Thursday, August 03, 2017

Knowing other minds...

is not some mysterious, tenuous deduction we make by something like a "Turing test." No, we know other minds the same way we know our own mind:

"on the account of self-knowledge that I shall give, knowledge of what there is to be known about other people is restored to approximate parity with self-knowledge. The sorts of things that I can find out about myself are the same as the sorts of things that I can find out about other people, and the methods of finding them out are much the same." -- Gilbert Ryle, The Concenpt of Mind, p. 149

34 comments:

  1. Would the same thing apply if the "other minds" were claimed by their inventors to exist inside digital computers ?

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    1. What the hell would the claims of the inventors of the computers have to do with anything? And Ryle's whole point is that "minds" are not "things" that exist "inside" anything at all!

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    2. Well, you made a good point below - so I started reading the book ! I've only read the first few pages but its good.

      The kindle version is only $2.55

      https://www.amazon.com/Concept-Mind-Gilbert-Ryle-ebook/dp/B0153QK3TS/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=


      The reason for my question was that the quote you give is explicitly about 'other people', while the Turing test is generally meant as a test for 'digital computers'. It seemed reasonable to ask (since you brought up the Turing test!) if Ryle's comments could also be applied to 'digital computers'.

      Would we just magically know when computers are 'no longer ... machines' (to use your phrase from the other posts)? Would there really be no circumstances where some sort of test would be useful to determine this ?

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    3. 'Would we just magically know when computers are 'no longer ... machines' '

      What's amazing here is that I GAVE YOU THE EXACT TEST WE SHOULD USE. But the papaya jelly filling your head where you should have brains characterizes that as "just magically knowing." Va fanculo.

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    4. rob
      there is no reason to believe that computers would have, say, facial expressions we can read. The making of and interpreting of behavioral correlates of thought like facial movements need not happen with machines. So we might not observe the machine "paying attention" to oncoming traffic.

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  2. This seems obviously false to me. I know about my mind because I perceive my thoughts. I know about other people's minds because I perceive their words and actions, and I infer that there's mind producing them. I don't see any similarity between them. It seems like the first type of knowledge is something I couldn't possibly be wrong about, whereas I could easily be wrong about the second type. (For instance, I could see an inanimate object and mistakenly think I was seeing a human.)

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  3. This quote is either a denial of the special status of introspection, in which case it supports rob's claim and proves the usefulness of the Turing test, because we use it it identify all human like minds, or it implies we have direct knowledge of the introspection of others, which is false, proving Keshav's criticism sound.

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    1. "proves the usefulness of the Turing test,"

      Quite the opposite. The Turing test *depends* upon the idea that we don't have the same sort of knowledge of other minds as we do of our own, and that we can only rely upon some silly quiz to find out if other people are thinking!

      Really, guys, the quote is just meant to:
      1) Whet your appetite for Ryle; and
      2) Save the quote for me for future use.

      You really can't argue his multi-hundred page masterpiece based on a single quote! Pick up the book and read it, and then we can discuss it.

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    2. Or put it this way: I, who am actually reading the book, can guarantee that Ken is giving us a false dichotomy, and, in fact, the false dichotomy depends upon the false, Cartesian view of the mind that Ryle is debunking. But what am I going to do: type the whole book into a combox?

      So let me just say this: IF one adopts the false, Cartesian view of the mind, THEN one has to accept one or the other of Ken's propositions. And Ryle very explicitly addresses the fact that the Cartesian view is likely to produce one of these two positions, by the way.

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    3. Wait a minute, Gene... are you saying that someone actually has to read the books that he is critiquing...?! What a preposterous idea!

      I'll have you know that analytical philosophers have the gifted ability to dismiss entire bodies of text - and thought - without having read a single page of those texts (they do this with Idealism all the time)!

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    4. Ken, it is really shocking that you claim to have understood Ryle's book and yet think it might back rob's claim that "minds" exist "inside" machines: that would be a very explicit "ghost in the machine," and that's *exactly* what Ryle spends 300 pages denying exists!

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    5. re: 'rob's claim that "minds" exist "inside" machines'

      To clarify: I did not claim this. I am a hard-bitten materialist. I just quoted 'other minds' so as to use the same terminology as Gene. I (currently) believe that if 'minds' or 'consciousnesses' even exist they are a side-effect of purely physical processes and determine nothing.

      Whatever I learn from Ryle's it will not be that there are no ghosts in any machines.

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    6. I don't think that Gene. I am making a very simple point. We judge minds from observing things. Now there are two kinds of observations, public and non public. Rob made a point about the public, Keshav about the non public. Now if you *require* that we involve non public ones then Keshav has a forceful objection to your conclusion. If you do not require them the you need to explain why rob isn't right. Essentially in that case we form the notion of mind from observed similarities. What if computers show the same characteristics? Why wouldn't we form a notion of mind that includes them?
      Neither rob nor I have disputed Ryle btw.

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    7. "I (currently) believe that if 'minds' or 'consciousnesses' even exist they are a side-effect of purely physical processes and determine nothing."

      rob, your posts have almost convinced even *me* that mind plays no part in the world!

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    8. Ken, you still are thinking in a Cartesian way! You are assuming that there are two 'types' of observations, when there are simply *observations*. By making the statement that there are two different types of observations - one 'inside' my head, and the other 'outside' of my head, and that I can know one, but not necessarily know the other - you are making a fundamental internal/external world distinction, the type that Gene, as an Idealist philosopher, is implicitly objecting to! You are making a Cartesian sort of claim that there is 'stuff out there' that I CAN doubt, and then there is 'stuff in here' (my mind) that I CANNOT doubt. Then you become confused as to how someone can make an inference from his own states of conscious awareness to the external world that machines and minds - Turing or otherwise - occupy. You guys have the same transparency towards perceiving other objects as you do in perceiving your own minds! If you didn't, you wouldn't, *in principle*, be able to trust your perceptions in other objects with any certainty at all, because all objects that you can ever experience are, ipso facto, objects of your own perceptions. You wouldn't even know that these Touring machines existed, must less be able to debate about how to infer that they have minds - and Rob, you are completely powerless to infer any sort of materialism here, either, since you couldn't even be sure in principle that the objects that you perceive even exist.

      You guys don't seem to understand what is going on here. Even more amazingly, you state that you don't disagree with Ryle even though you *haven't even read his book*, and have *admitted* as much. Both of you disagree with him in a *fundamental* way.

      You sound like people who are making book reports for books you have never read.

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    9. No Alex. I am typing short replies on a tablet. These are pointers not essays.

      And you can't even quote me with any semblance of accuracy as I did not say "inside" or "outside".

      And contrary to your false claim that I admitted I had not read Ryle I stated I read Ryle's book.

      Jeez what a sorry display. You applying for Tom's job here?

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    10. OK Ken, I will be easier going with you in the future so as not make you upset. I am not saying this in a facetious way; perhaps I should tone it down a little.

      I admit to being a bit lost here though; are we not talking about Ryle's book, which was *actually quoted in the original post*? I confess to being lost about where you are coming from. I don't know what you mean when you say 'And contrary to your false claim I admitted that I had not read Ryle I stated I read Ryle's book'. But if you read Ryle's book, then you read Ryle, right ...?

      With regards to 'inside' or 'outside'; I am assuming that you are talking about knowing things 'internally' or 'externally'? This is what I gleaned from your reply about 'two types of observations: public and non-public'. People often refer to *internal* things as 'non-public', and *external* things as 'public'.

      I suppose the thing that I was objecting to is the false dilemma that you posited at the beginning of the discussion. But whatever; I'll leave it to you to put the stake into the ground and tell me what your thoughts are, since I must be misunderstanding or abusing them.

      I would go on, but since I've already made such a huge fool of myself writing essays (is that what you call paragraphs?) and since apparently that is Tom's job, I will be quiet!

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    11. It's simple Alex. You badly misquoted me, repeatedly. I never said inside or outside, but you quote me as saying them. I said I read Ryle, you claim I "admitted" I had not. That's really sloppy stuff. Your resort to elephantine sarcasm cannot hide how distorted your posts were. That's how CNN talking heads react. Even the idiots here are usually better than that.

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    12. Ken, tell me what you really think.

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    13. And yes, you are right; I did say that you admitted to not reading Ryle! That was my mistake.

      I still do not think you understand where I am coming from. Perhaps re-reading the exchange will give you a better idea? I just told you why I regarded your demarcation between public and private observations as equated with internal and external observations or states of awareness. Where am I going wrong here?

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  4. Yes, in general, on these kinds of posts, there is no point in arguing with Gene, or even commenting at all, unless you are just curious or want a little clarification.

    If the quote interests (or befuddles!) you, the best response is to either get a copy of the book, or just forget about it.

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    1. Well, yes, because I can't recap a 300 page philosophical argument in a combox. The attempt to do so would be silly and pointless.

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  5. Read it long ago. Good book. But that quote still does not support you. Either we observe our minds through invisible things or we observe our minds through visible things.

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    1. We observe them through visible things. Just not silly visible things like a "Turing Test."

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    2. I show just how we would observe a silicon entity is thinking on its own in my most recent post.

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    3. Computers have been developed that are capable of driving cars. Some people are talking about a "driving-ability test" for these computers to see if they meet commonly understood criteria for "being able to drive".

      This is ridiculous! When computers are able to drive cars we will just know it. We can literally see exactly how they drive so no need for any silly test.

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    4. rob's thesis is apparently, "Because Gene thiunks the Turing Test is silly, he must think *tests* are silly!"
      You want to know what this is rob: https://github.com/gcallah/Emu86/tree/master/tests
      It is a *test suite*! You know who wrote it: *Me*!
      I was about to say this is your dumbest comment yet... but I now understand that your comments are just the result of random movements of sub-atomic particles... so given that, it's actually kind of an accomplishment that it actually consists of words!

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    5. Gene, in common parlance these days "Turing test" does not mean "rigorously follow the instructions in Turing's paper". It means "If you cannot tell the difference from human performance except by observing a biological human body then it passes."

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  6. Interesting historical note:

    Ryle was editor of Mind magazine when Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" was published. While I couldn't find anything definitive the general consensus seems to be that Ryle was somewhat sympathetic to Turing's paper. (for example https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing/ and https://headbirths.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/redefining-turing/)

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    1. rob's "evidence": "Ryle would presumably have been very supportive of Turing’s paper."

      Heee-heee-heee! That's sure is conclusive!

      rob, this dolt simply assumes all non-dualists are materialists! Ryle was a phenomenologist.

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    2. Once again, though, I have to admit that, for the product of the random collision of sub-atomic particles, your comment was not half bad!

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    3. It doesn't matter what Ryle thought though, does it? We have ample evidence for the computational theory of mind now. One simple example: you see can hear distinct voices in a crowded room of people talking. But that requires an immense, simply immense, amount of computation, which happens without you being aware of it. That is, parts of your nervous system are doing the information processing which lies behinds your hearing/qualia/consciousness. This isn't conjecture, it's demonstrable.

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    4. "We have ample evidence for the computational theory of mind now."

      Since this is an item of faith for you, then "no evidence" = "ample evidence," and so I'm sure you *do* think we have ample evidence. Here's an actual research psychologist on this:
      https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer
      As he notes, this is just the latest in a series of "Hey, maybe our most recent machine explains the mind!" attempts.

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  7. Of course, Ken, it goes without saying that I admit to the mistake and I apologize!

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That was a great rendition!

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