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Philosophy, Science, & The Unexplained - Main Thread



Thomas R Morrison

Paranormal Adept
Thanks for the suggestion. And yes I've done a fair bit of reading on that. Last time I checked, the discovery of the Higgs Boson ( God Particle ) remains contentious and seems to be more a matter of scientific politics than certainty. What they are certain about is that a new class of particles associated with the search for the Higgs Boson have been found, and some are of the opinion that the HB is in there, while others aren't quite so sure, but more experiments need to be done ( obviously ), or they'd all be out of work. By the time it all filters down to us through the pop-science it boils down to "we've found it!". But it's not really that simple.

- Sorry, Folks. The LHC Didn't Find a New Particle After All
- Why the Higgs Boson Found at the Large Hadron Collider Could Be an ‘Impostor’

Anyway I may have also missed some update on this someplace, so if you run across anything post it up! In the meantime I just had a couple of thoughts to share on the nature of reality and Dark Matter.
The 750GeV diphoton signal was just a statistical blip, but I have a hard time imagining that the Higgs boson signal could be a different particle masquerading as the Higgs. Apparently the leading alternative explanation (among many, I would presume) is the Techi-Higgs, which would require an entirely new fundamental force in nature, and a new type of quark which binds through that new force, rather than the strong force? That seems like a helluva stretch. Still, it’ll be interesting to follow the progress and see what they find, or don’t find, as the case may be.

But getting back to the point here, I think it’s wrong-headed to go about the afterlife discussion within the context of material particles and physics.

Because when you sweep away all of the mountains of cultural baggage associated with an afterlife, buried way down underneath is something quite surprising – an actual experience that some few people have which powerfully informs them that the true foundation of their existence, their consciousness, is eternal and otherwise fundamentally impervious. This dramatic revelation is said to be very liberating. And I imagine that it would be, to apprehend an underlying truth that abolishes fear from the equation (because after all, the root of all fear is death and change).

It’s never occurred to me to envision an afterlife in this metaphysical sense as the product of some material persistence of some kind. That certainly does seem like grasping at straws.

Rather, I think the dynamics involved would go something more like this: we exist within an intangible field of consciousness that permeates the universe, and at the deepest level this is our true and deathless identity. The brain is only some kind of radio receiver for consciousness, and perhaps the peculiarities of our individuals brains result in the reception of slightly different qualities of reception signal from this background field, akin to different radio receivers tuned to different wavelengths.

Ultimately when we try to identify the “self,” what we’re actually talking about, is our watchful awareness. And things like memories and thoughts are just the traffic that parades in front of this silent conscious observer within. So I think it’s plausible that this silent observer self could essentially be the cosmos observing itself through your eyes, and mine.

But I don’t see any manner in which our memories and hopes and dreams – which are stored in our neurological hard drives, could survive death. And maybe that’s a good thing, idk.

So could the most fundamental essence of our being, consciousness itself, survive death? Sure, why not? I just don’t know how assuring that concept is for those of us who cling to the loves, and hopes, and dreams that we’ve accrued in this life.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I responded to this post by @Thomas R Morrison, and Randle's foregoing posts, in the "Consciousness and the Paranormal" thread a few minutes ago. Here is a copy of that post:

Pharoah said:
"Alternatively, none of the two examples above are achievable because something other than logic or reason is required for an understanding (or physicalist explanation) of anything to do with subjectivity or the existence of minds."

I responded:

That's worth repeating ten or twelve times (though I'd recommend dropping the parenthetical reference to 'physicalist explanation' as a synonym for 'understanding'. After my last post I found in my queue of recent posts a very good post by @Thomas R Morrison responding in Randle's thread "Philosophy, Science, and the Unexplained" to R's attempts on the basis of what he calls 'critical thinking' (based in current human 'logic' and materialism/physicalism) to demonstrate that 'personhood'/personal identity cannot survive physical death on earth. I read back two pages from Thomas's post to see the lead-up to it in that thread. From Randle's lead-up posts I'd decided to point out there that 'logic' based in positivist/materialist/physicalist presuppositions is radically limited/compromised by those presuppositions. The point being that "an understanding" of being and, more broadly, Being, is unavailable to presuppositional logic and resulting 'science' and instead must rely on the experience of being -- one's own and that of innumerable others as expressed in the history of our species' descriptions of experienced being/lived reality.

Here's the link to Thomas's post, from which you can read back to the posts by Randle to which he was responding:

Philosophy, Science, and the Unexplained

ETA
: While I think Thomas's post is a good response to Randle's presuppositional thinking, I think it stops short of pursuing the possibilities of survival of consciousness as including deep memory of terrestrial experience on earth, including the intensity of feeling and thought that are included in our remembered pasts as we carry them forward in memory while still embodied. In Thomas's last four paragraphs, reproduced below, he comes up against the difficulty we experience when we attempt to understand how the selfhood/personhood we have experienced in embodied existence could be carried forward into another kind of existence. That we can't conceive of how this might be possible does not mean that it is not possible.

The concluding paragraphs of Thomas's post:

"Rather, I think the dynamics involved would go something more like this: we exist within an intangible field of consciousness that permeates the universe, and at the deepest level this is our true and deathless identity. The brain is only some kind of radio receiver for consciousness, and perhaps the peculiarities of our individuals brains result in the reception of slightly different qualities of reception signal from this background field, akin to different radio receivers tuned to different wavelengths.

Ultimately when we try to identify the “self,” what we’re actually talking about, is our watchful awareness. And things like memories and thoughts are just the traffic that parades in front of this silent conscious observer within. So I think it’s plausible that this silent observer self could essentially be the cosmos observing itself through your eyes, and mine.

But I don’t see any manner in which our memories and hopes and dreams – which are stored in our neurological hard drives, could survive death. And maybe that’s a good thing, idk.

So could the most fundamental essence of our being, consciousness itself, survive death? Sure, why not? I just don’t know how assuring that concept is for those of us who cling to the loves, and hopes, and dreams that we’ve accrued in this life."
 

Thomas R Morrison

Paranormal Adept
From Randle's lead-up posts I'd decided to point out there that 'logic' based in positivist/materialist/physicalist presuppositions is radically limited/compromised by those presuppositions. The point being that "an understanding" of being and, more broadly, Being, is unavailable to presuppositional logic and resulting 'science' and instead must rely on the experience of being -- one's own and that of innumerable others as expressed in the history of our species' descriptions of experienced being/lived reality.
In Thomas's last four paragraphs, reproduced below, he comes up against the difficulty we experience when we attempt to understand how the selfhood/personhood we have experienced in embodied existence could be carried forward into another kind of existence. That we can't conceive of how this might be possible does not mean that it is not possible.
I admit that just because I can't conceive of a storage mechanism for memory beyond the brain, doesn't mean that there couldn't be one. However, I would argue - if there were a mechanism for the storage of memories beyond the brain in the field of cosmic consciousness that I've postulated here, then the storage of memory in the brain probably wouldn't be necessary in the first place: if our consciousness had access to those memories in some intangible field of information, then it could simply access that information from the field rather than the brain. But the brain does store memories, so I presume that's necessary.

That seems logical to me. But it is interesting to realize that past information does continue to exist in the form of subsequent consequences upon physical reality (although retrieving that kind of information poses a seemingly imponderable challenge), and of course the light reflected from all of the events in our lives which radiates away into space does endure in an expanding hemisphere of photons indefinitely, in principle, although the energy intensity drops below the background level of other photon noise in the cosmos fairly quickly, and I can't see any reasonable method for retrieving that informational energy until it interacts with a material object (perhaps a gigantic lens and sensory assembly for example).

So I think it may be reasonable to consider that our consciousness may endure beyond death (and precede birth as well), but I can't see any reasonable basis for the survival of memory. And since the great mystics tend to encourage us to abandon our attachments to this life, such as desire, and perhaps the scars of memory itself, I can only assume that such things are fundamentally transitory, and perhaps even impediments to a higher state of consciousness.

It would be nice to think that I could remember the name of my cat after I'm dead, but it just seems wildly unlikely. I suspect that if my consciousness does endure in some universal field after death, that it probably involves little more than the upwelling sense of joy that accompanies the experience of truly untethered consciousness. And perhaps that's a good thing. The notion of spending eternity recalling that I forgot to turn off the faucet in the bathroom, sounds more like a hell than a heaven to me.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
... So could the most fundamental essence of our being, consciousness itself, survive death? Sure, why not?
Unfortunately your casual objections aren't sufficient to alter the conclusion. To make that happen, specific points should be addressed in a manner consistent with their context in a way that reveals alternative possibilities that hold together under analysis. Making proclamations to the contrary while dismissing the validity of the methods used does not facilitate progress, and I've seen no substantial counterpoint either here or in the many posts on the consciousness thread, and yes, I've looked, and read most of the stuff there and in other places too. But if I missed something specific, maybe post a link or something.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
I would argue - if there were a mechanism for the storage of memories beyond the brain in the field of cosmic consciousness that I've postulated here, then the storage of memory in the brain probably wouldn't be necessary in the first place ...
Yes. You're onto the path there, but it is more complex and also deals with the concept of selves and identity. Ultimately, even if our consciousness could be somehow uploaded to the next realm ( or whatever the case may be ), there are so many proven physical variables that affect it, that getting it to work in a way indistinguishable from "you" would require more than simply memory modules, and ultimately the whole thing ends up being a copy rather than the original "you'. Therefore "you" have not "survived". It's just a copy that thinks it's an orginal you, but logically, it can't be. This is where @Constance seems to always lose the train of reason. She seems to think that simply being conscious and thinking you are the same person as before is sufficient. It's not ( at least not in my view ).
 
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Thomas R Morrison

Paranormal Adept
Yes. You're onto the path there, but it is more complex and also deals with the concept of selves and identity. Ultimately, even if our consciousness could be somehow uploaded to the next realm ( or whatever the case may be ), there are so many proven physical variables that affect it, that getting it to work in a way indistinguishable from "you" would require more than simply memory modules, and ultimately the whole thing ends up being a copy rather than the original "you'. Therefore "you" have not "survived". It's just a copy that thinks it's an orginal you, but logically, it can't be. This is where @Constance seems to always lose the train of reason. She seems to think that simply being conscious and thinking you are the same person as before is sufficient. It's not ( at least not in my view ).
Perhaps I should've been more clear: I'm not asserting the potential for any sense of individuality post mortem - to the contrary. From all my reading of mystical texts and analyses of same, the most salient recurring theme appears to be A.) the field of cosmic consciousness is ubiquitous and immutable and unitary, and 2.) we only experience this field as individual beings because our living experience filters a very limited "bandwidth" of this field via our brains, in some manner as-yet-unexplained. So once our brain dies, so does the personal identity, leaving only the silent selfless awareness of consciousness that pervades the cosmos.

The amazing thing, in my opinion, is that the awareness of this underlying nature of being can and sometimes does happen prior to death. When you look at all the various proclamations and declarations of the great avatars of history, they all appear to be saying the same thing in various ways; "I am That," "I am God" "All is Bodhimind," "All is Love," "the observer is the observed," etc etc. All of these kinds of statements strike me as proclamations that the truth of our individual being is that we are in fact simply experiencing the same singular field of consciousness. Apparently when we directly apprehend our deepest nature, we realize that there's only one self - the cosmic self. So it would seem that the cosmos itself is a conscious being, and that our sense of individuality is merely an illusion produced by the factor of personal memory, i.e. cosmic consciousness + individual memory = illusion of individual self.

I remember reading a beautiful apocryphal story about this years ago - an emperor summoned a renowned enlightened master to his palace, and asked him to elucidate the relationship between man and God, and man and man. So the master got to work in a chamber room and when he was finished, he invited the emperor to see his work. A candle hung in the center of the room, surrounded by small hanging mirrors. The enlightened master explained to him that God was the candle - the source of the light of consciousness, and each mirror represented a human being, which reflected both the light of God, and the light of God reflected within all of the other human beings as well. He said that it was a crude approximation, however, because it didn't convey the dynamical relationships that unfold every day as relationships change, but that it captured the essence of the underlying truth, so it would have to suffice.

Personally, I tend to see the universe, which as a whole may somehow be the source of all consciousness, as the only real divinity, if that's even an appropriate word. And I think of consciousness as a field of some kind, akin to the quantum fields that QFT postulates as ubiquitous fields that span the cosmos.

How this field might couple to the brain is still a mystery. But I don't subscribe to the notion that the brain is the source of consciousness - that the complexity of the brain merely produces the illusion of consciousness. Because when the mind is silent, one's sense of consciousness doesn't diminish or vanish - instead it flourishes, and you apprehend the true nature of self more profoundly than you ever do amid the daily occupation of life. So the self appears to be something distinct from the mind/memory/identity. It's a silent watchfulness. No machine has that and no computer AI will ever experience that silent awareness, imo. And neither would we, if we were nothing more than a highly sophisticated information-processing biological computer of some kind, which David Chalmers describes as "zombies" in order to explain "the hard problem of consciousness."

Btw - I love Lisa Randall: she's brilliant and wonderful.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Perhaps I should've been more clear: I'm not asserting the potential for any sense of individuality post mortem - to the contrary. From all my reading of mystical texts and analyses of same, the most salient recurring theme appears to be A.) the field of cosmic consciousness is ubiquitous and immutable and unitary, and 2.) we only experience this field as individual beings because our living experience filters a very limited "bandwidth" of this field via our brains, in some manner as-yet-unexplained. So once our brain dies, so does the personal identity, leaving only the silent selfless awareness of consciousness that pervades the cosmos.

The amazing thing, in my opinion, is that the awareness of this underlying nature of being can and sometimes does happen prior to death. When you look at all the various proclamations and declarations of the great avatars of history, they all appear to be saying the same thing in various ways; "I am That," "I am God" "All is Bodhimind," "All is Love," etc etc. All of these kinds of statements strike me as proclamations that the truth of our individual being is that we are in fact simply experiencing the same singular field of consciousness. Apparently when we directly apprehend our deepest nature, we realize that there's only one self - the cosmic self. So it would seem that the cosmos itself is a conscious being, and that our sense of individuality is merely an illusion.

I remember reading a beautiful apocryphal story about this years ago - an emperor summoned a renowned enlightened master to his palace, and asked him to elucidate the relationship between man and God, and man and man. So the master got to work in a chamber room and when he was finished, he invited the emperor to see his work. A candle hung in the center of the room, surrounded by small hanging mirrors. The enlightened master explained to him that God was the candle - the source of the light of consciousness, and each mirror represented a human being, which reflected both the light of God, and the light of God reflected within all of the other human beings as well. He said that it was a crude approximation, however, because it didn't convey the dynamical relationships that unfold every day as relationships change, but that it captured the essence of the underlying truth, so it would have to suffice.

Personally, I tend to see the universe, which as a whole may somehow be the source of all consciousness, as the only real divinity, if that's even an appropriate word. And I think of consciousness as a field of some kind, akin to the quantum fields that QFT postulates as ubiquitous fields that span the cosmos.

How this field might couple to the brain is still a mystery. But I don't subscribe to the notion that the brain is the source of consciousness - that the complexity of the brain merely produces the illusion of consciousness. Because when the mind is silent, one's sense of consciousness doesn't diminish or vanish - instead it flourishes, and you apprehend the true nature of self more profoundly than you ever do amid the daily occupation of life. So the self appears to be something distinct from the mind/memory/identity. It's a silent watchfulness. No machine has that and no computer AI will ever experience that silent awareness, imo. And neither would we, if we were nothing more than a highly sophisticated information-processing biological computer of some kind, which David Chalmers describes as "zombies" in order to explain "the hard problem of consciousness."

Absolutely fabulous post. Thank you!

Btw - I love Lisa Randall: she's brilliant and wonderful.

Yes I'm not sure but I think I'm in love ... lol. She reminds me a bit of Jodie Foster in Contact.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
@DrinkinWithSkeletons to continue ...

As we covered on the show to a smaller extent, classical Materialism ( everything is matter ) is quite different than modern Physicalism, even thought he words are often used interchangeably. Classical materialism definitely doesn't have the breadth necessary to accommodate PSI phenomenon. However I'd argue that Physicalism does, at least to the extent of dealing with the non-experiential side of the phenomenon. A good overview is here: Physicalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

That is not to say that Physicalism accommodates notions of life after death as discarnate personalities that can be equated with a formerly living person, e.g. the ghost is my dead Grandmother. Rather it simply says that such things aren't logically possible, and therefore the phenomena is not what that interpretation suggests. So we need to be careful of our context. If certain assumptions are true, then yes, they would break the model. Therefore at this point, given what we do know, it's more prudent to say that assumptions that don't fit the model are in error rather than the model itself, and look for more sensible explanations.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
And even if that whole other universe did exist, if it interacts with matter at all, it's still materialism. Quite literally, if non-materialism is a thing, we'd never know it. This is why Dualism is a failure.
There are some different takes on dualism that make it more reasonable. For example there's not much denying that we have a subjective experience of the world, and that the things we visualize in our mind are qualitatively different than their material counterparts. Like I mention on the show at one point. There is a huge difference between the mental reality of a red Ferrari and a materially real one parked in your driveway. One would certainly be easier to get a car loan on than the other. Those of us who see dualism this way recognize that it's simply a matter of context in a larger Physicalist model that can accommodate both types of phenomena, whereas classical Materialism cannot.

Then again that depends on your view of Materialism. Some Materialists have the same views as Physicalists. I just prefer Physicalism as a label because it deals with the fundamental forces of nature as well as the materials they are imparted on. So to me it seems more fitting. Materialism tends to evoke thoughts purely focused on atoms and particles and other bits of stuff. See the post above for a link. However even if Physicalism can accommodate the design and operation of conscious entities, it still seems to fall short on the purely experiential nature of consciousness.

That doesn't mean that consciousness isn't brought about by physical means ( I think it is ). But to date we're not entirely sure just how the brain does it. We've mapped out the areas primarily associated with consciousness and know which parts turn it on or off. But when we look at those parts objectively, we don't experience the same experience as the person to whom those parts belong. We just see the physical stuff associated with the experience. Something else is happening with the experiencer that we have yet to figure out. If you haven't watched Chalmers on the The Hard Problem of Consciousness, maybe give that a go.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
There are some different takes on dualism that make it more reasonable. For example there's not much denying that we have a subjective experience of the world, and that the things we visualize in our mind are qualitatively different than their material counterparts. Like I mention on the show at one point. There is a huge difference between the mental reality of a red Ferrari and a materially real one parked in your driveway. One would certainly be easier to get a car loan on than the other. Those of us who see dualism this way recognize that it's simply a matter of context in a larger Physicalist model that can accommodate both types of phenomena, whereas classical Materialism cannot.
The core problems with dualism are that:
  • You need to invent a whole new, second universe to explain it;
  • Then you need to invent a whole new interaction model with the material universe and the non-material universe to explain how the two communicate;
  • Then you need to explain why this interaction cannot be determined by materialistic means, and yet somehow communicates with the material universe;
  • Then you need to explain why this second universe, if it exists, can interact with the material universe and still be undetectable ;
  • Then you need to explain why this second universe isn't functionally the same as the material universe;
  • Then you need to explain why you need a second universe at all when the material universe can at least hypothetically explain everything we experience.
That's a lot of problems. Intractable problems. That actually don't need to be solved at all.

Then again that depends on your view of Materialism. Some Materialists have the same views as Physicalists. I just prefer Physicalism as a label because it deals with the fundamental forces of nature as well as the materials they are imparted on. So to me it seems more fitting. Materialism tends to evoke thoughts purely focused on atoms and particles and other bits of stuff. See the post above for a link. However even if Physicalism can accommodate the design and operation of conscious entities, it still seems to fall short on the purely experiential nature of consciousness.
My view of materialism is what I understand to be the definition of materialism:

The doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.

When you think, you alter matter in your brain. This can actually be measured in an fMRI, or measured by us moving our body. At any rate, matter becomes altered when we think. Therefore, thinking is a materialist action - matter and it's movements and modifications.


That doesn't mean that consciousness isn't brought about by physical means ( I think it is ). But to date we're not entirely sure just how the brain does it. We've mapped out the areas primarily associated with consciousness and know which parts turn it on or off. But when we look at those parts objectively, we don't experience the same experience as the person to whom those parts belong. We just see the physical stuff associated with the experience. Something else is happening with the
experiencer that we have yet to figure out. If you haven't watched Chalmers on the The Hard Problem of Consciousness, maybe give that a go.

Again, it being a hard problem does not mean we need to invent a whole new universe to explain it. It may actually be fundamentally simple - in "I Am A Strange Loop" Hofstadter describes consciousness as a self-referential series of feedback loops that eventually calls itself "I". Which may or may not be the case, but at any rate, does not require a new universe that magically communicates with ours, and yet is not material, to exist.

P=NP is a hard problem. It's the hard problem in mathematics. It does not mean we need a second universe to solve it.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
My view of materialism is what I understand to be the definition of materialism ... The doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications ...
It's one of those things where it isn't quite as simple as there being universal agreement among philosophers on the meaning of the word "Materialism". That's why I posted the link. Here it is again: Physicalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) It's all about context.

I often use the analogy of magnetism. There's no fundamental reason or explanation for why a magnetic field should suddenly appear when an energized wire is wrapped around a core made of the right materials. We just know it happens, so we've come up with all sorts of descriptive ideas that involve fields and poles and orientations and formulas for the way magnetism makes things behave. Yet none of those explanations accounts for what it is. In other words we could attach a set of sensors to a computer that downloads exactly what's going on with a working material magnet and its associated magnetic field.


All that information could even come together in a nice picture, perhaps even a 3D holographic representation that is visually indistinguishable from the real thing. Yet no matter how finely grained the data bits are, and no matter how accurately it describes what's going on with the real magnet, the virtual magnet won't be able to pick-up so much as a paper clip. Why not? Because you can't download the magnetism itself. It's something extra. I think consciousness is the same sort of thing. No matter how finely grained a virtual simulation of the brain is, I doubt it's possible to download someone's consciousness into it.

Just like a magnet needs the right configuration ( the wire needs to be associated with the core in a specific way ) and requires specific materials ( wrapping plastic string around a wooden core won't work ), consciousness in my estimation also requires the specific configuration of appropriate materials. We know both those things are found in human brains. But just like the wire and the core in a magnet aren't magnetism, neither are neurons and electrochemical impulses in the brain consciousness. Consciousness is that extra thing we know as our firsthand experience of the world.

Therefore there are two distinctly different sorts of reality embedded within a larger physicalist framework. Is that dualism? Some people would say so. Others like myself say it's fine to call it dualism in a casual sense, but not the way you seem to be thinking of it with respect to classical materialism. Perhaps there are multiverses. I don't know. But whatever the case, they're not necessary given the particular physicalist view that I hold. Otherwise magnetism would cause all the same problems. Logically then, consciousness would seem to be something as fundamental as magnetism, or gravity, or what-have-you. When the conditions are right, it manifests.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
It's one of those things where it isn't quite as simple as there being universal agreement among philosophers on the meaning of the word "Materialism". That's why I posted the link. Here it is again: Physicalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) It's all about context.


I get what you're saying, but the problem with philosophers is that they love to redefine what is meant by a particular position, write endlessly pontificating about what that means, and ultimately get virtually nowhere.

That's why I stripped it back to it's most bare fundamental position, rather than moving the goalposts around. It's also useful to use a scientific mindset that uses logic instead of a semantic method to try to grasp it; I find it to more direct and simple.


I often use the analogy of magnetism. There's no fundamental reason or explanation for why a magnetic field should suddenly appear when an energized wire is wrapped around a core made of the right materials. We just know it happens, so we've come up with all sorts of descriptive ideas that involve fields and poles and orientations and formulas for the way magnetism makes things behave. Yet none of those explanations accounts for what it is. In other words we could attach a set of sensors to a computer that downloads exactly what's going on with a working material magnet and its associated magnetic field.

Sure there is a fundamental reason. We arrange atoms in a structure in a specific way that their magnetic fields line up, and that structure becomes magnetic. That's a physical change with a physical result.

As for fundamentals:
While heuristic explanations based on classical physics can be formulated, diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism can only be fully explained using quantum theory.[20][21] A successful model was developed already in 1927, by Walter Heitler and Fritz London, who derived, quantum-mechanically, how hydrogen molecules are formed from hydrogen atoms, i.e. from the atomic hydrogen orbitals uA
569afa745dd477cdb1c357e9c6ddf9bafa5b7835
and uB
d62e72a2182506f3bad6d8d29fc65b3e67bab262
centered at the nuclei A and B, see below.
Magnetism - Wikipedia


All that information could even come together in a nice picture, perhaps even a 3D holographic representation that is visually indistinguishable from the real thing. Yet no matter how finely grained the data bits are, and no matter how accurately it describes what's going on with the real magnet, the virtual magnet won't be able to pick-up so much as a paper clip. Why not? Because you can't download the magnetism itself. It's something extra. I think consciousness is the same sort of thing. No matter how finely grained a virtual simulation of the brain is, I doubt it's possible to download someone's consciousness into it.

I don't know what you're saying here. Can you say more?


Just like a magnet needs the right configuration ( the wire needs to be associated with the core in a specific way ) and requires specific materials ( wrapping plastic string around a wooden core won't work ), consciousness in my estimation also requires the specific configuration of appropriate materials. We know both those things are found in human brains. But just like the wire and the core in a magnet aren't magnetism, neither are neurons and electrochemical impulses in the brain consciousness. Consciousness is that extra thing we know as our firsthand experience of the world.

Therefore there are two distinctly different sorts of reality embedded within a larger physicalist framework. Is that dualism? Some people would say so. Others like myself say it's fine to call it dualism in a casual sense, but not the way you seem to be thinking of it with respect to classical materialism. Perhaps there are multiverses. I don't know. But whatever the case, they're not necessary given the particular physicalist view that I hold. Otherwise magnetism would cause all the same problems. Logically then, consciousness would seem to be something as fundamental as magnetism, or gravity, or what-have-you. When the conditions are right, it manifests.

Something that affects material is materialism. It doesn't matter if it's a superset of what we currently understand as material, it still is materialism. If we discover a new force, for example, that does not imply dualism is a thing - because if dualism is a thing, there's no way for it to affect matter. If it does effect matter, it's materialism, and dualism vanishes in a puff of logic.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Something that affects material is materialism.
Okay. I know what you mean by it now when you're referring to it. It sounds pretty much the same as what I call Physicalism because it includes the forces of nature as well. However I think Joshua was looking at Materialism simply meaning bits of stuff. So you guys are on two different wavelengths about context. In his context he's doing okay. And in your context so are you. On magnetism, I'm not getting my point across on the meaning of "fundamental". The lining up of fields and such isn't a fundamental explanation. It's just the way we've come to describe what we think is happening in a way that makes sense to us.

Let me try it this way: If we were to simply look at the wires and the core of an electromagnet, no matter how close we observed it, we'd never see the magnetism. It would look pretty much the same either on or off. Even all the way down to the subatomic level we still wouldn't see much change, going on and what change we might see still wouldn't be the magnetism itself. So just looking at the materials, and assuming we don't know about the phenomenon in the first place, we'd have no reason to think anything extra is there. It's the same thing with consciousness. No matter how close we look at the nanostructure of synaptic pathways, we're never going to see a little image of the red Ferrari in the mind of that person.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Okay. I know what you mean by it now when you're referring to it. It sounds pretty much the same as what I call Physicalism because it includes the forces of nature as well. However I think Joshua was looking at Materialism simply meaning bits of stuff. So you guys are on two different wavelengths about context. In his context he's doing okay. And in your context so are you. On magnetism, I'm not getting my point across on the meaning of "fundamental". The lining up of fields and such isn't a fundamental explanation. It's just the way we've come to describe what we think is happening in a way that makes sense to us.

Let me try it this way: If we were to simply look at the wires and the core of an electromagnet, no matter how close we observed it, we'd never see the magnetism. It would look pretty much the same either on or off. Even all the way down to the subatomic level we still wouldn't see much change, going on and what change we might see still wouldn't be the magnetism itself. So just looking at the materials, and assuming we don't know about the phenomenon in the first place, we'd have no reason to think anything extra is there. It's the same thing with consciousness. No matter how close we look at the nanostructure of synaptic pathways, we're never going to see a little image of the red Ferrari in the mind of that person.
I’m not sure I agree - we see magnetism all the time. It’s a component of light.

I think what you’re asking is where does magnetism arise from, like all the fundamental forces. Is that your question?
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
I’m not sure I agree - we see magnetism all the time. It’s a component of light. I think what you’re asking, is where does magnetism arise from, like all the fundamental forces. Is that your question?
I realize it's not a perfect analogy and that light and electricity and magnetism are interrelated. We take them all so much for granted now that we think we know all about them. But we really still don't know what's happening at the most fundamental level. We have experiments like the double slit that demonstrates that. In the end, if you look deeper than the explanations we have for the behavior of things associated with these forces and phenomena, you'll find that scientists will admit they don't have the answers. It's enough for them to simply accept they exist and to study how they affect things.

You probably already know that, but it's what I was getting at. That's why they call them "fundamental". They cannot be explained in terms of other things. This seems to be the case with consciousness as well. So in your version of Materialism and my version of Physicalism, consciousness would fall in there somehow, even if we don't know exactly how, but for someone who is just thinking in terms of bits of stuff, it wouldn't fit in there at all. So it's not like you and I are right and Joshua is wrong. We're looking at the problem from a different starting premise on the context.


 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
I realize it's not a perfect analogy and that light and electricity and magnetism are interrelated. We take them all so much for granted now that we think we know all about them. But we really still don't know what's happening at the most fundamental level. We have experiments like the double slit that demonstrates that. In the end, if you look deeper than the explanations we have for the behavior of things associated with these forces and phenomena, you'll find that scientists will admit they don't have the answers. It's enough for them to simply accept they exist and to study how they affect things. You probably already know that, but it's what I was getting at.

That's why they call them "fundamental". They cannot be explained in terms of other things. This seems to be the case with consciousness as well. So in your version of Materialism and my version of Physicalism, consciousness would fall in there somehow, even if we don't know exactly how, but for someone who is just thinking in terms of bits of stuff, it wouldn't fit in there at all. So it's not like you and I are right and Joshua is wrong. We're looking at the problem from a different starting premise on the context.
Again, I'm not sure I agree. Materialism has it's camps, but they are all not dualism. He was taking a decidedly dualistic approach to ESP, and went so far as to say that if ESP exists, then materialism is wrong.
And that is an illogical statement to make.

Dualism pushes the problem of consciousness around, but doesn't solve it at all. It pushes it outside the domain of matter, but it doesn't explain what this other domain is, how consciousness arises in that domain, or how that domain interacts with our bodies, or why that interaction cannot be observed. Instead of solving a problem (how does consciousness arise), it adds at least three more problems, without solving the problem that it was meant to solve at all.

Reductionism on the other hand has a problem with systems thinking. And consciousness is likely a system, meaning there is no single atom or unit of energy that gives rise to consciousness - it's an interaction of atoms and energy that give rise to consciousness.​

Just like in the computer I'm typing into now, there is no single magnetic field that is the browser I'm typing this into now. It's the state of all those magnetic fields and the interactions of energy giving rise to the browser as an application. It's systems thinking.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Again, I'm not sure I agree. Materialism has it's camps, but they are all not dualism. He was taking a decidedly dualistic approach to ESP, and went so far as to say that if ESP exists, then materialism is wrong. And that is an illogical statement to make ...
ESP wouldn't fit into Joshua's version of materialism. It would fit into yours. It would fit into my version of Physicalism. I think Joshua should either update his version of materialism to match what yours is, or explain his version at the outset as being very classical in context. His says everything is made up of bits of stuff. Yours says it can be stuff plus anything that can interact with stuff ( which is basically the same as my version of Physicalism ), and is pretty much the essence of a dualistic approach.

Consciousness is whatever that other thing is that is interacting with the stuff that makes up the material brain. I'd call it a physical phenomena as opposed to a material phenomena because the context of "physical" implies physical laws and phenomena as well as the material it's associated with. But that's just mincing words. I really like how you've distilled it down to such a simple statement. Joshua's version of materialism doesn't have that extra bit added onto it. It's just the material stuff, not the extra stuff that interacts with it.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
ESP wouldn't fit into Joshua's version of materialism. It would fit into yours. It would fit into my version of Physicalism. I think Joshua should either update his version of materialism to match what yours is, or explain his version at the outset as being very classical in context. His says everything is made up of bits of stuff. Yours says it can be stuff plus anything that can interact with stuff ( which is basically the same as my version of Physicalism ), and is pretty much the essence of a dualistic approach.

Consciousness is whatever that other thing is that is interacting with the stuff that makes up the material brain. I'd call it a physical phenomena as opposed to a material phenomena because the context of "physical" implies physical laws and phenomena as well as the material it's associated with. But that's just mincing words. I really like how you've distilled it down to such a simple statement. Joshua's version of materialism doesn't have that extra bit added onto it. It's just the material stuff, not the extra stuff that interacts with it.
Materialism would have to include energy.

Because stuff moves around, right?
 
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