• The Nature of No-Thing: I Experience therefore I Symbolize therefore I Compute

    John Lawrence Nazareth (see profile)
    Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, Symbolism, Consciousness, Cognitive science, Descartes, René, 1596-1650, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Artificial intelligence, Deep learning (Machine learning)
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    Henri Bergson, William James, Gustav Theodor Fechner, Alfred North Whitehead, perennial philosophy, natural philosophy of organism, algorithmic science, ChatGPT, era between gods, Lady Diana Spencer
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    The overarching thesis of this book is that the broadened Cartesian dictum governing much of modern science, namely, "I compute therefore I think therefore I am," is today in the process of being reversed in a Copernican-like scientific revolution. Only through the acceptance of a new governing principle will the natural sciences be able to progress beyond their current focus on the material world of "things," and develop a deeper understanding of the phenomenological and psychological realms of nature. Our thesis is premised on the "natural philosophy of organism" of four great philosopher-scientists---Bergson, William James, Fechner, and Whitehead----who were once widely celebrated, but today have fallen into relative obscurity. A unified, harmonized, and intentionally-poetic introduction to their writings is presented here. Their profound philosophical insights could greatly facilitate our understanding of the natural world, in particular, the scientific efforts currently under way to unravel the mystery of human consciousness. They reveal the fallacy of making algorithmic computation the foundation for understanding consciousness. And they can also help us address the deep spiritual malaise of our present day. Thus, our other key objective is to build a bridge between their teachings and the "perennial philosophy" of the past, which has inspired and is the foundation for the world's major religions. Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, ChatGPT, appear to challenge our overarching thesis. Therefore, we present an experiment with ChatGPT---the writing of a Shakespearean-like play---which demonstrates that AI is indeed adept at mixing and remixing symbolic language in a highly creative way, but that its writings come only at second hand, i.e., they do not spring directly from the rich soil of human consciousness, intuition, and experience, as illuminated by the natural philosophy of organism. Our overarching thesis thus remains intact.
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    3 months ago
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