[ExI] fermi question alive and well
William Flynn Wallace
foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 31 19:07:06 UTC 2019
On Sun, Mar 31, 2019 at 12:36 PM John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 31, 2019 at 12:06 PM William Flynn Wallace <
> foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> How did Pluto get kicked out of the planet category?
> As we learned more about Pluto we realized it didn't fit the examples that
> the other 8 planets set.
> Yes, but you could have used Pluto as the original example and asked if
> the other ones fit it.
> > Starting with examples is an excellent idea. You observe your example
>> and make a list of the features of it and come up with a name for that
>> overall list. To use your example: tree. Leaves, bark, etc. If it has
>> those qualities it is a tree, by induction. Or you can turn it around and
>> give examples of trees - deduction.
> All that is true especially the very first part, you always start with
> examples of use, the lexicographers who write the definitions know that
> better than anyone. Take a look at "The Professor and the Madman " by Simon
> Winchester, it entertainingly tells the story of the early days of the
> greatest dictionary of them all, The Oxford English Dictionary.
> Thanks for the book recommendation. Will buy it asap.
>> > I fail to see how a list of qualities, or criteria, or any other word
>> you may want to use, is anything different from a definition.
> By itself a definition in a dictionary just associates one ASCII sequence
> with another string of squiggles, if you want to make a link between one of
> those strings and something in the real non-squiggle world you're going to
> need examples.
> Did I say I didn't like examples? Can't have science without operational
> definitions (concrete examples)
> > And - of course you can define consciousness. Just give a list of its
>> features and bingo - definition.
> And the definition of consciousness is being aware, and the definition of
> aware is being sentient, and the definition of sentient is being conscious.
> And round and round it goes.
> Now you are criticizing the dictionary and I agree with you. Synonyms
> get us nowhere. But if you define consciousness as certain EEG patterns,
> then we have concrete examples you can see on a screen.
>> > Consciousness is no more abstract than 'tree'
> It's easy to point to a tree, it's harder to point to consciousness.
> See above - watch the screen
> > IF you tie your criteria (definition) to observable things we can agree
>> on are objective reality.
> That's what you and I and everybody does, we tie consciousness in others
> to something we can observe, intelligent behavior. That's why we don't
> think our fellow humans are conscious all the time, not when they're
> sleeping or under anesthesia or dead. That's also why I find life after
> death to be questionable, dead people don't behave very intelligently.
> But sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, and dead people can do that
better than anyone. Generally speaking, though, I think formaldehyde is
not helping them. They should try something else, even carrot juice.
> > EEG readings, for instance.
> Why do you think EEG readings have anything to do with consciousness?
> Because when those wave have a certain form people don't behave
>> Why are you equating consciousness with intelligent behavior? A see a
>> lot of the former but not a lot of the latter, esp. at Walmart.
> The majority - they set the definition (criteria). Subject to change,
> Yes. A good lexicographer doesn't set the rules he discovers them from
> examples of language use.
> But not if you are a prescriptionist. They think words are set in meaning
> and should not change. 'Aggravate' always means 'worsening' to them - not
> just 'irritate'. I think that they lost every battle they got in.
> John K Clark
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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