To what extent is evidence important in philosophy?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by DaveC426913, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Patterns of activity exist, separable from and in some sense independent of the substrates that support them. Mental states are clearly not reducible to states of the brain or central nervous system, because they take place via changes in time - they are activities, patterns of motion, not "states" of any material entity.

    A back flip is not a "state" of the human body, to illustrate. The mind is something the brain does.
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    As exemplified in more primitive stages by computer programs themselves (not just brains) -- the intellectual, cognitive, and volitional activities of "mind" can be correlated to, explained and broken down into precursor characteristics and entities that were abundant beforehand throughout the universe. In everyday terms, such would be the existence of things or agencies that interactively co-exist with each other in space and have the capacity to organize into dynamic structures which can sometimes form / maintain / manipulate patterns and follow regulated routines. A "mind", then, is just a complex mechanistic organization sporting very specialized functions -- or it can be treated as a general concept or abstract category for subsuming all the diverse concrete instances of "thinking / perceiving objects" under (brains, computers, exotic space-alien organs of equivalent purpose, etc).

    However, the human version of "mind" doesn't concern just intellectual, cognitive, and volitional activities which occur "invisibly" or without any empirical evidence. It sports a "showing" feat of multiple modes (visual, aural, tactile, etc) whereby qualitative sensations and thoughts become present (as opposed to the usual "not-even-nothingness" of what matter is to itself). These sensations slash manifestations are then interpreted to be and discriminated into physical objects of a (theorized) external environment; and identified / understood in the context of a partly innate, partly acquired worldview or set of tendencies along that line (by memory / language faculties).

    The aforementioned is variously referred to as "experience, phenomena, qualia, etc", but the terms are all a dance around that capacity for "being shown" -- of something being present as opposed to the otherwise absence of everything (including personal thoughts). Unlike the other affairs attributed to "mind", there are no precursors posited for it -- no building-blocks and properties for it to arise from in either biology or physics (barring maybe pseudoscientific or fringe ideas). It's a brute add-on, purely forced by people reporting that there is manifested content to their processed sensory information (i.e., "I'm not a philosophical zombie."). Neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs) in the brain might be found for _X_ experience, but the mere association to neural activity doesn't provide a sufficient explanation or origin (in contrast to body tissue, cells, and the latter's internal components having their genesis in the elements, forces, and applicable furniture of chemistry and physics).

    "Actions and processes" do not float on their own (it's not "running" doing the running) -- there are entities required to participate in dynamic operations. So conflating experience (the "showing") to activity alone is just more insufficient explanation mumbo-jumbo. If the physical components themselves lack even a fractional property for manifestation, then their complex manipulation and arrangement at a higher level is equally useless (there's no dormant power for "showing" which can finally emerge due to some "proper arrangement and exercise" of their relationships).

    How about the appeal to "information"? "Information" is an abstract concept superimposed upon concrete states and structural patterns realized in a diversity of ways -- a kind of general category for uniting and understanding their contingent instances under. As such an abstract tool, "information" itself lacks causal efficacy. Even if information denoted a real or tangible agency, it doesn't carry a "capacity for manifestation" as part of any universal or consensus definition about itself. When a local depiction of information does try to append that, the effort is usually decried as panpsychism or something (i.e., crackpot country).

    Since experience is a brute add-on without a deeper, incremental origin -- something which is conjured in response to a complicated "spell" or dynamic set of shifting spatial connections that the brain is performing -- then it is vulnerable to dualism (i.e., manifestations being summoned in response to said neural "spell", as opposed to those manifestations being constituted of properties granted to or officially recognized as belonging to matter components themselves).

    But the intellectual, cognitive, and volitional abilities of "mind" do have sufficient explanation in terms of gradual development -- the organism or overall procedure of life utilizes what existed beforehand in the world (prior to their emergence) to bring them about. That's the distinction which must be made clear: Only the phenomenal experience or "showing" aspect of mind, as an abrupt novelty and brute add-on, still remains vulnerable to dualism.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
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  5. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    God is more believable than a unicorn.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    That's a personal opinion and you're welcome to it.
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    That's utter tripe.
    All of the unicorns I know are honest to a fault.
    iceaura and DaveC426913 like this.
  9. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Why do o you think so? We dont have evidence for either one.
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member


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  11. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Philosophy is logic built upon data stemming from an emotional foundation. An emotional foundation will narrow down the date set, that can be perceived and accepted. Once this narrow data set is accepted, logic will be use this set to infer reasonable conclusions.

    For example, the Epicurean Philosophy is; Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquillity, freedom from fear ("ataraxia") and absence from bodily pain ("aporia").

    The foundation emotion is connected to the feeling of wellbeing that can be derived from pleasure. This feeling will cause the mind to narrow the perceivable and acceptable data set down to all those pleasurable things of life, which can bring wellbeing. Because of the emotional foundation narrowing the data, it can't fully see all possible data, such as data where too much pleasure can lead to addictive behavior, which can then become self defeating leading to fear and pain. Instead it will reason from its emotionally narrow data set, to draw universal conclusions, that will appeal to be anyone with the same emotional foundation. It uses truth, facts, and logic, but not the whole truth and not all the facts.
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member


    You appear to be ignoring a couple of facts:
    1) Epicurean philosophy is not the whole of philosophy - it's one sub-set.
    2) You also appear to have not bothered to check what Epicureans define as "pleasure": it's not exactly the emotional thing you seem to think it is.

    QED for my last point.

  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It is believed that the *mirror neural system* is responsible for the ability to experience "shared" emotions. Empathy.

    Apparently, witnessing a familiar experience such as pain, the observer cannot help but cringe at the sight of someone else experiencing pain. It triggers the same chemicals in the brain as when actually experiencing it. It is responsible for salivating at the sight seeing someone eat something tasty. It is obvious in sporting events, where the crowds respond to action. It is responsible for the synchronized weaving of a school of fish.
    It allows us to read handwritten manuscripts.

    IMO, the mind is a holographic mental representation of the individual's physical observations and experiences.
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That's been established? That would be news - a large jump from the modelers's hypotheses of very recently, which had such behavior broken down to a couple of simple reaction and spacing rules.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but how does the brain process information of spatial rules, or behaviors of all things, except through a mirroring sustem?

    IMO, the MNS is the mental processor of pattern recognition in most if not all sentient life and possibly at a cellular level and allows for anticipation, ooperative behaviors (recognotion, empathy).
    As far as I know, even as research is still in uts earlu stages, if the confirmed data is correct, the implications are staggering..
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Small schooling fish brains don't, as far as anyone can tell. And they don't have to - some fairly simple reaction rules reproduce their behavior well.

    These guys are possibly more complex in their schooling rules:
    despite having much smaller brains and no mirror neurons at all -

    One of first rules discovered about whirligig beetles is the one they use to school up each day at specific locations along a lakeshore after dispersing at night to feed - turns out they simply follow each other's wakes as soon as the dawn light shows, and the ones that hit the right spots are followed by chains of followers until they have schooled.
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    If you look at any philosophy, no philosophies are all inclusive, in terms of all the possible data, and no philosophies appeal to all people. If you compare liberal with conservative philosophy, each express parts of the truth, but neither express the whole truth. Yet, each narrow data set of truth can trigger the feeling of conviction in its followers. The common link is an emotional foundation; conviction, with emotions helping to narrow the perceivable data set, used by logic and inference.

    When the brain creates memory, it adds an emotional tag to the memory; visual, audio input, etc. This schema is useful to the animal since when a similar memory is triggered the same feeling will be appear, from which the animal will know the appropriate action. For example, the animal may see a new food item. At first it is cautious and afraid, but slowly circles and approaches. After some R&D ritual, it finally tastes the food and eats, and finds the food feel favorable and enjoyable.The final tag to this memory is a good feeling food. The next time it sees the same food, it eats faster, since the feeling tag, induced, is connected to eating and enjoying.

    Although there are endless memories and combinations of sensory inputs, there are only a small set of emotional tags. Therefore, each limited emotion will tag only a fraction of the total memory. For example, if the feeling is connected to our most enjoyable taste sensations; foods, memories of a new computer game will not included, since this will not have a taste based emotional tag. What will appear may be all the foods you have enjoyed from youth. This is the narrow data set, tagged and consistent with the feeling. This is the narrow data set one will use for logic and inference.

    The reason not everyone enjoys the same philosophy, is not all people use only the natural tagging. Often tagging is influenced by culture and education instead of just natural instinct. Someone whose philosophy is based on simple living, may not place the Epicurean pleasure tag onto as many things. Their pleasure data set will be different and more limited. Therefore the Epicurean logic may not fully apply to their more limited conscious data set. This is better expressed with logic from a different philosophy centered on a different feeling that provides a wider data set to them.

    As another example, they are religious and health food taboos in terms of eating certain foods, like pork. From a young age, pork can be programmed to have a negative emotional tag; unclean and yucky. When pork is seem, this can trigger the feeling of yucky, with yucky inducing our memory to think of other yucky things. The natural person may not be able to reason eye to eye, based on their own emotional tagging of pork products.

    The term subjective is based on a connection to the group. Relative to the individual, what is called (group) subjective, can be objective to that person. How I feel about a given food item is valid to me, since it can be traced to a tangible chemical tagging. But the group may decide that all its members needs all to feel a uniform tagging, with my personally objectivity, considered subjective to the group. The term subjective is put down emotional tag in an attempt to induce group conformity.

    If a philosophy fits your personality, it is often objective to the tagging within the individual, but it may be called subjective to the largest group, since not all members of the largest group will have the same tagging. The personal objectivity to your own tagging, gives you conviction, which is objective. But it can seem to be irrational and subjective to another person, based their perception of their own memory tagging.
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I believe fhe mirror function is a fundamental aspect of the universe itself and is expressed in a great variety of abstract and physical expressions.
    I plan to do a little further research and its gonna take a while to try and write a comphensive response to your question.
    I can promise it will not be in conflict with consensus science.
    In the mean time, you may enjpy this short ptesentation by Roger Antonsen. I believe it is pertinent to the subject in a philosophical context as well.
  19. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I suppose that evidence could help others be supportive of someone's philosophical points, but it's not absolutely necessary, since philosophy is not really built around objective evidence.
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This is why i try to find *common denominators* in seemingly unrelated but established science.
    For instance: IMO, entanlement represents a mirror function, When one particle reverses spin, the entangled other particle MUST also reverse its spin,, which is undeniably a mirror function.
    Many other examples of forms of mirror functions exist in the physical world.
    Another example is the acientific term *reflection* which indicates a mirror function.
    The *double entry* bookkeeping system is inherently a mirror function of equal values.
    The scientific terms of *positive* and *negative*are a form of mirror function.

    If we take the term *mirror function* in the abstract, we can identify many natural functions as having a mirroring aspect.

    The simple glass mirror itself has many configurations, concave, convex. Each yielding an altered mirror image of that which is reflected back to the observer.

    The beauty of the human mental mirroring system is its flexibility in recognizing patterns even as the information has been altered.

    The Antonsen clip shows why we are able to recognize and interpret asimilarities in the literarynts fonts used by the writer. A computer cannot do this intuitively. You need to program a specific font for its memory to recognize the letter or number.The proof can be found here when a website needs to verify that you are not a bot. Remember the scranbled letters which will confuse the rigid structure of a computer's memory, but is usually not all that difficult for humans..

    IOW, a computer has a limited mirroring system.Similar toaflower whych can only reflect a certain color, bywhich recognizable by the pokkinating insect, which has a specific mirroring system for colors, including colors which are invisible to the human mirrorn such as infra-red or ulyta-violet.. With the assist of specialized artificial sensors we can prove that flowers do indeed mirror these color mentally..

    I believe the mirror function is obvious in hive minds, from insects to humans and even at a more fundamental cellular level such as in the brainless slime-mold, which can mirror a change in iys environment, such as time and temperature.

    Just a few examples of what I consider to be evidence of natural mirroring functions, from the very subtle to gross expression in physical reality.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
    wegs likes this.
  21. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Wash the pig before cooking.
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    No, the trick is to cook the meat thoroughly. IMO, the taboo on pork is a result of incidents of trichinosis, which in olden times may have been interpreted as pigs carrying "bad spirits". In those days diseases were seen as being posessed by bad spirits or demons. Hence the practise of exorcisms.
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    So you don't need to wash it?
    Any meat I cook it until is close to leather I don't go for pork because of what you said but then there is the bacon I guess.
    I went all last month without any meat except chicken simply cause I buy the chicken cooked ... Not a health freak just lazy.
    Plus looking at my pet cows turns me off a bit I certainly could not eat a pet.
    They are really nice animals.

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