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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Fundamental?
If we say that magnetism is fundamental we are saying what?... It cannot be reduced... it did not emerge...? I am not convinced that physicists would say either to be the case.
I find it improbable that at t=0 magnetism existed along with the other 'fundamental forces'. More likely that fundamental forces emerged from the primordial soup (a physicist might correct me). The point is, 'fundamental' as a concept is not helpful to philosophical discourse. And so arguing that consciousness is fundamental requires further qualification if it is to mean anything.
History also suggests that there is no such thing as a non-reductive thing. There are merely limits to our understanding.
I must agree with you wholeheartedly. We have been using the word "fundamental" as a convenience term, comparing it to the idea of the fundamental forces of nature in physics. Perhaps we should be using it more as a compass point than a requirement. I'm also going to backpedal on the analogy between gravitation and consciousness. While it works nicely for a passive system, e.g. someone just beholding the world around them, it doesn't explain our active role in creating experiences, such as visualizing a vivid memory. In those cases there is no external field we are wandering through. It is an internally generated experience that makes use of our brain's memory.

Maybe if we return to the pile of bricks analogy we can find some other path forward:
  • Let's assume a randomly organized number of bricks represents randomly organized quanta of consciousness
  • Each quanta remains fundamental, but the situation has no noticeable effect.
  • However an organized collection of bricks forms a building. So suddenly we have this "something extra" that wasn't there before.
  • Let's say this "something extra" ( the building ) represents consciousness as we experience it.
  • Then the structure remains fundamental in the sense that it is not reducible to something other than consciousness.
  • But no matter haw closely we look at an individual brick, we will not see the building.
 
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Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Whenever we get into Heidegger, I wonder if it is fully comprehensible by anyone ( including Heidegger were he alive ). Personally I reject the idea that there is no such thing as objective and subjective states of existence, because both appear to be extant in the world, unless that is, one subscribes to subjective idealism, which in my view, is so unlikely as to constitute sheer nonsense. That does not however make the journey to this juncture a waste of time.

It's not about rejecting the "no such thing as objective and subjective states" but about absorbing them in a framework that shows them to be facets of a kind of "world" from which such terms can be "thought" as "extant." Subjective idealism is an attempt to create the whole background of existence out of a facet viewed and experienced--a recreational model created by the "heads" of a coin trying to comprehend it's own backside without acknowledgement of the necessary interdependence involved in the transaction between ...

The reality of what we continually live and experience embedded in the entire background of being lies in-between the categories we posit as their source..(i.e. the "subjective" or "objective" are just models created by the entire system which we know not what because our "whatness" questioning cannot exit the very theatre or scope that brought the primordial basis for the same)
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Fundamental?
If we say that magnetism is fundamental we are saying what?... It cannot be reduced... it did not emerge...? I am not convinced that physicists would say either to be the case.
I find it improbable that at t=0 magnetism existed along with the other 'fundamental forces'. More likely that fundamental forces emerged from the primordial soup (a physicist might correct me). The point is, 'fundamental' as a concept is not helpful to philosophical discourse. And so arguing that consciousness is fundamental requires further qualification if it is to mean anything.
History also suggests that there is no such thing as a non-reductive thing. There are merely limits to our understanding.
A non-reductive object aids comprehension only as a component of something comprehensible. Thus a non-reductive object is the end of comprehension. In simpler terms the non-reductive "thing" is a precise (nice and accurate) limit of comprehension and understanding.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Self-reference doesn’t resolve the MBP but rather gives rise to it.


What we call consciousness appears to be categorically different from what we call body. But this apparent difference is the result of self-knowing (the universe knowing itself, self-reference).

Re your comments above: the brain is part of the simulation. This is often overlooked I find.

This is not unlike the failure to take into account that humans and our measurement tools are quantum mechanical systems when we measure quantum mechanical systems. We often think of ourselves and our tools as classical systems measuring quantum mechanical systems.

We say the brain creates a simulation of what-is but fail to recognize that the brain as it appears to us is part of the simulation. This is not to say that brains aren’t actual. They are. However we must remember that our perceptions of brains are limited just as all our perceptions of what-is are limited.
Right the brain creates a simulation of what-is but is in itself a part of the very framework it is simulating. That means that the simulation is not like what we typically call a "simulation" in the world of things we try to model through some isomorphisms learned through the same--i.e. it isn't like what we normally (as engineers) call a "simulation"--but much more.

The 5 year old asks "if reality is a simulation, what is the REAL reality simulated, and where did it come from?" But we are likely just an eyeball trying to see itself seeing things. Levels of "reality" extend beyond our scope or "playground/background" which underlies our own.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Right the brain creates a simulation of what-is but is in itself a part of the very framework it is simulating.
Yes. The transcendental [Brain] is embedded in the reality it is simulating/modeling. The brain as it appears to itself in its simulation/model is not to be confused with its actual self, the transcendental [Brain]. When this happens, paradoxes such as the mbp and the hp arise.

That means that the simulation is not like what we typically call a "simulation" in the world of things we try to model through some isomorphisms learned through the same--i.e. it isn't like what we normally (as engineers) call a "simulation"--but much more.

The 5 year old asks "if reality is a simulation, what is the REAL reality simulated, and where did it come from?" But we are likely just an eyeball trying to see itself seeing things. Levels of "reality" extend beyond our scope or "playground/background" which underlies our own.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
That reminds me of the joke about the two minty holes who walked into a bar. The bartender said hey are you holes emergent, fundamental, or both? And they said none of the above you ninny, we’re aholes!
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
I bookmarked your Philpeople page and read the first paper. It appears to describe the situation in very rational terms. Therefore IMO it makes an excellent orientation to the subjects under discussion here on this thread. On the following paper concerning Ethics, you might find this post relevant: Philosophy, Science, and the Unexplained I'd also appreciate your comments on the post above it which suggests that if the assumptions about it are true, the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment would in essence be a consciousness detector.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
They "exist" as constructs of the relations that extend beyond the very categories (i.e. fictions) created by what you would call your own mind. You cannot reject what your mind must accept as an agent to pursue the reality of existence.

Let me help with something that you will not like...

Axiom: In order to comfort yourself with the "glitch" of understanding within your own consciousness, you must by definition reject the full nature and background that makes your consciousness (as a phenomenon to your "self") as non-existent.

Heidegger needed to be more blunt.
@Michael Allen, would you clarify your meaning in your 'Axiom'? And also clarify what you intended to convey with your last sentence: "Heidegger needed to be more blunt"? Do you mean that he succeeded in 'being more blunt' or that he didn't? If he didn't and you do, please show us how. Thanks.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Yes. The transcendental [Brain] is embedded in the reality it is simulating/modeling. The brain as it appears to itself in its simulation/model is not to be confused with its actual self, the transcendental [Brain]. When this happens, paradoxes such as the mbp and the hp arise.
Wow. I need help, or perhaps citations to some outside references, to grok what you refer to as 'the transcendental [Brain]". Best if you can clarify your statement by fleshing it out. Thanks.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
@Michael Allen, would you clarify your meaning in your 'Axiom'? And also clarify what you intended to convey with your last sentence: "Heidegger needed to be more blunt"? Do you mean that he succeeded in 'being more blunt' or that he didn't? If he didn't and you do, please show us how. Thanks.
My axiomL
"Axiom: In order to comfort yourself with the "glitch" of understanding within your own consciousness, you must by definition reject the full nature and background that makes your consciousness (as a phenomenon to your "self") as non-existent. "

(1) The very reality that underlies the structure (comprehended only by the very entity we think we are) requires exiting the very framework that sustains our experience, understanding and comprehension of the same...
(2) Heidegger did not succeed in explaining this concept...because he had to use the language of being that arises in the very framework that needed explaining...by definition you cannot explain fully a system within the semantical framework of the system that allows such meaning structures to exist
(3) I don't know why he didn't take the step of expanding his explanation beyond the usual (and he definitely got extremely close to the edge or horizon of our linguistic domain) meaning within our own everyday intuitions...perhaps it is due to the ability of his detractors to make fun of his "edge" signs pointing to the wordless structure of being that caused him to halt before his thesis pointed to meanings that were ineffable.

The hilarity of this entire drama unfolds when the heideggerian rejoinder reminds the "user" of being of the basic Ineffability of a named being referenced in the background that was forgotten but taken for granted in the nexus of everyday existence
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Wow. I need help, or perhaps citations to some outside references, to grok what you refer to as 'the transcendental [Brain]". Best if you can clarify your statement by fleshing it out. Thanks.
The “transcendental brain” refers to the brain as it is fully and actually, and not merely as it appears to us in human perception (and conception). Think of Kant’s noumenon.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
My axiomL
"Axiom: In order to comfort yourself with the "glitch" of understanding within your own consciousness, you must by definition reject the full nature and background that makes your consciousness (as a phenomenon to your "self") as non-existent. "

(1) The very reality that underlies the structure (comprehended only by the very entity we think we are) requires exiting the very framework that sustains our experience, understanding and comprehension of the same...
(2) Heidegger did not succeed in explaining this concept...because he had to use the language of being that arises in the very framework that needed explaining...by definition you cannot explain fully a system within the semantical framework of the system that allows such meaning structures to exist
(3) I don't know why he didn't take the step of expanding his explanation beyond the usual (and he definitely got extremely close to the edge or horizon of our linguistic domain) meaning within our own everyday intuitions...perhaps it is due to the ability of his detractors to make fun of his "edge" signs pointing to the wordless structure of being that caused him to halt before his thesis pointed to meanings that were ineffable.

The hilarity of this entire drama unfolds when the heideggerian rejoinder reminds the "user" of being of the basic Ineffability of a named being referenced in the background that was forgotten but taken for granted in the nexus of everyday existence
As I struggle to understand what you write in this post it occurs to me that you can help out by defining the terms and words you are employing. To that end, I will highlight in red the terms and words that seem ambiguous and/or puzzling to me and ask that you define them in a response.

“My axiom:
"Axiom: In order to comfort yourself with the "glitch" of understanding within your own consciousness, you must by definition reject the full nature and background that makes your consciousness (as a phenomenon to your "self") as non-existent.

(1) The very reality that underlies the structure (comprehended only by the very entity we think we are) requires exiting the very framework that sustains our experience, understanding and comprehension of the same…"

{note 1: you seem to claim that ‘the very entity we think we are’ is an illusion produced by the ‘framework’ [structures of experience, structures of consciousness] which we sense/discover/recognize/understand in analyzing the relations and structures of our sense perceptions. So are you indeed arguing that what we perceive and reflect upon cannot enlighten us regarding the nature of our existence/our being?}

{note 2: Would the following sentence come closer to your meaning if you removed the preposition 'as'? : "you must by definition reject the full nature and background that makes your consciousness (as a phenomenon to your "self") as non-existent." In either case, you seem to be saying that if we attempt to bracket and dismiss the entire sense of an environing world that arises around us, including our sense of ourselves within it, we might demonstrate to ourselves that we do not exist. For me, this recommendation seems to rest on a misunderstanding of the term 'phenomenon'. See Renaud Barbaras,
The Being of the Phenomenon, at Amazon.com: Renaud Barbarus, The Being of the Phenomenon: Books}

"(2) Heidegger did not succeed in explaining this concept...because he had to use the language of being that arises in the very framework that needed explaining...by definition you cannot explain fully a system within the semantical framework of the system that allows such meaning structures to exist."

{Granted and setting aside the shortcomings of human languages, do you actually hold that reflective consciousness, which requires the development of language in order to be expressed, is not grounded in prereflective/non-thetic consciousness of existence, of being, on the part of early humans and a range of other evolving species on earth?}



"(3) I don't know why he didn't take the step of expanding his explanation beyond the usual (and he definitely got extremely close to the edge or horizon of our linguistic domain) meaning within our own everyday intuitions...perhaps it is due to the ability of his detractors to make fun of his "edge" signs pointing to the wordless structure of being that caused him to halt before his thesis pointed to meanings that were ineffable."

{Are you requiring of Heidegger that he should have been capable of eff-ing ‘the ineffable’? What would doing so look and sound like? Can you do this for Heidegger -- analyzing his ‘edge’ writings -- and save him from his detractors? Or do you wish to persuade others that phenomenological/existential philosophy is empty of ontological significance?}

"The hilarity of this entire drama unfolds when the heideggerian rejoinder reminds the "user" of being of the basic Ineffability of a named being referenced in the background that was forgotten but taken for granted in the nexus of everyday existence.”

{I’m at a loss to appreciate the ‘hilarity’ of what you call ‘this entire drama’. Can you persuade me that it is ‘hilarious’?}
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
While Renaud Barbaras's The Being of the Phenomenon already deftly summarizes Barbaras's (and Merleau-Ponty's) thesis in its title, I want to post the following review of the book published at amazon as an introductory aid to understanding this thesis.

"

StreetlightReader

5.0 out of 5 starsA Rightful Classic of Merleau-Ponty Studies
October 3, 2015
Format: Paperback
When the great French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty died of a sudden stroke at the age of fifty-three, it was clear that he was in the process of undertaking an extraordinary retooling of his earlier philosophical endeavours. While books like The Structure of Behavior and the Phenomenology of Perception had attempted to lay down a new vocabulary by which to speak of the lived, perceptual experiences of sentient bodies, neither had put stress on an effort to work out a fully fleshed ontological stance which would undergird their respective findings. Thus, found buried in the working notes of the The Visible and the Invisible - the half-finished manuscript that Merleau-Ponty was working on at the time of his death - we find the following note: "Results of Ph.P - Necessity of bringing them to ontological explication." While Merleau-Ponty himself only left hints and traces of what this explication would have looked like, The Being of the Phenomenon - Renaud Barbaras's magisterial reconstruction of Merleau-Ponty's ontology - takes on precisely this task, to spectacular effect.

More than just a restatement however, Barbaras's central claim is that what motivated Merleau-Ponty's 'ontological turn' was the realization that unless he could show how truth itself has an origin in perceptual life - how the order of intelligibility emerges out from, and within the sensuous order - Merleau-Ponty risked relegating his descriptions of perceptual life to a mere 'provisional stage' of human experience. So consigned, the twin threats of both intellectualism and empiricism (the perils of which Merleau-Ponty's early works aimed studiously to avoid) would thus be able to re-institute themselves at a 'higher level' of human existence, leaving the phenomenology of perception in the dust of a mere psychological - rather than properly philosophical - footing. Oriented according to this reading, Barbaras's study thus unfolds in a manner of a captivating detective story, tracking the progression by which Merleau-Ponty arduously and creatively attempted to tackle the problem of giving ontological voice to his phenomenological song.

Key to these efforts, according to Barbaras, was Merleau-Ponty's newfound regard for the centrality of language with respect to the nature of perception. In his study of language - particularly the structuralist conceptions of language engaged with in The Prose of the World - Merleau-Ponty found the resources he needed to make the ontological leap his earlier work demanded. In particular, what was to become a full blown 'philosophy of expression' would show Merleau-Ponty that the classical phenomenological distinction between fact and essence - thematized by Husserl to underpin the very method by which phenomenology was to be practiced - could not be properly maintained without compromising the specificity of appearance. Extending the linguistic insight that sense does not exist on its own in some rarefied sphere of ideality, and instead requires a constitutive instantiation in the materiality of the sign in order to function, so too did Merleau-Ponty recognize that the ideality of essence similarly requires an implication within a 'worldly' order of fact - an implication which, for Merleau-Ponty, would require nothing less than a radical overhaul of the most basic presuppositions of the phenomenological project.

And it is just to this reworking that late writings like The Visible and the Invisible - of which Barbaras provides a chapter by chapter breakdown, together with in-depth thematic discussions - undertakes. Indeed, while the first half of The Being of the Phenomenon works to set up the trajectory of Barbaras' reading, the entire second half of the book lends itself to a blow by blow account of what Merleau-Ponty's ontology-in-the-works - in its full splendor and in the light of Barbaras's rigorously researched imagination - would have turned out to be. Notions like dimentionality, intersubjectivity, depth, flesh, desire, space and time are all given a thorough grounding in the terms set down above, and further illuminated by Barbaras's erudite discussions of Merleau-Ponty's distinctiveness with respect to his philosophical peers like Descartes, Leibniz, Husserl, Sartre and Heidegger - also serve to bring out the specificity and originality of his endeavour. It helps too that Barbaras writes with a flair and confidence that imbues The Being of the Phenomenon with a narrative momentum that never ceases to drag a reader along with it. While this isn't the place to look for a critical reading of Merleau-Ponty - a task Barbaras undertakes elsewhere - this really is a classic of secondary literature that it has long been known to be."
 



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