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Old 05-10-2020, 10:59 AM
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Nothing is New challenge


In terms of philosophical questions and thinking, is there anything you heard in recent years that was actually NEW and never asked before and never thought of before?

I don't think so. My assumption is that with hundreds, even thousands of years of
philosophies (all religions, all philosophers, of every culture, people, etc), has pretty much been covered in terms of principles.

Malcom Muggeridge once said, "All new news is just old news happening to new people".

Could he be right? I think he is. We just have new names for things, new words, but it's not new really. It's the same thing we always ask everytime.

If there is a new philosophical question or thought / idea you have, and think that it's never been known or discussed before, please share it and let's see if anything NEW can actually be discovered.

Mind you this is not like saying, the name of new companies or technologies that are new and never talked about before, this is reference to philosophical questions and principles ... ie., What is the purpose of life, is there a God, why does evil exist, what is morality, is there life after death, and a billion questions we as humans have asked or thought of in the centuries of our existence.

Nothing is new under the sun.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cornflakes2 View Post
In terms of philosophical questions and thinking, is there anything you heard in recent years that was actually NEW and never asked before and never thought of before?
I'm pretty sure artificial consciousness wasn't ready to be discussed until we knew more about AI and what it might look like. This example alone shows that new technologies can indeed raise new philosophical questions, even in terms of principles.
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:00 PM
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I'm pretty sure artificial consciousness wasn't ready to be discussed until we knew more about AI and what it might look like. This example alone shows that new technologies can indeed raise new philosophical questions, even in terms of principles.
But it's actually not new. The idea or question of determining what is considered "human" has been around for a long time. We're just re-packaging it in new terms calling it A.I. The issue is about what is considered to be life? A sentient being is life? Do animals have a soul? Are they sentient? Does it have to be living and breathing to be considered a life or only being self-aware the criteria for life? And then we will repeat the cycle of using AI to do our labor and work...like slaves...so the issue of civil rights, racism, and slavery will come back and we will be debating this all over again except under new words and terms. The philosophy is not new. The packaging or re-branding of it is.

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Old 05-10-2020, 12:04 PM
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But it's actually not new. The idea or question of determining what is considered "human" has been around for a long time. We're just re-packaging it in new terms calling it A.I. The issue is about what is considered to be life? A sentient being is life? Do animals have a soul? Are they sentient? Does it have to be living and breathing to be considered a life or only being self-aware the criteria for life?
Well, if you want to claim that Plato was contemplating the sentience of quantum artificial intelligence, just in different terms, I'll happily bow out of your thread now.

Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:16 PM
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There are many revolutionary ideas that have sprung up recently, e.g. nanotechnology, quantum computing, string theory, ideas about multiple universes. Some of Penrose's ideas are very novel: that microtubules in neurons lead to high performance quantum computing and an explanation for consciousness; or that the entropy death of one universe becomes the big bang for the next.

Other specific novel ideas I've chanced upon in recent books include
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:17 PM
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Culture is what we do and technology is how we do it, thus new technologies drive cultural change. We see this vividly in "communications" i.e. transport and data transfer - these certainly impact human behavior. The world is more mobile and linked than ever. When a large portion of humanity has neural links installed, giving effective telepathy trending toward one or more hive-minds, it'll seem rather new. And then, the singularity...
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:40 PM
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I was thinking about this topic a year or two ago, but in a more negative way: There is pretty much no atrocity that hasn't been committed already at some point in human history. The technology may be different (prior to the Holocaust, you didn't see people getting put in gas chambers en masse) but by and large every cruel deed or method of killing one can think of has already been done. Human history has been one long display of cruel creativity.

In a more positive vein, I largely agree with the OP that all things that humans can think of have been done, just not by today's technology. For instance, humans have sought relationships and marriage for millennia, it's just that now we have online dating and all that tech stuff like Tinder.

Last edited by Velocity; 05-10-2020 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:45 PM
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There are many revolutionary ideas that have sprung up recently, e.g. nanotechnology, quantum computing, string theory, ideas about multiple universes. Some of Penrose's ideas are very novel: that microtubules in neurons lead to high performance quantum computing and an explanation for consciousness; or that the entropy death of one universe becomes the big bang for the next.
They are new subjects and theories, but about ancient questions. What are the atoms of existence? What is consciousness? Is the universe infinite? What is reality? What is space? Is there something beyond 'what we see'? How is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

The mathematics used by modern physicists formalizes the discussion but, ultimately, they are seeking explanations for very old questions. In fact, and as I have said here before, I think that mathematics is at its foundation, philosophy. And I have a hard time distinguishing between some modern physics and mathematics, er, philosophy.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
There are many revolutionary ideas that have sprung up recently, e.g. nanotechnology, quantum computing, string theory, ideas about multiple universes. Some of Penrose's ideas are very novel: that microtubules in neurons lead to high performance quantum computing and an explanation for consciousness; or that the entropy death of one universe becomes the big bang for the next.

Other specific novel ideas I've chanced upon in recent books include
Yes, of course, many new scientific discoveries. That's not what I meant.
I made it clear I'm talking specifically about philosophical ideas.

Alternate universes/parallel dimensions etc are just fancy words and new terms re-explaining the whole idea behind "more than meets the eye" / "things unseen and unknown". Like, what is inside a black hole?
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:06 PM
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I'm pretty sure artificial consciousness wasn't ready to be discussed until we knew more about AI and what it might look like. This example alone shows that new technologies can indeed raise new philosophical questions, even in terms of principles.
No, and plato didn't know about Google either. Your point?
Like I said, re-branding terms with new technologies doesn't actually create new philosophical ideas. If you are talking about artificial life, we are still talking about the age old concept of life and the meaning of life and what is it or what constitutes something as living? This is old news.

You apparently can't see far down the road enough that AI will just go through the same thing as slavery and then civil rights movement, equality, class/race based prejudice, should they be allowed to vote? Should they be allowed to parent human babies? the whole 9 yards. You think it's philosophically new? Maybe you should bow out then. Have a nice day.

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Old 05-10-2020, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by RioRico View Post
Culture is what we do and technology is how we do it, thus new technologies drive cultural change. We see this vividly in "communications" i.e. transport and data transfer - these certainly impact human behavior. The world is more mobile and linked than ever. When a large portion of humanity has neural links installed, giving effective telepathy trending toward one or more hive-minds, it'll seem rather new. And then, the singularity...
Agreed, but I'm still ahead of you. I already know all about that. It's not new. In fact, over 2,000 years ago, it was even contemplated but of course back then they never knew the technology or the words to use. I won't tell you the specific source because then this discussion might turn into another nasty debate, but over 2,000 years ago, the idea of say something like nuclear bombs was already described (how people would die before they even fell to the ground). The idea of neural link or brain net was already described and talked about (people would simultaneously all know and see something at the same time in all four corners of the world). The technology is new but the philosophical underpinnings are still the same thing. Old news just happening to new people.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:15 PM
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I was thinking about this topic a year or two ago, but in a more negative way: There is pretty much no atrocity that hasn't been committed already at some point in human history. The technology may be different (prior to the Holocaust, you didn't see people getting put in gas chambers en masse) but by and large every cruel deed or method of killing one can think of has already been done. Human history has been one long display of cruel creativity.

In a more positive vein, I largely agree with the OP that all things that humans can think of have been done, just not by today's technology. For instance, humans have sought relationships and marriage for millennia, it's just that now we have online dating and all that tech stuff like Tinder.
Excellent point. Yes, to think of it in the negative way also makes sense. There is no newer evil you can come up with philosophically, no matter what new technologies are invented / discovered. The philosophical underpinnings of "evil" has already been fully fleshed out. In other words, you can't come up with something MORE EVIL than evil. You can't come up with something more LOVING than love. The only difference is that new people don't know about it and are discovering it for the first time and think it's new and revolutionary.

Last edited by cornflakes2; 05-10-2020 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:17 PM
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They are new subjects and theories, but about ancient questions. What are the atoms of existence? What is consciousness? Is the universe infinite? What is reality? What is space? Is there something beyond 'what we see'? How is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

The mathematics used by modern physicists formalizes the discussion but, ultimately, they are seeking explanations for very old questions. In fact, and as I have said here before, I think that mathematics is at its foundation, philosophy. And I have a hard time distinguishing between some modern physics and mathematics, er, philosophy.
Yes, very good point.

I mean I am definitely open to anything that can claim it is completely new and never thought of before. That's if anyone can actually think of one.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:24 AM
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An existentially new thought would lack the frame of reference necessary for understanding. That is why progress is slow and incremental.
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Old 05-11-2020, 11:10 AM
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Outright rejection of the Hard Problem of Consciousness seems to be a comparatively recent strand in Philosophy of the Mind. I can't really recall any serious advocates of it pre-2000s. And even the New Mysterianism, which merely states it's currently unsolvable, only dates to the 90s or therabouts.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:03 PM
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My wife teaches at a community college, and periodically she will ask her class questions such as what their goals are. I remember one time a student said his goal was to have an original thought.

Was a pretty unique answer. Not sure how you would go about achieving it.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:05 PM
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I guess the University systems stopped awarding PhD's in what year? Especially since no original research is being done according to the OP.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:09 PM
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I'm curious whether there's any analog to the technological singularity concept that's older than the past half-century. That is, a belief that self-improving artificial intelligence will evolve in ever-increasing forms in a fashion that renders all predictions about the future impossible to make.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:32 PM
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If I had encountered something entirely new, it would either be

a) ludicrously small in scope and hence not very interesting; or

b) I would be unable to explain it coherently — probably even to myself, let alone to you — because even small departures from already-known concepts can be difficult to explain.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:21 PM
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I'm curious whether there's any analog to the technological singularity concept that's older than the past half-century. That is, a belief that self-improving artificial intelligence will evolve in ever-increasing forms in a fashion that renders all predictions about the future impossible to make.
I think the closest concept I heard that seemed entirely new / fresh is this idea: A.I. will be the last human invention (because everything else after that will be invented by A.I. as they can do it faster). That one peaked my interest.

But again, in terms of philosophical concept....that would still fall under 'perfectionism', 'greed', the constant need or urge to grow, improve, expand....this thing that was unique within humans.....Q in Star Trek TNG brought this up a lot which fascinated him about humans more than any other species in the universe....so the idea of constantly self-improving and need or urge for this has been known.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:26 PM
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I guess the University systems stopped awarding PhD's in what year? Especially since no original research is being done according to the OP.
You are on a roll today. Scientific research is not the same as philosophical concepts.
You sound like an atheist. You can get all the PhDs you want. It doesn't mean you have discovered anything new under the sun.

I'll say it again, you can't discover something more evil than evil. You can't discover something more loving than love. You may have unique ways of displaying it in ways it hasn't been shown before, but that doesn't mean you've discovered something more beyond evil or love (as examples).

Philosophically, we still struggle and ask the same questions we've asked two thousand years ago. We just have different terminologies and re-branding and re-packaging methods to present them.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:29 PM
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My wife teaches at a community college, and periodically she will ask her class questions such as what their goals are. I remember one time a student said his goal was to have an original thought.

Was a pretty unique answer. Not sure how you would go about achieving it.
Wow. That's a great answer. Yes, the question is, maybe to him it's going to be an original thought because whatever he doesn't know or didn't know, once becomes discovered may disguise itself as an original thought only to find out later on that someone already thought of it 1500 years ago lol.

I've commonly experienced this thinking I came up with something nobody else had and found out it's actually an old idea lol.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:25 PM
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Scientific research is not the same as philosophical concepts.
Do you even know what PhD stands for? Look it up.
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Old 05-12-2020, 02:54 PM
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I would think that emergent systems theory as a model for consciousness would qualify, there are also a huge intersection between physics and philosophy raised by quantum mechanics, but these may be rejected by the OP seems to be argue that anything that in any way involves something that someone else thought of doesn't count. So the physics of black holes has been old hat ever since Aristotle talked about why things fall. Perhaps he should consider the philosophical question of whether Scotsmen like salt in their porridge.

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Old 05-12-2020, 04:30 PM
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But it's actually not new. The idea or question of determining what is considered "human" has been around for a long time. We're just re-packaging it in new terms calling it A.I. The issue is about what is considered to be life? A sentient being is life? Do animals have a soul? Are they sentient? Does it have to be living and breathing to be considered a life or only being self-aware the criteria for life? And then we will repeat the cycle of using AI to do our labor and work...like slaves...so the issue of civil rights, racism, and slavery will come back and we will be debating this all over again except under new words and terms. The philosophy is not new. The packaging or re-branding of it is.
I guess I disagree that the idea that someone manufactured by humans could possibly be considered sentient is something that philosophers of historic times really contemplated.

When do you think the "original concepts" formed for some of the following fields of study?:
-Gender theory
-Macroeconomics
-Gene editing
-Cryptocurrency
-Rocket science
-Climate change

To say that people thousands of years ago had already contemplated these concepts seems to be taking such a broad definition of a concept that it is meaningless.

When is the last time that you think "original" thoughts actually occurred? Did philosophers from early civilizations even have any original thoughts if cavemen contemplated why they should or shouldn't steal from their neighbour, or whether there was an afterlife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I was thinking about this topic a year or two ago, but in a more negative way: There is pretty much no atrocity that hasn't been committed already at some point in human history. The technology may be different (prior to the Holocaust, you didn't see people getting put in gas chambers en masse) but by and large every cruel deed or method of killing one can think of has already been done. Human history has been one long display of cruel creativity.

In a more positive vein, I largely agree with the OP that all things that humans can think of have been done, just not by today's technology. For instance, humans have sought relationships and marriage for millennia, it's just that now we have online dating and all that tech stuff like Tinder.
Well, nobody (that I know of) has tried to kill all humans on Earth though, which might be close to do-able with nuclear weapons today. I'd consider that an atrocity greater than anything that's happened in history.

Last edited by Delayed Reflex; 05-12-2020 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:14 PM
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I think I have a new and original philosophy regarding social media free source collaborating. None of the aspects of my philosophy are new but when put together they become somewhat of a new culture. Have just about given up hope of finishing my novel screen play on this as I am not much of a writer but I feel the philosophy contains solid and proven premises that when applied right could become a world force rivaled by none. The concept is based on motivations coming from an improved source of identity creating a culture of highly motivated individuals very passionate about what they do and very loyal to the cause.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:42 AM
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Cornflakes2,

Your OP limits the discussion to issues of philosophy - value judgements on stuff people make up. I agree, that's a well worked field.

Around 4 centuries ago we began the transition from making stuff up to the process of discovery. That transition has resulted in our current ability to do things like communicate and accurately navigate over the entire face of the globe, read the human genome and accurately predict the gender of unborn children.

So, perhaps you are correct. If Philosophy offers nothing new it belongs on the trash pile of outmoded activities along with alchemy, astrology and the pre-natal prediction of gender using chicken guts.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Delayed Reflex View Post
I guess I disagree that the idea that someone manufactured by humans could possibly be considered sentient is something that philosophers of historic times really contemplated.

When do you think the "original concepts" formed for some of the following fields of study?:
-Gender theory
-Macroeconomics
-Gene editing
-Cryptocurrency
-Rocket science
-Climate change

To say that people thousands of years ago had already contemplated these concepts seems to be taking such a broad definition of a concept that it is meaningless.

When is the last time that you think "original" thoughts actually occurred? Did philosophers from early civilizations even have any original thoughts if cavemen contemplated why they should or shouldn't steal from their neighbour, or whether there was an afterlife?


Well, nobody (that I know of) has tried to kill all humans on Earth though, which might be close to do-able with nuclear weapons today. I'd consider that an atrocity greater than anything that's happened in history.

I think this sort of proves of what is happening in our world.
Most of you are assuming that all these new theories are new philosophies but they aren't. Yes, they are new scientific discoveries or information, but they do not or cannot create new philosophies that weren't already in existence.

The focus we have has shifted from being philosophical to technological/scientific. This is supports the notion of "moving away from God" or man's independence as he thinks he no longer requires God's help or wisdom.

If you really think about it, if you are saying that we can invent or come up with things that even God never knew, you are ultimately saying that man is God and that God is not infinite or all-knowing. Now of course, this always gets into a religious debate because not everyone believes in God (whichever God you believe in).

This also connects to another debate (not in this forum) that I have always shared for over a decade and that is, humanity vs technology.

What I mean is, if you think about how far humans have evolved into terms of technological advancements, it is massive. We go from creating simple tools out of stones and wood carvings to creating nuclear weapons and spaceships that can travel into space. It's a massive gap.

But if you think about how much humans have evolved or grown in the moral sphere (humanity), not much at all. We still struggle with the same things our cave men ancestors did....jealousy, anger, deceit, violence, stealing, lying, etc.

So while it is wonderful that technology has advanced so far, we humans have not. So instead of putting a sharp object into the hands of a fallen human being which is dangerous in itself....we are just increasing the stakes by putting WMDs into the hands of that same fallen human being. This why I came up with my own "escalation theory". The basic premise of it is that no matter how much knowledge, technology, advancements we come up with....the fact that human depravity itself has not been dealt with means we are not better off than we actually think we are. You're just playing higher stakes poker, that's all. Ultimately, humanity is bent inward in itself, we WILL lead to our own destruction because it is in our nature until this can be dealt with, it is really a pointless game to play this "progress/advancement" game which is just an illusion of improvement and evolution.

We are too focused on how to put a man on mars, or how to build self driving cars, but yet we don't even know how to love and forgive one another...the simplest and oldest concepts known to man.

It's wonderful that we humans know such advanced new theories like:
-Gender theory
-Macroeconomics
-Gene editing
-Cryptocurrency
-Rocket science
-Climate change

as you put it..... but while u do this, you (not specifically you but rhetorically), don't even know how to love your parents and say I love you or I'm sorry.

Last edited by cornflakes2; 05-13-2020 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:20 AM
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That's a bit different than the 'nothing's new' proposition of the OP.

Social interaction has not kept pace with technology. Is that the topic you wish to discuss?
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:45 AM
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