Category Archives: Philosophy

Welcome: Society for the Philosophy of Information

I’d like to welcome the Society for the Philosophy of Information into the world. I’m so excited about the formation of this community that I became a Supporting Member and donated $50. Sadly, the lifetime membership was not an option when I signed up, but I guess I can do that in 2014.

SPI has released a CC-BY-NC-SA book, The Philosophy of Information: a Simple Introduction. According to the discussions going on via the email distribution list, a revised edition will be coming out soon, and the license may even be changing to CC-BY-SA to be compatible with Wikipedia.


What does it mean to know someone?

Imagine walking by a blue house on a warm June day. There’s a woman working in her garden this wonderful, breezy afternoon, and this woman looks up at you to give you a hospitable smile. You don’t know this woman. Though you do know that she’s a woman and that she loves her garden so.

Let us suppose that in this very instance of interaction that we know each other entirely.

I am proposing that to interact with a stranger on this basic level entails complete knowledge of the other — that everything there is to know about such a person is known and that nothing else is necessary. I am proposing that if and when you communicate further with an individual do you only complicate their identities, degrading the amount in which you actually know a fellow human being.

“Steadier Footing”

There is a commonality between us. It is not life; but instead, it is the role in which life plays. It is as if life is a song and sometimes we like to sing along. These expressions that we use, they emancipate us from our ego and put us into something that we can both understand. However different our eyes and our placement may be, we know this world. Take for instance this exact moment. The patterns of my thought weigh on your mind and yet this is not our common vessel. We are deliberate yet our intentions are only our own. What we share is the melody of this song. We share the commonality that the song that is played is never played again the same.

Artificial Free-Will

Life is a very small thing. But life is as life deems necessary. The human perception would indeed be a far simpler one if we were to live as a leaf of an Aspen tree identifies life. This paper is going to be written to help explore where human intelligence lies in comparison to the idea of artificial intelligence. In large part, I presume that human cognizance does not have free will, albeit this paper will also explore the idea of free will in a larger sense. I believe that the adaptation of computer processing, from a biological point of view, is beginning to merge with how and why we think about life. In correlation, I do not think that the notion of artificial intelligence is currently possible.

Computational Will
People, more so the brain of a person, appear to produce a considerable amount of “overhead” processing. Through the processes of our sensory organs detecting external stimulus and our brain rechecking this new data with old information, people conduct a great deal of sifting, scanning, and further identification of the information which we have come to know. We think of things as they occur. If they remain active in our conscience, the processing of that maturing information continues to be processed until a conclusion can be satisfied. Computers on the other hand, the system of which a modern day computer processes, includes its given data and its ability to respond to such data, governed by its privileged application. To explore these two notions in parallel, the application of emotion seems fitting to the identification of how and why people process data.

This world in which we live, it could be anything, and people have trouble dealing with that uncertainty. Computers are programmed to do what we tell them. Both computers and people possess the definition of a goal, however abstractly different they remain. Computers function by auto-building a task list and the resources necessary to compile the available data. This notion of a goal is similar to people’s understanding of goal setting—one must identify the necessary steps in order to take them, and to further streamline this process, we must abide by the resources that we are able to utilize.

The human brain shares a fundamental property with a computer. Our brain appears to work in such a way that is similar to the concept of cause and effect in that any given reaction of our brain is entirely determined by what is excited, and what is not. This notion is the same in application with the utility of binary code in a computer. Processing is coded by what is on or what is off. Excitement is stimulated from influence; computers do not have the ability to experience what is outside of them, until provided by humans, in the form of new programming code or new data to be processed by preprogrammed code. How then does one program artificial intelligence if computers do not have the ability to be stimulated? To further complicate this notion of stimulus, what then determines excitement in a person, from an internal-to-external point of view? Does stimulus alone allow for our idea of what it means to freely will our independent rule? From a complex point of view, perhaps how and why any given person is excited or not excited about any given subject is itself a learned application, a self building application, one which is merely an escalation of survivability. Applying this notion to computers, how then do we program a computer, one which does not have sensory organs, to be scared? Computers do not need the application of emotion if they cannot reason, for there is no currently programmed reason why a computer needs to react to its environment.

Double Helix
People have always been willing to spend an ample amount of resources in attempts to further streamline the way in which we manage all of the increasingly complex information that we must process on a daily basis. This process of learning new ways to do things, do to more without spending quite as much, is presumably something that every person wants. As computers and the tools that we continue to develop to outsource what we need to process evolves, we are increasingly becoming more like computers. Ironically, at the same time, we are putting a considerable amount of resources into making computers smarter by giving computers human-like characteristics; namely, curving the concept of processing to more effectively react to the life of a human, or, artificial intelligence. In retrospect, it would seem that creating artificial intelligence is more so the act of dumbing-down a computer. Making computers more like humans while humans attempt to process more like computers seems to resemble a double helix. However, through the advancement of computer-human interfaces, it is clear that one day this double helix will merge. But in that time, with respect to the development of computer processing, how will a computer actually respond as an intelligent being? Is it possible to create such an entity?

Biological Will
To create a fundamental understanding of what intelligence is, it would seem necessary to proclaim that the natural development of the biological mind supersedes the instant quantification of a computer. Computers can calculate incredibly complex calculations very quickly, while in contrast, a computer currently cannot calculate the answer to “would you kill yourself to save…” unless you were to apply a numerical value to all prospects, and then, if you can even create a formula that is repeatedly correct in its solution. In order to begin to program a computer as having any degree of intelligent process control, it would be required to develop a modularly-integrated, dynamically-evolving baseline be constructed to compare all old and new information to. Biological cells all have a natural, and perhaps, a “default” comfort level—a naturally predefined yet developing instrument to build from. In the sense of a human being, we are a composite of a trillion different, unique, comforts levels, all having to work together to react to our environment.

Further questions:

  • What would the human be without problems?
  • Is it possible to “be” without motive?
  • How do you program motive if the environment is static?

A Philosophy On Education

I believe in an open, connected, and educated world.

The education system in the United States is horribly flawed. I think that the basic structure of leaving one person to solving a politically constructed, test based (product emphasis, as to a process emphasis) curriculum all by one’s self is a fallacy in and of itself, in the society of the United States of America.

The business-oriented society that I am familiar with is one of a particular work unit; working together to accomplish any particular-to-wide variety of goals. There is a flaw in our educational system: when our educational endeavors are based on individualized work and not team work, students grow up deluded.

People who are educated as an individual and made to work as a team will still, ultimately, understand the system as dependent upon one’s self, thus distracting the fundamental ideas of working together, more efficiently, as a team.

I believe that if our educational system had an emphasis on team work and allowing every student to access every possible outlet of information, as we do in the business world, that students would learn at a very young age how to work together to solve problems, and how to be resourceful and handle information responsibly.

I believe that instructing students with a team emphasis would directly affect how children learn to understand our very world, thus impacting how they would react to new influence. Basic psychology, within the realm of human to human interaction and communication, would benefit from an education which relies on a team. This philosophy is a functional one in the fundamental areas of biology; single celled organism having simple tasks, combined as a multi-cellular organism via diversified functions, to reach their goals.

In the Interest of the Biologically Intelligent

It is truly very interesting to speak out, to denounce the structure in which someone has developed an idea that depends heavily on a supposition. I do not deny that my very knowledge depends greatly on how I think about me and that “I am,” nor my dependence on my belief that someone is an “I” in direct response of an anthropocentric relation and association between this body and another. The effects of this reapplication of individualistic existence is quite deceptive; I do suppose that I am separate from my fellow human beings and it is through this complication of the sense of individuality that allows me to generate this misappropriation of “will.” The extent of designing the entirety of my existence is in part “my will to live” to which my existence is a corrupted paradigm. It is in my interest to pose that a problem with human existence lies within our collective perversion of the notion of “will” and to emphasize that both “my will” and “our will” is a composite of a greater community—the interest of my biological community—cellular instrumentality and human instrumentality.

Suppose that it is impossible to learn about, to relate to, or to understand something without applying a basic concept of what you think it is to be human. Suppose that knowledge is a commodity of self actualization and that understanding something is an application of this innate ability to be familiar with particularized individuality. I despise the attempt to discover what it means to die—to determine the functionality of the non functional. Knowledge is only as extensive as one’s ability to relate to which is in the process of being understood, to which such intellect varies to which intellect is applied.

“Let the people suppose that knowledge means knowing things entirely; the philosopher must say to himself: When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, “I think,” I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove; for example, that it is I who think, that there must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an “ego,” and, finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking—that I know what thinking is. For if I had not already decided within myself what it is, by what standard could I determine whether that which is just happening is not perhaps “willing” or “feeling”? In short, the assertion “I think” assumes that I compare my state at the present moment with other states of myself which I know, in order to determine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection with further “knowledge,” it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty for me.”

[Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, page 23, section 16, paragraph 2]

Even while Friedrich Nietzsche openly expressed his discontent with our continual presupposition of how “I am,” that my “ego” is an entity in and of itself, and that “thinking” could very well be the definiteness of emotion, all of my relationships with everything external are dependent upon these states of surmisable accusation. The usefulness of cognitive quantification in these respects is that I am capable of formulating controversy, a dialectical comparison in which multiple events can be diagnosed in order to compose a conclusion, a seemingly natural feature that allows me to identify me as being me and nothing else. I do assume that I am a reactant of my inner flux and that this “retrospective connection” is a relatively static, automatic introspective decision.

To learn about and to understand ones sense of individuality we (my anthropocentric reapplication of my definition, to suppose about those who appear to be comparable) must perceive by sensing information and defining it with previous information, to modify what is already known, recreating such concepts by means of different bits of information, concepts, or models that are conjured by the influenced thinker. Biased by perception is quite the feature of the human mind because of the limited capability in which human cognition develops according to its particular past, and in essence, an evolution of thought and of our world. Within the construction of consciousness lies the implications of what is being processed—two thousand bits of information are what comprise consciousness, two thousand out of the four hundred billion that are constantly being received by our sensory organs and processed by our organic calculator [What the Bleep Do We Know!?, page 46].

“Through the conditioned learning process, neural pathways between eliciting stimuli and behavioral responses become hardwired to ensure a repetitive pattern.”

[The Biology of Belief, page 133]

A good analogy that would help explain how we define our paradigms would have to do with our five senses giving us a blank, spatial rendition of a canvas. These patterns are effectively our different colors of paint that allow us to draw out this progressively active canvas.

“The way [our brain constructs reality] is to first break the incoming impulses into basic shapes, color and patterns. Then it begins pattern matching with stored memories of similar things, associating that with emotions and assigned meanings to events, trying this all together in an integrated “picture” and flashing that to the frontal lobe forty times a second.”

[What the Bleep Do We Know!?, page 44]

Actively deciding what colors and shades, etcetera, to use to paint (to perceive) our environments is a huge part of what it means to be conscious:

“Emotions give [actively processed bits of information] their relative weighing and importance. They are a hardwired shortcut to perception. They also provide us with the unique capability to not see what we simply don’t want to see.”

[What the Bleep Do We Know!?, page 48]

“In Molecules of Emotion, [Candace] Pert revealed how her study of information-processing receptors on nerve cell membranes led her to discover that the same “neural” receptors were present on most, if not all, of the body’s cells. Her elegant experiments established that the “mind” was not focused in the head, but was distributed via signal molecules to the whole body. As importantly, her work emphasized that emotions were not only derived through a feedback of the body’s environmental information. Through self-consciousness, the mind can use the brain to generate “molecules of emotion” and override the system.”

[The Biology of Belief, page 132]

“Endowed with the ability to be self-reflective, the self-conscious mind is extremely powerful. It can observe any programmed behavior we are engaged in, evaluate the behavior and consciously decide to change the program. We can actively choose how to respond to most environmental signals and whether we even want to respond to them at all.”

[The Biology of Belief, page 134]

To which these scientific observations and measurements become applied, we are able to receive information from the outside world, our reality in which we appear to be fluidly involved with, and thus able to impose our own subjective order. Ones perception is, in retrospect, dynamic; our brain constantly receives new information, yet this new information is always being defined, filtered, and streamlined by what is already known. Perceptual reciprocation, giving back to one’s self for the creation and sustainment of one’s self, would seem to be a biological allowance, an adaptation mechanism that gives an organism the basic construct to develop its individuality.

How is “individuality” and “will” intertwined? It is in the interest of single celled organisms to group together to form multi-cellular organisms in order to increase survivability. This evolutionary process could be deemed as the will to power—a will that is less an individualistic characteristic as much as it is a process to bring balance to which is in existence. To bring unbalance to existence, in the case of a single celled organism, is to inflict death. The amplification of this process, in the case of a human being, this will to power is increasingly complicated by the manners in which such a multi-cellular being has the ability to operate. In the case of a single celled organism, its operations are very limited in comparison to a multi-celled organism, the hominid, that has advanced to the point of using groups of multi-celled communities for specific tasks: the stomach, the heart, the brain, and etcetera; a community of communities.

So where in lies “my will” if consciousness, the active processing of information, and the unconscious, the habitually learned processing of information, is a biologic, chaotically systematic mechanism that has evolved from the point of a simple instance of sustaining balance to our notion of a complex instance of sustaining balance?

Is the process of identifying characteristics of cells that compose the human body an anthropocentric (1) application or an anthropomorphic (2) application? This seems to be an outstanding question. The application of understanding cells could be an anthropocentric process because it is quite the community project for cells to identify themselves. However this process could very well be an anthropomorphic application because through our experiences, this community project is acting in accord with, or is in the interest of the community, and is not in the interest of the individual cells themselves.

  1. Anthropocentric: Seeing things in human terms, especially judging things according to human perceptions, values, and experiences. [Encarta Dictionary]
  2. Anthropomorphic: The attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things. [Encarta Dictionary]

So where in lies our notion of freedom, and how does that complicate, or confuse, our idea of what it means to “will?” Could it be an effect of our comparison to that of which is static—to which does not appear to intelligently change on its own accord?

The ability to be self reflective is not to be confused with any amount of freedom. Suppose that a child is playing with some different colors of paint. He does not know the basics of mixing paint, nor does he know which colors to combine to make any specific color of paint. When the child mixes two colors, he gets a third color. When he mixes two other colors, he gets another new color. The more paint he mixes, the more new colors he gets. And the child, not being smart enough to figure out the rules of mixing paint, might say that the paint has free will. The child might ask, “How could it be possible for green to exist, when before there were only blue and yellow?” The child would reason that the paint has a will to freely choose to make new colors and to which color it will change into. The child supplies the initial setup, and the paint’s free will chooses the outcome. The child would be wrong, of course. There are rules for mixing paint—mixing paint is entirely determined. The child’s ignorance of those rules however does not disprove determinism; it only proves the child’s ignorance. We are just simple children who don’t know the rules of how our body works. The body’s mechanics could be entirely determined, but our ignorance of the rules which determine them does not disprove determinism, it only proves our ignorance.

To be free in the sense of independent agents capable of operating without restriction would require an absence of limitation—a world composed of nothing. As liberating as this might appear to be, nothingness is not to be confused with the notion of zero, and is not something that human cognition can recognize due to our continuous calculations of something, much like human cognition is incapable of comprehending what it would mean to be dead; to actively process nothingness is a contradiction.

Am I consciously supposing that I have any amount of will, or is will an innate instinct that is confusing not how I operate, but instead why? I am not inquiring about any integral abilities that perpetrate in my subconscious, but instead a trait that is a compound of all of my cells of which I am composed. To suppose that I have any amount of will is to suppose that I, in at least any relative amount, have the ability to operate independently. Thus in this sense, the “will to power” and “free will” are one and the same but in accordance with what is needed to continue independence. In retrospect, the “will” of a single celled organism to thrive for independent balance by means of integrating itself with another single celled organism is in response to the rules of chemistry and electricity, and of its environmental stimulus—its “will” is dependent upon its requirements for sustained balance. Molecules, like people, prefer environments that offer them stability. Again, the amplification of this paradigm, in application to a human being, the very same rules do apply—irrespective of our inability to measure our extensive complexity with regards to what we require to sustain balance.

“In consequence, he acts necessarily, his action is the result of the impulse he receives either from the motive, from the object, or from the idea which has modified his brain, or disposed his will. When he does not act according to this impulse, it is because there comes some new cause, some new motive, some new idea, which modifies his brain in a different manner, gives him a new impulse, determines his will in another way, by which the action of the former impulse is suspended: thus, the sight of an agreeable object, or its idea, determines his will to set him in action to procure it.”

[Baron d’Holbach, The System of Nature]

The hominid body is composed of many different organs that carry our many different functions. In the case of any cell, in comparison, its components have many various functions, but on a much smaller scale. It was in the interest of a single celled organism to combine with other single celled bodies to distribute its ordinarily natural functions so that communities of cells could specialize in their functions to gain an advantage over its environment. Apply this very same concept with Baron d’Holbach’s explanation of determinism and one could begin to understand that our motives are dependent upon our need to complete a specific task.

In comparison and dramatic amplification with which cells operate collectively to accomplish a necessary objective, the sharing of information via electrochemical synapses can be applied using the similar notion on how and why humans communicate with each other to satisfy a seemingly necessary objective. Such tasks are seemingly necessary on occasion because of how advanced the hominid is in comparison to its basic structure, the nature of a cell. Such collective will greatly affects how each individual cell operates; with regards to human kinds’ various cultures and communities, such collective will greatly affects how each individual human operates.

A Sense of Individuality

As an individual, I exist in a raw, natural form until I am perceived by either myself or by other individuals who are able to label my characteristics with a biased perception. [I use the term “biased” because of the limited capability in which human cognition develops according to it’s particular past]. These two forms of existence, raw existence and biased by perception, are uniquely different in that such unaltered subsistence solely exists without definition [without a “labeler”] and is only limited by its subjective, physical capabilities. The second form of existence, the biased by perception existence, only exists within the mind of the perceiver who is capable of creating and sustaining a concept of such a definition with their own limited ability to sense and calculate (to cognize) with their pre-conceived yet dynamic notion of not only what existence is, but how it operates.

However, my idea of myself is of the same qualities as ones idea of me, whereas my conceptual definition of who I am is of the same structure as my idea of another, being that my inherent ability to label my own distinctive characteristics are completed in the same fashion as my ability to label anyone else. I believe that, devoid of a physical appearance and a notion of sense-able physicality’s, my idea of self and another is identical in their cognitive assembly.

My perceived distinction between myself and others, excluding physical experiences, can only be achieved by perceptual reciprocation: our ability to internally (cognitively) respond to what we receive from the outside; the automatic capability to adjust what we receive with our already obtained knowledge. This distinction, however subjective and relative to my own perception, is why I am able to label myself me.

A position of ones mental self must be pre-defined and always in progression of being defined—the sense of ones self is to be defined in the manner of ones conscious wishes and unconscious tendencies. This definition of “I”, no matter how abstract or concrete, dynamic or static, must be perceived by its own perception. So, definition is constantly being perceived. The outcome of this, what one wishes to do with such a definition, or more importantly, what one wants to do with ones own perception, is limited to its own experiences. Ones perception is forever dynamic; perceptual reception constantly receives new information, yet this new information is always being defined, filtered, and controlled by what is already known—identified as: perceptual reciprocation—giving back to ones self for the creation and sustainment of ones self.

To learn about and to understand ones sense of individuality, we must perceive by sensing information and defining it with previous information, to modify what is already known recreating such concepts by means of perspectives, biases, and concepts conjured by the influenced thinker. People develop their character (a system of definitions and differences) by strengthening their own opinions, and others, through the instrumentality of others, depending upon the level of one’s introspection rather than conforming and integrating ones self into an already fabricated idea. But, someone’s openness to alien thoughts is where there is a conundrum. I think that, theoretically, you cannot base your opinion off of someone else’s because it is not yours. In order for you to create your own opinion, you have to take someone else’s and modify it in any way to make it understandable by you—though opinion that is heard is understood, it is really your own opinion that you are listening to because you are only reiterating their communication through your own perception. So, everything that is perceived is of its own originality, according to the uniqueness of its processing, thus reinforcing the personal notion of the individual.

The most direct form of building the sense of individuality is that of cause and effect—the consequence of a question—what is desired is that of a question, the answer, and the answers meaning. To answer what the meaning of life is, is to satisfy ones definition of individuality. The meaning of me cannot be given because I am subject to my own dynamic perception and my willingness to fulfill a definition that cannot be fulfilled because of its constant change. Therefore life cannot be answered and holds no meaning outside of its subjective nature. We feel as if it is possible to give meaning to life because we are in a habitual process of defining what we observe.

In [some form of] conclusion, without a nervous system we would be incapable of determining ANYTHING, for our nervous system is key to any form of sense inflicted by our tactile world. We quite plainly would not exist without a nervous system (our species). We would have no possible input, therefore no possible output. However, because of our ability to perceive based on cause and effect, we are able to adapt to our environments by remembering its inflictions. These inflictions are why we are able to differentiate ourselves from everything else that our nervous system is not interconnected with, thus imposing separation from such influences.