• javra
    1.5k


    Well, in that case, never mind. I can only then presume you in fact agree that such a thing as fist-person points of view occur in the world, hence actually happen, this rather than being illusions. And that it’s absurd to conclude otherwise. This in contrast to some of us assuming that they occur due to being "trapped in the grammar of a word".
  • ajar
    65


    From my POV, respectfully, you have not demonstrated an understanding of my point. That may be my fault, for not finding the right words. My point is not about consciousness denial at all, but only about the phoniness of the hard problem. This point does involve a denial of the utility or intelligibility of a certain metaphysical use of 'consciousness' or 'qualia.' In short, I think folks often don't know that they don't know what they're talking about.
  • javra
    1.5k
    From my POV, respectfully, you have not demonstrated an understanding of my point. That may be my fault, for not finding the right words. My point is not about consciousness denial at all, but only about the phoniness of the hard problem (which can be understood as a denial of the utility or intelligibility of a certain metaphysical use of 'consciousness' or 'qualia.')ajar

    Then why oh why reply to me this way: I.e., What was it in my initial post to you that you disagree with?

    But I guess like I previously said, never mind.
  • Raymond
    649
    A really radical dualism (or something like it) has (as I see it) nothing at all to say about the relationship between qualia and its substrate.ajar

    I'm not sure if I qualify as radical but I'm a dualist too. I think you agree that matter contains electric charge and color charge. What if these are the base of consciousness, which means that the problem is solved, or in any case reduced.
  • ajar
    65
    I'm not sure if I qualify as radical but I'm a dualist too.Raymond

    How can you be sure that charge is necessary for qualia? What data have you collected, even anecdotally, to show a relationship between brains and qualia ? I do not dispute the well known relationship between brains and reports of qualia.

    How do you know the nearest toilet doesn't have a soul ?

    If we accept pains as special qualia known absolutely but exclusively by the solitary minds that perceive them, this may be taken to ground a Cartesian view of the self and consciousness. Our consciousness, of pains anyway, would seem unassailable. Against this, one might acknowledge the absolute fact of one's own pain, but claim skepticism about the existence of anyone else's pains. Alternatively, one might take a behaviorist line and claim that our pains are merely neurological stimulations accompanied by a disposition to behave.

    Wittgenstein invites readers to imagine a community in which the individuals each have a box containing a "beetle". "No one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle."

    If the "beetle" had a use in the language of these people, it could not be as the name of something – because it is entirely possible that each person had something completely different in their box, or even that the thing in the box constantly changed, or that each box was in fact empty. The content of the box is irrelevant to whatever language game it is used in.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_language_argument

    Taking qualia seriously is like thinking a ten dollar bill is worth whatever you want it to be worth.

    "...if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of 'object and designation', the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant..."
  • Raymond
    649
    How can you be sure that charge is necessary for qualia? What data have you collected, even anecdotally, to show a relationship between brains and qualia ? I do not dispute the well known relationship between brains and reports of qualia.ajar

    How else can it be? Physicists put the basic stuff of consciousness unconsciously in matter when they introduced the concept of charge, without knowing exactly what it is. The two basic massless matter fields in nature are charged with electric and color-like charges, giving rise to mass by strongly interacting, thereby producing the quarks and leptons at the next level. No one actually knows what charge is, and thus it's a wonderful base for consciousness. Composites of charges in increasingly complex patterns give rise to increasingly complex forms of (un)consciousness. An atom is not conscious, of course not. Neither is a toilet. But they contain the raw matter. A materialist overlooks charge as the cause of consciousness. An electron and a proton have a kind of will, an unconscious will, to get together. When together, the result is neutral. If more complex structures of charge form, the consciousness develops. Molecules, proteins, cells, organisms, and even organisms with complex inner charged structures on neural networks, with the capability to resonate with virtual all physical structures in the universe (in the case of people. The human brain has the capacity to engrave 10exp(10exp10)-10exp(10exp35) pathways for parallel ion currents on the complex of neurons. The resonances can flow on their own. A bird that is seen can also be dreamt of or thought of. A pain in the foot is a different structure of charges in collective motion than a bird seen. A sound heard in the physical world is connected to charge currents in the auditory cortex. The brain forms the substrate for charge to form complex structures which take shape by interaction of the body with the physical world. The physical world projects itself on/into the brain. Physical structures are projected, and corresponding parallel brain currents run while strengthening synapse connections (by broadening them). This is memory engravement. Thus, the projected outside world corresponds to structured currents and the body runs or sits or goes to sleep. Like a massive charged particle has the will approach or move away from other charges, the body is full of delicately patterns of charges with a will and consciousness. There is a big difference though between a massive charge attracting another charge, and the massive, charged human body interacting with the physical world and other charged bodies. Charged particles influence each other directly. People have bodies in between to express.

    The materialistic explanation leaves out the charge as an explanation. Consciousness becomes an illusion. Consider charge (color and electric) the basic feature and it becomes damned real. It can't be explained though as charge is unexplainable. What is it? We all know, cause we feel it. But at the same time it's a mystery. We should ask the muon.

    So. Charge is a necessary for consciousness.
  • KantDane21
    7
    But these are still not fundamentally speculative right? No clear causal relation has been identified?
  • Brock Harding
    51
    I did a redraft, hope this is clearer:

    Consciousness

    What we perceive, feel, and think is experienced from a unique internal perspective. Descartes was the first to envisage consciousness as being the experiential mental phenomena separated from the physical realm. In doing so, he invited beliefs in a metaphysical self that has confounded philosophical thinking and given those predisposed to this sort of concept a basis for which to justify beliefs in all sorts of ethereal things. What is needed is a fundamental explanation of consciousness that can be easily understood to demystify this concept and provide a platform for rational, logically minded contemplation.


    1. The ‘hard problem of consciousness’

    As proposed by Chalmers, this includes the inner aspect of thought and perception. The way things feel when we experience visual sensations, music, happiness or the mediative quality of a moment lost in thought. That seemingly undiscernible thing within ourselves that coalesces into a unique individual.

    This is opposed to the ‘easy problem of consciousness’ where objective mechanisms of the cognitive system are reducible to physical processes. These include discriminating sensory stimuli, reacting to stimuli, speech, intellectual thought and integrating information to control behaviour.

    For me it seems intuitive that the ‘easy stuff’ would be harder to explain than the ‘hard stuff’ that we all have a direct and personal relationship. But that’s me.


    2. Dual perspectivism

    Consciousness combines two perspectives of ourselves; our inner view and external view. By combining these two perspectives we are able to identify our capabilities and competencies and the direction of how best to use these in order to meet the demands of our environment and gain a competitive advantage. This likely creates an evolutionary priority effect.

    I think that it is likely that the concurrent experience of these two perspectives is actually what we experience as consciousness. Our internal quasi-perceptual awareness combined with what we are able to perceive directly.

    As an example, you may feel an internal apprehension that someone has broken into your house on the basis of externally perceiving a broken window and an empty space where the TV used to be.


    3. Internal and External Environments

    If there is anything that is steadfast and unchanging, it is change itself. Change is inevitable, and organisms that don't accept change and make adjustments to their behaviour to keep up with changes are doomed to fail. There are events or situations that occur that affect an organism in a positive or negative way. These events or situations can have either a positive or a negative impact on an organism and are called environmental factors.

    There are two types of environmental factors: internal environmental factors and external environmental factors. Internal environmental factors are events that occur within an organism. Generally speaking, internal environmental factors are easier to control than external environmental factors. Some examples of internal environmental factors are:

    • Shift in priorities
    • Morale
    • Evolutionary priority effects
    • Other issues

    External environmental factors are events that take place outside of the organism and are harder to predict and control. External environmental factors can be more dangerous for an organism given the fact they are unpredictable, hard to prepare for, and often bewildering. Some examples of external environmental factors are:

    • Changes to economy (quid pro quo)
    • Threats from competition
    • Social factors
    • Accepted normalities
    • The organism’s species itself

    Consciousness allows a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis to take place that looks at internal and external factors that can affect an organism. Internal factors are your strengths and weaknesses. External factors are the threats and opportunities.

    This is not a linear but a dynamic, experiential and qualitative process. This process is a balance between internal subjective priorities, perceived external factors and the mental attitudes we ascribe to both of these factors. This enables an individual to appraise their positive and negative attributes regarding a particular goal or situation, the impact of external factors on the goal or situation, and guide them to make rational choices based on this analysis.


    4. Observations

    An observation I will make is that newborn infants display features characteristic of what may be referred to as ‘basic consciousness’ but they still have to mature to reach the level of adult consciousness. This would seem to draw a correlation between physical growth and consciousness.

    Mental illness is also worthy of note in that a person may experience drastically altered mental states or qualitative experiences of both external and internal environments. This can be transitional or more permanent and is known to be the product of treatable physical processes in the brain.

    Having both a healthy internal and external appreciation of self and environment would then seem to be integral to consciousness. I contend that consciousness itself is just an abstract word for this process.


    5. Conclusions

    So, there would seem to be an evolutionary advantage in having both ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ consciousness and a correlation to physical development and disease. Associated mental attitudes we use to conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis are merely a part of our consideration of internal and external environments.

    Furthermore, it is conceivable that any organism that can construct a concurrent internal and external viewpoint is able to identify capabilities and the direction of how best to use these in order to meet the demands of their environment and gain a competitive advantage; be conscious.

    Given the above, I do not believe that it is reasonable to assume that consciousness is a metaphysical entity separate to the physical body. I hope the above goes some way to providing a fundamental way of thinking about consciousness that somewhat demystifies consideration of this topic.


    6. Comments

    In response to the below questions regarding the contemplation of who we are and consciousness I provided the below answers:

    "What actually are we? Where are we?"
    We are lucky, our bodies occupy the only region of space in the universe where we exist.

    “How do you know that your experience of consciousness is the same as other people's experience of consciousness?”
    That’s a complex question because, more importantly, people have varying views on what consciousness is. You could be talking with someone who believes that they have a metaphysical presence separate from their body whilst you might think your consciousness is a function of brain activity inseparable from the body. A fundamental mutual understanding of what consciousness is is required before this question can be sensibly answered.
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    :up: Considerable improvement on the first OP.

    Descartes was the first to envisage consciousness as being the experiential mental phenomena separated from the physical realm.Brock Harding

    I question this. Recall that 'phenomena' is 'what appears' - that is its literal meaning. The question in this context is, 'appears to whom (or what)'? Descartes very thoroughly explores all of the implications of being mislead by appearances, as if he were being 'deceived by an evil daemon'. But, he says, regardless of the possibility of error about everything we perceive, the reality of one who is deceived is indubitable. Hence, cogito, ergo sum 'I think, therefore I am'.

    What is needed is a fundamental explanation of consciousness that can be easily understood to demystify this concept and provide a platform for rational, logically minded contemplation.Brock Harding

    Why is demystifying consciousness necessarily a good thing? What if the nature of the observing mind really is a mystery? Why shouldn't it be, and what is to be gained by explaining it?

    Daniel Dennett is Chalmer's natural adversary. His answer to that question is that science rules and he rejects the idea that the nature of consciousness is out-of-scope for science.

    What, then, is the relation between the standard ‘third-person’ objective methodologies for studying meteors or magnets (or human metabolism or bone density), and the methodologies for studying human consciousness? Can the standard methods be extended in such a way as to do justice to the phenomena of human consciousness? Or do we have to find some quite radical or revolutionary alternative science? I have defended the hypothesis that there is a straightforward, conservative extension of objective science that handsomely covers the ground — all the ground — of human consciousness, doing justice to all the data without ever having to abandon the rules and constraints of the experimental method that have worked so well in the rest of science. — Dennett

    So, he says consciousness can be fully explained by science - indeed his first book was called 'Consciousness Explained'.

    This likely creates an evolutionary priority effect.Brock Harding

    So, here you segue effortlessly to the neo-darwinian paradigm which also governs Dennett's view. The remainder then explores the question along those lines. The question should be asked, however, whether evolutionary theory amounts to a comprehensive philosophy of mind - and there are many objections possible to that.

    “How do you know that your experience of consciousness is the same as other people's experience of consciousness?”
    That’s a complex question because, more importantly, people have varying views on what consciousness is. You could be talking with someone who believes that they have a metaphysical presence separate from their body whilst you might think your consciousness is a function of brain activity inseparable from the body. A fundamental mutual understanding of what consciousness is is required before this question can be sensibly answered.
    Brock Harding

    Good to end with an open question!
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