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Author Topic: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion  (Read 34852 times)

Dorsidwarf

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #75 on: August 31, 2018, 06:44:47 am »

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago
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KittyTac

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #76 on: August 31, 2018, 06:49:21 am »

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago
Exactly. I don't understand GC's argument very well.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #77 on: September 01, 2018, 06:07:25 am »

Wrong. Just plain wrong. Physical consciousness and the existence of other people are not mutually exclusive. It just means that their consciousness is also physical. And my definition of consciousness is different (clarity of thought), as a consequence of my disbelief in free will.

I have already explained why physical consciousness is mutually exclusive with the existence of the consciousness of other people.  That reason in summary that the consciousness of other people is theoretical while your own is directly empirical.  Empirical things are not subject to Occam's Razor, if you actually see how something explains something, you can have unnecessary elements but if you invent something to explain something else then it does apply. 

The twist here I have not been clear is that the reason empirical things are immune to Occam's Razor is that they are part of consciousness through being observed.  Consciousness then is actually immune to Occam's Razor, but to then argue that it is a physical entity at this point makes that immunity special pleading; only by being outside of the physical world can it not be subject to the same rules that material entities are. 

Free will is a separate subject to this.  Free will currently stands on empirical observation by itself and would fall if the functioning of the brain-body was found to be entirely deterministic, that is the empirical observation would be established as illusory.  I don't have a theoretical problem with a dualistic consciousness that has no free will. 

That's pretty long post, GoblinCookie, but I think it all rests on the assumption that you have evidence of your own consiciousness that you don't find in others.

If it is thinking, given that all things you think about are words or can be put into words, what distinguishes it from merely a logical machine?
In a conversation between you and someone else where both participants can follow the train of logic, what's the difference?

There is indeed little or no difference and the consciousness is only aware of a small amount of the total amount of thinking going on in it's creature.  Thinking does not make you conscious and no means exists to determine through observation whether a thinking creature is consciously aware of it's own thoughts, aside from actually being that creature. 

Presently the only way to empirically observe consciousness is to actually *be* the creature in question.  Problem is that you can only *be* one creature at a time, so to be one creature is to render the consciousness of all other beings theoretical rather than empirical; at that point Occam's Razor strikes. 

Wait, I should note: Occam's razor implies that everybody else has consciousness because "I am perfectly unique" makes fewer assumptions than "most humans is the same as me in most regards".

 ??? ??? The very argument you appear to have made is an argument for what I have been saying, I shall assume that is a typo.

I refer you back to an earlier analogy: there are 7 billion monkey wheels turning.  None of those wheels require monkeys to turn them, but it is possible that a monkey *could* turn them.  You observe one monkey turning one wheel, but see no other monkeys turning any other wheels.  The fact you saw one visible monkey, turning one wheel does not mean that there are 7 billion other monkeys that are invisible to you turning the other wheels.

So yes, Occam's Razor supports the idea that you are unique, the only "unneccesery monkey", since 1 monkey is fewer monkeys than 7 billion monkeys. 

I still don’t understand how Occam’s razor was used to justify “if consciousness is a seperate spirit attatched to the brain  then everything is okay but if consciousness is merely a description of a physical process than you poof out of existence”, but I feel that I lost track of what people were saying half a page ago

It has to do with how a non-physical thing can be exempt from the normal principles without this being special pleading, but a physical thing very much cannot. 
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KittyTac

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #78 on: September 01, 2018, 06:15:22 am »

Wrong. Just plain wrong. Physical consciousness and the existence of other people are not mutually exclusive. It just means that their consciousness is also physical. And my definition of consciousness is different (clarity of thought), as a consequence of my disbelief in free will.

I have already explained why physical consciousness is mutually exclusive with the existence of the consciousness of other people.  That reason in summary that the consciousness of other people is theoretical while your own is directly empirical.  Empirical things are not subject to Occam's Razor, if you actually see how something explains something, you can have unnecessary elements but if you invent something to explain something else then it does apply. 

The twist here I have not been clear is that the reason empirical things are immune to Occam's Razor is that they are part of consciousness through being observed.  Consciousness then is actually immune to Occam's Razor, but to then argue that it is a physical entity at this point makes that immunity special pleading; only by being outside of the physical world can it not be subject to the same rules that material entities are. 

Free will is a separate subject to this.  Free will currently stands on empirical observation by itself and would fall if the functioning of the brain-body was found to be entirely deterministic, that is the empirical observation would be established as illusory.  I don't have a theoretical problem with a dualistic consciousness that has no free will.
Just thinking about it, your second paragraph makes no sense. Consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor and... then what? What is your point? Your argument is built on the non-physicality of consciousness, it just falls apart if we assume that it is physical. You are saying that material things are not subject to OR, but if we assume that consciousness is physical, it is not subject to OR and then the consciousness of other people exists. Maybe I have misunderstood you.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 06:24:49 am by KittyTac »
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #79 on: September 01, 2018, 07:51:10 am »

Just thinking about it, your second paragraph makes no sense. Consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor and... then what? What is your point? Your argument is built on the non-physicality of consciousness, it just falls apart if we assume that it is physical. You are saying that material things are not subject to OR, but if we assume that consciousness is physical, it is not subject to OR and then the consciousness of other people exists. Maybe I have misunderstood you.

No, because if we take consciousness to be a physical entity then everything that applies to the category in general also applies to consciousness, to say that consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor is called Special Pleading, if we have a physical consciousness that is.

If consciousness is non-physical then, I can now say that Occam's Razor does not apply to consciousness things only physical things.  I can additionally support that argument by pointing out using the unnecessary monkey analogy, that an empirically observable cause cancels out Occam's Razor and I can justify it by how an empirical thing is part non-physical due to being part of consciousness.

If consciousness is physical, unobserved consciousnesses falls under the rules that apply to all physical objects that are unobserved, they exist only if they are neccesery.  If consciousness is non-physical then other people's consciousnesses cannot be eliminated in this fashion because in being consciousnesses they are exempt from Occam's Razor, just as you are.
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KittyTac

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #80 on: September 01, 2018, 08:52:02 am »

Just thinking about it, your second paragraph makes no sense. Consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor and... then what? What is your point? Your argument is built on the non-physicality of consciousness, it just falls apart if we assume that it is physical. You are saying that material things are not subject to OR, but if we assume that consciousness is physical, it is not subject to OR and then the consciousness of other people exists. Maybe I have misunderstood you.

No, because if we take consciousness to be a physical entity then everything that applies to the category in general also applies to consciousness, to say that consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor is called Special Pleading, if we have a physical consciousness that is.

If consciousness is non-physical then, I can now say that Occam's Razor does not apply to consciousness things only physical things.  I can additionally support that argument by pointing out using the unnecessary monkey analogy, that an empirically observable cause cancels out Occam's Razor and I can justify it by how an empirical thing is part non-physical due to being part of consciousness.

If consciousness is physical, unobserved consciousnesses falls under the rules that apply to all physical objects that are unobserved, they exist only if they are neccesery.  If consciousness is non-physical then other people's consciousnesses cannot be eliminated in this fashion because in being consciousnesses they are exempt from Occam's Razor, just as you are.
Well, then the existence of other consciousnesses is indeterminable, rather than definitely "existent" or "non-existent". Anything else is armchair philosophizing.

I don't think the thread is anywhere near its rails by now.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 08:54:31 am by KittyTac »
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Dorsidwarf

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2018, 10:26:30 am »

Wouldn't the monkey analogy be more like

there are seven billion wheels that you cannot see inside, and one that you can. In the wheel that you can see, a monkey is doing something to turn the wheel. All of the closed wheels are also turning.

In this case, with no other knowledge, it seems like a reasonable assumption to assume that the other wheels also contain a monkey.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #82 on: September 01, 2018, 01:42:13 pm »

No, because if we take consciousness to be a physical entity then everything that applies to the category in general also applies to consciousness, to say that consciousness is immune to Occam's Razor is called Special Pleading, if we have a physical consciousness that is.

If consciousness is non-physical then, I can now say that Occam's Razor does not apply to consciousness things only physical things.  I can additionally support that argument by pointing out using the unnecessary monkey analogy, that an empirically observable cause cancels out Occam's Razor and I can justify it by how an empirical thing is part non-physical due to being part of consciousness.

If consciousness is physical, unobserved consciousnesses falls under the rules that apply to all physical objects that are unobserved, they exist only if they are neccesery.  If consciousness is non-physical then other people's consciousnesses cannot be eliminated in this fashion because in being consciousnesses they are exempt from Occam's Razor, just as you are.

Occam's Razor isn't a law of physic, like gravity.  It's a guideline for reasoning - the simplest explanation is likely to be correct.  It doesn't just apply to physical objects; it applies to any assumption that makes the explanation more complex.  (It's also a guideline, not a definitive guarantee.  As you learn more about the situation, you may discover that the simplest explanation no longer covers all of the evidence, and needs to be modified or discarded.)

Imagine that you're walking on the beach, and the ground is made up of sand as far as you can see: an incalculable number of tiny grains.  The sand could go down for a vast distance below you.  Or perhaps it's just a thin layer, barely enough to conceal a single pad of some springy, flexible material that underlies the entire beach.  The deep sand explanation requires an enormously greater number of objects, if you count each grain, but only one assumption: there's a lot of sand here.  The springy pad explanation still requires quite a bit of sand, to hide the pad, but it also requires a pad that acts much like deep sand below the surface.  Despite involving a smaller number of objects, it's a more complex explanation.  And if you dig into the sand and find more sand below it, maintaining the pad explanation requires assuming that its substance turns into sand as you dig toward it.  This makes it more complicated and less likely.

With your 7 billion monkey wheels, we can observe that all of the wheels are turning in roughly the same manner.  Everything we can examine about the wheels indicates that they are built in the same way, out of the same materials, and operate according to the same basic principles.  We can only see into one of the wheels, which has a monkey turning it.  We can assume that the other wheels are roughly similar to the one we can observe, and probably also have monkeys turning them.  Or we can assume that our observed wheel is completely unique - we know that monkeys exist, and can turn wheels, but the other wheels are probably being turned by some unknown factor that makes them rotate in exactly the same way as the one that has a monkey in it.  Which of these explanations is actually simpler?

Of course, it could still be the case that some of the wheels have badgers in them, and some have lizards, and one is full of water and being turned by a squid.  Occam's Razor is just a guideline; the simplest explanation isn't always the right one.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #83 on: September 01, 2018, 02:05:16 pm »

Well, then the existence of other consciousnesses is indeterminable, rather than definitely "existent" or "non-existent". Anything else is armchair philosophizing.

I don't think the thread is anywhere near its rails by now.

It is determinable in the sense that if we know of something that has 999 elements and we know of something that has 1000 elements, 999 of which are the same as something else, we can surmise that the 1000th element is present also based upon them being the same thing.

Wouldn't the monkey analogy be more like

there are seven billion wheels that you cannot see inside, and one that you can. In the wheel that you can see, a monkey is doing something to turn the wheel. All of the closed wheels are also turning.

In this case, with no other knowledge, it seems like a reasonable assumption to assume that the other wheels also contain a monkey.

No, we can see inside *all* the monkey wheels (bodies).  We know the monkey wheels do not require monkeys (consciousnesses) to explain their functioning and we also have seen one particular monkey (our own consciousness) but see no other monkeys inside any other wheels. 

The key difference is that the other monkeys if they exist are invisible.

Here's a starting point, so this discussion stops being so... frankly, stupid: why doesn't GoblinCookie define what the hell he means by consciousness?

Because GoblinCookie finds it hard to define something that is non-material in material terms without confusing people.  The question is in effect a trap.  The best definition is that a consciousness is a group of ideas, in the sense that 10 is a group of 1s; neither the ideas nor the consciousness are physical.

Occam's Razor isn't a law of physic, like gravity.  It's a guideline for reasoning - the simplest explanation is likely to be correct.  It doesn't just apply to physical objects; it applies to any assumption that makes the explanation more complex.  (It's also a guideline, not a definitive guarantee.  As you learn more about the situation, you may discover that the simplest explanation no longer covers all of the evidence, and needs to be modified or discarded.)

Correct, the trouble is that this very concept hits everyone elses consciousnesses very, very hard if consciousness is physical.  I don't need other people to be conscious to explain their behavior and I can't see their consciousnesses.  Invisible physical things that exist solely because they explain something else are what that principle was made to get rid of. 

"The car made the body dodge the car" is a simpler explanation than "He saw the car so he decided to avoid it and dodged the car as a result".
 
Imagine that you're walking on the beach, and the ground is made up of sand as far as you can see: an incalculable number of tiny grains.  The sand could go down for a vast distance below you.  Or perhaps it's just a thin layer, barely enough to conceal a single pad of some springy, flexible material that underlies the entire beach.  The deep sand explanation requires an enormously greater number of objects, if you count each grain, but only one assumption: there's a lot of sand here.  The springy pad explanation still requires quite a bit of sand, to hide the pad, but it also requires a pad that acts much like deep sand below the surface.  Despite involving a smaller number of objects, it's a more complex explanation.  And if you dig into the sand and find more sand below it, maintaining the pad explanation requires assuming that its substance turns into sand as you dig toward it.  This makes it more complicated and less likely.

With your 7 billion monkey wheels, we can observe that all of the wheels are turning in roughly the same manner.  Everything we can examine about the wheels indicates that they are built in the same way, out of the same materials, and operate according to the same basic principles.  We can only see into one of the wheels, which has a monkey turning it.  We can assume that the other wheels are roughly similar to the one we can observe, and probably also have monkeys turning them.  Or we can assume that our observed wheel is completely unique - we know that monkeys exist, and can turn wheels, but the other wheels are probably being turned by some unknown factor that makes them rotate in exactly the same way as the one that has a monkey in it.  Which of these explanations is actually simpler?

Of course, it could still be the case that some of the wheels have badgers in them, and some have lizards, and one is full of water and being turned by a squid.  Occam's Razor is just a guideline; the simplest explanation isn't always the right one.

The problem is that our own monkey-wheel would also work just as well if we were not there.  No creatures are ever needed to turn the wheels, whatever type of creature they may be.  The only reason our own monkey exists at all is solely that we can see it.
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Putnam

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #84 on: September 01, 2018, 04:37:36 pm »

cookie, you are aware that your argument is literally identical whether or not consciousness is physical, yes? the physicality of consciousness has absolutely nothing to do with whether everyone else is a philosophical zombie. I can just as easily say "consciousness is a super special fairy that lets me think. Since I can't see anyone else's fairy, they don't have it."

also, phineas gage basically proves you wrong anyway? personality is changed by brain damage, so obviously there's a physical cause to personality, in the brain.

No, we can see inside *all* the monkey wheels (bodies).  We know the monkey wheels do not require monkeys (consciousnesses) to explain their functioning and we also have seen one particular monkey (our own consciousness) but see no other monkeys inside any other wheels. 

The key difference is that the other monkeys if they exist are invisible.


Why are you completely ignoring all the wonderful science done on affecting perceptions, personality and other things we attribute to "consciousness" by stimulating areas of the brain, some of which have been linked in this very thread? We can totally see the other monkeys.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 05:01:40 pm by Putnam »
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Dorsidwarf

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #85 on: September 01, 2018, 07:29:09 pm »

That’s total bullshit GC. The whole point of not being able to see what’s in the other wheels is that *you can’t detect the consciousness of of other people, because they aren’t you and therefore you don’t have any proof that they are conscious (A monkey is turning the wheel) or merely appearing to be conscious ( the wheel is turning because there is something else inside it. A motor would work fine in this analogy)

What are you trying to say when you say “we can see into everyone else’s wheel and there are no monkies)? Because that sounds like you’re saying that we can detect/observe consciousness, despite as far as I’m aware there not even being a scientific consensus as to what the term actually means.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #86 on: September 01, 2018, 07:42:23 pm »

It is determinable in the sense that if we know of something that has 999 elements and we know of something that has 1000 elements, 999 of which are the same as something else, we can surmise that the 1000th element is present also based upon them being the same thing.

So if we know that one monkey wheel has 1000 elements, and another monkey wheel has 999 identical elements, with the 1000th element being a monkey turning the first wheel...?

No, we can see inside *all* the monkey wheels (bodies).  We know the monkey wheels do not require monkeys (consciousnesses) to explain their functioning and we also have seen one particular monkey (our own consciousness) but see no other monkeys inside any other wheels. 

The key difference is that the other monkeys if they exist are invisible.

We can 'see' inside the first monkey wheel because we experience our own capacity for awareness.  In order to see inside the other wheels to the same degree, we would have to somehow experience other people's absence of that capacity.  Are you a telepath, reading everyone's mind and finding nothing there?  If so, maybe your telepathy just doesn't work very well.  How are you seeing into all the wheels?  Not just coming to a conclusion about their contents, but SEEING them?  Sure, there are people who don't seem to have much awareness of what's going on around them (or even what they, themselves, are saying), but noticing that is a long way short of directly experiencing a lack of consciousness on their part.

Because GoblinCookie finds it hard to define something that is non-material in material terms without confusing people.  The question is in effect a trap.  The best definition is that a consciousness is a group of ideas, in the sense that 10 is a group of 1s; neither the ideas nor the consciousness are physical.
Correct, the trouble is that this very concept hits everyone elses consciousnesses very, very hard if consciousness is physical.  I don't need other people to be conscious to explain their behavior and I can't see their consciousnesses.  Invisible physical things that exist solely because they explain something else are what that principle was made to get rid of. 

"The car made the body dodge the car" is a simpler explanation than "He saw the car so he decided to avoid it and dodged the car as a result".

When you agreed with my description of Occam's Razor, did you somehow miss the part where it applies equally to physical and non-physical assumptions?  And also that it is a general guideline, not an absolute rule?

Consider "There is some process that causes consciousness in me, and in entities similar to me." versus "There is some process that causes consciousness in me.  A different process causes entities similar to me to act in similar ways to me without being conscious."  The first requires one assumption.  The second requires two.  Why do you think the second is a simpler explanation?  And not just simpler, but so much simpler that the other isn't even worth considering as a possibility!

"The car made the body dodge the car" uses fewer words, but doesn't explain anything or match observed evidence.  If cars cause objects to dodge, why didn't the car make the box dodge the car?  Or the body that was looking the other direction?  What made the body dodge the soccer ball?  We have a lot of evidence about how vision and muscles operate.  We experience seeing oncoming objects and trying to avoid them.  These aren't arbitrary assumptions thrown together to explain a single incident; they're based on a wide range of interconnecting evidence.

Of course, consciousness isn't required to dodge a car.  People could build a robot that detected traffic with cameras or radar and was programmed to take evasive action.  But this is still the evading object reacting to the car, by means that operate consistently in any similar context.  I suppose the car could have cameras or radar, and send a signal telling the robot to get out of the way.  To determine which of these happened, one would need to examine the car and the robot, and find out which has the capacity to detect a potential collision in advance and react to it.  Occam's Razor isn't going to tell us that.

The problem is that our own monkey-wheel would also work just as well if we were not there.  No creatures are ever needed to turn the wheels, whatever type of creature they may be.  The only reason our own monkey exists at all is solely that we can see it.

Maybe our monkey wheel would work just fine without us, but that isn't what is happening.  We are there.  Why should every other monkey wheel be different from ours?  Consciousness isn't an explanation.  It's an observed fact to be explained.  However we try to explain it, there's no reason to limit the explanation to ourselves when it applies just as easily to everyone else.

Our monkey exists because it exists.  We know it exists because we can see it.  If there's a glass jar full of marbles on your desk, and you drop a towel over it, do the marbles cease to exist as soon as you can't see them?

Since we know one monkey exists, and have a definite example of it, additional monkey in similar circumstances don't make the explanation drastically more complex.  Two monkeys or 10 monkeys or 7 billion monkeys, it's all just a slight expansion of the 'monkey can turn wheel' assumption that's required for any explanation, because every explanation has to cover the wheel with the monkey that we can see.  We don't have any examples of the same sort of wheel turning when it definitely lacks a monkey.  We have other types of wheel that rotate with nowhere for a monkey to fit, but they aren't the same kind of wheel and they don't turn the same way.  It is a bigger assumption that monkey wheels can turn without a monkey than that they can turn with a monkey, which we can directly observe.

(The point was not 'If you don't like monkeys, maybe there's a squid turning the wheel'.  The point was that even an explanation that is clearly, unquestionably more complex, with creatures that haven't been demonstrated to exist at all in the analogy, still isn't ruled out completely by Occam's Razor because it is not an absolute rule.)
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KittyTac

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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #87 on: September 01, 2018, 10:35:44 pm »

You guys covered my point already, so I'll not make an argument.
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #88 on: September 02, 2018, 02:47:51 am »

You can't hide behind Occam's Razor when you're proposing the existence of non-physical "magic" conciousness.

Q: How does the sun cross the sky?
A: Helios pulls it! Simplest explanation wins! You can't prove Earth is a planet! You can't prove planets are affected by gravity like everything else! Occam's Razor doesn't apply to gods, haha!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 02:58:53 am by Bumber »
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Re: Dwarves, Philosophy, and Religion
« Reply #89 on: September 02, 2018, 04:08:18 am »

That's pretty long post, GoblinCookie, but I think it all rests on the assumption that you have evidence of your own consiciousness that you don't find in others.

If it is thinking, given that all things you think about are words or can be put into words, what distinguishes it from merely a logical machine?
In a conversation between you and someone else where both participants can follow the train of logic, what's the difference?

There is indeed little or no difference and the consciousness is only aware of a small amount of the total amount of thinking going on in it's creature.  Thinking does not make you conscious and no means exists to determine through observation whether a thinking creature is consciously aware of it's own thoughts, aside from actually being that creature. 

Presently the only way to empirically observe consciousness is to actually *be* the creature in question.  Problem is that you can only *be* one creature at a time, so to be one creature is to render the consciousness of all other beings theoretical rather than empirical; at that point Occam's Razor strikes. 
That doesn't actually answer the question of what is the difference. How do you know the creature in question (that you hypothetically are) has consciousness and not is merely a monkey wheel that has a thought process?
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