Are You Alive?

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Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:24 am
How can you know?
 
Greg phil
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 10:37 am
@QuinticNon,
Easy, define 'living' as 'in the state of experienceing some sensations'
Then just assert that you are experiencing the sensation of the visual experience of reading this.
QED
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 10:43 am
@QuinticNon,
QuinticNon;121463 wrote:
How can you know?


By knowing you're not dead.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 11:01 am
@QuinticNon,
QuinticNon;121463 wrote:
How can you know?


I am answering this post. And so, you know I am alive too. I don't understand the problem. "Dead men answer no posts" (old saying).
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 11:19 am
@Greg phil,
Greg;121537 wrote:
Easy, define 'living' as 'in the state of experienceing some sensations'...


My computer has sensory input equipment. It can react to stimuli. Can it be said to be "in the state of experiencing"? Is my computer alive?

---------- Post added 01-21-2010 at 11:21 AM ----------

Zetherin;121540 wrote:
By knowing you're not dead.


What are the qualifiers to determine if a notion is knowable? If I've never experienced death, how may I know if I'm not dead?

---------- Post added 01-21-2010 at 11:24 AM ----------

kennethamy;121545 wrote:
I am answering this post. And so, you know I am alive too. I don't understand the problem. "Dead men answer no posts" (old saying).


Yes, a response would typically attribute authorship to another sentient entity. How do I know you are not an automaton? How do I know you are not just a computer program?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:00 pm
@QuinticNon,
Well that's a completely different question than "how do you know you are alive". You are asking "how do you know other people are alive".
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:06 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;121573 wrote:
Well that's a completely different question than "how do you know you are alive".


The OP clearly states, "Are you alive?", "How do you know?"

How do you know that you are alive Jebediah?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:07 pm
@QuinticNon,
QuinticNon;121551 wrote:

---------- Post added 01-21-2010 at 11:24 AM ----------



Yes, a response would typically attribute authorship to another sentient entity. How do I know you are not an automaton? How do I know you are not just a computer program?


Well, you cannot be absolutely certain. But you do, I think, know. After all, have you any good reason to suppose you are not being answered by a person?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:08 pm
@QuinticNon,
QuinticNon wrote:

My computer has sensory input equipment. It can react to stimuli. Can it be said to be "in the state of experiencing"? Is my computer alive?



Your computer is not conscious and hence it cannot experience.

Quote:
What are the qualifiers to determine if a notion is knowable? If I've never experienced death, how may I know if I'm not dead?


If I've never experienced an infection of the scrotum, how may I know I don't have an infection of the scrotum? Seems to be a silly question to me.

Quote:

Yes, a response would typically attribute authorship to another sentient entity. How do I know you are not an automaton? How do I know you are not just a computer program?
Well, for one, computer programs cannot bear intentionality. And I think kennethamy has demonstrated intentionality and a semantic capacity which no machine can have.

-

Just because you can question everything, doesn't mean you should. You should have reason to question something.
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:19 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121577 wrote:
...have you any good reason to suppose you are not being answered by a person?


There are automatons (black swans) out there. There will be more.

The OP was presented for open speculation. Lacking details of my own personal perspective, being that, if one attributes "person hood" to the physical materialism alone, then there is absolutely no difference between a human make-up and rock guts.

Concrete reacts to stimuli of ice in the very same way that sweat glands react to stimuli of heat. No cognitive apparatus is needed for either to abide by the principles of cause and reaction. If the notion of mind is reduced to a physical mechanism of brain, then what makes that brain cognitive above and beyond rock guts?

Where does this notion of "Alive" hail from?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:23 pm
@QuinticNon,
There are two forms of distinguishing life. When it comes to humans it require both forms, where as for some reason all other life only requires one. First what are the two forms I am talking about.

1. The biological functions that promote cell development and production. This means the cells are in taking fuel and/or reproducing and not decomposing. Some cells are unique and you must not hold to firm to that definition since some cells have either other functions like neurons or fewer like sperm cells.

2. Conscious reactionary responses to environmental stimuli. What does this mean? Well that the sensory organs are functioning to some standard where there is a reaction to the sensory input. ie. A noise, a taste, a smell, ect. Not all of these organs need to be functioning. Only one does and that can simply be the brain producing thoughts. ie. REM sleeping.

Since a huge majority of people do not accept that animals or insects have cognitive abilities to make choices based on their environmental stimuli they suppose that only the first form is required to determine if they are alive. But we have run into a problem since some forms of viruses fall into this category, yet we would not constitute them as being alive.

The second form, I would say there are humans that fail to fall into this category because of certain traumas or the fact that they are robots. (the second example is meant as a joke)

Now I know that these two categories are not used universally and they are just observational. They are far from scientific but they help cover the traditional standard that we place on determining if something is alive or dead.
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:34 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;121579 wrote:
Your computer is not conscious and hence it cannot experience.


So the computer is simply demonstrating the cause and reaction of stimuli to throw switches and triggers, but not necessarily "experiencing" that cause/reaction. Whereas consciousness is required to actually "experience"...? Do I read you correctly?

Are we not still made of the same things? What makes one conscious and the other not?

Zetherin;121579 wrote:
If I've never experienced an infection of the scrotum, how may I know I don't have an infection of the scrotum? Seems to be a silly question to me.


There are plenty of people out there walking around sick, but don't know they are sick.

Zetherin;121579 wrote:
Well, for one, computer programs cannot bear intentionality.


That's all computer programs do, is bear intentionality. They bear the intentions of the original programmer. Those programmers pursuing A.I. are intentionally programming decision making faculties within the A.I., so that it can express its own intentions when confronted by stimuli, rather than just reacting to stimuli. The difference is cause/reaction vs thought/action.

Zetherin;121579 wrote:
And I think kennethamy has demonstrated intentionality and a semantic capacity which no machine can have.


There is a theory which states that a sufficiently advanced technology would be able to create an ultimate simulation that for all intents and purposes duplicated reality to such a degree that both would be indistinguishable from one another.

Zetherin;121579 wrote:
Just because you can question everything, doesn't mean you should.


Sounds like Fundamentalist Christian Dogma.

Zetherin;121579 wrote:
You should have reason to question something.


Yes. I want to know if you are alive and how you know you are. That's reason good enough for me.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:40 pm
@QuinticNon,
QuinticNon;121583 wrote:


Where does this notion of "Alive" hail from?


Iowa, I think................
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:46 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;121585 wrote:
Conscious reactionary responses to environmental stimuli.


Sure, I get what you are saying and mostly agree with your description. Yet the crux of my query resides in what I consider a contradiction of terms...

"conscious reactionary" That is indeed the status quo way of interpreting it. But I don't think these terms belong together and can be misleading.

I see subtle differences in cause/reaction and thought/action. If consciousness is the ability to think, then consciousness produces action, not reaction. Sensory equipment alone, without a conscious mind, is under the control of cause/reaction. But add a conscious mind to "think" about the experience, and we now have thought/action.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:48 pm
@QuinticNon,
Seneca wrote:
You wish to live; well, do you know how lo live? You are afraid to die. But come now: is this life of yours anything but death? Gaius Caesar was passing along the Via Latina, when a man stepped out from the ranks of the prisoners, his grey beard hanging down even to his breast, and begged to be put to death. "What!" said Caesar, "are you alive now?" That is the answer which should be given to men to whom death would come as a relief. "You are afraid to die; what! are you alive now?"
Moral letters to Lucilius/Letter 77 - Wikisource
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:49 pm
@Pyrrho,


I neither find that true or comforting.
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:52 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121593 wrote:
Iowa, I think................


You think therefor you am? What equipment do you have that a rock doesn't have which allows you to think? Are not our brains made of the same stuff that rocks are made of?

Reminds me of the old quote:

"Nothing. It's what rocks dream about"

I believe it was Plato.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:52 pm
@QuinticNon,
Quote:
QuinticNon wrote:
There are plenty of people out there walking around sick, but don't know they are sick.


Irrelevant. My point was that you don't have to experience something to know you aren't/haven't been something. I've never experienced being shot, but I know I wasn't shot so far today, or ever. And you can know you aren't dead without ever having experienced death.

Quote:
Are we not still made of the same things? What makes one conscious and the other not?


Are you asking what consciouness is? Well, it is a phenomenon that we don't quite understand the details of (yet). But that does not mean we don't know which things are conscious and which things are not. We are conscious, rocks are not.

Quote:
That's all computer programs do, is bear intentionality. They bear the intentions of the original programmer. Those programmers pursuing A.I. are intentionally programming decision making faculties within the A.I., so that it can express its own intentions when confronted by stimuli, rather than just reacting to stimuli. The difference is cause/reaction vs thought/action.


So, computer programs intentionally do things? You believe this?

Do you think everything bears intentionality, then? If I swing a bat, did the bat intentionally swing on its own?

Quote:
There is a theory which states that a sufficiently advanced technology would be able to create an ultimate simulation that for all intents and purposes duplicated reality to such a degree that both would be indistinguishable from one another.


I think I've heard of this theory, but can you cite a source? I'll respond once I know exactly what you're talking about.
Quote:


Sounds like Fundamentalist Christian Dogma.


Not at all. I'm not saying you shouldn't question. It's good to question, but you should have a good reason to doubt. If you simply question everything and deny even those things which are the most apparant, you aren't being reasonable. You are being intellectually stagnant; extreme skepticism gets you nowhere. It can actually develop into a form of paranoia if you aren't careful.

On the other hand, if you do have reason to question but never do, you're being just as intellectually stagnant.
 
QuinticNon
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 12:56 pm
@Pyrrho,


This may indeed be what I'm getting at. There's a decent argument that the physical body is simply an imprisonment of death to the immaterial person hood. When the physicality ends, we are thus born to live as intended, rather than claim "I" as nothing more than the sum corporeal elements of our physical parts.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 01:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;121599 wrote:
I neither find that true or comforting.


There is more than one meaning of the word alive. And it is not meant to be comforting, but is meant to stress the importance of certain stoic attitudes. People who are afraid to die are, in a sense, slaves. (You are not now going to chastise me for using the word "slaves" according to one of the less common definitions, are you?)

---------- Post added 01-21-2010 at 02:39 PM ----------

QuinticNon;121604 wrote:
This may indeed be what I'm getting at. There's a decent argument that the physical body is simply an imprisonment of death to the immaterial person hood. When the physicality ends, we are thus born to live as intended, rather than claim "I" as nothing more than the sum corporeal elements of our physical parts.


I don't think that is what it means.
 
 

 
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