• ajar
    65
    Its when the conclusion is made by an occurring first-person point of view that their own occurrence as a first-person point of view is a falsity (an illusion or whatnot: basically, not real) that the "cannot be taken seriously" issue comes into play.javra

    Respectfully, from my POV, you 'mysterions' (I dub thee such playfully) are trapped in the grammar of a word.

    Just because some philosopher invented (the strange idea of) an entity-process-mystery that you or I personally (but always only personally) can't be wrong about, doesn't mean that such a thing actually exists or makes sense, however habitual it's become since then.

    To be sure, 'we' know what you are talking about. But it's a screwed-up paradoxical concept.
  • javra
    1.5k
    Respectfully, from my POV, you 'mysterions' (I dub thee such playfully) are trapped in the grammar of a word.ajar

    You sound as though to say that words can't, or at least don't, refer to real givens.

    Consciousness is a word, yes. So is Earth, no?

    On what experiential or rational ground do you grant the first word no referent when, I presume, you do the second?
  • ajar
    65
    Facts are an interpretation.Raymond

    Is that a fact? I suppose Nietzsche meant that our nervous systems are liars from the beginning, making unequal things equal, so that the raw material for thinking is already hyper-processed. I agree.

    But in this context the point is whether one can be rational or scientific about this ghost of private conscious experience.

    And, hey, Nietzsche still used the word 'facts.'

    perhaps the time is at hand when it will be comprehended again...what actually was sufficient to furnish the cornerstone for such sublime and unconditional philosophers' edifices as the dogmatists have built so far—any old popular superstition from time immemorial (like the soul superstition which, in the form of the subject and ego superstition, has not even yet ceased to do mischief), some play on words perhaps, a seduction by grammar, or an audacious generalization of very narrow, very personal, very human, all too human facts. — Nietzsche
  • ajar
    65
    On what experiential or rational ground to you grant the first word no referent when, I presume, you do the second?javra

    As I said above, 'consciousness' has a family of meanings that are valid in ordinary life. If we thought the dead and buried were 'conscious,' we'd dig them up and offer them a better view. If we thought someone 'consciously' let a disaster happen when they could have easily prevented it, we'd treat them differently thereafter. The point is that any legitimate meaning of 'consciousness' is already so entangled in the world that the hard problem vanishes. It's only a hyper-rarefied paradoxical and parasitic notion of consciousness that helps the hard problem sound like a problem with science as opposed to its (the problem's) mischievous inventors.
  • javra
    1.5k
    Alright. What about "an occurring first-person point of view"? Do you deem that phrase to be reified or paradoxical? If so, I'm curious to find out how.
  • ajar
    65

    I can't do much either way with that phrase out of all context. Note that I mentioned giving the dead a better 'view' in my post above. Am I implying they have 'qualia'? Our language is so riddled with perceptions and intentions that we are simply haunted with obscure entities for which familiar entities serve as signs. This makes sense, because we are obsessed (evolved to be obsessed) with predicting others and holding them accountable. So we constantly talk 'through' what is manifest and measurable 'toward' a realm of souls with 'qualia' and 'free will' and ...

    I suggest that this vocabulary of the hidden 'spiritual' layer depends (for its institution and continuing intelligibility) utterly on the banal, practical layer where science can take its measurements.
  • javra
    1.5k
    The context would be your own being in the world, for it addresses that which is "first-person". But I too am getting tired of this rather dull subject. I'll do my best to let you further discuss this with others without butting in.
  • Raymond
    649
    But in this context the point is whether one can be rational or scientific about this ghost of private conscious experienceajar

    One can. Every form of matter contains a pattern of charge, electric or color. It's this charge that lays at the base of consciousness.
  • ajar
    65

    'First person point of view' is potentially just as innocent as 'conscious experience,' such as a novel being written in the first person point of view.

    Perhaps the subject is dull. It's been a long time since I was myself a mysterion, trying to build a world out of qualia.

    Still, the hard problem is hyped as a profundity, and it seems to serve mostly as propaganda for irrationalism.
  • ajar
    65

    I see. Can you link me to some research? Some peer review? Or is this just a hunch?
  • Raymond
    649


    It's a fact. If matter didn't contain charge, consciousness would not exist.
  • ajar
    65


    Oh. For that matter, evolution on this planet could have taken a different turn, so that no complicated nervous systems developed. Lots of things could be otherwise and plausibly make what we ever-so-vaguely call 'consciousness' impossible.
  • Raymond
    649
    For that matter, evolution on this planet could have taken a different turn, so that no complicated nervous systems developedajar

    Matter can't evolve at all without electric or color charge. It would be a massless existence without interaction.
  • ajar
    65

    I imagine you imaging this world somehow transformed so that ceteris paribus (somehow) there is no more electric charge. So then brains as we know them don't work, etc. Fair enough.

    But those who defend a radically immaterial 'private' I-know-not-what could suggest that charge-less mass could indeed be Conscious. The more the mysterions require an organic brain for and exclude calculators from 'conscious experience,' the more they demonstrate the parasitism of the sacred concept on our mental-and-physical-entangled ordinary life. In other words, saying that an organic brain is necessary for consciousness already 'defeats' or transgresses the hard problem and starts to explain-constrain-articulate consciousness, in terms of stuff we can all see. The true or consistent hardproblemer is or should be worried about stepping on cobblestones.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Subjective aspects of consciousness, you say? Not to worry, logic (our 3rd eye) comes to the rescue - we can deduce what a person is going through (via pure thought alone Or from physical correlates, re empathy). No? Hip hip Hooray for our trusted and time-tested faculty logic!
  • Raymond
    649
    But those who defend a radically immaterial 'private' I-know-not-what could suggest that charge-less mass could indeed be Conscious. The more the mysterions require an organic brain for and exclude calculators from 'conscious experience,' the more they demonstrate the parasitism of the sacred concept on our mental-and-physical-entangled ordinary life. In other words, saying that an organic brain is necessary for consciousness already 'defeats' or transgresses the hard problem and starts to explain-constrain-articulate consciousness, in terms of stuff we can all see. The true or consistent hardproblemer is or should be worried about stepping on cobblestones.ajar

    If they think that in a massless and chargeless matter world the conscious can exist... It would be an empty conscious(ness). Do they see the conscious as separate from matter? I mean, is it tied to it or can it escape, like the soul leaving the body when dead?
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    The Paradox of The Hard Problem of Consciousness

    1. If consciousness is purely subjective, the word "consciousness" becomes meaningless as a referent (re Wittgenstein's private language argument)

    Yet

    2. We talk of consciousness as if there's a referent for the word "consciousness" and we know what that is, objectively speaking.

    Perhaps what we mean by "consciousness" is actually physical correlates (walking, talking, etc.) - a set of such outward signs defining what consciousness is. In that case, p-zombies are impossible; anything that behaves the way I do (assuming I'm conscious) is conscious, and nonphysicalists are in trouble. Language is social (vide Wittgenstein). Turing?
  • theRiddler
    144
    We utilize brains to perceive brains. That's the real hard problem, IMO. Why, in the first place, grant your brains magical clarity to infinitely perceive things as they are? I say there's a huge gap in the translation between information and information processing.

    Mysterians, with an A, aren't irrational. On the contrary, we're the only ones facing the fact that total global perspective is simply impossible. Here on Flat Earth everything seems steady. We seem solid. From a grander perspective, nothing is this tangible.

    It isn't even a wooey problem if the brain does create consciousness, as that's still no explanation of what consciousness actually is. Which brings us full circle to Chalmers.

    Neither are we fully aware of the parameters of the reality in which it exists; nor, most likely, will we ever be.

    As a Mysterian, I can accept that the brain has a big correlate to consciousness, but not that it's comprehensive. Even if it "creates consciousness," that doesn't automatically entail any particular philosophy, if you accept the big picture.

    We have to learn to embrace the mysterious and work backwards from there, elucidating with honesty that which is uncontrovertible fact from that which doubt (even the smallest inkling) can be cast upon. And that's most things.

    If we're to be honest. Which I'm sure we're not.

    But the fact is that experience precedes language, and experience is consciousness, and no matter how deep we dig, we remain on the surface. Bodies are not inside brains; people are not inside brains. Though the brain has a strong correlate in examining what we animals do and are like.

    We're still "out here" though, not inside our heads. And really, if the brain NEEDS oxygen, then even trees produce our consciousness. And, of course, the rest of our vital organs, which do not exist "inside the brain." The true nature of consciousness is surface level. We're whole bodies, whole people, interacting with a completely mysterious environment.

    I ain't seen no answers yet! Where are we?
  • Brock Harding
    51
    According to my description of consciousness: "I believe that the concurrent experience of these two perspectives (inner/external) is what we experience as consciousness. Our internal quasi-perceptual awareness combined with what we are able to perceive directly" I guess that any thing that can do this is conscious.
    — Brock Harding

    That sounds very panpsychist.

    Not really, what I am actually saying in my discussion post is 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. I also say that this likely creates an evolutionary priority effect.
  • Brock Harding
    51
    According to my description of consciousness: "I believe that the concurrent experience of these two perspectives (inner/external) is what we experience as consciousness. Our internal quasi-perceptual awareness combined with what we are able to perceive directly" I guess that any thing that can do this is conscious.
    — Brock Harding

    That sounds very panpsychist.

    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. This likely creates an evolutionary priority effect.

    Having both an inner and outer appreciation of self and environment is essentially sentience.
  • Brock Harding
    51
    Environmental factors often impact organisms either in positive or negative ways.

    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 strength, weakness, opportunity and threat 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 process.
  • Hermeticus
    164
    I don't see science answering these questions anytime soon, so I think the continued failure of science to say whether machine x is conscious or not is catastrophic to the question of whether science will ultimately explain how unconscious matter can produce conscious states.RogueAI

    Relative on human time line, the current level of scientific sophistication has been around for a second and has already produced compelling evidence and insights. Philosophy and religion on the other hand, have been revolving around this very topic for some time now - but to this day we're circling around the topic with no definitive answers.

    The main issue shared between both science and philosophy is that objectively, we can not get past our subjectivity. We can't put our finger exactly on our subjectivity either though. The sciences are meticulous in trying to circumvent this by collecting quantifiable data. Sometimes successful, sometimes not. Ultimately, I don't think there's a way around employing smoke and mirror to see past the self. Philosophy in common dialogue form is not unlike this at all - but ultimately philosophy relies on personal insights rather than reproducable measurements.



    There can be a purely physical description of the neurophysiological processes that give rise to an experience, and also of the physical behavior that is typically associated with it, but such a description, however complete, will leave out the subjective essence of the experienceThomas Nagel, the Core of Mind and Cosmos

    Indeed, there can not be a physical description of consciousness itself because it's not a thing with physical properties. But it can be described from the perspective of function. Now here we do have physical processes that can be described with physical properties.

    But ultimately I think the reason that the "subjective essence of experience" can not be captured by descriptions is the same why you can't see my thoughts directly in the brain as I've elaborated to Harry Hindu - consciousness consists of experience and in order to know consciousness, you must experience it.

    The argument then goes if we do learn everything that is to be physically known about mind, body and process, we can take these electrical and chemical signals, emulate them and have a second person experience the exact same thing as we. This goes beyond simple impression of senses as all the function of cognition takes place here. So not just can we tell the individual that he is looking at grass when he's not - we can artificially trigger all kinds of association, from the smell of grass to nostalgic childhood feelings of things that never happened - in the end re-constructing exactly what it's like to be someone else.

    Would such reproduction, in the eyes of the advocates of a hard problem of consciousness, suffice to disprove this very problem? Or would there be any concerns left?
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    But it can be described from the perspective of function.Hermeticus

    That is the task of functionalism. That is covered by what Chalmers describes as the easy problem.

    consciousness consists of experience and in order to know consciousness, you must experience it.Hermeticus

    Correct!

    Would such reproduction, in the eyes of the advocates of a hard problem of consciousness, suffice to disprove this very problem? Or would there be any concerns left?Hermeticus

    We manifestly do not have the ability to replicate living beings, so it's idle speculation.

    While science has brought a pletora of evidence to the table that thoughts and consciousness corrospond to physical (electromagnetic) processes,Hermeticus

    So can propositional statements be described in terms of physical processes?

    There are the equations that govern electromagnetic interactions, which are well-understood as far as the behaviour of laboratory objects is concerned.

    But the rules governing propositional statements are those of grammar and syntax, and they appear to operate quite independently of physical laws.

    All signs, symbols, and codes, all languages including formal mathematics are embodied as material physical structures and therefore must obey all the inexorable laws of physics. At the same time, the symbol vehicles like the bases in DNA, voltages representing bits in a computer, the text on this page, and the neuron firings in the brain do not appear to be limited by, or clearly related to, [those] very laws.... Even the mathematical symbols that express these inexorable physical laws seem to be entirely free of these same lawsHoward Pattee, Physics and Metaphysics of Biosemiosis

    So I think by claiming a 'correspondence' between propositional knowledge and neural functions, there's a conflation of two different kinds of explanation, the physical with the symbolic, as if the latter can be reduced to the former, when they're of a different order. And in order to even begin to explain and understand physical order, one must first have recourse to logic and rational inference, so in that sense logic has epistemic priority over physics as such.
  • javra
    1.5k
    'First person point of view' is potentially just as innocent as 'conscious experience,' such as a novel being written in the first person point of view.ajar

    You’ve managed to spur my interests.

    And how is a fictional first-person point of view an innocent ignorant assemblage of words? That we can all understand what a novel, fiction, written in the first-person point of view entails directly contradicts your affirmation.

    Besides, I was addressing an "occurring (i.e., actually happening) first person point of view". You were saying this assemblage of words has an unclear referent. Again, how?
  • Raymond
    649
    I think it is also interesting that 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.Brock Harding


    How can consciousness combine two perspectives if it's contained in one of them? If the inner view sees consciousness isn't the view combining the inner and outer view (on the physical world) not needed anymore?
    The interaction and map of the outer world into the inner world might help understand why we see things outside the body while the map on/into the target (the brain, the domain being the outer aspects of the physical world) and the perception is created there (in the brain). Is gaining competitive advantage demanding?



    And in order to even begin to explain and understand physical order, one must first have recourse to logic and rational inference, so in that sense logic has epistemic priority over physics as such.Wayfarer

    Physics as such doesn't exist. It is an inseparable part of the mind, and logic and inference are just a minor part.
  • Brock Harding
    51
    How can consciousness combine two perspectives if it's contained in one of them?

    Consciousness is not one of the two perspectives. The two perspectives are fundamental to consciousness and the emergence of evolved sentience. Can you honestly not identify an internal and eternal view in yourself?
  • Raymond
    649
    Consciousness is not one of the two perspectives.Brock Harding

    It is in my view. Only the internal world of the brain creates the consciousness we experience. Of course there is interaction with the physical world. But it's the internal world that brings it alive.
  • ajar
    65
    And how is a fictional first-person point of view an innocent ignorant assemblage of words? That we can all understand what a novel, fiction, written in the first-person point of view entails directly contradicts your affirmation.javra

    I think you misunderstand me. I said that the first-person-POV makes solid sense in a literary context. 'Innocent' is synonymous with acceptable in what I wrote above.

    The main idea is that the questionable metaphysical extension (rarefied to absurdity) is parasitic upon the typical worldly use and context in which the hard problem vanishes. In fact, we make judgements about 'conscious experience' using the 'physical' all the time. Any meaning that 'conscious experience' can have for us depends precisely on the stuff that science can handle.
  • ajar
    65
    I was addressing an "occurring (i.e., actually happening) first person point of view". You were saying this assemblage of words has an unclear referent.javra

    I said that it's a matter of context. But (necessarily roughly speaking) I can say 'from my point of view' or 'from your point of view' unproblematically. My point is more critical than constructive. It's 'thrusting against language' and ultimately absurd to talk about some X that is radically private in principle (grammatically).
  • ajar
    65
    Do they see the conscious as separate from matter? I mean, is it tied to it or can it escape, like the soul leaving the body when dead?Raymond

    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.

    Think of it this way. No data is even possible, or not as long as a radical gulf is supposed to exist between I and thou (my private theatre and yours.) I might be a zombie. Your toilet might be a genius. External signs of consciousness are not signs at all, from this extreme POV, for there is and never has been any data.

    In fact, of course, we attribute 'consciousness' to animals with sufficiently complex nervous systems, which suggests that the word gets its meaning not from some mysterious hidden stuff but according to publicly criteria, like number of neurons, successful learning, etc.
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