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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 11:52AM

Henry Beamis.

Just some thoughts on the discussion, each time i come back the thread is long gone so here we go.

If creativity is task that is not performed within the human body then the following questions would come to mind:

1. If not within the Body, where is it performed?

2. Information Availability - If, if we are accessing some external information source then why is it, the creative information that results is never more creative than simply a reassembly of existing available information. For example 2 + 2 = 4. The solution to the question is something that can be concluded from the available parts.

To clarify here - the history of humanity shows a progression that supports this associative or combinationalist view. To echo that great Theologian Josephs Myth, Line upon line, precept upon precept.

We see the gradual building of ideas and information rested upon the shoulders of those things that went before it. As i argued before, there is no creativity of things based on things that do not exist and are not available for current consideration - i.e. a blue horse, or a tree with a sharks head.

To further support this - If we were tapping into an external data source or creative source, why don't we see anachronisms? For example, a cave man 20,000 years ago is sitting in his cave and turns and asks his wife, "I've been contemplating whether 2 wheel drive is more efficient than 4 - and this idea came to me about using Satellites to send data to earth"

In this example, i'm point out the obvious question that asks; if we can tap into some external information source then why does it only appear to release information in a manner consistent with the combinationalist view of the world?

In closing. The reason i reject the idea of an external data source for creative ideas or an external creative machine for doing the thinking, is because it goes against Ockham. It adds complexity where it isn't yet required. It seeks to appeal to ideas which cannot be tested. It ignores that not all avenues of research in the more probably areas have been examined.

Whether locating the creative engine (which does the thinking and ships it to us) or a creative data source (a vast library of all ideas which can be shipped to us), neither seems a reasonable explanation.

So before we even get into authors who may posit such theories, isn't it wise to first show that such a concept is even reasonable or logically consistent?

Finally, since we're still researching the Brain, to conclude a creative function (which i maintain is purely processing data and managing to model rules in a manner very similar to a computer application) an appeal to an outside source seem premature don't you think?

This seems akin to me being a deep sea diver and daily finding chewed fish in the deep ocean with teeth marks inconsistent with any known predator and then concluding because i've never seen this predator in the sea it must therefore be a space alien beaming it's fish waste into the pacific - surely there is far more room for additional research before any appeal to an external body is necessary?

Just some thoughts.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 01:01PM

lilburne Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This seems akin to me being a deep sea diver and
> daily finding chewed fish in the deep ocean with
> teeth marks inconsistent with any known predator
> and then concluding because i've never seen this
> predator in the sea it must therefore be a space
> alien beaming it's fish waste into the pacific -
> surely there is far more room for additional
> research before any appeal to an external body is
> necessary?

:)
Brilliant analogy!

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Posted by: MarkJ ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 01:25PM

(If I have understood correctly the direction of the original post...)

It has been long thought that mathematics is a human invention, like language, that we use to describe the world around us. Increasingly, however, more physicists and mathematicians are suggesting that math is actually the reality, and what we see are its manifestations in what we call objective reality. We don't see the math on the surface, just as we are unaware of the incredible amount of calculations the brain is doing when we do something such as catch a ball. Nevertheless, the calculations are being done.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/great-math-mystery.

Humans are one example of the existence of intelligence in the universe. Once a species becomes self-aware and capable of shaping its environment with intent, there is arguably no limit to the level intelligence could be raised. We may be on the verge of self-aware Artificial Intelligence, which could require a complete reevaluation of the destiny of humanity.

If the universe is a mathematical construct and if an intelligence could be capable of creating another such structure, then a source for information outside the parameters of human perception would seem possible, at least.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 01:42PM

MarkJ Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If the universe is a mathematical construct and if
> an intelligence could be capable of creating
> another such structure, then a source for
> information outside the parameters of human
> perception would seem possible, at least.

Lots of "ifs" :)

Here's the thing, though:
A "source for information outside the parameters of human perception" is already possible. By default. Since such a thing has not been conclusively shown IMPOSSIBLE, it's possible. The "ifs" above don't make it any more possible. Or more plausible. Or more likely.

What would make it plausible or likely would be evidence to show there IS such a thing.
And we don't have any such evidence.

So, sure -- speculate. There might be such a thing. Maybe let your speculation lead you to ways we could get evidence of such a thing, if it's real. But until we have such evidence, there's no reason to assume it's anything more than "possible," and it's certainly not plausible or likely.

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Posted by: MarkJ ( )
Date: November 18, 2017 10:13AM

That is the point I was trying to make. In attempting to plumb immeasurable depths, everything is speculative. It can be rational, reasonable, logical, but still fundamentally speculative.

What else can you expect of two-dimensional creatures living in a three-dimensional world? (Metaphorically speaking.)

That's why I found the perspective of the mathematicians interesting. They speak not of inventing or creating mathematical structures, but of discovering something that already existed. This is why I am interested in non-linear systems - there is order wrapped in the chaos.

Or building from Carl Sagan's statement that, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself,” we have quantum ties to the universe that exceed the scope of our instrumentation.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 18, 2017 01:51PM

"It has been long thought that mathematics is a human invention, like language, that we use to describe the world around us. Increasingly, however, more physicists and mathematicians are suggesting that math is actually the reality, and what we see are its manifestations in what we call objective reality."

COMMENT: The "realist" view of mathematics, as you describe here, does not imply that mathematics replaces the physical world as what is real. Rather, mathematics on this view is separately fundamental from physical reality over and above the human minds that discover it. Most mathematicians are realists in this sense. Roger Penrose is one such mathematical realist (and theoretical physicist). Note also, that he views mind as also a separate real existence from physical reality. In other words, he is a realist in both mathematics and mind.

Given Quantum Mechanics, and in particular the Schrodinger wave function, which is, of course, mathematical and not physical, there is a suggestion that if the universe is in a constantly fluctuating superposition, in essence it must be all mathematics. But this flies in the face of all of physics proper, including particle physics where "matter" really does appear from the quantum fields.

______________________________________________

"We don't see the math on the surface, just as we are unaware of the incredible amount of calculations the brain is doing when we do something such as catch a ball. Nevertheless, the calculations are being done."

COMMENT: Yes, that is the basic point. As long as the brain is viewed as a mechanical, computational machine, it is either running algorithms based upon some programmed process (presumably programmed by evolution), and/or is simply a dynamical biological machine. In either case its functioning is deterministic. Creativity, on the other hand, by definition implies something that transcends such computational and deterministic processes because you have a "creator" that is instantiating change, or manipulating causal processes in the act of creating something new.
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"Humans are one example of the existence of intelligence in the universe. Once a species becomes self-aware and capable of shaping its environment with intent, there is arguably no limit to the level intelligence could be raised. We may be on the verge of self-aware Artificial Intelligence, which could require a complete reevaluation of the destiny of humanity."

COMMENT: First, the idea of "shaping its environment with intent" suggests a conscious being with the power to exercise its intentions; i.e. freewill. Intelligence in the sense of information (not necessarily human) is limited to the a couple of things; first, the amount of data that is available to the intelligent system; and second, the speed in which the data can be processed. Physics puts limits on both, so I do not think that the idea of infinite knowledge is viable. AI has the theoretical potential (at least in principle) to maximize both its data and speed, whereas humans are limited by their biology. Whether AI can be "self-aware" is another question. So far, there is no evidence that complex computation alone can create consciousness, much less self-awareness. Most people believe that both are biological phenomenon related to the physical properties of the brain, rather than its computational properties.
_______________________________________________

If the universe is a mathematical construct and if an intelligence could be capable of creating another such structure, then a source for information outside the parameters of human perception would seem possible, at least.

COMMENT: First, the universe is not a mathematical construct, if you mean that the physical aspects of reality are only just mathematics. Moreover, not everything in the universe is computational; i.e. the universe is NOT a computer, because there is no "program" or that it runs, and thus no teleological purpose. (unless you believe in God as the programmer!)

Regarding creativity, you have to eliminate computation (mathematics) as a source of the creative act, regardless of where that source comes from. A human being in the act of creation; Mozart say, that is deriving his "inspiration" from some "outside mathematical source" is equally involved in deterministic processes as he or she would be if the source was just the brain. My argument (or suggestion) is that human beings transcend such deterministic processes by their consciousness, mind, and freewill. So, in the creative act, they are engaged in something uniquely personal and subjective that may be described by mathematics at the end of the day (e.g. Einstein's equations) but where mathematics and computation were not part of the "inspiration" of the creative act.

Thanks for your comments. Sorry I was a bit late in getting to them.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 16, 2017 10:10PM

Top

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 04:35AM

Hi MarkJ,

It is possible. There are many possible avenues that things could go down in terms of discoveries. But is it more likely at this point in time?

When Henry presented this idea, my initial thinking was skepticism based on Ockham and on the history of human discovery.

It is possible that we are a world within a world, a brain in a vat, a computer simulation, a 2D world projecting itself as 3D in our minds. There are many many possibilities i agree. But whilst they may remain possibilities and great to think about and fuel the imagination, what is, is what we define as true.

As noted, IMO Henry's idea is met in the first instance by Ockham. In the second by the observation of the 'rules' of creativity in that we see no evidence of anachronisms (imagine walking into a vast library with books on every subject, you can access any book you like so why take only the answer to the question you face right now, why not take answers to all kinds of cool things) which is why examples like Mozart and Einstein show nothing more to me than combinationalism. It is what Einstein didn't or couldn't explain, and what Mozart didn't produce that makes me feel that the idea of an external source of information is unlikely, because like the idea of God, it then creates a thread which becomes increasingly complex to explain - all of the rules that must be in operation for it to work, which then implies some form of agent controlling it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/17/2017 04:36AM by lilburne.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 12:19PM

Hi Lilburne:

Thank you for these additional comments; and particularly for your consistently respectful tone and demeanor, which I try hard to emulate, not always successfully.

Here are my comments in response:

"If creativity is task that is not performed within the human body then the following questions would come to mind:

1. If not within the Body, where is it performed?

COMMENT: Well, let's first restrict the inquiry to the human brain, and not "the human body." As I have argued, human creativity does not, and cannot, come about through the computational processes of the brain alone. Again, this is because such processes are mechanistic by definition (Computation is mechanistic), and being mechanistic they are also deterministic. Thus, every result of such processes can be explained in principle by an appeal to cause and affect relationships in the brain, however complex. But, again, deterministic processes are by definition NOT creative processes. So, you either have to explain human creativity, or deny it.

So, then, as you ask, where does the creative act come from? That is a metaphysical question, at least at the moment, because it cannot be explained by an appeal to rote, physical and mechanical processes. Certainly, both environmental influences, and brain states and processes play a significant role in the creative process by providing data. But the creative act is transcendent of such processes. That is not to say "supernatural" but only to claim that something important and fundamental is left out of the equation.
______________________________________

"2. Information Availability - If, if we are accessing some external information source then why is it, the creative information that results is never more creative than simply a reassembly of existing available information. For example 2 + 2 = 4. The solution to the question is something that can be concluded from the available parts."

COMMENT: First, the creative act is a human act, and in my view is not dependent upon an external source, for example revelation. If it were then human creativity would be an illusion because the creative act would be dictated by the external source; for example God. That would not elevate humans beings; but on the contrary make their creativity subservient to some other being.

Second, I will repeat myself again by saying that the combination of neural representations in the brain cannot explain human creativity. Margaret Boden affirms this repeatedly, and I do not believe this is controversial. Even in your simplistic example, the concept of "2" and the concept of "+" and the concept of "4" assuming all such concepts are represented in the brain, does not give you the concept of "2+2=4" That result takes a further mental step and puts the individual concepts together into a logical whole. The brain can compute that only if it has been programmed to do so, i.e. by some learning mechanism.

Mathematical creativity often involves new concepts and new combinations that are not previously lodged in the brain, and must be learned, e.g. from a teacher. Take the mathematical concepts of imaginary numbers, symmetry groups, or quantum algebra, or even simple calculus. All of this involved new ways of thinking about numbers and their application to physical reality. The preexisting concepts that served as the foundation of these, and numerous other mathematical developments, do not "automatically" or randomly come together to create the complex mathematical insights that occur. This is exactly why most mathematicians are realists, believing that mathematics is "discovered" rather than created. But if this is correct, it is NOT discovered in the brain, it is discovered in some "platonic reality" that is not understood.
______________________________________________

"To clarify here - the history of humanity shows a progression that supports this associative or combinationalist view. To echo that great Theologian Josephs Myth, Line upon line, precept upon precept."

COMMENT: But it doesn't show this at all. What history shows is that humans take the data that they have and with their creative prowess generate new paradigms that go beyond such data. Einstein, for example, did not get to special relativity simply by computing Newtonian and Maxwellian equations. He had to "think outside of this box" to generate new concepts and a new understanding, called "space-time," that was fundamentally different from what had been imaged before. In short, it took creative insight. This is easily demonstrated by a thought experiment. Imagine that we take all the knowledge of physics and mathematics that was known to Einstein in 1905; all of the data, and plug all of this data into a computer, and ask the computer to generate the equations of special relativity (or general relativity for that matter). Could it do so without "programming" Einstein's insights into the computer? Obviously not. That shows, in my view, that Einstein's creative imagination was a necessary part of these theories, which cannot be explained merely by an appeal to computational brain processes.
_______________________________________________

"We see the gradual building of ideas and information rested upon the shoulders of those things that went before it. As i argued before, there is no creativity of things based on things that do not exist and are not available for current consideration - i.e. a blue horse, or a tree with a sharks head."

COMMENT: You are engaged in what is sometimes called the mereological fallacy, which ascribes properties of a whole to its parts, and you support this fallacy by simplistic examples. Take a Mozart symphony, which is merely "a bunch of musical notes," each of which was individually in Mozart's brain prior to composing the symphony in question. Do all of these notes, taking each one separately, explain the symphony? Of course not. The symphony required more, it required a creative act that put all of the notes together into a specific organized whole, which whole was NOT in Mozart's brain prior to composing the symphony. I do not know how this could be any clearer.
_____________________________________________

"To further support this - If we were tapping into an external data source or creative source, why don't we see anachronisms? For example, a cave man 20,000 years ago is sitting in his cave and turns and asks his wife, "I've been contemplating whether 2 wheel drive is more efficient than 4 - and this idea came to me about using Satellites to send data to earth"

COMMENT: Again, I do not claim that there is any "tapping into an external source." Moreover, creative acts *do* depend upon existing data in the brain; Mozart needed to know the notes, and the music theory associated with them. Einstein needed to know the data and physical theories that preexisted his creative insights.
_______________________________________

"In this example, i'm point out the obvious question that asks; if we can tap into some external information source then why does it only appear to release information in a manner consistent with the combinationalist view of the world?"

COMMENT: Again, simply because the creative act requires data to work with. The real question here is, if no creative act is required, why do we need geniuses like Einstein and Mozart. Why don't great symphonies and new and "creative" ideas just "fall out" of the data from any ole person's brain? After all, we could just plug all the data into any ole brain through learning, and just wait for the creative ideas to fall out rather naturally and randomly.
_________________________________________

In closing. The reason i reject the idea of an external data source for creative ideas or an external creative machine for doing the thinking, is because it goes against Ockham. It adds complexity where it isn't yet required. It seeks to appeal to ideas which cannot be tested. It ignores that not all avenues of research in the more probably areas have been examined.

COMMENT: That is an extremely poor reason. First, Ockham's razor is NOT a physical theory, much less and established one. Much of reality is complex and defies such a notion. Moreover, in the present case, a further explanation of creativity *does* seem to be required; after a great deal of thought and research into the problem of creativity as viewed from classic neurological and computational terms.

What you, and many others, do is simply ignore or deny the problem, and assume that eventually science will explain it, and everything else, without providing any way in principal that might be done. Note also, that in the history of science there have been many "ridiculous" place holders that turned out to be correct. (And, of course, many false) When science looks at a problem and sees that something more is needed, it postulates that something more, and then tries to confirm it, often with no initial idea as to how such confirmation might occur. For example, when Paul Dirac was exploring the internal workings of the atom, he realized that a "positron" was necessary as a compliment to the electron, with an opposite charge and spin. His colleagues universally scoffed at such a proposition, simply because science had "seen" electrons in abundance, but no positrons. Later, of course, positrons were discovered in cosmic rays by Carl Anderson (as I recall), and since then they have turned particle physics on its head. So, sometimes we need to think "creatively" outside of the box, and when necessary acknowledge that we do not know everything; and that reality is not a slave to our current materialistic paradigms.

In the present discussion, I attribute human creativity to something unique and special about human beings (note outside sources). I believe that such creativity is tied to consciousness, and human freewill. What metaphysical principals are involved I do not know. However, I leave open the possibility that maybe someone will discovery a "positron" that explains human consciousness, freewill and creativity; including where it comes from and how it relates to classical, computational brain function. In the meantime, however, I will not succumb to the illusion that it is all just the brain, when it is clear that the brain's mechanistic processes in principal cannot explain it.
_________________________________________

This seems akin to me being a deep sea diver and daily finding chewed fish in the deep ocean with teeth marks inconsistent with any known predator and then concluding because i've never seen this predator in the sea it must therefore be a space alien beaming it's fish waste into the pacific - surely there is far more room for additional research before any appeal to an external body is necessary?

COMMENT: Ridiculous nonsense. A better analogy is as follows:
You go deep sea diving and you encounter fish in the deep ocean that look like any other fish. However, you discover that one "school" of fish clearly appear to be communicating with each other through symbolic gestures with their fins. However, knowing something about fish neuroanatomy, you realize that this is impossible. So, you surface and tell your colleagues; "Nothing important down there, it is just a bunch of fish swimming about randomly." In short, you allow your narrow scientific paradigm to dictate what is possible, rather than your actual experiences.

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 03:16PM

Hi Henry,

There are some parts of your response that concern me:

1. "But, again, deterministic processes are by definition NOT creative processes. So, you either have to explain human creativity, or deny it."

2. "where does the creative act come from? That is a metaphysical question, at least at the moment, because it cannot be explained by an appeal to rote, physical and mechanical processes. Certainly, both environmental influences, and brain states and processes play a significant role in the creative process by providing data. But the creative act is transcendent of such processes. That is not to say "supernatural" but only to claim that something important and fundamental is left out of the equation."

3. "ven in your simplistic example, the concept of "2" and the concept of "+" and the concept of "4" assuming all such concepts are represented in the brain, does not give you the concept of "2+2=4" That result takes a further mental step and puts the individual concepts together into a logical whole. The brain can compute that only if it has been programmed to do so, i.e. by some learning mechanism."

4. "You are engaged in what is sometimes called the mereological fallacy, which ascribes properties of a whole to its parts, and you support this fallacy by simplistic examples. Take a Mozart symphony, which is merely "a bunch of musical notes," each of which was individually in Mozart's brain prior to composing the symphony in question. Do all of these notes, taking each one separately, explain the symphony? Of course not. The symphony required more, it required a creative act that put all of the notes together into a specific organized whole, which whole was NOT in Mozart's brain prior to composing the symphony. I do not know how this could be any clearer."


I'll just take these for now.

I argue that the 'creative' act happens in the brain. Yes i argue for a form of combinationalism, a projection akin to the human ability to visualise 3 dimensional outcomes.


Further, i note you consistently argue as if there is no proof or scientific evidence that creativity is a brain function:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201309/the-right-brain-is-not-the-only-source-creativity

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703539/

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/05/researchers-tie-unexpected-brain-structures-to-creativity.html

But i only had to do a little reading on the matter to find articles based on Neuro-scientific research that offered a completely different view.

You've fallen back on Mozart and Einstein a number of times. I believe you are over complicating 'creativity' and making it more than it really is.

Picture a bolt and a nut. You hand them to a child. The child views the parts. We can see that children of different ages go from seeing two metal items to seeing two metal items that can be put together. A form of problem solving, performed in the mind using 3D projection and confirmed by testing if the two parts fit because of similar but not identical patterns (one being the reverse of the other).

Here we have a very simple example of a young human able to recognise patterns in shapes. We also do it with sounds and vibrations.

Sometimes we discover things by accident - the sheer randomness of trial revealing things fit in a way we hadn't considered. But we also discover things through conscious effort.

In conscious effort we are looking at the parts, the nut and the bolt and putting them together in our minds.

This is the extreme end of an evolutionary process. Man on the savannah hears a sound in the brush, his mind conjures up an array of images that are known to him but also the unknown, his body responds by either explaining it as the wind, or by going in to fight or flight mode. He's not seen anything yet, but he is able to determine risk response much of which is a fear driven response based on imagination. Human empathy demands we are able to project ourselves into a circumstance that hasn't happened to us personally.

So we have an evolutionary argument from the origin of the contributing mechanisms that underlie parts of the creative function. We recognise it can drive fight, flight, (the fear functions) but equally problem solving for pleasure (food, sex, warmth etc). We see nest building across a host of species in which materials are collected and organised in a way that produces warmth and comfort.

So to the more complex end of the spectrum.

Einstein himself attributed much of his success to his imagination. His ability to project thoughts onto the canvas of his mind and see where they took him. Many were likely wrong and we never heard of them. Others had traction and shaped his thinking.

We know from his own account about the idea of riding on a light beam. He has combined the idea of a beam of light and sitting on it like riding a horse. Projecting this into his mind which then generates questions. Questions he thinks about and does the math on. That process of thought refining the ideas to kick some out and keep some in.

Mozart - let me handle mozart by looking at wood carving. A child picks up a whittle knife and carves a piece of wood. What results is pretty basic if anything at all. Yet a master carver over years of practice has refined his skill with the knife so that he can see the outcome in the untouched piece of wood. He pictures the end piece in the wood as a 3D image in the mind. He then carves the wood to find the image inside it (this is how some master masons described carving stone - seeing the image in the stone).


Mozart knows the notes. He knows the rules of musical sound. In effect these are his tools, his carving instruments. He can see the using these the piece he is working towards, his brain shaping it for him within the rules, which is why his music follows a structured format, the movement of notes up and down over time.

Mozart's father was a musician. He taught Mozart from a young age in a very intense way. We've seen Japanese test data showing children trained like this become 'pitch perfect' in 100% of healthy cases within 18 months.

So they are being taught how to use the whittling knife.

We have the tools in our brain. These are evolutionary gifts. The way we can develop an image in the minds eye - the most simple image - for example a white circle. Now layer is with stripes. Add to the stripes the image of musical notes. Add background music, do any of this making it more and more complex. This is 'creativity'.

Now, in a world where our ideas of symmetry, colour coding, audio fit and crescendo are all given to us by our environment, doesn't it seem more reasonable that these things are combinationalist?

I don't need to argue that they are produced elsewhere, as the scanning data, dated from brain injuries, and even reason first points to the human brain.

I'll pause here, but you'll need to do more than simply say, 'no it isn't' or 'Mozart is too complex' you'll need to explain why it isn't and why it is too complex and why simplicity is ok but complexity on the same spectrum isn't ok for the brain.

I believe the onus rests with you Henry - and simply saying the Brain is computational attempts to make the brain a meat abbacus when it is much more refined with all kinds of 3d visualisation and auditory tools.

Thanks for engaging.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 06:47PM

COMMENT: The cited articles, especially the middle one, demonstrate "shots in the dark," and some very general and minor successes, as attempts to come to grips with creative thinking that is acknowledged by ALL to be a difficult neuroscientific problem. Some are interesting and certainly demonstrate some degree of brain correlations in such processes. However, not a single one provides any kind of definitive theoretic framework that explains creative thinking in the sense I have discussed it here, or that Boden has discussed it. In essence, they acknowledge that it is a problem, and then seek to identify possible solutions. That's fine, but let's not confuse this Herculean effort with an actual scientific explanation.
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"But i only had to do a little reading on the matter to find articles based on Neuro-scientific research that offered a completely different view."

COMMENT: What did you expect? This is a problem that has attracted neuroscientists for decades. And surprise, surprise, they all think that it can "eventually" be explained by brain function alone--but none of them can ever do it! They all have pet theories, and research projects, that result in peer reviewed articles. I would never deny that. But, as Boden stated, there still is no neuroscientific explanation for the various aspects, and scope, of human creativity.
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You've fallen back on Mozart and Einstein a number of times. I believe you are over complicating 'creativity' and making it more than it really is.

COMMENT: Excuse me? I thought a Mozart symphony *was* complicated; and Einstein's theories *were* complicated. If it is so simple, why don't we see more of this from us ordinary folks? It is the complexity of creativity that demands explanation, not your simplistic examples.
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Picture a bolt and a nut. You hand them to a child. The child views the parts. We can see that children of different ages go from seeing two metal items to seeing two metal items that can be put together. A form of problem solving, performed in the mind using 3D projection and confirmed by testing if the two parts fit because of similar but not identical patterns (one being the reverse of the other).

COMMENT: I did not deny "pattern recognition" in a computational brain. Moreover, I did not deny pattern recognition as a problem solving mechanism of the brain. The problem is that neither pattern recognition, nor its associated problem solving capabilities equate to creativity in all its complex forms.
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"Sometimes we discover things by accident - the sheer randomness of trial revealing things fit in a way we hadn't considered. But we also discover things through conscious effort."

COMMENT: The Mozart symphony was obviously not a random accident! Mozart--that conscious human agent genius making real decisions about the placement of notes on a page and the uses of instrumentation, and so on, had something to do with it. We cannot say, Mozart was not the genius, it was the his brain that was the real genius.
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"In conscious effort we are looking at the parts, the nut and the bolt and putting them together in our minds."

COMMENT: But you have only defined creativity! It is the "putting them together in our minds" of the parts that is the creative act--not just the identification of the parts. Plus the "conscious effort" involves genuine freewill that makes the creative act possible. Brains do not have freewill. They are just machines.
____________________________________________

"This is the extreme end of an evolutionary process. Man on the savannah hears a sound in the brush, his mind conjures up an array of images that are known to him but also the unknown, his body responds by either explaining it as the wind, or by going in to fight or flight mode. He's not seen anything yet, but he is able to determine risk response much of which is a fear driven response based on imagination. Human empathy demands we are able to project ourselves into a circumstance that hasn't happened to us personally.

COMMENT: Right. When you cannot provide a neurological explanation, just play the evolutionary card. That should solve the problem. However, evolutionary explanations are never explanations of dynamics. Otherwise, Darwinism (an evolutionary explanation) would count as an explanation for the dynamics of heredity. But we needed the genetic code for that.
_____________________________________________

"Einstein himself attributed much of his success to his imagination. His ability to project thoughts onto the canvas of his mind and see where they took him. Many were likely wrong and we never heard of them. Others had traction and shaped his thinking."

COMMENT: Yes. Imagination. Creatively thinking where no one had been before. Much of the physics was already there, but the "thoughts on the canvas" that expanded his thinking, was not, and created new theoretical explanations that cannot be summarized from the parts of his knowledge of physics. _____________________________________________

"We know from his own account about the idea of riding on a light beam. He has combined the idea of a beam of light and sitting on it like riding a horse. Projecting this into his mind which then generates questions. Questions he thinks about and does the math on. That process of thought refining the ideas to kick some out and keep some in."

COMMENT: Yes, he understood light beams, etc. and used this understanding to ponder the problems he was facing. But, where then did the moments of insight come from? After all, a lot of physicists understood everything Einstein did about light beams, and some arguably much better than he did.
_____________________________________

Mozart - let me handle mozart by looking at wood carving. A child picks up a whittle knife and carves a piece of wood. What results is pretty basic if anything at all. Yet a master carver over years of practice has refined his skill with the knife so that he can see the outcome in the untouched piece of wood. He pictures the end piece in the wood as a 3D image in the mind. He then carves the wood to find the image inside it (this is how some master masons described carving stone - seeing the image in the stone).

COMMENT: But "refining your skill" is not the same as creating a musical masterpiece. At some point the skill in manipulating notes is not enough; they have to be placed in certain ways to create the masterpiece; the end product. It is not just a matter of skill. Glen Gould was as skillful a pianist and musician as one could get, but when he tried his hand at composition, he generally fell flat.
________________________________________

Mozart knows the notes. He knows the rules of musical sound. In effect these are his tools, his carving instruments. He can see the using these the piece he is working towards, his brain shaping it for him within the rules, which is why his music follows a structured format, the movement of notes up and down over time.

COMMENT: The key word here is "shaping it for him." The brain does not "shape anything." That was up to Mozart. When you say "for him" you are talking about a man in the act of creation, not a man who is searching his brain to see if there are any symphonies in there. Mozart was in charge, not his brain.
__________________________________________

Now, in a world where our ideas of symmetry, colour coding, audio fit and crescendo are all given to us by our environment, doesn't it seem more reasonable that these things are combinationalist?

COMMENT: No. Because someone has to engage in a creative act to turn these ideas into structural artistic or functional form.
_____________________________________________

I'll pause here, but you'll need to do more than simply say, 'no it isn't' or 'Mozart is too complex' you'll need to explain why it isn't and why it is too complex and why simplicity is ok but complexity on the same spectrum isn't ok for the brain.

COMMENT: No. All I have to do is ask science for an explanation. And when it cannot give me one, after engaging in vague, unsuccessful theories for decades, I can simply ask whether there might be something else involved. That is all I am saying. There is no burden on me at all. The burden is on science.
_____________________________________________

I believe the onus rests with you Henry - and simply saying the Brain is computational attempts to make the brain a meat abbacus when it is much more refined with all kinds of 3d visualisation and auditory tools.

COMMENT: See above. Remember all the "tools" in the world do not create a sculpture. The same applies to brains. All the neurons, neural representations, and neuronal patterns, etc. as found in the brain do not create a symphony. You need a creative human for that.

Thanks for engaging.
Likewise.

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 03:21PM


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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 05:36PM

Related:

Dennett seems to be heading in a better direction these days:

https://www.edge.org/conversation/daniel_c_dennett-a-difference-that-makes-a-difference

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 17, 2017 05:38PM

Sorry. Meant to leave a snippet:

“The philosophers’ fascination with propositions was mirrored in good old-fashioned AI, the AI of John McCarthy, early Marvin Minsky, and Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and Cliff Shaw. It was the idea that the way to make an intelligent agent was from the top down. You have a set of propositions in some proprietary formulation. It’s not going to be English—well, maybe LISP or something like that, where you define all the predicates and the operators. Then, you have this huge database that is beautifully articulated and broken up into atoms of meaning, which have the meaning they have by being part of the system they’re part of. You stipulate their meanings, and then you have a resolution theorem prover that sits on top of that, and this is how we’re going to generate a thoughtful, creative mind. It was a very attractive dream to many people, and it’s not quite dead yet.”

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 19, 2017 11:15AM

Hi Henry,

Before we go any further i'm of the view we need a much clearer definition of 'creativity'. We need to work out what it means, as to me, looking at the above, the term appears to be too loose to be of much use.

For example, a person who has not seen a nut and bolt before but is able through visualisation to put the two parts together is using a creative function toward problem solving.

Equally, a person who comes up with a silly walk.

I had the misfortune to have to attend a two hour village dance recital the other night and looked on at the varying degrees of capability and imagination on display. Music and movement.

It drew me back to this discussion. Is dance creative? If so how? Is it not an extension of movement timed to musical beat? But if it is then isn't Mozart the same, a musical rhythm, and extension of existing rules, like walking is an extension of rules, one foot in front of the other, managed at an unconscious level yet able to navigate us through a town even if we're not consciously paying attention and thinking about it?

What i'm saying here is, we have what we might class as simple creative activities - a child using a felt pen and drawing random circles in which it sees a cloud monster. An adult contemplating light beams and riding on one and the narrative of that journey generating key questions fundamental to science.

Which parts of the 'creative' act are performed in the brain and not in the brain according to your theory Henry?

What acts constitute creativity and which not according to your theory?

Isn't this little more than an argument to an absence of evidence therefore X?


If you can demonstrate through examples why simple creativity and complex creativity are different and why the complex version might not be managed in the brain but it appears acceptable that the lesser is, that would be interesting. So far alluding to Mozart and a concerto, or Einstein and Special Relativity as examples of exceptions seem too narrow. I'd need to understand what it is you're seeing in these creative acts that you say simply could not be a product of brain performance as at least one of those articles cited certainly views creativity as a brain product and argues which parts of the brain are involved.

What we can conclude is, dead people are not creative. Living people are creative. People with brain injuries are more or less creative corresponding to their brain injury (as well as personality issues), creativity appears to affect age, as well as subject matter.

Thanks.

Lilburne.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2017 11:15AM by lilburne.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 19, 2017 12:43PM

lilburne Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Before we go any further i'm of the view we need a
> much clearer definition of 'creativity'.

> I'd need to understand what it is
> you're seeing in these creative acts that you say
> simply could not be a product of brain performance
> as at least one of those articles cited certainly
> views creativity as a brain product and argues
> which parts of the brain are involved.


Sorry to butt in again; but please allow me.

You continue to ignore the main ingredient, so to speak, to any creative act: the agent. Creativity cannot be explained without an explanation for the agent.

Consider one of your cited articles, which goes into what regions of the brain are at work during this or that “creative process”, and is generally a criticism of the metaphors built up on left-brain/right-brain etc:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-real-neuroscience-of-creativity/

Quotes from your cited article (capitalizations are my own):


“Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what YOU”RE actually attempting to create…”

“…every time YOU pay attention to the outside world, or attempt to mentally rotate a physical image in your mind…”

“If YOUR task makes greater demands on language…”

“This network is active when “YOU’RE concentrating on a challenging lecture, or engaging in complex problem solving and reasoning that puts heavy demands….”

“…is involved in "constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present….”

“…when WE are imagining what someone else is thinking…”

“…when YOU want to loosen your associations, allow YOUR mind to roam free, imagine new possibilities, and silence the inner critic, it's good to reduce activation…”


In this article and so many like them the agent is on the one hand constantly included as part of the “process” but is on the other hand completely without even the beginnings of an explanation. The agent, the person, is simply ignored, set aside; yet it’s intentions and presupposed freedoms to intend are the most important part of any creative process, simple or complex. The agent seems to be taken as a given and ignored all at the same time.

You seem to want a definition for “creativity” that doesn’t include an agent doing the creating. If the agent is in the brain, where? If not, where? What is it? Either way, without an explanation for it, the most important part of any creative act, there isn't an explanation for creativity.

Anyway, I’ll leave this alone now and look back on where you and Henry go from here . Thank you,

Human

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 19, 2017 02:13PM

Human,

Forgive me, but it reads like 'looking beyond the mark'. For instance, the statement 'I am walking involves the act of walking and the pronoun I.

Yet it is accepted that the brain manages the walking process in concert with muscles and the spinal cord to all ME to walk. The I that is me and the process of doing something whether thought or act are long understood to be different.

It appears first you want an explanation of consciousness and the idea of the mind before accepting that brain functions can run in parallel as walking exhibits.

If i'm misunderstanding you forgive me. This entire subject has been unusual. I read philosophy, everything from Plato to Wittgenstein to more modern works in various spheres and yet i'm finding this connection of threads somewhat strained, lacking clarify, hard to follow.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 20, 2017 01:04PM

I am not sure what your point is here. Human was pointing out, as I also tried to do, that a "creator," by whatever definition you choose, involves a conscious agent that is engaged in the act of creation. A brain is NOT a conscious agent, it is merely a biological machine, however complex. That is not controversial.

The quandary for a materialist neuroscientist or philosopher is identifying how such an agent arose (i.e. "a Self")--even if the creative act is deemed an illusion. After all, you cannot have a illusion unless there is "somebody" that is the subject of such an illusion; i.e. the "person" or "agent" being deceived by the illusion. Moreover, the statement "I am walking" involves more than the pronoun "I," which is only a self-referencing term in a language. The word "I" involves an ontological reference by the speaker; i.e. the person, or self, using the term. Again, the brain does not qualify! (I think this was Human's point, a bit more spelled out.) Surely, it makes no sense to say, "My brain is walking." What this suggests is that your brain is NOT you! (At least not in the ordinary use of the English language.)

The debate about creativity that we are having, whether one thinks it is solely brain based or not, presupposes a conscious mind, as well as a human agent. (Back to Human's point) If you think that brain functions run parallel to the psychological feeling the creator has as a conscious creating agent; i.e. the subjective self, then we need a non-circular explanation as to how this self or agent arises in the brain, AND how consciousness emerges from such brain process, whatever they are. So, the discussion has moved beyond creativity to consciousness and the self, which I tried to avoid in order to address only the specific nuances of creativity. "The Brain and the Self" is another post, and arguably even more difficult for materialist neuroscience than creativity.
_____________________________________________

"If i'm misunderstanding you forgive me. This entire subject has been unusual. I read philosophy, everything from Plato to Wittgenstein to more modern works in various spheres and yet i'm finding this connection of threads somewhat strained, lacking clarify, hard to follow."

COMMENT: First, once a creative agent is introduced the discussion about creativity crosses over into the philosophy of mind and the mind-body problem. In particular, it involves philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, all of which encompass the relatively new field of "cognitive science."

Notice you have further combinational identifications, including, but not limited to, "Cognitive Neuroscience," "Cognitive Psychology," and now, even "Neurophilosophy." Moreover, mixed in with all of this you have "Consciousness Studies" and "Artificial Intelligence." Once AI is in the picture, you now have to deal with "Computational Neuroscience," "Systems Theory," and "Information Theory." So, now enter physics.

So, you see, it can get quite complicated. Moreover, writers lacking expertise in one related field often make mistakes well known to those in another field. (Perhaps the most common of which is subscribing intentional, psychological properties to the brain, such as when they say the brain "thinks, believes, desires, loves, feels, etc.)

There is vast literature in "cognitive science" by people in each of the above referenced fields. They often use different terminology, and emphasize different issues, which indeed can make any discussion, and reading, very confusing. There is no one book that I think sorts all of this out perfectly. But there are a couple I would recommend off hand, including the following:

Rex Welshon: Philosophy, Neuroscience an Consciousness
Andy Clark: Mindware: An Introduction to Cognitive Science

These books are not heavy handed toward a particular point of view, however, if there ever was a field of inquiry that required a broad and general skeptical attitude about someone's particular, often dogmatic, statements of position, it is cognitive science.

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 20, 2017 06:33PM

Hi Henry,

Let me be clear. I am a materialist. I'm holding to the view that all of the functions of personality, consciousness etc are all traceable back to the Human Brain. Absent the brain there is no function. All of these functions are derived from the brain and the many areas it has that collaborate in order to produce the idea of consciousness and the idea of a genuinely original creative thought.

All are tasks managed in the brain, by the brain.

Again here: https://www.livescience.com/39671-roots-of-creativity-found-in-brain.html More references to this taking place in the brain.

Here again and again the combinationalist definition of creativity comes to the fore: https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/09/06/what-is-creativity/

And here: First, Rex Jung and his colleagues (2010, Human Brain Mapping 31:398-409) looked at the correlation between creativity and regional cortical thickness in a group of 61 young adult men and women. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lives-the-brain/201004/creativity-the-brain-and-evolution

And here - his journey begins with the full understanding that creativity is a multifaceted ability composed of a whole plethora of cognitive processes and is, as a matter of consequence, distributed in the brain - https://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/dec/28/where-does-creativity-happen-in-your-brain

If you are asking for a detailed explanation as to how it performs these functions in that Meat Computer that is a question i cannot answer, but it seems pretty clear creativity like consciousness is brain dependent and a product of the brain.

I can see no basis at all for any contention otherwise.

If you can then please explain it with simple examples as one might to a primary child because it's obvious you appear to be seeing some complexity here or issue i'm not.

In asking i'm giving you the benefit of clarifying in simple terms why your position has merit, as nothing said thus far points to anything that genuinely indicates consciousness or creativity happen anywhere other than the brain.

We know it doesn't happen in the foot, the hand, the ear. The brain is the only place where upon removal creativity and consciousness ceases. Brain damage is a known cause of personality change and changes in the ability to act in a creative way or access unusual recall.

Thanks.

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 20, 2017 06:39PM

One last thought:

In terms of machine thinking, we know a machine does not think, but the software when combined with the machine produces what looks like thought - it mirrors thought based on how it is programmed.

I believe Humans are the same. We believe we are conscious, but i'm going to go out on a limb and say we experience the illusion of consciousness - we track sensory data coming in, we conceive of the I, the Cartesian Ego, but the Ego is the product of the brain hardware and the software it contains and develops overtime performing to allow the human animal to survive on the Savannah - but to a more extreme extent now.

I'll also go out on this limb and say free will is an illusion. Our choices are as mapped out for us as a dice roll is subject to the exact outcome prescribed by the forces and surfaces acting upon it.

That combination of prescript hormones and external stimuli interacting with genetic programming all appear on the screen of the mind to give us the illusion of choice, but whilst their may be 'choices' our choice is a product of the great inflationary moment that opened the universe. We're pool balls rolling at the far end of the table and responding to the forces that effect us.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 21, 2017 10:04AM

In terms of machine thinking, we know a machine does not think, but the software when combined with the machine produces what looks like thought - it mirrors thought based on how it is programmed.

COMMENT: Right, a machine does not think. And that includes the brain. A program is needed, right again. So, the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Who programs the brain? Who tells the brain what to "think?" What to create? What problems to solve? Etc.

_________________________________________

"I believe Humans are the same. We believe we are conscious, but i'm going to go out on a limb and say we experience the illusion of consciousness - we track sensory data coming in, we conceive of the I, the Cartesian Ego, but the Ego is the product of the brain hardware and the software it contains and develops overtime performing to allow the human animal to survive on the Savannah - but to a more extreme extent now.

COMMENT: Consciousness is an illusion? Okay, here is another sixty-four thousand dollar question. "Given that consciousness is an illusion, who is being deceived? Who or what is the subject of this illusion? You? Me? But wait, there is no You or Me, its an illusion! It sounds like you may have read Thomas Metzinger's "The Ego Tunnel." If so, read it again--CRITICALLY!
___________________________________

"I'll also go out on this limb and say free will is an illusion. Our choices are as mapped out for us as a dice roll is subject to the exact outcome prescribed by the forces and surfaces acting upon it."

COMMENT: You have fallen for the materialist trap, i.e. if you cannot explain something, call it an illusion! This view not only goes against all human intuitions, it effectively removes in one fell swoop everything necessary for human meaning, including genuine moral judgments. It makes humans automatons. Good luck with that. It is not only a false worldview, it is completely unnecessary--unless you insist upon a strict materialist view of everything, and then it is a natural consequence.
________________________________________

"That combination of prescript hormones and external stimuli interacting with genetic programming all appear on the screen of the mind to give us the illusion of choice, but whilst their may be 'choices' our choice is a product of the great inflationary moment that opened the universe. We're pool balls rolling at the far end of the table and responding to the forces that effect us."

COMMENT: Frankly, I find this description ridiculous. And for the life of me, I cannot understand why people bend over backwards to adopt a worldview that is not only extremely short-sighted, but demands dehumanization in the extreme, a dehumanization that its adherents are themselves loath to follow in their ordinary life. All for the sake of worshiping a materialist view of science that is itself unscientific.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 21, 2017 11:24AM

Henry Bemis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> COMMENT: Frankly, I find this description
> ridiculous. And for the life of me, I cannot
> understand why people bend over backwards to adopt
> a worldview that is not only extremely
> short-sighted, but demands dehumanization in the
> extreme, a dehumanization that its adherents are
> themselves loath to follow in their ordinary life.
> All for the sake of worshiping a materialist view
> of science that is itself unscientific.


I call this the Jerry Coyne problem.

In a round table discussion among well known intellectuals (Dawkins, Weinberg, Carroll, Pigliucci, and others), Jerry objected to a proposition *solely* because the proposition might allow a back door for religionists (in his estimate). That was his only contention. Massimo took him to task, with either silence or approval from the rest of the panel. Jerry’s anti-intellectualism is sometimes astounding, especially because he rarely can see it himself.


I understand and accept philosophical or scientific endeavours beginning with the premise, a priori, that everything under the rubric “soul” or “spirit” or etc is nothing more than leftover folk language signifying nothing actual, nothing real, nothing existing. I get it. But I don’t understand glib, hand-wavy denials that these endeavours are in fact extremely difficult and possibly intractable.



On creativity: I don’t see how any definition of creativity can make sense without on the one hand intention and on the other hand judgement. A person on the one end creates something intended and on the other end a person judges whether the intended product is creative (as opposed to derivative). On both ends a person and certain values are involved.

This is why I reject an idea proposed on the other thread, that nature is creative (using the Cambrian explosion as an example). This idea could only make sense if you personify nature. The ida implies that The Universe or the Earth intended the Cambrian explosion to be one way rather than another, which is the very basis of a creative act. It’s a theistic idea.

Maybe there is intention in Nature. Biologists cannot seem to do without teleology when they talk about biology. But if not, then the word “creative” is out of place when describing nature. Also, i’m not sure why the Cambrian explosion is singled out when each unfolding moment of nature is just as creative or not as that moment.


I understand the charm in the idea that everything up to this point, including myself and my preferences & values, the paperwork before me and the meanings entailed therein, and the vanilla scent of the room and the Debussy in the air, are all unintended consequences of an explosion some billions of years ago. It’s a charming idea. It absolves everything in one, single blow. And since the next moment mechinistically follows from the present moment, the future is obsolved, too.

However charming, though, the devil is in the Lucretian “swerve”, whether we are talking about poetry or the incredible swerve creating the particular fine-tuneness of our corner of the post explosion universe, which allows me to choose (seemingly) vanilla and Debussy rather than Bergomot and Bach, say (or cinnamon and AC-DC, for that matter).


Anyway, thank you lilliburne for creating a stimulating discussion and thank you Henry, as ever, for taking the time to write in such detail.

Human

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 22, 2017 01:11PM

Thanks for this contribution. Here are some further comments on the point you raise:

As I read the popular scientific literature there is often this elephant in the room; i.e. an underlying, mostly unstated, concern about statements that might be deemed as indirect support for a religious worldview. Of course, with Jerry Coyne it is blatant and perhaps he deserves credit for at least wearing his anti-religion sentiments on his sleeve. Sometimes, however, it is more subtle, for example by dismissing "dualism" with a hand wave, or disparaging paranormal phenomenon without substantive comment or argument. Both such dismissals show up as an unstated but necessary academic requirement for credibility. With such writers there is often a question-begging assumption that materialist science; meaning substantive science as we now generally know and understand it, MUST underlie the answer to every phenomenon, including mind. No room is allowed for a Kuhnian "paradigm shift," that demands that science stretch beyond its materialist assumptions. This very hardcore materialist limitation leads to narrow-minded dismissals of important data, most importantly the data of human experience; and the adoption of implausible philosophical "theories," which are sometimes just absurd.

Nobody on the Board is more anti-religion than I am, and you and I have disagreed sometimes passionately about the merit of religious myths. But rejecting Mormonism in particular, and religion in general, is no excuse to adopt a "scientific" worldview that dismisses the nuances of human experience and psychology as important data to consider, while failing to recognize the implications of such a dismissive view.

Finally, I admire and respect Lilburne for engaging me and pushing back in this and the other tread; and I hope at least some others have followed this discussion, and will take the time to contemplate what was said by both of us, as well as what was said by other contributors--especially by you here.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: November 28, 2017 02:28PM

> and I hope at least some others have
> followed this discussion, and will take the time
> to contemplate what was said by both of us, as
> well as what was said by other
> contributors--especially by you here.


Heh. Henry, I don’t think the board is in danger of doing any of that.

Cheers

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 21, 2017 09:44AM

Let me be clear. I am a materialist. I'm holding to the view that all of the functions of personality, consciousness etc are all traceable back to the Human Brain. Absent the brain there is no function. All of these functions are derived from the brain and the many areas it has that collaborate in order to produce the idea of consciousness and the idea of a genuinely original creative thought.

All are tasks managed in the brain, by the brain.

COMMENT: I get your position. You believe that the brain is not only a necessary condition, but a sufficient condition for all that is involved in being human.

_____________________________________________________

Again here: https://www.livescience.com/39671-roots-of-creativity-found-in-brain.html More references to this taking place in the brain.

Here again and again the combinationalist definition of creativity comes to the fore: https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/09/06/what-is-creativity/

And here: First, Rex Jung and his colleagues (2010, Human Brain Mapping 31:398-409) looked at the correlation between creativity and regional cortical thickness in a group of 61 young adult men and women. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lives-the-brain/201004/creativity-the-brain-and-evolution.

COMMENT: It is quite clear from these sites that you are very adept at doing a google search and coming up with articles about scientific studies, but not so adept at finding, reviewing and critically evaluating the actual studies that are described; or for that matter discussing or arguing the fine points of this debate. You cite media reports of "scientific studies" while completely ignoring my reference to the leading academic on the issue being discussed. My suspicion is that you cannot follow Boden's arguments and points, so you turn to the popular neuroscience and psychological literature to find support for your entrenched position.

________________________________________________

And here - his journey begins with the full understanding that creativity is a multifaceted ability composed of a whole plethora of cognitive processes and is, as a matter of consequence, distributed in the brain - https://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/dec/28/where-does-creativity-happen-in-your-brain

COMMENT: Here is a summation of this article, which basically says that creativity is "everywhere in the brain."

"Creativity is, in a word, everywhere. Asking neuroscientists for the neural centres of creative thinking is like asking them for the neural centres of thinking. It’s the brain, stupid."

How is that for an explanation? These people image the brain, find that multiple regions are involved in creative thinking, and announce problem solved. Simply ridiculous. And apparently people take such pronouncements at face value, with no depth of philosophical thinking on the issue.
___________________________________________

"If you are asking for a detailed explanation as to how it performs these functions in that Meat Computer that is a question i cannot answer, but it seems pretty clear creativity like consciousness is brain dependent and a product of the brain."

COMMENT: What I am asking for is NOT a detailed explanation of the mechanics of creativity. What I am asking for is an explanation of how, in principle, a mechanistic, deterministic brain can explain human creativity in all its complicated forms, as specifically outlined by Margaret Boden. I have said this over and over, and you choose to ignore it. You want simplistic "Reader's Digest" answers, and that is all you have given me. The issue is more complex than that.
_________________________________________

"I can see no basis at all for any contention otherwise."

COMMENT: Of course not. Because you have not read about this issue in any depth. If you had, you would realize that the issue is much more complicated that "It's the brain, stupid" suggests. I gave you the Boden citation and you apparently found the book, so read it! Understand her distinctions of the three types of creativity; i.e. combinational, exploratory, and transformational, and why she thinks there is a philosophical difficulty in current neurological explanations.
________________________________________

"If you can then please explain it with simple examples as one might to a primary child because it's obvious you appear to be seeing some complexity here or issue i'm not."

COMMENT: I have done that, repeatedly, but you don't want to deal with it. Here is the question again, in very simple terms: "How can a mechanistic, deterministic "machine" produce cognitive results that in their organizational and problem solving complexity produce substantively more results than the sum of some subset of its neuronal parts." Again, how does creative "emergence" such as "symphonies, theories, solutions to problems, arise from a mechanistic brain, when our mechanistic computers cannot do so without being specifically programed to bring about such a result. It is a deep problem, and the suggestion that combinations or patterns solves it, is simply ridiculous, because such an explanation does not explain the "coming together" part of the creative act, or the substance of the result.
______________________________________

"In asking i'm giving you the benefit of clarifying in simple terms why your position has merit, as nothing said thus far points to anything that genuinely indicates consciousness or creativity happen anywhere other than the brain."

COMMENT: I cannot write or cite an entire book here. You have to read the literature. You have to not only understand basic neuroscience, but the philosophical issues that underlie the mind-body problem, and the materialist philosophical attempts that have been made to solve it, all unsuccessful. Moreover, you have to be open to credible human reports of human experiences that undermine that materialistic view.
_______________________________________

"We know it doesn't happen in the foot, the hand, the ear. The brain is the only place where upon removal creativity and consciousness ceases. Brain damage is a known cause of personality change and changes in the ability to act in a creative way or access unusual recall."

COMMENT: The brain is an important part of creativity and consciousness, no one doubts that. It is not the necessary part of the equation that I am questioning here, but the sufficient part. Note also that it is possible that the brain produces consciousness, and that the properties of consciousness that the brain produces encompass freewill and creativity. But that is like a magic act; and it implies that brain itself has powers beyond its own mechanistic and computational processes. But, who knows, maybe it does.

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Posted by: lilburne ( )
Date: November 21, 2017 05:07PM

Hi Henry,

I get that you're pushing Margret Boden, but all i'm seeing is you failing to present a legitimate case for her argument even in summary and resting your points on an appeal to authority along with some assumptions about what creativity is and what sits outside of the realm of human creative capability (none of which is proven).

You're asking me to read her book in full when i can read the summary online and read the criticisms of her work by other academics.

It's also disappointing to see inappropriate criticism of me by commenting on my searching online to read articles on the subject. Of course i will since the Brain and Creativity is NOT my specialist subject.

But as a rational individual i do look at the subject with interest and i'm not persuaded by anything you've presented thus far because

i) I don't think you are taking the time to articulate a rational case that lays out the problem sufficiently (without resting it on assumptions).

ii) Historically all such cases ultimately end up being resolved with a materialist outcome.


There are many articles online responding to Boden:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6d7e/84b29dd177a538c3f613c69f6b84acd959d0.pdf

I am reading on the matter, i'm looking at publications from reputable schools and academics that say Creativity is a Brain function. I presented this thread with a view to expanding insight through greater discussion, but i don't even think you are framing the argument very well.

The reality is, as much as you want to cling to a view that Creativity is not a brain function your entire argument is based on the premise that because we can't yet define precisely how it is done ergo it isn't done in/by the brain - thus Metaphysics - this is purely an assumption with no positive support.

My second contention from the above is this idea that some of the acts of creativity sit outside of the realm of human ability - that Einstein or Mozart produced works too magnificent to attribute to an evolved human brain - this is purely an assumption, we don't know enough about what experiences these men had to make the leap that their creations were greater than their abilities thus metaphysics.

Personally, nothing in the work of Mozart is so magnificent as to make it beyond human ability. As for Einstein, he is problem solving. I'm not persuaded the definitions of creativity stand up. Whether painting, sculpture, poetry, whatever the field, i see no examples at all of the product being produced out of anything other than the knowledge and combination of the insights of the applicant.

I see you're cheering Boden on, but history doesn't support a non material conclusion, and i expect it won't in this instance so forgive me for being naturally skeptical.

The best line you responded with IMO is this:

"But that is like a magic act; and it implies that brain itself has powers beyond its own mechanistic and computational processes. But, who knows, maybe it does."

Anyway, the overall tone is heading south and that's not something i support. So, let's park this. This won't be solved by me, nor will it be solved by you. This will be solved in time by the actual academics and researchers in the field and you'll or I will simply read about it and that about sums it up.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: November 22, 2017 12:32PM

"I get that you're pushing Margret Boden, but all i'm seeing is you failing to present a legitimate case for her argument even in summary and resting your points on an appeal to authority along with some assumptions about what creativity is and what sits outside of the realm of human creative capability (none of which is proven)."

COMMENT: I am not pushing Margret Boden. As I said before, she is a computationalist AI theorist who believes that creativity is a tractable problem for neuroscience. I cited her 2013 chapter, called "Creativity as a Neuroscientific Mystery," to emphasis that even someone schooled in and committed to AI understands the serious problems involved in explaining creativity purely in neuroscientific and computational terms. My argument was an attempt to show that the problem is intractable, because of the nature of brain as a mechanistic, neurological machine.
___________________________________________

"You're asking me to read her book in full when i can read the summary online and read the criticisms of her work by other academics."

COMMENT: Presenting the details of Boden's ideas on creativity, or any other computationalists (AI) strategies, is far beyond anything I intended by citing her work, and far beyond what is reasonable in the context of RfM. My point is not to criticize AI's account of creativity on its own terms, but to present a more general argument as to why mechanism alone cannot explain psychological creativity (Boden's P-creativity). I am basically in the camp of who she calls Wittgensteinians, when she says:

"Wittgensteinians in general reject psychological explanations posed at the subpersonal level, and thus criticize those neuroscientific theories that define brain-processes cognitively (or computationally), rather than purely neurologically. They accuse neuroscientists of incoherence due to the 'mereological fallacy,' which is to attribute to a part of a system some predicate that is properly attributed only to the whole (Bennett & Hacker 2003) [Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience] In this context the system in question is the whole person, the 'parts' are the brain (or parts thereof), and the 'predicates' are psychological terms such as knowledge, memory, belief, reasoning, choice-and, of course, creativity'"

This is a fancy way of saying that the psychology of human beings, including creativity, cannot be explained purely by an appeal to neuroscience, and related to the "agent" comments made by myself and Human in this thread.
_________________________________________

"It's also disappointing to see inappropriate criticism of me by commenting on my searching online to read articles on the subject. Of course i will since the Brain and Creativity is NOT my specialist subject."

COMMENT: I apologize. I did not intend this to be derogatory. After all, I do this sometimes myself to obtain background information. But in controversial topics like the present one involving mind, brain and creativity, and involving multiple academic disciplines, an article here and there, by some AI theorist, or neuroscientist, rarely does justice to the philosophical problems associated with these issues. Specifically, citing articles that are vaguely or peripherally in support of your position does not add much, unless you can deliver the underlying philosophical argument that you believe was presented.
_______________________________________________

But as a rational individual i do look at the subject with interest and i'm not persuaded by anything you've presented thus far because

i) I don't think you are taking the time to articulate a rational case that lays out the problem sufficiently (without resting it on assumptions).

ii) Historically all such cases ultimately end up being resolved with a materialist outcome.

COMMENT: Well, O.K. that's a failure on my part. I can only say I did the best I could in the context of the Board, and the time limitations involved. I will note, however, that it is my style on the Board to address each and every point of my antagonist. You, on the other hand, have ignored much of my comments, only falling back on the position that I have not convinced you. As for (ii) above, virtually none of the issues involving human consciousness have been "resolved" by materialist, neuroscientific explanation. There is no established "theory of consciousness." If neuroscience cannot explain consciousness, and the sense of "self," in materialist terms, how can it be expected to explain creativity?
_____________________________________________

There are many articles online responding to Boden:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6d7e/84b29dd177a538c3f613c69f6b84acd959d0.pdf

COMMENT: Thank you for this. It was rather old (1995), but interesting. I will say again that AI theorists, including Boden, are committed to a computational explanation of creativity. That is hardly as surprise. This article does not address the "mystery" aspects of creativity that is detailed in Boden's 2013 article.
___________________________________________

I am reading on the matter, i'm looking at publications from reputable schools and academics that say Creativity is a Brain function. I presented this thread with a view to expanding insight through greater discussion, but i don't even think you are framing the argument very well.

COMMENT: I framed my argument explicitly, because it was very simple: Mechanistic machines cannot explain creativity. You still have not addressed this main point. It is a philosophical point that says basically that any mechanistic process can in principle be reverse engineered such that the outcome is in principle a product of the original state of the system, coupled with environmental input. Although data can be manipulated through brain processes operating either computationally (by a preset program) or dynamically (simply by cause and effect relationships via the laws of physics), the end result is not a 'creative act' unless there is something new added by a human agent. So, either there is no such thing as creativity, or creativity is more than rote brain processes, i.e. a human agent acting freely.
_____________________________________

"The reality is, as much as you want to cling to a view that Creativity is not a brain function your entire argument is based on the premise that because we can't yet define precisely how it is done ergo it isn't done in/by the brain - thus Metaphysics - this is purely an assumption with no positive support."

COMMENT: You keep saying that, and it is mischaracterizing what I have said (see above). My argument is philosophical and has nothing to do with possible outcomes of various scientific or AI methodologies.
_______________________________________

"My second contention from the above is this idea that some of the acts of creativity sit outside of the realm of human ability - that Einstein or Mozart produced works too magnificent to attribute to an evolved human brain - this is purely an assumption, we don't know enough about what experiences these men had to make the leap that their creations were greater than their abilities thus metaphysics."

COMMENT: Well, O.K. But back to my original point, how in principle can unique, creative, artistic works, that on their face involve the free, creative, decisions of artists of whatever stripe, be explained by rote, mechanistic brain processes? This argument transcends individual examples, because no matter what experiences, exposures, training, etc. that Mozart might have had, none of that explains the creative act of producing a unique, structured, aesthetically compelling, symphony; or work of art; or work of literature. Take your pick.
_____________________________________

"Personally, nothing in the work of Mozart is so magnificent as to make it beyond human ability. As for Einstein, he is problem solving. I'm not persuaded the definitions of creativity stand up. Whether painting, sculpture, poetry, whatever the field, i see no examples at all of the product being produced out of anything other than the knowledge and combination of the insights of the applicant."

COMMENT: Respectfully, maybe you need to think about this harder. Again, what is it that brings all of the "data" together in just the "right" way to create the final product? Is it random? Is it an accident? Or is it human agency?
______________________________________

"I see you're cheering Boden on, but history doesn't support a non material conclusion, and i expect it won't in this instance so forgive me for being naturally skeptical."

COMMENT: I disagree with Boden on just about every issue--except her characterization of creativity as a problem for AI.
________________________________________

The best line you responded with IMO is this:

"But that is like a magic act; and it implies that brain itself has powers beyond its own mechanistic and computational processes. But, who knows, maybe it does."

COMMENT: Thank you, but don't miss the point. Many philosophers, Seale and Nagel come to mind, are materialists who in their own way take consciousness seriously, and in particular are critical of computational theories of mind. What they say, to put it simply, is that consciousness and mind are somehow emergent properties of the brain, which properties include freewill and creativity, for example. So, here you get all of the wonderful human properties we all cherish, and we still have a brain-based "theory." The question is by what magic did the brain manage to produce all of this.
____________________________________________

Anyway, the overall tone is heading south and that's not something i support. So, let's park this. This won't be solved by me, nor will it be solved by you. This will be solved in time by the actual academics and researchers in the field and you'll or I will simply read about it and that about sums it up.

COMMENT: In my opinion, what ended this discussion was your admission that you think consciousness is an illusion. That is the necessary fall back position of a materialist view of mind. It is inevitable unless one invokes the magical 'consciousness out of the brain' move noted above, and ascribes the standard psychological human properties to consciousness, as also noted above. Those that have tried to avoid this result have failed miserably. (See e.g. Dennett (1991) Others have reluctantly embraced it. At least you have apparently recognized this conclusion early on. What you now have to recognize is that such a position is manifestly absurd. The very thinking about it establishes the absurdity.

Finally, I will "park" this post (at least for my part) with this last word, unless you want the final say. On a positive note, whether apparent or not, I appreciate and respect your views and comments in this dialogue, and in particular your willingness to engage me in discussion. I apologize for any offense you might have taken by my rather passionate, and at times condescending, style.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: November 22, 2017 02:15PM

I don't have much to add to your discussions about 'creativity' where actual 'creative people' and their methods are not discussed.

Just to balance the discussion out lets look at some of the 'creative people' that are responsible for many of our modern inventions or concepts and see what they had to say. Did they say they created everything 'all by themselves and their magnificent brains'??

This is a short video I noticed on 'intuition' that mentions 'creativity' and methods used by certain inventors.

As long as 'many people believe' similar to the 'articles above' that science has figured out most 'brain and other mysteries (and there are many)' it will continue to slow down this world's 'scientific' achievements in my opinion!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cROmpTtp0_E



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/2017 08:22PM by spiritist.

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