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Brains, Knowledge, And Subjective Quantification...et Al


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I would to open this thread to discuss ideas that are remain hazy and undefined.....What is knowledge, what constitutes life, the brain, subjective quantification, etc.

 

I would prefer the word abstract be thrown out there rather than stupid idea END, but with that said, it has been said, so I would hope this thread would go somewhere, and possibly answer a question, perhaps just one of these questions, so ineffable might be defined here. Kind of like art for the brain, but with certainty.

 

If you would like to participate, please send $27.50 c/o END...cash only please.....a joke son, it's a joke.

 

Let me give an example so one might understand WTF END is describing.

 

Subjective quantification.....can you apply the scientific method to subjective? Maybe it is simple for your brain to bring this to a clever end, but it messes with my head. If you have 27 opinions that all agree, then is this the truth?

 

This would be the type of shit that could easily be dismissed but might also yield brilliance.

 

With that, the floor is open for an initial topic.

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End3..Im still getting over the fact that a xtian wrote WTF??? on a forum. :HaHa:

 

Geez Louise...I only just walked away from it all and it's taken me 13yrs as a xtian, and 2mnths out of xtianity just to write it..I couldn't even say it yet.

 

Kudos to you. :lmao:

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WTF END?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:HaHa:

 

I'm not sure exactly what your question is. Maybe it's too complicated for me and over my head, or maybe it's just that I always have problems understanding you... ;)

 

My interpretation of your question is if knowledge--as such, as a process, existing only temporary in the brain as signals--somehow can be measured and quantified?

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End,

 

this is way to complex of a though for a Saturday morning. Do we really want to get into a debate on whether we can actually have knowledge or not.

 

Wouldn't it be an oxymoron to define ineffable, since the mere meaning of the word is something that can't be described.

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End I think that was an odd opening post, but I guess I could try to touch on some of the questions you raise.

 

What is knowledge? I’ve been told, and it makes some sense to me, that knowledge is a proposition which is both true and believed. So there are truths which are not believed. I guess this would include rejected and undiscovered truths. And there are beliefs which are not true. I suppose this would include things like delusion and misinformation. But if something is both true and believed then it is knowledge. Does that seem right?

 

I rephrased one of your other questions. If 27 people believe something, then is the belief true? This one seems easy to me. I think the answer has to be no. It seems clear to me that consensus does not imply correctness.

 

Well that’s my stab at it. I overslept and I might have missed the mark, but at least I made a showing.

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Well that’s my stab at it. I overslept and I might have missed the mark, but at least I made a showing.

I think you did a good job. However, how does one know that the thing he knows to be true, is true? Isn't it either based on a form of belief or trust in consensus? For instance, how do you know that particle physics is true? Have you ever seen the experiments yourself, or done them? Or have you done the mathematical foot-work to realize it to be true? Is then your personal knowledge about particle physics, quantum mechanics, astronomy, ecology, entomology, or any other science only beliefs?

 

What I'm getting at is that "knowledge" is more a strong belief in something which we think have reasonable arguments and proofs to support them. And sometimes those arguments and proofs can be a wrong, but the more reasonable arguments we have, the less do we think it to be wrong. Something like that. :shrug:

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I think you raise some interesting points Hans. In a very real sense, I don’t really know if particle physics is true. In fact, I assign truth to a relatively small number of things. And most of them have to do with aspects of my own self. For instance, it is true that right now I am hungry.

 

As you have suggested, I also think it is best in these matters to begin by being skeptical. I think we should do this because it might be that all of us have believed things to be true but actually they are not true. It might be that we are all deceived and under the spell of a powerful illusionist. And we are free to imagine scenarios for ourselves that rival the Matrix. Each and every thing we examine we could doubt away, until in the end we are left with only doubt itself.

 

But here, perhaps at a near abyss, I think we reach a limit because we are unable to doubt away our own doubt. And it is here where we could begin to build our knowledge. Our own doubt implies that we are extant cognitive beings. So when we now ask, “What is there or what exists?” we can say with certainty “We are; we exist.”

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I think Descartes has been resurrected! :HaHa:

:) Right on Hans. This is sometimes called Cartesian skepticism. And I think it's among the best places to start in these matters.

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:) Right on Hans. This is sometimes called Cartesian skepticism. And I think it's among the best places to start in these matters.

Yup. You know Descartes was considered a heretic and even accused of being an atheist. (At least so I read somewhere) And yet he claimed in his defense that he was arguing for God and the Church. I suspect his views of God was different than the Church, and perhaps more deist/pantheistic than generally accepted.

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I didn’t know that Hans. Perhaps Descartes was trying build up to God. But I’ve been told that he was trying to start with an unshakeable foundation. And though his position is now called Cartesian skepticism, I believe that he was actually trying to counter the skeptics of his day. Maybe that’s why he felt he was aiming towards God.

 

Fortunately, I think, there is a great deal more to our cognitive selves than just our doubt. Doubt might be a form of thought but we also feel, imagine, and dream. Perhaps more importantly for our purposes at the moment, we perceive. And I think here we must make a decision. It is obvious to many that some of our perceptions are entailed from things outside of us. They originate in an external world. We are still free to doubt the existence of everything except our cognitive selves, but if we deny an external world then I think more than likely will be forced into some form of what is called solipsism. I believe if we take this path then the scope of our inquiry is limited to the cognitive self. This inner world is still very rich, but I think most of us are unwilling to believe that there is no external world.

 

So at this point we have discerned two things: ourselves and our ambience. In this discernment we have committed a no-no in Buddhism and created (or discovered) a duality: the self and the non-self.

 

Now I need to find some food.

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Subjective quantification.....can you apply the scientific method to subjective? Maybe it is simple for your brain to bring this to a clever end, but it messes with my head. If you have 27 opinions that all agree, then is this the truth?

You fuck with my brain? I fuck with yours. :-) Let I quote Perlovsky from his book Modeling Field Theory, a real pearl: "Mathematical, psychological, and philosophical considerations suggest that the mind does not simply react to sensory data by acting out in the outer world. Complex internal representations (models) are utilized in order to understand the world: to recognize objects, their relationships, and possible interactions with them. Knowledge is represented by internal models. Acting out in the world is often very indirectly related to sensory stimuli, and the internal model often takes on a "life" of its own. Knowledge, or a good correspondence between the model and the world, is so important there have to very basic biological mechanisms driving toward regular or even constant improvements of this model. For example, dolphins placed in a new environment first map it out acoustically with specific sound signals; then they can easily find a new object placed in the water. Many other forms of exploratory behavior of animals can be explained by assuming a basic instinct or drive to improve the internal model."

 

So, I have two answers.

 

1.) Your brain is using very smart methods to make sense of the world and to place new facts in a coherent framework. It is perhaps not called the "scientific method" but it will be hard to believe things that do not make sense for yourself. :-) If you do not feel comfortable with a certain theory, say that quantum mechanics is employed by the brain, or that every element has in some way a soul, than it probably doesn't resonate with your internal models that you build up after a long life learning. And the cool thing about awareness of this type of matter, a type of self-awareness, is that you can put yourself on purpose in environments where what will you experience will be most conflicting with what you believe on the moment. That is, if you feel that there is some understanding possible in the end.

 

2.) Your brain can be understood by scientific methods. I actually didn't think you meant it this way, but I want to say it anyway. There are different levels of consciousness. What I would like to build for the next five years are robots that have peripheral and sensorimotor awareness. I use scientific methods for that. Growing neural networks with certain regular properties by so-called gene regulatory networks, extracted from genomes that are under mutational pressure. I can regrow a neural network if necessary and test certain hypotheses about which type of neural networks are able to generate which type of behaviour, about over how many generations on average a certain neural network evolves, etc. I hope I can describe some constraints over 5 year, which define what the preconditions are to create beings with the types of awareness I stipulated.

 

I hope this answered your question.

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LR, well said.

Thank you Hans.

 

Knowledge is represented by internal models.

Hey no fair Saviourmachine! You are skipping ahead! :HaHa: We've not yet gotten to models and what they are.

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Haha, very true.

 

In psychology I think they call them schema, which is similar. Creating patterns we can recognize and reflect on. Basically, knowledge is a crappy photo-copy of reality, as we perceive it through our half-ass sensory organs.

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Well Hans, I think that our perception and our models must not be too shabby because there are 6 billion of us and counting. We’ve been pretty successful so far I think.

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Well Hans, I think that our perception and our models must not be too shabby because there are 6 billion of us and counting. We’ve been pretty successful so far I think.

To reproduce yes, to understand the world, well, we do have a problem understanding each other and have very different views on what constitutes "reality". (Think of the 2/3rd of the world belong to Christianity or Islam)

 

And consider all the problems of faulty memories. We remember things wrong, and the brain even manufacture its own memories to fill missing gaps. Yup. It's true. I could get the book and get some incredible stories how people recreate ideas of the past, and manages to get it wrong. And they're dead certain they were right.

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Hey no fair Saviourmachine! You are skipping ahead! :HaHa: We've not yet gotten to models and what they are.
Good point, lot of people have a very shabby concept about what a model is. It is not a mathematical construction, that's only a model good for the lawyers among the scientists that never have to build something that needs to work. I am an engineer, what I mean has a neuroscientific basis. In the brain there are neurons on different layers (those layers are not that strictly organized, but the basic layout is layered). The "higher" layers contain neurons that stand for certain high-level properties of the world (for example a very long horizontal line), while "lower" layer neurons stand for certain low-level properties of the world (small horizontal lines). The higher-level neuron can reinforce the lower level neurons by wiring of different weights. If such a higher-level neuron is active it predicts so to say what lower-level neurons should be active. Also, not all lower-level neurons need to be active, gaps can be filled in by this feedback from a higher layer. This is layman knowledge about the brain, which you can find for example in Jeff Hawkins book "On Intelligence" or in anything written by Grossberg, who is a really brilliant scientist!

 

I mean a model in the form of a neural representation of real world characteristics.

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In psychology I think they call them schema, which is similar. Creating patterns we can recognize and reflect on. Basically, knowledge is a crappy photo-copy of reality, as we perceive it through our half-ass sensory organs.

Ha ha, I can play though here. A schema as commonly defined abstracts from individual neurons and suffers from combinatorial explosion. Sometimes I wish scientists would just stick with what they know and not create abstractions if they do not foresee the consequences. A combinatorial explosion occurs by the way in needing different schemas for different circumstances, or in other words, there are no proper way to fuse schemas. I hate "models" in this (unnecessary) abstract sense. But yeah, there are people that work from the bottom-up, and there are people going from the top-down. I am one of the former.

 

On the other hand, our ability to create abstractions is really cool. We are not just reactive machines. There was a philosophical and AI tradition of antirepresentationalism in which people said that representations are not necessary for a lot of cognitive functions. For now we are back on track in that respect. It is well-known that there are for example place cells in the hippocampus that specifically fire when an animal is in a specific place. This is not just a photo-copy of reality, it's reasoning about it, inferring large-scale invariances, really cool! Our brain is a pretty impressive organ deriving regularities from statistical information coming through those half-ass sensory organs.

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I can see your point Saviourmachine and I have heard others express a similar sentiment. But I am thinking that models must come in different forms and arise in different domains. You seem to be speaking about how the brain models visual stimuli. But there are models that arise entirely within mathematics. For instance, I believe that geometry can be modeled via Cartesian coordinates. I think these mathematical models shed light on what models are in general.

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Being truthful here....it is very frustrating to be so ignorant. I struggle to even understand the responses. :banghead: I am going back to read and reference the online dictionary to make an attempt. Please go ahead, if I join in, that means I caught up.....if not, that means a sparkplug fouled.

 

Wanted to put this in as a future thought, in case I forget. Utilizing computers, is it possible search for word(s) that connect other words? For example, if you searched two words, would there be a way to find the most common word or words that are common or connect to the first two.......like searching dog and death....would perhaps the connective word(s) end up chicken bones or table scraps?

 

This is really foobarred....sorry. :shrug:

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