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Old 18th February 2019, 10:03 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
As I said, this is based entirely on subjective reporting. If you doubt me, describe an experiment to measure consciousness that does not rely on any reference to observations made by conscious subjects (and I mean reference made at any point in time, not just during the experiment).
Isn't that true of any observation, though? If I describe elephants, I must do so based on my observations as a conscious subject, etc.

That's not much of an objection.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:06 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ok that's fair enough, but how does it gel with the fact that only brains are known to be conscious? How is one to tell the difference between "everything is conscious but only brains exhibit it" and "only brains are conscious"? And, if one can't, why believe this at all?
Brains are believed to be conscious because they're the only things connect to mouths that can assert the premise. That's not a flippant answer. Up until very recently it was the scientific consensus that only humans were conscious (an assertion so baseless it's literally religious in its nature). Now it's widely accepted that many other creatures are conscious, such as apes, whales, dogs, even octopi. The trouble is that scientists, in general, have never explained how or where they draw the line. My hypothesis has the advantage of not having a line.

Last edited by baron; 18th February 2019 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:13 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, that's not entirely true.

Not only can we observe evidence of consciousness in other people, which makes it an objective observation, but we can also observe subjectively that we are aware of something and not others, even within our own brain processes.
But this is not empirical evidence. We see someone behaving in a certain way and we say they're conspicuously performing an action on the basis that when we perform that action we feel as though we're conscious. This might be classed as evidence, but it's 100% subjective evidence.

Take an experiment where brain activity is measured. A specific pattern of activity is identified as occurring when the subject is conscious. And that's fine, but that identification can only be made because somewhere down the line a person has actually sat in a chair and effectively said, "I am doing X consciously" whilst a similar pattern was observed on the monitors. Again, entirely subjective, because unless we accept a theory along the lines of what I propose, we can imagine a non-conscious mechanical entity saying exactly the same thing.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:14 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
That's begging the question.
It's really not.

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Furthermore, it's not evidence of anything aside from a change in brain state.
...one of which is what we describe as "conscious".

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They are not things, they are attributes. The flight of a flock of birds has no independent reality, nothing additional has been created other than a new way of describing what's already present.
Your original argument was that if consciousness was emergent then it didn't exist. You are therefore now making the argument that attributes do not exist.

If what you meant when you said that consciousness being an emergent property of the brain meant that it didn't exist independently of the brain, then that's true. But all you're really doing then is saying "defining consciousness as an emergent property of the brain is defining consciousness as an emergent property of the brain". I hope you can see how that's not really an effective argument against consciousness being an emergent property of the brain.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
As I said, this is based entirely on subjective reporting. If you doubt me, describe an experiment to measure consciousness that does not rely on any reference to observations made by conscious subjects (and I mean reference made at any point in time, not just during the experiment).
It's impossible to name any experiment of any kind which doesn't rely on any reference to observations made by conscious subjects at any point in time, not just during the experiment. Using the criterion you've set out here there is no such thing as empirical evidence.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:17 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Brains are believed to be conscious because they're the only things connect to mouths that can assert the premise. That's not a flippant answer. Up until very recently it was the scientific consensus that only humans were conscious (an assertion so baseless it's literally religious in its nature). Now it's widely accepted that many other creatures are conscious, such as apes, whales, dogs, even octopi. The trouble is that scientists, in general, have never explained how or where they draw the line. My hypothesis has the advantage of not having a line.
I don't see that as an advantage. It's arguing from ignorance. All of those things you name have brains very similar in function and structure to our own.

Originally Posted by baron View Post
But this is not empirical evidence. We see someone behaving in a certain way and we say they're conspicuously performing an action on the basis that when we perform that action we feel as though we're conscious. This might be classed as evidence, but it's 100% subjective evidence.
No, that's still objective. Otherwise everything is subjective and we might as well give up science and curve up into solipsistic balls.

Quote:
Take an experiment where brain activity is measured. A specific pattern of activity is identified as occurring when the subject is conscious. And that's fine, but that identification can only be made because somewhere down the line a person has actually sat in a chair and effectively said, "I am doing X consciously" whilst a similar pattern was observed on the monitors. Again, entirely subjective, because unless we accept a theory along the lines of what I propose, we can imagine a non-conscious mechanical entity saying exactly the same thing.
Do you see double-blind medical trials as entirely subjective, then?
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:26 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
It's really not.



...one of which is what we describe as "conscious".
Because it has been subjectively reported as such. If you disagree, describe how else the association could be made experimentally. You don't even need to describe an actual experiment, just in theory.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Your original argument was that if consciousness was emergent then it didn't exist. You are therefore now making the argument that attributes do not exist.
As we're using the term they don't, they're descriptive tools. A tree exists. A tall tree exists. Tall does not exist.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
If what you meant when you said that consciousness being an emergent property of the brain meant that it didn't exist independently of the brain, then that's true.
So you agree, consciousness as an emergent property doesn't exist.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
But all you're really doing then is saying "defining consciousness as an emergent property of the brain is defining consciousness as an emergent property of the brain". I hope you can see how that's not really an effective argument against consciousness being an emergent property of the brain.
It is, because I believe consciousness has an independent existence. It seems to me you're confusing the concept of causation with that of independence. They are not the same.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
It's impossible to name any experiment of any kind which doesn't rely on any reference to observations made by conscious subjects at any point in time, not just during the experiment.
It's impossible for me, correct, because I believe consciousness is ubiquitous. It should be very easy for you, however. All you need to is imagine a lab full of robots performing experiments.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:36 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I don't see that as an advantage. It's arguing from ignorance. All of those things you name have brains very similar in function and structure to our own.
And that's a great example of argument from ignorance. Instead of developing a theory for consciousness that describes what it is and under what conditions it occurs, we are told that humans are conscious, because we feel like we are, and you know, some animals are similar to humans so I guess we can say they're conscious too. That doesn't sound very scientific to me, and the reason is because it's not.

Science has come up with some arbitrary tests for consciousness, such as a subject recognising themselves in a mirror. To my mind this is entirely futile and shows a naive misunderstanding about what is being studied.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No, that's still objective. Otherwise everything is subjective and we might as well give up science and curve up into solipsistic balls.
You can't redefine what subjective means simply because you don't like its implications. What I wrote is perfectly correct. Your only reference point for assuming that when a person performs a certain action they are conscious is that when you perform that action you feel you are conscious. This is the definition of subjectivity. And no amount of experimentation on your brain states or behaviour will alter this fact, because at every stage it relies on your subjective reporting to decide which of your behaviours are conscious and which are not.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Do you see double-blind medical trials as entirely subjective, then?
Medical trials don't rely on the subjects' conscious reporting. That's why they can be done on pigs or rats.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:44 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Because it has been subjectively reported as such.
No. Because that's how it's defined.

Quote:
As we're using the term they don't, they're descriptive tools. A tree exists. A tall tree exists. Tall does not exist.
The movement of birds exists. The organisation of an ant colony exists. They're not physical objects, which seems to be what you're getting at, but physical objects aren't the only things which exist.

So you agree, consciousness as an emergent property doesn't exist.[/quote]

Please don't start straw manning me.

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It is, because I believe consciousness has an independent existence.
That doesn't make your argument any better. All you seem to be doing here is saying that you believe your argument to lead to the conclusion you're using it to support because that conclusion is the one that you believe to be true. That's not how it actually works.

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It seems to me you're confusing the concept of causation with that of independence.
Not even slightly. I've no idea where you're getting that from.

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It's impossible for me, correct, because I believe consciousness is ubiquitous. It should be very easy for you, however. All you need to is imagine a lab full of robots performing experiments.
Who built the robots? Who created the lab? Who is going to look at the results?
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:52 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
And that's a great example of argument from ignorance.
Baron, using the evidence we actually have is the exact opposite of an argument from ignorance.

Believing, without evidence, that rocks and everything else is conscious to some degree, however, IS arguing from ignorance. You've admitted that you have no evidence whatsoever. Perhaps you simply don't process as I do, but I'm usually loathe to reach conclusions based on fairy dust.

Quote:
Instead of developing a theory for consciousness that describes what it is and under what conditions it occurs, we are told that humans are conscious, because we feel like we are, and you know, some animals are similar to humans so I guess we can say they're conscious too. That doesn't sound very scientific to me, and the reason is because it's not.
I don't think you're quite up to date with what we actually know about consciousness, if you think this is all there is. Furthermore, there is nothing "unscientific" about comparing similar things and concluding that they are, in fact, similar.

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Science has come up with some arbitrary tests for consciousness, such as a subject recognising themselves in a mirror.
I don't think your theory compares favourably to even that, since you have no test at all. Your hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

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You can't redefine what subjective means simply because you don't like its implications.
I'm not. You observing someone else behave is not a subjective though.

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Your only reference point for assuming that when a person performs a certain action they are conscious is that when you perform that action you feel you are conscious.
Wrong. We have _defined_ consciousness a certain way. Then we can observed if the behaviour fits the definition. That's not subjective.

Quote:
This is the definition of subjectivity. And no amount of experimentation on your brain states or behaviour will alter this fact, because at every stage it relies on your subjective reporting to decide which of your behaviours are conscious and which are not.
Again: every measurement you ever make therefore is subjective, and the world cannot be known.

Quote:
Medical trials don't rely on the subjects' conscious reporting.
Actually, they very often are. How do you know if a pill has solved someone's headaches? Do you think they stick electrodes into people's brains? They don't. They ask the subject if there's any improvement. That's a subjective response, and yet the trial results are NOT subjective.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:53 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
No. Because that's how it's defined.
Says who?

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
The movement of birds exists. The organisation of an ant colony exists. They're not physical objects, which seems to be what you're getting at, but physical objects aren't the only things which exist.
Movement is not an emergent property, I assume you're referring to the dynamics of bird flocks, in which case go ahead and explain how they exist as anything other than a descriptive tool.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Please don't start straw manning me.
I didn't, I literally repeated your own words, which were:

"If what you meant when you said that consciousness being an emergent property of the brain meant that it didn't exist independently of the brain, then that's true."

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
That doesn't make your argument any better. All you seem to be doing here is saying that you believe your argument to lead to the conclusion you're using it to support because that conclusion is the one that you believe to be true. That's not how it actually works.
It's not how what works? (That question isn't incumbent on me understanding your initial statement, which makes no sense).

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Who built the robots? Who created the lab? Who is going to look at the results?
1) Robots.
2) Robots.
3) Robots.
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Old 18th February 2019, 11:10 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Baron, using the evidence we actually have is the exact opposite of an argument from ignorance.

Believing, without evidence, that rocks and everything else is conscious to some degree, however, IS arguing from ignorance. You've admitted that you have no evidence whatsoever. Perhaps you simply don't process as I do, but I'm usually loathe to reach conclusions based on fairy dust.
I've already explained this. If you believe consciousness doesn't exist then fine, no further debate required. If you believe it does exist and you believe you're stating this from empirical evidence then you are in error. There is no empirical evidence whatsoever for consciousness, nor is there any theory about how this might be even possible.

Since you're of the second persuasion you need to understand that you have no more empirical evidence than I do to back up your theory. We both have precisely none.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I don't think you're quite up to date with what we actually know about consciousness, if you think this is all there is.
When did I say it's all there is? I gave it as an example.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Furthermore, there is nothing "unscientific" about comparing similar things and concluding that they are, in fact, similar.
I can state a monkey is similar to a human without even mentioning consciousness. When you start hypothesising the existence of subjective phenomena on that basis then it is unscientific.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I don't think your theory compares favourably to even that, since you have no test at all. Your hypothesis is unfalsifiable.
If you believe consciousness exists then so is yours. I could make up an experiment that also proved nothing, however, if you prefer. What will that show?

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm not. You observing someone else behave is not a subjective though.

Wrong. We have _defined_ consciousness a certain way. Then we can observed if the behaviour fits the definition. That's not subjective.
It is entirely subjective. If you believe otherwise then describe what part can be confirmed by a third party observer. (And I don't mean someone standing there saying, "Oh aye, I reckon he's conscious too", I mean an objective record).

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Again: every measurement you ever make therefore is subjective, and the world cannot be known.
It's not. If I measure something as 1m then that's an objective measurement as it can be confirmed by others. Consciousness doesn't enter into it.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Actually, they very often are. How do you know if a pill has solved someone's headaches? Do you think they stick electrodes into people's brains? They don't. They ask the subject if there's any improvement. That's a subjective response, and yet the trial results are NOT subjective.
The difference being that if enough was known about how headaches occurred in and around the brain, equipment could be set up to monitor their effects without recourse to human reporting (for example, inflammation, imbalance of certain chemicals, measurement of nerve impulses). This is not true of consciousness, there is no theory that suggests this is even possible.
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Old 18th February 2019, 11:27 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If you believe consciousness doesn't exist then fine, no further debate required. If you believe it does exist and you believe you're stating this from empirical evidence then you are in error. There is no empirical evidence whatsoever for consciousness, nor is there any theory about how this might be even possible.
By that logic "colour" doesn't exist, either.

Quote:
Since you're of the second persuasion you need to understand that you have no more empirical evidence than I do to back up your theory. We both have precisely none.
Don't try to pull the theist's "science is a religion" equivocation game, please. You are wrong, quite simply: there IS evidence for consciousness; otherwise neither of us would need a theory to explain it.

Quote:
I can state a monkey is similar to a human without even mentioning consciousness.
And yet the similarity of behaviour is the primary reason why we think they have consciousness too.

Quote:
I could make up an experiment that also proved nothing, however, if you prefer. What will that show?
I would rather you made up an experiment that proved something.

Quote:
It is entirely subjective. If you believe otherwise then describe what part can be confirmed by a third party observer. (And I don't mean someone standing there saying, "Oh aye, I reckon he's conscious too", I mean an objective record).
You've been told several times by now that by that standard NOTHING is objective, since everything is determined through observation by humans. If I look at the absorbsion lines of a star's light through a spectrometer, that perception of the results is entirely subjective, is it not? If not, how is that different from observing human behaviour? You seem to be special pleading about consciousness.

Quote:
It's not. If I measure something as 1m then that's an objective measurement as it can be confirmed by others.
And yet all of those observers are giving their subjective perception of the measurement. Even if they agree, you cannot trust them because they are subjective. This is the consequence of your line of argument.

Quote:
The difference being that if enough was known about how headaches occurred in and around the brain, equipment could be set up to monitor their effects without recourse to human reporting (for example, inflammation, imbalance of certain chemicals, measurement of nerve impulses).
That's completely irrelevant and ignores my point. The point is that you RELY on subjective reporting in order to objectively evaluate the product. Is that subjective or objective?
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Old 18th February 2019, 01:38 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
By that logic "colour" doesn't exist, either.
Exactly right.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Don't try to pull the theist's "science is a religion" equivocation game, please. You are wrong, quite simply: there IS evidence for consciousness; otherwise neither of us would need a theory to explain it.
I'm going on what I myself experience. I don't cite that as empirical evidence. You don't have any more evidence than I do, but for some reason you won't admit it.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And yet the similarity of behaviour is the primary reason why we think they have consciousness too.
It's not the reason I think they have consciousness, as I've explained.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I would rather you made up an experiment that proved something.
Then I would receive the Nobel prize and my experiment would be heralded as the most important in human history.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You've been told several times by now that by that standard NOTHING is objective, since everything is determined through observation by humans.
And each time that has been told to me I have explained how it is wrong. If it were so you would have to conclude that nothing can be determined in the absence of conscious human observation. That would certainly be news to the life-forms that existed for three billion years prior to our evolution.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
If I look at the absorbsion lines of a star's light through a spectrometer, that perception of the results is entirely subjective, is it not? If not, how is that different from observing human behaviour? You seem to be special pleading about consciousness.
You're begging the question. Of course if you look at it you're integral to the observation. If a robot looks at it the robot is doing the observing. If a chaffinch looks at it, the chaffinch is doing the observing. If the light from it is reflected in a pond, then the pond, whilst not observing in a classical sense, is still receiving information about the event.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And yet all of those observers are giving their subjective perception of the measurement. Even if they agree, you cannot trust them because they are subjective. This is the consequence of your line of argument.
Trust is not a scientific principle. I trust people's reporting of their conscious experience because I am not a solipsist. However, I recognise that such conclusions have no place in the science lab and do not constitute evidence.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
That's completely irrelevant and ignores my point. The point is that you RELY on subjective reporting in order to objectively evaluate the product. Is that subjective or objective?
Again, you're confusing trust with evidence. If someone tells me that they had cereal for breakfast I'd likely trust they were telling the truth. I wouldn't claim that their report constituted empirical evidence because clearly it does not.
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Old 18th February 2019, 04:24 PM   #54
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There was a guy who used to post here who had a Bertrand Russell quote as his signature. It was all about thought - how thought soars free, the chief glory of man etc. On a thread similar to this one, he also took a hard materialistic line and declared "I control nothing."

Mind was emergent of brain etc.

I asked if he then believed thought was an emergent property of the universe. He hedged a little.

Question: Was there any contradiction here? If we control nothing, we also don't control our thoughts - IOW we can only have thoughts prompted by the meat between our ears. They can't soar free of anything; they are completely deterministic.

I'm actually fine with either theory though I am slightly allergic to the consciousness-field type idea. I also don't understand how the introduction of quantum effects would make thought non-computational. Is it because of the randomness of quantum effects? How would that create agency?

At a consciousness conference I asked someone if you really need to have a Ph.D in particle physics to understand this stuff. He said yes.

I also asked the guy I was dating why collapsing quantum wave functions would cause consciousness and he said, "Well, something has to cause consciousness." I was never really sure he knew what he was talking about. It was a stimulating conference, though.
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Old 18th February 2019, 04:37 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
... The difference being that if enough was known about how headaches occurred in and around the brain, equipment could be set up to monitor their effects without recourse to human reporting (for example, inflammation, imbalance of certain chemicals, measurement of nerve impulses). This is not true of consciousness, there is no theory that suggests this is even possible.

I don't know about how this might tie in with some theory of consciousness: but in purely practical terms, what you say about measuring for headaches, I believe they are able to do just that, by measuring brain waves, to differentiate a comatose state, or for that matter sleep, from a normal awake conscious state.
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Old 18th February 2019, 04:45 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I don't know about how this might tie in with some theory of consciousness: but in purely practical terms, what you say about measuring for headaches, I believe they are able to do just that, by measuring brain waves, to differentiate a comatose state, or for that matter sleep, from a normal awake conscious state.
But whatever we can measure doesn't tell us what it feels like to have a headache, or not have a headache. The experience of pain is subjective, like all experience.

That doesn't rule out the idea that with enough measurements we could find out what somebody's subjective state was.
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Old 18th February 2019, 04:56 PM   #57
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True. But baron seemed to be saying, in the portion I quoted, that he is okay with accepting the existance of headache. I don't see, then, why consciousness would be any different.
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Old 18th February 2019, 05:46 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
True. But baron seemed to be saying, in the portion I quoted, that he is okay with accepting the existance of headache. I don't see, then, why consciousness would be any different.
There are measurements used as a proxy for consciousness. It has to do with measuring integrated information which is phi.

I like this Scientific American article because the writer does not pretend to really understand the theory. That sounds weird, I know.

I don't know if this relates to anything baron said, though.
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:58 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
There are measurements used as a proxy for consciousness ...
Ditto headaches, right?

But you do say, later, that what you're saying here is not about baron's post or my response to his post, so perhaps I should, by rights, be keeping those headaches out of this part of the discussion.

Quote:
I like this Scientific American article because the writer does not pretend to really understand the theory. That sounds weird, I know.
Yeah, that sounds weird, and yeah, I understand exactly what you mean to convey.

Re. that symposium you mentioned earlier, where some physicist tells you you can properly follow these consciousness theories only if you are fully up to speed on QM, that sounds like a load of self-serving bull to me. (On the other hand, I'm no physicist, and it is possible that is only my inner Dunning-Kruger speaking.)
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Old 19th February 2019, 01:22 AM   #60
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Perhaps it may help to have a more productive discussion if everyone making claims about counciousness provided the definition they are using for the word consciousness.
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Old 19th February 2019, 03:38 AM   #61
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Even at the risk of putting my foot in my mouth, I don't mind going first with my off-the-cuff take.

I'd say, a combination of three things:

1 Sentience, sense of self

2 Volition, free will -- or at least, the appearance (to oneself) of such

3 De facto unpredictability -- even while, obviously, being deterministic in principle, that is, predictable when subject to some God's-eye-view analysis
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Old 19th February 2019, 03:41 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Says who?
Anaesthesiologists.

Quote:
Movement is not an emergent property, I assume you're referring to the dynamics of bird flocks, in which case go ahead and explain how they exist as anything other than a descriptive tool.
How are you defining "movement" here? I'm not seeing the distinction you're drawing.

Quote:
I didn't, I literally repeated your own words, which were:

"If what you meant when you said that consciousness being an emergent property of the brain meant that it didn't exist independently of the brain, then that's true."
Those are my words, yes. What you said I said was "consciousness as an emergent property doesn't exist". If you can't see how those are fundamentally different statements, then I'm afraid I can't help you.

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It's not how what works?
Logic and reasoning. You can't just decide what conclusion you want to be true, post a tautologous statement, and then claim that that statement is an argument that leads to your conclusion because you want your conclusion to be true.

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1) Robots.
2) Robots.
3) Robots.
Leaving aside the matter of what I believe the fact that you've chosen to play silly buggers here rather than honestly engage implies, who built these robots?
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Old 19th February 2019, 03:49 AM   #63
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As far as robots, I don't see that there's any (essential) difference between us and robots. Given sufficient complexity, I don't see why robots should not be conscious.
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Old 19th February 2019, 04:02 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
.
How are you defining "movement" here? I'm not seeing the distinction you're drawing.
You tell me, you brought it up.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Those are my words, yes. What you said I said was "consciousness as an emergent property doesn't exist". If you can't see how those are fundamentally different statements, then I'm afraid I can't help you.
Fine, if you want to believe consciousness is an emergent property then you go ahead. I don't.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Logic and reasoning. You can't just decide what conclusion you want to be true, post a tautologous statement, and then claim that that statement is an argument that leads to your conclusion because you want your conclusion to be true.
You're explaining to me how 'logic and reasoning' works? I think a significant boost of intellect is required before you can validly patronise me in that way.

Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
Leaving aside the matter of what I believe the fact that you've chosen to play silly buggers here rather than honestly engage implies, who built these robots?
Nobody gives a **** who built the robots. The point is who is observing in the moment. You don't grasp what I'm saying, that's fine, but I'm not wasting my time with you any more.
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Old 19th February 2019, 04:08 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
True. But baron seemed to be saying, in the portion I quoted, that he is okay with accepting the existance of headache. I don't see, then, why consciousness would be any different.
It isn't. I accept the existence of consciousness too.
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Old 19th February 2019, 04:45 AM   #66
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nvm

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Old 19th February 2019, 04:53 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
It isn't. I accept the existence of consciousness too.
Are headaches an emergent property of heads?

You said headaches are theoretically measurable; is consciousness theoretically measurable?

If you say "not yet," do you believe that someday it will be?
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Old 19th February 2019, 05:00 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Are headaches an emergent property of heads?
I believe so.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
You said headaches are theoretically measurable; is consciousness theoretically measurable?
The activity associated with a headache is theoretically measurable, yes. The pain of a headache,no. Consciousness, the same.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
If you say "not yet," do you believe that someday it will be?
I can't see how it could ever be, no, although that's just my opinion.
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Old 19th February 2019, 05:18 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
You tell me, you brought it up.
You're the person who is drawing a hard line distinction between movements. I want to understand what you think is different about these movements.

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Fine, if you want to believe consciousness is an emergent property then you go ahead. I don't.

You're explaining to me how 'logic and reasoning' works? I think a significant boost of intellect is required before you can validly patronise me in that way.
I think the fact that you've resorted to flailing your arms around and making personal insults speaks volumes about your ability to defend your ideas using actual reasoning.

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Nobody gives a **** who built the robots.
I do. And, according to your original assertion, so do you.

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The point is who is observing in the moment.
Then why did you say that a conscious agent being involved "at any point in time, not just during the experiment" was important? You can't support your assertion so you've chosen instead to contradict yourself and flounce.
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Old 19th February 2019, 05:35 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Exactly right.
Except that colour does exist, no matter how you choose to define it.

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I'm going on what I myself experience. I don't cite that as empirical evidence. You don't have any more evidence than I do, but for some reason you won't admit it.
You know how woo-woos constantly claim that, because they're ignorant of some topic or another, everybody else must also be? That's exactly what you're doing here. That YOU don't know of any of the evidence I talk about doesn't mean no one else does.

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It's not the reason I think they have consciousness, as I've explained.
I wasn't talking about you.

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And each time that has been told to me I have explained how it is wrong.
Saying that it's wrong is not the same as explaning how it's wrong.

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You're begging the question. Of course if you look at it you're integral to the observation. If a robot looks at it the robot is doing the observing. If a chaffinch looks at it, the chaffinch is doing the observing. If the light from it is reflected in a pond, then the pond, whilst not observing in a classical sense, is still receiving information about the event.
Baron, come on. The robot looks at the experiment but at some point a human's going to have to take a peek if we're to do science. You're one step away from solipsism, here.

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I trust people's reporting of their conscious experience because I am not a solipsist. However, I recognise that such conclusions have no place in the science lab and do not constitute evidence.
Then you must admit that you have ZERO confidence in the efficacy of any medecine, since much of it is down to reporting. That is a silly and unworkable standard, and yet another demonstration of why philosophy fails to describe reality.
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:42 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
I believe so.



The activity associated with a headache is theoretically measurable, yes. The pain of a headache,no. Consciousness, the same.



I can't see how it could ever be, no, although that's just my opinion.
It is the untestability that raises many skeptics' hackles. I've heard nattering that whatever consciousness is happens way down at the Planck scale. Per my EXTREMELY poor understanding, even if we could see things that small, we would be changing the behavior of particles just by observing them.

Per the article I linked to:

Quote:
Participants seemed especially confused by an IIT postulate called “exclusion.” According to IIT, many components of a brain—neuron, ganglia, amygdala, visual cortex--may have non-zero phi and hence mini-minds. But because the phi of the entire brain exceeds that of any of its components, its consciousness suppresses or “excludes” its components’ mini-minds.

Exclusion helps explain why we don’t experience consciousness as a jumble of mini-sensations, but it has odd implications. If members of a group—say, the IIT workshop--start communicating so obsessively with each other that the group phi exceeds the phi of the individuals, IIT predicts that the group will become conscious and suppress the consciousness of the individuals, turning them into unconscious “zombies.” The same could be true of smaller or larger groups, from a besotted couple to the United States of America.
That last bit is fascinating because it posits that at least in theory, "group think" could be literally true. It opens a lovely can of worms for philosophers to snack on. Mass hysteria, flock behavior, evangelical fervor and even the theory that in ancient times everybody heard voices in their head. (The bicameral mind theory). I once read a book involving that theory and it left me wondering, but where did the voices come from? And before that, was there even first-person concept 10,000 years ago? Then you have room for Jungian archetypes, qualia etc.
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Old 19th February 2019, 08:10 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
... this Scientific American article ...

I hadn't read this article thus far. Just did.

Perhaps it is me, but try as I might, I couldn't tease out from the article any definition of this phi. Calling something phi is great, but how do they actually define it, and how exactly do they actually measure it?

(Not saying they don't, perhaps they do. Only, that doesn't seem very clear from that article, as far as I can understand it.)



eta:
Quote:
many components of a brain—neuron, ganglia, amygdala, visual cortex--may have non-zero phi and hence mini-minds

As presented in the article (or at least, as I understood it), this part seems wholly circular to me. Proves nothing, says nothing, just presents an out-and-out speculation in jargon-laced terms.

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Old 19th February 2019, 08:40 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Except that colour does exist, no matter how you choose to define it.
I don't believe it does.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You know how woo-woos constantly claim that, because they're ignorant of some topic or another, everybody else must also be? That's exactly what you're doing here. That YOU don't know of any of the evidence I talk about doesn't mean no one else does.
False cause fallacy. I say no evidence exists because I'm familiar with the literature, and even though I disagree with many of the conclusions one thing is for sure; there is no evidence consciousness exists.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I wasn't talking about you.
I can't speak to why other people believe things.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Baron, come on. The robot looks at the experiment but at some point a human's going to have to take a peek if we're to do science. You're one step away from solipsism, here.
That's a very strange thing to say. Where is it stipulated that only humans can do science? What is to prevent an intelligent robot doing science? Indeed, robots do perform scientific work in many spheres. They conduct experiments and collate results. Just because currently they are not advanced enough to innovate, extrapolate and perform all the tasks required for the scientific method is irrelevant. Your view that humans are somehow special in the universe, that we are the only entities that can possibly perform science, is another example of religious dogmatism passed off as critical thought.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Then you must admit that you have ZERO confidence in the efficacy of any medecine, since much of it is down to reporting. That is a silly and unworkable standard, and yet another demonstration of why philosophy fails to describe reality.
It is very silly, which is why I said the opposite of what you allege. I said I trust study subjects to report truthfully their experience. Trust, as I have explained, is not evidence.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
It is the untestability that raises many skeptics' hackles. I've heard nattering that whatever consciousness is happens way down at the Planck scale. Per my EXTREMELY poor understanding, even if we could see things that small, we would be changing the behavior of particles just by observing them.
Per the article I linked to:

That last bit is fascinating because it posits that at least in theory, "group think" could be literally true. It opens a lovely can of worms for philosophers to snack on. Mass hysteria, flock behavior, evangelical fervor and even the theory that in ancient times everybody heard voices in their head. (The bicameral mind theory). I once read a book involving that theory and it left me wondering, but where did the voices come from? And before that, was there even first-person concept 10,000 years ago? Then you have room for Jungian archetypes, qualia etc.
I agree with these conclusions, re group behaviour. I can maybe explain my thinking in this way:

* Imagine the conscious field as a flat, 2d sheet (of course it's not 2d, but for ease of imagining).

* A complex entity (say an ant) appears on this sheet. The ant processes information in its little ant brain.

* A distortion appears at the point of information processing in the conscious field, and this is the ant's (minuscule) consciousness.

* Add a million more ants. Each ant produces the same distortion in the field representing its own conscious experience.

* But now there is communication between ants, and this communication also produces distortion of the field, but an overarching distortion - group consciousness - overlaid on the individual consciousnesses of the ants.

* When the magnitude of this distortion exceeds that of the individual, the individual behaves under the group influence as opposed to its own.

This is what I believe anyhow, and I have done since long before I heard of IIT (which I first read about three or four years ago).
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Old 19th February 2019, 08:46 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
I don't believe it does.
Well, as I said, you're one step removed from solipsism, so what's the point?

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I say no evidence exists because I'm familiar with the literature
Sorry baron but I can't believe that due to previous experience.

Quote:
That's a very strange thing to say. Where is it stipulated that only humans can do science?
Who cares? The point is that only humans are doing science NOW. So your ideas would mean that every time a human makes any observation through their own senses or via any tool, machine or whatnot, the very act of observing makes the perception subjective, and therefore unreliable. You've argued yourself into a corner.

Quote:
It is very silly, which is why I said the opposite of what you allege. I said I trust study subjects to report truthfully their experience. Trust, as I have explained, is not evidence.
Your trust seems very arbitrary. Why trust them on their headaches but not on consciousness?
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:03 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, as I said, you're one step removed from solipsism, so what's the point?
What does being one step removed from solipsism involve? Either you believe it or you don't, and I don't.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Sorry baron but I can't believe that due to previous experience.
I think it's your lack of familiarity with the literature that is the issue here.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Who cares? The point is that only humans are doing science NOW. So your ideas would mean that every time a human makes any observation through their own senses or via any tool, machine or whatnot, the very act of observing makes the perception subjective, and therefore unreliable. You've argued yourself into a corner.
You seem to have lost sight of what subjective means, that is, being influenced by thoughts and beliefs. If I describe my experience of eating a pear that's subjective. If I measure the side of a 1m cube to be 1m, that's objective, and anybody can come along and verify I'm correct.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Your trust seems very arbitrary. Why trust them on their headaches but not on consciousness?
Who is it I don't trust about their reported conscious experience?
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:08 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
What does being one step removed from solipsism involve? Either you believe it or you don't, and I don't.
What does being one step removed from the second floor involve? Either you're on the second floor or you're not. Right?

Quote:
I think it's your lack of familiarity with the literature that is the issue here.
Yeah, you tried that last time, too. Didn't work then, and it turned out you weren't so knowledgeable about it, either. So stop claiming expertise and demonstrate it, instead.

Quote:
You seem to have lost sight of what subjective means, that is, being influenced by thoughts and beliefs.
Wow, that is absolutely not what subjective means in this context. But even if it did, it changes nothing about my point, since looking at data produces thoughts. And clinical trial patients have the exact same issue.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:21 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What does being one step removed from the second floor involve? Either you're on the second floor or you're not. Right?
If there are only two floors and you're not on the first, correct.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Yeah, you tried that last time, too. Didn't work then, and it turned out you weren't so knowledgeable about it, either. So stop claiming expertise and demonstrate it, instead.
Yes, I recall. You were unable to formulate an argument then either and instead resorted to simply stating that I don't know what I'm talking about. It didn't work then and it doesn't work now. Part of your issue is that your only debating tactics are to effectively repeat, 'You're wrong', and to fabricate an absurd position with the intention of getting me to admit that it's my own. You never have a debating opinion of your own that isn't based on someone else's being rubbish, and I've brought you up on this several times in the past. This is your choice, but combined with a lack of knowledge of the topic it will never end as I imagine you hope it will.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Wow, that is absolutely not what subjective means in this context. But even if it did, it changes nothing about my point, since looking at data produces thoughts. And clinical trial patients have the exact same issue.
You're trying to get me to admit that because there is no objective evidence for consciousness, there cannot be objective evidence for anything. See my previous paragraph.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:24 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
If there are only two floors and you're not on the first, correct.
And yet you're still one step away from the second floor. Stop playing with words.

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Yes, I recall. You were unable to formulate an argument then either and instead resorted to simply stating that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Because that was obvious. You claimed to have a gazillion books on the topic and yet were unaware of one of the leading theories about it. So no, I don't believe you now either.

Quote:
You're trying to get me to admit that because there is no objective evidence for consciousness, there cannot be objective evidence for anything.
No, I'm trying to get you to admit that the logic by which you conclude that there is no objective evidence for consciousness means there cannot be objective evidence for anything.

Nice try, but that sort of gaslighting/wordplay won't work, specifically because I know what I'm actually saying.

The conclusion here is clear: you know you have zero evidence for your beliefs, so you're left with claiming that no one else has, either. It's an old trick, but one for which few here would ever fall for.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:43 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And yet you're still one step away from the second floor. Stop playing with words.
It's your claim, you support it. I said I'm not a solipsist, which I presume you accept, yet you claim that I'm 'almost' a solipsist. So you need to describe what being an 'almost' solipsist entails.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Because that was obvious. You claimed to have a gazillion books on the topic and yet were unaware of one of the leading theories about it. So no, I don't believe you now either.
You don't need to believe me, especially since I've never used the word 'gazillion' or anything similar. I have read books on the topic and, as you would know if you had done similar, research outpaces mass published work to some significant degree, so that even if you read every book published on the topic (next to impossible) you'll still be waiting years to read about new theories.

It's ironic too that I was the one who admitted I hadn't heard of ITT until three of four years ago. You are happy to believe that claim but not other claims which go against your biases.

But let's look at IIT. First tentatively proposed in 2004. Discussed and evolved over the intervening years, published in its up-to-date form in 2014. So I'd be surprised if it was published in a mass market book any time before 2010. I read about it in 2015 / 2016, so I guess I was at worst a few years late to the party. I think that's pretty good going with respect to keeping up-to-date with developments, especially when certain posters are ignorant of consciousness research in its entirety.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No, I'm trying to get you to admit that the logic by which you conclude that there is no objective evidence for consciousness means there cannot be objective evidence for anything.

Nice try, but that sort of gaslighting/wordplay won't work, specifically because I know what I'm actually saying.

The conclusion here is clear: you know you have zero evidence for your beliefs, so you're left with claiming that no one else has, either. It's an old trick, but one for which few here would ever fall for.
I've already said I have zero empirical evidence for my beliefs. You don't get extra points for repeatedly throwing it back at me.

You haven't actually stipulated your beliefs as you refuse to adopt a debating position, but what I actually said was that nobody (including you) has empirical evidence for consciousness.

You seem to believe that pretending I am maintaining that a person describing their internal conscious experience is no more subjective than a person performing an external measurement. This, of course, is your own argument and is nonsense, and no matter how many times you restate it I will not adopt it in order for you to score a point.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:58 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
It's your claim, you support it.
Well, you're the expert.

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I've already said I have zero empirical evidence for my beliefs.
That's no reason to espouse ant belief that strikes your fancy.

Quote:
You haven't actually stipulated your beliefs as you refuse to adopt a debating position
Oh, I adopted one: you're wrong.

Quote:
You seem to believe that pretending I am maintaining that a person describing their internal conscious experience is no more subjective than a person performing an external measurement.
Is "my headache is gone" subjective or objective?
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