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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


smcder

Paranormal Adept
Was it just me or did Friedman seem to convince himself that he thought of the humans creating consciousness via babies idea, and hadn’t just heard it from Chalmers?

Anyhow, Chalmers makes such a radical idea sound sane as always. At least imo.
I don't remember it that way ... but it's possible! ;-)
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
So your definition is the same as everyone else’s. It is agent dependent ... ie something experienced. So it doesn’t exist in nature by itself!
Why are you shouting?

Chalmers doesn’t seem to think it’s “agent dependent.”

It’s true that we know about the qualitative nature of experience due to having qualitative experiences, but it doesn’t follow that the qualitative nature of our experiences is therefore dependent on human experiences.

For example, we know about the world via our perceptions but that doesn’t mean the world’s existence depends on our perceptions.

Our experiences and their qualitative nature are distinct.
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
I have grown to dislike panpsychism
Hallelujah... ! [insert: trumpets sounding and choirs of angels singing]
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.
In what sense is something qualitative, as described by Chalmers in video, but not experience? Why are all creatures’ experiences of any given qualitative thing in nature (as you view it) not identical?
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.
Yes! Print this and put it in your loo to read everyday. But note: put proto-qualitative out of brackets and delete the “qualitative nature” bit. Then contemplate what you mean by proto-qualitative... oh... and put evolution in bold capital letters.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
In what sense is something qualitative, as described by Chalmers in video, but not experience?
In the sense that sound waves exist even if we aren’t around to hear them.

Why are all creatures’ experiences of any given qualitative thing in nature (as you view it) not identical?
Because not all creatures nor their nervous systems are identical.

Yes! Print this and put it in your loo to read everyday. But note: put proto-qualitative out of brackets and delete the “qualitative nature” bit. Then contemplate what you mean by proto-qualitative... oh... and put evolution in bold capital letters.
Sure. I’ll put it right next to your theory of emergence.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Why are all creatures’ experiences of any given qualitative thing in nature (as you view it) not identical?
Also, because I recognize that naive realism is false. The thing perceived and the perception are distinct. It’s hard to see this, admittedly.

Also one can hold that EM waves are qualitative but also hold that they aren’t colorful like the rainbow. This is also very hard to see, admittedly.
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Why are you shouting?

Chalmers doesn’t seem to think it’s “agent dependent.”

It’s true that we know about the qualitative nature of experience due to having qualitative experiences, but it doesn’t follow that the qualitative nature of our experiences is therefore dependent on human experiences.

For example, we know about the world via our perceptions but that doesn’t mean the world’s existence depends on our perceptions.

Our experiences and their qualitative nature are distinct.
All Chalmers’ definitions of qualitativity are in relation to experiencing (he is the agent of the experience to which he has recourse to explain and define ‘the qualitative’)
In what sense is something qualitative when it is not experienced! If I say a sunrise has beautiful qualities you say that is it’s intrinsic nature. If a worm hates sunrises (their rays are deleterious to its healthy glow) the worm is just wrong about it: sunrises are intrinsically beautiful in quality. No no you say... a sunrise has therefore an infinite number of intrinsic qualities to cater for all the inifinite kinds of organisms that might “evolve” to experience them...
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
In the sense that sound waves exist even if we aren’t around to hear them.


Because not all creatures nor their nervous systems are identical.


Sure. I’ll put it right next to your theory of emergence.
“I’m in @soupie’s loo”... I’ll put that on the back cover of my book!

I’m fine with the view that sound waves exist. I’m fine with saying that all creatures have different nervous systems and that this moderates their experience. That’s just realism soupie. What you are saying is utterly and significantly different though.
Why do qualitative experiences, as referred to by Chalmers, differ in all these different organisms (apparently because of their respective nervous systems)?
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
All Chalmers’ definitions of qualitativity are in relation to experiencing (he is the agent of the experience to which he has recourse to explain and define ‘the qualitative’)
In what sense is something qualitative when it is not experienced! If I say a sunrise has beautiful qualities you say that is it’s intrinsic nature. If a worm hates sunrises (their rays are deleterious to its healthy glow) the worm is just wrong about it: sunrises are intrinsically beautiful in quality. No no you say... a sunrise has therefore an infinite number of intrinsic qualities to cater for all the inifinite kinds of organisms that might “evolve” to experience them...
It may be easier for you to think about this from the objective perspective.

For example, it seems that not all brain states but only some brain states are correlated with qualitative experience.

Thus, we ask: do some brain states “have” a qualitative nature and some do not?

The answer is that all brain states have a qualitative nature, but only some brain states are such that their qualitative nature becomes evident.

If a qualitative nature fell down in a forest, and no philosophers were around to have a qualitative experience, would the qualitative nature exist?
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
All Chalmers’ definitions of qualitativity are in relation to experiencing (he is the agent of the experience to which he has recourse to explain and define ‘the qualitative’)
All humans definitions of ANYTHING are in relation to experiencing.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Why do qualitative experiences, as referred to by Chalmers, differ in all these different organisms (apparently because of their respective nervous systems)?
If all brain states have qualitative nature, then all perceptual brain states will have a qualitative nature, and if all organisms have different brain states, than all organisms will have different perceptual brain states, with different qualitative character.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be ableto entertain a thought without accepting it.”

im not expecting anyone to accept the intrinsic nature argument nor indirect realism but by golly we should all be able to understand them. Granted they are difficult to grok. But come on folks. ?
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
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.
"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."

In the video Chalmers talks about adding something on, but I don't take that as tacking something extra on. He says if you can't explain everything with the fundamental things you have, you may have to recognize other fundamental things. So mind is as fundamental as any and every thing a physicalist would recognize as fundamental. I think your view of dual aspect/identity falls within the broad bounds of panpsychism:

Panpsychism is the view that mentality is fundamental and ubiquitous in the natural world. - SEP
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be ableto entertain a thought without accepting it.”

im not expecting anyone to accept the intrinsic nature argument nor indirect realism but by golly we should all be able to understand them. Granted they are difficult to grok. But come on folks. ?
It is the mark of an educated mind to attribute its quotes! ;-)

 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
@Constance

@Soupie wrote:

"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."


I think the term you need to examine critically is 'brain state'. You seem in a few of your recent posts to recognize the fluidity, the temporally changing nature of brain states, as continuously respondent to situations and events understood/comprehended by humans and other animals, but ordinarily you reify the term so that the 'stream of consciousness' is effaced.

How many 'brain states' do you think the orangutan in Steve's post above has passed through, remembered, and integrated by the time he moves toward the human in the snake-infested water in Borneo and extends an arm and hand to help him out of the water? And how many earlier experiences -- prereflectively absorbed and in time reflectively integrated and developed in terms of their meaning, their significance -- have led to the organization of this animal's consciousness to the point where he understands the danger the game warden is in and is moved through empathy to attempt to rescue him?

No amount of standard materialist/reductivist neuroscience will lead to an appreciation of the complexity of human or animal brain states and resulting streams of consciousness responding to complex lived experiences that ground and enable behavior such as we see here. Phenomenology, Affective Neuroscience (forged by Jaak Panksepp), and Neuro-phenomenology inspired by Varela, Thompson, et al offer the hope of our one day comprehensively understanding the complex and lived nature of consciousness and, indeed, mind.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
We might look more closely at the struggles of mind, and of consciousness, in ourselves and others, as a pathway into recogizing the reality of consciousness and the inescapable sense of 'self' present in experiential consciousness. In the first book of Paradise Lost, Milton wrote these well-known lines --

". . . The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. . . ."

We've already looked, briefly, at some neurological and psychological conditions and predispositions that produce great suffering in afflicted individuals, particularly when they reach adulthood not having had the benefit of informed care earlier on. But we all struggle, to lesser degrees, in attempting to 'make sense' of the world we live in. I raise this issue for discussion here after listening to Chalmers's very good lecture on "The Meta-Problem of Consciousness" which I think we can all learn from and which provides for us a way to work on a variety of issues together despite our distinctly different current theories about consciousness.

 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Chalmers Meta-Problem Research Program is a form of critical thinking. Cheers for him! It certainly beats haphazardly revisiting the same issues over and over again, hoping something new will magically materialize. I hope you all get something out of it. It's also an excellent orientation for anyone just tuning into this thread. Nice find @Constance! Hopefully David will accept our invite to the show in the not too distant future. At present he's still working on his new book. In the meantime, for anyone who may be interested:

Why Afterlives Are Impossible - Philosophy Science & The Unexplained.
 
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Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Chalmers Meta-Problem Research Program is a form of critical thinking. Cheers for him! It certainly beats haphazardly revisiting the same issues over and over again, hoping something new will magically materialize. Nice find @Constance. I hope you all get something out of it. Hopefully David will also accept our invite to the show in the not too distant future. At present he's still working on his new book. In the meantime, for anyone who may be interested:

Why Afterlives Are Impossible - Philosophy Science & The Unexplained.
The meta program is about getting finance for research. It’s not actually a program of real merit: There is a problem about whether there is a problem about the problem of conscious. But feel free to argue for it here
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
The meta program is about getting finance for research. It’s not actually a program of real merit: There is a problem about whether there is a problem about the problem of conscious. But feel free to argue for it here
You may very well be right about the Meta-Problem Research Program being used as a pitch for funding. I'm not sure about it being of no merit. That question seems more political than philosophical ( to me ).
 
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