Monday, 19 October 2015

On the criticism of coherentism

>There is nothing within the definition of coherence which makes it impossible for two entirely different sets of beliefs to be internally coherent. Thus there might be several such sets. But if one supposes—in line with the principle of non-contradiction—that there can only be one complete set of truths, coherentism must provide a way to choose between these competing sets.

Yes and no. This only implies that we cannot know what is ultimately true (in absolute sense). This should be obvious in analogy to the halting problem in computability theory and Gödel's incompleteness theorems of mathematical logic (which again are all proven). The choice between two equally coherent beliefs is arbitrary. However, one theory is in practise always more coherent than others and even if they are on exactly equal footing, their current utility is equal and optimal so no problem exists.

Furthermore, the scale of required coherence expands as our experiences of the world keep growing so the coherence of our best theories converges towards the most coherent theory and theories incoherent with our experiences must be dropped out. The principle of non-contradiction applies, but coherentism has no need to provide a way to choose between two equally strong competing sets as the precise truth is unobtainable, yet coherentism allows an optimal way to approach this truth and provides a way to choose between unevenly matched theories.ödel%27s_incompleteness_theorems


The question as to why the Universe exists cannot be answered by "god" or "quantum fluctuations" because both of them are at most only parts of the Universe (which encapsulates everything). The explanation for the existence of the Universe must by nature be such that it leaves no references to any unexplained phenomena.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Everything worth doing is too expensive.

Hidden messages within the noise...

1) The LSB of the first line of pixels contains a code of random binary data.
2) This code can be used to calculate a cross-correlation value with the LSBs of the next lines of pixels.
3) The deviation of the xcorr value from the mean determines whether the line contained 1 or 0 (information is noisy with only approx. 15% of the bits transmitted).

This technique shares some similarities with the way the GPS transmits information with poor SNR.

pic = imread('/home/plahteen/code.png');
[a b c] = size(pic);

% extract the correlation code
code = double(mod(pic(1,1:b,1), 2)) - 0.5;

% calculate xcorr with LSB and code
for x=1:a-1
    co = double(mod(pic(1+x,1:b,1),2)) - 0.5;
    X(x) = dot(co, code);

% convert signal into binary
X = X>mean(double(X));

% decode
sprintf(char(bin2dec(vec2mat(sprintf('%d', double(X)), 7))))

ans =

My attempt to reciprocate is cut brutally short as my body experiences a sudden lack of electrons.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

It sucks in all my hopes and aspirations and all I'm left with is Hawking radiation of broken dreams.

Existence alone is not good enough, one should be able to do something worthwhile with it.
I didn't bring a whole lot back from Iceland, but at least some black sand.
"You're weird"
"No, that was a compliment"

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, It might have been."

Can you think of any random thoughts? Can you write a non-deterministic algorithm? Can you even imagine what it would mean? An effect without a cause? Clearly a very strange idea. Perhaps something beyond our imagination.

Deterministic systems are boring, one thing leads to another, you model your observations and you know everything there is to know about it. Non-deterministic on the other hand - a mystery, something weird. A painful reminder of the one thing we don't seem to grasp at all. Randomness with infinite period, something from out there.

Try Not Giving a Fuck!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

I may dine with the devil, but the devil will never dine with me.

"I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live."

"If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want."
"First, flood market with potatoes. Every single shop, fast food store, etc. has your potatoes. They're so cheap that no one can compete and ends up moving to other crops since they can't make a profit. Now, once your potato hegemony is established, slowly roll back potato supply. Enough to cause some rise in prices but not enough for panic. All of a sudden, stop potato supply. No one can supply enough to match your previous supply and the Great International Potato Inflationary Crisis occurs. World leaders clamor for you to resume your supply, and you laugh maniacally from your potato funded spaceship. Hold the world to ransom as supplies of chips, fries and crisps dwindle and die. Once sufficient panic has been created, get plastic surgery done and come back to Earth as the Potato Messiah, slowly bringing back potatoes to the world. The world is so grateful that they vote you World Leader. If they don't, cut off potato supply again.

I might face invasion - potato funded private military for my sovereign space state of Potatica would be used to fend off attacks and burn down competing potato farms on Earth. I mean I'm not saying you'd want to destroy people's lives and incomes, but they really shouldn't be growing potatoes.
Anyway, with near infinite potatoes, you have infinite ammo. With enough research and development we'd have potato bullets, potato armor, potato piercing rounds and potato cannonballs. Global military effort wouldn't stand a goddamn chance against the might of Potatica."

There exists no proof of anything real, and by nature of words (and fundamentally our existence) there never can. That's because the word proof only applies to ideas and reality isn't one. Math has proofs, physics does not. Your idea of reality is just a probabilistic model based on imperfect interpretations of your experiences.

[From somewhere in the depths of reddit.]

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Enough absurdity...

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Nothing exists; even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can't be communicated to others.

Just debated some idiots again and have to vent a little...

1) Nothing is ever proven in science. A proof is an operation of formal logic and is applicable mainly to mathematical truth only, which is basically simply consequence of axioms.

2) Science shows the validity of a theory by demonstrating it is a good model for a set of observations. It is not possible to literally prove any property of the reality. It is only possible to construct models of reality based on observations. The validity of these models is judged by their ability to make predictions.

3) Observation is any phenomenon which leaves some sort of relatively stable track of its existence. There can never be anything uncertain about an observation, only about the interpretation. There is a dependency between the repeatability of obsevations and reliability of the theory. That has historically been observed to be universally significant measure of the predictive power of the theory.

4) The mission of science is to model phenomenons. A model is a compact historically valid description of observations with significant demonstrations of predictive power (concerning then future). Scientific theory is the highest graduation point of this process. A theory is immediately invalid or at most only a limited approximation if it does not match some observation. (Though obviously this effect is sometimes just some fringe outlier. Never the less the exact interpretation of the sentence is still true, but it may often mean nothing more than the inability of the theory and experimenter to predict and observe the exact nature of chaotic thermal noise.)

5) Historically prevalent theories (like Newtons mechanics) have not been wrong, the word is not correct for the context, because they have only been appriximations which have later on been made more accurate by other theories (like Einsteins theory of relativity). Science does not assume theories to be exact models of the world, only good fits to the observations of their time with significant nonzero predictive power.

6) The purpose of peer review is to improve the reliability of generally accepted scientific models and increase the efficiency of progress by cutting out clearly invalid or highly unlikely meaningful material.

7) A phenomenon is not guilty of existence until shown otherwise.

Problem of induction
I'm of the opinion that this is nothing more than playing the game by the rules you have learned. If one day the rules no longer apply or you learn there are exceptions to the rules, you play by the new rules. Shouldn't this be trivial?

And as opposed to what? Not playing by those rules? Or playing by the rules someone else invented? Playing by random rules? Or not playing at all? Feel free, but expect anything.

Logical positivism
I would say there is nothing wrong with the goal of logical positivism at all in its root. It was just taken too seriously. Too many saw the ultimate goal to be some sort of absolute mechanism for knowledge and nothing less would constitute to anything, but perhaps they failed to see the reason why such a road could only be approximated and approached never to be reached and perhaps to some extent the arbitrary nature of this endevour. The reason perhaps being finiteness of human experience. Perhaps the same fundamental principle which limits all courses of thought. Manifested by Gödel's incompleteness theorem and Turing's halting problem. We can't deal with absolutes or infinities. There is no finite self consistent doctrine and there can never be. After all, this was essentially proven. But why did they even expect such a thing? We can still approach infinitely even if we know we'll never reach it. We just need to decide to do so even if it is arbitrary and in some sense futile.

...and I still find it somewhat comforting that we also know that...

...any finite-state machine, if left completely to itself, will fall eventually into a perfectly periodic repetitive pattern. The duration of this repeating pattern cannot exceed the number of internal states of the machine...

Dualism, qualia and philosophical zombies - the hard problem of consciousness
1) The claim is that qualia cannot be reduced to anything physical.
2) That is the claim, now demonstrate it, because I don't feel it.

What is it like to be a bat? Nagel argued that even if we knew everything there was to know from a third-person, scientific perspective about a bat's sonar system, we still wouldn't know what it is like to be a bat.

I don't see how this would point towards dualism. To me it simply means we are not the bat. The causal chain of thinking about pain is not the same as feeling the pain. And obviously "we" cannot have the same causal chain without becoming the bat.

"If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."

Perhaps so, but nature doesn't care and neither do I. And in some ways, neither do you. Because you have no reason to suppose or to do anything at all. You just do. We keep living, and we keep playing the game, in the end because that's what we are, that's what we do and in some sense that's what we must do.

Causal interaction requires that dualism must explain how consciousness interacts with physical reality. Well they certainly don't explain it, but when someone said quantum mechanics they grabbed their last straw. I'd like to see their faces if quantum mechanics turned out to be deterministic, but though I think that'll turn out to be the case, even if that's not, we know things about the nature of quantum mechanics which seems to make it irrelevant. The statistical nature of quantum mechanics seems completely devoid of something I'd call mind and we understand and have tested that nature very well.

Somehow the strongest argument for the existence of some unknown aspect (which I still don't really believe) of the mind in is my mind the following scenario.

Let's say a machine capable of copying humans is made, and it is used to make a copy of you. (It is in fact impossible to copy exact quantum states, but let's say they are not meaningful or just simply ignore it.)

1) At the same time the original is destroyed. What do you experience? How do you feel (if anything) after this process has taken place?

2) Both the original and the copy are kept. What do you experience? Which "you" do "you" experience?

What does the experiencing? The universe? Is there a well defined you?

Some possibilities:

1.1) You die and experience nothing. A new consciousness is born (with your memories) and the universe goes about its merry business never knowing any better. But, what is death anyway?

1.2) You observe as if you'd been transported. But then is it actually "you" who's experiencing it or is it the universe somehow? One thing to consider is that the wavefunction of that which is essentially you has nonlocal properties according to quantum mechanics. Your wavefunction actually covers the whole universe and though it has peak existence here and now it is as objectively as can be, true, that you simultaneously exist everywhere and in fact everytime as well. You will "feel" what happens on the other side of the universe. Even locally your atoms are continuously tunneling from place to place and time to time and have no unique objective existence. You already are an information state of the universe. So quantum mechanics which was supposed to be the saviour of dualism has basically already beamed you up.

2.1) You keep your old body and experience nothing out of the ordinary. The copy is just a new consciousness born, but the universe can't tell the difference and perhaps neither can the copy, for the copy's point of view he was just you transported.

2.2) As you now essentially exist identically in two places at once you experience some sort of odd synthesis and duality of experience (but how?), perhaps what was you was some weird mechanism of the universe and something really odd occurs ...or not! According to quantum mechanics when atoms interact they entangle their states to some extent depending on the strength of this interaction. However, all atoms continuously interact (if only extremely weakly) with all other atoms. And they have a history of interaction as long as the lifetime of the universe already. You are already entangled with yourself, your friends, your surrounding and the rest of the universe. You have no independent existence, you never had. It's all just a matter of degrees. Perhaps whatever we could ever do could only be described as an unusually quick fast change in our state of affairs.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Why I feel solipsism is basically done and dusted?

The argument for solipsism tends to boil down to something along these lines...
...everything is you and you aren't aware of the vast majority of it.

However, this seems exceedingly counterproductive definition of the word "you" to me. I would rather define not me as that which I am not directly aware of. Or at the very least something which isn't integral part of that which is my core consciousness. Me is that which is close to me, not me is that which is far from me.

This is a kind of quantifiable quantity. I can think of a N number of thing in t amount of time I can't expect to be able to do at arbitrary time of my choosing. However, I cannot think of any thoughts I could not think of (kind of obviously). Of course I might still be limited by the lack imagination when it comes to my own thoughts, or even be only a product of a deterministic processes and as such possess no "true" imagination, but never the less I experience the feeling that I can think of any thoughts I can imagine at any time I desire.

For example dreams aren't really part of my core consciousness in a relevant way even if they might be an unavoidable byproduct of the machinery that makes my core essence possible. I cannot exert the same level of control over my dreams immediately and arbitrarily or things external to me as I can exert over my thoughts right now. I'm basically omnipotent when it comes to my thoughts, but I'm very much less so of the external world.

Additionally, I can see my consciousness existing perfectly well without experiencing any dreams. Similarly, I can see it existing perfectly well without other people. However, I cannot see it existing without my thoughts and experiences. Even though my existence might in the end become empty and meaningless should all the people vanish from the world and should I be unable to find meaning in solitary endeavours like exploring the remaining universe let alone the case where no universe would be left to experience anymore and I would only be stuck in perfect void with only my limited memories.

Existence of these distances in the experiences is that which ultimately separates me from others (and everything else not me). It may very well be that I need the entire universe to exist as I do and the universe might need me. However, it is the distances and consequences of those distances, the amount of coupling between my immediate beingness and my less immediate environment, that makes concepts such as me, you and consciousness possible and meaningful. If you become one with the world, you cease to exist as a separate entity within it. But also, without any coupling to the external world, you become small and isolated. The world has the potential to make you great, and perhaps you have the potential to make the world greater, but the balance may be fragile.

It seems trivial to me there is a world external to me, it's simply the way language is used. To claim otherwise would appear to me only as dysfunction and incoherent semantics counterproductive to the purpose of language.

It also seems trivial to me that we cannot have absolute knowledge of anything short of our own existence and we shouldn't expect to. This is simply the nature of information. All knowledge itself seems to be subject to this same kind of continuum of distance as this internal and external world discussion. Nothing particularly surprising, unknown or problematic in my opinion.

To certain extent there doesn't seem to be any point in trying to draw a well defined line between individual and the world as everything interacts with everything. The wave function of a single electron covers the whole universe. It is still reasonable to discuss degrees of separation, isolation, distance, time etc as near and far is not equal. This is true even if it is a discussion of physics or simply thought.

It is my impression that this sort of discussion would be a good starting point for analyzing consciousness as well. I'm not convinced philosophical zombie for example is a meaningful concept, or if it is then we should perhaps all consider ourselves philosophical zombies. For example if there is a mechanistical explanation to human mind which perfectly explains all observations then there doesn't seem to be any room left for unknown factors. If some unknown "essence" would be added on top of the equation then we would still necessarily be reduced only to prisoners in our own bodies.

However, that is already much more subtle point than my point about solipsism. Solipsism I would consider trivial and unproblematic aspect of human experience whereas I might still be open to the idea that there might still be some fundamental questions left about consciousness.