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Comment author: Benito 09 August 2014 12:19:06AM 4 points [-]

Generally, it slips under your radar; it's not really relevant, it doesn't change anything. I think noticing it is just as a result of a) being very reflective and b) being in a music school where every practice room has a mirror in. Your encouraged to observe yourself play, to see it from other angles. It's just like realising you're walking somewhere without really exerting any conscious effort, except you're doing something more specialised. No, I don't think it's generally why people become musicians. That's more to do with the music itself, normally. And I didn't quite understand your last sentence.

Comment author: MaoShan 09 August 2014 05:47:32PM 1 point [-]

I was kind of going off on a speculative tangent on that last sentence. I was wondering if that feeling was somehow reward-system related, and would fuel a musician's drive to excel. Like they try to play better and better to achieve that euphoria which only comes on when they do better than they ever have, with diminishing (dopamine?) returns, but, as a side-effect, increasing their practical talent to ever higher levels. So the musical prodigy over time becomes motivated more by the tangible rewards (fame, increased income), which will never compare to the feelings that made him choose that path in the first place. It would apply to many careers if it was a valid theory.

Comment author: Benito 05 August 2014 09:59:14PM *  14 points [-]

This isn't a very concrete comment, I'll just point out some connections I'm seeing with a few dual-process theories of mind. For instance, a la Robin Hanson, the actions that we take / signals that we give in near mode are especially telling to those around us, and his theory of identity is that we want to give off a set of reliable signals (so as to be trustworthy), and so it makes sense that there are various coherent personalities that we can run. Also, Joshua Greene makes the case for a dual-system theory of ethical decision making, that our inflexible yet highly efficient System 1 comes up with intuitions that let us run our every day lives, and our considered, yet highly inefficient System 2 comes up with our reflective, utilitarian judgements, and can allow us to overrule our intuitions sometimes. Your identity/role, in near mode, seems to tell your System 1 what to be thinking, and your System 2 can change what identity/role you're running at a given time.

I used to love Rock Band. One day when playing a particularly difficult guitar solo on expert I nailed 100%… except “I” didn’t do it at all. My eyes saw the notes, my hands executed them, and no where was I involved in the process. It was both exhilarating and creepy, and I basically dropped the game soon after.

One man's modus ponens...

See, I used to notice this in my guitar playing.

Now I'm a classically-trained concert musician.

I find it quite inteesting to watch my fingers do things that I don't feel I'm controlling. It's interesting if I notice I'm making a mistake, I can even shift my hand position to allow a better reach, without making a conscious decision to do so.

Comment author: MaoShan 08 August 2014 10:22:27PM 3 points [-]

I also had that same experience on the higher levels of Rock Band. I am not talented with any real-life musical instruments, but you say you feel that with guitar; for you personally, is that an episodic thing, or does that consistently happen when playing serious guitar? Is that something that most musicians know about, because it was exquisitely bizarre--is that the secret allure of musicians? Or does one build up a tolerance that drives one toward excellence in the hopes of catching the "high of accomplishment"?

Comment author: Strange7 29 July 2014 12:02:50AM 3 points [-]

If I know how many grains of sand there are, their relative positions, and have a statistical profile of their individual sizes and shapes, I no longer need to know whether it counts as a "heap" or not. If I know an object's thermal mass, conductivity, and how many degrees it is above absolute zero, I don't need to know whether it's "warm" or "cold."

The term "consciousness" is a pointer to something important, but lacks precision. My understanding was that we were trying to come up with a more precise, quantifiable pointer to the same underlying important thing.

Comment author: MaoShan 29 July 2014 09:04:13PM 1 point [-]

What is it that makes consciousness, or the thing that it points to (if such a thing is not ephemeral), important? You already said that knowing the exact quantities negates the need for categorization.

Comment author: Strange7 28 July 2014 04:52:07AM 2 points [-]

Adding tungsten, or any heavy element, increases the star's density, thereby marginally shortening the star's lifespan. It's only "not disruptive to the star's homeostasis" in the sense that the star lacks any sort of homeostasis with regard to it's chemical composition. You are firing armor-piercing bullets into an enormous compost heap, and calling it a composite-laminate reinforced bunker just because they don't come out the other side.

I say again, it's not about the equilibrium being hard to disturb, it's about there being a subsystem which actively corrects and/or prevents such disturbances. Yes, a star scores above a brick on this scale, as do many other inanimate objects, automated industrial processes, and extremely simple lifeforms which nonetheless fall well below any commonsensical threshold of consciousness.

Comment author: MaoShan 28 July 2014 08:55:42PM 1 point [-]

Well, now it sounds like you found a useful definition of life; at what point on this spectrum, then, would you consider something conscious? Since it's processes you are looking for, there is probably a process that, without which, you could clearly classify as un-conscious.

Comment author: Strange7 27 July 2014 07:46:28PM 2 points [-]

A stellar-mass body isn't any more conscious than a water droplet or a pendulum under this theory. (Admittedly, that's more than zero, but still below the threshold of independent moral significance.) Kinematics keep them in a stable equilibrium, but there's no mechanism for maintaining a consistent chemical composition, or proactively seeking to avoid things that haven't disrupted the body but might soon. Drop some tungsten into a star, and it'll be a star with some tungsten in it until nuclear physics says otherwise. Feed tungsten to a mammal, you get some neurological symptoms until most of the excess metal is expelled via the kidneys over the next few days.

It's not about the magnitude of possible disruption which can be absorbed on any one axis, or even really the precision with which that variable is controlled, but the number of different axes along which optimization occurs.

Comment author: MaoShan 27 July 2014 11:13:29PM 1 point [-]

It seems to me, though, that there are quite a few axes on which it would be hard to disturb a star's equilibrium. That still keeps it included in your definition. Also, since tungsten is not disruptive to the star's homeostasis, it has no reason to expel it. I appreciate your rational answers, because I'm actually helping you steel-man your theory, it only looks like I'm being a dork.

Comment author: Strange7 17 July 2014 08:42:40PM 2 points [-]

There seems to be a correlation between systems being described as "conscious" and those same systems having internal resources devoted to maintaining homeostasis along multiple axes.

Most people would say a brick is not conscious. Placed in a hotter or colder environment, it soon becomes the same temperature as that environment. Swung at something sharp and heavy it won't try to flee, the broken surface won't scab over, the chipped-off piece won't regrow. Splashed with paint, it won't try to groom itself. A tree is considered more conscious than a brick, but less so than an orangutan, and sure enough a tree exhibits some but not all of those equilibrium-maintaining behaviors.

Under that theory, consciousness is correlated with moral worth because consciousness is expensive in itself, and implies the presence of something valuable enough to justify that expense.

Comment author: MaoShan 25 July 2014 02:38:22AM 1 point [-]

I agree with your correlation, but I think your definition would make stars and black holes apex predators.

Comment author: vallinder 02 May 2013 08:05:20AM 11 points [-]

There's a Swedish word for this, "problemformuleringsprivilegiet," which roughly translates as "the privilege to formulate the problem."

Comment author: MaoShan 10 May 2013 03:22:01AM 7 points [-]

Which is basically the same phrase, but without spaces between words.

Comment author: PrawnOfFate 20 April 2013 11:17:14AM *  -1 points [-]

Uh-huh. So "meaningless" means "very false". Although there are physically based models of Free WIll

Comment author: MaoShan 21 April 2013 03:01:09AM *  0 points [-]

I take it that you're nitpicking my grammar because you disagree with my views.

As for what topic I am talking about, it is this: In the most practical sense, what you did yesterday has already happened. What will you do five minutes from now? Let's call it Z.. Yes, as a human agent the body and brain running the program you call yourself is the one who appears to make those decisions five minutes from now, but six minutes from now Z has already happened. In this practical universe there is only one Z, and you can imagine all you like that Z could have been otherwise, but six minutes from now, IT WASN'T OTHERWISE. There may be queeftillions of other universes where a probability bubble in one of your neurons flipped a different way, but those make absolutely no practical difference in your own life. You're not enslaved to physics, you still made the decisions you made, you're still accountable according to all historical models of accountability (except for some obscure example you're about to look up on Wikipedia just to prove me wrong), and you still have no way of knowing the exact outcomes of your decisions, so you've got to do the best you can on limited resources, just like the rest of us. "Free Will" is just a place-holder until we can replace that concept with "actual understanding", and I'm okay with that. I understand that the concept of free-will gives you comfort and meaning in your life, but "I have no need of that hypothesis."

Comment author: PrawnOfFate 19 April 2013 03:50:32PM 0 points [-]

I think that any sufficiently detailed understanding of physics renders the existence of person-level free will meaningless.

Some people think physics renders FW non-existent, some think it doesn't. Most of them provide a definition of FW so that you can see how the conclusion is drawn. But you said that physics renders FW meaningless. How does that even work? I read a dfictionary definition, the meaning of the word is not in my mind, .... then someone in a lab makes a discovery, and the meaning disappears.

Comment author: MaoShan 20 April 2013 03:00:19AM 0 points [-]

I will answer your question, but I do not understand your last statement; it looks like you retyped it several times and left all the old parts in.

I meant that with a sufficiently detailed understanding of physics, it would be meaningless to even posit the existence of (strong) free will. By meaningless here I mean a pointless waste of one's time. I was willing to clarify, but deep down I suspect that you already knew that.

Comment author: roystgnr 08 April 2013 06:10:33PM 6 points [-]

On the meta-level, I'm not sure "quickness beats persistence" is a helpful lesson to teach. At the scale of things many LessWrongers would hope to help accomplish, both qualities are prerequisites, and it would be a mistake to believe that you don't have to worry about the latter just because you're one of the millions of people who are 99.9th percentile at the former.

On the base level, a non-bullshit version of this fable would look more like "There once was a hare being passed by a tortoise. Neither of them could talk. The end."

Comment author: MaoShan 10 April 2013 03:32:51AM 5 points [-]

Now that you mention it, a fable, by definition, requires bullshit.

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