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James Camien [userpic]

Non-English-language posts are, as far as I am concerned, welcome. (Am open to revising this position in face of popular revolt.) However, posts must of course contain or at least aspire to philosophy; also, duplicate posts will be deleted.

Kain aka That Evil Guy [userpic]

The Chinese Room demonstrates that outward appearance of an understanding of meaning is by no means an actual indicator of understanding.

Bona fide understanding is a main feature of conscious thinking. If something is not conscious, it is not possible for it to understand.

What goes on inside the Chinese Room is an analog of programming. AI is dependent on programming.

Thus, what AI accomplishes in fooling someone in thinking that it has any sort of comprehension of meaning, is a demonstration of a mere appearance of comprehension. It would only appear to be sentient, while being as non-sentient as any program.

The only way for anyone to demonstrate the possibility of consciousness in an AI is to demonstrate independence from programming.

There is no such demonstration. Bottom-up AI, including experiments showing the purported evolution of bottom-up AI, still requires programming.

James Camien [userpic]

I believe all bans on community members to have been lifted. Bygones and all that; and in any case, it's not like there's any water to poison these days. If people are having trouble, let me know via LJ PM.

UPDATE: I believed wrong. But now all bans are definitely rescinded.

Diary of a B+ Grade Polymath [userpic]

Heck, I don't particularly care for Kant, but this is as ridiculous an evaluation as one can find.

"Even apart from the fact that Kant’s theory of the “categories” as the source of man’s concepts was a preposterous invention, his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but of any consciousness, of consciousness as such. His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man is limited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears—deluded, because he has a mind—and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them."


someone [userpic]

The purpose of this post is to explore the requirements to recreate a living, conscious human being on a computer, as opposed to running a functional model of a brain in software.
Prompted by Greg Egan's "Permutation City", which I'm currently reading.

I appreciate you taking time to critically examining my argument.

A neuronal activity consists largely of neurons firing, spikes propagating, and synapses forming/changing. Those things can happen either as a result of external (sensory) input coming into the brain, or feedback loops in the brain itself.

We can capture the state of the brain at any particular moment by recording all relevant parameter values. These parameters can be plugged into a functional model of the brain, together with any input signals. The model will allow us to predict (calculate) how the system is going to change, if started with those initial parameters (the real brain changes due to laws of physics, for example, if the electrical potential value in some neuron is large enough, that neuron is likely to fire; it also changes as the input signals change). The system uses analog signals, and is not governed by a global clock, so the change will be analog (gradual). There is no "next state" to speak of - the state is continuously changing. We can make "snapshots" of a real, living brain at different times, or we can calculate the state of the brain at those times. If the results are identical, we have a good model.

Calculating the state of the brain at successive points in time, given initial parameters, sensory input, and a functional model, can be considered to be an active, ongoing brain simulation. Calculating those states frequently enough can let us construct a pattern of neuronal activity, which we can then decode as specific thoughts, feelings, and motor commands intended to generate some actions. We can have a robot perform the actions, and this robot will appear alive and even "conscious". However, there's no living "being" controlling this robot. The brain state calculations could, in principle, be done on paper, because it's all just number crunching*. The calculated numbers could tell us what the real person would feel like, if this was a real person. But it's not. It's a description of a real person - a mathematical model with a bunch of parameters.

Such a robot would already be pretty impressive, but how do we create a "living being"? For that, we need to switch from performing calculations to running physical processes. We need to build a system where processes are happening "on their own". Instead of calculating the "next state", we need to let the system run so that any "next state" would develop naturally. Instead of calculating a snapshot at a particular time, we should have a system that has a continuous physical state at all times.

It's not clear how accurately we need to imitate the relevant physical processes in hardware, or if it's possible to use some software abstractions. For example, can we represent synapses as numbers stored in memory, or must they be actual physical devices, such as memristors? Do we need to generate analog voltage spikes on dedicated wires, or can we use digital data packets on a switched network between neurons?

I tend to think that as long as we recreate the movement, transformation, and storage of important information throughout the entire system, we have a living being.

*Compare with Searle's Chineese Room Experiment.

Аркадий Малер [userpic]

В новой программе Катехон-ТВ выступает - Виктор Петрович Лега, кандидат богословия, с 1991 г. заведующий Кафедры философии Православного Свято-Тихоновского гуманитарного университета (ПСТГУ), доцент Сретенской семинарии, МГЛУ, МФТИ.

Тема - "Философия и богословие".

- значение философии в формировании христианкой теологии
- вера от слышания и вера как уверенность
- влияние Платона vs. влияние Аристотеля
- догматические проблемы в русской религиозной философии
- деструктивная роль постмодернизма

In this paper, I will analyze different approaches to the epistemology but this is not a philosophical inquiry. Rather, I am interested in what causes the difference among English and Russian philosophers working on one particular issue: consideration of Gettier’s Problem. I will provide a short survey of recent articles available in open Internet sources. As a result, I found that Russian writers tend to be very ontological in that field. Does this entail that deeper spirituality, or the proverbial “mysterious Russian soul”, is the cause for such pretentiousness? Seriously, I will try to answer why they stay far from precise analyses of details.
The classical account of knowledge is that a subject S knows a proposition p iff S believes p, the belief p is true, and S has a justification for that belief. This means that S can offer good reasons in support of why she believes p. In short, it is called the JTB Definition. It appears in Plato's dialogues and it was relevant until the mid-1960s. In 1963, a philosopher named Edmund Gettier published an article in which he showed that knowledge could not merely be justified by true belief.
Gettier’s counterexamples pushed us to revise many of very important philosophical issues. What is knowledge? What is the structure of our beliefs? What human’s thinking and reasoning entail? You do not need to be a philosopher to grasp an understanding that these epistemological issues can impact such problems as Cognitive Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, for example, possibility of existence of computer holds Turing’s test, etc. Moreover, Edmund Gettier opened a new era in epistemology named post-Gettier era. Even a historian is allowed to ask: what happened since Plato in philosophy and what occurred in paradigm of humanity after the mid-1960?
I have made a brief survey of articles available in open Internet sources. The web search system Yandex.ru has been chosen for tracing results on two queries: “Gettier case” in English and in Russian (Кейс Геттиера). Yandex.ru is powerful website in Russian speaking matters. Therefore, Russian sources have to predominate among the search results in the search engine. The first three pages of results in Yandex.ru search engine were analyzed. I considered the search result valid if it had a link to a PDF file available for free download. The following results were obtained:
· The query in English gave two students’ essays from Routledge and Northern Illinois University, three overviews of lectures from different universities, two drafts of articles for peer review, two published articles by Cognition and Sayi magazines. As a sum, there were 9 results. The articles, for example John Turri’s draft, provides analysis of different epistemological approaches such as Casual Theory of Knowledge, No False Assumptions condition, Safe condition, Sensitivity condition, Reliabilism, Fallibilism, Credital account, etc. The papers contain quotations by the authors: Hetherington S., Pritchard D., Zagzebski L., Sosa E., etc. Note - those scientists are leaders in contemporary epistemology. No Russian author has been found.
· The query in Russian gave 4 results: one overview of lectures of University of Tomsk, three published articles. The article of Olchovskiy G. considers Casual Theory of Knowledge. The article of Nikiforov A. considers semantic analysis of predicate “know”. The article of Lamberov L. provides a survey of the above approaches and shows inconsistence of given considerations. All papers are written in Russian. It is noticeable that Russian philosophers used only original article of Edmund Gettier (1963) as a foreign source inside the body of papers, even though they provide other sources in bibliographies. Therefore, the conversation is stuck on the analysis of theories that were considered in 1970-1980’s by English speaking philosophers. Russian sources dissect two original cases from the Gettier’s article and say nothing about enormous amounts of known counterexamples. In addition, the same search was conducted a year ago it produced one Russian author - Kusliy P. - who wrote an overview of other Russian authors in the field of Gettier’s problem.
Even a brief consideration shows that Russian philosophical scholars stay far away from mainstream of contemporary formal and analytical epistemology. While English-speaking scholars provide very precise, all-embracing analysis, the Russian speakers try to eliminate problems of formal epistemology by attempting to propose a full and consistent theory of Gnosis. This attempt is as successful as any general theory. As a person involved in both the Russian and the English field of information, I want to understand what causes those differences. It can be due to general reasons:
1.     Ignorance of Russian scholars due to language barrier, 70-years ideological pressure, and so on.
2.     Absence of interest towards the problem described above.
I will discuss the second alternative because the sickness of ignorance can be cured, absence of interest cannot. A contemplation of historical development of branch of Russian humanitarian and social sciences allows us to suppose that, most of the time, it was a conversation about human life, society, and soul. The Russian humanitarian and social sciences have very rarely been considered as a possible source of advantage for technology and practice. For the sake of simplicity, let us consider the following chain: since the orthodox religion considered the material world to be something that keeps our spirit from flying, there has always been a strict division between technical and humanitarian sciences. It received some development during the Soviet Union era, where philosophy became a part of ideology. The situation with humanitarian science nowadays in Russia seems to go back to the orthodox medieval times. Of course, we can find similar features in European history but they were gradually eliminated from the scientific paradigm. Now a significant benefit of interdisciplinary inquiry has become obvious. Quantum physics and the Theory of game, Epistemology and Economic science contribute to each other, sometimes in much unexpected ways. Thus, I suppose that in part, the state of the Russian analytical project in Epistemology is conditioned by misunderstanding of possible advantages of fundamental humanitarian inquiries for improvement of material products as well as for social and environmental challenges.
In conclusion, I would like to give my own translation of a well-known Mendeleev’s passage. If education begins with Socrates, we can expect brilliant technological advances. Otherwise, new “Socrates” never occurred if tutor begins with particular technical problems. It seems we forgot our own history.
Kusliy, P.S. (2011). "Knowledge, the Gettier's problem and some of the discussions in the contemporary epistemology", http://CyberLeninka.ru/article/n/znanie-problema-gettiera-i-nekotorye-diskussii-v- sovremennoy-otechestvennoy-epistemologi
Lamberov L. (2010),”Как важно быть серьёзным: О некоторых критика Геттиера”, Эпистемология & философия науки 4 (“It is important to be serious: About Gettier critique”, Epistemology and Philosophy of Science).
Nagel J., Mar R., and San Juan V. (2013) “Authentic Gettier cases: A reply to Starmans and Friedman”, Cognition 129: 666-696
Pritchard, D. (2005). Epistemic Luck. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pritchard, D. (2007). "Anti-luck epistemology", Synthese 158: 277-297.
Reed, B. (2000). “Accidental Truth and Accidental Justification”, Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 50, No198: 57-67.
Sosa, E. (1988). “Beyond Skepticism, to the Best of Our Knowledge”, Mind 97: 153-189.
Turri J. “In Gettier’s wake”, forthcoming.
Zagzebski, L. (1994). “The Inescapability of Gettier Problems”, Philosophical Quarterly 44: 65-73.

James Camien [userpic]

So who moderates this place these days? I submitted a comment and it was marked as spam, and I don't know if anyone's about to approve it. (LJ's filters don't understand how great my viagra is.)

If people have moved on, could someone make me a mod?



Schrodinger's Cat in the Gettier's Case.
Contemporary philosophy has to consider many modern scientific issues. If we look at modern discussions, we find many new terms and concepts in philosophy. What do they really mean for our thinking in relation to the achievements of physics and mathematics?
I will discuss the classical account of knowledge, as a justified true belief, and the Gettier Problem, which showed that knowledge, cannot merely be justified true belief. The problem, which I raise here, is follow: how can affect such ideas as time and probability the analysis of propositional knowledge. Some examples of well-known Gettier's case are:

  1. You come to believe what the time is by looking at the clock in your kitchen. Usually this is a very reliable clock. Suppose the clock stopped. You come to the kitchen one morning at exactly 9 o'clock. Suppose the clock stopped exactly twenty-four hours earlier and you do not know about it. Therefore, if you look at the clock you have a justified belief that it is 9 o'clock. Do you know what time is it? You cannot know the time by looking at a stopped clock. Therefore, it is just a matter of luck that your belief is true.

  2. A farmer looks into a field through a window. He sees what looks very much like a sheep. Nevertheless, it is not a sheep. He is looking at a big hairy dog. It happens that at that moment there is a sheep hidden from to a farmer's view behind the big hairy dog. Does he know that there is a sheep in the field?

  There is a general schema to constructing a Gettier's case. You take a belief which is justified but where ordinarily the belief would be false. Moreover, you add to the case a matter of luck, which makes your belief true. We can imagine a huge number of Gettier’s cases. We may note that JTB considers knowledge as an object with propositional structure. Classic first and second ordered logics have not enough instruments to take in account time-dependence and probabilistic features of many ordinary events. Therefore, many modifications of classic logics occurred: quantum logic, fuzzy logic, etc. We do not need to consider wider field of logic, rather we may ask what the object, which a proposition can describe is?
     I want to remind of an example known as “The Schrodinger's Cat". It is a thought experiment posed by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger in 1935. It illustrates the problem of the Uncertainty Principle that incompatible conjugate properties cannot be defined for the same time and place in microcosm. This illustration applies to everyday objects. The particular case is a cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source placed in a black box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decay), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The atom's decay is a probabilistic process. Is the cat alive inside the box? Any physicist would say that the system is in the uncertain state. Literally, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. We will not know the condition of the cat until the moment when we open the box. It gives us the simple thought that the state of a probabilistic system is unknown until we take a measure of the system. Before this moment, every state of the system is only probable.
 Let us slightly change this experiment. There is an experimenter and another person. They are looking at the black box. The experimenter knows about the equipment in the box; the other person does not. The person sees the experimenter put the cat inside the box. Does the person know the cat is in the box? He could be justified in his belief that the cat is in the box because he saw it. If the experimenter opens the box, the cat is probably alive if any atoms have not decayed. Therefore, it may be true. It seems to be the case, which “looks like” the Gettier's case.
     Thus, the question is: if we discribe a Gettier’s case do we really open “a box with a cat”? In other words, when I add to the discription any kinds bad or good luck (see Zagzebski, 1994) do I make a probabilistic event has occurred? Contextual analysis of Lottery paradox and Preface paradox shows that it is possible to make very fast shift in a context by adding very small piece of information (see Evnine, 1999).
    May be in Gettier’s cases even when we assume that for an agent all events are happened, these events can have different epistemic state due to objective probabilistic character of the situation. Suppose, my friend has a flight from Londin to NY. I know he should have landed in a particular moment but I have no confirmation about that fact. After a while I get phone call from him. It is permissible to say that I know friend’s status when I get the call. Moreover, before that the proposition “my friend landed” doesn’t make sense for me but, of course, it does for the crew mambers and airports service.
    Many attempts to add a condition to the JTB which captures a lot of counterexamples use the language of formal epistemology. For example, sensitivity and safety conditions use the term “nearby possible world” (see Pritchard, 2007). I aim to consider other approuch and take Tarski’s account of Theory of Truth. Contextualism provides the explanation that a knowledge-ascriber’s context determine standards for knowledge. Moreover, different contexts entail possibility of different truth value for proposition (see Brendel and Jager, 2004).Further, contextualism builds constraints along degree of salience for an agent to get a mistake in the particular context. We can choose other way for attribution   epistemic states for different contexts by using Tarski’s account and  build recursive scheme. Thus, in a Gettier’s case an agent operates with proposition p : “ a sheep is at the field”. The p is false. In the other hand, an outside observer uses meta-language where p is true.

     This approuch captures many counterexampels in relation to the environmental luck. But close inspection shows that clock - example (1)  still doesn’t solved. Actually, it reveals that time is really crucial element of substence of luck. Coincidence of events occurs in time and when the time is matter of coincidence we rather have a pure paradox. The Tarski’s T-schema is working properly with assertion of the form “S knows that ⌐p at t¬ iff p at t”. When we consider Russell’s clock case the situation is follow: “S knows that ⌐t at t¬ iff t”. As we see T-schema doesn’t bring matter of fact in this case but as far as I understand this is only one countrexample which can reflect complexity of obtaining knowledge about time itself.

In conclusion, note that our assumptions presupposes that such ideas as luck, probablility, coincidence, etc. can affect substance of agent’s epistemic state.  In favor of that, we can turn to some convincing examples from physics and mathematics.  Thus, the narrative of Gettier’s cases forms some kind of analogy of a “liar sentence” and, hence, can be captured by Tarski’s truth account.

someone [userpic]

Let's say we figured out how to simulate a human brain on a computer. We have build a highly realistic virtual world, where simulated people live.

Compare two situations:
1. There are real people on the other side of our world, who experience a real rain (but we, on this side of the world, can't experience that rain directly).
2. There are simulated people who experience a simulated rain, which is real to them.

The simulated people have real consciousness, and are indistinguishable from real people if viewed within their virtual world. They can even control a robotic human-like bodies in the real world.
Can we say the simulated people are real?

What if we regard the virtual world to be an extension of the real world, just like the "New World" (the Americas) was considered to be an extension of the Old World? In that case, the virtual rain experienced by virtual people is just as real as the rain experienced by the real people on the other side of the real world.
Can we say the rain in the virtual world is real?

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