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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13



Constance

Paranormal Adept
It would help, I think, if we had a clutch of obligatory texts to read in this seminar that would clarify/foreground the differences in our approaches -- and in some cases the false or questionable presuppositions in some of those approaches -- even before we approach discussion. Any suggestions?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
In searching tonight for pdfs of articles by a philosopher named Simon P. James I came across a downable pdf of an interesting book of his entitled The Presence of Nature: A Study in Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy. I’ve read the first chapter and expect to read all of it. As it’s only 176 pages long, it occurred to me that some or all of us might read and discuss it here, chapter by chapter, because I think it will help those who haven’t read phenomenological philosophy to recognize its uses and to distinguish this approach from other approaches represented here, including materialism, scientism, and pragmatism etc., disclosing the reasons for continuing disputation in the field of Consciousness Studies and in our own thread. In any case, take a look at this book at the link below, and we’ll see if enough of us want to try the collaborative discipline of responding to the same text, using this one for starters.

The Presence of Nature: A Study in Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy | Simon P. James | download

Here is link to Simon P. James's articles and books from philpapers.org:
Works by Simon P. James - PhilPapers
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
This misunderstanding is why you need to read phenomenological philosophy.
Claims such as the one above are not validated by mere proclamation, and the burden is not on the accused to make their accuser's case for them. I need you to take me through it step by step in your own words. Let's begin with what your interpretation of the "misunderstanding" is. If we both are on the same page there, then the next step will probably be easier.

Until then: you might be interested in this:

The Paradox of Nature: Merleau-Ponty's Semi-Naturalistic Critique of Husserlian Phenomenology
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Claims such as the one above are not validated by mere proclamation, and the burden is not on the accused to make their accuser's case for them. I need you to take me through it step by step in your own words. Let's begin with what your interpretation of the "misunderstanding" is. If we both are on the same page there, then the next step will probably be easier.

All I'm trying to say is that it seems to me, again and again, that you will never follow what I am trying to suggest unless you get your feet wet in phenomenological philosophy. I cannot put all of that into a little black box and insert it into your computer. I am sick of trying.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
All I'm trying to say is that it seems to me, again and again, that you will never follow what I am trying to suggest unless you get your feet wet in phenomenological philosophy. I cannot put all of that into a little black box and insert it into your computer. I am sick of trying.
You haven't actually tried yet. All you've done is made a vague assertion and a loaded remark without any explanation or substance. To try would be to begin by explaining in your own words what your interpretation of the "misunderstanding" is. That is, unless that part of the post wasn't meant to be taken seriously. If that's the case, then of course you are absolutely right. So the question is: Would you sooner be right or taken seriously? From my perspective on this issue, I see insufficient evidence to substantiate them both concurrently.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Ah, so you are standing with/upon your original presuppositions concerning the nature of reality. I had the impression from some of your posts in the latter part of Part 12 that you had recognized that materialism/physicalism/objectivism cannot account for consciousness. Okay, so be it. It seems we have nothing further to talk about then. :)

The bolded is not correct. It is not theoretically unfeasible for materialism/physicalism/objectivism (otherwise known as 'realism') to account for consciousness - as Spock quoted a Vulcan philosopher 'Nothing unreal exists.'

In other words, if you need to invent a new universe to account for consciousness, then you actually haven't solved the problem - you've just pushed it into a new domain where it makes sense, but now you need to account for both the creation of that domain, and the information transfer between the two domains. You've actually created more problems then you've solved.

No one in any field has ever accounted for consciousness, but that doesn't mean that any one (or many) might.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
All I'm trying to say is that it seems to me, again and again, that you will never follow what I am trying to suggest unless you get your feet wet in phenomenological philosophy. I cannot put all of that into a little black box and insert it into your computer. I am sick of trying.

Lol.

Perhaps some grounding in logical fallacies - most notably ad hominem (you're attacking Randall not his argument), circular reasoning (if you agree with my view then you'll agree with my view), and most notably shifting the burden of proof from you to Randall for your own assertion (he must go do a bunch of work to hold a skeptical position rather than you doing the work to back your assertions).
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Well I mucked that one up really well didn't I :p . You have a knack for catching me off-balance. But glad to see you posting again and in seemingly good spirits. To keep it consistent we'd have to also replace "biology" with "religion". The point being that Panpsychism magically imparts consciousness on everything without explaining anything.

The actual spirit of my remark is captured by: "Only in physics would one find a theory as outrageous as the aether."
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
You've correctly identified my MO. But I'm also not exactly sure how we got onto this. It just appeared in the list of posts back here:
So maybe I'm really not seeing the forest. In your own words, what exactly is the view or concept you're attempting to bring into focus?

I meant to link this to @Soupie's claim:

"As I’ve said in the past, one of Seth’s strength is that he has a grip on the science and philosophy of consciousness."


The article I posted challenged that (in terms of having a grip on the philosophy of consciousness). As I said I have no great interest in panpsychism, but neither am I dismissive of it - so I leave its defense to those more able and ardent.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
... if you agree with my view then you'll agree with my view ... and most notably shifting the burden of proof from you to Randall for your own assertion ( he must go do a bunch of work to hold a skeptical position rather than you doing the work to back your assertions ).
I have run into this situation many times over the years. It takes a couple of different forms. But it always boils down to, "If you don't agree with me then you're either incapable of understanding it, or you haven't done your homework." While that argument can be true in some cases, it is not a given, and as you correctly point out, it is not the role of the accused to do the prosecution's homework.

Where I tend to get messed-up is in the interpretation of the context of the discussion. In other words, while I might be technically correct about the point I'm making, it might also have no relevance to the discussion. I've been embarrassed by that more than once. So I try to be more cautious about that than I used to be.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
I have run into this situation many times over the years. It takes a couple of different forms. But it always boils down to, "If you don't agree with me then you're either incapable of understanding it, or you haven't done your homework." While that argument can be true in some cases, it is not a given, and as you correctly point out, it is not the role of the accused to do the prosecution's homework.

Where I tend to get messed-up is in the interpretation of the context of the discussion. In other words, while I might be technically correct about the point I'm making, it might also have no relevance to the discussion. I've been embarrassed by that more than once. So I try to be more cautious about that than I used to be.

“I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
― Richard P. Feynman

Feynman was an excellent communicator that could rapidly articulate extremely complicated ideas and concepts... because he understood them. Having read/watched many of his work and lectures, I don't ever recall him saying anything to the tune of "if you disagree with me, it's simply because you don't know enough."
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
As I said I have no great interest in panpsychism, but neither am I dismissive of it - so I leave its defense to those more able and ardent.
I don't intend to ever teach a course on panpsychism, so I don't need a storehouse of trivia about it. I just need to recall that after having looked into it sufficiently to identify whether or not it makes more sense to me than my present position, I have not adopted it as my present position. Therefore there must be problems with it that have caused me to move on, and since then, nothing about it seems to have changed.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
“I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
― Richard P. Feynman

Feynman was an excellent communicator that could rapidly articulate extremely complicated ideas and concepts... because he understood them. Having read/watched many of his work and lectures, I don't ever recall him saying anything to the tune of "if you disagree with me, it's simply because you don't know enough."
Here's another Feynmanism: "It is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence rather than the unknown rational efforts of extraterrestrial intelligence." But he also added: "We always try to guess the most likely explanation, keeping in the back of the mind, the fact that if it doesn't work, then we must discuss the other possibilities."
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
In searching tonight for pdfs of articles by a philosopher named Simon P. James I came across a downable pdf of an interesting book of his entitled The Presence of Nature: A Study in Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy. I’ve read the first chapter and expect to read all of it. As it’s only 176 pages long, it occurred to me that some or all of us might read and discuss it here, chapter by chapter, because I think it will help those who haven’t read phenomenological philosophy to recognize its uses and to distinguish this approach from other approaches represented here, including materialism, scientism, and pragmatism etc., disclosing the reasons for continuing disputation in the field of Consciousness Studies and in our own thread. In any case, take a look at this book at the link below, and we’ll see if enough of us want to try the collaborative discipline of responding to the same text, using this one for starters.

The Presence of Nature: A Study in Phenomenology and Environmental Philosophy | Simon P. James | download

Here is link to Simon P. James's articles and books from philpapers.org:
Works by Simon P. James - PhilPapers

I just downloaded this.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Well I mucked that one up really well didn't I :p . You have a knack for catching me off-balance. But glad to see you posting again and in seemingly good spirits. To keep it consistent we'd have to also replace "biology" with "religion". The point being that Panpsychism magically imparts consciousness on everything without explaining anything.

If you read some of de Quincey's works you will have to recognize that there's nothing 'magical' in his thinking and in his analyses of unsolved problems in standard QM theories. Actually he follows and develops Rovelli's and others' theories of "Relational Quantum Mechanics." Chalmers too recognizes the grounds for such theories and has written about them, contemplating both panpsychism and what he calls panprotopsychism. These are not the only scientifically educated thinkers pursuing panpsychism. Panpsychism has a long history. Perhaps you are confusing it with pantheism?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Coming back to your complaint re this, Randall:


USI Calgary said:
"Without writing an entire essay here, my exploration into what exactly constitutes Dualism, revealed that its most fundamental foundation is that it accepts the existence of both the objective and the subjective. This removes the confusion around the terms "mind" and "matter". That key opens the door to the idea that there can be both objective and subjective realities within the larger physical ( natural ) framework."

To which I replied:
"This misunderstanding is why you need to read phenomenological philosophy."

What your sentence misses is what phenomenological philosophy has revealed: that we can't have subjects without objects, and vice versa. Husserl expressed this reality in his often quoted formulation "No ideas but in things. No things but in ideas."

The way you express the relation above, there must be two kinds of 'reality' existing side by side within "the larger physical (natural) framework." Looks like once a materialist always a materialist. If you've been following this thread for the last four years [which you haven't] it should come as no surprise to you that one of the major discussions in current phenomenology concerns the issues involved in the project of the 'naturalization' of phenomenology. The different sides express this struggle as one between 'naturalizing phenomenology' or 'phenomenologizing nature'. No doubt the latter is an idea you will choke on and spit out in a long stream of angry and punitive verbiage. As I've said, I'm tired of being subjected to those. And it was in good faith that I suggested to you that you might understand my posts better if you would read at least some of the key texts in phenomenology. If that's too much to expect, please disregard my posts from now on rather than overreacting to them.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
“I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
― Richard P. Feynman

Feynman was an excellent communicator that could rapidly articulate extremely complicated ideas and concepts... because he understood them. Having read/watched many of his work and lectures, I don't ever recall him saying anything to the tune of "if you disagree with me, it's simply because you don't know enough."

Hmm. And yet, as I recall, he famously said that he didn't understand quantum mechanics, and cautioned his students and the public that 'if someone tells you they understand qm, don't believe them'.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
If you read some of de Quincey's works you will have to recognize that there's nothing 'magical' in his thinking and in his analyses of unsolved problems in standard QM theories. Actually he follows and develops Rovelli's and others' theories of "Relational Quantum Mechanics." Chalmers too recognizes the grounds for such theories and has written about them, contemplating both panpsychism and what he calls panprotopsychism. These are not the only scientifically educated thinkers pursuing panpsychism. Panpsychism has a long history. Perhaps you are confusing it with pantheism?
My comment was on panpsychism as a concept regardless of whoever is attempting to defend it, so individual examples by specific thinkers aren't relevant to the point I'm making unless they address those specific problems in a manner that solves them. Specifically, from the outset, every panpsychist viewpoint I've encountered, whether it be on paper or video, start off by hedging their definition with exemptions and conditions.

Also, in the end they never succeed in explaining why micro level things should possess microconsciousness, any more than they can explain why macro level things should possess macro level consciousness, or why multiple independent micro level entities should merge to form a single macro level entity. But If you should find some panpsychist who is an exception to this situation, by all means post an example with references.

In the meantime, the attached paper, now commonly available here, might serve as a common reference source for at least some points those interested in panpsychism might want to discuss.
 

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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
The way you express the relation above, there must be two kinds of 'reality' existing side by side within "the larger physical (natural) framework."
Right. And the evidence in favor of that position seems to be overwhelming. Two possible exceptions are subjective idealism or solipsism, neither of which I find reasonable. However they do have a certain attraction in that they would make me a figment of your imagination, and thereby absolve me of all guilt for what you have interpreted as my angry, punitive responses.

On that subject, it appears to me that you are interpreting my responses to your personal comments about me as angry, when in fact, you rarely succeed in doing more than mildly irritating me. As for being punitive. There are a number of levels here ranging from warnings to outright banning. If you believe yourself to be a victim of an unfair personal attack by me, you can appeal to @Gene Steinberg, who will likely require that you provide evidence.

Presently, it is my opinion that none of my responses to you have been disproportionate to your assertions, and I have allowed considerable latitude for you to express yourself. If you believe this is not the case, then by all means please present your specific examples in a private message and explain how it is that they unambiguously convey anger, or are unfairly punitive, and we can address them together.

In the meantime, you can minimize discontented or punitive responses by sticking to evaluations of the subject matter rather than the personalities or behavior of forum participants. This will not alleviate comments by participants attempting to flame or derail a thread, but those are generally rather transparent, and you can report those types of transgressions to either Gene or myself.

Lastly, if you want to arbitrarily exclude people ( including me ) from your discussions, you can start a private conversation and limit the participants to those who you approve. Public threads ( like this one ) are open to participation by anyone who follows the guidelines.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
@USI Calgary You are correct that there are problems with panpsychism. However if there’s one thing we might all take away from this thread is that there are major problems with all the metaphysical approaches to the mbp. Including idealism, materialism, and dualism.

Panpsychism, idealism, and dualism of course have the additional hurdle of challenging our Western biases toward materialism. however there is no evidence that what-is consists fundamentally of only structure.

there’s no doubt that operating under this assumption using the ‘Scientific method’ has been quite successful as fare as humans developing technologies ( with the addition of quite a bit of maths ). And if some want to pursue this path in an effort to resolve the mbp, that’s fine too.

I support anil’s efforts to use neurophenomenolgy to get a finer grained grip on the NCCs.

however, it may be the case that nature is more complex/rich than consisting of structure alone. Regardless of how wild or ‘crazy’ this possibility may seem to our western way of thinking.
 
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