When Life Became Sentient

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This topic contains 112 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #11244

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    But not dishonest information?

    You could say that dishonest information is not reasonable in that it doesn’t make sense.  It’s not “reason” or “sense”.  However, reasoning is involved in tricking somebody, as is Theory of Mind.  The person doing the tricking has to make sense to themselves, and has to know the “goals and perceptions” of the sucker.

    #11245

    Thanks for the reminder Clearsky. I think it should be a mandatory subject in schools. We need to be able to reason and spot fallacies in order to be able to challenge ideas and debate properly. It only costs the effort we put into it but it is a very worthwhile endeavor.

    #11246

    Clearsky
    Participant

    @simonpayton,

    I’ve been reading your comments, and looking up stuff on the web. How does the MSR test lead to empathy? And then to altruism? How do you understand the reasoning? any suggestion for good material?

    #11248

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    How does the MSR test lead to empathy?

    I actually don’t know.  It’s a co-emergence hypothesis, not a causing-hypothesis.  It’s just that Frans de Waal seemed to spot this pattern.

    Perhaps it doesn’t lead to altruism, but it is an indication that a species has Theory of Mind.  Theory of Mind is then a tool used by altruistic species to aid their altruism.  In a cleaner fish it’s a tool used to aid not getting eaten by the big fish, and in a magpie it’s a tool used to outwit those it is stealing from.  In a chimpanzee, with their Macchiavellian intelligence, it is used to outsmart the competition as well as for occasional altruism.

    #11250

    Clearsky
    Participant

    OK Simon,

    Thanks for your honest reply, when you do eventually find out let us know!

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Clearsky. Reason: Spelling errors
    #11252

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    when you do eventually find out let us know!

    The question is really “why is a species altruistic?”  I think de Waal’s emphasis on the link between Mirror-Self-Recognition and targeted helping is misplaced.  I think the link is more like MSR-Theory of Mind and Theory of Mind-targeted helping.

    #11254

    Unseen
    Participant

    What would the difference be between another person being sentient and simply being a dazzlingly good simulation of sentience? A sort of human Turing experiment. One interpretation of the Turing test would be that a successful Turing Machine demonstrated that an acceptable simulation of a human respondent had been accomplished, no inner life required.

    #11258

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    The question is really “why is a species altruistic?”

    This whole issue of motivations is very interesting and illuminating, and I need to update my web page on targeted helping to take account of it.  As with targeted helping in general, it ties in with empathy.  Each species has its own circumstances, but there are common factors, such as in social group-living species, taking care of the sick and disabled individuals.  There is an idea called group augmentation which means that each group member is valuable for a number of reasons, each of which adds up to a grand value of why they are needed, and if animals and birds behave by instinct rather than reason, it’s not surprising that they would take care of the sick.  Probably, this habit varies by species.  It would be interesting to know how altruistic the notoriously spiteful baboon is.  Pelicans and crows have been observed to take care of disabled individuals.

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