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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12




Constance

Paranormal Adept
Sorry Constance. I suppose I’m just frustrated. Of course I don’t want you to stop asking questions. I have actually appreciated your conversation with MA over the past few weeks.
Thanks. Let's just forget about this little kerfuffle. I'm frustrated too, as is obvious in my persistence in pressing the importance of phenomenology for a full appreciation of the nature and structure of human consciousness and its influence on what we think and do within the existential conditions of our lived world.

We know you value phenomenology. If there is anything we may have learned from this years-long discussion, it’s that the pathway to solving the mbp is still wide open.
As I've said before, I think the mbp as foregrounded in analytical philosophy is overcome in phenomenological philosophy with contributing insights from biology, psychology, and affective neuroscience. I evidently haven't succeeded in making that case here despite many efforts. Nevertheless I understand the attractions of the theories you want to pursue and will stand by and read more about them.

Re asking questions: I’ve been discussing and presenting material on the intrinsic nature argument since we discussed Hoffman and Strawson a real materialism probably a year or two ago. Never have we mentioned Penrose, etc. I guess it just confuses me how you could think that’s what I’ve been saying. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I do see the 'intrinsic nature argument' you've been presenting with the succession of theorists you've brought forward, and I recognize the power of its attraction. I'm reading the paper linked in the OUP material you cited yesterday and will follow your lead as discussions ensue here. Re Penrose and Hameroff, I mentioned them because their contributions to the recognition of quantum processes in the brain seemed to me to support your pursuit of quantum field explanations of consciousness. Perhaps they do? Anyway, I will do more listening for awhile. :)


ETA: here is the link to that paper at OUP:
Information generation as a functional basis of consciousness
 
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Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
There are times when I think you overcomplicate things. The concept of function need not be so esoteric. For example the function of one gear may be nothing more than to turn another gear. This is entirely comprehensible. There is no "false sense of being" associated with it on any practical level. If we want to invoke Zeno, that's another matter. But that level of understanding isn't required to make complete sense of the situation. If you're trying to relay a different message, then perhaps an example would be helpful.
The concept of function is rather trivial within our manifold of experience...the problem occurs when you apply this concept to explain the manifold that brought the concept into being. What I am trying to say is that our "concepts" are weak tools because the very thing we are trying to disassemble and comprehend has already mindlessly assumed the tools and their effects.

Edit:

Yes it would see that I am overcomplicating "things." The problem is that we are trying to analyze the analyzer which has already taken upon itself to ascertain reality in such a way as to improve our survivability. That which extends beyond the necessary bound of survivability seems strange to us...but may be an evolutionary byproduct. Something that is "entirely comprehensible" by our embedded engine of being-in-the-world may actually utterly fail to explain it's own origins. In other words, the questions we verbalize may mislead us from any final or complete understanding of the very engine that "feels" it's own existence through reflection on its own "questioning" or "feeling/groping about" What we think is "entirely comprehensible" (a gear turning another) is a figment that is already taken for granted in our questioning of the foundation of being. The cause-effect models already assume something invisible or transparent to allow consciousness to feel the dynamics of being which it cannot fully understand.

The easiest way to illustrate this point is to imagine an infintely capable consciousness that knows everything. If such a sentience exists (it doesn't) then there would be no basis for any ability to feel ... spoiler alert: an omniscient consciousness is dead...unfeeling, unchanging, physical....all the things that consciousness itself (as a living embedded being) abhors. So it makes perfect sense that consciousness fail to provide a theory that satisfies it's own questioning.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
The concept of function is rather trivial within our manifold of experience...the problem occurs when you apply this concept to explain the manifold that brought the concept into being. What I am trying to say is that our "concepts" are weak tools because the very thing we are trying to disassemble and comprehend has already mindlessly assumed the tools and their effects.
So we are essentially only marionettes whose movements and projects in and for ourselves and others and more broadly for the well-being of our environing world are not our own but are unconsciously manipulated and determined by a 'manifold', of which we have no real knowledge? Recalls Chalmers's description of zombies in his setting out of the hard problem.

Edit: Yes it would see[m] that I am overcomplicating "things." The problem is that we are trying to analyze the analyzer which has already taken upon itself to ascertain reality in such a way as to improve our survivability. That which extends beyond the necessary bound of survivability seems strange to us...but may be an evolutionary byproduct.
So in your view our only identifiable instinct concerns our 'surviving' in this life? We and other animals are in fact motivated by a plenum of identifiable instincts which you seem to prefer to ignore. Consult J.J. Gibson, Jaak Panksepp, and associated others.

Something that is "entirely comprehensible" by our embedded engine of being-in-the-world may actually utterly fail to explain it's own origins. In other words, the questions we verbalize may mislead us from any final or complete understanding of the very engine that "feels" it's own existence through reflection on its own "questioning" or "feeling/groping about"
This is confusing for me. It seems that you are arguing that this unknown and unknowable 'manifold' (the engine of Being in the cosmos, thus of our sense of being-in-the/a-world) is magically embedded in all forms of life/expressions of consciousness and renders us automatons whose 'consciousness' is capable only of presenting questions which we cannot begin to answer. Thus we have no need of philosophy or the sciences, or of our own capacities for reflection on what we experience. Have I got that right?

What we think is "entirely comprehensible" (a gear turning another) is a figment that is already taken for granted in our questioning of the foundation of being. The cause-effect models already assume something invisible or transparent to allow consciousness to feel the dynamics of being which it cannot fully understand.
So our descriptions of how things, forces, processes work in nature, which have increased in depth and complexity in our time, are pointless? The questions we ask are futile since the answers are only to be found in the 'manifold'/the cosmic engine of being' and we are unable to comprehend the nature of this engine. Thus seeking to understand our own nature, to use our individual and collective capacities for reasoning based in our empirical experiences of things and others, are idle and meaningless efforts. My goodness, what shall we do with our time instead?

The easiest way to illustrate this point is to imagine an infintely capable consciousness that knows everything. If such a sentience exists (it doesn't) then there would be no basis for any ability to feel ... spoiler alert: an omniscient consciousness is dead...unfeeling, unchanging, physical....all the things that consciousness itself (as a living embedded being) abhors. So it makes perfect sense that consciousness fail to provide a theory that satisfies it's own questioning.
I don't think that most of us "abhor" the idea of an 'infinite consciousness' as perhaps being "unfeeling, unchanging, physical." We have no information about the nature of any 'infinite consciousness' that might exist, just as we have no idea about the nature of the hidden 'manifold'/'engine of being' you speculate about. You are engaged in thought experiments. Nothing wrong with that, but I think you should recognize the limitations of thought experiments.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Is this phenomenal consciousness field (PCF) visible with the naked eye?
I don't unify the concept of sensory phenomena with the that of a field theory for consciousness. Therefore a phenomenal consciousness field (PCF) would be a new term here. But assuming that we equate sensory phenomena with qualia, then experiencing qualia visually is literally the same as seeing the consciousness field. We are however not thinking of it in that context, just like when we go to the movies, we are literally seeing a movie screen, but the screen itself is removed from our experience of the movie.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
... If this link doesn't work, search for ...
The trick seems to be to delete everything after ".pdf" ( without the quotes ).
Link: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/15a5/d073ba4c54d5348fb8ec9e0c3293edc5f2b5.pdf

Apart from McGinn's use of "apprehend" when the word "comprehend" would be a better choice, my opinion of the paper's subject matter Can We Solve the Mind—Body Problem? remains the same as has been previously stated. It is a false "problem". Therefore the whole exercise of attempting to answer it is a fool's errand. There are bodies and there are minds. Both coexist when the conditions are right.

Therefore to understand consciousness to the same degree as we understand anything else, all that needs to be established are all the particulars of the conditions directly correlated with the presence of consciousness. Armed with that knowledge, we would then have every reason to believe that in situations where those conditions exist, consciousness exists as well.

As proof of this assertion, I once again point out the reproductive cycle of human beings. There are literally billions of examples proving the above hypothesis beyond any reasonable doubt. The alternative is to invoke some sort of magical thinking where credence is given to the idea that some divinity or another keeps tabs on births and deaths and dispenses consciousness like sacramental bread. That approach solves nothing.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
I don't unify the concept of sensory phenomena with the that of a field theory for consciousness. Therefore a phenomenal consciousness field (PCF) would be a new term here. But assuming that we equate sensory phenomena with qualia, then experiencing qualia visually is literally the same as seeing the consciousness field. We are however not thinking of it in that context, just like when we go to the movies, we are literally seeing a movie screen, but the screen itself is removed from our experience of the movie.
So we can see a PCF?
 


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