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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 10

Discussion in 'General Freewheeling Chit-Chat' started by Gene Steinberg, Jun 12, 2017.



  1. Pharoah

    Pharoah Paranormal Adept

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    There are different interpretations of particular theoretical approaches. I would not advocate the position you suggest here, but each to their own. I can understand why someone might argue that sentience is there from the start. Such a position has particular problems of its own to answer to...
     
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  2. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    Can you/would you explain how and why HCT would or could become "much richer and [more] robust" if @Pharoah began with your presupposition? I've found Pharoah's HCT to have become increasingly satisfactory -- "richer and [more] robust" -- as he has developed it in phenomenological as well as biological terms.

    You go on to identify what seems to me to be your own continuing motive for rejecting Pharoah's theory --> a desire to avoid the challenge of recognizing that with knowledge of the evolution of life, awareness, reflectivity, consciousness, and mind in nature we are indeed called upon to understand that a purely physicalist ontology is inadequate to describe the world as we self-consciously exist in it: as an experientially lived world -- one in which we find ourselves unable to understand ourselves/account for the character of our experiential being in the purely physicalist terms that have been used to describe the development and developing interaction of physical forces and fields over the history of the world/universe before consciousness or mind came into it. You claim that, if we simply accept your ontological presupposition,

    Can you either prove that, or at least persuade us on the basis of existing evidence that we should believe it?

    It seems unmistakably clear, rather, that organisms cannot be reduced to 'physiologies' once we recognize the difference that awareness of being-in-a-world makes, beginning with the autopoiesis of single-celled organisms identified by Maturana and Varela. Autopoiesis is the beginning of a "phenomenal perspective on the world" that becomes multiplied and expanded in the evolution of species of life. Where is the data that can persuade us that the chemical processes that enabled biological life to appear in the world were already 'sentient' and thus capable of achieving the sense of awareness of being-in-an-environing-situation that is the root of the evolution of consciousness and the mind-body problem? The physiologies of organisms and animals, including us, cannot be equated to the organized and interacting systems identified in physics as forming and interacting in increasing complexity over the history of the universe beginning with the theorized 'big bang'. There is a difference that makes an enormous difference between the living and the nonliving.
     
  3. Soupie

    Soupie Paranormal Adept

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    I think HCT provides a compelling story about the evolution of a "subjective" point of view, but fails to resolve the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness. I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes. I think @Pharoah would make more headway if he abandoned his current Strong Emergentist approach as he apparently did the physical monism approach.

    It's actually pretty simple. If the mind does not emerge from the organism as a distinct ontological phenomenon but rather monism is true, then the mind and body are one and the same. Thus, the organism/physiology just is a phenomenal perspective on the world.

    The trick is moving past dualism. Instead of matter emerging from mind or mind emerging from matter, we recognize that mind is matter and matter is mind. How could this be? If you are sincerely curious about this approach, I recommend the following:

    https://www.quora.com/Could-David-P...ialism-and-quantum-physics-in-simple-language

     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  4. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    Nail it the same way you would nail jello to a tree ...
     
  5. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    ;-) ... but it's also a serious answer, right?
     
  6. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    What is the timeline for this to happen?

    Insane or otherwise, the conjecture is testable – and can be independently (dis)confirmed by molecular matter-wave interferometry to the satisfaction of proponent and critic alike.


    If it's soon ... we can just wait around here for a bit.

    <insert Jeopardy them song here>
     
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  7. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    phenomenal binding | Qualia Computing

    "This paper argues that the answer lies under our virtual noses – though independent physical proof will depend on next-generation matter-wave interferometry."

    dang ... next generation ... interestingly Pearce's wikipedia page doesn't list his age, but it looks to me like he has about 20 yrs to go (if he fails to achieve his transhumanist ambitions) - so I'm gonna guess he'll say the relevant technology will be available in about ... 25 years ...

    yes, yes we are a skeptical lot!

    ;-)
     
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  8. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    Your quantum-based monistic hypothesis also fails to solve "the hard problems regarding the origin and nature of phenomenal consciousness." You simply assert that the origin of consciousness must be the q substrate, but neither you nor anyone else has provided evidence to support that assertion. Hoffman's computational metaphor is merely a metaphor.

    Re the problem of comprehending "the nature of consciousness," your hypothesis fails to address the varieties and levels of consciousness we recognize to have come into existence over the evolution of species. Surely you don't believe that the nature of corvid consciousness is indistinguishable from the nature of human consciousness.

    Further variations exist among consciousness in various humans. Some human consciousnesses are capable of receiving anomalous information, achieving telepathy, experiencing precognition of events in the future, etc. Some other humans are capable through practicing meditative disciplines of attaining states of mind and insights unavailable to most of us, and even thereby changing parts, aspects, and degrees of their own neural functioning according to fMRI studies.

    Clearly consciousness develops along a spectrum of capabilities in species and in individuals, and, also clearly, the 'nature' of consciousness includes preconscious, prereflective, subconscious, and supraconscious influences on that which can be [ETA: sensed and thus] thought by species like our own.

    I think what you meant to write is: "I believe HCT fails to resolve these problems because I believe that phenomenal consciousness simply does not weakly nor strongly emerge from insentient, physical processes." The apparent fact is that you reject Pharoah's emergentist thinking because you reject all emergentism, tout court, not because Pharoah fails to think and write constructively and persuasively in an emergentist vein.

    Of course that's what you think. For the same reason you accepted HCT in its earlier version, whereas I was skeptical about it, I'm impressed by this later development of HCT because Pharoah has expanded the bases of his research to include phenomenological perspectives on consciousness.

    Actually it's too simple. Everything you say there hangs from an 'If' clause that presents only a wish, a desire, a thing hoped-for, rather than an established fact. If only it could be proved that mind does not emerge from organisms, living beings, embodied consciousnesses interacting with a palpable world and palpable, comprehensible 'others', the perennial mind-body problem could be dissolved. If you would only finally engage phenomenological philosophy you might not be so vexed by the mind-body problem. But at least you face that problem, despite your desire to efface it, disappear it.

    'Recognize' begs the question. Some humans speculate that mind is matter and vice versa.

    I am curious about monist theories; the best I've seen in that direction is Max Velman's Reflexive Monism. But I'll read the quora link you've provided and let you know if I'm struck down like Paul on the road to Damascus after I've read it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  9. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    I'm reading at the site linked through your embedded link in the word Insane above.
    Very interesting stuff, particularly this:

    "An example of a very interesting location worth trying to travel to is the mythical city of Shambhala, the location of the Kalachakra Tantra. This city has allegedly turned into a pure land thanks to the fact that its king converted to Buddhism after meeting the Buddha. Pure lands are abodes populated by enlightened and quasi-enlightened beings whose purpose is to provide an optimal teaching environment for Buddhism. One can go to Shambhala by either reincarnating there (with good karma and the help of some pointers and directions at the time of death) or by traveling there directly during meditation. In order to do the latter, one needs to kindle one’s subtle energies so that they converge on one’s heart, while one is embracing the Bodhisattva ethic (focusing on reducing others’ suffering as a moral imperative). Shambhala may not be in a physical location accessible to humans. Rather, Buddhist accounts would seem to depict it as a collective reality built by people which manifests on another plane of existence (specifically somewhere between the 23rd and 27th layer). In order to create a place like that one needs to bring together many individuals in a state of consciousness that exhibits bliss, enlightenment and benevolence. A pure land has no reality of its own; its existence is the result of the states of consciousness of its inhabitants. Thus, the very reason why Shambhala can even exist as a place somewhere outside of us is because it is already a potential place that exists within us."

    Been there yet?
     
  10. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    This is from David Pearce...we discussed his work back in Sept maybe before
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  11. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    Also love this, linked by the author at your link:

    sonder
    n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

    sonder

    Similar to an experience I've had once or twice, in which I suddenly saw my small point of consciousness -- my 'self' -- as a thread woven within a limited spacetime [ETA: a limited spacetime region, part of a vast and always unfolding immensity of spacetime] constituting a fabric comprising the existences of all consciousnesses in the World writ large. An immensely comforting sense/thought.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  12. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    I must have been elsewhere when it was posted and discussed.
     
  13. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    No, the question was for you since you are the one among us who has apparently explored the inner reaches of your consciousness, where you've sensed or seen levels of being that most of us do not encounter.
     
  14. smcder

    smcder Paranormal Adept

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    Looks like it was back in September ... @Soupie I believe you attempted to contact him with a question and that he "followed" you on Quora - did you hear back from him?
     
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  15. Soupie

    Soupie Paranormal Adept

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    Barring any scientific evidence, I believe the best "evidence" we have is this:

    "The triumph of the Standard Model suggests the world can exhaustively be described by the equations of mathematical physics. Physicalism is true. With two big complications, no “element of reality” is lacking of from the formalism of quantum field theory, or more strictly, its M-theoretic extension.
    And the two complications?

    First, consciousness. Why aren’t we p-zombies?
    Second, the intrinsic nature of the physical. We don’t know what “breathes fire into” the equations of physics and makes a universe for them to describe. Stephen Hawking doesn’t know. Ed Witten doesn’t know."


    You misunderstand. On the non-materialist physicalist approach sentience is to mind as energy and matter are to organisms.

    Therefore, non-materialist physicalist holds that mind evolves with life.

    Consider:

    Sentience is matter/energy, energy/matter is sentience

    Life is mind, mind is life

    Of course. I was a bit too evangelical there. I reject Strong Emergence bc of its well established problems and bc I feel monism best approaches the mind-body problems.

    I did not accept earlier versions of HCT.

    I thought we had established that phenomenology does not rule in nor rule out Strong Emergence.

    I agree. I actually think Velmans holds a view that is essentially the same as non-material physicalisms. I've gone back and reread a few of his papers to see if this is the case. However Velmans writing/explanations are so convoluted it's hard to tell. But I'm pretty it's the case. And I had actually discovered Velmans reflexive monism first many many moons ago before Hoffman and Pierce.

    I never did reach out to him re filtering vs combining or about cosmopyschism. Or about predictive processing. I would still like to.

    I'll begin to formulate some questions and run them through here before firing them off.
     
  16. Pharoah

    Pharoah Paranormal Adept

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    @Soupie I have been thinking about your why, how, and what (WHW)? You say that I don't WHW phenomenal consciousness.
    This is how you determine a paper's WHW score (not to be confused with the WHF score):
    why proceeds with a 'because'. How proceeds with a 'by'. what proceeds with an 'is'.
    Search the paper for those terms (some, particularly 'is's, will be blind alleys of course)
     
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  17. Soupie

    Soupie Paranormal Adept

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    Why, how, and when, actually. I will try to pull those answers out of your latest with commentary.
     
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  18. Soupie

    Soupie Paranormal Adept

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    One of the reasons I did not reach out to him yet is bc I'm not whether he may have already answered the questions I was going to ask. If you recall, you seemed to think he did. I haven't had time to really pin it down. But here again is some writing that indicates he may have:

    Quora Answers by David Pearce (2015, 2016, 2017)
    • Are we, human beings, 100% particle and 100% wave?
      If the unitary dynamics of post-Everett quantum mechanics is correct, then we're 100% wave – not in the sense of spatial waves, but rather wavefunctions in configuration space. However, experimentally testing this conjecture will be difficult.

      Philosophers like David Chalmers claim that we must embrace dualism because of the "structural mismatch" between the phenomenology of our minds and the microstructure of the mind-brain and [ultimately] physics, i.e. the phenomenal binding/combination problem:
      http://consc.net/papers/combination.pdf
      For scientifically unexplained reasons, our phenomenally bound organic minds are not simply aggregates of discrete, decohered, membrane-bound neuronal "mind-dust".

      Yet is such a structural mismatch real? Or just an artefact of our clumsy temporally coarse-grained tools of investigation and a naive classical conception of the dimensionality of the physical? [This is the question I was going to ask him. - Soupie]

      Directly testing such a conjecture would be demanding even to posthuman superintelligence because quantum superpositions of 86-billion-odd neurons of the CNS are "destroyed" (i.e. effectively lost to the wider extra-neural environment via thermally-induced decoherence in a thermodynamically irreversible way) at sub-femtosecond timescales beyond the reach of contemporary molecular matter wave-interferometry. However, I'd love to learn the result of the conceptually simple but still technically tricky experiment outlined here:

      Non-materialist physicalism: an experimentally testable conjecture.

      A summer project for a postgrad perhaps?

      My own best guess is that next-generation interferometry will reveal a perfect isomorphism between the phenomenology of our minds and the formalism of (unmodified and unsupplemented) quantum physics.
      Alas the intuitions of armchair physicists are cheap.
    I also want to ask him whether, given an analog background a la QFT, the combination problem can be re-framed as a filtering problem. I'll look to see whether he has already addressed this and if not, try to formulate a question about it.
     
  19. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    As I recall you wrote to Velmans a while back to ask a question and received a reply. I'll search the thread to find out what your question was and what his response was. In the meantime it would be interesting to hear his response if you write to him again concerning the conjecture underscored above.
     
  20. Constance

    Constance Paranormal Adept

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    Pharoah, what is the reference of 'F' in "the WHF score"? Thanks.
     
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