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January Philosophical Discussion Group

Please try to be on time for the meeting.  I do understand that sometimes things happen that are not in our control, but I find it very distracting when people come in late and I feel it tends to interrupt the flow of discussion.  If you're going to be late, please post here if you can so that we know to expect someone to come in late.

This is a recurring meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. These discussions are limited in size because I want just one group discussion rather than several smaller discussions.

We have free form philosophical discussions during these meetings.  I encourage people to bring a topic if they have something they wish to discuss.

If you are on the waiting list for the discussion, please check the meetup site the afternoon of the meeting and see if you have moved up to the attending list since people often cancel at the last minute.

Thank you all for your insightful input to the discussions.  I truly enjoy them.

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  • Tim

    Interesting discussion. There were a lot of deviations from the topic and the conversation spun out towards the end.
    The 'debate' over intelligence, whether a machine intelligence is possible or if intelligence can only be the product of an organic system, appears to be the question that we skirted.

    January 22, 2015

    • Rach

      Tim, we always deviate and wander around a bit. I tend to think that is part of the fun. :-)

      January 22, 2015

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Tim --

      It happens every time. For the most part, we enjoy letting the discussion flow to follow the interests and thoughts of the people in the group.

      January 22, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    Stimulating discussion with pleasant, intelligent, open-minded people. I hope Jim will expand on his thoughts about thought at our next meeting.

    1 · January 22, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just looked up the definition of "think". It mostly conforms to the idea of conceptualization and problem solving although with different terms. Interestingly, "verb: think (without an object)" is the problem solving and "verb: think (with on object) is the conceptualization.

    2 · January 21, 2015

  • Joseph S.

    sorry everyone. I got my days mixed up.

    January 21, 2015

  • Lyn D.

    Like Lou, I have a bad cold, so am isolating. A little input to the discussion: I totally love words and language, however it is a dim shadow that only grasps the memory of experience, so Howard's question about thought depends, of course, on its definition, and if that definition must entail language (and in turn what the definition for language is; i.e., if a dog's bark or a dolphin's chatter is meaningful to them, is that language?). There's plenty to suggest that other species are capable of highly valuing life and its many experiences, and I'm personally not sure there is a higher intelligence than one that truly learns how to authentically do that. But your question opens up realms of thought that go beyond my somewhat pat "answers," so I hope you guys have a great discussion and wish I could be there and healthy. I hardly ever get sick and am grumpy about it.

    January 20, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    Need to bow out , and not take chance spreading something, bad cold.

    January 19, 2015

    • Rach

      Sorry to hear that, Lou! Hope you feel better soon!! Thank you for not sharing the germs! (Lots of nasty stuff going around!)

      January 19, 2015

    • Joseph S.

      Take care. Drink some hot spiced wine. It will rectify the humors. Maybe. . never was sure what the humors were.

      January 19, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Rach --

    Yes, Mollie and I have one. Plants and primitive animals respond to stimuli and show signs of thought. A sunflower turning throughout the day to follow the sun, bulbs sending up sprouts and blooms at the right time of year, salmon returning to a native stream to spawn, birds migrating. As we watch the animals who live with us, we see clear evidence of anticipation of events (sitting in front of the food bowl at the right time, but before anyone in the house has made any motion toward feeding), and memories (dreams with running and vocal sounds). Is that thought?

    What is thought? Does it occur in a continuum -- from no thought bacteria (or maybe they do think) to increasingly higher thought for more complex species? Is there a threshold? Is thought related to intelligence? Is human thought unique? Is human thought the limit of thought? What would be necessary for a computer to think?

    Is the computer intelligence described in the movie "Her" possible?

    1 · December 28, 2014

    • Rach

      Somehow I missed this in all the holiday hubbub. Sounds like a fun discussion! FYI for anyone not there last time, my 17 year old son is going to begin attending these with me.

      January 15, 2015

  • Rach

    Would anyone like to volunteer to bring a topic to January's meeting?

    December 28, 2014

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