Monday, April 14, 2008

attempts to propose a moral zombie or moral opposite

here is a couple of hypotheticals

1) Lets cheat a little and throw qualia into the mix - say a qualia bridging law gets changed so that harm becomes benefit and benefit becomes harm. Now, lets say, any person taking any act that is bad is good and anyone taking any action that is good is bad and that this difference is in terms of a view of the rest of the world - indiscernible.
I suppose the disanalogy here is that a morally reversed person might be able to tell something is different if they were to compare (although that is hypothetical because they can't compare) where as a normal zombie cant 'tell' anything at all

2) Lets say there is a quality called 'morality' that exists in a parallel 'world'. this is collected or not collected based on one's morality. now I want to infuse it with some value you might relate to it - so let's say it is in some sense sentient (or to be simpler lets say it has a trait that fulfills the desires of the people in the real world - a monument to their morality maybe?)- unable to effect the world, and not existing in some senses, but of value in itself.

Now let's say we switch this morality around so that now doing the opposite builds this unknowable monument/spirit creature.

responses for Chalmers responses

Maybe the best way to deal with this is to look at what is chalmers responses to what he presumably thinks are the strongest.
So here is the starting point .

1) Katalin Balog: "Balog's parallel argument requires that a zombie's claim "I am conscious" is true; otherwise the argument doesn't get off the ground."
I think this isn't entirely true. the zombies argument relies on the same sort of argument Charmlers would use, and in the sense that Chalmers is undeniably right so too is the zombie.

If Chalmers accepts that we are talking in a sense where the truth value of "I have qualia" is separable from first person experience then we at least have a blow against 'qualia obviously exists because I experience it' because we are willing to reject 'others' experience. However I don't think its a fatal blow by itself except in as far as we think zombieism needs to be proactively proven as opposed to disproven.

2) "Bishop responds that mere counterfactual sensitivity can't make a difference to consciousness: surely it's what actually happens to a system that matters, not what would have happened if things had gone differently. He runs a version of the fading qualia argument, suggesting that we can remove unused state-transitions one-by-one, thus removing counterfactual sensitivity, while (he argues) preserving consciousness."
Sounds interesting not sure i have a position on it yet though.

3)Robert Kirk. "He argues that (1) on the zombiephile view, we are compounds of a physical zombie and nonphysical qualia, (2) a zombie can't detect nonphysical qualia, and qualia can't detect nonphysical qualia, (3) their compound (i.e. us) can't detect nonphysical qualia, either, so (4) the zombiephile view has the absurd consequence that we can't detect qualia."

I think this seems interestingly a less well worked attempt to make one of my arguments (and I thought I would be the sloppy one - maybe Charmlers is misrepresenting him)
1 isn't exactly Chalmers position, but I think charmers would end up disputing aspects of it that don't matter for the argument to work. What is more interesting is that Chalmers seems to fail to hit the nail on he head attaching 2 and 3.

"I think there's a case to be made that our phenomenology alone implies knowledge of qualia; e.g. a disembodied being with exactly my phenomenology would know it had qualia."

This misses the key point - the problem is that if that disembodied being doesn't communicate with itself it doesn't have anything that makes much sense as "disembodied knowledge" anymore than we would consider a rock has knowledge. A Rock is 'made of stuff" and that stuff could theoretically be arranged as a computer or something - but it isn't because it can't communicate in any meaningful structured way.

One can still get all interactionist here and deny 2 but that isn't the counter he chose to use.

"Further, the step from (2) to (3) is invalid: it's simply false that if neither A nor B can know that P, then a compound of A and B cannot know that P"

now that is true if this was a matter of 'cutting a brain' but we are talking about flows of information here. if the data cant get from one place to another it just doesn't get off the ground. Or more broardly - yes the whole can be 'more than the sum of the parts' in a sense - but the parts must leverage off certain types of traits each has not create entirely new ones.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

to break down my anti ep zombie argument

ep zombie philosophy
1) there is no such thing as 'I am a zombie' so 'I am qualia'.
2) Qualia cant effect the physical world (this is ep philosophy)

3) from 1 and 2 - I can't effect the physical world
4) beliefs (as in a logical structure of beliefs) exist in the physical world (stated and also implied by the fact that they can be written down etc)


4)a) if 2 (ep philosophy) is true then I am either a believer or a non believer as a result of the physical facts - I (qualia) can't change it.
b) if it is NOT true then I am either currently a believer that it is true or not true and I should if I believe in truth, try to change to not believing it.

Logical debate

If any two people are arguing and one wants to prove the other incorrect they need to locate at least two beliefs (probably much more) the other side has (which may be easy or difficult). they then leverage the first belief(or beliefs) to develop a logical conclusion based on them to disprove the other.

One can then argue from the first point to the second or from the second to the first, its not clear which one the person will reject (it could be bullet biting or surrendering the debate). Also since the proof from the first point is now moved into the domain of the second the closest belief to the argument would presumably be a contradiction of a belief that that person has previously stated - eliciting a 'you obviously don't understand'. Prior to assessing if there are logical flaws in the argument.

Maybe the lesson is one needs to get the person to agree the intermediate steps are true before throwing the final conclusion in their face and possibly to ask in the hypothetical which of the two beliefs they would reject if they contradicted each other.

Zombie debates

Zombie debates seem to go like the below

A: standard zombie's are conceivable (etc)
B: you are using an intuition pump
and they cannot do philosophically interesting work on their own and it's always legitimate to dig in one's heels in response to the pumping and deny the relevant intuitions.
A: yes they can - I find them interesting and useful and also intuitive.
B: I could make the same sorts of argument for religion
A: (if he doesn't believe in god) it is not exactly the same - I experience qualia not god.
B: You have the idea of concievability wrong

B: Your theory is not required - so occam's razor applies
A: I'm explaining one event qualia) with one new law (bridging law)
B: it doesn't seem to obey laws of science
A: laws of science don't apply - If you think they do then prove they do.
B: your just trying to make it unfalsifiable
to mention Carl Sagan's parable of the dragon in the garage. "I have a dragon in my garage." Great! I want to see it, let's go! "You can't see it - it's an invisible dragon." Oh, I'd like to hear it then. "Sorry, it's an inaudible dragon." I'd like to measure its carbon dioxide output. "It doesn't breathe." I'll toss a bag of flour into the air, to outline its form. "The dragon is permeable to flour." (even worse - how do you know it is permeable to flour and completely inaudible?)
A: so what thats not proof.
B: [getting frustrated] things are the
sum of their parts
obviously no need to infer anything else.
A: so what thats not proof, and I have my zombie argument which needs explaining.
B: [tired of not understanding what the other side means by qualia an therefore working on defining it themselves] physics and psychology show that thought is part of the physical world
A : so what? you're attacking the wrong question.
B: if you apparently have consciousness then you have consciousness
A: you are begging the question - obviously you are loosing.
B: you are just not getting it...

Friday, April 11, 2008

More clear anti zombie arguments

First the basic attacks
1) Daniel Dennett approach ‘when philosophers claim that zombies are conceivable, they invariably underestimate the task of conception (or imagination), and end up imagining something that violates their own definition’

To which they challenge Dennett to prove it

2) Kriple approach - reference and knowledge require us to be causally affected by what is known or referred to (Kripke 1972) if zombies are conceivable, so are epiphenomenalistic worlds. But by the causal theory of reference, epiphenomenalistic worlds are not conceivable; therefore zombies are not conceivable. (I will use something a bit similar later)

To which they reject the causal theory of reference (that’s a fairly decent bullet to bite)

3) What about science?
Most objects in the universe obey laws like entropy – but qualia seem to be able to be created or destroyed independent of a number of such laws. Why does this apply?

To which they respond that they are adding something like a simple ‘science doesn’t apply here’ rule.

4) Why are qualia at all consistent with reality.
A zombie philosopher might say ‘they aren’t’ but think of all the ways qualia could relate. Basically why does the physical world relate to quail in an even vaguely sensible way since it has no impact? Evolution can’t be driving it. Why not have 50 people sharing the same set of qualia as if they were a single person (since they can’t affect anything it presumably doesn’t cause problems to an ep zombie philosopher) or one person being 50 people (which is a bit more realistic maybe). Or for them to just have a totally different completely useless nature? It seems as if something designed qualia in order for them to be useful – a god? Remember we don’t have evolution or natural selection to fall back on here.

5) Being right by being wrong

has a argument based on how Epiphenomenalists need to be wrong to be right.
epiphenomenalist-zombie... while thinking that the physicalist is right, still argues and discusses that this assumed entity, while not affecting the behavior, is still there as separate somehow... we can say that the theoretical abilities in the epiphenomenalist-zombies don’t function quite as “they are supposed to”. But by some strange miracle this “not functioning as supposed to” of the abilities PLUS the fact that in the actual world there happen to be psycho-physical laws, end up with the behavior of epiphenomenalist philosophers (which btw can be explained same as the zombie-epiphenomenalist behavior) producing and being inline with their phenomenal beliefs, and being true (we are working within epiphenomenalism view).

This leads us to

6) Zombie semantics
Imagine zombie chalmers (pro zombie) and zombie Dennet (anti zombie) arguing about the existence of zombies. what does zombie chalmers mean when he talks about a zombie?

Presumably the argument for conceivability collapses. However now we could just say 'zombie mean nothing because they don’t have qualia (as distinct from what a physicalist might mean by qualia). But this defensive position doesn’t solve all the issues.

But for one this takes the form of the old religious argument
“if god doesn’t exist morality doesn’t exist’
The moral atheist argues something like ‘morality is valuable without god’ So it isn’t new or widely accepted as proof

And two, the Dennet and Chalmers both describe the same thing from the same experiences and infer meaning to be something from that. Effectively Dennet infers that the physical world is more and Chalmers infers it is less and that there is an additional realm that makes up for that ‘less’. In the zombie example there is no real conciousness+ the hypothetical double zombies are debating is nothing anyway.

7) Zombie justification
Since our zombie twins, in contrast, have no experiences, their quasi-phenomenal judgments are unjustified. Chalmers suggests that even if qualia have no causal influence on our judgments, their mere presence in the appropriate physical context partially constitutes the contents of the thoughts involved: it ensures that our thoughts are about those qualia.

Is this true? This appears to be like saying that if there is a duplicate of you on mars talking about a tree, and you are talking about a tree, you are talking about the tree on mars even if you are mistaken and there is no tree in front of you.

8) opening the door to more problems
What is the nature of qualia? If we state that it doesn’t obey natural laws what laws do they obey? Ideally can these be documented? What would such a documentation look like?
this of course brings us to occams razor arguments against zombie philosophy. Note that Occam’s razor is often misunderstood, however it appears to apply here.

9) why are qualia seem to be so poorly developed as a model.
there are lots of thought experiments seldom done to elaborate on the model - what would happen if you took a trip to zombie world - what if you came back again? what would it be like? what if you steeped halfway into zombie world? what does the answers to that say about the relationship between qualia and matter? What is the just of the rule that attaches qualia to matter? If we have billions of examples in the world why not specify it a bit more?

10) The nature of possible worlds and Occams razor

I propose that if qualia are something that can be duplicated in possible worlds they are part of the world. so saying they are inaccessible to science is not to say there is a bridging law but instead to say there is a series of ‘exception laws’, e.g. entropy doesn’t apply to qualia, sped of light doesn’t apply, cause and effect laws don’t apply etc etc - quite complex. Normally an Epiphenomenalist can say ‘hey I’m just adding one bridging law to explain one additional fact - I’m suggesting they actually need to almost exactly double the number of laws in the universe to apply to qualia and to other stuff or they are messing with the very model of conceptual worlds.

Most ep philosophers are happy to accept qualia as ‘in this world’ so what they really have done is just sloppily described what they are doing as something more simple than it is.

11) What is ‘you’ or ‘me’
if you dump causality as important for connecting qualia with eachother or yu with the physical world you raise issues regarding your own continuality – if someone recreates some pattern that happens to trigger the same qualia somewhere else is that all of a sudden ‘you’? That seems to open interesting doors to a new form of quantum immortality with even wider reaching possibilities in fact one can ask the question why other sections of space aren’t triggering your qualia right now.. or are they?

12) Believing Illogically
If you are other than 100% clear about epiphenomenalism but you care about the truth value of your statements (at all) then you get Richards argument for free will - you can make yourself right by rejecting it but can’t make yourself wrong by rejecting it and you can’t change anything if it is true.

To explain - because the data for decision making is on the qualia side but the encoding of the conclusion is on the brain side (and on the computer in front of you). the inability for qualia to inform the brain is fatal to having a logical chain of causality.

Or as a set of statements

1) there is no such thing as 'I am a zombie' so 'I am qualia'.
2) Qualia cant effect the physical world (this is ep philosophy)

3) from 1 and 2 - I can't effect the physical world
4) beliefs (as in a logical structure of beliefs) exist in the physical world (stated and also implied by the fact that they can be written down etc)


4)a) if 2 (ep philosophy) is true then I am either a believer or a non believer as a result of the physical facts - I (qualia) can't change it.
b) if it is NOT true then I am either currently a believer that it is true or not true and I should if I believe in truth, try to change to not believing it.

Counter – why not have a soul containing the qualia and having it’s independant beliefs?

First for background consider eliezers Cartesian theater argument to represent scientific psychology’s position. We seem to be able to separate out most ordered thought / internal dialog as ‘not us’ a sort of process we just happen to observe not actually duplicated in the qualia shadow.

Now with this in mind, I Question the effectiveness of the potential for effective connections between Qualia that would allow us to hold complex beliefs beyond the physical world in ep zombie philosophy - because if zombies act entirely like I do then the precursors for my thought process are almost fully explained by my brain patterns. It would be hard to have a experience of anything other than a completely minimal nature without being blown off tack by them - a concept like well developed epiphenomenalism independent of the zombie strata should be well beyond you. Potentially ‘green’ might also be given enough understanding.* (more explanation at the end)

In the best case scenario - you can imagine we have a 'zombie me' writing about not believing in zombie philosophy and a 'real me' writing about not believing in zombie philosophy but screaming out inside that he does believe in it, a recipe for insanity I suppose (although as I suggested earlier I don't think this scenario is plausible because you would be blown off track). On the other hand I know that isn't the case, you'll just have to take my word for it unless you are also a non zombie philosopher. Actually one would expect it would apply to a lot of logic - no reason for it only to apply directly to qualia which begs the question as to what range of logic the zombie philosophers think this applies to.

Good news is most ep philosophers don’t seem to believe in this.

13) Defensiveness
The argument for ep zombies is extremely defensive, it proposes something that is experimentally impossible to disprove and uses concepts like ‘conceivability, and places the burden of proof on the other side (to prove they are not conceivable). This isn’t proof that it is a bad idea, (unlike possibly some of the above) but it invites questions as to why it is defensive even beyond the point that it needs to be (i.e. one can still be a dualist without rejecting any connection at all with qualia). Even the original argument itself about the conceivability of zombies seems to beg the question regarding whether physicalism is false so the debate apears to exist largely in the 'zombie world'.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Zombie arguments

Zombie philosophers - are running around on the net causing a fuss recently so I thought I might summarize some of the most interesting thought experiments and rules

to start zombie philosophers believe that we have a sort of 'supernatural' (ie somehow beyond normal science) qualia.
they tend to believe A) science has never made any ground trying to understand the 'soul'
B) Epiphenomenalist believe the qualia/soul has no physical effect

1) In a debate with a Epiphenomenalist zombie supporter (one who thinks that the 'soul' has no effect on our decisions) I got to the point where they admitted that their comments to me that they have qualia is not casually related to them actually having it. this is because they deny that qualia can have any effect on anything (including what they say).

the defense was that al one needsto do is to accept a standard of proof with no evidence. I'm yet to be convinced that is not a huge bullet to bite.

2) A simple thought experiment by Elizer at overcoming bias, similar to much more sophisticated ones you might find at the splintered mind blog, relates to how you can catch yourself thinking. this is the Cartesian theartre experience, where you find yourself experiencing being hte listener but not the creator of the thought. the Epiphenomenalist zombie supporter can dodge this by arguing htat the thought process is zombie thought and that its jsut things like the sensation of 'being a listener' that are qualia. But note for future reference how much we have retreated from the normal concept of a soul/qualia (ie scientifically qualia are defined as things that MUST have effects!).

Despite the Epiphenomenalist argument that psychology and science never make any progress in this sort of area, it would seem that science has no power has been on the retreat in precisely this area - rather like every other area.

3) Occams razor argument (believing in invisibles) as per eliezer post. he states.

"What you believe (assign probability to) is a set of simple equations; you believe these equations describe the universe. You believe these equations because they are the simplest equations you could find that describe the evidence. These equations are highly experimentally testable; they explain huge mounds of evidence visible in the past, and predict the results of many observations in the future."

Aside from that one should no believe in any additional fact except where they are required to simplify the explanation of other facts. An as it relates to invisible things (like qualia"

"you should assign unaltered prior probability to additional invisibles"

Indicating that the alternative to 'zombie logic' is more consistent with the standard methodology.

4) what is the alternative to zombie logic? zombie philosophers may argue that it is the strong nessecities of physicalism. that might be true if we were not concerned with creating strong nessecities, but if we are then the alternative is surely just "not qualia" no statement about there being a strong nessecity for that unless the evidence says so.

5) I remember a debate with a Epiphenomenalist regarding quantum immortality. His was that causality was an important part of your continuality and therefore he rejected quantum imortality. However the same person takes the above position that attitudes have no concequences on this world - thus there is no causality relationship between the qualia (which I presume we take to be "I") and any other qualia. So are we willing to bite the continuality bullet?

6) following from the above imagine this Epiphenomenalist zombie thought experiment - a dozen buckets on a horizontally spinning's whel with holes in the bottom - each is driping water into a pool. the splashes in the pool are qualia and the buckets are the people's physical bodies.
now the person has continuality in that every splash comes from a particular bucket, BUT if yu ignore the buckets there is no connection between the splashes and the splashes have no effect back on the buckets overhead, every qualia is directly triggered by a physical action. So my point is there is apparently (experimentally) no continuality of qualia or soul except for that held together by the zombie body and remembered in the zombie memory. So the implication is your qualia would be incapable of logic even if it could communicate that logic back to the brain.

7) if you took a trip to zombie world, I presume you would die, and yet if you return you would remember being there in all the colour and meaning as if it wasn't zombie world. That implies that qualia is less like an image pulled into place by actions on earth and more like a force (like gravity) defined by the presence of the real world (also for a little induction note how gravity is generally best understood as a dent in space)

One also should consider if htey can concieve of what it would be like to walk into your universe crossing machine and stop in the doorway? half your head on one side half on the other.

8) clarifying our model of Epiphenomenalism. I suggest we need(in the looser sense) to actualy put conciousness in the circle inside of the 'world' not outside it. In the multi world model (whether this is possible or whatever) we have to define a unit we are duplicating and that world is defined by the rules as to how they can intereact - generally we define 'the universe' and 'no interaction' in that model then the qualia world is inside the universe.

So its not so much a bridging law holding onto qualia but rather a exception law regarding properties of qualia (i.e. qualia have a special exemptions regarding normal laws as opposed to being beyond them).

9) what are the rules that define qualia being attached to a particular thing? A normal scientist could argue that qualia are just 'perspective' ie qualia in the looser sense potentially exist for everything it just happens that an object like a table does nothing so it has no experiences an ant on the other hand makes a few decisions so there is a vague sense of how it might have 'experience' a chimp would of course have far more and a human even more of course you only experience this 'qualia' if you happen to be that thing.
However zombie philosophers face the issue of having to attribute their 'supernatural' attribute via a rule. generally things have qualia depending on their complexity (like the above approach) and yet that isn't the magical connection - the connection is a second law which excludes some things that are complex.

10) the same Epiphenomenalist oce pesented to be an argument for free will.
A) there is value in having beliefs that are true
B) if you have no free will then you cnat change your belief
C) if you choose to belive in fre will you can change yourself from wrong to right but neverfrom right to wrong therefore increasing hte truth probability of the statement
D) from above - you should believe in free wil.

Qualia are in the same area as free will so how does it apply to that?

A) there is value in having beliefs that are true (possibly the only value?)
B) if you have Ep qualia then you can't change your belief baised on them (there is no causal conection) so you can't increase the truth value. But if you don't then they can.
C) if you choose to belive in Ep qualia will you can change yourself from right to wrong but never from wrong to right therefore decreasing the truth probability of the statement
D) from above - you should not believe in ep qualia.

That leaves a believer in ep qualia needing to use other reasons for believing in it...

11) to a common scientific view qualia are things that emerge from reality. They are defined by the pattern of the individual - so a certain pattern represents "me thinking about red". there is no need to invoke special properties. In fact it seems natural that if a zombie was thinking about red that it would be concievable to be that zombie and be experiencing red qualia. The zombie philosophy seems to delete this in order to ad it back in the real world and not add it at all in he zombie world.
Imagine if one was to (as I guess people used to) look at a certain race and say - sure they are identical to us but it isnt concievable to 'be them' or 'imagine oneself in their place' because they dont have 'souls'.

The second part to this is how do we draw the dividing line between you having a perspective and a table not having one? Well the easy way to do that is to say there is no dividing like it is just that tables never create patterns anything could recognize as a qualia, there perspective is uninteresting. A chimp on the other hand can, and a mouse can to just to a much lesser degree.

Bottom line is that if part of the 'physical world explination' is 'everything has a perspective' then a physical world lacking any perspective is a contradiction.