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  1. From what I've read he's trying to isolate several different methods to reach conclusions about the surrounding world and then compare their results. He does so by programming only one such method and no other into one of his bots to see how it's doing. He does so with different methods and then compares results. He wants to test the efficiency of the different epistemological methods he uses. I would see the problem in this isolation. I also have to read the thread on automatic concept formation. And I'm also interested in the specifics of what he means with different methods. Can you provide an example of two such methods and how they differ?
  2. Induction

    Betsy, this is pure genius!! Thanks for that!
  3. Acura NSX

    Nothing beats a hot blue sports car! Excellent choice!!
  4. The Wally

    Very nice! It looks like taken right out of a James Bond movie. Q would surely have loved this one. Thanks for posting this.
  5. Artificial Intelligence

    That's a matter of how you program the robot. My question was: How do you distinguish an animal from a robot that completely mimicks its behavior? If you program a robot so that it acts in its own interest, where's the fundamental difference between it and an animal? Still there's no consciousness needed for the robot. And I think there's no consciousness needed for the animal, too. That means: There's no difference in behaviour between an animal that senses its surroundings, identifies objects and reacts to them automatically and a robot that does the same thing (i.e. just mimicks the animal). No need for consciousness here. And all I hold is that since this is the case, you have no epistemological method of finding proof for the consciousness of animals. It's an arbitrary claim in the end.
  6. Artificial Intelligence

    I think my post above also serves as an answer to your post. I do understand that animals act for their own good. I understand that they do so deterministically. I also understand that they sense the reality that surrounds them. But I don't understand why they need awareness in the sense that I have awareness of the glass of water in front of me. For animals all their behavior can happen without that consciousness as far as I can see.
  7. Artificial Intelligence

    This discussion would be one. You are clearly capable of understanding what I am saying. That requires free will aswell as the ability to be aware of what's going on around you. Therefore I conclude that you have consciousness and free will just like me.
  8. Artificial Intelligence

    I'm still not sure about that. One thing that still puzzles me here is: Does an amoeba have consciousness? A virus? Where do you draw the line? How do you know where to draw it? And if they have consciousness, why doesn't my robot have it? I see no reason why there shouldn't be robots that are capable of doing what animals do (including reproduction). There have actually been research projects on doing just that. It's very interesting stuff. My point is basically that consciousness in animals serves no purpose. They don't have to be "aware" if all they do is react deterministically anyway as far as I can see. This is still a point I don't understand.
  9. Artificial Intelligence

    Thanks for the recommendation. I've actually ordered this book, but the shipping for the book (to Germany) is as expensive as the book itself, so I cancelled the order. Since I have just bought a truckload of Objectivist books and am still reading OPAR and The Virtuous Egoist, I have more than enough to do now. But I'll buy the book on my trip to the US in October. ---- Phew! That's been a lot of posting.
  10. Artificial Intelligence

    Good question! That helps me clarify it a bit more, I hope. Humans have volitional consciousness. That I can understand and differentiate and watching other humans' behavior I can actually know that they must have a consciousness similar to mine. But I can't see the difference between animals and robots (a dog and an AIBO for example).
  11. Artificial Intelligence

    The chemistry example, too, is deterministic. No volition is involved here. Volition takes place in man. Okay. But my question was: How?
  12. Artificial Intelligence

    I've read several other threads, but this thread hit me as very interesting and it made me reply without further reading, which was, as I see it now, probably a mistake. I'm sorry for putting the "Objectivist position" wrong. But that's why I put my current understanding of it at the top of the post: To show my current understanding of that position. I also added that, in the case that I am wrong I ask for immediate correction. I wouldn't have done this had I been sure about my position. I'm sorry if I have left that impression. Obviously, I got it all wrong. I'm just trying to understand the matter, so I though it would be good to give an impression of my current understanding. I thought it would be better to display my problems right upfront. I really didn't intend to put words into anyone's mouth. Now I'd like to know which mistakes I have made in that post. If I got it wrong, what, then, is the Objectivist position on free will? What did I get wrong? I guess I'll just reread the consciousness and brain-thread for starters and read some more threads aswell as finally get started with OPAR. I hope that will help me understand this better. I'd really like to finally understand the solution to this problem I have with determinism vs. free will, namely: How does a human being with free will fit into a usually deterministic universe? If I just pick determinism and ignore free will, I end up with a contradiciton. If I accept free will (at least my understanding of it), I have to accept some mind-over-matter ability of consciousness. And this leads to more questions than answers actually. So this is where I am stuck. I don't see where I have made a mistake. And this problem really drives me nuts. It's a really frustrating. Did I accept wrong premises? Did I use faulty logic? Where?
  13. Artificial Intelligence

    Okay, I have read the thread on conciousness and the brain now. It was very enlightening. But (of course ) I still have some questions. Actually, lots of them. First I'll try to sum up the two different positions I have in my mind to see if I understood them correctly. If I didn't, just correct me please. One position is called determinism. This is the idea that man is just a meat-robot. That all thinking is done in the brain and that, since the brain is physical, it is deterministic, too, like the rest of the physical world. Objectivists deny this notion because it leads to the problem that you can't really know something, because knowledge (as opposed to simply belief) would require the ability to check all facts and consider them. Since your actions are not free, but determined, you can't think freely, because your brain just does what it has to do. Life would just go on as it would have to, including the thoughts and actions of man. And since you can't control the content of your mind, you can't have knowledge and therefore no knowledge of determinism. Therefore this view collapses in self-contradiction. The Objectivist position, as far as I understand it now is that there's actually something we call conciousness. It is real, distinct from the brain, but somehow dependent on its existence and proper function. It is capable of non-deterministic action. It can also exert some sort of influence on the human brain which is how it controls the human body. Man is also the only being on earth with that capability. --- This is quite a proposition. And it still bothers me. It sounds very much like "Only man has a soul". It has a weird Christian ring to it. As far as I can see, given how little we know about said conciousness, why can't we say that conciousness existed proir to man's flesh and all the other weird things like reincarnation. It's a bit like opening Pandora's box. Once you allow such a weird thing like conciousness, there are tons of weird theories about it. And what bothers me further are several other things: Why can conciousness only act on the human brain? How can conciousness act on the human brain? "Where" is conciousness? Is it in another dimension like on some sort of astral plane? What are its physical properties (for lack of a better term)? Can I change conciousness with some sort of physical device? My brain can do it according to this model. So this would - at least theoretically - have to work somehow. If there is something like conciousness that can actually change the natural world that is usually governed by the laws of physics as we know them, doesn't this open an entirely new field of study on the subject of mind-over-matter. I mean, conciousness exerting influence on the human brain has to happen by a change to the physical world of some sort. And doesn't this shatter the primacy of existence? I mean, the existence of said mind that can influence the human brain physically, would be a first-class example of the primacy of conciousness. After all, your thoughts changed a part of the physical world. It's either-or as far as I can see: Either you have the primacy of existence, which would result in determinism, or you have a mind that can influence the material world somehow and therefore free will. You can't have both. I had considered the idea that conciousness exerts some control on the brain myself after I've read that chapter in OPAR on the impossibility of determinism, but I dismissed it because of these problems.
  14. Artificial Intelligence

    Thanks for the help so far. I'll read through the existing threads. That may take a while.