• Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    In other words, your experiences and perspectives are part of "objective" reality. If not, then how can you talk about your experiences and perspectives like you can talk about faces and apples?Harry Hindu

    I think you're confused. Your argument here is that subjective experience is proof that subjective experiences are objects.
  • bert1
    792
    So continuing the analogy, you cannot have a change in an electric field without a corresponding and completely determined change in a magnetic field: this is evidence that they are "two sides of the same coin".

    Same goes for the neurological correlates of consciousness: you cannot (refering back to prior discussions on this thread) have the "I see Halle Berry's face" experience without the Halle-Berry's-face-detector neuron firing and, conversely, you can't have the neuron fire without seeing Halle Berry's face. (There's citations on the older thread, can dig them out with some patience.)

    This as far as I'm concerned makes the claim that they are distinct things, not the same thing from two perspectives, in need of justification, in the same way that if you turned an apple 180 degrees and expected me to believe it was a distinct apple, I'd expect a good justification. The model that fits the evidence is the one in which they're the same thing.
    Kenosha Kid

    OK, thanks. That experiences supervene on the physical is compatible with any theory of mind, including substance dualism (I'm not a substance dualist). To spell it out in terms of substance dualism, just to make the point, there might be a lawlike relationship between physical stuff and mental stuff, such that any change in the mental stuff corresponds to a change in the physical stuff, in a consistent, lawlike way. Substance dualism is wrong for other reasons, but it's consistent with the evidence that physical neural events correspond in a very regular manner with that subject's experiences.

    Regarding the view that there is one thing with two perspectives, the problem just pops up again. Lets take a rock. No neurons, no wetware, no behaviour similar to human behaviour that would allow us to infer consciousness, no? So how many perspectives on the rock are there? Just one, presumably. It has no first person perspective, the only perspective that exists is the perspective of the conscious creature looking at it. Now lets take a neural function roughly corresponding with a subject tasting some coffee. You're saying that consciousness just is that thing. The neural function looks like a bunch of readings on a brain scanner of some kind from the scientist's point of view, but from the subject's point of view, those same functions are the experience of tasting coffee.

    The question now is, why does a neural function have two perspectives, and a rock only one?

    In other words, in claiming an identity in order solve the hard problem (the mental just is a physical function) it becomes necessary to re-introduce a dualism in order to be able to talk about subjective experiences as distinct from neurons firing, namely, the distinction between two perspectives. But now we're back to square one. How can functional interactions of things with only one perspective result in something with two perspectives?
  • RogueAI
    620
    bert1
    (the mental just is a physical function)

    "A more serious objection to Mind-Brain Type Identity, one that to this day has not been satisfactorily resolved, concerns various non-intensional properties of mental states (on the one hand), and physical states (on the other). After-images, for example, may be green or purple in color, but nobody could reasonably claim that states of the brain are green or purple."
    https://iep.utm.edu/identity/

    Also: having a song stuck in your head, but no music playing inside your skull. This is one of those cases where materialism goes down a rabbit hole into absurdity.
  • bert1
    792
    This is one of those cases where materialism goes down a rabbit hole into absurdity.RogueAI

    I broadly agree with your posts in this thread I think. I prefer to avoid the term 'materialism' as it is vague and has a lot of baggage. It's also unclear to me how it is different from 'monism'. I think a more precise word to use is 'emergentism'.
  • RogueAI
    620
    But there are still people who believe mental states are identical to brain states. For them, a mental state isn't emergent, it just is a physical brain state.
  • bert1
    792
    But there are still people who believe mental states are identical to brain states. For them, a mental state isn't emergent, it just is a physical brain state.RogueAI

    Yes I see what you mean. I guess the physical brain state still has properties that its constituent neurons, or even molecules, do not have, for example it is the property of a whole system that it can see red, but the constituent parts don't have that property/capability. So there's still emergence there in that sense.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.1k
    I think you're confused. Your argument here is that subjective experience is proof that subjective experiences are objects.Kenosha Kid
    I'm asking a question, using your examples. You can clear up the confusion if you weren't trying so hard to be obtuse. Again, I'm asking what you mean by "objective" and "subjective". You're using the terms, not me. We don't have to use faces and apples as examples. We could also use racism and democracy as examples, which aren't objects but we can talk about them like we talk about experiences and perspectives. So, I'm waiting for you to clear up the confusion by simply answering my questions.

    While you're at it maybe you could explain what you mean by "direct/indirect" as well, and what and where the "you" is in relation to your perspectives and experiences.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    That experiences supervene on the physical is compatible with any theory of mind, including substance dualism (I'm not a substance dualist). To spell it out in terms of substance dualism, just to make the point, there might be a lawlike relationship between physical stuff and mental stuff, such that any change in the mental stuff corresponds to a change in the physical stuff, in a consistent, lawlike way. Substance dualism is wrong for other reasons, but it's consistent with the evidence that physical neural events correspond in a very regular manner with that subject's experiences.bert1

    A dualism that cannot separate its dichotomy at all is an insistence rather than an explanation though, again like insisting some mysterious interaction between heads and tails when the obvious and most evident explanation is much simpler: they're the same object. I guess to a dualist, a dualist explanation would seem like the default, but it's one ism more than is necessary. (Tmk there's no proof against dualism, just no justification for it either.)

    No neurons, no wetware, no behaviour similar to human behaviour that would allow us to infer consciousness, no? So how may perspectives on the rock are there? Just one, presumably. It has no first person perspective, the only perspective that exists is the perspective of the conscious creature looking at itbert1

    Sure, consciousness is not something a rock does. But it doesn't do a lot of things. It's a lousy printer, and it's notoriously bad a giving blood. Are we going to distinct plane of reality for every possible capacity of an object?

    The question now is, why does a neural function have two perspectives, and a rock only one?bert1

    Because perspective is an aspect of consciousness. We are conscious so that feels very special, but there's no objective reason that consciousness is more special -- deserving of its own kind of reality -- than any number of things that can do shit consciousness can't do, like forge galaxies, create atoms, swallow planets, go through two slits at once.

    A similar notion to a perspective is a frame of reference, which is unique like a perspective but doesn't require the object in question to be conscious. If you look at something like a point particle falling toward a black hole, there's an extremely different picture from different frames of reference: for a stationary observer far from the event horizon, the particle will slow down as it approaches the horizon, where it will stop; in the rest frame of the particle, it will pass the event horizon and carry on forever (or rather the event horizon will pass and recede from it forever). The difficulty in reconciling different frames of reference is not dependent on consciousness: indeed, I find it easier to grasp that the Halle Berry's face neuron firing is identically the 'experiencing Halle Berry's face' than I do reconciling the consciousness-free black hole 'perspectives'.

    In other words, in claiming an identity in order solve the hard problem (the mental just is a physical function) it becomes necessary to re-introduce a dualism in order to be able to talk about subjective experiences as distinct from neurons firing, namely, the distinction between two perspectives.bert1

    I think I covered this above. Disclaimer btw: I currently have sunstroke. Everything I'm saying seems perfectly reasonable and lucid to me. It is possible I will reread this tomorrow and be appalled with myself :rofl:

    How can functional interactions of things with only one perspective result in something with two perspectives?bert1

    The thing doesn't "have" two perspectives any more than an apple has infinite perspectives.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    I'm asking a question, using your examples. You can clear up the confusion if you weren't trying so hard to be obtuse.Harry Hindu

    I think, as ever, your mode of communication is just, for me anyway, not conducive to anything more than me guessing what you're circling around and hoping for the best. Having been down this road before with you, I'm going to leave the option of you considering your posts more carefully on the table and otherwise have to ignore you. Because there's nothing in that post that demands more than the ridiculously obvious "a neuron firing" is not equal to "a neuron" and that's just going to lead to you saying that's not what you meant and I'm being an asshole or something. Make an effort or I won't either.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.1k
    So you can't answer the question: "What you mean by "objective" and "subjective"." I'm merely asking you to define the terms you are using. Asking to define the terms you are using is a very common question to ask on a philosophy forum. Asking questions is an effort to understand what you are actually saying. Not answering them is not making an effort. Just so you know.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    Asking to define the terms you are using is a very common question to ask on a philosophy forum.Harry Hindu

    So why not just ask that? If that's your sole question, what's with all the bunkum? Standard definitions used throughout. If I was introducing exotic definitions I would have stated them, likewise a common thing to do when communicating.

    EDIT: Anticipating the follow-up question "What do people generally mean by subjective and objective?", a subjective description of a thing is that given by information available to a subject observing that thing or something derived from that thing, while an objective description of a thing is a description that is (or would be) given by complete information about that thing.

    Going back to the Halle Berry's face recognition neuron, the part of the brain that is aware of Halle Berry's face is not aware that a neuron that recognises Halle Berry's face has fired: it has less information about the causes of that awareness than an objective description. An objective description of that process is, in principle, more complete (assuming the mind is fundamentally physical) such that an external observer could detect "is experiencing Halle Berry's face" in a third party. In principle, not yet in practice.
  • RogueAI
    620
    All you are doing is moving the goal posts. Now we need to define pain. What if I defined pain as being informed that you are damaged.Harry Hindu

    That would not be a good definition of pain. The salient feature of pain is not information about damage to the system. You can have pain without any damage to the system (e.g., phantom limb pain). The main thing about pain is that it hurts, and any definition that doesn't mention this phenomenal aspect of pain is severely lacking. Wouldn't you agree? The main thing about pain is it feels bad?

    Also, I don't think there's any goalpost moving going on. I might grant you that "is x conscious?" might get bogged down in definitions, but "is x in pain?", won't. Everyone knows what that means. Either a machine can feel pain or it can't. No fancy definition is required. Do you believe that machines will ever be able to feel pain?
  • bert1
    792
    Also, I don't think there's any goalpost moving going on. I might grant you that "is x conscious?" might get bogged down in definitions, but "is x in pain?", won't. Everyone knows what that means.RogueAI

    If anyone is unsure, one way to learn is to hit one's thumb hard with a hammer. That's pain, and from that one might further intuit the concept of consciousness.
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