The Soul and Plato

What is the soul and how does it work? Is your soul exploited by the State through the Noble Lie?

Plato (429—327 BCE) serves as the backbone of Western civilization and philosophy–recounting and preserving the theories of his contemporaries, as well as his own. Socrates (469—399 BCE), having never written a surviving word himself, is captured by Plato and acts as his mouthpiece. Though the duo seem inseparable, Plato credits Socrates as the original source of thought and almost all the philosophical work is presented by or through him.

Socrates is a proponent of ante rem dualism; presuming a prior existence of the soul [i.e., spirit / mind / psyche] and its separation from the body. The soul is a non-composite substance that is indescribable and existed among the Forms (partaking and understanding of their true / necessary perfections) prior to becoming, or existing through its encapsulation of the sensible body; the soul creating a bridge between the reasonable and empirical.

The Challenge of AI

The greatest challenge to General Artificial Intelligence (GAI) is human intelligence.

We as humans would be the GAI’s creator and its dependency lies in our ability to first understand our own intelligence—a field of study that is improving, but has yet provided answers to the most glaring questions. Once, and if, the questions of thinking, consciousness, and intelligence are answered, we’d then need the technical skill of developing that through duplication or imitation.

With that said, I believe human-compatible GAI is one day possible but it’s a long time coming. This isn’t so much of an issue of hardware or processing power, but due to how little we know about the human brain and how that lump of gray translates into a personality (“I” or consciousness) and intelligence.

The Soul and Parmenides

Things are One and Being is truth.

The pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, who is thought to have been born between 540 and 515 BCE (dates are contested between Plato and Diogenes) is often dubbed “the father of metaphysics” and the first noted dualist. As the first a priori philosopher, Parmenides developed the modality of necessity, positing that true knowledge is obtained by reason alone, and largely rejecting a posteriori knowledge, or sense experience, due to the senses being misleading or causing false judgement.

In Parmenides’ poem, On Nature, he states that all knowledge should begin with “it is” and proceeds with reasonable deductions to explain being. This mental exercise yields certainty of truth (way of truth), and therefore is superior to empirical knowledge that can only offer a high probability of truth (way of seeming).

AI and the replicant mind

Is our understanding of intelligence anthropomorphic? How can we simulate the human mind when we can't even define it?

The Turing Test, as currently understood, is simply this: if a computer can perform in such a way that an expert cannot distinguish its performance from that of a human, then it is said that the computer also has that ability. So, the goal for programmers seeking to design intelligent computers is to design programs that will simulate human cognition in such a way as to pass the Turing Test.

However, Searle counters that a computer passing the Turning Test isn’t an actual intelligence and that the computer wouldn’t truly “understand” what it is doing, rather the computer would only be imitating / simulating believable human behavior. Under Turing’s test, even if the computer mirrored human behavior flawlessly, Searle posits that the computer still wouldn’t “really know” what, why, or how it came to the conclusions or responses that it did, or attribute any meaning to them—he demonstrates this in his famous example of The Chinese Room.

Heraclitus world fire

Embrace change wholeheartedly, and accept contradiction. Knowing these words–and understanding them–are two entirely different things.

Heraclitus preceded Parmenides, living from 535—475 BCE, and like Parmenides, none of his writing has survived in its complete form. Heraclitus’s philosophy on the surface is in direct contrast with Parmenides by positing a natural argument (I say “on the surface” as their ultimate conclusions, Parmenides’ “All Is One” and Heraclitus’ “World-Fire”, seem to be saying the same thing, but the two taking two drastically different approaches to arrive at the same place).

Newsletter

Enter your email below and never miss news and new releases from SW Hammond.



Pick Up Your Copy

  • Prime
  • Kindle
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Buy
News
SW Hammond
Spectacularly printed coffee table book filled with tons of photography. It’s been a long time coming, but the hardcover version of The...
SW Hammond
The Biggest Little City brought out the cosplay for the Reno Sands Comic Con! Big thanks to the fandom, organizers, and exhibitors of this...
SW Hammond
Wow wee, things look a bit different, eh?? Check out the brand new website! Here she be—I like the new design quite a bit and it should...
Culture
SW Hammond
Today was… difficult. October 2, 2017—the day of the Las Vegas Massacre. It was technically the night before, but the world woke to another...
SW Hammond
See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. While there is absolutely no moral equivalency being drawn between good and evil—right and...
SW Hammond
No. For reals. I’m genuinely asking. While Conway isn’t single handedly responsible for Donald Trump being elected, she was certainly...
Media
SW Hammond
Hold on… Can’t type—my trigger finger has a cramp from holding down R2 two hours straight… I’m don’t know what Three Fourths Home was...
SW Hammond
Life Is Strange became a perfect storm of teenage angst, friendship, and hipster quirkiness backed by thoughtful storytelling and a...
SW Hammond
People are sheep, and Stanley Milgram scientifically proved it. How could the Holocaust happen? How can there still be institutional racism?...
Music
SW Hammond
Sarah Saturday's dreamy-reflective bedroom pop rock project captivates and compels with earnest songwriting. Sarah Saturday might be my...
SW Hammond
Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack. For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost...
SW Hammond
Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly. As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty...
Philosophy
SW Hammond
What is the soul and how does it work? Is your soul exploited by the State through the Noble Lie? Plato (429—327 BCE) serves as the backbone...
SW Hammond
The greatest challenge to General Artificial Intelligence (GAI) is human intelligence. We as humans would be the GAI’s creator and its...
SW Hammond
Things are One and Being is truth. The pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, who is thought to have been born between 540 and 515 BCE (dates...
Memoirs
SW Hammond
I was finally able to extract a bunch of data from an old hard drive. I was sure it contained old writings, school projects and music but...
SW Hammond
As I’ve become older, out of my twenties for a couple of years, I’ve found myself settling into a pattern of reveling in solitude. When I...
SW Hammond
I used to pour my guts out. Seems the only way I ever understood my feelings were to read them. The collection within these pages used to...