• Enrique
    1
    The following is a description of what I think is the most valid framework for modeling consciousness that currently exists. Tell me what you think!

    In my opinion, the most viable current theory is a sort of diversely pluralistic monism explaining perception as conventional chemistry infused with distinctly quantum dynamics, most essentially the superpositions or blended wavelengths which bring about complex assortments of color and feeling within matter. Yet it sharply differs from the physicalism that has been so pervasive amongst science’s monist accounts of material structure, instead regarding the hallmarks of perception as taking effect at a very basic level, something more akin to panpsychism.

    It is not, however, a panpsychism strictly speaking, because even though superpositions which give rise to the substance of qualitative experience are very close to fundamental, they are still an emergent property of numerous interacting atoms, requiring relatively large-scale, finely tuned arrangements to produce anything resembling a sentient mind. The most precise term is probably panprotopsychism, coined by philosopher Bertrand Russell, in this incarnation distinguishing consciousness from the body and offering a conceptual conduit for describing body-transcending consciousness as a material occurrence, so that the collective unconscious, soul and the spiritual in general, all kinds of frontiers which psychology and neuroscience have barely breached, may become accessible and brought into harmony with the foundations of current knowledge.
  • Manuel
    7
    Strawson goes over this view in his Realistic Monism. I mean, it ends up becoming a verbal dispute, because even if experience is not at the very bottom of things, it has the potential to become experience given certain interactions, which is almost the same as saying that they are found in the bottom stuff in nature. Only that it arises via certain quantum processes.

    Not that there's anything wrong with panpsychism or protopanpsychism or anything similar, but I don't think it's correct to say it's a new paradigm. The idea is by now more or less known. What changes is the emphasis of in what part of the process experience emerges, not so much the basic framework.

    But even if correct - and there's no way to verify these views via experimentation - I don't know how it's an explanation per se. One is stating that at bottom, experience arises, hence there can be consciousness as we understand it. I'm still puzzled by the problems associated with consciousness.
  • fishfry
    9
    pluralistic monismEnrique

    Is that like a square circle?
  • 180 Proof
    41
    panprotopsychismEnrique
    Another woo-of-the-gaps is "a new paradigm"?
  • Banno
    27
    Is "paradigm" a cool word again? It was cool for while in the seventies, and eighties, then went into a steep decline for many years, probably due to overuse.
  • Banno
    27
    panprotopsychism, coined by philosopher Bertrand Russell...Enrique

    Really? Where?
  • Enrique
    1
    Is that like a square circle?fishfry

    Its a particularate monism.

    Another woo-of-the-gaps is "a new paradigm"?180 Proof

    Its not woo-of-the-gaps, once you grasp the superposition principle being considered an alternative seems impossible.



    Wikipedia's panpsychism article might give you some leads.

    The idea is by now more or less known. What changes is the emphasis of in what part of the process experience emerges, not so much the basic framework.Manuel

    Seems almost self-evident to me once you comprehend it that superposition or blended waves must be the core process involved in generating not only objective but subjective color along with the fundamental fragments of feeling.

    there's no way to verify these views via experimentationManuel

    Experiments will be found that determine the way quantum processes work in the brain. Its a matter of researching how electric fields superposition with specially adapted classes of molecule, producing extremely synthetic matter waves. The basic phenomena are probably capable of occurring independent of a fully functional brain, in tissue samples, perhaps lab grown. More advanced imaging technology can reveal the basic structure of wavelength motions.
  • 180 Proof
    41
    Its not woo-of-the-gaps, once you grasp the superposition principle being considered an alternative seems impossible.Enrique
    :zip:
  • Manuel
    7


    Perhaps they will be found. Maybe it's probable. But the subjective "side" of consciousness, I don't think that's explained even if quantum phenomena are involved somewhere in the process.
  • Banno
    27
    Wikipedia's panpsychism article might give you some leads.Enrique

    I'd rather a direct citation. IF Russell said it, where? It sounds wrong for him.
  • Enrique
    1


    Bertrand Russell discussed something like it, I'm fairly sure of that based on what I've read, but perhaps he didn't coin the term. I'm actually glad you pointed out that possible error.
  • Mark Nyquist
    0
    I'm wondering what physical scale and what mechanism is at work. A neuron has about 100 trillion atoms and has an active state when firing and an inactive (very stable) state when not firing. So I would identify this as a significant scale and mechanism (for consciousness).
  • Joshs
    21
    Strawson goes over this view in his Realistic Monism. I mean, it ends up becoming a verbal dispute, because even if experience is not at the very bottom of things, it has the potential to become experience given certain interactions, which is almost the same as saying that they are found in the bottom stuff in nature. Only that it arises via certain quantum processes.Manuel

    I was recently following the dispute between Strawson and Dennett concerning Qualia and panpsychism. There are philosophers I prefer to Dennett, but I do think that he is closer to the right track than Strawson in recognizing that it is not what is intrinsic that makes consciousness what it is , but what emerges out of a relational web of mutual influences. These reciprocal causes require a different account than that expressed in the language of quantum physics.
  • Manuel
    7


    Well, it's our day to disagree on topics today, hah.

    I agree with Strawson here as well as Chomsky and Russell. I think Dennett's account can't actually be formulated.

    But I do agree that I doubt that quantum physics will end up playing a direct role in consciousness. Here I could be way off, but as of now, I don't see a connection.
  • Wayfarer
    21
    In my opinion, the most viable current theory is a sort of diversely pluralistic monism explaining perception as conventional chemistry infused with distinctly quantum dynamics, most essentially the superpositions or blended wavelengths which bring about complex assortments of color and feeling within matter. Yet it sharply differs from the physicalism that has been so pervasive amongst science’s monist accounts of material structure, instead regarding the hallmarks of perception as taking effect at a very basic level, something more akin to panpsychism.Enrique

    The issue I see, is that the problem of consciousness is not hard for objective reasons, but hard because it's not an objective issue. I am tempted to ask, do you think that nobody could have understood the nature of mind, before these recent discoveries were made? That only now, mankind will come to understand its own consciousness, due to discoveries that are only now being made? When you 'explain' the nature of human consciousness, what actually has been explained? I mean, what prompted quantum theory was, originally, an anomaly in the observation of black body radiation. Further investigation lead to further anomalies, culminating in the atomic theory developed in the 1920's by Bohr and others which is still, I believe, the basis of the standard model of particle physics.

    But what problem does a theory of consciousness solve? If this theory is a solution, then what is the problem it is setting out to solve? That the first-person nature of consciousness is not amenable to objective scrutiny? And what about that is a problem? Why should we want it to be?
  • MAYAEL
    2
    I'm wondering what physical scale and what mechanism is at work. A neuron has about 100 trillion atoms and has an active state when firing and an inactive (very stable) state when not firing. So I would identify this as a significant scale and mechanism (for consciousness

    I think that people often depend on other people's opinions as if they are fundamental truth/facts when in reality they are just guesses that are popular.

    And in depending on so many other people's opinions without hesitation we become limited in are ability to understand the world we live in

    when are means of measuring and understanding don't fit the thing we're measuring it leaves us perplexed as to why reality doesn't fit our measuring device that is supposed to be able to measure all of reality and not once thinking if perhaps the salesman sold us a piece of crap.
  • Enrique
    1
    But what problem does a theory of consciousness solve? If this theory is a solution, then what is the problem it is setting out to solve? That the first-person nature of consciousness is not amenable to objective scrutiny? And what about that is a problem? Why should we want it to be?Wayfarer

    Imagine being able to draw a diagram in a textbook that represents the chemistry of qualitative perception as incisively as photosynthesis and the Kreb's cycle, probably a hybrid of quantum-active biochemical pathways in entangled superposition with radiative fields such as the brain's. Not merely some chemicals involved, but the actual substance of what has traditionally been regarded as subjectivity.

    Or a diagram of an ecosystem that includes spiritual aspects in addition to material ones. The concept of evolution would no longer be based primarily around survival of the fittest, but more on purpose-driven selection. "Selection pressure" would be transmogrified into a psychological dynamic that humans can deal with more cognitively, reasonably, accurately.

    Or a diagram of the contemporary collective unconscious along with its evolutionary contribution to the development of organic lineages.

    Modeling perception as an objective substance has huge possible benefits in our effort to comprehend nature and ourselves. We'll probably find that brain substance is in superposition with fields we haven't even given a technical term to at this stage. So much more of life becomes introductory knowledge and common ground when we can render its components mechanistically.
  • 180 Proof
    41
    Talking about the role quantum mechanics plays in any purported 'theory of consciousness' is like talking about the role QM plays in a theory of music – reductionist pseudo-scientistic nonsense – because classical structures like neurons are too hot for quantum states (e.g. entanglement, superposition) to cohere at all (vide Stenger, pace Penrose).
  • Pantagruel
    6
    Talking about the role quantum mechanics plays in any purported 'theory of consciousness' is like talking about the role QM plays in a theory of music – reductionist pseudo-scientistic nonsense180 Proof

    Is it though? Moving from the quantum to the macroscopic world is essentially just a type of phase-transition. Quantum biology seems a solid field of study to me:

    "Inspired by the surprising phenomenon interpreted as long-living quantum coherence in warm, noisy, complex and yet remarkably efficient energy transfer systems, many models of environment-assisted quantum transport have been proposed."

    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2018.0640

    Just because we can't currently envision how living systems might create a framework for delaying quantum decoherence doesn't mean there isn't one. Quantum tunneling is an improbable event that is part of everyday technology now.
  • Enrique
    1
    Moving from the quantum to the macroscopic world is essentially just a type of phase-transition.Pantagruel

    Quantum features of matter aren't even as constrained as a phase change. The way I see it, electron orbitals and electromagnetic radiation are different forms of the same electromagnetic field, with electrons within atoms being a more concentrated fluxing in complex standing wave patterns as opposed to radiative, their structure induced by the nucleus in likeness to magnetic field lines.

    What we traditionally think of as a chemical bond happens to be centered on the infrared, "heat" portion of the spectrum, a radiation which atoms are so to speak bathed in, but thermodynamic properties vary continuously with visible light and the rest of the electromagnetic wavelengths, so that no fundamental disjunct or boundary between motions induced by heat, light and particularity exists. Decoherence may be an epiphenomenon in the infrared portion of the spectrum while quantum degrees of freedom remain unperturbed at alternate wavelengths, even on the macro scale.
  • Joshs
    21
    I agree with Strawson here as well as Chomsky and Russell. I think Dennett's account can't actually be formulated.Manuel

    I meant in particular that I find Dennett’s account of color perception much more exciting and useful than Strawson’s intrincality-qualia formulation. Like the phenonenologists. , he gets that the blue sky appears to each of us. it as an intrinsic bit of qualia , but as defined by its associations to a rich web of relevant experiences. Each of these associations we remove
    from the experience of the blue sky reduces its meaning for us.

    I also think Russell could have learned much from Wittgenstein about intrinsicality.
  • Manuel
    7


    That's fair, interest and excitement is a matter of taste after all.

    As for Russell, he might have been influenced to some degree by the early Wittgenstein, so it's possible. But he didn't much care for the latter Wittgenstein's work, which is the more popular and influential one.
  • Ying
    11
    Talking about the role quantum mechanics plays in any purported 'theory of consciousness' is like talking about the role QM plays in a theory of music – reductionist pseudo-scientistic nonsense – classical structures like neurons are too hot for quantum states (e.g. entanglement, superposition) to cohere at all (vide Stenger, pace Penrose).180 Proof

    :100: :up:
  • Enrique
    1
    Talking about the role quantum mechanics plays in any purported 'theory of consciousness' is like talking about the role QM plays in a theory of music – reductionist pseudo-scientistic nonsense – because classical structures like neurons are too hot for quantum states (e.g. entanglement, superposition) to cohere at all (vide Stenger, pace Penrose).180 Proof

    Wouldn't it be awesome to know how water nymphs and totem gods function? lol Quantum theory is not the final say, but it is the gateway my friend. (And superpositions can exist at body temperature for at least a second, e.g. ATP molecules).
  • Enrique
    1
    I'm wondering what physical scale and what mechanism is at work. A neuron has about 100 trillion atoms and has an active state when firing and an inactive (very stable) state when not firing. So I would identify this as a significant scale and mechanism (for consciousness).Mark Nyquist

    Traditional neuron chemistry is of course a factor in consciousness, synaptic connections, neurotransmitters, ion channels etc., but seems to me that chemical composition of the soma must play a vital role via the cytoskeleton holding biochemical pathways in place, which are a sort of oscillating standing wave, such that some coordination of superposition states can occur, perhaps with accompanying wave function collapse. These superpositions would actually be subjective color and feeling, matter wave images or some such entity projected within the brain like a negative photograph in the case of sight and visualizing, a collection of quantum superpositions at the nerve ending and elsewhere in the case of tactile sensations, etc. My guess is the basic chemistry is intracellular, while the synthesis and projection phenomenon can be relatively macroscopic. Brain waves are some large scale signatures of these oscillating superpositions.
  • T Clark
    28
    the most viable current theory is a sort of diversely pluralistic monism explaining perception as conventional chemistry infused with distinctly quantum dynamics, most essentially the superpositions or blended wavelengths which bring about complex assortments of color and feeling within matter.Enrique

    I'll start by admitting I don't really know what this means. I doubt any credible physicist, biologist, neurologist, psychologist, or any other scientist believes that a mechanism such as what you have described explains consciousness. You should provide a better description of the mechanism you're discussing and some references.
  • Enrique
    1
    I'll start by admitting I don't really know what this means. I doubt any credible physicist, biologist, neurologist, psychologist, or any other scientist believes that a mechanism such as what you have described explains consciousness. You should provide a better description of the mechanism you're discussing and some references.T Clark

    I didn't intro that very aptly, its a paragraph from near the end of an essay, but if you read the rest of this thread, you'll get the idea I think.
  • apokrisis
    9
    Brain waves are some large scale signatures of these oscillating superpositions.Enrique

    But biology tells us that every enzyme or other basic biological mechanism is both quantum and informational.

    So sure, biology is quantum in the sense that life employs artful mechanical structure to decohere quantum potentials in a controlled way. A photosynthetic pigment complex can delay the thermal decoherence of a photon-induced exciton long enough for it to "explore all available paths" in superposition and thus get conducted a considerable distance with 100 percent efficiency to the reaction centre.

    Biology is classically organised in a way that employs the quantum zeno effect and so creates a momentary channelling in a warm thermal setting.

    But this is classical control over quantum "weirdness". It is a harnessing of decoherence rather than letting the decoherence happen in the usual thermally random fashion. The coherence ain't the output driving the show. It is being able to monkey with the timing and place of the collapse which makes life special in being a classical system that is unlike other classical systems in having this kind of situated control over something that would otherwise just be random.

    The ability to do all this then comes from the frankly informational or semiotic aspect of biology - the vast empire of regulatory and feedback signalling that starts with the genetic code.

    The structure of an enzyme or photosynthetic complex is determined by a DNA sequence and its machine like protein manufacturing process. The millisecond to millisecond running of those structures is determined by a local regulatory flow of information - the web of molecular signals that tell the enzyme to switch its quantum-harvesting powers on or off.

    So right down where biology and neurobiology starts - the nanoscale where both quantum effects and informational effects loom large in the life of the classical molecular component – you have a complex causality going on. You have at least three kinds of account. The quantum, the classical and the informational.

    Decoherence then unites the quantum and the classical description as "dissipative structure" - the story of how thermodynamics organises molecular structure. And then semiotics unites information theory with classical dynamics - the story of how a modelling relation can be used to constrain physical systems.

    This is how the science of life and mind is actually going.

    You are peddling a lot of muddled woo I'm afraid. What is a brain wave when it's at home? What is a quantum superposition?

    One is a collective measurement that humans make - a roar of electrochemical activity heard from outside the neural stadium. The other is a map of quantum probabilities, not some kind of physical thing.

    To call either of them a wave, or a field, or anything else that smacks of literal material being, is merely an analogy. And even to call a classical wave or field a literal material is a folk physics fallacy.

    So the science of life and mind is in fact spectacularly interesting. And it is quite true that life has its informational roots into the physical world so deeply that it can regulate not just its classical behaviour but tap into its further quantum potential.

    To then turn around and conflate the three levels - semiosis, classical mechanical, and quantum mechanical as "all some kind of global substantial field phenomenon", is an insult to the freely available science.
  • T Clark
    28


    Upvote because I have no idea what you've written, but believe it completely.
  • 180 Proof
    41
    You are peddling a lot of muddled woo I'm afraid.

    To then turn around and conflate the three levels - semiosis, classical mechanical, and quantum mechanical as "all some kind of global substantial field phenomenon", is an insult to the freely available science.
    apokrisis
    :clap: :100: :fire:
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