Science & Logic

The Copernican Principle of Consciousness

According to the Copernican Principle in cosmology, we should assume that we do not occupy a special or privileged place in the cosmos, such as its exact center. According to the Anthropic Principle, we should be unsurprised to discover that we occupy a cosmological position consistent with the existence of intelligent life. The Anthropic Principle is a partial exception to the Copernican Principle: Even if cosmic locations capable of supporting intelligent life are extremely rare, and thus in a sense special, we shouldn't be surprised to discover that we are in such a location. ¶ Now let's consider the following question: Is it surprising that Homo sapiens is a conscious species? On certain views of consciousness it would be surprising, and this surprisingness constitutes evidence against those views. ¶ The views I have in mind are views on which conscious experience is radically separable from intelligent-seeming outward behavior. Views of this sort are associated with Ned Block and John Searle and more recently Susan Schneider -- though none of them commit to exactly the view I'll criticize today. ¶ Let's stipulate the following: In our wide, maybe infinite, cosmos, living systems have evolved in a wide variety of different ways, with very different biological substrates. Maybe some life is carbon based and other life is not carbon based, and presumably carbon-based entities could take a variety of forms, some very unlike us. Let's stipulate also that some become sophisticated enough to form technological societies. ¶ For concreteness, suppose that a... -

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G.A. Barnard’s 105th Birthday: The Bayesian “catch-all” factor: probability vs likelihood

G. A. Barnard: 23 Sept 1915-30 July, 2002 ¶ Yesterday was statistician George Barnard’s 105th birthday. To acknowledge it, I reblog an exchange between Barnard, Savage (and others) on likelihood vs probability. The exchange is from pp 79-84 (of what I call) “The Savage Forum” (Savage, 1962).[i] A portion appears on p. 420 of my Statistical Inference as Severe Testing: How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars (2018, CUP). Six other posts on Barnard are linked below, including 2 guest posts, (Senn, Spanos); a play (pertaining to our first meeting), and a letter Barnard wrote to me in 1999.  ¶   ¶ BARNARD:…Professor Savage, as I understand him, said earlier that a difference between likelihoods and probabilities was that probabilities would normalize because they integrate... -

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The Legacy of Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics

The general attitude towards Arthur Schopenhauer’s metaphysics is rather fiercely critical and at times even tendentious. It seems that the figure of Schopenhauer as an irredeemably flawed, stubborn, and contradictory philosopher serves as a leitmotiv among scholars. Julian Young describes Schopenhauer as “a stubborn personality unwilling to admit that... -

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Unraveling the evolutionary role of affordances

Unraveling the evolutionary role of affordancesby Manuel Heras-Escribano (June 2020) ¶ Affordances, or the possibilities for acting in our environments, are pervasive in everyday life. We are constantly surrounded by them: we perceive the floor as a walkable surface, a coffee mug is perceived as a graspable object, and doors... -

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Unraveling the evolutionary role of affordances Unraveling the evolutionary role of affordancesby Manuel Heras-Escribano (June 2020) Affordances, or the possibilities for acting in our environments, are pervasive in everyday life. We are constantly surrounded by them: we perceive the floor as a walkable surface, a coffee mug is perceived as a graspable object, and doors are perceived as pass-through-able apertures, etc. For some authors, these objects of perception are, by far, the ones we interact with most throughout the day. If... Synthetic Zero -


G.A. Barnard’s 105th Birthday: The Bayesian “catch-all” factor: probability vs likelihood G. A. Barnard: 23 Sept 1915-30 July, 2002 Yesterday was statistician George Barnard’s 105th birthday. To acknowledge it, I reblog an exchange between Barnard, Savage (and others) on likelihood vs probability. The exchange is from pp 79-84 (of what I call) “The Savage Forum” (Savage, 1962).[i] A portion appears on p. 420 of my Statistical Inference as Severe Testing: How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars (2018, CUP). Six other posts on Barnard are linked... Error Statistics -


The Legacy of Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics The general attitude towards Arthur Schopenhauer’s metaphysics is rather fiercely critical and at times even tendentious. It seems that the figure of Schopenhauer as an irredeemably flawed, stubborn, and contradictory philosopher serves as a leitmotiv among scholars. Julian Young describes Schopenhauer as “a stubborn personality unwilling to admit that the central claim of his philosophy–that […] The post The Legacy of Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics first appeared on Blog of the APA. Blog of the APA -


The Copernican Principle of Consciousness According to the Copernican Principle in cosmology, we should assume that we do not occupy a special or privileged place in the cosmos, such as its exact center. According to the Anthropic Principle, we should be unsurprised to discover that we occupy a cosmological position consistent with the existence of intelligent life. The Anthropic Principle is a partial exception to the Copernican Principle: Even if cosmic locations capable of supporting intelligent life are extremely rare,... Splintered Mind -


Gödel Without Tears, not quite the end I was intending to post Chapter 17 today — the final chapter, dealing with Löb’s Theorem and related results. But looking again at my draft version yesterday, I thought it was/is rather a mess, and that some of the material is even in the wrong chapter. So some not-quite-trivial rewriting is needed. It will be a day or two before I can get down to doing that. Meanwhile, many thanks to all those (some here,... Logic Matters -


THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #24–Wittgenstein on The Meaning of Life. TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Introduction                                                                                                 II. Classical Analytic Philosophy                                                                II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses                                           II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism              II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual                 II.5 Frege, The First … [continue reading] Against Professional Philosophy -


Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 16 Today’s chapter is optimistically entitled ‘Proving the Second Incompleteness Theorem’. Of course we don’t actually do that! But we do say something more about what it takes to prove it (stating the so-called derivability conditions, and saying what it takes to prove them). As an extra, we say how it can be that there are consistent theories which ‘prove’ their own inconsistency. The post Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 16 appeared first on Logic Matters. Logic Matters -


Live Exhibit: Bayes Factors & Those 6 ASA P-value Principles . Live Exhibit: So what happens if you replace “p-values” with “Bayes Factors” in the 6 principles from the 2016 American Statistical Association (ASA) Statement on P-values?  Does the one positive assertion hold? Are the 5 “don’ts” true?   P-values can indicate how incompatible the data are with a specified statistical model. P-values do not measure the probability that the studied hypothesis is true, or the probability that the data were produced by random chance... Error Statistics -


Philip Goff on Panpsychism and the Moral Order  Philip Goff swimming against a strong current of subjectivism in moral judgment has written on Panpsychism’s  inherentist position in the online magazine <i>Nautilus</i>knowing universeI driving in my new tomato coloured Datsun begin to notice how many of them are around.Goff writes:<blockquote>This is where panpsychism can help. On a non-panpsychist form of the container view, Reality is a general form of being, which can manifest as either mental or non-mental entities. On a panpsychist version of the... Ombhurbhuva -


Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 15 [I’ve retitled the previous post, to keep blog post numbers in sync with chapter numbers!] We at last move on to the Second Theorem. In Chapter 15, we introduce the theorem, and explain its significance for Hilbert’s programme. This involves a  cartoon history trying to bring out the attractions of Hilbert’s programme (surely one of the great ideas in the philosophy of maths — if only it had worked!).       The post Gödel... Logic Matters -


Limits of neuroscience I think that our best physicalist view right now is a functionalism on which mental states are identified with types of computation in a hardware-agnostic way (i.e., whatever the hardware is, as long as the same type of computation is done, the mental states get tokened). Question: If functionalism is true, what human discipline, if any, will discover which functional processes (e.g., the execution of what algorithms) constitute consciousness? There are, I think, three plausible... Alexander Pruss -


Consciousness and intersubjectivity This argument is logically valid: Science only explains intersubjective phenomena. Consciousness is subjective and not intersubjective. So, science doesn’t explain consciousness. The obvious thing to attack here is second conjunct in (2). If physicalism is true, consciousness is some intersubjective phenomenon, say a certain pattern of neuronal firings or some functional state. But note that on a physicalist view like this, every subjective phenomenon is also intersubjective: for the subject’s internal states then count as... Alexander Pruss -


A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (21) So we see that even when Fortuna spins us downward, the wheel sometimes halts for a moment and we find ourselves in a good, small cycle within the larger bad cycle. The universe, of course, is based upon the principle of the circle within the circle. At the moment, I am in an inner circle.… Man Without Qualities -


PHILOSOPHY AGAINST THE MACHINE, #2–L. Ron Dennett and The New Scientology. PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS IN THIS SERIES #1: Series Introduction, & Four Ways To (Begin To) Re-Humanize Humanity. L. Ron Dennett and The New Scientology Scientology[i] was (and still is) a pseudo-scientific pseudo-religion. What do I mean by saying that? Real natural science constructs logically consistent and mathematically well-grounded theories for the explanation of a certain well-specified … [continue reading] Against Professional Philosophy -


Gavaya: Very like a cow Kumarila I feel like the detective that turns on his way out the door and says: - There’s one thing that bothering me. Why choose a complex illustration for the upamana pramana if all you had in mind was plain similarity? Why the tuppence coloured cow and gavaya, and the knowledgeable forester etc, etc. Why not offer what everyone can understand eg. a similar design, a similar fate, a similar frock, a book with a similar... Ombhurbhuva -


Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 15 Today’s short episode is a second ‘Interlude’, separating the chapters on the first incompleteness theorem from the final three chapters on the second theorem. But it mentions (or at least, gestures at) enough interesting points for it to be worth its own post. [There a reference to a Theorem 51, which is the previously unnumbered result — now indeed to be recognized as a theorem in its own right — at the end of §13.3.... Logic Matters -


On revisionist reporting Friends of singular thought typically assume that in order to have a singular attitude towards an object, one must either stand in a special acquaintance relation to the object, or have a special kind of mental representation for it. Both of these views face a challenge from our practice of attitude reports: we can seemingly attribute attitudes with singular content even if neither condition is satisfied. In a well-known example from "Sosa 1970, the army... Wo’s Weblog -


"Absolute Void and Bleak Cosmos" mp3 Audio Stream or Download Link HERE. After Nature -


Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 14 In this last (and short!) chapter related to the first incompleteness theorem, we meet ‘Tarski’s Theorem’. And so we arrive at what might be thought of as the Master Argument for incompleteness — for appropriate theories, provability-in-T  is expressible in T but truth isn’t, so provability isn’t truth. Onwards to the second theorem next week! The post Gödel Without Tears, slowly, 14 appeared first on Logic Matters. Logic Matters -


University of Leeds History & Philosophy of Science Seminar Series (online), Semester 1 2020-21.  UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS   History & Philosophy of Science Seminar Series   Semester 1, 2020-21   Wednesdays, 3.15-5pm UK time   All talks will be live streamed over TEAMS.   Email Dr Ellen Clarke e.clarke@leeds.ac.uk  to get the link.   14 OCTOBER 2020 Ruben Verwaal (Durham): ‘Fluid Deafness: Earwax and Hardness of Hearing in Early Modern Science’   28 OCTOBER 2020 Hayley Clatterbuck (Wisconsin-Madison): ‘Darwin's causal argument against creationism’   11 NOVEMBER 2020 Pierre-Olivier Méthot (Université... Philosomama -