• Gnomon
    3.5k
    Another way to express the Hard Problem is : "how does physical activity (neural & endocrinological) result in the meta-physical (mental) functions that we label "Ideas" and "Awareness"? — Gnomon

    I still see that as the easy problem, as its a very clear approach. Eventually after research, we find that X leads to Y. Its a problem, and I'm not saying its 'easy', its easy in contrast to the hard problem. Its called a hard problem because there's no discernible path or approach towards finding the answer. If you shape a question about consciousness that has a clear path forward to attempt to solve the problem, that is an easy problem.Philosophim
    How does Physics (matter/energy) produce Metaphysical phenomena (mind/intention)? Nobody knows for sure, but there is a name for it. “Emergence” is a philosophical term for mysterious appearances with "no discernible path". Typically, the novel form is a whole system (with new properties & functions) derived from a previous system with different properties : e.g. solid an-isotropic crystalline Ice emerges from liquid isotropic water. In my thesis, I compare Mind-from-Matter emergence to physical Phase Transitions, not to occult Magic. :smile:

    Emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergentism
    Note --- Emergence is typically associated with Holism and Systems Theory. Information is the "difference that makes a difference".

    Teleological Evolution
    So it seems that our world got to where it is now via a series of identifiable stages due to "quantum fluctuations", "phase changes", "emergences" and "speciations" that collectively we call Evolution. But only the human-scale (macro) transitions seem to follow the normal macro level rules of billiard-ball cause & effect, instead of "spooky action at a distance". On larger & smaller scales those transformations seem to be much less random and more directional, even ententional. We can classify those various emergent phases into three domains : Quantum, Classical, and Cosmic.
    https://bothandblog3.enformationism.info/page25.html

    The easy is the 'how', the hard is the 'why'.Philosophim
    “How” is a scientific question, in search of intermediate physical steps. “Why” is a philosophical question, in search of meaning or purpose. How Mental functions emerged from Material brains is subject to empirical evidence. Hence, relatively easy compared to the Why question. The evolutionary purpose of C is fairly obvious, in that knowing-that-you-know gives you the advantage of flexibility of approaches to a problem. But the Cosmic purpose of C is less obvious, in that mechanical operations, sans awareness, were able to function for 14B years. Why now, does the cosmos manifest a new property : Self-Conscious? We sentient beings appear driven to know where we came from, and where we are going ; on a cosmic scale. The final or ultimate answer to such holistic questions seems to require information about origins & destiny, which has been offered by religions for millennia. For those of us lacking direct access to a Cosmic Mind, mundane philosophy will have to do the best it can. :wink:

    The mind has three basic functions: thinking, feeling, and wanting. The three functions of the mind — thoughts, feelings and desires — can be guided or directed either by one's native egocentrism or by one's potential rational capacities. Egocentric tendencies function automatically and unconsciously.
    https://www.criticalthinking.org/files/SAM-TheHumanMind.pdf

    What we don't do is assume because we cannot answer the details, that there is some unidentified third property that must be responsible for it. That's a "God of the gaps" argument.Philosophim
    Not necessarily. The Enformationism thesis builds upon what we now know, by means of Scientific & Philosophical exploration, and to postulate a rational “third property” : EnFormAction, that has hitherto been called by another name, "Energy". EFA is envisioned as a kind of Proto-Energy (a seed) that can explain, not just material evolution, but the emergence of Mental properties, only after billions of years of “preparing the ground” for planting. The thesis acknowledges the logical question of “where did the Energy & Laws --- that propelled & guided evolution --- come from? Materialists typically take such immaterial necessities for granted. But philosophers tend to question everything, and to speculate beyond current knowledge. Do you think Science has all the answers that we need to know? Are you not curious about “Why” questions? A famous architect, an atheist, when questioned about his meticulous work, once said : “God is in the details”. :halo:

    The only disagreement I have with you is that I believe we act exactly like physical machines, only more advanced. I do not see anything about humanity that is separate from the universe, but is one of the many expressions of the universe.Philosophim
    I'll grant you that notion of progression in natural evolution. But you seem to think I'm proposing something supernatural, or otherworldly. Supposedly-scientific postulations such as Many Worlds & Multiverses, do indeed go beyond the only world we know anything about. But EFA is merely a new name for a natural function that is well-known, but not well understood : the emergence of novelty from evolutionary mechanisms.

    Do you think Darwinian Evolutionary Theory was the final word on how such things as eyes & minds came to exist in a material mechanical world? In recent years, scientists & philosophers have added such notions as Plasticity, Rapid Development, Epigenetics, and Cultural Evolution to Darwin's basic model. The article below illustrates the “gaps” in current biological science. The Modern Synthesis added genetic information to the crude notion of Random Mutation. The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis added such concepts as multilevel selection, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, niche construction, evolvability, to Darwin's simple-but-powerful notion that biological novelty occurs without divine intervention. However, his evolutionary mechanism did assume that nature is capable of making informed choices (Selection) based on some logical criteria for fitness.

    So, my thesis is just carrying-on the tradition of questioning supposedly "settled science". EnFormAction is merely a fresh look at an old scientific term for the physical Change Agency. EFA is not just brute force, but Directional Motivation (energy + information) . Evolution, like a guided-missile, seems to be moving, not randomly, but persistently toward more complexity & integration of sub-systems, with the human mind as the current apex. That direction is provided by the Information encoded in the program of evolution ; similar to what we now know is the key function of biological Genes, that Darwin had no mechanism for. :nerd:

    Do we need a new theory of evolution?
    Strange as it sounds, scientists still do not know the answers to some of the most basic questions about how life on Earth evolved.
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/jun/28/do-we-need-a-new-theory-of-evolution

    Also, my understanding is that this primordial state is also matter and energy. It is a 'thing', and until we can find the state of a thing that exhibits itself differently from matter and/or energy, it fits in one of those two categories.Philosophim
    The Primordial State I referred to is not a scientific fact, but an informed guess. And the current best guess is that the universe started-out with no actual Matter, as we now know it. For example, both quarks & gluons are unobservable hypothetical entities, that are basically definitions without referent. So, I would prefer to call it an “Idea”, not a “Thing”. The postulated plasma had none of the structure* that we identify with Matter. So, cosmologists have proposed semi-magical “mechanisms” (e.g. instantaneous Inflation) to explain how the current clumpy configurations could have formed from such an unorganized state. My third category is merely a combination of Energy and Logic (the missing element of Darwinism). Anway, I figure that my informed guess is as valid as their speculation into the unknown. :cool:

    Quarks appear to be true elementary particles; that is, they have no apparent structure and cannot be resolved into something smaller.
    https://www.britannica.com/science/quark
    Note --- No structure = no matter

    In physical cosmology, structure formation is the formation of galaxies, galaxy clusters and larger structures from small early density fluctuations . . . . . In this stage, some mechanism, such as cosmic inflation, was responsible for establishing the initial conditions of the universe: homogeneity, isotropy, and flatness
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_formation
    Note --- Cosmic Inflation is essentially mathematical magic: "Voila! an instant universe!" Is EFA any less plausible?
  • Patterner
    535

    Ah. Ok. No, I am still working my way through others. Slow process for me. I started it. But I don't expect him to have the answer to the question of how consciousness can come from the physical when he begins the book by saying we don't know how:
    §0.4 The deepest problems have yet to be solved. We do not understand the neural code. We do not understand how mental events can be causal. We do not understand how consciousness can be realized in physical neuronal activity. — Peter Tse
    I'm sure he has much great information about the physical. Which is fascinating in its own right, as in the Behe quote above. But all the physical detail doesn't answer the question, even in principle. Still, I do feel like a change of POV, so maybe I'll give this another go. Thanks.
  • Lionino
    1.3k
    Again, the word 'substance' came from the Latin translation of the Greek 'ousia'Wayfarer

    As before, substantia is the translation of ὑπόστασις, ουσία is translated to essentia, those are separate terms (and separate pairs).

    The meaning of substantia when translated back to Greek can be either ὑπόστασις or ουσία, while essentia only ουσία as far as I know.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    “Emergence” is a philosophical term for mysterious appearances with "no discernible path".Gnomon

    But is what emerged something other than matter and/or energy? To my knowledge, no. If you think it is something other than matter and energy, do we have evidence of it existing apart from our imagination?

    The mind has three basic functions: thinking, feeling, and wanting.Gnomon

    Right, but there is no evidence that this originates apart from matter and energy. We can call our thoughts and ideas whatever terminology we want. Do we have evidence of something existing apart from matter and energy?

    But philosophers tend to question everything, and to speculate beyond current knowledge. Do you think Science has all the answers that we need to know?Gnomon

    No. My issue is not with speculation. Its with assertion. Maybe we'll find out in the future that consciousness isn't physical. But today? It is. A speculation that it might not be in the future does not invalidate what we know today. The problem is some people get so lost in the excitement of their speculation, that they forget they've failed to demonstrate its truth. Its very easy to construct a speculative argument that has air tight logic and solves all of our problems. Its another to demonstrate it can be applied to reality without contradiction.

    So, my thesis is just carrying-on the tradition of questioning supposedly "settled science"Gnomon

    Keep at it! I find it very important that we poke and prod at science. My issue again is the assertion that because we can think of a possibility, that this somehow invalidates what we know today. That is never true. I can think of a magical unicorn as the reason for electromagnitism, and construct an valid set of premises and conclusions based on this being true. What has been forgotten is that you must first prove the unicorn exists.

    For example, both quarks & gluons are unobservable hypothetical entities, that are basically definitions without referent.Gnomon

    This isn't quite correct.

    "Although the theory (quarks) was clever, it didn't immediately catch on because there was no experimental evidence for quarks. This came four years later in 1968 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California. Experimenters fired electrons, and then later muons, at protons, and found evidence that the electrons and muons were scattering off three smaller particles contained within the protons, each of these smaller particles having their own electric charge. These particles are the quarks.

    ...Each one has its own set of quantum numbers, and their masses are very different, with the up and down quarks being the least massive, and the top quark being the heaviest with a mass over 61,000 times more massive than the up quark.

    https://www.space.com/quarks-explained#:~:text=Quarks%20in%20quantum%20physics,-The%20Large%20Hadron&text=Experimenters%20fired%20electrons%2C%20and%20then,These%20particles%20are%20the%20quarks.

    So we can see that quarks have mass and have been conclusively measured. So as you can see, there's still no evidence of something in the universe that cannot be confirmed to be matter or energy yet.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    But is what emerged something other than matter and/or energy? To my knowledge, no. If you think it is something other than matter and energy, do we have evidence of it existing apart from our imagination?Philosophim
    The Hard Problem is all about that familiar-yet-mysterious "something other". If you prefer to think that your Mind is a material object, what are its tangible properties : entangled neurons? Can you examine an Idea under a magnifying glass? How much does a Feeling weigh? If your Mind is instead an energetic force, what are its causal effects? Can you move an object with mind-force? If you can't produce those evidences, maybe Consciousness is indeed something other.

    However, I'm not introducing something supernatural into the real world. My thesis postulates that the universe began with prototypes of Matter, Energy, and Mind in place. Of course, I can't prove that's true, any more than scientists can prove that a cosmic Bang created a universe from nothing-nowhere. Scientists do have names for some of those hypothetical proto-elements of modern reality : Quarks are unproven theoretical (imaginary) bits of matter with no discernible properties, but strange antithetical attributes : up/down ; top/bottom ; charm/strange. Is your consciousness one or more of those materials? Gluons are also theoretical binding forces with a metaphorical name. But, unlike real forces, Gluons cannot be measured by instruments. Are your Ideas & Feelings constructed of charming Quarks glued together by sticky Gluons? Do you have "evidence" of those elements of matter & energy, apart from the imagination of Quantum theorists studying the squishy quantum foundations of the physical world. Some accept those theories as descriptions of reality, even though the evidence is "locked away"*1 from the prying eyes of Materialists. Have you ever seen or touched a Mind Quark?

    My thesis merely proposes a new name for a phenomenon/noumenon that has puzzled scientists and philosophers for ages. It seems obvious that mental qualities supervene (follow ; depend) on material properties, but how? I just flip the script to view Matter & Energy as dependent from a singular aboriginal predecessor, with the Potential for both Matter & Energy. Plato used a variety of labels for his First Cause : Logos, Form, etc. So, you can think of EFA metaphorically as a "seed" with the power to produce both the Logical Structure and the Material Form of Darwin's manifold "forms most beautiful". Is that close enough to philosophical Materialism for you? Or is it too close to philosophical Idealism? I could argue from that other direction, if I had time for such nonsense. :cool:


    *1. By the mid-1970s, however, 10 years after quarks were first proposed, scientists had compiled a mass of evidence that showed that quarks do exist but are locked within the individual hadrons in such a way that they can never escape as single entities.
    https://www.britannica.com/science/subatomic-particle/The-development-of-quark-theory


    No. My issue is not with speculation. Its with assertion. Maybe we'll find out in the future that consciousness isn't physical. But today? It is.Philosophim
    Sounds like you do have an issue with philosophical and scientific Postulation*2. In Darwin's day, the explanation for the variety of plants & animals was based on the Genesis myth. Do you think he was out of line to "assert" that there was another way to make sense of biology? Do you think Gnomon is asserting falsehoods on a philosophical discussion forum, or is he merely postulating alternative views for discussion? Is Physics the source of all Truth for you? :wink:

    *2. Postulate : to suggest or accept that a theory or idea is true as a starting point for reasoning or discussion.

    So we can see that quarks have mass and have been conclusively measured. So as you can see, there's still no evidence of something in the universe that cannot be confirmed to be matter or energy yet.Philosophim
    Just as Catholics believe in angels based on infallible scripture, modern physicists definitely believe in Quarks based on infallible math. So it doesn't take much indirect evidence*3*4 to confirm their faith. But which are you going to believe : proponents or doubters? Personally, I don't know or care if they are real ; they serve a function for imagining the quantum realm as tiny particles of stuff, like the holy grail of ancient philosophical Atoms. :joke:

    *3. "Quark masses are fundamental quantities in particle physics, but they cannot be accessed and measured directly in experiments because, with the exception of the top quark, quarks are confined inside composite particles," said Andrea Dainese, who is the ALICE physics coordinator.
    https://www.space.com/large-hadron-collider-quark-mass-measurement
    Note --- If you can't measure it, mathematize it.

    *4. Are quarks hypothetical particles?
    We will never know for sure.
    That’s because quarks, by the nature of their interactions with each other through “gluons”, can never get far enough apart to be “observed” directly.
    For many years most physicists thought quarks were just a Reductionist gimmick for remembering the rules of SU(3) — a symmetry of elementary particles also known (equally fancifully) as “the eightfold way”. But today the consensus is that they are real particles.

    https://www.quora.com/Are-quarks-hypothetical-particles-Why
    Note --- Consensus opinion, not empirical fact.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    Ah. Ok. No, I am still working my way through others. Slow process for me. I started it. But I don't expect him to have the answer to the question of how consciousness can come from the physical when he begins the book by saying we don't know how:
    §0.4 The deepest problems have yet to be solved. We do not understand the neural code. We do not understand how mental events can be causal. We do not understand how consciousness can be realized in physical neuronal activity.
    — Peter Tse
    Patterner

    But then Tse demonstrates, in the body of the book, that he has looked into the sort of things that need to be looked at in order to develop that understanding. Shades of gray. Perhaps, if it is possible, for humanity to develop the scientific understanding to satisfy philosophers, it will be next century or the one after. Although, at the pace of AI development, it becomes very hard to predict.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    If you prefer to think that your Mind is a material object, what are its tangible properties : entangled neurons? Can you examine an Idea under a magnifying glass?Gnomon

    You can examine a lit object under a magnifying glass, but you can't examine a sound under a magnifying glass. We're using the wrong tool and looking for the wrong thing. We measure consciousness by behavior. We experience our own consciousness, but no one else's. As such, we cannot measure our own subjective consciousness, nor any other. But we have determined that the brain affects consciousness over multiple scientific discoveries over decades now. Its incontrovertible.

    Of course, I can't prove that's true, any more than scientists can prove that a cosmic Bang created a universe from nothing-nowhere.Gnomon

    True, but scientists at least have math to back their reasoning. That's the difference. There is 'something' behind the prediction besides imagination. This is the same thing with quarks. We don't have a complete understanding of them yet, but the understanding we have so far is based on testable evidence. This is how progress is made. We theorize, but then we must test. The problem with the theories that consciousness is separate from matter and energy, is that there is no evidence from tests. Its why I state repeatedly that consciousness is really not in the realm of philosophy any longer, but neuroscience. We can use philosophy off of what we know in science, but if we speculate without taking in what we know, its likely going to be a cast off idea in history.

    Sounds like you do have an issue with philosophical and scientific Postulation*2. In Darwin's day, the explanation for the variety of plants & animals was based on the Genesis myth. Do you think he was out of line to "assert" that there was another way to make sense of biology?Gnomon

    No, because Genesis was not known and provable with evidence, it was myth. Beliefs are not the same as what is known at the time.

    Just as Catholics believe in angels based on infallible scripture, modern physicists definitely believe in Quarks based on infallible math.Gnomon

    The difference here is that its an opinion that scripture is infallible, and fails several applied tests. Quarks do not purport to be infallible ideas, they are what continue to stand in test after test.

    Quark masses are fundamental quantities in particle physics, but they cannot be accessed and measured directly in experiments because, with the exception of the top quark, quarks are confined inside composite particlesGnomon

    And this is not a problem. This is the limit of what we can measure today, and we take what is most reasonable from that analysis.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    You can examine a lit object under a magnifying glass, but you can't examine a sound under a magnifying glass. We're using the wrong tool and looking for the wrong thing. We measure consciousness by behavior. We experience our own consciousness, but no one else's. As such, we cannot measure our own subjective consciousness, nor any other. But we have determined that the brain affects consciousness over multiple scientific discoveries over decades now. Its incontrovertible.Philosophim
    Again, you take my metaphors literally. The point of the question is that immaterial functions cannot be studied by empirical methods. There is no empirical evidence for Ideas ; only behavioral inferences, as you said. In other words, the tool for examining the Mind is the Mind itself. Materialists see the world through the (metaphorical) lens of the Mind, but can't see the Mind itself.

    Again, you erroneously imply that I deny the role of Brain in Mind functions. Not so. Mind is merely what the Brain does : its function, its action. The engine (a physical object) of an automobile directly affects the quality of Transportation, its immaterial action. What we call "mind" is the immaterial function of a physical brain. But a brain in a vat, with no connection to the outside world, would have no mental functions. We'll never know if the isolated brain has a self-concept, but I doubt it, because it would have no non-self to contrast with. A primary evolutionary function of Mind is to relate Self to Other (environment). :smile:

    Note --- I like to use the Aristotelian concept of Metaphysics in place of "immaterial". But that term is now mainly associated with Catholic theology. Yet, five centuries BC, Ari added an appendix to his work on Physics (nature) for a discussion of philosophical Ideas --- over & above physical Things --- immaterial Concepts*1 about nature (Ontology). For Ari, those ideas are not super-natural, but merely immaterial Forms, or in modern terms : Information (EnFormAction). For example, Properties are not material things, but mental attributions.

    *1. Aristotle About Ideas :
    The Peri ide^on (On Ideas) is the only work in which Aristotle systematically sets out and criticizes arguments for the existence of Platonic forms. . . . . , and why and with what justification he favors an alternative metaphysical scheme. She examines the significance of the Peri ide^on for some central questions about Plato's theory of forms--whether, for example, there are forms corresponding to every property or only to some, and if only to some, then to which ones; whether forms are universals, particulars or both; and whether they are meanings, properties or both.
    https://www.amazon.com/Ideas-Aristotles-Criticism-Platos-Theory/dp/0198235496
    Note --- Contra Plato's monistic universal Forms, Aristotle proposed the dualistic notion of HyloMorphism : a combination of Matter and Essence : car engine + transportation as a team. Different ways of looking at the same thing. The embodied causal force that enforms material objects is the Essence (property, qualia) of the Thing.


    The problem with the theories that consciousness is separate from matter and energy, is that there is no evidence from tests.Philosophim
    That's the problem with Materialism, it looks for empirical evidence of something that is immaterial. The only evidence of Mental Functions is philosophical inference. If a pile of rocks suddenly formed a tower of stones, we would have to infer Mental Intention behind the balancing act*2. :joke:

    No, because Genesis was not known and provable with evidence, it was myth. Beliefs are not the same as what is known at the time.Philosophim
    You may not think Darwin was asserting something unbelievable, but most of his contemporaries did, because they were convinced of a different belief system. You think Gnomon is proposing something unbelievable because it does not align with your materialistic beliefs. Scientific paradigms change, not only due to empirical evidence, but to philosophical perspective. "To biologists, it is puzzling that Kuhn failed to mention the two greatest paradigm shifts in the biological sciences — Darwinism and Mendelism." https://laskerfoundation.org/paradigm-shifts-in-science-insights-from-the-arts/ :nerd:


    And this is not a problem. This is the limit of what we can measure today, and we take what is most reasonable from that analysis.Philosophim
    I agree. Yet Reasoning is not empirical, but philosophical. A Paradigm Shift is a change of perspective on the evidence. :cool:

    PS___ I appreciate your respectful skepticism. It forces me to tighten-up my own reasoning. And to find new ways to describe an emerging new paradigm of Philosophy and Science.


    *2. We infer that a carefully balanced stone stack is not natural, but intentional
    Stacked_stones.jpg
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Again, you erroneously imply that I deny the role of Brain in Mind functions.Gnomon

    Sorry, that was not intended to target you in general, more the general idea some have in this thread.

    What we call "mind" is the immaterial function of a physical brain.Gnomon

    I have no problem with the metaphysics description and the use of words that do not lean on the physical. My concern is that it should not be forgotten that it is all physical at its core.

    That's the problem with Materialism, it looks for empirical evidence of something that is immaterial. The only evidence of Mental Functions is philosophical inference.Gnomon

    I agree. I've noted several times that it is currently impossible to objectively evaluate someone else's subjective experience. But do note that this problem does not go away even if we remove science. Any attempt, be that metaphysical, idealist, etc., falls prey to the same criticism. Such language is fine to describe our emotions and feelings, but it will never be objective.

    You may not think Darwin was asserting something unbelievable, but most of his contemporaries did, because they were convinced of a different belief system.Gnomon

    My point is not whether a person agrees with beliefs or not. My point is whether they are open to looking at the facts, even those that challenge their beliefs, and determine whether their beliefs hold true in the face of the evidence. Trust me, I challenge belief systems all the time, including my own. I'm sure some members despise me for it. :) Often times I don't communicate in the 'meta' of philosophy, and that really bothers some people. I have read and formally studied many different philosophies, and I have found that to think freely, you need to not be unduly constrained by communities or habits.

    A person being constrained by their beliefs is not the same as a person proposing new, undeniable facts that invalidate that belief. If you can show me undeniable facts that demonstrate something which exists apart form matter and energy, I'm very open to it.

    And this is not a problem. This is the limit of what we can measure today, and we take what is most reasonable from that analysis.
    — Philosophim
    I agree. Yet Reasoning is not empirical, but philosophical. A Paradigm Shift is a change of perspective on the evidence. :cool:
    Gnomon

    I agree that it is both. Empirical evidence without logic or reason leads to nothing new. We must have a strong sense of skepticism in any claim, and require logic and evidence. New perspectives should always be brought forward, but they must be tested against the hard rock of existence.

    PS___ I appreciate your respectful skepticism. It forces me to tighten-up my own reasoning. And to find new ways to describe an emerging new paradigm of Philosophy and Science.Gnomon

    I really appreciate your viewpoints as well Gnomon! I'm glad you're not taking my points the wrong way. I greatly enjoy chatting with thinkers like yourself, and I think you're setting up your language and approach to science and consciousness that is palatable to someone like myself.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I have no problem with the metaphysics description and the use of words that do not lean on the physical. My concern is that it should not be forgotten that it is all physical at its core.Philosophim
    That's where you and I agree & disagree. Many years ago, after becoming disillusioned by the fundamentalist religion of my youth, I may have tended toward the opposite worldview. But as I learned more about Reductive science --- took basic courses in all the major divisions of science in college --- I saw the "real" world differently. But I also began to appreciate the philosophical underpinnings of most world religions, especially their Integrated Holistic approach .

    My emerging new worldview was influenced mainly by Quantum Physics and Information Theory, which I did not learn in college. Prominent physicist John A. Wheeler's "It from Bit" concept gave me a new way to understand the substance of the world, wherein the core is indeed "physical", but with tangible Matter animated & motivated by causal Energy, and organized by logical Information*1. More recently, quantum physicists began to equate Energy with both Matter and Information. There you have have a combination of Space (corporality) , Time (change), and Form (organization)*2. In Terrence Deacon's triad : Material Morphodynamics (form change) + Energetic Teleodynamics (directional change ; purpose) + Causal Homeodynamics (evolution). So. Enformationism is about all of the above, but not about Religion. Instead, its a novel philosophical & scientific understanding of the immaterial (quarks & qualia) foundations of Reality. :nerd:

    *1.
    a> In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. ____Wikipedia
    b> In physics, energy is a property intrinsic to anything that is able to interact in the universe. ___Wiki
    c> Information is an abstract concept that refers to that which has the power to inform. ___Wiki
    Note --- You could say that I am a Physicalist (matter + energy), but not a Materialist (matter is all). However, it now seems that shape-shifting Information (EnFormAction) is all.

    *2. Experimental test for the mass-energy-information equivalence principle :
    A recent conjecture, called the mass-energy-information equivalence principle, proposed that information is equivalent to mass and energy and exists as a separate state of matter.
    https://pubs.aip.org/aip/sci/article/2022/9/091111/2849001/A-proposed-experimental-test-for-the-mass-energy


    I agree. I've noted several times that it is currently impossible to objectively evaluate someone else's subjective experience. But do note that this problem does not go away even if we remove science.Philosophim
    Objective or empirical evaluation of subjective experience may be an oxymoron. But Subjective theoretical evaluation of subjective Ideas is what Philosophy*2 is all about. No need to "remove" the reasoning of Science, just the requirement for empirical evidence. :smile:

    *2. Purpose of Philosophy :
    The study of philosophy enhances a person's problem-solving capacities. It helps us to analyze concepts, definitions, arguments, and problems. It contributes to our capacity to organize ideas and issues, to deal with questions of value, and to extract what is essential from large quantities of information.
    https://www.jmu.edu/philrel/why-study-philosophy/why-study-philosophy.shtml


    New perspectives should always be brought forward, but they must be tested against the hard rock of existence.Philosophim
    Rock on! New philosophical perspectives on specific material subjects (hard rocks) are indeed tested for empirical evidence. But new paradigms of universal concepts (worldviews) can only be tested for rational consistency, and conformance with ontological coherence. :cool:

    I really appreciate your viewpoints as well Gnomon! I'm glad you're not taking my points the wrong way. I greatly enjoy chatting with thinkers like yourself, and I think you're setting up your language and approach to science and consciousness that is palatable to someone like myself.Philosophim
    Anthropologist Terrence Deacon's predecessor in the study of humanity, Polymath Gregory Bateson, unlike Shannon, defined "Information" as the Difference (distinction) that makes a Difference (meaning) to the observer*3. Since groundbreaking holistic scientists like Deacon & Bateson are not well known by professionals in the "hard" sciences, their vocabulary, and mine, may not be "palatable" to their Reductive way of thinking. But it should be acceptable to those of us in the "soft" science of Philosophy. The study of Minds does not lend itself to the knife-wielding dissection methods of Material science. :wink:

    *3. In his 1972 book, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Bateson developed his idea of a "difference that makes a difference" in his talk to Alfred Korzybski's Institute of General Semantics. The talk was entitled "Form, Substance, and Difference." Form and substance referred to the famous Korzybski maxim "the map is not the territory."
    https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/scientists/bateson/

    PS___Speaking of "vive la Difference"*4; one way to discuss the difference between philosophical evidence and scientific evidence is to think about the "hard" question of sexual attraction. For example, some men are crass materialists who view females as a loose aggregation of parts : t*ts, *ss, p*ssy, etc. But that analytical approach misses the intangibles of femininity that are so irresistible to those who appreciate the finer non-things of life. :joke:

    *4. Who first said Vive la difference?
    Anatole France is attributed with first declaring the wonderful refrain, “Vive la difference!” with particular reference to the differences between women and men.

  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    I have no problem with the metaphysics description and the use of words that do not lean on the physical. My concern is that it should not be forgotten that it is all physical at its core.
    — Philosophim
    That's where you and I agree & disagree.
    Gnomon

    Which is fine by the way! I respect your views.

    *2. Experimental test for the mass-energy-information equivalence principle :
    A recent conjecture, called the mass-energy-information equivalence principle, proposed that information is equivalent to mass and energy and exists as a separate state of matter.
    https://pubs.aip.org/aip/sci/article/2022/9/091111/2849001/A-proposed-experimental-test-for-the-mass-energy
    Gnomon

    Now this? This I love. This is an attempt to put a theory to the test. I would love to see it happen.

    I agree. I've noted several times that it is currently impossible to objectively evaluate someone else's subjective experience. But do note that this problem does not go away even if we remove science.
    — Philosophim

    Objective or empirical evaluation of subjective experience may be an oxymoron. But Subjective theoretical evaluation of subjective Ideas is what Philosophy*2 is all about. No need to "remove" the reasoning of Science, just the requirement for empirical evidence.
    Gnomon

    True that we would remove empirical evidence, but then what objective evidence do we have? As you noted, it may very well be an oxymoron. And I'm inclined to agree. Subjective experience can only be discussed subjectively, not objectively. The problem that I see is if there is no objectivity, then there is no scientific standard. Subjective analysis falls much more easily to bias, difficulty in replicating results, and consensus. Its not that objective analysis cannot have these problems as well, but the frequency is far less and these problems can easily be identified, nullifying the research without much debate.

    I feel subjective experiences are honestly best left to psychology. There they at least have some methodologies to account for this, though it still has its problems. I am aware I speak from ignorance however, my knowledge of psychology is limited.

    Again, great post Gnomon!
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    The problem that I see is if there is no objectivity, then there is no scientific standard.Philosophim
    That's why I get most of my information about the multiple roles of Information from professional scientists --- Paul Davies, Terrence Deacon, Santa Fe Institute --- and not from Twitter or Tik Tok gurus & influencers. Their work is on the periphery of current science, but it reveals signs of an emerging new Paradigm of Science, that I, not they, call Enformationism --- to distinguish from older -isms, such as Materialism, Idealism, or Spiritualism.

    My own investigations into Causal Information are not "objective", in the sense that I am not held accountable by specially-trained & narrowly-focused colleagues. Which is why I depend on amateur generalists on TPF to vett my amateur musings. Their philosophical skepticism should help to keep me honest. But it's possible that some of us merely share a bias toward Materialism or Idealism. So, it's up to me to question my own motives. :nerd:

    I feel subjective experiences are honestly best left to psychology.Philosophim
    Unfortunately, most modern Psychological research is still working from a Materialistic worldview*1. So, they may be blind to the evidence of immaterial "forces", such as those that Deacon describes in his books : Morphodynamics, etc. For example, Pavlov's salivating dogs were influenced by mental imagery to respond to the sound of a bell as-if it was the sight or smell of tasty food. But he didn't focus on how one form of Information (alarm sound) could transform in the mind into a representation of a different form of Meaning (smell or taste).

    Besides, most current experiments on Information Theory focus on quantification, storage, and communication, not on meaning & significance & semiology. So, what little work is being done on Holistic Information is left to Philosophy. By that, I mean scientists & scholars who are not afraid to speculate beyond the current paradigm. :smile:

    *1.Eliminative materialism :
    is a materialist position in the philosophy of mind. . . . . Eliminativism about a class of entities is the view that the class of entities does not exist . . . . Since eliminative materialism arguably claims that future research will fail to find a neuronal basis for various mental phenomena, it may need to wait for science to progress further.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliminative_materialism

    PS___ I just received my copy of Steven Pinker's Rationality. He is a renowned professor of Psychology. But he describes his focus as "cognition", not "consciousness". And I suspect that most psychologists prefer to avoid becoming mired in unanswerable questions about imaginary minds. They leave such open-ended arguments to Philosophers, with nothing better to do than to look for the homunculus inside their own heads --- to study the mind with mental tools.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    My issue again is the assertion that because we can think of a possibility, that this somehow invalidates what we know today.Philosophim
    Coincidentally, the same day you posted that skeptical warning of the perils of un-grounded speculation beyond current evidence, I read in Skeptical Inquirer magazine (vol 48, issue 1) an article by philosopher Massimo Pigliucci on Pseudoscience. He includes a list of criteria*1 to "demarcate sense from nonsense". The items on that list were written down in Roman orator Cicero's On Divination circa 44BCE, in which he compared Astrology negatively to scientific Astronomy.

    In my own speculative thesis, the logical consistency*1a, will have to be judged by others, because we have difficulty seeing the errors in our own reasoning. Since Enformationism is a philosophical conjecture, about a topic with little or no empirical evidence*1b to date, confirmation of the postulation will have to wait for hard Science to catch up with soft Philosophy. The causal mechanisms*1c underlying Consciousness remain mysterious, but the thesis specifically postulates a primordial prototype of modern Energy as the First Cause. The evolutionary process that produced Mind from Matter is not arbitrary*1d, but its intermediate steps are currently unknown, just as material Phase Transitions (states of matter) remain opaque after centuries of study. Moreover, the thesis does rely on a community of experts*1e (e.g. Santa Fe Institute)*2, who are investigating the emergence of Consciousness and Complexity from Holistic physical mechanisms.

    Regardless of compliance with Cicero's Criteria, and with Skeptical caution, the Enformationism thesis remains a philosophical conjecture, not a scientific fact. So, those more interested in Confirmation Bias may be able to point to my own concept of how Mind emerged from Matter, as confirmation of their personal pseudoscience inclinations. For example, the article mentions Deepak Chopra, who follows similar reasoning to the conclusion of what he calls "Quantum Mysticism"*3. Which Pigliucci thinks is pseudoscience : "there is no such thing". Although, Chopra did not intend to "invalidate what we know today" about Mental phenomena, but to explain such "hard problems" in meaningful modern and traditional philosophical terms. Although his views are Holistic, I don't follow Chopra as an "expert", because he too often goes beyond the metaphorical/mystical point that I am comfortable with.

    also classifies my thesis as "mystical woo", even though I make no "spiritual" claims or magical assertions, only philosophical interpretations of physical observations. He seems to think Philosophy began in the 17th century, after the Enlightenment, and trails behind Science picking up crumbs. I repectfully disagree. :smile:


    *1. Cicero's Criteria for making sense
    a. Internal logical consistency
    b. Empirical confirmation
    c. Specificity of proposed causal mechanisms
    d. Degree of arbitrariness
    e. Existence of a qualified community of experts


    *2. What does the Santa Fe Institute actually research/study? :
    The Santa Fe Institute was founded in 1984 by a man named George Cowan, with the help of Murray Gell-Mann who is a Nobel-prize physicist, Phil Anderson, another Nobel-prize physicist, Ken Arrow who won a Nobel prize in economics, and others. These guys all got together and decided to help found this thing, and ‘this thing’ was a new way of doing science… [they] said ‘let’s start looking at ways we can study the whole thing, instead of reducing things.’ And this came right at a moment when personal computers were coming into their own.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/cormacmccarthy/comments/t5shni/what_does_the_santa_fe_institute_actually/
    Note --- 180 associates Holism with New Age woo


    *3. Quantum mysticism
    Quantum mysticism, sometimes referred pejoratively to as quantum quackery or quantum woo,[1] is a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence, spirituality, or mystical worldviews to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mysticism
  • 180 Proof
    14.1k
    It is with sadness that every so often I spend a few hours on the internet, reading or listening to the mountain of stupiditie dressed up with the word 'quantum'. Quantum medicine; holistic quantum theories of every kind, mental quantum spiritualism – and so on, and on, in an almost unbelievable parade of quantum nonsense.
    — Carlo Rovelli, Hegoland, pp. 159-60
    180 Proof
    For those who wish to avoid pseudo-science traps and quantum woo sophistry, I recommend as a start The Unconscious Quantum¹ (reviewed here).180 Proof

    https://www.skeptic.com/insight/the-fifth-horseman-the-insights-of-victor-stenger-1935-2014/ ¹
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Regardless of compliance with Cicero's Criteria, and with Skeptical caution, the Enformationism thesis remains a philosophical conjecture, not a scientific fact.Gnomon

    Which is fine. Philosophy which refers to itself as something to look into and test is sound philosophy. We always need people poking and prodding at what we know to ensure that we really know it. You may be interested in a paper I wrote a while back about knowledge. There's a summary from a poster immediately after mine that nails it if you want to take a look. https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/14044/knowledge-and-induction-within-your-self-context/p1
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Pininng this here as it’s relevant (rather than start a new thread). Christof Koch rejects the mainstream physicalist accounts of consciousness, declaring that ‘the problem of experience’ is such that it must acknowledge the possibility of something beyond matter-energy-space-time. If it is physicalism, it requires extension of the concept of the physical. I think it amounts to a tacit acknowledgement of the hard problem argument.

  • Patterner
    535
    Well that's interesting! I noticed yesterday that he has a new book, Then I Am Myself the World: What Consciousness Is and How to Expand It. The blurb did not give me the impression that he thinks the way he does in this video.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Amazon blurb is here - Then I Am Myself the World: What Consciousness Is and How to Expand It https://amzn.asia/d/fthGBYC

    The first sentence of the abstract has a distinctly Cartesian ring. But I think he’s obliged to keep re-affirming the ‘physicality’ aspect on pain of alienating the scientific community. (I watched part of a dialogue between him and Kastrup recently.)
  • Patterner
    535

    I googled and got this:
    A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious
    Surprised to see him "proposing panpsychism" in 2013.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I like that interview. Note he says consciousness is irreducible, that it’s on a par with an electron’s spin.

    The conception of panpsychism I can get on board with is not the Galen Strawson or Philip Goff model of consciousness as an attribute of matter. It’s more the idea that it’s latent and then becomes manifest when the conditions are suitable. ‘What was latent becomes patent.’

  • Patterner
    535

    Partial to the attribute of matter idea, myself. But can you explain the "latent beefiness patent" thinking?
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    can you explain the "latent beefiness patent" thinking?Patterner

    'Beefiness' :roll: ?

    That quote 'what is latent becomes patent' was from lectures I attended in Indian Philosophy by a distinguished scholar. It was in the context of explaining the Advaita doctrine of manifestation or emanation, by which Brahman manifests as the sensible world. I had previously encountered that idea in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, who you may know became the original emissary of Vedanta to American society, when he spoke at the World Parliament of Religions in 1888:

    The child is the man involved, and the man is the child evolved. The seed is the tree involved, and the tree is the seed evolved. All the possibilities of life are in the germ. ... From the lowest protoplasm to the most perfect human being there is really but one life. Just as in one life we have so many various phases of expression, the protoplasm developing into the baby, the child, the young man, the old man, so, from that protoplasm up to the most perfect man we get one continuous life, one chain. This is evolution, but we have seen that each evolution presupposes an involution.Swami Vivekananda

    I read that much earlier in life, and I don't know if it now withstands critical scrutiny, but it makes intuitive sense.
  • Patterner
    535
    Beefiness' :roll: ?Wayfarer
    OMG that's hysterical! :lol: And that's what I get for not proofreading. I would much rather accidentally post gobbledygook than some of spellcheck's best guesses.

    Anyway, thanks.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    It was in the context of explaining the Advaita doctrine of manifestation or emanation, by which Brahman manifests as the sensible world.Wayfarer

    "All new things come from prophecy." Not exactly the same idea but similar.
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