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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

Constance

Paranormal Adept
So the one theory of what consciousness is for that I keep being [bringing] up, is that organisms have consciousness to allow them to self-regulate and use executive functions.
I think J.J. Smart had it right when he elaborated his detailed account of natural affordances -- that is, that the very young creature, beginning to explore his or her environment and moved {and moving} to get its needs met, finds that the natural environment itself provides affordances that inform it about its own limitations and avenues of satisfaction of its needs. All of this develops in preconsciousness and protoconsciousness -- i.e., pre-thetic consciousness -- as a matter of sensing the presence of things in the immediate environment and growing accustomed to {i.e., learning} what is possible and supportive in and for its ongoing existence and that which is frightening or dangerous or simply inadequate to meet its needs. In the grounding prereflective level of consciousness the organism or animal grows in its 'sense' {i.e., knowledge} of that in which its existence is embedded -- first senses and then gradually understands how to survive and even thrive.

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.
I am wholly in agreement, Steve. I would only add to your first statement the phrase 'in itself'. Thus ". . . seeing the world as it is (for us) not AS IT IS IN ITSELF."
And your statement concerning the nature of 'models' could not be clearer or better. In general, models conceived and propagated in materialist science and philosophy are constrained by presuppositional thinking -- that the world is an object, a system of systems to be understood without understanding or even inquiring into the way in which the world is lived by the species that have evolved in it, and which, while they each inhabit, sense, and thrive in it in different ways, all inhabit the selfsame world which we indeed cannot understand or know in itself, beyond perception.


It is these models/simulations that we know as sensory perception and the sense of self.
That is a claim greatly in need of hard evidence; indeed, as I see it, an absurd claim. Bach et al need to demonstrate how the average groundhog or the average human are compelled to 'simulate' sensory perception and the accompanying self-referential senses of awareness and affectivity demonstrable throughout the evolution of species in the sample we have on this planet.

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.
If none of our experiences are veridical, we have nothing to talk about except various abstract models constructed by objectivists/materialists and computationalists. I take it that all of the above are wedded to the notion that the only 'reality' consists in subconscious matrix-like processes of 'information' transfer. It seems to me that anyone who prefers these abstractions to their own experiential presence in the actual world we live in is missing the most important insight available to us concerning both the living nature of the temporal/existential reality in which we exist and indeed our own nature [and the obligations laid upon us by our nature] as feeling and thinking beings.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Re the Josha Bach video, I've followed it attentively up to 1:11:58 and need a break. Looking forward to hearing what others make of his theory by the end of the whole three hours, which I will listen to. The most interesting question/point he raised was fairly early on: "are you modeling the correct domain?" @Soupie, if you can comment on this point, it would help me. I'm also wondering whether Chalmers has written about Bach's ideas, or perhaps has a video-taped discussion with Bach.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I think you two would find this discussion fascinating. Especially at the 1:14 mark. He begins to discuss the ancient concept of spirit and then gets into plant intelligence. what he says might surprise you.
The word "spirit" has more than one meaning. Bach has added yet another layer of confusion to that subject with his interpretation. He also makes proclamations that don't reflect the actual situation. To paraphrase: "We decide to make a thought and a though happens." However neuroscience has proven that's not how thoughts, or even decisions happen. He makes others as well, I'm not going to start listing them all here. But he has one that tells us where consciousness comes from. It is equally fuzzy. But I like that he's a thinker about the big questions, and over time his views will probably evolve. Thanks for posting this.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Re the Josha Bach video, I've followed it attentively up to 1:11:58 and need a break. Looking forward to hearing what others make of his theory by the end of the whole three hours, which I will listen to. The most interesting question/point he raised was fairly early on: "are you modeling the correct domain?" @Soupie, if you can comment on this point, it would help me. I'm also wondering whether Chalmers has written about Bach's ideas, or perhaps has a video-taped discussion with Bach.
I recall the comment but forget the context. Was busy trying to digest some of the other ideas he was sharing. I’ll have to rewatch.
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
The word "spirit" has more than one meaning. Bach has added yet another layer of confusion to that subject with his interpretation. He also makes proclamations that don't reflect the actual situation. To paraphrase: "We decide to make a thought and a though happens." However neuroscience has proven that's not how thoughts, or even decisions happen. He makes others as well, I'm not going to start listing them all here. But he has one that tells us where consciousness comes from. It is equally fuzzy. But I like that he's a thinker about the big questions, and over time his views will probably evolve. Thanks for posting this.
Bach seems to be reinterpreting existence—biology, Biological evolution, human behavior, psychology, ph phenology, culture, politics, etc.—through the lens of self organising adaptive systems being implemented on the substrate of reality.

yes he made many proclamations. Many. For the most part he seemed to be consistent but probably did doublespeak a few times.

Lex is good but unfortunately couldn’t come close to keeping g up with Bach and therefore didn’t really push him. At all. I would love to see Sean Carroll have a sit down with him. Sean would do a better of keeping up with Bach and challenge him.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
I'm not seeing why a second universe would be necessary to account for consciousness, mind, intersubjectivity, psi etc..
I'm agreeing with you. However if you're putting forward a dualistic explanation, that's exactly what you're doing - inventing a new universe to account for consciousness.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
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.
Hmm. Let me unpack what I think you're saying to make sure I have it right.

Are you asking if the subjective experience is triggering the physical changes in neurons, or the other way around?
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Hmm. Let me unpack what I think you're saying to make sure I have it right.

Are you asking if the subjective experience is triggering the physical changes in neurons, or the other way around?
I’m asking: what is the relationship between subjective experience and physical processes? This question is known as the mbp or more recently the HP (if one assumes physicalism, which the ancients did not).
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
(response to @Soupie)
Hmm. Let me unpack what I think you're saying to make sure I have it right.

Are you asking if the subjective experience is triggering the physical changes in neurons, or the other way around?
I think that is what @Soupie is asking, and I think it's an essential question. How would you respond to it?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I'm agreeing with you. However if you're putting forward a dualistic explanation, that's exactly what you're doing - inventing a new universe to account for consciousness.
The phenomenological tradition in modern philosophy understands the subject-object relation not in terms of dualism but in terms of dialectical relations between subject and object. This is clarified in the following overview of dialectics in philosophy:

dialectic
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Bach seems to be reinterpreting existence—biology, Biological evolution, human behavior, psychology, ph phenology, culture, politics, etc.—through the lens of self organising adaptive systems being implemented on the substrate of reality.

yes he made many proclamations. Many. For the most part he seemed to be consistent but probably did doublespeak a few times.

Lex is good but unfortunately couldn’t come close to keeping g up with Bach and therefore didn’t really push him. At all. I would love to see Sean Carroll have a sit down with him. Sean would do a better of keeping up with Bach and challenge him.
In that particular video, Bach rambled through several facets in a single response, each of which on their own could several minutes to unpack. That style can be used as a tactic to throw people off-track, reduce the time anyone has to challenge, and convince rather than explain. Whether or not he was doing that intentionally or not, I cannot say, but when we see those elements in action, it's sign to take a more reserved position until more is known.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I’m asking: what is the relationship between subjective experience and physical processes? This question is known as the mbp or more recently the HP (if one assumes physicalism, which the ancients did not).
Here we go again. The assumption being made above is that subjective experience isn't a physical process. However @marduk has already made the logical point that anything that interacts with the physical world, must itself be physical in order to do so. The upshot is that the question above would better be formulated this way: What is the relationship between subjectivity and other physical phenomena?

This type of physicalism is not synonymous with what I for convenience sake, call classical materialism. It is closer to, but not identical to the kind of physicalism that associates itself with the laws of physics in nature, but not exactly like that either. I don't know if there is a designated philosophical name for it. But why does there need to be a preexisting one in the first place? New or more precise ways of thinking are clearly needed here.

Recently I've wondered if I should adopt naturalism, something Nagel has been predisposed toward. However it's a bit too fuzzy around the edges for my liking. If I were to get my way, I'd split physicalism and materialism into two distinctly separate camps so that they don't keep getting interpreted as synonymous, when in fact, there is no consensus among philosopher that they necessarily mean the same thing.
 
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