HenryS wrote:yy2bggggs wrote:Might I ask--is there a physical difference between 2+2 and 5? Both of these are non-physical entities.
If they are non-physical entities, why are you asking if there is a physical difference between them?
Because what was in question was this:
wisnij wrote:This is totally a "dragon in the garage" sort of question. If there is no physical difference, then how is it meaningful to say there is a difference at all?
I alluded to "experience". The term "physical" is an obfuscation--it's using the same base as the word "physics". If he means ontological, he should say so. The primary confusion--dare I even say, the error being made--is the one between what is "actually there"--the ontology, the "physical" if you want to call it that, and what can be addressed with physics--the objectively modelable. In essence, the error is that the objective cannot address the subjective.
The point I was making here is that there are tons of examples of things that are "different" that are not "physical" (in the sense of "belonging to physics").
Given this, look back at what I'm claiming exists. Is it there? Is there something it is like to be you? Do you experience things? Wake up--climb out of the debate for a second and walk around, and actually look at the world. When you do, there's something you are doing that's fundamentally different from a camera looking at the world--it's more than light bumping into things, causing the arrangement of things to change states. There's something there that is actually seeing it in the mix.
The existential status of mathematical objects is a thorny problem, but I don't see how it's comparable to the existential status of qualia, or consciousness, or whatever we are talking about here.
Mathematics isn't the only problem child here. Is there a difference between noun and verb? Poverty and wealth? And since the question was asked if there can be a meaningful difference, what about there being a difference between meaningful concepts and gibberish?
The last part is actually a major problem here. I have a brain. Somehow, nature+my brain results in my mind, and I seriously doubt it requires another type of substance. But this implies that all of my mind is physics. Physics, however, is something that "always works". There's no way things should behave in physics--there's only the way things do behave; if the latter doesn't match the former, your physics is wrong. (Yes, this covers randomness in QM; if an event occurs with 90% probability, there's no physical sense in which it should occur; i.e., if it doesn't occur, it doesn't violate physics. In other words, physics is not an option, it's an inevitability).
As such, if you address my mind from a physics perspective (i.e., the physics of the brain), then it's always "correct" so to speak. It works--it does what brains do (and the mind is somehow just connected to this series, as an action/pattern/whatever you imagine). So if this is the case, and I talk about this aspect that physics doesn't cover, how can I be wrong about it? My brain works. It's not violating laws of physics.
Don't you need something besides what can be addressed with physics, to even consider the possibility of someone saying something that is incorrect? If so, fine. Just patch that tiny little hole up--claim that somehow, we're able to mean things. Claim that some of the things we mean are correct, and some are incorrect.
But now, when you're demanding that something be physically different (again, "physical" being the adjective form of physics here), or effectively not different at all, then who is begging the question?
I think I read you as not positing any spooky supernatural dualism going on, but you're talking about some other kind of existence of something (neither material nor supernatural)?
No, it's not another kind of existence. None of these are new types of things to deal with. None of it is a new creature, another world, another existence. These are all things you deal with in your life. These are the things that are actually there. I'm not trying to come up with some kind, and say "they are of this type"--but rather, I'm trying to illustrate that everything that could be said about the physics of the universe doesn't address these types of things. If there's a kind here, it's simply "the other kind".
I would say: Well yes physical information cannot distinguish these cases, and that's because there is no difference. So?
Then am I right too? I mean, I don't see the physical difference between a brain that is mistaken and a brain that is correct. They should both obey the laws of chemistry. I'm not even sure if you could call a brain that is correct more healthy than a brain that is mistaken.
This is perhaps a little off track, but I guess the point is that I'd like some more detail on this conceiving of other people as having or not having consciousness. It doesn't seem at all obvious to me how to do that,
or if it makes sense. Are we going to start talking about "things that it is like something to be"?
Yes. Follow the link I posted above--Chalmers is the guy to go to to understand the use of philosophical zombies (he's the person who actually coined the term "hard problem"). Daniel Dennett is the major opponent. The wiki article on qualia winds up describing this as well.