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VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God" 
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 VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"

This thread is for discussing the section on Natural Beauty in "Sense and Goodness Without God."



Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:47 am
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
6.4.4 Qualia

Quote:
Quote:
I think it's safe to say that any process that produces virtual models and analyzes and reacts to them intelligently probably experiences qualia, since 'perceiving' the attributes of a perceptual model is exactly the same thing as perceiving its qualities and thus identical to perceiving qualia. And we know all higher animals do this. So if we could get a mouse to talk, it could probably tell us all about what it is "like" to 'see' light at the end of a tunnel or to 'feel' the heat of a stove


In higher animals, like mice, a perceptual model of a cat is the same as an understanding of the qualities of a cat? Hence, a mouse perceives qualia?

Isnt Mickey's perceptual model of a cat (Danger, Mickey, Danger!!) based on instinct and not intelligence?
Does instinct equate to an understanding of the qualities of something?

So according to Carrier, he wouldnt be surprised if a mouse also experiences qualia, short of experiencing its qualia of self awareness?
Why not go all the way with this non sequitur and say a mouse is self aware??

Interbane,
What do you think of Carrier's attempt at brushing off one of the grandest philosophy of mind debates known to philosophers?



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Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:13 pm
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
I don't think he's brushing it aside. I think he's giving his opinion. Even though discussions over qualia are sometimes heated between philosophers, they each hold an opinion.

I personally see nothing wrong with Carrier's claim that lesser animals see qualia. My understanding of qualia is that it is a packet of untransferrable sensory information. Experience of the color red, the taste of honey, the smell of rot, the feel of arthritis. Larger collections of qualia combine to form patterns, especially visual and auditory. Once all component qualia are seen, the pattern of a cat emerges. Mice know to fear cats, so the pattern ignites the associated instinctive behavioral algorithm. They see the packets of qualia that combine to form a cat, then react instinctively to the pattern.

To say lesser animals experience qualia is to say they see color, or can distinguish scents, or know varieties of pain. I'm pretty sure they do feel/see/hear these things. It doesn't mean they have the higher cognitive power to form decisions based on the patterns of qualia they see. Most are only capable of instinctive responses.


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Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:28 am
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Carrier pretty much obliterates the notion of Cartesian dualism in this chapter. Good roundup of some of the evidence of the brain's many functions, including split brain experiments. On to the meaning of life . . .


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Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:27 pm
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Carrier wrote:
For knowledge to be useful two other things must happen. It must be accessible (the brain must be able to retrieve it when stimulated to do so by internal thought processes or external stimuli). And it must be correct—in other words, “true.”

. . . It follows that belief is a material property of the brain: a pattern of neurons and neural connections distinct from that of disbelief or uncertainty, a pattern that has causal powers, a power we “sense” as a degree of ‘confidence’ affecting our decisions—such as what we will say we believe (even if only to ourselves), or what we do as a consequence. It further follows that a “true” proposition is one that describes a physically-computed pattern in the brain, which corresponds to a physical pattern in the real world, whereas a “false” proposition is a brain pattern that does not correspond to its described pattern in the real world. Knowledge, belief, and truth are thus physical realities, physical distinctions.


Agree? Disagree? Those who believe in God would argue that what they believe is true and they could probably also argue that what they believe "corresponds to a physical pattern in the real world." :hmm:


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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Those that believe in God would also argue that what they believe doesn't correspond to a physical pattern in the real world, yet is also true. Because god is nonphysical.

It's also worth mentioning that some of the physical patterns that are referenced are within the heads of ourselves or others. The truth of the statement "ant believes in god." for example, can't be found truthful without a pattern within ant's head.

Thinking of exceptions to this, I wonder at some extreme variants of mathematical formulas. Someone who creates a new equation in his or her head, and it's analytic and truthful. It would only be a pattern that is in his or her head. It would correspond with nothing in the real world except itself(the pattern in the person's brain that equated it), yet still be true. I'd wonder if such mathematical equations actually do correspond to thing in the real world, but by using math, we've found the referent before we've found what it references. We've found the pattern before we've found what it corresponds to. It's an interesting thought.


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Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:21 am
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
Interbane wrote:
I'd wonder if such mathematical equations actually do correspond to thing in the real world, but by using math, we've found the referent before we've found what it references. We've found the pattern before we've found what it corresponds to. It's an interesting thought.


"I have come to believe, though very reluctantly, that it [mathematics] consists of tautologies. I fear that, to a mind of sufficient intellectual power, the whole of mathematics would appear trivial, as trivial as the statement that a four-legged animal is an animal."
--- Bertrand Russell (1957)



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Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:17 am
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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
I can see many equations being symmetrical, where the truth is how accurately one side reflects the other. 2+2=4 is the same on both sides of the equal sign, for example. Both are different ways of hashing up the same information. So I guess, any mathematical statement that is analytically true does in fact correspond to something - it's other half, inside the same brain. As long as there is symmetry, it matches up to what Carrier is saying. Thanks for the quote.


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Post Re: VI. Natural Beauty - "Sense and Goodness Without God"
A couple of days ago I was out in the woods and saw a tree that had fallen and, yet, was still a few feet off the ground, resting parallel to the ground. As such it was almost perfectly perpendicular (ninety-degree angle) to the trees still standing nearby. (I wish I has taken photo of it.) Anyway, I immediately thought of the the term perpendicular, a mathematical concept that does relate to something in the real world. I suspect it's a pattern that would have been recognized by our ancestors simply because it represents a kind of beauty in mathematical terms. Our pattern-seeking brains are trained to notice such things.

Just some random thoughts. Ha ha, It's no wonder I'm not very fun at parties.


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Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:22 am
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