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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Pharoah, as I understand it, you’re approach hinges on the notion that the qualitative nature of experience is causes by non-qualitative, spacial relations of brain/body processes.

I don’t share that notion.

Rather I believe that all of nature is qualitative and that brain/body processes are the way in which nature becomes self-aware.
No. On my view you’d have to read my paper. I started off here by criticising your approach: “all of nature is qualitative”—e.g dung is qualitative. My experience of it (namely how I might describe its pungent nastiness) being v different to a beetle’s has nothing to do with its quality. I need to fine a new word for what I thought qualitative meant
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
But I’m not looking for an argument. I’m not. You and Pharoah are welcome to forge forward with weak/strong emergence. It seems a wild goose chase to me.
Yea right: emergence ... evolution... : red herrings mating with wild geese
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Re the underlined statement, what does it mean to say that "all of nature is qualitative"?
It means that the quantum fields constituting our bodies are of the same nature as those constituting all of nature.

Do you mean that every particle, field, force, and process in nature is subject to qualitative experiences -- in other words, is conscious of the qualities of its experience?
No.

What we are trying to explain is the origin and nature of the qualitative nature of experience.

We believe that the conscious experiences of of humans—visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.—have a qualitative character.

While it seems that these experiences are mediated by brain processes, it’s not clear at all how brain processes could give rise to this qualitative character.

The intrinsic nature argument is to say that all of nature has a qualitative nature.

Here is a rough analogy:

Imagine a transparent substrate, like paint but transparent, that when shaped into wonderful designs, suddenly and inexplicably pops with colors.

That seems to be how most people view matter/energy; it normally lacks a qualitative nature but when it is arranged in brains, matter/energy suddenly and so-far inexplicably pops with qualities.

What I am arguing, is that this substrate is never “transparent.” The qualitative nature is always there, but is co-formed into thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in parallel with brain processes. Indeed they are one and the same.

How do we find out about the nature of these experiential qualities?
They’re noumena.

Do we yet know of any qualities, qualia, experiences taking place in the quantum substrate?
We can only assume they’re there bc they clearly exist in our experience, there doesn’t seem to be any fundamental difference between quantum fields in the brain and quantum fields in the rest of nature, and we can’t even begin to see how quality could emerge from a non-qualitative, spatial substrate.[/B]
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Soupie said:
"Pharoah if you want to overcome the intrinsic nature argument, you need to:

1) explain how quality emerges from spatial relationships

2) explain how non-brain states are fundamentally different from brain states as it pertains to their qualitative nature"


No I don’t. Re 1 It makes no sense (as I tried to point out re space/ time/quality) to say that quality emerges from space. Think about an impressionist painting and a line draw perspective drawing of a corridor. The colours create spatial imagery in the former but the corridor does not create qualities of colour in the latter.
re 2 that is too simplistic a question
Seconding both of @Pharoah's responses.

Re 1, as @Pharoah has pointed out, we don't exist in space alone but also in time. The sense of temporality arises in prereflective consciousness in conjunction with the beginnings of tacit self-awarenes, self-reference, self-presence in and to a changing mileau of being among things and others. I'll link below a paper that's just been published at academia.edu that should be helpful for those who haven't read phenomenological analyses of consciousness and lived experience. For a fully worked out explication of the temporality of sense, experience, and thought, see Husserl's Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, which I will also link. I have to say, once again, that the matters at issue here cannot be fully groked unless one takes the time to read the phenomenological literature.

Re 2, "Explain how non-brain states are fundamentally different from brain states as it pertains to their qualitative nature," there are two unargued presuppositions present here (to the best of my ability to distinguish them, make sense of them). The first is (apparently) that 'non-brain states', which are not identified or defined but merely claimed to exist <somewhere>, some how share the same quantum information [?] that beings with brains possess/experience. The second presupposition is that these supposed 'non-brain' states possess their own "qualitative nature." It seems that there is no data available at present to account for the nature of 'non-brain' states, wherever they might exist. In another recent post you say that we cannot know the 'qualitative nature' of 'non-brain states' because "they are noumena." (What would Kant make of your hypothesis?)

If I've misunderstood what you have written above, please clarify.


The following paper, first published last year in the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences and posted today at academia.edu should be helpful for those yet unfamiliar with phenomenology in understanding the manifold significance of sensed temporality in and of human existence.

"Being a body and having a body. The twofold temporality of embodied intentionality"
Maren Wehrle


"Abstract: The body is both the subject and object of intentionality: qua Leib, it experiences worldly things and qua Körper, it is experienced as a thing in the world. This phenomenological differentiation forms the basis for Helmuth Plessner’s anthropological theory of the mediated or eccentric nature of human embodiment, that is, simultaneously we both are a body and have a body. Here, I want to focus on the extent to which this double aspect of embodiment (qua Leib and Körper) relates to our experience of temporality. Indeed, to question, does this double bodily relation correspond to a twofold temporality of embodied intentionality? In the first part of this paper, I differentiate between the intentional temporality of being a body and the temporal experience of having a body. To further my argument, in the second part, I present examples of specific pathologies, as well as liminal cases of bodily experiences, wherein these temporal dimensions, which otherwise go hand-in-hand, become dissociated. Phenomenologically, I want to argue that Husserl's differentiation between Leib and Körper corresponds to two genetic forms of intentionality – operative and act (or object) intentionality – and that these are, in turn, characterized by different temporalities. Anthropologically, I want to argue that having a body – what occurs as an inherent break to human embodiment – is the presupposition for the experience of a stable and object-like time. I will conclude that the double aspect of human embodiment and in particular the thematic experience of having a body enables both the experience of a past, which is remembered, and a future that is planned."

Keywords: Phenomenology. Philosophical Anthropology. Embodiment. Time. Intentionality. Husserl. Merleau-Ponty. Plessner. Psychopathology.

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

Maren Wehrle
wehrle@esphil.eur.nl
Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738,3000 DRRotterdam, The Netherlands

https://www.academia.edu/38303320/B...ied_intentionality?email_work_card=view-paper


Here is a link to Husserl's Phenomenology of Inner Time Consciousness:

The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Just wondering if anyone remembers what the point of this discussion is? As is directly relevant to the title of this thread "Consciousness and the Paranormal" I recently commented that with respect to such things as afterlives and reincarnation, consciousness itself plays a neutral role. There appears to be nothing "paranormal" about it. What is more mysterious are the various phenomena that give rise to theories that consciousness is somehow behind their creation. Because consciousness alone cannot be responsible, what is and why ?
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
The term ‘brain state’ is an overthrow of a substance metaphysics. The process metaphysical approach does not hold much regard for the idea of this stance, where some ‘brain state, a = x, y, or z
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
It means that the quantum fields constituting our bodies are of the same nature as those constituting all of nature.


No.

What we are trying to explain is the origin and nature of the qualitative nature of experience.

We believe that the conscious experiences of of humans—visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.—have a qualitative character.

While it seems that these experiences are mediated by brain processes, it’s not clear at all how brain processes could give rise to this qualitative character.

The intrinsic nature argument is to say that all of nature has a qualitative nature.

Here is a rough analogy:

Imagine a transparent substrate, like paint but transparent, that when shaped into wonderful designs, suddenly and inexplicably pops with colors.

That seems to be how most people view matter/energy; it normally lacks a qualitative nature but when it is arranged in brains, matter/energy suddenly and so-far inexplicably pops with qualities.

What I am arguing, is that this substrate is never “transparent.” The qualitative nature is always there, but is co-formed into thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in parallel with brain processes. Indeed they are one and the same.


They’re noumena.


We can only assume they’re there bc they clearly exist in our experience, there doesn’t seem to be any fundamental difference between quantum fields in the brain and quantum fields in the rest of nature, and we can’t even begin to see how quality could emerge from a non-qualitative, spatial substrate.[/B]
@Soupie writes:

"What I am arguing, is that this substrate is never “transparent.” The qualitative nature is always there, but is co-formed into thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in parallel with brain processes. Indeed they are one and the same."

I think that's a good short description @Soupie. The only confusing part is "in parallel" and then "indeed they are the same".

Perhaps pan proto psychism helps here:


"Instead, we can understand panpsychism as the thesis that some fundamental physical entities have mental states. For example, if quarks or photons have mental states, that suffices for panpsychism to be true, even if rocks and numbers (and dung - skm) do not have mental states. Perhaps it would not suffice for just one photon to have mental states. The line here is blurry, but we can read the definition as requiring that all members of some fundamental physical types (all photons, for example) have mental states."

WIth quantum fields being this fundamental physical entity. The lego block of consciousness.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
... WIth quantum fields being this fundamental physical entity. The lego block of consciousness.
We've been dancing around this idea of "Lego blocks" of consciousness for sometime now. Unless we're careful, adding the word "quantum" here doesn't contribute toward a solution. Rather it can quickly muddy the water, adding an air of quantum woo. One reason is that EM fields are quantum fields, and we already know how fond the regulars here have been toward that idea. Adding the word "quantum" doesn't change it in the slightest.

It might be helpful to bear in mind that according to quantum theory, everything is composed of some sort of quanta, and that QFT is just one model. There are others. Another that's been gaining momentum is Phoenix Theory. Instead of particles or strings, it describes existence in terms of geometric vectors. It purportedly unites the virtues of particle and string theory into a cohesive model.

The bottom line with respect to any model is that they cannot explain how fundamental properties are imparted on them. They must simply accept that there are fundamental properties which have been imparted, and the model must accurately predict how those properties will manifest. So if in this discussion we're attempting to explain how consciousness is imparted on a particle or field ( whatever ), we won't find any answers.

At best, all we can do is propose what at least one of us here has been suggesting all along, that the physical structure of consciousness is some sort of field, the property of which we call consciousness, understood to mean a subjective experience. From there we can make certain proposals based on the types of arguments outlined above ( all examples of critical thinking ), and hope that at least some others out there in the real world are doing the same.


 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
We've been dancing around this idea of "Lego blocks" of consciousness for sometime now. Unless we're careful, adding the word "quantum" here doesn't contribute toward a solution. Rather it can quickly muddy the water, adding an air of quantum woo. One reason is that EM fields are quantum fields, and we already know how fond the regulars here have been toward that idea. Adding the word "quantum" doesn't change it in the slightest.

It might be helpful to bear in mind that according to quantum theory, everything is composed of some sort of quanta, and that QFT is just one model. There are others. Another that's been gaining momentum is Phoenix Theory. Instead of particles or strings, it describes existence in terms of geometric vectors.

The bottom line with respect to any theory is that they cannot explain how fundamental properties are imparted on them. They must simply accept that there are fundamental properties which have been imparted on them, and they must be able to accurately predict how those properties will manifest. So if in this discussion we're attempting to explain how consciousness is imparted on a particle or field ( whatever ), we won't find any answer.

At best, all we can do is propose what at least one of us here has been suggesting all along, that the structure of consciousness is some sort of field, the property of which we call consciousness, understood to mean a subjective experience. From there we can make certain proposals based on the types of arguments outlined above ( all examples of critical thinking ), and hope that at least some others out there in the real world are doing the same.


I'm just trying to clarify @Soupie's position.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I'm just trying to clarify @Soupie's position.
Sure. Same here, except I'm trying to clarify "the position". Whose it is, is beside the point ( to me ), and it would seem that we're all in the same boat.
  1. There is no way to determine how consciousness is imparted on whatever physical structure carries it.
  2. Consciousness is essentially neutral with respect to personhood and therefore has no bearing on concepts like afterlives or reincarnation.
  3. The best we can do is determine the situations that make consciousness evident, and learn to work with them.
The above leads to question like:
  1. What situations are there that make consciousness evident?
  2. What ways can we learn to work with them?
  3. What purpose would working with them serve?
  4. What consequences might there be?
There appears to me to be no other way forward. Even the above involves a lot of regurgitating the past. But there are also a lot of interesting combinations that might help illuminate things that are of personal importance or interest to those who explore them. That's essentially what this thread has become. That's also perfectly fine.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
"What I am arguing, is that this substrate is never “transparent.” The qualitative nature is always there, but is co-formed into thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in parallel with brain processes. Indeed they are one and the same."

I think that's a good short description @Soupie. The only confusing part is "in parallel" and then "indeed they are the same".
Thank you. Yes, “in parallel” implies a duality and that’s exactly what I want to avoid. Sorry.

It is tricky to talk about and explain. There is a duality but it’s a perspectival one, not an “ontological” one.

I have grown to dislike panpsychism because I don’t think of this qualitative nature as something extra or tacked on to the physical nature of matter/energy.

It just is that which we describe in physical terms.

An edited version:

What I am arguing, is that this substrate is never “transparent.” The qualitative nature is always there, but is formed into thoughts, feelings, and perceptions via dynamic processes.

Subjectively we experience these processes as the stream of consciousness; objectively we describe these processes as brain states.

But ultimately they are one and the same process.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
The best we can do is determine the situations that make consciousness evident, and learn to work with them.
If I’m following your meaning with this phrase, I like it.

On the intrinsic nature view, all of nature has a qualitative nature (or proto-qualitative nature if that’s more palatable) but only with the evolution of self-aware organisms has this qualitative character of nature become evident.

That is to say, the qualitative nature of nature didn’t come into existence with brain states, but brain states made the qualitative nature of nature evident.
 


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