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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Just for the sake of clarity, and I may be wrong, but Chalmers says if PC is strongly emergent, it would be the only example, no?

Right. And won’t this always be the case with consciousness? This is the perspectival nature that I believe is so central to the problem.

“... plus consciousness to experience it.”

If we ever find a solution to the mbp we will need to add consciousness to experience it.

maybe it’s me whose missing something. I said the same thing to Bach recently on twitters about this when he made his illusion vs virtual distinction.

If we say the brain is running a virtual model of itself and the world, then that means the purely material brain of physics ( particles and neurons ) is a virtual model.

The transcendent brain ( and this transcendent neurophysical professes ) lay beyond our subjective window.

It appears to be only myself who thinks this is significant while most think it trivial.
If I remember correctly - yes. At least at one time. I can look for the paper but I'm pretty sure.

I'm not sure who is missing what - but it does seem something is missing:

"If we ever find a solution to the mbp we will need to add consciousness to experience it." - you'd have to be conscious to experience the solution, yes! but for me that's what a solution to the mbp would be - you could look at a brain scan of someone eating chocolate and know what it is like to eat chocolate (which I think might be different from a having a taste of chocolate in your mouth while watching) this is why some say it's incoherent or impossible but that's exactly the point - that materialism leads to this absurdity and thus can't account for consciousness and thus, isn't materialism (because materialism is the claim that everything can be explained by material interactions, that is to say - objectively) but we've known that since WILTBAB.

So if I follow you, you say that the mind is looking at the brain (material) via a virtual process (is a virtual process) and so the material brain we think we are seeing is virtual and thus beyond our subjective window. While that doesn't seem trivial, I'm not immediately sure what to do with it.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Well, technically, there's no need for a second universe within the classical model of physics. We can effectively and with a high degree of precision describe much of the universe without needing one - except consciousness.

However, the second universe doesn't explain consciousness either.
Agreed. I’m not searching for a physical solution to consciousness though. I’m searching for an explanation of how the mind is related to the body. Yes, it could be that the mind is caused by physical processes of the body. This would fit into the current western scientific paradigm and be metaphysical parsimonious.

it’s also possible that nature is even weirder than we currently imagine it to be.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
We know EMR can directly cause neurons to do stuff, don't we?
Yes, but the question is then: what causal work is their hypothesized subjective quality doing? If it’s the EMR doing the work, then is it really the subjective pain that is attached to them? And why is the subjective pain attached to them? And if this subjective pain is causally impotent, how has evolution managed to shape it into non-psychotic human experience. Etc.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
And it may be in the "seeming" ... but you can follow the physical activity of these mechanisms and even the process of going from a high level code into machine code and then running on a computer in a way that doesn't seem remotely possible when going from neurons to phenomenal consciousness.
Yes. This is why Bach says people aren’t conscious, simulations are.

When we look objectively at the physical goings on of the world around us, we don’t see any consciousness. We can look into someone’s brain and see only brain matter. No colors smells sounds feels etc.

But subjectively of course it is all colors smells sounds feels etc. But that’s bc subjectively is the simulation the objective organism is implementing to self regulate. The self and the stream of consciousness are models the organism is implementing. They are the simulation and don’t exist external to the simulation.

we say we need consciousness to become “aware” of information such as self models or world models.

Bach would say, I think, that to have a world model or be a self model is to be aware. To say one is aware of a self model and world model is redundant.

if one has no self model nor world model, one has no awareness. To have a self model world model is to be aware.

some get upset and say “we don’t perceive models, we perceive the world!” The correct thing to say rather is we perceive the world via models.

So if I follow you, you say that the mind is looking at the brain (material) via a virtual process (is a virtual process) and so the material brain we think we are seeing is virtual and thus beyond our subjective window. While that doesn't seem trivial, I'm not immediately sure what to do with it.
and this is where I quibble with the above: if we say everything we experience is a model, we must be careful not reify these models. In the spirit of russel we might say our models only give us perceptual and mathematical access to the form of nature, not its essence.

phenomenology on the other handdoes give us access to the essence of nature.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept

"My [Chalmers] own view is that the answer to this question is yes. I think there is exactly one clear case of a strongly emergent phenomenon, and that is the phenomenon of consciousness."
I'm wondering why life itself is not considered to be strongly emergent. Moreover, life forms evolving consciousness surely exhibit downward causation in their learned behaviors, and mind is preeminently downwardly causal. So mind seems to me to be part of, an aspect of, life.

I'm reading this Chalmers paper on emergence now and have come to these interesting paragraphs [the paper has no page numbers, but this is about seven pages into it.]

"Both consciousness and the quantum measurement case can be seen as strong varieties of emergence in that they involve in-principle non-deducibility and novel fundamental laws. But they are quite different in character. If I am right about consciousness, then it is a case of a strongly emergent quality, while if the relevant interpretations of quantum mechanics are correct, then it is more like a case of strong downward causation.

In principle, one can have one sort of radical emergence without the other. If one has strongly emergent qualities without strong downward causation, one has an epiphenomenalist picture on which there is a new fundamental quality that plays no causal role with respect to the lower level. If one has strong downward causation without strongly emergent qualities, one has a picture of the world on which the only fundamental properties are physical, but on which their evolution is governed in part by high-level configurational laws.

One might also in principle have both strongly emergent qualities and strong downward causation together. If so, one has a situation in which a new fundamental quality is involved in new fundamental causal laws. This last option can be illustrated by combining the cases of consciousness and quantum mechanics discussed above. In the familiar interpretations of quantum mechanics according to which it is consciousness itself that is responsible for wavefunction collapse, the emergent quality of consciousness is not epiphenomenal but plays a crucial causal role."

It would help me to understand what Chalmers is saying here if others in the forum would comment on it or react to it.

phenomenology on the other hand does give us access to the essence of nature.
Delighted to hear this from you. :)
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Well, technically, there's no need for a second universe within the classical model of physics. We can effectively and with a high degree of precision describe much of the universe without needing one - except consciousness.

However, the second universe doesn't explain consciousness either.
I'm not seeing why a second universe would be necessary to account for consciousness, mind, intersubjectivity, psi etc..
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Just for the sake of clarity, and I may be wrong, but Chalmers says if PC is strongly emergent, it would be the only example, no?


Right. And won’t this always be the case with consciousness? This is the perspectival nature that I believe is so central to the problem.

“... plus consciousness to experience it.”

If we ever find a solution to the mbp we will need to add consciousness to experience it.

maybe it’s me whose missing something. I said the same thing to Bach recently on twitters about this when he made his illusion vs virtual distinction.

If we say the brain is running a virtual model of itself and the world, then that means the purely material brain of physics ( particles and neurons ) is a virtual model.

The transcendent brain ( and this transcendent neurophysical professes ) lay beyond our subjective window.

It appears to be only myself who thinks this is significant while most think it trivial.
I don't think it's trivial at all.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Another interesting observation from Chalmers's paper on emergence:

"One might suggest that weak emergence involves ‘deducibility without reducibility’. Of course the notion of reducibility is itself controversial and somewhat unclear. Biological and psychological laws and properties are frequently said not to be reducible to physical laws and properties, simply on the grounds that they might be found associated with all kinds of different physical laws and properties as substrates."
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
This came out a day or so ago. I have had the chance to watch/listen.

40 minutes in he addresses the model vs reality question. His response is interesting.

1:04 when asked whether an accumulation of concepts and logical understanding can give rise to consciousness like ours he cites Wittgenstein who thought the answer was yes. But who eventually realized no. @Constance I think will be glad to hear that Wittgenstein couldn’t figure out images. And Bach begins to discuss how human consciousness is grounded in perception. (Hasn’t gotten to affectivity yet.)
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I know this is going to trigger you ( sorries ) but I tried to get a basic outline out of you in the last part of this thread and it went nowhere super fast. Like, nowhere.
Maybe it went here.
I think we got as far as electromagnetic fields from neurons have a subjective quality.
EM fields were used as an analogy to show that some phenomena requires specific materials to be organized in specific ways. Therefore if the brain is a set of materials organized in such a way as to be responsible for the phenomena of consciousness, then we cannot safely conclude that other sorts of processors made from different materials organized in different ways will also be responsible for consciousness, even if they appear to be responsible for behavior that appears to indicate consciousness, at least on a superficial level.
I asked why. You weren’t sure. I asked if the electromagnetic waves or their subjective quality caused other neurons to do stuff, and I don’t think you answered.
I don't recall maintaining that EM fields are consciousness fields, but I may have entertained the idea as a peripheral part of the discussion. There are some who do take the idea seriously, and they've been mentioned before. Personally, I feel uneasy about that claim, but at the same time don't rule it out as a possibility because we really don't know how to fully explain EM fields either, and they are associated with human brain function.
it’s all there. We could look it up ... sure there are bits, but we need bytes. Mega bytes
No need to look it up, but you can if you want.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Chalmers walks right over the escape hatch from the MBP when he says:
"I think that even if consciousness is not deducible from physical facts, states of consciousness are still systematically correlated with physical states."​

If the above is true ( as the best evidence suggests ), there is no MBP. It is simply the way things are. And why should that not be the case? I don't see any reason why nature should necessarily limit existence to one or two or even three fundamental phenomena. There are already at least four we know about: Space, time, electromagnetism, and gravitation. There are even more if it turns out that the four classic fundamental forces of nature cannot be unified with the EM force. Consciousness it seems, is simply another one, and we may never have any more of an explanation for it than any of the others.

 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Yes. This is why Bach says people aren’t conscious, simulations are.

When we look objectively at the physical goings on of the world around us, we don’t see any consciousness. We can look into someone’s brain and see only brain matter. No colors smells sounds feels etc.

But subjectively of course it is all colors smells sounds feels etc. But that’s bc subjectively is the simulation the objective organism is implementing to self regulate. The self and the stream of consciousness are models the organism is implementing. They are the simulation and don’t exist external to the simulation.

we say we need consciousness to become “aware” of information such as self models or world models.

Bach would say, I think, that to have a world model or be a self model is to be aware. To say one is aware of a self model and world model is redundant.

if one has no self model nor world model, one has no awareness. To have a self model world model is to be aware.

some get upset and say “we don’t perceive models, we perceive the world!” The correct thing to say rather is we perceive the world via models.


and this is where I quibble with the above: if we say everything we experience is a model, we must be careful not reify these models. In the spirit of russel we might say our models only give us perceptual and mathematical access to the form of nature, not its essence.

phenomenology on the other handdoes give us access to the essence of nature.
The correct thing to say rather is we perceive the world via models (of the world). ;-)
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
The correct thing to say rather is we perceive the world via models (of the world). ;-)
I think that may be redundant. ( not that i want to argue with you bc I know I’ll lose haha )

Perceive

become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

We “become aware or conscious of” the world via models.

Now a lot of people assume perception is literally direct and veridical. So they may want to add the qualifier that you did.

speaking of which: the Harris’sgive Hoffman some pushback in their interview. About 30 min in so far. Pretty good.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Yes. This is why Bach says people aren’t conscious, simulations are.

When we look objectively at the physical goings on of the world around us, we don’t see any consciousness. We can look into someone’s brain and see only brain matter. No colors smells sounds feels etc.

But subjectively of course it is all colors smells sounds feels etc. But that’s bc subjectively is the simulation the objective organism is implementing to self regulate. The self and the stream of consciousness are models the organism is implementing. They are the simulation and don’t exist external to the simulation.

we say we need consciousness to become “aware” of information such as self models or world models.

Bach would say, I think, that to have a world model or be a self model is to be aware. To say one is aware of a self model and world model is redundant.

if one has no self model nor world model, one has no awareness. To have a self model world model is to be aware.

some get upset and say “we don’t perceive models, we perceive the world!” The correct thing to say rather is we perceive the world via models.


and this is where I quibble with the above: if we say everything we experience is a model, we must be careful not reify these models. In the spirit of russel we might say our models only give us perceptual and mathematical access to the form of nature, not its essence.

phenomenology on the other handdoes give us access to the essence of nature.
I'd like to avoid "simulation" or "virtual" and "model" ... what you see is the world (as you see it) you don't first make a model - perception doesn't make a model and then look directly at the model - rather seeing is what takes place when you look directly at the world - that doesn't mean you see the world as it is - but it does mean you can't look any more directly at it, it means that there's a real world that stands as directly behind one's perceptions as possible and seeing means to engage it as directly as possible. Saying something is virtual implies an extra level of distance from the world - as if one were looking at a screen, but one is looking at the world. So the change for me is to change how one looks at ... looking at.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
I think that may be redundant. ( not that i want to argue with you bc I know I’ll lose haha )

Perceive

become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

We “become aware or conscious of” the world via models.

Now a lot of people assume perception is literally direct and veridical. So they may want to add the qualifier that you did.

speaking of which: the Harris’sgive Hoffman some pushback in their interview. About 30 min in so far. Pretty good.
I think we're on the same page - see my next post - as direct as possible and veridical in the sense of seeing the world as it is (for us) not AS IT IS. I nitpick the word "models" because we use models in every day life for things we can't directly grasp, and I want to separate that from the (degree of) directness we have in perception.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
I agree with you 100%. However in trying to explain what consciousness is ( for ), it’s hard to avoid those words.

So the one theory of what consciousness is for that I keep being up, is that organisms have consciousness to allow them to self-regulate and use executive functions.

Suppose an organism existed with no perceptual abilities or self awareness. Objectively this organism would exist, but there would be no light inside.

this organism would largely behave as a stimulus-response system.

in order for this organism to make decisions and behave within larger spatiotemporal chunks, it would need to know what was happening in its environment and in itself, as well as predict what might happen next, in the environment and itself.

So the idea is that an organism’s brain instantiates models/simulations of the environment and its own physiological processes for the purposes of self-regulating over large spatiotemporal scales.

It is these models/simulations that we know as sensory perception and the sense of self.

however this isn’t to imply that these models/simulations are veridical duplicates of the environment and the self. These models need to be adaptive, not veridical.

anyhow, this is one story. I’m sure the situation is much more complex than this. And there may be other stories that better capture what’s going on.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
And the HP is of course why the “models” instantiated by physiological brain processes are like anything at all.
I think in answer to this, Bach might say one can’t have a simulation of EM waves without the simulation being like something. For humans the simulation of certain em waves happens to be like green, blue, and red.

so asking why the simulation is like something is like asking why a square has four equal sides.
 


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