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An Intractable Problem

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Posted by Aurino Souza on July 24, 2001 15:01:03 UTC

Even though Dick is an idiot who seems to take sadistic pleasure in gratuitously offending people, I do think he asks an important, fundamental question which I haven't seen anyone address. Most people don't even seem to understand the question, although I suppose that's more related to Dick's uncivilized attitude than to the difficulty of the question itself.

The problem is, how did we come to have a mental model of the world when we had nothing to start with? If you really think about it, it's a very difficult problem. Suppose there was no life on the planet and suddenly a conscious being is created out of nothing. How could he possibly understand his environment if he didn't know anything, anything at all about anything at all?

Harv said, it didn't happen overnight, it took billions of years of evolution, which is true but it's not an acceptable answer. Saying that it took a very long time doesn't say anything at all about how the problem can be solved, it's just a statement that if it was done it can be done. But the question still remains, how can it be done?

I don't know how it can be done. I know it can be done because it has been done, but it's a complete mystery to me how you can build knowledge without some kind of a priori knowledge, some resting ground upon which to build our intellectual edifice. Is it possible that I'm the only one who understands the fundamental importance of this seemingly trivial question?

(if anyone is seriously interested in discussing this, I'd suggest ignoring Dick's posts if he bothers replying, because we already know what his arguments always lead to. Let's see if we can get a healthy plant from a rotten seed)

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