• Nzomigni
    27
    I think metaphysical physicalism is a coherent and solid position. I get my understanding of physicalism from what i can read on Quine on internet,i don't think he was himself interested by metaphysics. I just want to defend physicalism as a valid metaphysical position, and if i can't, so be it.
  • tim wood
    8.4k
    And so be good enough to tell us briefly what you think it is. You know, a target.
  • Manuel
    2.5k
    I'm hesitant to say much on this, because I think we might be on opposite sides of the argument. But since I don't know that yet, I'll give it a quick shot.

    It depends on what you mean by "physicalism" and what such a view would entail and what your arguing against. I like Strawson's "real materialism". What does this view suggest? That everything that exists is physical. This should not be taken to mean that that everything is physicSal, meaning reducible to physics.

    On this view consciousness, what you are reading now, what you see when you look to the side, what you hear as you listen to music or taste ice cream, is wholly physical too. Consciousness is fact about the physical - nature, if you will - that we're most confident in having "merely" by having it.

    Why use "physical" instead of something else? Because I'm interested in the world out there and I don't think that what's out there is all a product of my mind. If this is unconvincing, then you may use whatever label you wish. The main point here is that dualism cannot be properly formulated.

    What is your physicalism arguing against?
  • Clarky
    9.1k


    There is another physicalism discussion open on the thread right now.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Ok, i will head there.
    I would defined physicalism as : A exist if and only if A is a necesary variable of a measurement of the natural science as such the natural science couldn't explain the measurement without it. This isnt a very correct definition, i gonna do my howework about it.
  • Manuel
    2.5k
    There is another physicalism discussion open on the thread right now.T Clark

    Yes, but I'm seeing that one is 5 months old, does that not count as bumping a thread?

    I would defined physicalism as : A exist if and only if A is a necesary variable of a measurement of the natural science as such the natural science couldn't explain the measurement without it.Nzomigni

    So any view that think that there is more to reality than what the sciences say would be making a mistake or what would they be doing wrong?
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Yes, this is a view that only the third point of view of science can say what exist or not.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    This is mainly revelant for problem such as consciousness.
  • Manuel
    2.5k


    Ah. Gotcha.

    So you'd like to make consciousness explainable by states in the brain, that type of thing?
  • Banno
    16.9k
    A exist if and only if A is a necesary variable of a measurement of the natural science as such the natural science couldn't explain the measurement without it.Nzomigni

    I would have gone for something like, only the stuff described or describable by physics is worthy of discussion.

    so, the other sciences are all reducible to physics, and if they are not they are unworthy of study.

    I do not support this view.

    (I think it better to continue on this thread rather than the recently incarnated zombie thread elsewhere.)
  • noname
    14
    Using only physical instruments, we may never know if physicalism is false.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    What is your physicalism arguing against?Manuel

    I think this may prove an interesting angle. What models of reality are in competition with your version of physicalism? Nature of consciousness? Subjective experience?

    Invariably we will come to quantum mechanics and this is where the behavior of physical things seems less than physical; depending on where your theoretical models take you.
  • Manuel
    2.5k
    I think this may prove an interesting angle. What models of reality are in competition with your version of physicalism? Nature of consciousness? Subjective experience?Tom Storm

    Sure. Those who agree or sympathetic to Dennett and Churchland have to address this question, which they have to some degree.

    My physicalism includes consciousness as is ordinarily understood in everyday living. I'm only saying that consciousness is physical, it is the fact of existence of which we are most confident, not that there's a particular problem with our experience of the world.

    Quantum mechanics may say something perhaps, as in Penrose and Hammeroff idea microtubules interacting with quantum phenomena. It's not the view which is too popular, but it's an option.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    My physicalism includes consciousness as is ordinarily understood in everyday living. I'm only saying that consciousness is physical, it is the fact of existence of which we are most confident, not that there's a particular problem with our experience of the world.Manuel

    I wasn't questioning your view, just expanding on your points for the OP. :smile:
  • Manuel
    2.5k


    Ah. My bad. :sweat:
  • Nzomigni
    27
    My physicalism is opposed to view that give a special ontological status to first-person view or view that states that surnatural object exist. My view is what we could call illusionism. Here is a thought experiment :
    A computer asks these questions openly(We can hear it):
    How am i conscious?
    Why is am conscious?
    Am i conscious?
    How should we answer? How should it answer?
    To ask whether the computer is conscious or not is somewhat absurd. The computer is not a conscious computer. The computer is literally a computer and only a computer.
    Consciousness is probably not a property that something have or doesn't have. I have no reason to wonder if the computer has a supernatural property that a computer that wouldn't have asked theses questions would'not. It's probably just a difference in the software or the hardware.
    How do we help the computer then? We show it how it works, it must see itself. After seeing how he function, it will know itself.
    We could say that we are the equivalent of this computer. To answer these questions, we have to see how we works. We will not have the answers that we expected but at least we would have understood ourselves.
    We don't have to find out where consciousness is hidden or how to explain it, we have to understand how we works in our entierety. We are not a black box.
    The human must see how he work to know what it is to be a human.
    Now we could wonder if our answers would satisfy the computer, it may not.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    A computer asks itself these questions openly:Nzomigni

    But it doesn't, so why provide this as a comparison to human self-awareness?
  • Nzomigni
    27
    We could replace the computer by any physical system you can imagine. My point is that this system self-awareness would be similar to those of a human. This system may need to be quite complex to equate human cognition.
    Image that i replace someone brain with trillions of small gears as such that he have the same behavior. Is he conscious or not ?
    What i meant if that the main problem is how you conceive your body and yourself. If you think there is a fundamental difference between your body(brain, etc) and yourself, you won't probably be able to solve/dissolve theses questions. If you don't think there is a fundamental difference, so understanding how your brain work is equivalent to understanding how you work.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    I understand that but the issue is more complex than this. Machines do not yet have consciousness. How do you explain subjective experience and consciousness? This is not called a hard problem for nothing.

    If you think there is a fundamental difference between your body(brain, etc) and yourself, you won't probably be able to solve/dissolve theses questions.Nzomigni

    Everyone knows this. The problem is there is a difference.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Why you assume machines can't have self-awareness ? What do you mean by self-awareness ? I may have a cognitive neuroscience theory that may interest you : the attention schema by Micheal Graziano, it attempt to explain how we have self-awareness and can talk about it. I don't have to explain subjective experience, i only have to show how you work. Subjective experience as a function is probably a schema that is accessible to systems responsible for language and executive function etc. By subjective experience, i would mean a representation of one-body, sense of self, attention and awareness of colors(as informations) etc. It would only be a brain function that doesnt relate to a special object consciousness.

    Now, this is possible that consciousness is something truly special but it won't be my bet personally.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    Why you assume machines can't have self-awareness ?Nzomigni

    They don't yet.

    I think the problem is more complicated than this, N. Have you read an account of the hard problem of consciousness?
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Yes, i did on wikipedia.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    And you have solved it.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    I don't think you can "solve it". This is only a point of view that i find more coherent. We still need to do research on neuroscience though.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    My argument is such that :
    P1) Everything that there is to know about a information-processing system/physical object is how it works.
    P2) Humans are a physical object/information-processing system.
    C1) Everything that there is to know about a human is how it works.
    The thing is if i know perfectly how i physically work, i also know what happen when i talk about consciousness. Therefore the problem falls quite flat.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    I'm an eliminitavist about consciousness. I think human brains conception of what exist or not is skewed and asserts that consciousness exist when they talk about it as a computer could have a bug in his software. Consciousness is a linguistic tool that a human brain use to refer to certain type of information. Theorically, we could know how it works by studying the human body. All there is to know about a human (or anything) lies on how it functions. Still, it is useful for humans to function as such as they declare they are conscious.
    In my view, we are merely humans(physical systems) communicating through the web.
    Neuroscience would amount to humans discovering how they function like a computer discovering his hardware and software or an automat discovering what wooden gears are.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Human doesn't have innate knowledge about themselves or the external world as much as a computer(or any physical system) have innate knowledge about anything. Both of them are what we could name information-proccessing system. We could also say there is no fundamental difference between a rock, a computer, a human or even a tree.
    We're just the most 'complex' thing on the planet at the moment, no need to refer to consciousness to explain that.
    There is "two" me :
    Me as how the brain describe himself.
    Me as how the brain function.
    In the end, it doesn't matter if a human thinks he is conscious or not.But he just shouldn't complain if we don't find consciousness, because it doesn't exist.
  • Tom Storm
    4k
    My argument is such that :
    P1) Everything that there is to know about a information-processing system/physical object is how it works.
    P2) Humans are a physical object/information-processing system.
    C1) Everything that there is to know about a human is how it works.
    The thing is if i know perfectly how i physically work, i also know what happen when i talk about consciousness. Therefore the problem falls quite flat.
    Nzomigni



    So this is a familiar and reductive materialist argument - one I put up myself in the 1980's. People will have an issue with Premise 2. Humans are likely to be more than an information processing system (which in itself is somewhat unclear).
  • Nzomigni
    27
    Lets give up the information-processing term. They're physical and only physical.
  • Nzomigni
    27
    And this would be more of eliminitavism about consciousness than a attempt to reduce it to the physical.
  • khaled
    3.4k
    And this would be more of a eliminitavism of consciousness than a attempt to reduce it to the physical.Nzomigni

    eliminativism would be insisting that consciousness doesn’t exist. Reducing it to the physical is reductionism. It still exists, it’s just not magical.


    Why you assume machines can't have self-awareness ?
    — Nzomigni

    They don't yet.
    Tom Storm

    Again, how do you know? Or, what would it take to convince you that a machine is conscious?

    I find it weird that people are very quick to say machines aren’t conscious while not having any clear definition of what “conscious” means or how we can know if something is conscious or not.
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