If reason exists without deliberation, it cannot be uniquely human

#1
https://aeon.co/ideas/if-reason-exists-w...uely-human

EXCERPT: . . . Most philosophers and scientists who see reason as some sort of inferential ability involving abstract representations will allow that experiments with ‘higher’ animals can yield evidence of some low-level reason-like faculty: for example when apes hide stones in anticipation of future conflicts. But researchers almost always draw the lower limit for such ability in a way that excludes species whose behaviour is not observably similar to ours. The search for reason beyond the bounds of the human species always ends up as a search for beings that remind us of ourselves.

But what if reason is not so much an inferential ability, as simply the power to do the right thing in the right circumstances? Furthermore, what if this power flows automatically, from simply being the sort of creature one is? This is, more or less, the view of the 16th-century diplomat Girolamo Rorario [...] Rorario is representative of a little-known but venerable tradition of thought, extending back to Plutarch, that not only holds that reason is natural, but insists that reason is very widespread in nature indeed.

Rorario’s core idea is that human deliberation – the period of hesitancy when we survey our various options and eventually select what appears to be the best of them – far from being an advantage over other beings, is in fact a mark of our inferiority. Animals and plants do not hesitate. They cut right to the chase and, to the extent that they do not examine alternative options in order to choose among them, they are in a sense incapable of being wrong.

This is not to say that they are never foiled, that gazelles always take a path in fleeing the lion that assures their escape, or that vines always creep in the direction that will give them the most sunlight. It is just that, when they are foiled, this cannot be because they failed in their deliberation, since they do not deliberate. And still they seem to be doing just fine for themselves, pursuing their species-specific ends.

Potentially, it’s not just living beings that fall under the scope of this alternative interpretation of reason as the power to move directly to action, rather than the power of making the correct inference. For everything in nature also just does what it does, simply and without deliberation, by virtue of the fact that everything in nature is bound by the same physical laws. Nature just keeps working smoothly. It never, ever breaks down.

Nature itself is a rational order, on this alternative view, both as a whole and in any of its subdomains. Reason is everywhere, with human reason being only an instantiation or reflection, within a very tiny subdomain, of the universal reason that informs the natural world. The regularities of the motions of the heavens (to speak with the ancients) or the laws governing the orbits of the planets (to speak with the moderns) are not there in place of reason. Rather, these regularities or laws are the reflection ‘out there’ in the world of what human thought is ‘in here’ inside our minds.

If such a view seems irretrievably prescientific, note that among the things we find out there in the world are not just natural systems such as galaxies and tidepools, but also artificial systems such as reckoning machines and smartphones... (MORE - details)
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#2
From the link given by CC [ https://aeon.co/ideas/if-reason-exists-w...uely-human ]
Quote:Animals and plants do not hesitate. They cut right to the chase and, to the extent that they do not examine alternative options in order to choose among them,...

Apparently this was, more or less, the view of the 16th-century diplomat Girolamo Rorario,

We may now have more evidence than was available 500 years ago.

I don't know what this shows about animal intelligence but it is fun.
Rat chases cat:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDfaQ-NUeLM
Locally also slightly worrying.
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#3
(May 25, 2019 11:24 PM)confused2 Wrote: I don't know what this shows about animal intelligence but it is fun.
Rat chases cat:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDfaQ-NUeLM
Locally also slightly worrying.


Great Hanna-Barbera's totem! Either cats and vermin are taking on the character of their animated cartoon versions, or that rat is one of Ben's descendants. A line of rodents who have a Caesar/Napoleonic thing going on psychologically. (Williard)
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#4
(May 25, 2019 11:24 PM)confused2 Wrote: From the link given by CC [ https://aeon.co/ideas/if-reason-exists-w...uely-human ]
Quote:Animals and plants do not hesitate. They cut right to the chase and, to the extent that they do not examine alternative options in order to choose among them,...

Apparently this was, more or less, the view of the 16th-century diplomat Girolamo Rorario,

We may now have more evidence than was available 500 years ago.


"If" slash "when" their actions aren't dictated immediately by instinct (native pre-programming which doesn't introduce and evaluate options), animals would seemingly do things by trial and error. Which also pertains to how early humans developed/achieved the best methods for doing things in their primeval situations (but maybe only quasi-random trial and error).

"Reason" entails calculated extended procedure rather than either immediate action from inborn behavior or an indulging in arbitrary experimentation. One could assert a new meaning (of immediate action) that uses the same label, but thereby one would be talking about something different and thus actually being irrational if still treating the two as the same simply because they employ the same word. (An embodied artificial intelligence's response or conclusion might seem "immediate", but it would have simply went through procedure far faster than brains.)

At its most advanced, reason is thinking that is governed by invented preset form and established concepts (or a template of principles for manipulating inserted, contingent content to "properly" reach a result). Consistency or maintenance throughout the process of the established, set identities (or avoidance of contradiction) might be one global fundamental tenet across cultures and varieties of expertise.

By virtue of such a "plan for thought operation" being devised/fabricated and adopted by _X_ individual or social group, that also seems to rule out feral animals that are limited in communication and understanding qualifying for "reasoning".

Nature abroad is arguably "regulated". But that doesn't in itself equate to management by intellectual forms behind the scenes.

Evolution is policed by the existing genetic structure of an organism, which even mutations must play-off of.

The non-biological cosmos at large and its substances/forces are limited by their applicable properties, actions, and tendencies which humans abstract and describe as "laws", mathematical formulae, etc (the supposed "rationality" and coherence of the world). Some experts then reverse that and treat the latter as if they are generative principles also guiding concrete events, and a manner of existence/source that is prior-in-rank to the phenomenal be-ing of the original empirical affairs which those intellectual entities were inferred, generalized, extrapolated from.

"Deliberation" does entail careful consideration without haste, but not necessarily commitment to following a consensus system. Or even if the latter is the case, it could be thought or discussion conforming to a goofy dogma which only a particular group and gathered assembly or workshop has a contract with. If it there is a gathering of "professionals" from different backgrounds carrying-out the "deliberation" with only loose rules of conduct managing the event, they might be less likely to be coordinated by allegiance to in-common scheme of operation. Much at odds with each other -- herky jerky spastic reasoning to a result, at best.
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#5
CC Wrote:By virtue of such a "plan for thought operation" being devised/fabricated and adopted by _X_ individual or social group, that also seems to rule out feral animals that are limited in communication and understanding qualifying for "reasoning".

OP Wrote:The search for reason beyond the bounds of the human species always ends up as a search for beings that remind us of ourselves.
We like to forget that we can date humans by the spear points they used to within about 10,000 years [citation needed]. During the 10,000 years it took humans to invent and adopt a noticeably different arrowhead there would be birds evolving (by blind evolution) different and better beaks for doing whatever it was they did before. What we have now is a written and transferable culture. If your definition of reasoning presupposes a written and transferable culture then all current animals (including humans until very recently) were/are incapable of reasoning,
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#6
(May 29, 2019 01:47 AM)confused2 Wrote:
CC Wrote:[context added in red] "Reason" entails calculated extended procedure rather than either immediate action from inborn behavior or an indulging in arbitrary experimentation. [...] At its most advanced, reason is thinking that is governed by invented preset form and established concepts (or a template of principles for manipulating inserted, contingent content to "properly" reach a result). Consistency or maintenance throughout the process of the established, set identities (or avoidance of contradiction) might be one global fundamental tenet across cultures and varieties of expertise.

By virtue of such a "plan for thought operation" being devised/fabricated and adopted by _X_ individual or social group, that also seems to rule out feral animals that are limited in communication and understanding qualifying for "reasoning".

OP Wrote:The search for reason beyond the bounds of the human species always ends up as a search for beings that remind us of ourselves.
We like to forget that we can date humans by the spear points they used to within about 10,000 years [citation needed]. During the 10,000 years it took humans to invent and adopt a noticeably different arrowhead there would be birds evolving (by blind evolution) different and better beaks for doing whatever it was they did before. What we have now is a written and transferable culture. If your definition of reasoning presupposes a written and transferable culture then all current animals (including humans until very recently) were/are incapable of reasoning,


Depends upon how far into the past the category of "human" is allowed to subsume our line of ancestors. "Modern humans" were already there from the start as far as culture and transference of practices and skills. Setting aside even claims of apes having culture without conceptual awareness of it... Anthropologists surely have some agreement that threadbare culture arose with homo erectus, which might potentially also be attributed to any archaic humans they were synchronic with well over a half million years ago. "The cultural developments of Homo erectus essentially began a new phase of our evolution--one in which natural selection was altered by cultural inventions." (Early Human Culture)

But like a trip to the Moon perhaps requiring the introduction of rockets, the advent of rockets doesn't entail trips to the Moon. The latter is just one possible outcome eventually. Similarly, culture and transference of practices and skills doesn't mean the organisms sporting such will regulate their thinking and beliefs and any creativity on their part in a consistent, regulated or systematic, and self-critical manner. Apart from conforming to tribal dogmas, which may internally contradict themselves in areas or not hang together well very intellectually.

That's why I at least allowed that the earliest humans might have very slowly progressed over large chunks of generations in a quasi-random trial and error manner (rather than wholly arbitrary), since they surely had some handed-down guidelines that would constrain the degree of randomness.

Quote:"If" slash "when" their actions aren't dictated immediately by instinct (native pre-programming which doesn't introduce and evaluate options), animals would seemingly do things by trial and error. Which also pertains to how early humans developed/achieved the best methods for doing things in their primeval situations (but maybe only quasi-random trial and error).
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#7
From https://sites.google.com/site/sf11beaver...titledpost

Quote:...The young beavers were kept apart from the adults so that they would have no way to learn the behavior of dam building in response to the sound of flowing water. The results of his experiment were quite amazing. He discovered that the young beavers, who had never seen or built a dam before, built a similar dam to the adult beavers on their first try. He further investigated whether it was the sight of flowing water that triggered this dam building behavior or if it was sound that triggered it. The results of this were, again, astounding. Beavers’ dam building instinct was triggered by merely the sound of flowing water, not the sight. In one of his experiments, a beaver built a dam next to a speaker in a dry tank that was playing the sound of flowing water. ...
I must admit this isn't what I wanted to find when I looked for it. Is it possible early beavers were quite clever and knew why they were building dams? The little beavers wouldn't have known what to do unless shown. Over (possibly) millions of years the beavers that were most highly tuned to the sound of running water were the most successful to the point where (now) they have entirely forgotten why they are building dams - they don't even need to know - they just do their thing to stop the sound of running water and a dam happens naturally. Point being that building dams was a beaver cultural thing for thousands (millions) of years before they got to the present 'instinctive' stage. Demonstrations of instinctive behaviour aren't proof of absence of reasoned behaviour. (Sounded a bit Synish there - just a cultural thing.)
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#8
(May 30, 2019 08:59 PM)confused2 Wrote: From https://sites.google.com/site/sf11beaver...titledpost

Quote:...The young beavers were kept apart from the adults so that they would have no way to learn the behavior of dam building in response to the sound of flowing water. The results of his experiment were quite amazing. He discovered that the young beavers, who had never seen or built a dam before, built a similar dam to the adult beavers on their first try. He further investigated whether it was the sight of flowing water that triggered this dam building behavior or if it was sound that triggered it. The results of this were, again, astounding. Beavers’ dam building instinct was triggered by merely the sound of flowing water, not the sight. In one of his experiments, a beaver built a dam next to a speaker in a dry tank that was playing the sound of flowing water. ...
I must admit this isn't what I wanted to find when I looked for it. Is it possible early beavers were quite clever and knew why they were building dams? The little beavers wouldn't have known what to do unless shown. Over (possibly) millions of years the beavers that were most highly tuned to the sound of running water were the most successful to the point where (now) they have entirely forgotten why they are building dams - they don't even need to know - they just do their thing to stop the sound of running water and a dam happens naturally. Point being that building dams was a beaver cultural thing for thousands (millions) of years before they got to the present 'instinctive' stage. Demonstrations of instinctive behaviour aren't proof of absence of reasoned behaviour. (Sounded a bit Synish there - just a cultural thing.)


I should have re-titled this thread "Marklar-ism", but that insight or broader apprehension of what the article was proposing just wasn't there in the beginning. Where everything is advocated to be called marklar, so that a word no longer serves its original function of making a distinction (becomes useless via its new-found universality). "Marklar" just being a placeholder for whichever selected word (like reasoning).

Speaking of "Syne-ism"... It on the other hand, isn't anything like that. Possibly more like the overly simplistic, figurative dialogue between person Zee and person Zay below. Not just involving strict semantic inversion -- it comes at you from oblique and right-angles, too. (And is certainly nothing new or purely locally indigenous, as the label might suggest.)

ZEE: "Red."

ZAY: "Green."

ZEE: "No. Red."

ZAY: "Green."

ZEE: "Meh. Let's try something else. Up."

ZAY: "Down."

ZEE: "No. Up."

ZAY: "Down."

ZEE: (exasperated sound.) "Okay. How about cold."

ZAY: "Hot."

The general theme of this communication attempt continues for two weeks. Like the endless, nested iterations of a fractal where the specific details will vary along the way but the overall formulaic pattern monotonously continues. Eventually person Zee realizes he/she is futilely inputting the same hope of breakthrough for each strategy attempt while expecting different results. Finally recognizing the halting problem, Zee arbitrarily wrenches from the "going nowhere" pathology of the repetitious process. Will Zee and others still to be erratically beckoned to the spiral stairway descending into the bottomless abyss, or eventually evolve resistance -- not even bothering to venture the edge? Stay tuned to SBN for more wearisome episodes over the ensuing weeks to find out. (Sisyphean Broadcasting Network)
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#9
Wow, I'm really living rent-free in your heads. I don't post much for a few days and you guys just spontaneously start talking about me.

And CC doesn't even realize that her example is completely reversible, and can equally apply to either side of such an interaction.
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#10
While waiting for SBN to bear fruit might be a good time to take time out to explain the background to our ongoing association with rats.

Many years ago Mrs C2 drew my attention to the phenomenon of occasional indoor rain - most especially in the kitchen. Being both helpful and resourceful I placed a bowl under the source of the rain and considered the matter dealt with. Some time later Mrs C2 raised a second ticket making the point that while stepping over the bowl she was occasionally struck by the indoor rain which was subject of the original complaint. I decided it was time to consult wise and experienced house builders and repairers. Much attention was given to the fact that the bowl never needed emptying - the rate of evaporation exceeded the rate at which the occasional rain filled the bowl and a strategy emerged. To solve the problem it was both necessary and sufficient to make a bowl sized hole in the wall above the kitchen, place the bowl in the wall and plaster over.  

To be continued...
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