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My newest integration and creation I will now call Clayton's Theory of Mind. 

The universe is deterministic but a rational entity's mind is not because of the existence of emergent contextual volition via a informational phase change at a definite complexity inflection point.

The phase change at the inflection point of sufficient complexity of a given entity's consciousness changes deterministic factors into the context of the emergent volitional mind.

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EC, I think your thesis should be your Theory of Volition in Mind, rather than Theory of Mind. Mind should be in the genus of instrumentation-and-control systems of autonomous agents (from snail to human to autonomous machine [this last, as you may recall, I think to require life, be a living artifact we made, although you do not]), and then we should layer volition on some minds.

I have said that engineering-like systems in nature or in our artifacts are possible only because the world has causal streams independent of each other, which though deterministic (say, classical regular [not classical chaotic] mechanics, classical thermodynamics, physical chemistry, and classical electrodynamics) and conforming to deterministic laws with analytical solutions for trajectories, have no determinism concerning the joining of the causal laws to yield a new organization in the world. Such as a slider-crank or a pulley or a tee-pee. You might like to have a look at my essay "Volitional Synapses" – Part 3  and the Eilon-Boydstun  exchange following on it. A living thing requires such contingent intersections of independent causal streams (and if mind is a living instrumentation-and-control system, as I say it is, then mind also requires such intersecting streams) and such contingent intersections are also required in inanimate nature for life to arise back at the single-cell level.

SL, I think EC does not have a contradiction there if we consider the time and development aspect. Rand talked the same in thinking of existence and consciousness. Sure, consciousness is an existent. But firstly in analysis of consciousness-existence and in emergence of that existent in nature is existence as independent of the presence of consciousness (or life). I myself think of consciousness as requiring life, and I think consciousness requires mind. Although, there may be animal minds that are not conscious. (Now would come a wise-crack from Rand: "most people most of the time.")

 

Edited by Boydstun
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Human Minds exhibit free will.

 “Free” will necessarily means you “could” have chosen otherwise.

For that freedom to be real and not merely an appearance of freedom due to complexity and ignorance, that “could” must be taken seriously.

Seriously enough that the universe, of which that mind necessarily is a participant, cannot be said to be “deterministic”.

 

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39 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

“Free” will necessarily means you “could” have chosen otherwise.

While this is certainly a thesis you can argue as consistent with Rand, it's important to remember that Rand herself did not mention or talk about the idea that free will means that you could have chosen otherwise. That is, you can say that you actively participate in the choices that you make, but it does not necessarily follow that there are some set of choices you might have made.

Personally, I like to think of it as human consciousness being massively complex, but nonconscious things being so simple that they only have a very small and narrow range of action that's pretty linear. I kind of agree with you EC, but I hesitate to say that consciousness is emergent. But I would agree that consciousness goes with at least some minimum level of complexity.

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I get caught or stuck on the phrase ‘the universe is deterministic’  and especially when that conclusion is then used as a qualifier for whatever comes next, which is obviously , usually a statement about free will .

I think it’s because I can never be quite sure what is meant by ‘universe’. For me the concept denotes ‘all of existence ‘ , but when determinism is applied as a qualifier I infer a concept closer to something that describes cosmology, and for that I understand the materialistic ‘laws of physics’ , all of existence minus minds and their products.

Another stumble is encountering ‘emergence’ . It seems to be invoked when one needs to name a casual force but at the same time trying to imply an uncaused  force. 

Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I heard it , but recently heard a conversation about the differences between complicated and complex systems. It was pretty interesting and the basic idea was that complicated systems could be broken down to it constituents, the parts explained as to cause and effect and reassembled and its predictable functions would resume. Complex systems on the other hand could be disassembled and the constituents examined but the interactions of the parts and their arrangements make predictions of their functions impossible.

I suppose that is the idea of emergence and that complexity is a necessary condition or a casual property of emergence qua force ?

Perhaps the determinism of the universe is emergent , too ?

Sorry for the rambling post ,it’s late , but interesting thread.

Edited by tadmjones
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16 hours ago, Boydstun said:

SL, I think EC does not have a contradiction there if we consider the time and development aspect. Rand talked the same in thinking of existence and consciousness. Sure, consciousness is an existent. But firstly in analysis of consciousness-existence and in emergence of that existent in nature is existence as independent of the presence of consciousness (or life). I myself think of consciousness as requiring life, and I think consciousness requires mind. Although, there may be animal minds that are not conscious. (Now would come a wise-crack from Rand: "most people most of the time.")

Boydstun, I think the only way EC cannot have a contradiction is if "determinism" is not actually determinism. or if volition or "free will" is actually merely illusory.

 

The Soul-Body dichotomy identified by Rand, that false dichotomy that teaches Man is a misfit struggling in a battle ground of his own nature, the body without a soul - the Corpse - and the soul without a body - the Ghost -

is the VERY same explicit dichotomy in the claim:

that the universe is deterministic BUT minds are not,

that All there is (the Body) somehow does not include the Minds (the Ghosts?) that are in it.

 

We ARE the consciousnesses of the universe, the "manmade" are its works, and those things, all those things which could have been otherwise, from your choice of cereal this morning, to that fateful assassination causing the first, and then the second World War leading to the Cold War and thence the current Global political scene... actually could have been otherwise.

 

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11 hours ago, tadmjones said:

Another stumble is encountering ‘emergence’ . It seems to be invoked when one needs to name a casual force but at the same time trying to imply an uncaused  force.

I also have observed this.  I believe the only consistent thread running through instances of the invocation of emergence, is "ignorance", it is not anything about the referent being referred to, but only in the mind of the invoker.  When a scientist sees an effect which he or she cannot understand how it flows from the causes, a black box of something magical and which cannot be explained, is invoked... and the label is "emergence". 

I think this stems from a false conception of reduction and analysis, and on the other side of the coin, a misunderstanding about synthesis and integration.  Reduction and analysis does NOT assume or require that any number of coordinate causes acting together, can be, even in theory reduced to interactions of pairs.  Many thinkers already know this assumption is false, some do not. 

There are those that would see three points making a triangle as somehow magical.  Points have no triangleness about them, neither do lines or relationships between two points... but three points, with three lines, and relations therebetween do exhibit triangleness.  This is a statement of fact requiring three points, an actual property of the triangle, not an emergent property of individual points and three separate lines....

 

The way things are and how they function have nothing to do with (i.e. do not in any way depend upon) how we think about them.  Emergence is NOT a valid concept which identifies any property or attribute of a referent to which we direct our attention, when invoked it is an identification of our difficulty in conceiving those referents, that they exist as they are and act as they do.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

There are those that would see three points making a triangle as somehow magical.

A triangle is a way of regarding three lines as a single unit; a line is a way of regarding multiple dots as a single unit. Dots are ways of regarding several sensations as a single unit.

Unit-perspectives are not properties. Emergent properties (such as life) arise out of an integration of existents, not out of a mental integration of sensations.

In O'ism, unit-perspectives are a form of being economical, and the perceptual apparatus + the things it comes in contact with actually exist, and operate according to what they are, A is A.

This is in contrast with Kant's view, for whom integration is not about unit-persepective, but about a 'mine - not mine' perspective: unlike your own thoughts, sensations originating from interactions with the world must be regarded as not of your own doing - that is the rule, and the categories are the means by which that rule of integration is fulfilled.

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10 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

A triangle is a way of regarding three lines as a single unit; a line is a way of regarding multiple dots as a single unit. Dots are ways of regarding several sensations as a single unit.

Unit-perspectives are not properties. Emergent properties (such as life) arise out of an integration of existents, not out of a mental integration of sensations.

In O'ism, unit-perspectives are a form of being economical, and the perceptual apparatus + the things it comes in contact with actually exist, and operate according to what they are, A is A.

This is in contrast with Kant's view, for whom integration is not about unit-persepective, but about a 'mine - not mine' perspective: unlike your own thoughts, sensations originating from interactions with the world must be regarded as not of your own doing - that is the rule, and the categories are the means by which that rule of integration is fulfilled.

KyaryPamyu,

You added “+ things it comes in contact with actually exist.” That is on the correct line, meaning line to truth, I say. From our science we know that lines, their orientations, and object shapes are actually in the distal stimulus that results in the proximate stimulus—the photo-receptors at the retina, whose stimulations get processed at LGN and visual cortex with all their interconnections. No concepts are needed for the integral shape of a baseball in one's hand to be discerned by hand and by vision. No economization by unit-economies or set-memberships are in necessary play at that perception of shape.

In Kan’t mine/not-mine view of sensory perception, he had the matter or content of the sensation be the matter or the content of the “sensible intuition,” be the not-mine component, and the spatial form such as line, configuration, and shape be the mine component, even though in experience, we do not have a sense of it as mine, but as not mine. His arguments that spatial forms are really mine rather than not-mine are really aimed at explaining how Euclidean geometry, true of the empirical world as we experience it, is possible, given the methods we actually use in Euclid and the universality and necessity we arrive at in truths of geometry.

His explanation of how it is possible—that space and its Euclidean relations are form contributed by the faculty of sensible intuition—is false and fantastical. But Rand and her intellectual comrades failed at refuting or displacing Kant’s explanation, wrong and (to modern heads) laughable as that explanation might be. Talking about perceptual form in a sophisticated modern, realist theory of perception, and talking about theory of concepts in which set- and unit-ways of looking at things subsumed under concepts do nothing to explain how the method used in geometry (synthetic geometry, not analytic geometry) is successful in attaining truths with the character of necessity and generality they possess come about, indeed how they are possible.

Rand should have opposed Kant’s tenet that all formality is necessarily the product of the subject in episodes of perception. There is elementary form—such as the betweenness-relations (my right index finger is between my right thumb and right middle finger), a right-hand glove is an inversion of a left-hand glove, and so forth—belonging to concrete particulars and belonging to them as particulars and independently of our perception or any overt cognitive process concerning them. Kant’s notion that formalities in our perceptions and understanding do and must bar our discernment of mind-independent reality then dissolves. The betweenness-relations among my fingers may require some conceptualization to fully firm in mind, but like some similarities and magnitude-relations, which Rand did notice (ITOE App. 217, 199–200, 278–79), those betweenness-relations are physical relations lying in the physical, extra-mental world. Hilbert lifted betweenness-relations to the honor of primitive relations useful for a rigorous Euclidean geometry. Their residence, I notice, is not only as elements of an abstract geometry but in given physical reality.

Rand understood that some similarities and comparative degrees of similarity found in perception lead the formation of concepts tuned to the world given by perception. However, Rand’s theory is an account suitable to only concepts of kinds of things and their contrasts and their taxonomic hierarchies. It is not an account aiming to account for our conceptual knowledge of spatial relationships or adequate to account for conceptual geometric knowledge. How from sensory experience do we learn that two points determine a line? Randian empirical abstraction from sensory experience to the concept line (straight line) together with the concept points will not yield the certain truth that any two points determine a unique straight line containing them (cf. A25 B39–40). And we do not come to know definitively such a thing by empirical testing such as eventually we came to know the existence of atoms. Kant innovated a theory of how we have such conceptual geometric knowledge (B40–41), a horribly mistaken one, needing outright detailed replacement, which is not to be found in Rand (directly).

Edited by Boydstun
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On 6/22/2022 at 1:29 PM, EC said:

The phase change at the inflection point of sufficient complexity of a given entity's consciousness changes deterministic factors into the context of the emergent volitional mind.

Sounds like this means that: out of a deterministic universe/existence, a non deterministic entity emerges.

As if some areas of the universe are deterministic and some areas are not. Well, how do they intersect? They seem to be in the same universe but contradicting each other (they coexist?). How?

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When two elements meet, both will exert an influence on each other, causing both to change in some way. Since the two elements are now different, this will also affect how they react to a third element, and how that third element will react to them. The only way to avoid emergent behaviours/properties is to have no interactions whatsoever.

The way a thing behaves is an aspect of what that thing is like. That is causality, i.e. a specialized perspective on the nature of a given thing.

If 'determinism' means causality, then volition is not a-causal; it's impossible to exercise volition if your nervous system lacks that feature.

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EC had written “The universe is deterministic but a rational entity’s mind is not because of . . ..”

SL remarked: “This is a naked contradiction.”

Rand’s considered (1973) defintion of the Law of Causality was:

“All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe—from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life—are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved.”

The notion of “determined” here is broad enough to apply not only to nature, but to human artifacts such as a pulley, a tee-pee, or an aircraft. They are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Similarly, volitional consciousness can be caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Human inventions, and the brain too, have natures to which that sort of determination applies. When I freely choose to compose this note before returning to mastering some eighteenth-century philosophers this morning, I am making a choice caused and determined by the nature of human brain and its feature of (free)volitional consciousness.

Earlier, in her 1957, Rand had further claimed that the choice to think was one’s only genuine choice, and all other choices and the course of one’s life, depend on that continual choice. This was a view of William James in Principles of Psychology (1890). It is false. One chooses some actions, and one has some free choice in direction of mental actions additional to, even if part of, the choice to think (and therewith the choice to live).

Also in her 1957, Rand strongly insinuated that all causality per se is of the uniquely-determined-path genre, which Leonard Peikoff expressly confirmed for Rand in a Q&A of his lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” Which is false. That false physical determinism is the assumption for which EC is trying to find an end-run around by take-offs of critical-point phenomena—phase changes in states of matter. That is the sort of determinism, one that in fact does not hold in full physical reality, even at the macro classical scale—no matter how often people repeat the falsehood down from Laplace.

Uniqueness for every physical outcome and uniqueness of the string of outcomes in the past does not entail uniqueness of possible outcome for any of them at the time of their occurrence; there may come an intersection with an independent causal stream along the way. A droplet of water in the mist at Niagara Falls just now was not predetermined to be composed of just those molecules it is or to have just the temperature it has, because: It was formed to its present constitution and conditions by intersection of independent causal stands. Then too, the course of situations into which a water molecule may enter during the course of its existence is not uniquely determined from the outset of its formation. Volition is NOT the only possible reason for lack of unique possible outcomes in the course of nature (contra Rand, Leibniz, . . . but in step with Peirce and Aristotle). The reason for that lack is simply that that is not the way physical reality is, when one gets seriously realistic about it. Period. The fact of that lack of a pedestrian-acclaimed predetermination character in physics and in everything going back to physics makes possible the background in which activities of brain and of mind can evolve and develop free volition. And, for that matter, that lack makes possible the background in which life and aircraft can come to be.

SL, EC has a contradiction if universal one-path determinism is from what (and apparently it is from what) he is concerned to except rational mind. There is another and  more important contradiction—a contradiction with reality—in characterization of all the processes of physical reality as being of that nature in the first place.

 

Edited by Boydstun
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1 hour ago, KyaryPamyu said:

When two elements meet, both will exert an influence on each other, causing both to change in some way. Since the two elements are now different, this will also affect how they react to a third element, and how that third element will react to them. The only way to avoid emergent behaviours/properties is to have no interactions whatsoever.

The way a thing behaves is an aspect of what that thing is like. That is causality, i.e. a specialized perspective on the nature of a given thing.

If 'determinism' means causality, then volition is not a-causal; it's impossible to exercise volition if your nervous system lacks that feature.

I do not dispute the various behaviours and actions that do occur in different contexts.

Things are and they act (interact) contextually according to their natures.

I propose the term “emergent” and its conceptualization to be redundant, afoul of Rand’s Razor, and in the end indicative of nothing additional to be identified out there.  

When speaking of existence, Identity and the corollary of causation, suffice.

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There may be more than one concept of "emergence" here.  Perhaps we should ask each person who used the concept to define it.

My understanding of emergence is that X is emergent from A if a complete fundamental description of A need not mention X, but A is known to have caused X.  This does not require that anything be uncaused or unexplainable.  Also, there is no requirement as to complexity or as to how much has already been explained. 

One example: life is an emergent feature of the physical universe.  This means that the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry do not mention life, but are known to have caused life.

 

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1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

My understanding of emergence is that X is emergent from A if a complete fundamental description of A need not mention X, but A is known to have caused X.  This does not require that anything be uncaused or unexplainable.  Also, there is no requirement as to complexity or as to how much has already been explained. 

Then is emergence simply an epistemological artifact? Meaning this all hinges on "description" or "unexplainable" etc. only?

1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

One example: life is an emergent feature of the physical universe.  This means that the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry do not mention life, but are known to have caused life.

Well, then anything goes. The fundamental laws of physics and chemistry do not mention "the love of ice cream", but are known to have cause it.

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15 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

What is your definition of "mind"?

Doug,

I think of mind as an animal neuronal instrumentation-and-control-sysyem sufficient to discern entities in that animal's environment and take actions in view of those entities. Aristotle and Rand thought that such a capability requires memory capabilities pretty high, and I should include that as well in the concept of mind. Such neuronal systems are centralized organizations and require massive encephalization, elaborate brain. Cuvier once remarked that all the systems of animals so high as that seem to have as their function maintaining the operations of their brain. Rand and others maintained that the ultimate function of consciousness in such animals as possess it is as the means of survival of that kind of animal (to which I add: function of consciousness is not only for survival of individual organism, but for its kind). She mentioned incidentally near the end of ITOE that she thought of even a bee as having consciousness. I incline from what I’ve seen of brain science so far to think the brain of a bee does not have consciousness, only brain enough for stimulus-response and for fixed-action patterns of behavior such as walking and flying, and that simply with those repertoires, including any raising of stimulating signals to confederates, the honey bees will be able to attack me when I rob them. I expect Rand could agree with my thesis that mind requires consciousness, but she would have presumed anyway that having a mind is something reserved uniquely to humans and their capacity for consciousness engaging concepts, judgments, and inferences. –S

In Objectivity

Edited by Boydstun
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17 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Then is emergence simply an epistemological artifact?

As I defined it, yes.  But maybe someone else used "emergence" in a different sense, in which case we need to clarify that.

17 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Meaning this all hinges on "description" or "unexplainable" etc. only?

It hinges on "fundamental" and "description".  Nothing is unexplainable, so the invalid notion of "unexplainability" is irrelevant.

17 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Well, then anything goes.

The axiomatic concepts of existence, consciousness, and identity and the law of causality are fundamental to everything and therefore not emergent.

18 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The fundamental laws of physics and chemistry do not mention "the love of ice cream", but are known to have cause it.

The love of ice cream is an emergent feature of the physical universe.  That I had to fix a couple of typos in that sentence I just typed is an emergent feature of the physical universe.  That as I type this I can see an unrelated piece of paper with the sentence "Thank you!" is an emergent feature of the physical universe.  Are these three statements as interesting as the statement that life is an emergent feature of the physical universe?  Are they as interesting as the statement that physicists suspect spacetime is an emergent feature of the physical universe?  Are they as interesting as trying to clarify what EC meant by "emergent" in the OP?

 

 

 

 

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The premise I see here is that emergence is used to explain something. No, it's not. The underlying cause of emergent properties is not 'emergence' itself, but the nature of the interacting existents.

In other words, emergence identifies the fact; the how and why is explained by the corresponding sciences.

Emergence is also not a metaphysical concept (it's itself an instance of identity and causality). But it adds important knowledge about the world.

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“Emergence” does not exist as a separate process in reality in addition to causation.  “Emergent properties” are nothing more than those properties of things caused by the identity and functioning of those things, no matter how complex those things are.

 

Demonstrate the above is false.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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14 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

“Emergence” does not exist as a separate process in reality in addition to causation.

In my previous post I had written:

40 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Emergence is also not a metaphysical concept (it's itself an instance of identity and causality).

i.e. emergence is an instance of causation.

17 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

“Emergent properties” are nothing more than those properties of things caused by the identity and functioning of those things...

Yes, that's what I wrote here:

46 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

The underlying cause of emergent properties is not 'emergence' itself, but the nature of the interacting existents.

In other words, emergence identifies the fact; the how and why is explained by the corresponding sciences.

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