Threesology Research Journal
Artificial Intelligence and 3sology (56K)

AI and 3sology pages:

Artificial Intelligence and 3sology Introduction
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The binary code of computers is like the ambivalence of mind in ancient Greece and the mind-body dualism examined by Descartes and others. An over-valued usage of a binary code which forces people into a given way of thinking (variously noted by those who come late to the use of computers and remark how strange it is that one's mind is forced into complying with its dictates of organization)... thus perpetrating a mentality akin to an irrationality. Hence, the computer age has ushered in its own kind of madness of duality having to contend with a large population whose orientations are not entrapped by the required modes and mannerisms of computer usage. This no doubt in part explains the wide-spread circumstance that can be describe the present as an "Age of Irrationality". It is an idea that has importance, particularly if its presence is accepted... it must formulate a necessary appreciation of trying to develop an AI in such an atmosphere. The "personality" of such an AI system may no doubt incorporate such an irrationality, out of which the notion of "self" and its accompanying ideas are to be developed. It is an old binary approach to self analysis, that Sigmund Freud applied the three-patterned model of Id- Ego- Superego to... though both are artificialized constructs (symbolic characterizations) of basic brain patterns.

The way of ideas and the self

Two important themes in the history of modern philosophy can be traced to Descartes. The first, called “the way of ideas,” represents the attempt in epistemology to provide a foundation for our knowledge of the external world (as well as our knowledge of the past and of other minds) in the mental experiences of the individual. The Cartesian theory of knowledge through representative ideas is rooted in Galileo's distinction between real, or primary, properties of material bodies—such as size, shape, position, and motion or rest—which were thought to exist in bodies themselves, and sensible, or secondary, properties—such as colours, tactile feelings, sounds, odours, and tastes—which were thought to exist only in the mind. As Descartes assumes in his theory of light and as Locke later argued, secondary properties of bodies do not exist in bodies themselves but are the result of the interaction of distinctive arrangements of primary properties with the human sense organs. According to Locke, however, our sensible ideas of the size, shape, position, and motion or rest of particular bodies resemble their corresponding primary properties and so can be a source of knowledge about them. Nevertheless, against this claim it is still possible to raise the skeptical objection that, because mental and material substances are radically distinct, and because all ideas are mental, no idea, not even an idea of a primary property, can resemble a material object.

...Berkeley's phenomenalism is one heroic solution to this skeptical problem: Bodies are known directly simply because bodies are nothing more than bundles of sensible ideas. Another response, also heroic, is that of the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711–76), who accepted skeptical conclusions and contented himself with attempting to explain the psychological origins of our unjustifiable belief in an external world, in the continuity of past and future, and in an enduring “self” that is the unchanging subject of mental experience. Early in the 20th century, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) and his student the Austrian-born Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), as well as the German founders of logical positivism Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) and Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970), construed aspects of the physical world as “logical constructions” of sensible ideas, which they called “sense data.” The German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859–1939) attempted to establish a science of sensible ideas, which he called phenomenology. Later in the century, Russell, following the American pragmatist philosopher and psychologist William James (1842–1910), suggested that both mind and matter could be constructed out of what he called “neutral monads.” All of these systems can be considered steps along the Cartesian way of ideas.

The second theme to derive from Descartes is an emphasis on the nature of the self, or ego. The roots of this idea extend back to the Neoplatonic philosophy of St. Augustine (354–430), who argued that when one is thinking, one necessarily exists. The idea also was central to the developmental idealism of the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770–1831), who conceived of human history as the gradual coming to consciousness of a World Soul. The metaphysics of Martin Heidegger (1889–1976), with its focus on the being of the self, or Dasein, strongly influenced the existentialism of the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), who argued that each individual chooses his own nature. Sartre also upheld the Cartesian position that the self is essentially conscious by rejecting the theory of the unconscious proposed by the Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856–1939).

Contemporary Influences

Some aspects of Cartesian metaphysics and epistemology were still strongly defended in the 20th century. The American linguist Noam Chomsky, for example, has argued that human beings are born with an innate knowledge of the underlying structures of all learnable languages, even of languages that have never been spoken. The Nobel Prize-winning Australian physiologist John C. Eccles (1903–97) and the British primatologist Wilfred E. Le Gros Clark (1895–1971) developed theories of the mind as a nonmaterial entity. Similarly, Eccles and the Austrian-born British philosopher Karl Popper (1902–94) advocated a species of mind-matter dualism, though their tripartite division of reality into matter, mind, and ideas is perhaps more Platonic than Cartesian.

One of the strongest contemporary attacks on traditional Cartesian dualism is that of the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle (1900–76). In The Concept of Mind (1949), Ryle dismisses the Cartesian view as the fallacy of “the ghost in the machine,” arguing that the mind—the ghost—is really just the intelligent behaviour of the body. A different criticism has been advanced by the American pragmatist Richard Rorty (1931–2007), who claims (in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature [1979] and other works) that the Cartesian demand for certain knowledge of an objectively existing world through representative ideas is a holdover from the mistaken quest for God. That is, whereas certain knowledge of God's existence may be necessary for salvation, to seek certainty in science and in the ordinary affairs of life is both hopeless and unnecessary. Philosophy in the Cartesian tradition, Rorty contends, is the 20th century's substitute for theology and should, like the concept of God, be gently laid to rest.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the nature of consciousness became a topic of particular interest to philosophers and neuroscientists. The problems faced by these researchers were essentially the same as those encountered by all philosophers since Descartes who have attempted to understand the nature of the mind. Although the seat of consciousness is universally accepted to be the central nervous system, and in particular the brain, it seems impossible that a material object like the brain could give rise to the mental experiences that human beings have when they are said to be conscious. In other words, it seems impossible to give an account of these experiences that, on the one hand, captures what they are really like for human beings and, on the other, is consistent with the strictly physical vocabulary of the scientific theories in terms of which the brain is understood.

Some philosophers have responded to this problem in a manner reminiscent of Descartes, who argued that, although mind-body interaction seems to be impossible, human beings experience it, and God can make it happen. The British philosopher Colin McGinn, for example, is among a group of thinkers, known as “mysterians,” who claim that, although we know that the conscious mind is nothing more than the brain, it is simply beyond the conceptual apparatus of human beings to understand how this can be the case. Other philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett and Paul Churchland, have made valiant attempts to develop strictly materialist accounts of consciousness, but their efforts so far have not been widely accepted. A third line of response is represented by the American philosopher John Searle, who argues that the root of the problem is the dichotomy between the old Cartesian concepts of mind and matter, which he claims are both inherently incompatible and outmoded, given modern physics. Searle believes that consciousness, like digestion, is a biological phenomenon (albeit a very complex one) that can in principle be fully explained in scientific terms.

Richard A. Watson

Source: "Cartesianism." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2013.

(Gilbert) Ryle and analytical behaviourism

Some irreferentialist philosophers thought that something more systematic and substantial could be said, and they advocated a program for actually defining the mental in behavioral terms. Partly influenced by Wittgenstein, the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle (1900–76) tried to “exorcize” what he called the “ghost in the machine” by showing that mental terms function in language as abbreviations of dispositions to overt bodily behaviour, rather in the way that the term solubility, as applied to salt, might be said to refer to the disposition of salt to dissolve when placed in water in normal circumstances. For example, the belief that God exists might be regarded as a disposition to answer “yes” to the question “Does God exist?”

A particularly influential proposal of this sort was the Turing test for intelligence, originally developed by the British logician who first conceived of the modern computer, Alan Turing (1912–52). According to Turing, a machine should count as intelligent if its teletyped answers to teletyped questions cannot be distinguished from the teletyped answers of a normal human being. Other, more sophisticated behavioral analyses were proposed by philosophers such as Ryle and by psychologists such as Clark L. Hull (1884–1952).

This approach to mental vocabulary, which came to be called “analytical behaviourism,” did not meet with great success. It is not hard to think of cases of creatures who might act exactly as though they were in pain, for example, but who actually were not: consider expert actors or brainless human bodies wired to be remotely controlled. Indeed, one thing such examples show is that mental states are simply not so closely tied to behaviour; typically, they issue in behaviour only in combination with other mental states. Thus, beliefs issue in behaviour only in conjunction with desires and attention, which in turn issue in behaviour only in conjunction with beliefs. It is precisely because an actor has different motivations from a normal person that he can behave as though he is in pain without actually being so. And it is because a person believes that he should be stoical that he can be in excruciating pain but not behave as though he is.

It is important to note that the Turing test is a particularly poor behaviourist test; the restriction to teletyped interactions means that one must ignore how the machine would respond in other sorts of ways to other sorts of stimuli. But intelligence arguably requires not only the ability to converse but the ability to integrate the content of language into the rest of one's psychology—for example, to recognize objects and to engage in practical reasoning, modifying one's behaviour in the light of changes in one's beliefs and preferences. Indeed, it is important to distinguish the Turing test from the much more serious and deeper ideas that Turing proposed about the construction of a computer; these ideas involved an account not merely of a system's behaviour but of how that behaviour might be produced internally. Ironically enough, Turing's proposals about machines were instances not of behaviourism but of precisely the kind of view of internal processes that behaviourists were eager to avoid.

Source: "Mind, Philosophy of." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2013.

Heidegger (29K)

Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology

Martin Heidegger, one of Germany's foremost philosophers of the first half of the 20th century, was inspired to philosophy through Brentano's work Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung des Seienden nach Aristoteles (1862; On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle). While he was still studying theology, from 1910 to 1911, Heidegger encountered Husserl's Logische Untersuchungen. From then on he pursued the course of phenomenology with the greatest interest, and from 1916 he belonged to the narrow circle of students and followers of the movement. The typical character of the phenomenological intuition was at that time the focus of Husserl's seminar exercises. To be sure, there appeared very early a difference between Husserl and Heidegger. Discussing and absorbing the works of the important philosophers in the history of metaphysics was, for Heidegger, an indispensable task, whereas Husserl repeatedly stressed the significance of a radically new beginning and—with few exceptions (among them Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, and Kant)—wished to bracket the history of philosophy.

Heidegger's basic work, Sein und Zeit (1927; Being and Time), which was dedicated to Husserl, strongly acknowledged that its author was indebted to phenomenology. In it, phenomenology was understood as a methodological concept—a concept that was conceived by Heidegger in an original way and resulted from his questioning back to the meanings of the Greek concepts of phainomenon and logos. Phainomenon is “that which shows itself from itself,” but together with the concept of logos it means “to let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself.” This conception of phenomenology, which relied more on Aristotle than on Husserl, constituted a change that was later to lead to an estrangement between Husserl and Heidegger. For in Sein und Zeit there is no longer a phenomenological reduction, a transcendental ego, or an intuition of essences in Husserl's sense. Heidegger's new beginning was, at the same time, a resumption of the basic question of philosophy: that concerning the meaning (Sinn) of Being. His manner of questioning can be defined as hermeneutical in that it proceeds from the interpretation of the human situation. What he thematized is, thus, the explanation of what is already understood.

At the heart of Sein und Zeit lies Heidegger's analysis of the one (the human individual) who asks the question—who is capable of asking the question—concerning Being, who precisely through this capability occupies a privileged position in regard to all other beings—viz., that of Dasein (literally, “being there”). By conceiving of Dasein as being-in-the-world, Heidegger made the ancient problem concerning the relationship between subject and object superfluous. The basic structures of Dasein are primordial moodness (Befindlichkeit), understanding (Verstehen), and logos (Rede). These structures are, in turn, founded in the temporalization of Dasein, from which future, having-been (past), and present originate. The two basic possibilities of human existing (from the Latin ex and sistere, “standing out from”) are those in which Dasein either comes to its self (called authenticity) or loses itself (called inauthenticity); Dasein is inauthentic, for example, when it lets the possibilities of the choice for its own “ek-sisting” be given to it by others instead of deciding for itself. Heidegger's concept of care (Sorge, cura) has nothing to do with distress (Bekümmernis) but includes the unity of the articulated moments of humanity's being-in-the-world.

The hermeneutic character of Heidegger's thought manifested itself also in his interpretation of poetry, in which he discovered a congenial spirit in Friedrich Hölderlin, one of Germany's greater poets, of whose poetry he inaugurated a completely new interpretation; but it manifested itself equally well in his interpretation of metaphysics, which Heidegger tried to envision as an occurrence determined by the forgottenness of Being, an occurrence in the centre of which humanity finds itself and of which the clearest manifestation is to be found in “technicity,” the modern attempt to dominate the Earth by controlling beings that are considered as objects.

The concept of transcendental consciousness, which was central for Husserl, is not found in Heidegger—which clearly shows how Heidegger, in Sein und Zeit, had already dissociated himself from Husserl's phenomenology.

Jean Paul Sartre (36K)

One of the first French authors to become familiar with Husserl's philosophy was Emmanuel Lévinas, a pluralistic personalist, who combined ideas from Husserl and Heidegger in a very personal way. Similarly, Jean-Paul Sartre, the leading existentialist of France, took his point of departure from the philosophies of Husserl and Heidegger. His first works, L'Imagination (1936; Imagination: A Psychological Critique) and L'Imaginaire: Psychologie phénoménologique de l'imagination (1940; The Psychology of Imagination), remain completely within the context of Husserl's analyses of consciousness. Sartre explains the distinction between perceptual and imaginative consciousness with the help of Husserl's concept of intentionality, and he frequently employs the method of ideation (Wesensschau).

In L'Être et le néant (1943; Being and Nothingness), an essay on phenomenological ontology, it is obvious that Sartre borrowed from Heidegger. Some passages from Heidegger's Was ist Metaphysik? (1929; What Is Metaphysics?), in fact, are copied literally. The meaning of nothingness, which Heidegger in this lecture made the theme of his investigations, became for Sartre the guiding question. Sartre departs from Heidegger's analytic of Dasein and introduces the position of consciousness (which Heidegger had overcome).

The distinction between being-in-itself (en-soi) and being-for-itself (pour-soi) pervades the entire investigation. The in-itself is the opaque, matter-like substance that remains the same, whereas the for-itself is consciousness permeated by nothingness. The influence of Hegel becomes apparent when the author tries to interpret everything in a dialectical way—i.e., through a tension of opposites. The dialectic of humans' being-with-one-another is central: thus, seeing and being-seen correspond to dominating and being-dominated. The basic characteristic of being-for-itself is bad faith (mauvaise foi), which cannot be overcome because facticity (being-already) and transcendence (being-able-to-be) cannot be combined.

The phenomenological character of Sartre's analyses of consciousness consists in the way in which he elucidates certain modes of behaviour: love, hatred, sadism, masochism, and indifference. Although Sartre sees and describes these forms of behaviour strikingly and precisely, he limits himself to those modes that fit his philosophical interpretation. The significance of psychology, recognized by Husserl, emerges again in Sartre and leads to a demand for an existential psychoanalysis.

Sartre's definition of “human” as a being of possibilities that finds or loses itself in the choice that it makes in regard to itself refers to Heidegger's definition of Dasein as a being that has to materialize itself. For Sartre, freedom is the basic characteristic of humanity; thus, Sartre belongs to the tradition of the great French moralist philosophers.

(Phenomenology is) a philosophical movement originating in the 20th century, the primary objective of which is the direct investigation and description of phenomena as consciously experienced, without theories about their causal explanation and as free as possible from unexamined preconceptions and presuppositions. The word itself is much older, however, going back at least to the 18th century, when the Swiss-German mathematician and philosopher Johann Heinrich Lambert applied it to that part of his theory of knowledge that distinguishes truth from illusion and error. In the 19th century the word became associated chiefly with the Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807; Phenomenology of Mind), by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who traced the development of the human spirit from mere sense experience to “absolute knowledge.” The so-called phenomenological movement did not get under way, however, until early in the 20th century. But even this new phenomenology included so many varieties that a comprehensive characterization of the subject requires their consideration.

Characteristics of Phenomenology

Edmund Husserl (32K)

In view of the spectrum of phenomenologies that have issued directly or indirectly from the original work of the Austrian-born German philosopher Edmund Husserl, it is not easy to find a common denominator for such a movement beyond its common source. But similar situations occur in other philosophical as well as nonphilosophical movements.

Phenomenology was not founded; it grew. Its fountainhead was Husserl, who held professorships at Göttingen and Freiburg im Breisgau and who wrote Die Idee der Phänomenologie (The Idea of Phenomenology) in 1906. Yet, even for Husserl, the conception of phenomenology as a new method destined to supply a new foundation for both philosophy and science developed only gradually and kept changing to the very end of his career. Trained as a mathematician, Husserl was attracted to philosophy by Brentano, whose descriptive psychology seemed to offer a solid basis for a scientific philosophy. The concept of intentionality, the directedness of the consciousness toward an object, which is a basic concept in phenomenology, was already present in Brentano's Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkte (1874): “And thus we can define psychic phenomena by saying that they are those phenomena which, precisely as intentional, contain an object in themselves.” Brentano dissociated himself here from Sir William Hamilton, known for his philosophy of the “unconditioned,” who had attributed the character of intentionality to the realms of thought and desire only, to the exclusion of that of feeling.

What a philosopher must examine is the relationship between consciousness and Being; and in doing so, he must realize that from the standpoint of epistemology, Being is accessible to him only as a correlate of conscious acts. He must thus pay careful attention to what occurs in these acts. This can be done only by a science that tries to understand the very essence of consciousness; and this is the task that phenomenology has set for itself. Because clarification of the various types of objects must follow from the basic modes of consciousness, Husserl's thought remained close to psychology. In contradistinction to what is the case in psychology, however, in phenomenology consciousness is thematized in a very special and definite way—viz., just insofar as consciousness is the locus in which every manner of constituting and founding meaning must take place. In human intuition, conscious occurrences must be given immediately in order to avoid introducing at the same time certain interpretations. The nature of such processes as perception, representation, imagination, judgment, and feeling must be grasped in immediate self-givenness. The call “To the things themselves” is not a demand for realism, because the things at stake are the acts of consciousness and the objective entities that get constituted in them: these things form the realm of what Husserl calls the phenomena.

Thus, the objects of phenomenology are “absolute data grasped in pure, immanent intuition,” and its goal is to discover the essential structures of the acts (noesis) and the objective entities that correspond to them (noema).

[H.O.B. note: In terms of an AI structure, the above notion has to be inverted... "Immanent intuition grasped in pure absolute data". the mental processes of the brain must be mapped in order to identify pits, vistas, and undiscovered territories.]

Essential features and variations

Although, as seen from Husserl's last perspective, all departures from his own views could appear only as heresies, a more generous assessment will show that all those who consider themselves phenomenologists subscribe, for instance, to his watchword, Zu den Sachen selbst (“To the things themselves”), by which they meant the taking of a fresh approach to concretely experienced phenomena—an approach as free as possible from conceptual presuppositions—and the attempt to describe them as faithfully as possible. Moreover, most adherents to phenomenology hold that it is possible to obtain insights into the essential structures and the essential relationships of these phenomena on the basis of a careful study of concrete examples supplied by experience or imagination and by a systematic variation of these examples in imagination. Some phenomenologists also stress the need for studying the ways in which the phenomena appear in object-directed, or “intentional,” consciousness.

Beyond this merely static aspect of appearance, some also want to investigate its genetic aspect, exploring, for instance, how the phenomenon intended—for example, a book—shapes (“constitutes”) itself in the typical unfolding of experience. Husserl himself believed that such studies require a previous suspension of belief (“epoche”) in the reality of these phenomena, whereas others consider it not indispensable but helpful. Finally, in existential phenomenology, the meanings of certain phenomena (such as anxiety) are explored by a special interpretive (“hermeneutic”) phenomenology, the methodology of which needs further clarification.

Phenomenology in other disciplines

Of greater significance is the role of phenomenology outside philosophy proper in stimulating or reinforcing phenomenological tendencies in such fields as mathematics and the biological sciences. Much stronger was its impact on psychology, in which Brentano and the German philosopher and theoretical psychologist Carl Stumpf had prepared the ground and in which the American psychologist William James, the Würzburg school, and the Gestalt psychologists had worked along parallel lines. But phenomenology probably made its strongest contribution in the field of psychopathology (see also mental disorder), in which the German existentialist Karl Jaspers stressed the importance of phenomenological exploration of a patient's subjective experience. Jaspers was followed by the Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and several others. The phenomenological strand was also very pronounced in American existential psychiatry and affected sociology, history, and the study of religion.


It remains to be seen whether phenomenology can make solid contributions to philosophical knowledge. To this end, it needs to develop rigorous standards, which were not always observed by some of its most brilliant practitioners, such as Scheler, and which were likely to be violated in a philosophy the ultimate appeal of which had to be made to intuitive verification. With this proviso, phenomenology may well be qualified not only to become a bridge for better international communication in philosophy but also to shed new light on philosophical problems old and new, to reclaim for philosophy parts of the human quotidian world that have been abandoned by science as too private and too subjective, and, finally, to give access to layers of human experience unprobed in everyday living, thus providing deeper foundations for both science and life.

Walter Biemel
Source: "Phenomenology." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2013.

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