversity. Therefore it
        goes without saying that a living being which is also defined as "diversity"
        within itself cannot be "pure" being.

        But, you could just as easily say that diversity is inherent to being and
        thus an attribute of pure being. Afterall, living is action, otherwise you
        are dead. Action itself is diverse in that it can vary. If it doesn't
        vary, you are back to "dead". Therefore, living which is known by its
        diversity is pure being.

        We eventually come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as pure
        being, because we define it in a fashion as to make it impossible.

        I don't think "nothingness" is about the end or beginning of something. I
        think "nothingness" is a mental state or state of mind in which one tries to
        deal with the absence of something. That is, something that one's brain
        expects to be there, but cannot find anything at that location. I think
        that is the meaning of Sartre's néant as not being. Of course I could be
        wrong and I am biased by my philosophy of Nooism which poses that everything
        we think of is resolvable down to mental states. The anxiety comes from not
        finding the thing that is supposed to be there. The expectation is that
        Pierre would be seated in chair #3. Since he isn't there, or rather his
        "not-being" is there leads to anxiety. In the end, it has very little to do
        with the real world presence or absence of Pierre, but only the way in which
        our brains try to conceptualize Pierre.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: christopher arthur
        Sent: Saturday, May 04, 2013 2:34 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: shaping nothing


        Maybe the intention is to say that the absolute distinction of Being and
        Nothing is made while one becomes the other, but otherwise they are the
        same. Also he seems to say that the process already happened, so that
        they are no longer in a state of becoming, and therefore always
        presently the same.

        Somehow this reminds me of the Timaeus of Plato where Socrates, with his
        friends, is discussing the beginning of the universe, and they stop to
        make the point to distinguish "between that which always is and never
        becomes from that which is always becoming but never is." In these
        cases what can we say about beginnings and endings, or is there no
        anxiety of nothingness here because we cannot find the ends of such things?

        One question to ask is whether we can feel what pure being is by trying
        to generalize from examples of being...like a human being or a living
        being. Since to be a living being has "diversity within itself", e.g.,
        human beings are living beings, it cannot be the same as pure being.
        But then, why don't we eventually come to the conclusion that there is
        no such thing as pure being? Maybe we're supposed to think that there
        is a little bit of pure being in everything.


        eduardathome a écrit :
        > One gets the feeling that this is just words for the sake of words.
        > “Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same”.
        > “... on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely
        > distinct”.
        > eduard
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Mary
        > Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:07 AM
        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: [existlist] Re: shaping nothing
        > Hello Jim,
        > The Zizek quotes are from "Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of
        > Dialectical Materialism" Verso 2012.
        > If what we experience are appearances expressing universal ideas,
        > though something, they appear out of nothing. However, illusory being
        > is the only being we have. Something and Nothing both exist as
        > necessary conditions for one another. Nothing is often capitalized to
        > indicate the concept rather than the feeling of nothingness associated
        > with existential anxiety. Previous to reading Hegel I thought absolute
        > Nothing was merely theoretical and only Being was, but my current
        > understanding of Nothing is derived from Hegel's Science of Logic
        > quoted as follows:
        > A. BEING
        > Being, pure being, without any further determination. In its
        > indeterminate immediacy it is equal only to itself. It is also not
        > unequal relatively to an other; it has no diversity within itself nor
        > any with a reference outwards. It would not be held fast in its purity
        > if it contained any determination or content which could be
        > distinguished in it or by which it could be distinguished from an
        > other. It is pure indeterminateness and emptiness. There is nothing to
        > be intuited in it, if one can speak here of intuiting; or, it is only
        > this pure intuiting itself. Just as little is anything to be thought
        > in it, or it is equally only this empty thinking. Being, the
        > indeterminate immediate, is in fact nothing, and neither more nor less
        > than nothing.(Hegel, Science of Logic §132)
        > B. NOTHING
        > Nothing, pure nothing: it is simply equality with itself, complete
        > emptiness, absence of all determination and content —
        > undifferentiatedness in itself. In so far as intuiting or thinking can
        > be mentioned here, it counts as a distinction whether something or
        > nothing is intuited or thought. To intuit or think nothing has,
        > therefore, a meaning; both are distinguished and thus nothing is
        > (exists) in our intuiting or thinking; or rather it is empty intuition
        > and thought itself, and the same empty intuition or thought as pure
        > being. Nothing is, therefore, the same determination, or rather
        > absence of determination, and thus altogether the same as, pure being.
        > (§133)
        > C. BECOMING
        > Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. What is the
        > truth is neither being nor nothing, but that being — does not pass
        > over but has passed over — into nothing, and nothing into being. But
        > it is equally true that they are not undistinguished from each other,
        > that, on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely
        > distinct, and yet that they are unseparated and inseparable and that
        > each immediately vanishes in its opposite. Their truth is therefore,
        > this movement of the immediate vanishing of the one into the other:
        > becoming, a movement in which both are distinguished, but by a
        > difference which has equally immediately resolved itself. (§134)
        > Mary
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi Mary,
        > >
        > > I struggle to make sense of the Zizek quotes – which of his books
        > are you quoting from?
        > >
        > > In particular the following quote does not seem satisfactory to me:
        > >
        > > ...The answer to "Why is there Something rather than Nothing" is
        > thus that there IS only Nothing, and all processes take place "from
        > Nothing through Nothing to Nothing." (p.38)
        > >
        > > Surely this is not correct. I know there is something – myself, my
        > family, my keyboard, my desk, my flat, my work colleagues. So Zizek is
        > wrong to say there is only nothing.
        > >
        > > And why does he spell nothing with a capital `N'?
        > >
        > > A perplexed Jim
        > >
        > ------------------------------------
        > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
        > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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