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The Self

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Jack Sovalot

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Feb 2, 2024, 9:47:58 AMFeb 2
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The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
I'm assuming it's hard wired.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 2, 2024, 11:17:58 AMFeb 2
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On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
<hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:

>
>The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
>I'm assuming it's hard wired.
>
Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
does it do that? Does it help *all* DNA to replicate -
planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
sense of "self"?
>
--

Bob C.

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science,
the one that heralds new discoveries, is not
'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"

- Isaac Asimov

erik simpson

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Feb 2, 2024, 11:52:58 AMFeb 2
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On 2/2/24 8:12 AM, Bob Casanova wrote:
> On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
> talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
> <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
>
>>
>> The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
>> I'm assuming it's hard wired.
>>
> Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
> expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
> model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
> idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
> does it do that? Does it help *all* DNA to replicate -
> planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
> models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
> sense of "self"?
>>
Are you sure you want to open this door? There's a strong smell of nuts
coming from it.

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 2, 2024, 12:42:58 PMFeb 2
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Jack Sovalot <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot> wrote:
>
> The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
> I'm assuming it's hard wired.
>
DNA was replicating long before the advent of nervous systems, cortex, and
a human (mis)perception of continuous and coherent self.

The self may be something that arose by our evolution somewhere along the
way, but the way it unfolds may have a bit more than a tincture of social
construction about it.

This self you speak of is highly derived and not fundamental. Bacteria do
just fine without it, though maybe bacteria association influence our
(mis)perception of self in how they modulate the gut brain which in turn
communicates with our noggin brain.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 2, 2024, 12:52:58 PMFeb 2
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Bob Casanova wrote:

> On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
> talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
> <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
>
> >
> > The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and
> > so I'm assuming it's hard wired.
> >
> Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
> expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
> model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
> idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
> does it do that? Does it help all DNA to replicate -
> planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
> models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
> sense of "self"?


Yes, the sense of self helps us avoid death, among other things.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 2, 2024, 12:52:58 PMFeb 2
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erik simpson wrote:

> On 2/2/24 8:12 AM, Bob Casanova wrote:
> > On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
> > talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
> > <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
> >
> > >
> > > The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate,
> > > and so I'm assuming it's hard wired.
> > >
> > Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
> > expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
> > model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
> > idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
> > does it do that? Does it help all DNA to replicate -
> > planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
> > models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
> > sense of "self"?
> > >

> Are you sure you want to open this door? There's a strong smell of
> nuts coming from it.


LOL! Not really. Hume suggested that the self is an illusion. And I've
recently read "Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite : Evolution and the
Modular Mind" by Robert Kurzban. He too mentions the illusion of self.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 2, 2024, 12:57:58 PMFeb 2
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Thank you so much, Hemidactylus.

Yes, I'd read that shy mice will become gregarious if you move bacteria
into their guts from the guts of gregarious mice. Fascinating.

Kerr-Mudd, John

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Feb 2, 2024, 1:02:59 PMFeb 2
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I was going to make an anti-bacterial comment, but my gut told me not to.

--
Bah, and indeed Humbug.

Burkhard

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Feb 2, 2024, 4:37:58 PMFeb 2
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Could be, but it could also be a somewhat unusual way to describe
some popular theories of consciousness, were the notion of
"self" is a byproduct of integrating different experiences all the time.
It is ultimately an illusion, but one that has evolutionary advantages -
for instance it makes it easier to reason about inner states of others -
and therefore is selected for. So a selfish gene view of self, and of course
at the heart of this is that it increases the reproductive success
of those organisms that develop it, and in this sense help their DNA to replicate

Bob Casanova

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Feb 2, 2024, 9:22:59 PMFeb 2
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On Fri, 2 Feb 2024 08:49:48 -0800, the following appeared in
talk.origins, posted by erik simpson
<eastsi...@gmail.com>:
Bored.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 2, 2024, 9:27:58 PMFeb 2
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On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 17:52:40 GMT, the following appeared in
So that's how the "Self model" (still undefined and
unexplained, BTW) "helps our DNA replicate", by assisting us
in not becoming lion chow? Doesn't explain whether it's
restricted to humans, though. Does it help jellyfish? How
about Yersina pestis?

Your assertion seems a bit...ummm...unformed.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 3, 2024, 4:37:59 AMFeb 3
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"Assertion"? You're right, I should have phrased my post as a question.

Burkhard

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Feb 3, 2024, 5:57:58 AMFeb 3
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On Saturday, February 3, 2024 at 2:27:58 AM UTC, Bob Casanova wrote:
> On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 17:52:40 GMT, the following appeared in
> talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
> <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
>
> >Bob Casanova wrote:
> >
> >> On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
> >> talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
> >> <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
> >>
> >> >
> >> > The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and
> >> > so I'm assuming it's hard wired.
> >> >
> >> Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
> >> expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
> >> model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
> >> idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
> >> does it do that? Does it help all DNA to replicate -
> >> planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
> >> models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
> >> sense of "self"?
> >
> >
> >Yes, the sense of self helps us avoid death, among other things.
> >
> So that's how the "Self model" (still undefined and
> unexplained, BTW)

It's such a familiar term that I too would have thought
it does not need a definition. It's simply the perception of
a unified self, and the ability to perceive yourself as
one - there is an "I" who is hearing, smelling and seeing
right now, and all these are integrated into a single
perception of reality. Unlike most robots today e.g.. It
includes also the perception that you body is yours, and separate
from others, and also with humans at least the
endurance of this self through time -
that the person who stupidly drank too much
yesterday causing a hangover was you, and that the
person who will have a hangover tomorrow if you
continue drinking is also you. It can include reflection about
inner states ("I" am in pain now) and with that also a
neural basis for moral reasoning ( I am not the type of person
who does this)

">helps our DNA replicate", by assisting us
> in not becoming lion chow?

Among other things - though some of the key
advantages are coordination with conspecifics
(we can reason about the inner states of others) ,
long term planning (it will me "me" who draws the
pension I'm paying in now) and other more
complex cognitive functions. It allows e.g to identify
where in your body pain or a similar problem is, and
to direct help to that place

Doesn't explain whether it's
> restricted to humans, though. Does it help jellyfish? How
> about Yersina pestis?

The typical tests for this are mirror tests. It
probably comes in degrees, and where one draws the
boundary can be tricky - also because non-human animals
can't simply tell us how they feel about themselves. Some basic
bodily self-awareness is claimed even for plants, by some, but
The most demanding is the "mark test", which does
definitely require complex brains - other primates tend to pass it,
as do dolphins.

>
> Your assertion seems a bit...ummm...unformed.
He may have assumed too much knowledge in the reader,
that's true. But I'm not sure why the question about jellyfish
and Yersina matters tbh. Almost all traits that increase an
organisms reproductive fitness are not shared across all species
after all.

Burkhard

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Feb 3, 2024, 7:17:59 AMFeb 3
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On Friday, February 2, 2024 at 2:47:58 PM UTC, Jack Sovalot wrote:
> The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
> I'm assuming it's hard wired.

As noted elsethread, this may be a slightly unusual way to express it,
and also a potential confusion.
We can be pretty certain that self-awareness is hard-wired:
- reported in all human cultures, across time and space, and alll
languages have corresponding vocabulary
- we know which parts of the brain to damage to affect changes in
self-awareness
- to the best of our knowledge, expression of the trait follows what we
should expect, i.e. species closely related to humans more likely to
display aspects of it than very distant species (a bit tricky, as this could,
in theory, be an artifact of our testing methods )

But "helping our DNA to replicate" is neither necessary nor
sufficient for "being hardwired" - a trait can be hardwired, but
not adaptive (e.g. as a result of drift, or as a spandrel). Conversely,
not everything that helps you procreate is hardwired or inheritable
- e.g. big bank accounts (well, ignoring inheritance law for the moment)

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 3, 2024, 9:27:59 AMFeb 3
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There are the juxtaposed ideas of continuity and derailment. Adam Grant
gets into whether one should dwell upon or detach from a past self and move
on towards…what…neoliberal ideals of achievement and self-actualization?
There’s the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, but maybe for Gatsby
that represented what Grant calls identity foreclosure or putting all your
eggs into a single basket of what you think the future you should be.
Future Gatsby messed with another man’s wife and wound up in a pool, which
could be symbolic of the unconscious.

If you are set on a future you then reality intervenes it can leave you
feeling a bit off the tracks. Derailment itself has a literature:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219393/

Burrow comes up a lot. And his student Ratner:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352250X21000105?via%3Dihub

>
> ">helps our DNA replicate", by assisting us
>> in not becoming lion chow?
>
> Among other things - though some of the key
> advantages are coordination with conspecifics
> (we can reason about the inner states of others) ,
> long term planning (it will me "me" who draws the
> pension I'm paying in now) and other more
> complex cognitive functions. It allows e.g to identify
> where in your body pain or a similar problem is, and
> to direct help to that place
>
> Doesn't explain whether it's
>> restricted to humans, though. Does it help jellyfish? How
>> about Yersina pestis?
>
> The typical tests for this are mirror tests. It
> probably comes in degrees, and where one draws the
> boundary can be tricky - also because non-human animals
> can't simply tell us how they feel about themselves. Some basic
> bodily self-awareness is claimed even for plants, by some, but
> The most demanding is the "mark test", which does
> definitely require complex brains - other primates tend to pass it,
> as do dolphins.
>
Yeah I was going to bring up that mirror thing. In another sense of
derailment, my favorite one, woke cultural Marxism has:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpellation_(philosophy)

Where does the mirror come into the picture you wonder…with Lacan:
http://changingminds.org/explanations/critical_theory/concepts/interpellation.htm

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/psychoanalysis/concepts/mirror_phase.htm

A bit removed from Gallup. Not quite a Gish gallop, but Lacan was a strange
bird. Sorry I had to shoehorn a pun.
>>
>> Your assertion seems a bit...ummm...unformed.
> He may have assumed too much knowledge in the reader,
> that's true. But I'm not sure why the question about jellyfish
> and Yersina matters tbh. Almost all traits that increase an
> organisms reproductive fitness are not shared across all species
> after all.
>
I think that’s the point. As put in the OP this focussing on a human
construct of Self, is way too anthropocentric. We tend to project our
constructs onto other species. We are but a twig, albeit very
self-important. That’s where Bob’s very apt and deflating point about
jellyfish and Yersina do come in. I think you’re dragging Bob a bit here.

We could get all mystical and esoteric and channel Self as primitive
archetype sensu Jung that gets recapitulated in stages as we ascend the
scale of nature in our all too human ontogeny. But no, let’s not. Self is
very constructed. Not sure how much a brute fact it is. That humans
recognize themselves in a mirror at some point comes from some inner bit of
brain development to which we ascribe a very fuzzy label. The Buddhists
come along and disabuse us of this conceit and the cognitive philosophers
often concur, no?

There is a bit of contradictory and tense dialectic surrounding self versus
no-self which may be unresolvable because we cannot get outside the box to
an Archimedean point of objective disinterest.


*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 3, 2024, 9:32:59 AMFeb 3
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The gut brain and influence of the microbiome is interesting, but I put it
at arms length, alongside newfound interest in Darwin’s root brain and the
so-called wood wide web in forest communities.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 3, 2024, 11:42:59 AMFeb 3
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On Sat, 03 Feb 2024 09:35:33 GMT, the following appeared in
No answer.
>
>> Your assertion seems a bit...ummm...unformed.
>
>"Assertion"? You're right, I should have phrased my post as a question.
>
"...assuming it's hard wired" *is* conceptually a question,
as is, to some extent, "may be illusory". But "it helps our
DNA replicate" is an assertion, justified (sort of) by your
succeeding rather vague claim.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 3, 2024, 11:47:59 AMFeb 3
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On Sat, 3 Feb 2024 02:56:21 -0800 (PST), the following
appeared in talk.origins, posted by Burkhard
<b.sc...@ed.ac.uk>:
OK, thanks. The basic explanation is sort of what I assumed,
based on the words alone. But no, I never encountered the
term *as a term*; I assume it's from philosophy.

As for the question regarding other species, the original
claim was nonspecific (other than "our"), and taken at face
value would seem to include all species with DNA which are
subject to selection. Either that, or the assumption was
that we're "special", a la "humans are different from
animals". Yeah, it was a bit snarky, but overgeneralizations
and sweeping universal claims bring that out in me.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 3, 2024, 12:42:59 PMFeb 3
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> "...assuming it's hard wired" is conceptually a question,
> as is, to some extent, "may be illusory". But "it helps our
> DNA replicate" is an assertion, justified (sort of) by your
> succeeding rather vague claim.


Oh. I think I understand now. It's too ambiguous, is that it? I should
have said "pass along our genes to future generations".

Burkhard

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Feb 3, 2024, 1:42:59 PMFeb 3
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On Friday, February 2, 2024 at 5:42:58 PM UTC, *Hemidactylus* wrote:
> Jack Sovalot <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot> wrote:
> >
> > The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
> > I'm assuming it's hard wired.
> >
> DNA was replicating long before the advent of nervous systems, cortex, and
> a human (mis)perception of continuous and coherent self.

sure, but does that matter? Lots of advantageous traits (which then all
help DNA to replicate, i.e. getting passed on) evolved long after DNA

>
> The self may be something that arose by our evolution somewhere along the
> way, but the way it unfolds may have a bit more than a tincture of social
> construction about it.

Interesting, ,but I'd like to see that fleshed out more - do you think "self" is
experienced differently in different cultures (and how would we know?) Surely
you are not arguing that people in some cultures are more likely to pass the mirror
test than in others? (excluding arguably Vampires, for whom mirror tests don't work,
but that is an artefact of the test setup)

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 3, 2024, 1:42:59 PMFeb 3
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Much of that passing along happens in inebriated impaired states where
selves are altered into oblivion (look up beer goggles). The proximate
endpoint is often referred to as the little death.

Also part of that process involves erecting a shield between our inner
conception of selfhood and what we project to others- persona or facade.
Clothing, cars, houses and other accoutrements that signal status plus the
roles we take on which themselves are socially constructed.

Plus there’s the distinction between ephemeral vehicles and longer lasting
replicators. Selfhood is so fleeting and quite plastic. I suppose some
people are more labile than others and perhaps shapeshifting itself puts
more haploids into the pool.

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 3, 2024, 2:52:59 PMFeb 3
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Burkhard <b.sc...@ed.ac.uk> wrote:
> On Friday, February 2, 2024 at 5:42:58 PM UTC, *Hemidactylus* wrote:
>> Jack Sovalot <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot> wrote:
>>>
>>> The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate, and so
>>> I'm assuming it's hard wired.
>>>
>> DNA was replicating long before the advent of nervous systems, cortex, and
>> a human (mis)perception of continuous and coherent self.
>
> sure, but does that matter? Lots of advantageous traits (which then all
> help DNA to replicate, i.e. getting passed on) evolved long after DNA
>
>>
>> The self may be something that arose by our evolution somewhere along the
>> way, but the way it unfolds may have a bit more than a tincture of social
>> construction about it.
>
> Interesting, ,but I'd like to see that fleshed out more - do you think "self" is
> experienced differently in different cultures (and how would we know?) Surely
> you are not arguing that people in some cultures are more likely to pass the mirror
> test than in others? (excluding arguably Vampires, for whom mirror tests don't work,
> but that is an artefact of the test setup)
>
There are individualist and collectivist cultures, the former more
narcissistic and latter more effacing and other oriented. Socialization and
enculturation may play some role in identity construction.

Does Buddhist denial of selfhood versus the US obsession with being
self-made and sufficient not indicate profound cultural distinctions? Are
guilt and shame not distinctive culturally?

It may not be a difference in passing the mirror test but what such a thing
actually indicates. We tend to ascribe a milestone of selfhood to it, but
does it necessarily get invested with such a muddled concept?

Boomers are saddled with being the so-called “me” generation so maybe the
notion of selfhood fluctuates generationally. Was self-esteem always so
important before Randroid Nat Branden helped put it on the map?


Bob Casanova

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Feb 4, 2024, 1:02:59 AMFeb 4
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On Sat, 03 Feb 2024 17:40:49 GMT, the following appeared in
Whatever floats your boat;oes it help sequoias? Or bacteria?

It seems to me to be essentially navel-gazing, since the
idea that the "self" is an illusion is itself an illusion,
promulgated by the very self which is asserted to be
illusory. IOW, how can an illusion determine the illusory
nature of a concept?

This is why, IMHO, philosophy, while a somewhat interesting
way to pass a rainy afternoon or a late-night bull session
(liberally lubricated with beer), is useless for determining
reality.

jillery

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Feb 4, 2024, 2:52:59 AMFeb 4
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On Sat, 03 Feb 2024 23:02:14 -0700, Bob Casanova <nos...@buzz.off>
Your complaint above is about pseudo-philosophy, not actual
philosophy. If John Wilkins was still posting to T.O., he might tell
you that, just as there is pseudo-science, both can be abused and
misused to make up conclusions to suit personal whims. My experience
is pseudo-science and pseudo-philosophy are the stock-in-trade of
pseudo-skeptics.

Ontology and epistemology are what Feynman was talking about when he
said that knowing the names of birds doesn't tell you anything about
the nature of birds. Behe notwithstanding, they are what distinguish
astrology and Intelligent Design and stamp-collecting from science.

--
To know less than we don't know is the nature of most knowledge

Burkhard

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Feb 4, 2024, 7:23:00 AMFeb 4
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Sure, but I'd say that conflated two issues. One is the fact of self-awareness,
that we can see exhibited at least by humans and some primates. A very
different thing is how humans then talk about this experience, make sense of it
or form theories of it - the same difference as between evolution and the theory of
evolution. And of course, our own verbalised accounts what self-awareness is gets
influences from culture etc, and even more so when we attribute value to some but
nit all aspects of self-awareness or any other trait for that matter - Humans evolved
with the ability to jump high, biologically, long before they got medals for it at the olympics.)

Burkhard

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Feb 4, 2024, 7:27:59 AMFeb 4
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Fair enough, it can be read like this. I parsed it the other way round:
there is a trait that (at least) humans have. It is universal at least
in our species, and in varying degrees in others. This then raises
the question if it is an adaptive trait that has been selected for, or
maybe was an adaptive trait in our evolutionary past but is not any longer,
or is not increasing chances of reproductive success at all, and therefore
has different explanations.

He opts for 1), and that seems to be mainstream in biology (in my
experience at least, it's mainly philosophers who would treat it, and
consciousness in general, as a mere epiphenomenon, like the whislte
on the train that does not play a role in moving it)

erik simpson

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Feb 4, 2024, 11:28:00 AMFeb 4
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"Philosophy" is easier to bullshit. Remember the Sokol hoax?

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 4, 2024, 12:53:00 PMFeb 4
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Thank you.

Athel Cornish-Bowden

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Feb 4, 2024, 1:08:01 PMFeb 4
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I think I may remember it better than you do! Alan Sokal was not
attacking philosophy but postmodernism and social science (or social
"science" as it is better called*), and published it in Social Text.
His coauthor Jean Bricmont is a philosopher of science, and I doubt
that he would wish to be associated with an attack on philosophy as
such.

*"Any discipline with 'science' in its name is not a science."

--
athel cb : Biochemical Evolution, Garland Science, 2016







Bob Casanova

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Feb 4, 2024, 1:23:01 PMFeb 4
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2024 04:24:54 -0800 (PST), the following
appeared in talk.origins, posted by Burkhard
<b.sc...@ed.ac.uk>:

Fair enough. But ISTM that there's a basic disconnect here,
in that any claim that the self is illusory is being made by
a self-designated illusion, and is thus of zero value in
determining anything of substance; that is why I referred to
it as "navel-gazing". I can only operate on my perceptions,
which tell me that there's something unique to me which is
capable of observation, consideration and conclusion(s)
regarding events and objects in the physical world, and of
similar processes regarding that which cannot be observed
objectively but only experienced. I may be incorrect; we may
all exist in virtual reality a la The Matrix, but until and
unless I'm shown actual evidence that this is the case
(Agent Smith redraws my face to seal my mouth shut,
perhaps?) I'll continue to assume that I and my
consciousness are real rather than illusory.

Burkhard

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Feb 4, 2024, 1:48:00 PMFeb 4
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I think the claim is slightly different - though ultimately
I agree with you, the "illusion" notion of the self is problematic
for the reason you state - illusions are things "I-s" have, so where
is the entity that is hallucinating.

Historically, the target was the "homunculus theory" of the mind,
a.k.a "cartesian theatre". This model explained things like vision
as if we had a little homunculus in our head that looked at the
images that come through the eye, like someone in a theatre.
The problem with this is of course that it is question begging -
how doesthe homunculus in turn "see"? But it is a very
intuitive way to think about it, so theories that rejected this
"single entity in your brain" model argued that THAT was merely
an illusion.

More modern versions elaborate on this: there is no single part in
the brain where the "I" sits, so to speak. Rather, the brain
constantly edits our various sense inputs so that they form
a coherent whole (and not, e.g. like a movie where the sound is
out of synch with the mouth movement) , and the concept of "I"
or "self" comes as a side effect of this process of integration and editing
This does not mean that everything that we perceive is illusionary -
just edited to make sense (and we know of course all the experiments where the
brain "edits out" information that does not "fit", e.g. the famous
gorilla basketball experiment) What that means is that the "self" is not
a "thing" like a tree, rather it is the result of a process.

erik simpson

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Feb 4, 2024, 1:53:00 PMFeb 4
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Acknowledged. The "scare quote" referred to the Sokol's victims
(postmeodernism, etc.), not more serious-minded thinkers.

Burkhard

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Feb 4, 2024, 2:18:00 PMFeb 4
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If only it were limited to philosophy and the social sciences - there at least
it causes little harm. But fake papers are now as common in the hard sciences
as they are there, and potentially with deadly consequences:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2024/feb/03/the-situation-has-become-appalling-fake-scientific-papers-push-research-credibility-to-crisis-point

erik simpson

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Feb 4, 2024, 2:43:00 PMFeb 4
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Fake anything is potentially dangerous, but I continue to believe that
fake science is easier to recognize. I acknowledge that I have little
experience or inclination to follow writing by philosophers. As an
undergrad I had to read some from Socrates (via Plato) through John
Dewey. I was exasperated with the wordiness (and perceived sophistry)
of it. I even had some feeling that Socrates may have deserved what he
got (not really). I do believe the misuse of AI is real danger.

Jack Sovalot

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Feb 4, 2024, 7:03:01 PMFeb 4
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*Hemidactylus* wrote:

> Jack Sovalot <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot> wrote:
So fascinating. Thank you.

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 5, 2024, 6:33:01 AMFeb 5
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Yet Socrates was merely popping epistemic bubbles. He pointed to limits or
lack of actual knowledge and the result of his method should be epistemic
humility. Plato was wordy, but he gave us the interesting cave allegory,
ring of Gyges, Euthyphro dilemma and maybe a few other classics. The ring
of Gyges influenced HG Wells with the invisible man story, which was partly
an exploration of what consequence science may bring via shady scientists
but also how morality falls when consequences disappear.

Popper, Dennett, John Searle, Simon Blackburn, Pat Churchland, and others
are great modern philosophers I’ve found valuable. He quite dark and
pessimistic (and conservative), but political philosopher John Gray is
interesting to read, though I disagree with him on stuff.

Some of the perceived threats of postmodernism are overblown. Not sure what
the Sokal hoax actually showed, maybe overreach on the part of some who
should have stayed in their lane. The notions that language is enchanting
or power structures are distorting seem fine but as critical theorist
Jurgen Habermas point out they become self-refuting in the extreme.

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 5, 2024, 8:13:01 AMFeb 5
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On flip side was the overhyped “conceptual penis” nonsense by Boghossian
and Lindsay. The original panic over pomo has mutated and metastasized into
reactionary anti-wokeness moral panic and its capitalizing cottage
industry.

Fake papers in themselves are different from postmodernism and its
excesses.

On another angle what did pomo have to do with the MMR scare due to a very
bad paper in a prestigious journal for instance? Pomo pales in comparison
to that or paper mills in China or elsewhere.

Athel Cornish-Bowden

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Feb 5, 2024, 9:03:01 AMFeb 5
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On 2024-02-05 13:10:04 +0000, *Hemidactylus* said:

[ … ]

> On flip side was the overhyped “conceptual penis†nonsense by Boghossian
> and Lindsay. The original panic over pomo has mutated and metastasized into
> reactionary anti-wokeness moral panic and its capitalizing cottage
> industry.

I can't understand any of that. Would you like to translate it into English?

*Hemidactylus*

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Feb 5, 2024, 10:28:01 AMFeb 5
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Athel Cornish-Bowden <m...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On 2024-02-05 13:10:04 +0000, *Hemidactylus* said:
>
> [ … ]
>
>> On flip side was the overhyped “conceptual penis†nonsense by Boghossian
>> and Lindsay. The original panic over pomo has mutated and metastasized into
>> reactionary anti-wokeness moral panic and its capitalizing cottage
>> industry.
>
> I can't understand any of that. Would you like to translate it into English?
>
>

https://slate.com/human-interest/2017/05/the-conceptual-penis-hoax-is-more-evidence-of-male-academics-weird-anxiety-about-gender-studies.html

James Lindsay and Chris Rufo turned reactionary anti-Theory stuff into a
cottage industry. This is a US phenomenon mostly. Being in France you might
be more aware of post-1968 French Theory (post-structuralism). There was a
distinct less flighty German brand of Theory that gets conflated with the
rest. It’s frustrating to witness.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 5, 2024, 10:58:01 AMFeb 5
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2024 10:47:11 -0800 (PST), the following
appeared in talk.origins, posted by Burkhard
<b.sc...@ed.ac.uk>:

I'm somewhat familiar with that conjecture (not, IMHO.
"theory"); it leaves us with "it's homunculi all the way
down". Personally, I prefer turtles. And I agree that,
regardless of its utility, it is indeed an illusion. But
that's not what the OP was talking about. At least I don't
think so; he was rather coy regarding details.
>
>More modern versions elaborate on this: there is no single part in
>the brain where the "I" sits, so to speak. Rather, the brain
>constantly edits our various sense inputs so that they form
>a coherent whole (and not, e.g. like a movie where the sound is
>out of synch with the mouth movement) , and the concept of "I"
>or "self" comes as a side effect of this process of integration and editing
>This does not mean that everything that we perceive is illusionary -
>just edited to make sense (and we know of course all the experiments where the
>brain "edits out" information that does not "fit", e.g. the famous
>gorilla basketball experiment) What that means is that the "self" is not
>a "thing" like a tree, rather it is the result of a process.
>
I happen to agree that there is no single "I" place in the
brain, just as there is no single piece of *anything* which
is the thing it's part of; cars, televisions, Saturn
rockets, etc. But that doesn't make any of those illusions,
and the well-known fact that the brain "rationalizes" its
inputs doesn't change that; what is observed is still real,
as is the observer. Assuming, of course, that we're not in
The Matrix... :-)

Anyway, I think we've covered this fairly well; thanks for
the discussion.

jillery

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Feb 5, 2024, 12:28:01 PMFeb 5
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On Sun, 4 Feb 2024 11:40:51 -0800, erik simpson
<eastsi...@gmail.com> wrote:

>On 2/4/24 11:14 AM, Burkhard wrote:
Fake science might be easier to recognize by scientists, but
apparently not so much for non-scientists. For example:

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0OMxE_D1pE>

Richmond

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Feb 10, 2024, 7:38:06 AMFeb 10
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"Jack Sovalot" <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot> writes:

> erik simpson wrote:
>
>> On 2/2/24 8:12 AM, Bob Casanova wrote:
>> > On Fri, 02 Feb 2024 14:45:11 GMT, the following appeared in
>> > talk.origins, posted by "Jack Sovalot"
>> > <hee-pw...@jack.sovalot>:
>> >
>> > >
>> > > The Self model may be illusory, but it helps our DNA replicate,
>> > > and so I'm assuming it's hard wired.
>> > >
>> > Since this didn't follow any thread I've seen, care to
>> > expand on it a bit? For instance, what exactly is the "Self
>> > model", and what leads you (or whoever came up with the
>> > idea) to believe it "helps our DNA replicate"? Exactly how
>> > does it do that? Does it help all DNA to replicate -
>> > planaria, earthworms, sequoias - implying they all have Self
>> > models? Or is it restricted to humans and others with some
>> > sense of "self"?
>> > >
>
>> Are you sure you want to open this door? There's a strong smell of
>> nuts coming from it.
>
>
> LOL! Not really. Hume suggested that the self is an illusion. And I've
> recently read "Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite : Evolution and the
> Modular Mind" by Robert Kurzban. He too mentions the illusion of self.

There is a book called "The Self Illusion" by Bruce Hood.

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/13384559

Bob Casanova

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Feb 10, 2024, 10:58:06 AMFeb 10
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2024 12:37:06 +0000, the following appeared
in talk.origins, posted by Richmond <dnom...@gmx.com>:
Amazing how many illusions have opinions and publish
books...

Richmond

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Feb 10, 2024, 11:43:06 AMFeb 10
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I think what you've done there is equated not being a self with not
existing.

Are you the same person now as you were when you were five?

Google Bard used to have opinions, but denies it now.

Bob Casanova

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Feb 10, 2024, 11:43:07 PMFeb 10
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2024 16:38:28 +0000, the following appeared
Nope.
>
>Are you the same person now as you were when you were five?
>
Nope. Is that relevant? if so, please explain the relevance
to the original question..
>
>Google Bard used to have opinions, but denies it now.
>
And that is relevant...how?

broger...@gmail.com

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Feb 11, 2024, 7:18:06 AMFeb 11
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......
> >I think what you've done there is equated not being a self with not
> >existing.
> >
> Nope.

I agree with you. As long as you identify the self with the whole body, including the brain, then there's no doubt that the self exists and that you are yourself.

I think that what people mean when they talk about the illusory self is the natural feeling that one's self is the narrator of one's internal monologue, and that that narrator is always there "running the show." It certainly feels that way, at least a lot of the time for a lot of people (leaving aside the 10-15% of people who get by their whole lives without an internal monologue). But it is possible to do all sorts of fairly complex things without the "narrator" talking about them or even seeming to notice them - driving home along a familiar route while thinking about something unrelated, making tactical decisions in a tennis match faster than the narrator can articulate reasons for them, playing