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  GPlus #PhilosophyOfMind     Community Guidelines

To the community: I pinned this for community comment, review and feedback.
+Matt Uebel asked me to rewrite them 9 months ago, and I think this covers everything. Please offer your  suggestions below including  new questions/ answers you want added to the FAQ

< If I linked you to this post, it was for a reason:
Please Read it and Plus it >

Our Community is mainly about: The MInd-Body Problem
<  >

#TheExplanatoryGap   < >

#TheHardProblem of Consciousness <  >

( and  #CognitiveScience
<*>*  )

I actually expect to see some discussion about this, or related to this; in peoples posts.
< If you do that,  they wont be de-listed  >

Our Main Category *Cognitive/General , is for rigorous posts about the Academic discussion of that.
Please, do not abuse that.

We, very generously, have Non-rigorous categories like:
The Watercooler , SoapBox  , Theology of Mind
< For misc socializing,  Manifestos, and "Lets Pretend" , respectively  >  .

But this isnt really a Psychology, nor a 'Group Therapy' community.

If you are new, I suggest you click the links up top, and read all that information
 <  Old Community Guidelines  Please go here and PLUS:  > .

List of Community Topics <  >

We are a Humanities-based community, AND a Science-Based Community.  ( even Math-too ) .
Feel free to ask me any questions, about our Topics.
If I cant answer it ( and if I can ), I can teach you how to look up the answers.  I am just a humble student of the Subject, and will freely share what I know.

< I really am here  to discuss 'Philosophy of Mind' , I'd rather be treated like your friendly reference-Librarian, than  a hall monitor. 
My Knowledge is very broad, ---but not very deep. >

All posts/ shares/ links/Videos/ need Full Introductions!:
That means NO Linkdumping / Blogdumping

< For more on that:  What is Linklitter >

All shares must have _written copy  ( excerpts ) on G+  .
I  suggest  at least 5 paragraphs .
< To fix: Go to Upper Right corner, "edit post",   Copy/paste >

< You want to know  why
 Please, No!
Because we are the Mods,  and we say so.
Because its 'GPlus Best Practices' .
Because G+ Excerpts are too short to useful, and are a total failure. 
--- Because I have a Personal Relationship with #Proust .  Just do it >

All posts and shares,  that reference peer-reviewed Journal-Science, or other Academia; should have direct links on G+,  to the source.
(  Journal Links on G+  )

If your post/share/link requires a MOD to leave G+, to see if its ontopic ( or just Bullshit ) ,  Then its offtopic!

this: v v
If you expect Unpaid Mods to surf the Internet  ( to read your article, watch your video, read you Blog --- then its offtopic

If you frequently use Ad-homimens or just act like a Jackass, we probably ban you. This is a Philosophical Discussion Community; this isnt Romper Room, and I'm not Barney the Dinosaur

More on Community Behavior: <  >

            ~ No Bigotry/ Hate:
Philosophers of all colors/races/ages/genders/ sexualities;
Members of all, any or none: Cults/ Religions/ Devotional Practices /Philosophies of Life and Mind, are welcome here, and should not feel singled out.

< But No Proselytizing:!
  If you are genuinely  confused where POM or Theology of MInd  ends, and Proselytizing begins; kindly ask a Mod before posting on that.   >

Please DO: Create an Introduction Post
This is your One chance to Introduce yourself to the community.
( Mods will filter out excessive self-promotion. ) 

Please DONT:
.... NO Gifs ...
 - they crash my computer
( retired since forced gif autoplay is ended)

No Plusbait
If it says, "like me, share me, read me, add me", in this community, that means "Ban Me" . JUST NO!

If you see a macro in this community, FLAG IT! Dont Plus it, Dont share it! They are TOXIC to a Philosophical  Discussion Community.

Macrospam are pictures with fake quotes ( "they are all fake" ) and cliches. 
I flip them over, and ban every-person that plusses and shares them. Really, I do .
That's why this community still exists .

NO "thoughts of the day" No "Deep Thoughts"
<*If it was really deep  , you would have 300 words with it, talking about its relationship to Consciousness *>
Post it in your stream. They don't belong here.

Please Do: share directly on-topic
raise and Invoke one of our many subtopics in your introduction
< For noobs, here is 101
For Oldtimers, Please Use Chalmers Full Bibliography >
Explain in your post, what it has to do with #PhilosophyofMind ,
while referencing a POM Trope/topic.
<  Making a Philosophical Discussion why something is ontopic, can make a share ontopic; since that is Philosophy  >

Please DO:
Create Posts you are willing for members to disagree with ;  and have counter-arguments.
That is what people do in a Philosophy Community.
<  that is one really good reason for not bringing your personal cult, or religion here. >

Please DONT
Tell me ( us )  what to do, or how to live our lives.
This is not the community for Preaching, "Life-coaching", or Motivation, Management, / self-help etc. If you are posting a series of unsolicted/advice , unasked for Behavior Modifications, it will go down the wrong way in this community.

TLDR I dont want see any busybody bullshit. You are not a Moderator. You may have little idea how to run your own life; please don't do it other members here. In this community you are not a Guru, or a priest. Mods only do this, for Modding, because we have to .  
Please Save it for your personal stream.

< Yes< i know we have a "moral" category.  ( shrug  ) .  ASFAIK its for 'Moral Problems'  ( Do you push a fat-man in front of a trolley to save lives? ) , and debating merits of Moral Systems  . Ask the owner > 

NO Online-Begging:
Post your charity appeals in your own steam.  I'm probably poorer than you. If I cant pan-handle here, neither can you!

This community is mostly  dedicated to the study of  "What IS"  ( consciousness, phenomena  ) Not , what we should do about it. 
For more on that: Humes Guillotine

The owner has banned "Philosophies of Life" , "Pop-science" , "pop-psychology" , and General New-Age Fluffiness. 

If a mod asks you to edit a post , or gives you personal attention, you ought to be flattered. You are receiving free help.
Most other Communities, simply delist posts which Violate Guidelines.  ( without explanation or help ) . We are showing you care.

Please Dont:
Take it personally, if a mod asks you to add something to your post, to make it on-topic. We are helping you, and encouraging community members  to lead by example:Obvious   On-topic Posts attract other on-topic posts, and members.

Please DONT:
Argue with Mods over the guidelines; Play stupid; deliberately waste the Mods Time, or Troll the Mods; 

The guidelines exist for a reason: To hold open one place on Google Plus,where the open discussion of 'Philosophy of Mind' tropes  takes place.   There are other sandboxes, if you dont like ours.

If you want  have an argument: That's AWESOME!:
DO Create an Argument about the Mind-Body Problem , or Consciousness ( our main topics )

Do Not Create an Argument 'Why the Guidelines don't apply to you' , or 'Why your posts dont need an introduction' etc.

This Community is NO longer entertaining those arguments.  They are offtopic!
< No I really dont care that you work for ad-laden Blog like ... 'Scientific American' .
You aren't paying me for my time, you didn't create this community; This community exists to Promote Philosophical Discussion on Google Plus ---- not just as free advertising, for your crappy blog.   >

Remember, Mods work for you for free. We are volunteers.  Please respect that.
If you really wish to have such a discussion, ( why you get to ignore guidelines ) Please offer a mod a donation for their time; and write to them privately  .  
(Yes, If you really want to waste our time, you pay us for the privilege )

< If you have an ad-laden blog, and are making money off your links:  The Mods are willing to allow you to Sponsor the Community with Cold Hard cash, if you wish to bypass General Guidelines. >

But, If you refuse to Sponsor us: we make demands of you; you dont make demands of us .  No exceptions! >

No Bible-thumping, No Cults, No Guruisms . No Preaching. No Moralizing.

Posts which Beg questions of: Idealism, Theisms, Aesthetics , atheism, or any religious Dogmas, whatsoever; belong in Theology of Mind 
Oh, and they still better have a discussion about Philosophy of MInd , Consciousness, and the Mind-Body Problem ( Our main topics ) .  You are expected to be able to figure out how to post to that topic yourself.  

Mods reserve the right to delist to any  Theology-type posts in Rigorous Categories.

Now: Please  Have fun, Dont be a Dick, and Teach me something New.

Minor Doses of Reality:    ....The world is round. Try and Deal with it; The Sky is UP.  Ice is cold. Fire is Hot.  Deal with it ;
The Universe is, at least,  Billions of years old.   Deal with it;  The earth goes round the sun. Deal with it;
DNA is real:  Deal with it; DNA tell us Humans share 99%+ DNA with Bonobos and Chimps.  They are apes. That means Humans are also Apes. Just Deal with it:  go to Therapy  , I dont care, ... These are incontrovertible facts.

This is not the community to argue whether the  Earth is, or is not, round.  If these facts disturb you, Blame your Absent God. Blame your parents, Blame the Government .

 Ask yourself:  'Why you cant see the beauty of the story of life, and consciousness?'

Reality is not the Mods fault.

  #PhilosophyOfMind   #CommunityGuidelines  


Q: Whats A FAQ 
A: /facepalm
Its a section for F. requently A. sked Q. uestions , that people are too lazy to  Google or even read. 

Q: Can I post my Blog? 
A: NO! I hate your Blog and Ive Never seen it. 

Q: But its On Philosophy Of Mind ?
A: REALLY, People often say that, but it usually isnt true. 

*Q; But Im working on PHD/ I'm a neuroscientist/ Its My Dissertation

A: OH, its on Actual Academic  Philosophy, why didnt you say so? Oh, YES. Post it. We need more of that. Lots of it.

Q:  I also have a Blog, about My personal Musings/ doings curls+ Loading Creatine/ self-improvement / Juicing after 50 / We are one with the Universe and all connected/ I am a "Magic Spirit" and I can give you an exorcism / Firewalking / I am LifeCoach/ Motivation Speaker/ ......

A: I mean this in the _nicest way possible ...Imagine  if your very  best friend  took your hands in his , looked at you sweetly in the eyes, and told you with a smile: To go FAQ yourself! 

Q:  I have a book I want people to BuY
A:   And I care because ..... ?  
( the only correct answer to that Question In this community,  Is its on Philosophy of Mind Tropes ) 

Q:  MY Book Is Amazon, its an Ebook 
A:  Fine, then you are an author doing a Book-tour. You are not an author linkdumping here for advertising. 

Do a hangout,  Post a Lecture on your Book on Youtube and link it here, 
give out Free ebooks for review by members, write an excerpt for our community, Publish a chapter here. In otherwords "ACT like a Professional" , and we will treat you like one!!

Q:  Why are you so grumpy?
A:  Lotta reasons.  Personally, I am a pain-patient. But This community has massively tried the patience of most mods till they quit.   

I know out of 170,000 people who joined less than .25% even read the Guidelines before posting. 

Those are the only  people I mod for.  If you are reading this, that is you 
You are elect, the almost super-awesome elite. But of those people even fewer have ever, even  looked up our topic .

Q: Where did you learn all this
A:  I'm insatiably curious about the Mind and consciousness. Mostly a Google Search!  That and I found  David Chalmers Philosophy of Mind page ( ) and appropriated it ,  for our community 

Q: Have you,  the reader,  Googled our Topic? 

Q:  What books do you recommend ?
A:  Godel, Escher, Bach ; Check our book section. I posted a few more. ... I regularly weed it,  so its nice reference guide . 

< To be edited  with other mods Recommendations >

*Q: What Blogs do you Recommend ?
A:  Philosophy Bro,

 Ill get back to you ...

<* To be edited  with other mods Recommendations >

*Q: What Websites Do you recommend?
A: , .

and all the ones I posted at the top for reference.




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"My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfills.

But in physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists?"
Friston's "free energy principle only recently came to my attention and when I did some digging I came upon this essay of his from 2017.

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Markov blankets and Active Inference, the secret behind all life?

#ai #markov

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If you don't already know: G+ is closing in August....

Community Archive Tool!

Someone g ive this a try and see if it works.
Google Plus Archiver: gplus-archiver

This is a PHP-based tool which queries the G+ API and can archive entire communities as JSON files, created by +Spencer Salyer. There is a 10,000 query/day limit imposed by Google on Google+ activity and you can cut through that quickly.

I've not tested this, looking for folks who can/will.

There's a set of archived communities as an example at:

His notes follow:

It is PHP code to query the G+ API with the community ID and loop through all the posts and comments, storing them as json files (one per post). It can eat through their 10k query/day limit quickly depending on the community, so I disabled the form on the live site. I'd be happy to take requests for archival, though.

It should be every post and associated comments in each community, with info for photos and attachments, etc. I'm not actually downloading attachments, so much of that is still hosted at Google. It's still a bit of a work in progress, but I thought it better to download what I could as soon as I could.

The code is here, if it's helpful:

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Hi, i'm Chris and i love thinking about the world!
This video is about the spectrum of consciousness and animal consciousness!

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Can AI Neural Networks Help Explain How Humans Process Abstract Thought

New Paper claims DNNs answer Rationalism s ling unanswered challenges to the truth of Empiricism


Empiricism without magic: transformational abstraction in deep convolutional neural networks
Cameron Buckner

S.I.: Neuroscience and Its Philosophy
First Online: 24 September 2018

Pop article:

Can AI Neural Networks Help Explain How Humans Process Abstract Thought
Alex Bolano
3 weeks ago

One of the oldest questions in philosophy regards the source of human knowledge: Where does our knowledge come from? How do we gain knowledge about the world? How is that knowledge justified? Historically, answers to this question have fallen into two main philosophical traditions, rationalism and empiricism.

According to rationalists such as Plato or René Descartes, knowledge is innate and independent of experience. Rationalists believe that knowledge is gained through the rigorous application of logic, which is entirely independent of experience.


On the other hand, empiricists, such as John Locke or David Hume, argue that human knowledge begins primarily with experience. Empiricists in philosophy have often argued that complex abstract thought derives from sensory experience coupled with a psychological faculty of “abstraction.”

Rationalists, in turn, have criticized empiricist views for failing to adequately explain the nature of this psychological faculty of “abstraction”. Now, in a new paper published in the journal Synthese philosopher Cameron Buckner argues that the tools of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs) in current AI research finally gives empiricists the tools to provide a scientific account of how abstract thought is derived from sensory experience in humans.

In the paper, Buckner argues that the complex organization of DCNNs allow them to implement a form of hierarchical processing that he calls “transformational abstraction,”—the conversion of a sensory-based representation into higher order representations that are resistant to “nuisance variation.”

Such representations allow an AI to more accurately identify objects in their environment, even given a wide range of differences in input. Buckner argues that the computational architecture underlying DCNNs can be applied to human thought to explain how humans go from having sensory experiences of a particular object to having an abstract general concept of that object that can be used to identify different members of that object class.

In other words, Buckner’s work attempts to bridge the gap between modern work in AI and classical empiricist positions in the philosophy of mind to give a comprehensive empiricist account of how the human mind generates abstract concepts.

From Sensory Experience To Knowledge

Here is a thought experiment
Imagine (for experiment’s sake) that you have never seen or heard of a chair. One day you walk into a restaurant with your friend and you inquire what all the strangely shaped wooden objects on the ground are. They laugh and tell you those are chairs. Later, you and your friend go to a bar and you see the barstools. You ask again what those things are and your friend tells you they are a kind of chair. Eventually, after seeing a number of different kinds of chairs, you come to be able to independently recognize chairs in your environment, even given the different appearances of different kinds of chairs. Where and how, exactly, during this process did you go from having separate experiences of chairs to unifying them under a general abstract concept of “chair” that you can use to identify objects of future experiences?

This is the main question that Buckner’s work examines and he argues that recent advancements in AI neural networks can give the answer.

AI researchers have noticed that computers actually have a very difficult time recognizing everyday shapes and objects like triangles, chairs, and cats because they can be encountered with so many different variations in vantage point, color, and orientation. A chair does not look the same from every direction so how do you get an AI to unify those diverse perspectives under a single category “chair”? Modern AI researchers employ DCNNs to get around these problems.

A DCNN is a kind of connectionist neural network

#Connectionist neural networks describe mental phenomena as interconnected networks of simple uniform units. The general idea of connectionist networks is that mental states can be represented as numeric “activation” values across a network of simple units. Connectionist networks are popular in neural modeling as one can see the network as representing the brains neurons (individual units) and the synaptic connections between them (connections between the units).

DCNNs differ from other connectionist networks in that they incorporate different levels of processing the connections between the individual units in the network. They can do this because they are able to single out specific information in a given signal. DCNNs are able to take some pice of visual information fed to a computer and, via a computation called a convolution operation, can amplify the presence of certain features and minimize information related to other features. For example, a DCNN fed visual information from a cube might focus in on the corners of the cube and maximize the visual information that corresponds to that corner, while minimizing information related to the faces of the cube. A DCNN then takes different instances of this amplified information and feeds it into a “complex” unit, one that takes inputs from nearby simple units and aggregates them to detect those features across simple units. The result is that. over time, the network comes to be more able to reliably detect objects as the complex units extract more and more features from the amplified information fed into them from the simple units. DCNNs operating according to these principles have shown remarkable success in recognizing everyday objects like chairs and tables.

These AI techniques may sound impressive, but why should we think that they can be extended to explain aspects of actual human cognition? The connection lies in the finding that the mammalian cortex has two different kinds of cells that respond to sensory information. The human visual system has two kinds of receptor cells, simple and complex. Simple cells are the ones that take in the immediate visual information from light. Simple cells then feed this information into complex cells, which, in turn, modulate the firing of the simple cells via neurochemical inhibitory processes. Complex cells possess an invariant field of activation and inhibition, meaning that they will fire over a wider range of circumstances than simple cells. Essentially, this means that complex cells in the visual cortex will respond to general features under a varying range of presentations.

The general structure of these feedback mechanisms looks remarkably similar to the structure of a DCNN with its simple and complex units, and in fact, initial research into DCNNs was motivated by the discovery of these two types of cells in the mammalian visual cortex. Buckner argues that DCNN can be seen as representing the cognitive machinery that the human brain uses to generate general abstract concepts.

If correct, Bucnker’s work provides a profound insight into the nature of mammalian cognition. Buckner originally began his career as a computer scientists but his observation of the difference between early AI and how humans actually solve problems motivated his transition to philosophy. According to Buckner, DCNNs are unique “because they can acquire the kind of subtle, abstract, intuitive knowledge of the world that comes automatically to humans but has until now proven impossible to program into computers.” Modern AI is already able to perform some impressive tasks, but it seems that the Holy Grail of AI research is to create an intelligence that can faithfully recreate the kind of intelligence found in human beings.

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Empiricism without Magic: transformational abstraction in deep convolutional neural networks
Cameron Buckner

full paper>>

In artificial intelligence, recent research has demonstrated the remarkable potential of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs), which seem to exceed state-of-the-art performance in new domains weekly, especially on the sorts of very difficult perceptual discrimination tasks that skeptics thought would remain beyond the reach of artificial intelligence.

However, it has proven difficult to explain why DCNNs perform so well. In philosophy of mind, empiricists have long suggested that complex cognition is based on information derived from sensory experience, often appealing to a faculty of abstraction.

Rationalists have frequently complained, however, that empiricists never adequately explained how this faculty of abstraction actually works. In this paper, I tie these two questions together, to the mutual benefit of both disciplines. I argue that the architectural features that distinguish DCNNs from earlier neural networks allow them to implement a form of hierarchical processing that I call “transformational abstraction”.

Transformational abstraction iteratively converts sensory-based representations of category exemplars into new formats that are increasingly tolerant to “nuisance variation” in input.

Reflecting upon the way that DCNNs leverage a combination of linear and non-linear processing to efficiently accomplish this feat allows us to understand how the brain is capable of bi-directional travel between exemplars and abstractions, addressing longstanding problems in empiricist philosophy of mind.

I end by considering the prospects for future research on DCNNs, arguing that rather than simply implementing 80s connectionism with more brute-force computation, transformational abstraction counts as a qualitatively distinct form of processing ripe with philosophical and psychological significance, because it is significantly better suited to depict the generic mechanism responsible for this important kind of psychological processing in the brain.

Abstraction Connectionism Convolution Deep learning Empiricism Mechanism Nuisance variation
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#ArtificiaLIntelligence #NeuralNetworks. #PhilosophyOfMind

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Morality and the Separateness of Persons: Some Radical Possibilities
Think about yourself in 20 years time for a moment. Imagine the person you might become. How do you feel about this person? Do you feel some important, intimate connection with them? Do you think you have a right to prioritise the life of ‘future-you’ over ...

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Yet another theory of consciousness to explore, however, I'm rather excited to read the actual research (link provided) after reading this essay since it presents a new approach to think about.
"Recognising that brains are primarily energy processors is the first step to understanding how they support consciousness. The next is rethinking energy itself."
Please limit any comments to a discussion of this paper.

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From instinct to intelligence: has AI taken a wrong turning

"The Nobel Prize winning ethologist Konrad Lorenz was insistent that there is an inseparable gap, in concept and in evolution, between instinctive and learnt behaviours. Yet, computer scientists working on projects like Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant have often assumed that feeding more data into a simple system will eventually bridge the ‘Lorenzian gap’ and lead to an intelligent machine. Did Lorenz just not understand the power of computers? Or was he ahead of his time?"

#ai #instinct #machineintelligence
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