The Codex Quaerendae

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Pfhorrest
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Re: The Codex Quaerendae

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:41 am UTC

The first proper essay in the morality and justice track is done:

On Teleology, Purpose, and the Objects of Morality.

This one feels like I spent a surprising amount of time talking about dense technical details and talking about what I'm going to talk about, and a very small amount of time actually making the substantial point on that topic. It also has the greatest number of callbacks to previous essays of any essay thus far, referencing a total of eight previous ones.

(And hey what do you know, we're on to the second page of this thread right as we get to the second main part of the Codex, how appropriate).
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

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Pfhorrest
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Re: The Codex Quaerendae

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:20 am UTC

The next essay in the morality and justice track is done:

On the Will and the Subjects of Morality.

This one felt surprisingly easy to write, but I also feel like I said surprisingly little somehow.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

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ucim
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Re: The Codex Quaerendae

Postby ucim » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:22 am UTC

from: On the Mind and the Subjects of Reality (referred there from On the Will and the Subjects of Morality)

I am also against emergentism, on the grounds that it is essentially invoking magic, and thus violates my previously established position against transcendentalism. Emergentism holds some wholes to be greater than the sums of their parts, and thus that when certain things are arranged in certain ways, new properties apply to the whole that are not mere aggregates or composites of the properties of the parts.


What do you mean by "against"? You don't like it? You think it is an unhelpful way to look at things? You think it's objectively false? You think it's subjectively bad?

Consider the idea of color. A certain arrangement of atoms can be red. That is, when I look at a thing made of those atoms objectively, red light is predominantly reflected, and this gives me the subjective experience of seeing the color red.

However, none of these atoms is itself red.

There are fun chemistry experiments where one mixes a test tube of one color liquid with a test tube of a different color liquid, and obtains a solution that is a third color (not composed of the the optical mix of the prior two colors).

Color seems to be an emergent phenomenon here, which depends not only on the atoms, but on their relationship to each other.

Emergent phenomena occur in other arenas too, including interpersonal interactions in society. Peer pressure and mob dynamics are trivial examples; this is behavior that individuals perform, but only in the presence of others. The group dynamics is reasonably thought of as emergent.

Now, there's nothing magic about this, but it is non-obvious from the components.

Why would something similar not be a reasonable way to look at philosophical issues? Emergence need not be transcendental (in the sense of being beyond the senses), and has nothing to do with faith. Thus, I find the links (against fideism -> against transcendentalism -> against emergentism) unconvincing.

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Re: The Codex Quaerendae

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:51 pm UTC

ucim wrote:What do you mean by "against"? You don't like it? You think it is an unhelpful way to look at things? You think it's objectively false? You think it's subjectively bad?

Throughout the whole Codex I've been saying I'm against (or I support) of this or that -ism, and that just straightforwardly means I disagree (or agree) with whatever the thesis put forward by that position is. "Objectively false" is probably the closest of the options you've presented, though in philosophy that's often about equivalent to "an unhelpful way to look at things".

Consider the idea of color.

Color is about the emission or reflection of electromagnetic radiation, which is something that the individual atoms themselves are capable of. Different combinations of atoms may change what frequencies of electromagnetic radiation are emitted or reflected, but there's nothing wholly new happening there; it's an aggregate or composite of a bunch of things that were already present in the parts. That's not emergence in the sense that I'm against, nor are any of the other examples you give. The end of the bit you quoted read:

Emergentism holds some wholes to be greater than the sums of their parts, and thus that when certain things are arranged in certain ways, new properties apply to the whole that are not mere aggregates or composites of the properties of the parts.


That's the important bit. Back on philosophy of mind, you'll note that I do agree that access consciousness is something that comes from arranging parts the right way, but that's because that's a functional, mechanical property that arises from the combination of the mechanical interactions of physical things. From later in the same paragraph you quoted:

I do agree with what I think is the intended thrust of the emergentist position, that consciousness as we ordinarily speak of it is something that just comes about when physical things are arranged in the right way. But I think that consciousness as we ordinarily speak of it is access consciousness, to be addressed later in this essay, and that access consciousness is a purely functional, mechanistic property that is built up out of the ordinary physical properties of the physical things that compose an access-conscious being, and nothing wholly new emerges out of nothing like magic when physical things are arranged in the right way.


The emergentism that I'm against is about phenomenal consciousness, the first-person experience of what-it's-like-to-be-a-thing. I'm denying the view that there is no semblance of that at all atoms etc, yet a fully-realized such experience in humans, that just appears all at once somewhere along the way there; in contrast, I'm saying whatever is going on in humans is built up out of something that's going on in the stuff we're made of. With access consciousness, the buildup of mechanical functionality is relatively clear (though science still has lots and lots of details to work out, of course). My functionalist panpsychism just says that phenomenal consciousness tracks alongside that exactly, instead of either being completely absent even in humans, or being completely absent in the stuff we're made of but suddenly, magically present out of nothing when that stuff is put together right.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)


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