[ExI] GPT-4 on its inability to solve the symbol grounding problem
gsantostasi at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 21:36:34 UTC 2023
*In the same paragraph, Nagel states that he does not deny that mental
states can be causal, which means he is not advancing epiphenomenalism. I
also don't see that it follows. His argument is only that subjective
experience or qualia cannot be fully reduced to or explained by objective
third party descriptions alone. Subjective experience has a first person
element that defies any third person description in the language of science
or functions or philosophy in general for that matter. This is what is
meant by the explanatory gap.*
Or everything in the mind is qualia or nothing is qualia. Why the redness
or red is more difficult to explain than me thinking about how to calculate
the square root of a number? I really do not get it.
Yes, there are mysteries like existence in general and the fact we
perceive the world in a certain way. That the miriads of neurons somehow
unify and pronounce "We are an I".
It is cool, beautiful, interesting and fascinating. But there is no
Actually, let me put it upside down. THE EXPLANATION IS THE GAP, or the the
GAP IS THE EXPLANATION.
What I mean with that. I tried many times both with Gordon and Brent. The
power of science is in the ability to extract what is fundamental and what
is not in understanding some phenomenon. For example, when I drop an object
on the ground what is essential is that there is an acceleration that acts
on the object (we can later explore what causes the acceleration and so
on). But this is the essential fact. Yes, there are complications like the
presence of wind, air and so on. But the essence of the phenomenon of an
object falling near the earth is that it seens there is a constant
acceleration (approximately) near the surface of the earth.
This is how Galileo investigated the world and this is how science came
about. Oh, we also use math to describe most of reality.
But some one could object and say "But what the presence of air and wind?
If I really do the experiment in real life I see that a piece of paper
floats and a feather flies away if there is wind and so on and on". It is
complex, the simple idea that there is constant acceleration near the
surface of the earth doesn't capture the entire picture, there is an
explanatory gap !
Such a person doesn't undestand how science works.
I can always introduce all the complications you want. I can model for the
presence of air, of wind or anything else you want. But the essence of the
phenomenon of a falling object near the earth is that there is what seems a
roughly constant acceleration of a given value.
The gap or difference between the abstraction and the complexity of the
real phenomenon is where the EXPLANATION, the understand really is.
I have used also the analogy of the MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY. Usually
people mention this fact as a limitation, meaning if one looks at a map you
would not be able to experience the real territory. If you look at the
picture of a beautiful girl you don't know how it is to kiss her or talk
with her about quantum physics. I use this analogy to explain what science
is all about. It is about making maps. There is power in maps. Their power
is the abstraction. It is showing what is essential. They are MODELS.
Science is about models, people.
To me when people mention the EXPLANATORY GAP is basically screaming* "But
the map is not the territory (they use the analogy in the opposite of how I
use it, as a limitation, the bug not the feature) ! *I touch this blue line
here that you say it represents a river but my finger doesn't become wet !"
They want science in a way to recreate the real experience. It is science
not magic !
The gap is the explanation. The fact we abstact and we extract what the
real important things are in the brain (as repeated many times these are
the patterns) is where our knowledge of the brain comes in.
But then a philosopher, marginalized by the dominance of science, wants
attention and comes along and screams "but your explanation of how the
brain works doesn't make me feel what your redness is (using Brent
Or the philosopher screams: "This picture of the beautiful girl doesn't
kiss me back, it feels like paper and not like the lips of a person !" I
want my money back !!!! Science cannot explain qualias !
This philosopher is an idiot and has no clue of what is talking about. This
why he has not a PhD in Physics and he had to settle in a PhD in
On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 1:55 PM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 11:25 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> Nagel: We may call this the subjective character of experience. It is not
>>> captured by any of the familiar, recently devised reductive analyses of the
>>> mental, for all of them are logically compatible with its absence.
>> This I do not agree with. This is the thinking that leads one to believe
>> qualia are epiphenomenal, and inessential, which leads to zombies, and
>> zombie twins, zombie earths, etc.
> In the same paragraph, Nagel states that he does not deny that mental
> states can be causal, which means he is not advancing epiphenomenalism. I
> also don't see that it follows. His argument is only that subjective
> experience or qualia cannot be fully reduced to or explained by objective
> third party descriptions alone. Subjective experience has a first person
> element that defies any third person description in the language of science
> or functions or philosophy in general for that matter. This is what is
> meant by the explanatory gap.
> (hmm... I see now that at the end of your message, you acknowledged that
> his view does not lead to epiphenomenalism.)
> There is a sense in which I believe discussions about the philosophy of
> mind are wastes of time. I agree with Nagel that first person
> subjective experience is real and central to the question and that it
> cannot be captured fully in or understood in terms of third party
> descriptions. This is mostly what I mean when I say that I believe
> subjectieve experience is primary and irreducible.
> As I've mentioned several times when you have pressed me for answers,
> the brain/mind is still a great mystery. Neuroscience is still in its
> infancy. We do not know what are sometimes called the neural correlates of
> consciousness, or even necessarily that such correlates exist, though I
> suspect they do. This answer was not good enough for you, and you suggested
> that I was dodging your questions when actually I was answering honestly
> that I do know. You wanted me to suppose that the brain/mind is an
> exception to the rule that understanding comes from statistical
> correlations, but nobody knows how the brain comes to understand anything.
> I'm much better at arguing what I believe the brain/mind cannot possibly
> be than what I believe it to be, and I believe it cannot possibly be
> akin to a digital computer running a large language model. Language models
> cannot possibly have true understanding of the meanings of individual words
> or sentences except in terms of their statistical relations to other words
> and sentences the meanings of which they also cannot possibly understand.
> I'm glad to see that GPT-4 "knows" how LLMs work and reports the same
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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