RNG's recent activity

  1. Comment on Frozen human brain tissue was successfully revived for the first time in ~science

    RNG
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    Thank you for your reply! This is really interesting stuff. What does "personal identity" mean? Is it simply how I conceive of myself? Or is personal identity the same thing as "the self" or "ego"...

    The physical continuity view proposes that personal identity is maintained through the persistence of the physical body, particularly the brain. According to this perspective, an individual remains the same person over time as long as there is an unbroken chain of physical and biological continuity, with the brain playing a crucial role as the seat of cognitive functions and memories.

    Thank you for your reply! This is really interesting stuff.

    What does "personal identity" mean? Is it simply how I conceive of myself? Or is personal identity the same thing as "the self" or "ego" (as it used to be called in psych circles)? I don't think many would disagree that your social identity or your intuitions of the self are tethered to your physical body in some way. I think the contention is whether you have some sort of essential self that, say, dies if you go through a teleporter or if you get uploaded to a computer (i.e. lose this physical continuity.)

    I also had some hangups on some of the perceived advantages of this view:

    1. and 5. Why is the "sleep problem" a problem? I wouldn't think that a view having unpleasant implications should be a mark against its likelihood to be true.

    2. and 3. it seems like perhaps these would apply in the case you upload your consciousness, assuming that the underlying neurology could be sufficiently emulated?

    3. There may be conflicting intuitions here, but I don't see how accommodating change or growth would increase one's credence in this view. Even in common language, we often talk about how we aren't the same people we once were.

    In the Ship of Theseus, one could argue that the identity of the ship is maintained as long as there is a physical continuity of the ship (one plank replaced at a time.) But it seems this continuity isn't some essential property of the ship, but exists in the minds of people who conceive of and talk about the ship. You could argue that it is within one's own mind of oneself that this continuity of the self takes place, but this seems to beg the question.

    This may be my own ignorance, but this view seems just as arbitrary as believing the self is a continuity of consciousness. I'm still not sure why one should think that there is any continuity of the self at all (or even that the self exists).

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Frozen human brain tissue was successfully revived for the first time in ~science

    RNG
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I don't think this "you" that you are talking about exists at all. I don't think there is any more of an essence to the self than there is to the Ship of Theseus. Maybe something closer would be...

    My concern is if the you that is frozen is the you that awakes on the other side. I also wonder if we in some sense die every time we sleep, or even every time we lose focus.

    I don't think this "you" that you are talking about exists at all. I don't think there is any more of an essence to the self than there is to the Ship of Theseus. Maybe something closer would be the belief that we die each moment and someone with our memories is born (a teaching similar to how some Zen Buddhists make sense of Saṃsāra), but this is still doesn't fully capture this rather ineffable concept.

    From neuroscience, to philosophy, to first hand experiences, we can have very strong reasons to believe that this "self" that seems to persist from moment to moment doesn't exist.

    On the materialist, physicalist front, Daniel Dennet has presented some thought experiments that demonstrate the absurdities that are entailed with believing in a self. That read is long but worthwhile. The book The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by Bruce Hood is a commonly recommended perspective from neuroscience.

    In Eastern philosophy, it's long been held that we can directly observe the fact that there isn't a self through introspection. This isn't something unique to mystics or something; atheist naturalists like Sam Harris also believe we can discover no-self through meditation [video]. While traditionally held to be ineffable, Sam Harris does a great job explaining in that clip just how meditation can lead to these insights. This is something I have been able to directly observe first-hand through specific contemplative and meditative practices (and I am far from a monk), and I think you might be able to as well with little training and practice.

    Edit: Updated URL to correct clip

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    RNG
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    Thanks for the question! This book has caused me to reassess just how radical the physicalist position is (physicalism is the belief that the mind is entirely explained by underlying physics,...

    Thanks for the question!

    This book has caused me to reassess just how radical the physicalist position is (physicalism is the belief that the mind is entirely explained by underlying physics, which doesn't seem controversial on the face of it.) For physicalists like the late Daniel Dennett, physicalism entails the belief that consciousness must be an illusion.

    I don't have my mind made up. Ultimately, I take the Hard Problem of Consciousness (which shows the contradictory implications of emergent theories of consciousness) seriously. So if I'm going to remain a materialist, I'll need to bite the bullet on consciousness being illusory, or go with one of the other options (David Chalmers' property dualism, or panpsychism in this book's case), both of which allow me to continue to be a fully pro-science naturalist, though not a materialist necessarily.

  4. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    RNG
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    Going back through Philip Goff's book Galileo's Error, which is an accessible introduction to the arguments for panpsychism intended for a wide audience. It's shockingly compelling and has further...

    Going back through Philip Goff's book Galileo's Error, which is an accessible introduction to the arguments for panpsychism intended for a wide audience. It's shockingly compelling and has further shaken my confidence in materialism. Before being introduced to Goff's work I dismissed panpsychism as new age bullshit, but the arguments are strong and hard to dismiss.

  5. Comment on The West doesn’t understand how much Russia has changed in ~misc

    RNG
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    This is absolutely fascinating. I didn't fully appreciate how extensive Russian offerings are. I have used Yandex a fair bit and have read countless whitepapers published by Kaspersky in the...

    This is absolutely fascinating. I didn't fully appreciate how extensive Russian offerings are. I have used Yandex a fair bit and have read countless whitepapers published by Kaspersky in the cybersecurity space. They are one of the few to actually extensively track and document western threat actors just as they do for Russian, Chinese, and North Korean ones. I hope they can continue to exist in the same capacity moving forward.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    What I've been aiming for is the fact that I can't comprehend how aphantasia could even exist without profoundly wacky implications. I can hold the concept of a white house with orange trim in my...

    What I've been aiming for is the fact that I can't comprehend how aphantasia could even exist without profoundly wacky implications.

    So you have limited or no mental visual imagery and assume that everyone else is the same?

    I can hold the concept of a white house with orange trim in my mind. I can change the colors, and I have a pretty good idea of how it would look if I drew it and what colors are going to work better than others by trying them out in my mental model. This is what I have been saying is "imagining" stuff, mental modeling. Perhaps everyone else can see the house just as if they saw it with their eyeballs, and I am a aphantasic, which while possible feels unlikely to me. It's also unclear to me what dreaming would mean for an aphantasic.

    It doesn't seem like you could have less than what I have and be able to know even the basics of what things would look like prior to them existing.

    Or you do have mental visual imagery and you're trying to have a philosophical discussion, while the rest of us are talking about a concept with neurophysiological studies and research into the neural substrates of visual imagery not Meditations on First Philosophy.

    All I've been doing is explaining why I am an aphantasia agnostic, not writing a philosophical treatise lol. I'm not well read on neurology either, though I can't find examples of any studies from a neurological perspective, which could shift my view (say, if self-described aphantasics had parts of their brain light up when others didn't.) Looks like the studies performed are just asking people what they experience, and there isn't much. The earliest studies on aphantasia are from 2015 which is quite recent.

    No malice, but this really is not complicated.

    Maybe I'm dumb, but it seems complicated to me. This is a discussion about events that are not publicly observable, so it seems like there's room for folks to have greatly differing interpretations on what "no mental imagery" looks like, which may explain why people could be mistaken about their aphantasia.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on The West doesn’t understand how much Russia has changed in ~misc

    RNG
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    I want to thank you for sharing your experience and express my sincerest sympathy that you are caught up in this whole geopolitical mess. I was wondering if you see a shift away from US software...

    I want to thank you for sharing your experience and express my sincerest sympathy that you are caught up in this whole geopolitical mess.

    I was wondering if you see a shift away from US software in Russia? Russia has a good software market: Kaspersky and Yandex come to mind and there are plenty of FOSS options. Do you see Windows going anywhere? Are there Russian equivalents of Western tech companies (e.g., Uber, Facebook, etc) popping up?

    16 votes
  8. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    I think holding a mental concept of, say, a red house is just what people mean (and certainly what I mean) by "imagining" a house. It isn't an identical experience to seeing a red house, it's just...

    I can’t visualize - form a mental image of; imagine - a house of any color. I can imagine - form a mental image or concept of - a house of any color

    I think holding a mental concept of, say, a red house is just what people mean (and certainly what I mean) by "imagining" a house. It isn't an identical experience to seeing a red house, it's just having this mental pattern you can hold and manipulate in your mind. I can make this house white with orange trim and know what that would look like, but it's not identical experientially to actually seeing it.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    Are you saying you can imagine color experiences that would be impossible to have in the real world? That seems incomprehensible to me, for each color experience I imagine from the descriptions...

    To give you the idea, I can imagine impossible colors (such as teal-yellow, red-green, or glowing black)

    Are you saying you can imagine color experiences that would be impossible to have in the real world? That seems incomprehensible to me, for each color experience I imagine from the descriptions you gave, I imagine I could have that experience shown on a computer for instance. I can't imagine impossible colors any more than I can imagine square circles.

  10. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    It's not my view that remembering or imagining redness is identical to experiencing redness, these seem like distinct experiences to me. I can hold the redness of red experience in my mind, but...

    It's not my view that remembering or imagining redness is identical to experiencing redness, these seem like distinct experiences to me. I can hold the redness of red experience in my mind, but that's different from looking at a red object with my eyes.

    What I am saying is that remembering redness is the same sort of experience as imagining redness, and I think to some degree how one imagines things is necessarily informed by memories. A congenital deaf person cannot imagine sound, a colorblind person cannot imagine colors for which they lack cones, etc.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on I am a witch. Well, a well witcher... in ~talk

    RNG
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    Thank you for sharing your experience, the quirky and weird stuff tend to be my favorite here on Tildes. I think my introduction to this concept was Wile E. Coyote of all places

    Thank you for sharing your experience, the quirky and weird stuff tend to be my favorite here on Tildes. I think my introduction to this concept was Wile E. Coyote of all places

    7 votes
  12. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    I think creation is actually something like a recombination of experiences that can be remembered. A work of fiction will describe a fictional thing as a composite of experiences the reader has...

    Maybe thinking of creation rather than recollection would help.

    I think creation is actually something like a recombination of experiences that can be remembered. A work of fiction will describe a fictional thing as a composite of experiences the reader has likely had experience with.

    But let's imagine a book that talked about a house that's color you've never come across, let's call it flazzle. Can you imagine a house who's color you've never seen before? No, one cannot imagine a flazzle-colored house the same way one can imagine a house that is white with orange trim.

    Similarly, imagine someone lacking the cones in their eyes for seeing blue. They could never be taught or learn about blueness from a book, fictional or not. If the cones could be restored, only then could they ever understand "blueness" and be capable of remembering this experience in a way that makes sense of descriptions in books of blue objects.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    Sure, I can remember facts about colors without picturing them. I can know that apples are red and that red is spelt R-E-D without picturing red. I can remember where it sits on a color wheel or...

    Sure, I can remember facts about colors without picturing them. I can know that apples are red and that red is spelt R-E-D without picturing red. I can remember where it sits on a color wheel or on a red to violet spectrum.

    Tautologically, I cannot remember what it is like to experience redness, without remembering the experience of redness, which is just what we mean by imagining redness.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    What could one remember about qualia that doesn't include the experience itself? The experience is all there is. If what one remembers about qualia doesn't include experience, then there's nothing...

    I think you're making assumptions that equate remembering a particular qualia with re-experiencing it. While I understand making this connection, I don't think there's sufficient basis to assume they are necessarily the same thing.

    What could one remember about qualia that doesn't include the experience itself? The experience is all there is. If what one remembers about qualia doesn't include experience, then there's nothing left; that's all qualia are.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    This strongly maps onto my experience as well, and is an insight that can be gained in meditation. Just sit, and focus on your breath. Try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on breathing...

    I don't want to say that I'm fully guided by my sub-conscious, but it does feel like that sometimes. There's never any thought about what I'm going to say before I say it, the words very often just appear in my mouth (same with writing). In place of an internal monologue, there are sometimes concepts and ideas that flow gently into ordered thought.

    This strongly maps onto my experience as well, and is an insight that can be gained in meditation. Just sit, and focus on your breath. Try to clear your mind of thoughts and focus on breathing (just because it's an experience that's easy to pay attention to.) One thing you'll notice quickly is that thoughts will keep interrupting this task: arguments with your coworkers, plans for later in the day, etc. "God, I should've said this instead of that." Or "I can't believe they said that."

    Eventually, you will will go "oh fuck" and remember you were supposed to be meditating. You'll focus, but will be interrupted again and again. You'll get better though; meditation is like a muscle and this is your first day at the gym, it takes awhile to see gains. But eventually, you will notice this... voice? attempting to interrupt your concentration and you will be able to set it aside without being swept up and carried away by it. You can notice that this... thing (voice?) doesn't appear to be numerically identical to "you", but something that happens to you. At the base, all there seems to be is experience. This is what causes some to view the self as illusory.

    If I really need to think through something intellectually difficult, I always start talking about it out loud (even just to myself) because I can't really do it in my head.

    I do exactly this, especially when wrestling with new concepts and trying to make sense of them.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    This seems disanalogous. A word is information, and this information is comprised of elements and can be broken down into its constituent parts and can be represented in a number of mediums. The...

    It's perfectly possible that people with aphantasia can remember the facts of these things but not imagine them in their head in the same way as you or me. As a parallel, I think verbally and I remember how words in English are spelled, but I don't picture the spelling of a given word in my head unless I consciously bring that to mind.

    This seems disanalogous. A word is information, and this information is comprised of elements and can be broken down into its constituent parts and can be represented in a number of mediums. The redness of a red experience is simple and isn't comprised of constituent elements that could be remembered without remembering the experience itself. Either one can remember the experience of red and orange or they can't, and I'd think an aphantasic could not remember either, because if they could, that would just be what we mean by imagining colors.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on People without an inner voice have poorer verbal memory in ~humanities.languages

    RNG
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    I've been a "aphantasia" agnostic for some time now, because the condition just doesn't seem intelligible to me. Can an aphantasic remember a color? It seems that they could not; they may find a...

    I've been a "aphantasia" agnostic for some time now, because the condition just doesn't seem intelligible to me.

    Can an aphantasic remember a color? It seems that they could not; they may find a color familiar upon observing it again, but remembering a color seems to be identical phenomenologically to imagining it. Can an aphantasic not remember redness? Can they not remember the shape of an object?

    Being able to remember a qualitative experience is just what we mean by "imagining" it. I can remember what "orange" looks like, but I cannot "remember" some color I've never seen before. And if one cannot imagine colors, it seems entailed that they couldn't remember what they look like, just the same way that I cannot imagine (or obviously remember) what some color I've never seen before would look like.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Homeworld 3 review from someone who treasures HW as perhaps the best game in 25 years (w/ minor spoilers) in ~games

    RNG
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    I want to preface by saying that I am not in anyway saying your opinions on the game are invalid, just different from my own. Decisive thumbs up from me. I was always more of a Homeworld 1 fan. I...

    I want to preface by saying that I am not in anyway saying your opinions on the game are invalid, just different from my own.

    Decisive thumbs up from me.

    I was always more of a Homeworld 1 fan. I enjoyed Cataclysm (and HW2 even less, though that still makes it my 3rd favorite game of all time), but HW1 was always my favorite. Homeworld 3 may very well end up being my #2 favorite Homeworld game. The game-play feels very HW1-esque (which I prefer), but with clever innovations like terrain. HW3 having physics-based projectiles rather than dice-rolls is a welcome change. Also, absolutely not torn up about ditching subsystems at all. Only thing I miss is local hyperspace. Also, completely subjective, but I like the story. They got the original writers for HW1/HWC and the HW Historical and Technical Briefing, and it shows.

    I think game IP reboots are hard. I think the best analogy is first time you hear a new album from your favorite childhood band, it isn't going to move you and tie into the nostalgia you've built with their previous work. Sure, maybe covers of their old stuff work (e.g., HWRM), but new stuff may be hard for folks to get into. I think for some folks if they let it sit and give it time, they'll come to appreciate a reboot on its own terms.

    10 votes
  19. Comment on US survey shows abortion bans drive away young talent in ~finance

    RNG
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    These bans also carry an entailment that pro-choice people will have children that wouldn't have otherwise. I wonder what effect that may have on the political make-up of a state in a generation.

    and push people there further into the far right / Christian nationalism / fascism narratives.

    These bans also carry an entailment that pro-choice people will have children that wouldn't have otherwise. I wonder what effect that may have on the political make-up of a state in a generation.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on Medieval historian and game developer, Jason Kingsley CBE, reacts to Manor Lords in ~humanities.history

    RNG
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    Haven't heard of this game, but absolutely love Modern History TV. My partner and I spent our evenings for several weeks binging his content while we ate dinner. Highly recommend.

    Haven't heard of this game, but absolutely love Modern History TV. My partner and I spent our evenings for several weeks binging his content while we ate dinner. Highly recommend.

    2 votes