• Joshs
    5.3k


    We have no reason to believe that non-human life does more than process data. So, the application of the sensation-perception distinction to non-human life is gratuitous. AI shows representations generating appropriate responses can be fully explained with no appeal to subjectivity, qualia, or concepts properly so-called (signs that do not need to have their physical structure recognized in order to signify).

    In perception, the world is not just "doing its own thing." We only sense it because it is acting on us. So, in perception, "what is happening in the world" and "what is happening to me" are inseparably bound. What is happening is the world is acting on me
    Dfpolis

    Some of the assumptions here (animal cognition as internal processing of external data, perception as a one-way relation between an independently constituted external environment and an organism) are content with older neurobiological thinking, but autopoietic enactivist approaches view things differently, as Evan Thompson explains:


    Cognitivism made meaning, in the sense of representational seman­tics, scientifically acceptable, but at the price of banishing conscious­ness from the science of the mind. (In fact, cognitivism inherited its consciousness taboo directly from behaviorism.) Mental processes, un­derstood to be computations made by the brain using an inner sym­bolic language, were taken to be entirely nonconscious. Thus the con­nection between mind and meaning, on the one hand, and subjectivity and consciousness, on the other, was completely severed.

    This radical separation of cognitive processes from consciousness created a peculiar "explanatory gap" in scientific theorizing about the mind. Cartesian dualism had long ago created an explanatory gap be­tween mind and matter, consciousness and nature. Cognitivism, far from closing this gap, perpetuated it in a materialist form by opening a new gap between subpersonal, computational cognition and subjective mental phenomena. Simply put, cognitivism offered no account what­soever of mentality in the sense of subjective experience.

    The cognitivist metaphor of the mind as computer, which was meant to solve the com­putational mind-body problem, thus came at the cost of creating a new problem, the mind-mind problem. This problem is a version of what is now known as the "hard problem of consciousness".

    Enactivism asserts that via sensory-motor coupling with an environment, an organism enacts a world. The organism’s interactions with its environment are characterized by a certain functional autonomy, such that what constitutes its world is determined on the basis of its normative goals. Subjective consciousness arises out of this normatively driven activity.

    The term the enactive approach and the associated concept of enac­tion were introduced into cognitive science by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch (1991) in their book The Embodied Mind. They aimed to unify under one heading several related ideas. The first idea is that living be­ings are autonomous agents that actively generate and maintain them­selves, and thereby also enact or bring forth their own cognitive do­mains. The second idea is that the nervous system is an autonomous dynamic system: It actively generates and maintains its own coherent and meaningful patterns of activity, according to its operation as a cir­cular and reentrant network of interacting neurons.

    The nervous system does not process information in the computationalist sense, but creates meaning. The third idea is that cognition is the exercise of skillful know-how in situated and embodied action. Cognitive struc­tures and processes emerge from recurrent sensorimotor patterns of perception and action. Sensorimotor coupling between organism and environment modulates, but does not determine, the formation of en­dogenous, dynamic patterns of neural activity, which in turn inform sensorimotor coupling. The fourth idea is that a cognitive being's world is not a prespecified, external realm, represented internally by its brain, but a relational domain enacted or brought forth by that being's autonomous agency and mode of coupling with the environ­ment. The fifth idea is that experience is not an epiphenomenal side issue, but central to any understanding of the mind, and needs to be investigated in a careful phenomenological manner
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    Thus the con­nection between mind and meaning, on the one hand, and subjectivity and consciousness, on the other, was completely severed.
    This is far from the position I am taking. My position involves no such division. It does involve a close adherence to the principle of parsimony -- specifically that we not posit phenomena for which we have no evidence. I am not and never have been a behaviorist, nor do I question the importance of consciousness and subjectivity to the operation of human minds. I do object to the reanimation of the analogous introspection of non-human minds without an empirical warrant, with my specific point being that since we can explain all of our observations of non-human cognition using the data processing paradigm, there is no warrant to posit either subjectivity or consciousness in that domain.

    Cognitivism, far from closing this gap, perpetuated it in a materialist form by opening a new gap between subpersonal, computational cognition and subjective mental phenomena.
    Neither is this my position. If you read my paper on the Hard Problem, you will see that it closes this gap. My work in progress is near completion and makes a significant step toward explaining this integration by showing how neurally encoded information can become intentionally active = active in the intentional theater of operations. That does not explain why there is an intentional theater of operation (why consciousness and subjectivity exist), but does show how physical activity can be linked to intentional operations.

    Enactivism asserts that via sensory-motor coupling with an environment, an organism enacts a world.Joshs
    This is a most peculiar claim. It seems to imply that there is no per-existing environment that informs the organism and might kill it if it went unsensed. It reminds me of a claim I heard earlier this year that one one died of COVID.

    Subjective consciousness arises out of this normatively driven activity.Joshs
    And so, in a single sentence the Hard Problem is solved!

    Here is the logic of this, assuming that you mean consciousness evolves "out of this normatively driven activity." Evolution works because some variations are inheritable and increase the reproductive success of the the variant organism. To apply that paradigm, one must show:
    (1) That consciousness has physical effects -- for if it did not, it could not increase reproductive success.
    (2) That consciousness has a physical basis -- for if it did not, it could not be encoded in DNA to be inherited.
    In other words, you must provide a physicalist solution to the Hard Problem.

    However, as I showed in my paper, this is is logically impossible. The reason is simple. Physical science begins with a fundamental abstraction. Although all knowledge involves a knowing subject and a known object, the physical sciences focus on physical objects and prescind from the knowing subject and her experiences. They therefore lack the concepts and data required to connect their findings to the intentional theater of operations and its elements (e.g. subjective consciousness).

    So, you cannot do what is required to show that consciousness can evolve without bringing in the data on knowing subjects as subjects the physical sciences have abstracted away.

    The first idea is that living be­ings are autonomous agents that actively generate and maintain them­selves, and thereby also enact or bring forth their own cognitive do­mains.
    At last, a point we agree upon. We each have our own projection of the world, and different species may have non-overlapping projections. We do not have the magnetic sense of some birds or the echo sense of bats.

    The second idea is that the nervous system is an autonomous dynamic system: It actively generates and maintains its own coherent and meaningful patterns of activity, according to its operation as a cir­cular and reentrant network of interacting neurons.
    This distorts the interactive nature of cognition, and indeed, of life itself. We have only marginal control over what we sense. Sensibles act on senses, not vice versa. Sentient beings spend significant resources reacting to their environments. So, biological neural nets, while they may have re-entrant features are not circular systems. Rather, in sensing, environmental objects modify our neural net, and that modification is our neural representation of those objects.

    The nervous system does not process information in the computationalist sense, but creates meaning.
    So, there is no biological data processing? How, then, does visual edge extraction work? Why are AI neural nets able to simulate biological behavior?

    How do you define "meaning"? Without a definition that allows "meaning" to be created by a physical operation, this is mere hand waving, a faith claim -- what Evan Thompson would like to be the case, not anything that has been shown. To create "meaning" as an intentional state requires an intentional operation and none is indicated.

    Sensorimotor coupling between organism and environment modulates, but does not determine, the formation of en­dogenous, dynamic patterns of neural activity, which in turn inform sensorimotor coupling.
    This is vitalism pure and simple. Physics is completely deterministic except for quantum observations, which Thompson is not invoking. So, something in addition physical operations is required for patterns of activity not be predetermined. In humans, we observe subjective awareness, which physics prescinds from. In non-humans the only way to subjectivity is via the deprecated practice of analogous introspection.

    The fifth idea is that experience is not an epiphenomenal side issue, but central to any understanding of the mind, and needs to be investigated in a careful phenomenological manner
    I agree with this Aristotelian position.
  • Patterner
    666
    . It's really hard to type causal instead of casual using swipe text on my phoneflannel jesus
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  • Patterner
    666
    I think we need a way for non fundamental things to still be real. Basically. Because WE are non fundamental, and my mind is the most real thing I know.flannel jesus
    Indeed. Fundamental things are not responsible for books, televisions, the internet, space shuttles, music, automobiles, bombs, poetry, mathematics, and a billion other things we could list. Not one of these things exists because of the laws of physics and properties of particles. They only exist because of human minds. I do not think the sole cause of the world being reshaped so thoroughly, in so many ways, could be not real.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    A year later, what's the status of this potential solution to the hard problem?
  • ENOAH
    637
    It seems to me that you do not mean by "reality" what most of us mean by it.Dfpolis

    You're probably right. I understand the definition you provided. However, it causes me some conflicts if you're saying that reality is reality, and that definition can apply "throughout" all "forms".

    What about this? Mediated reality and Ultimate Reality.

    Mediated reality is encountered by us and has effects, but (I say here) is mediated by minds re-presentation of Ultimate Reality. So when I look at an apple. There is the real apple which I would have seen had my sensation not been mediated by mind's re-presentation of "apple" (fruit, shape, red, eat, doctor away, rotten at the core, not pear, not orange, not wax etc).

    If someone, more skilled than I, were able to pursue that properly, they would unveil the absence all along, of a so-called hard problem. The physical state is acting physically. The mental so called state is a mediated reality such that, it is ultimately not real like the physical state, but a system of fleeting and empty projections. Nothing "other" has arisen in the brain's place. Rather, the organism is no longer "attuned" to its feelings and drives, as such, but rather these re-presentations evolved to monopolize the triggering of all feelings and drives.

    It seems like at one time happy was a certain pleasant feeling the human animal would get if satiated, bonding, no threats, etc (I hypothesize); and that, now (since Mind "emerged") happy is an infinite possibility of sentences beginning with the Subject, "I": I am happy because I. But the fact is, the animal is still feeling tgat certain pleasant feeling, only "I" think the feeling is in the sentences, I am happy because I.

    This is what I mean by the "experience" is not Real but mediated/constructed and projected, displacing what is "really" real.
  • ENOAH
    637
    I don't think a new reality is generated out of an existent other reality.Harry Hindu

    My apologies for putting words in your mouth.

    An illusion is a misinterpretation of sensory data, not that the data itself isn't real.Harry Hindu
    In explaining the causes you don't dispel the illusion. Instead, you make it a real consequence of real causes.Harry Hindu

    These are very helpful. Thank you. I need to look into/think these through.

    The one thing that I am sure of is the existence of my mind.Harry Hindu
    but this makes me wonder about the words. I am not certain about this. Yes my mind exists. If a thing which exists, is by definition real. Then I see where the "problem" is, because I would not settle at that.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    A year later, what's the status of this potential solution to the hard problem?RogueAI

    If anyone cares to go back to the start of this thread, the article which is is about is in Aeon Magazine, How Blindsight Answers the Hard Problem of Consciousness, Nicholas Humphrey. That is the proposed solution in question. There's also an interesting book about the topic, The Ancient Origins of Consciousness (not related to Nicholas Humphrey but exploring similar themes), the abstract of which states 'Combining evolutionary, neurobiological, and philosophical approaches allows Feinberg and Mallatt to offer an original solution to the “hard problem” of consciousness.'
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    There is the real apple which I would have seen had my sensation not been mediated by mind's re-presentation of "apple" (fruit, shape, red, eat, doctor away, rotten at the core, not pear, not orange, not wax etc).ENOAH

    You're actually into a very tough problem here, which is the appearance and reality distinction. You're wanting to claim that 'the apple' (read: any object) has a 'real existence' (ultimate reality) which exists (is real) irrespective of and outside of our mediated experience of it.

    The problem being, that if all experience and judgement of objects is mediated by our sensory and intellectual faculties (per Kant) then the apple (or object) as it is in itself, is not something we ever know.

    So - how do you get outside that mediated experience to see things as they truly are? A natural answer might be that this is what science does, but when you get down to the fundamental constituents of physical reality, which are the objects of quantum physics, then the Observer Problem rears its head. And the philosophical import of that, is precisely that you cannot detect such entities as they are independently of any act of measurement (according to what is known as the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics).

    It is of course true that science explores and explains a vast panorama of phenomena, but recall that phenomena means 'what appears', and 'what appears' always appears to a subject, who him or herself is never disclosed in the observation (but whose presence is implicated in the above-mentioned 'observer problem'.)

    My two cents worth is that David Chalmer's original paper, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness, is pointing to a philosophical issue, which is not a problem that can be addressed by scientific means as a matter of principle. And this is because of the ineradicably first person nature of conscious experience, which is not amenable to the third person methodology of the natural sciences.

    Whereas his opponents claim that:

    In Consciousness Explained, I described a method, heterophenomenology, which was explicitly designed to be 'the neutral path leading from objective physical science and its insistence on the third-person point of view, to a method of phenomenological description that can (in principle) do justice to the most private and ineffable subjective experiences, while never abandoning the methodological principles of science. — Daniel Dennett

    (It's worth noting that the essay at the head of this OP was linked by Dennett in the first place, because Humphrey's theory is compatible with Dennett's, as they're both materialists.)

    So Humphreys, Dennett, and the other advocates of 'naturalised epistemology' view the hard problem as something that can be solved. In that sense, they can fairly be accused of actually ignoring the root of the problem itself, which, according to David Chalmers and others, is not a problem to be solved, but a way of pointing out an unavoidable limitation of objectivity viz a viz the subjective nature of experience. Phenomenology and existentialism understands this in a way that the objective sciences cannot.

    See Thomas Nagel's What Daniel Dennett Gets Wrong (Oct 2023) for an analysis of the in-principle shortcomings of materialism in philosophy of mind.

    Also The Blind Spot of Science and the Neglect of Lived Experience (also in Aeon Magazine and now a book.)
  • ENOAH
    637
    how do you get outside that mediated experience to see things as they truly are?Wayfarer

    Thank you, you are consistently helpful.

    I think you accurately assessed what I am, in deed trying to do.

    If I recognize that I cannot get out of the mediated and see as they really are, on the one hand; and on the other, that "my" body already does--it is "I" who cannot--I don't think that would be satisfactory.

    I see the "problem" but cannot be convinced that the truth must fit into a "scheme" which allows for the human mind to "know" it; or that the truth cannot have contradictions within a human made logic.

    Perhaps what I truly need to face up to, is the fact that such a truth, if it exists and does not live up to human "reasoning" cannot be mutually pursued in a forum which necessarily prides itself in the mastery of human reason.

    Yet, it seems not only notwithstanding the walls I keep hitting, but because of them, I am enriching myself and informing my hypotheses by such pursuit.
  • ENOAH
    637
    You're wanting to claim that 'the apple' (read: any object) has a 'real existence' (ultimate reality) which exists (is real) irrespective of and outside of our mediated experience of it.Wayfarer

    Just to clarify, in case you think it makes a difference. You're right that that's what I'm wanting, but the wording makes it sound dualistic. There is 'the apple'. It has its one and only existence. That existence is veiled by our mediated perception. Or, we do not perceive that one and only existence, but a re-presentation of it. Because we now see 'the apple' ineluctably as "An Apple."

    ...I guess that's what you're saying. Maybe it's the "outside of" which gave it this dualistic feel.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Perhaps what I truly need to face up to, is the fact that such a truth, if it exists and does not live up to human "reasoning" cannot be mutually pursued in a forum which necessarily prides itself in the mastery of human reason.ENOAH

    It’s called ‘the hard problem’ for a reason! You’re dealing with a question that is at the basis of a great many philosophical questions and there are no easy answers.

    I take an idealist approach. I see philosophical materialism (physicalism, reductionism) as being part of the problem to which a properly-constituted idealist philosophy is the solution. And I will say there's support for this within cognitive science, or the type of cognitive science which stresses the sense in which the mind constructs our experienced reality. Take a look at my thread The Mind-Created World.

    Also check this video out.

  • ENOAH
    637


    "By investing the objective domain with a mind-independent status, as if it exists independently of any mind, we absolutize it. We designate it as truly existent, irrespective of and outside any knowledge of it. This gives rise to a kind of cognitive disorientation which underlies many current philosophical conundrums"--- Wayfarer, from your thread.

    Funny thing is, see below, my liberty taken with your quote, which I have precisely thought in almost the exact terms:

    By investing Mind with a status, as if it is a being, the being, ultimately existing in the universe, independently of any Body, we absolutize it. We designate it as real, irrespective of and without acknowledging that any knowledge of it is knowledge of itself. This gives rise to a kind of cognitive disorientation which underlies many current philosophical conundrums, one being that the Body is the dubious "entity" while the mind is certain, and therefore, it's constructions being tge determinate of certainty.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    We have to tread carefully, however. The way I parse it is that mind does not exist as an object of knowledge in other than a figurative sense ('the object of the enquiry'.) If you designate it as a real object then you're reifying. Mind as the subject is that to whom experience occurs. But you can never step outside that or make an object of it. That's precisely what constitutes 'the problem of consciousness' for the objective sciences!

    Given that we are indeed subjects of experience, and that we are part of a species, a language group, a culture, and so on, there is, of course, a vast domain of objective facts. I have no wish to deny that, or to say that these facts are a matter of individual predeliction. What I'm drawing attention to is that even the undeniably objective always occurs to a subject.

    Take a look at that video, I also provide it as a footnote to the original essay.
  • ENOAH
    637
    figurative sense ('the object of the enquiry'.) If you designate it as a real object then you're reifying.Wayfarer

    I agree; not real; specifically not real.

    What I'm drawing attention to is that even the undeniably objective always occurs to a subject.Wayfarer

    It might be that my reference to the Body as real, reads like an empiricist or conventional physicalist. I think they are correct but their reasoning is no less constructed than that of an Idealist, or whatever my own is, which is not empricist.

    My reference to Body as real has built-in to it the recognition that the real cannot be spoken of. The instant I communicate, it is Mind and therefore that "qualified real" but not ultimately real.

    When I reverse the order in your quote, it is not to say that Mind is just organic functions in some dogmatic scientific sense. I'm saying this process which mediates so called objective reality (I don't use "objective") is the very same process arriving at the determination that "it" is independently real, for some, the ghost in the machine.

    I'm saying the [awesome] being is tge machine. The ghost is there, has an effect, but structurally*, is fleeting code.

    *if I'm not mistaken, either earlier, or in that other thread, you "admitted" to not requiring any comment regarding the structure of Mind. And I think, once we recognize that its structure is signifiers in memory constructing and Projecting "stories", we can better understand those philosophical conundrums, the hard problem, among them.
  • flannel jesus
    1.6k
    if it doesn't exist because of physics, it exists because of human minds, but human minds exist because of physics, then...

    Then human minds aren't fundamental, they exist because of physics, and indirectly those other things exist because of physics too.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    Your intuitions in the first part of your response seem to align with mine. I also describe knowledge as a "projection" of reality. It is a projection in two senses. One is that it is a dimensionally diminished map of reality -- like the architectural projection of the front of a house there is more that it does not show, than that it does show. The other sense is that it is a projection of power, for it is us being aware of the object acting within us. The Hard Problem arises because an object acting on our senses does not mean that we are aware of it. We know this because much sensation is unconscious until we choose to attend to it.

    So we have a sensory projection that we can adapt and/or respond, but in addition, in some cases there is more than that. There is awareness, thought and judgement with its possibility of falsehood. At the level of sensation we do not judge, we respond. Errors are ineffective responses, not falsehoods. At the intellectual level, we judge, affirming or deny this of that. The result (our new intellectual representation) either reflects reality adequately for our purpose or not. That implies that we have purposes, not just needs.
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    It’s called ‘the hard problem’ for a reason! You’re dealing with a question that is at the basis of a great many philosophical questions and there are no easy answers.Wayfarer
    The April-May 2024 issue of Philosophy Now has an article by Raymond Tallis entitled The Illusion of Illusionism. Speaking of Consciousness, Tallis says, “There is . . . . nothing in matter or energy as seen through the eyes of physics that explains how a part of the material world might become aware of itself”. {my bold} The Aeon article is extremely interesting in terms of the science, but it only describes a separate pathway for sensory signals to reach the brain, and sheds no light on how those signals are interpreted into a meaningful mental experience.

    In the Aeon article Humphrey quotes Encyclopedia Britannica (1929) : "One theory holds that each atom of the physical body possesses an inherent attribute of consciousness". {my bold} But Humphrey seems to think we have "moved on" from that Panpsychism solution to the Hard Problem. Ironically, the "all mind" approach has recently become popular among some prominent psychological scientists : e.g. Christof Koch.

    Humphrey seems to favor the Psychonic Theory*1: "The psychonic theory contends, in the end, that consciousness equals synaptic function. It is evident where consciousness, defined as psychonic energy,".{my bold} It describes a stimulus/response mechanism that produces an "electrical aura", but nothing we could interpret as conscious awareness. Therefore, to be effective, that Psychonic Energy must include the missing something that Tallis noted..

    My own pet theory is philosophical instead of scientific, and it postulates a form of Energy that could be described as Psychonic, but I call it Enformy, alluding to Plato's Forms. And, like Panpsychism, it postulates that the potential for Consciousness is inherent in the Energy that causes all transformations in the material world. So, my hybrid theory has one foot in Physicalism, and one in Panpsychism.

    My amateur philosophical thesis says that there is "something in matter and energy" that might explain how the physical world could become aware of itself. That "something" is the power to transform one kind (form) of thing into another. It is implicit in the program of Evolution, which began with nothing but a speck of Potential, and constructed the vast multiplex world of matter/energy/mind we now sentiently "see" around us*2. Unfortunately, the original source of that transformative power will be another "hard" philosophical problem.

    I may have more to say about the Blindsight article in another post. But I'm in over my head as it is, so the less I say the better. . . . for now. As you said, there are no easy philosophical answers. :smile:


    *1. The psychonic theory of consciousness
    If human behaviour is composed of Unit Responses and if, in the preceding section, without any reference at all to consciousness, we have briefly described what such a response is and how it is determined, can we say with the behaviorist that there is no need to postulate the entrance of any conscious factor in the process beginning with stimulus and ending with final reaction?
    https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2006-20942-004

    *2. Sentience is the capacity to experience feelings and sensations, to have affective consciousness, subjective states that have a positive or negative valence
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/sentience#:~:text=Sentience%20is%20the%20capacity%20to,From%3A%20Neuroscience%2C%202022
  • Patterner
    666
    ↪Patterner if it doesn't exist because of physics, it exists because of human minds, but human minds exist because of physics, then...

    Then human minds aren't fundamental, they exist because of physics, and indirectly those other things exist because of physics too.
    flannel jesus
    Yes. If human minds exist because of physics. Or, since the human body, particularly the brain, seems indispensable for the existence of human minds, if they exist solely because of physics.
  • ENOAH
    637
    One is that it is a dimensionally diminished map of reality --Dfpolis

    Very nice

    The Hard Problem arises because an object acting on our senses does not mean that we are aware of itDfpolis

    Firstly, sorry, but you might need to apply some imagination because I am not using words precisely, nor necessarily properly (from an academic/conventional perspective). Does the following help in any way? Please bear with my use of "real" for e.g.

    1. There is a real consciousness humans have, like all animals, at least, albeit in varying "complexities." It is organic attunement to organic feelings drives movements sensations presently and with no movement in time, possibly not space, as in monistic ("aware-ing"). But Ive said too much because we cannot know aware-ing; aware-ing is "pre" knowing. Our only access to aware-ing is being the aware-ing.
    2. The aware-ing can organically attune, when feelings of pleasure arise, aware-ing pleasure; pain, aware-ing pain. Apple comes into view, aware-ing apple. Not "I" subject of the sentence see apple object. Aware-ing x-ing is one present event; no duality because Mind hasn't constructed difference yet.
    3. Once mind emerged (through (to oversimplify) the evolution of Language) aware-ing x-ing was displaced by "I" am looking at an apple, or I am enjoying this Icecream.
    4. While at one time (and still, I'll explain later) organic aware-ing processed x-ing as x-ing engaged with body in the oneness/present processes of Nature just being; now displaced by mind, aware-ing attunes to apple, or pleasure, or icecream; and, it does so riding on the back of this "I" and what it engages with is, by the Laws of mind, necessarily "different". First, they are objects, to body's "I". Second, they are apple not orange; pleasure not pain.
    5. So now "aware" of an object acting on my senses just means that the natural aware-ing, where there is no hard problem, is displaced by mediating processes of constuctions and projects. Such that there is the "illusion" of a hard problem; the illusion that we are "aware" of an "object" when really we have constructed it then projected it as object.



    At the level of sensation we do not judge, we respond. Errors are ineffective responses, not falsehoods. At the intellectual level, we judge, affirming or deny this of that. The result (our new intellectual representation) either reflects reality adequately for our purpose or not. That implies that we have purposes, not just needs.Dfpolis

    This quote supports/addresses, the immediately preceding. But the last sentence brings up a new point. You are exactly right. For Mind. For Mind, one of its driving mechanisms is that the Signifiers move to construct meaning; they run through a dialectic, and settle upon knowledge or belief. Until the process recycles for any given "truth" from this is an apple to God is metaphysically necessary. And the mechanism which allows for each settlement at the end of each dialectic is function: what is, given all movements gathering at this locus in History, the fittest settlement? What is the fittest representation to manifest into the world? It is functional to believe a certain red fruit is an apple. If a philosopher proposed tge necessity of God, it would be functional to settle there.

    So yes, the constructions and projections of Mind serve a purpose. It is only body which is satisfying simply its needs.
  • Dfpolis
    1.3k
    1. There is a real consciousness humans have, like all animals, at least, albeit in varying "complexities." It is organic attunement to organic feelings drives movements sensations presently and with no movement in time, possibly not space, as in monistic ("aware-ing"). But Ive said too much because we cannot know aware-ing; aware-ing is "pre" knowing. Our only access to aware-ing is being the aware-ing.ENOAH
    Except for the reference to non-human animals, this is very Aristotelian. He characterizes the mind/intellect (nous) as nothing until it thinks something. He would say that we have the potential to know and objects have the potential to be known, but neither is actually anything until knowing occurs.

    It seems to me that we cannot and do not know that non-human animals are subjects of awareness in the way we are. They are certainly conscious in the sense of being responsive, but that is not the same thing.

    2. The aware-ing can organically attune, when feelings of pleasure arise, aware-ing pleasure; pain, aware-ing pain. Apple comes into view, aware-ing apple. Not "I" subject of the sentence see apple object. Aware-ing x-ing is one present event; no duality because Mind hasn't constructed difference yet.ENOAH
    Again, this is a very classical position. First, the subject knowing the object is identically the object being known by the subject. They are one in the moment. Second, we can't distinguish aspects of oneness until we are first aware of the whole. Maritain writes of "distinguishing to unite." He means that we are aware of a whole, then divide it up mentally, (say, into subject and object), and then put it back together: "I see the apple." Making distinctions and judgements is the end of a process that begins with a whole. We don't start with the parts and then build wholes.

    3. Once mind emerged (through (to oversimplify) the evolution of Language) aware-ing x-ing was displaced by "I" am looking at an apple, or I am enjoying this Icecream.ENOAH
    That is what I was trying to describe.

    5. So now "aware" of an object acting on my senses just means that the natural aware-ing, where there is no hard problem, is displaced by mediating processes of constuctions and projects. Such that there is the "illusion" of a hard problem; the illusion that we are "aware" of an "object" when really we have constructed it then projected it as object.ENOAH
    The "hard problem" is not a real problem. It is like the difficulty of cutting apart concepts using scissors. If you think that all dividing is done using knives and scissors, it is a very hard to know how we can divide the ideas of red and green. The problem is not in the dividing, but in demanding that it be done using unsuitable methods.

    Nice chatting.
  • ENOAH
    637
    Great further information. Thanks!
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    If its claims are true, I believe the article may be on the right path to dissolving this problem - especially the question of why we experience qualia at all.Luke
    I found the article scientifically interesting, but philosophically unsatisfying. As I noted to : "The Aeon article is extremely interesting in terms of the science, but it only describes a separate pathway for sensory signals to reach the brain, and sheds no light on how those signals are interpreted into a meaningful mental experience" --- how we experience Qualia.

    In Semiology, a Signal is distinguished from a Sign, in that a "signal" is not inherently meaningful to the observer, but a "sign" has personal significance to the recipient of the signal*1. That distinction is what Gregory Bateson defined as Information or Meaning*2 : "the difference that makes a difference" to a sentient viewer. So, a camera can detect a Signal (e.g. photon), but only a mind will interpret it as a meaningful Sign (e.g. predator!).

    As you noted, a key distinction is the ability to "take ownership" (make it personal ; subjective) of the incoming objective information. The article's author seems to assume that feedback loops in the brain could somehow convert an abstract quantitative Signal into a meaningful qualitative Sign. And I agree. But how? That's the philosophical "hard question". :smile:


    *1. Sign :
    In semiotics, a sign is anything that communicates a meaning that is not the sign itself to the interpreter of the sign.
    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sign_(semiotics)
    Note --- A "sign itself" (signal) is some physical event (Quanta of energy) that can be used to convey information. But the energy (e.g. light) must be interpreted by the receiver into meaning (a sign). For example, smoke rising into the air only indicates that perhaps a bush is burning, but pulsed smoke signals from Indians on a bluff indicate that some intentional message is available to one who knows the code.

    *2. Information :
    The anthropologist Gregory Bateson's phrase “the difference that makes a difference” has a powerful and intuitive resonance. He was talking about how a 'difference' can represent information that helps us see a situation from a different angle. This can reveal new possibilities for understanding or acting.
    https://metalogue.co.uk/2023/01/23/how-did-we-get-back-here-again/
    Note --- The first difference is a physical event (signal) and the second difference is a meaningful change (significance) in the mind of the observer : one who can tell the difference. For example, Anatole France is attributed with creating the meme, “Vive la difference!” referring to the differences between women and men. That gender difference is typically significant only to one of the diametrically opposite sex. Alphabet genders (LGBTQ) only muddle the signal.

    *3. FWIW, here are a few more comments on the Aeon article :

    A. In mammals, an incoming signal can be just quantitative : yes or no (1 or 0). But a sensation is a range of quantities : pain from 0 to 10. For humans, a sensation can be qualified as a metaphor, a likeness ; what it is like.

    B. A Quantum is a unit of Perception. A Quale is a unit of Conception. Both signal & sign are transmitted via Energy, but the mind must convert objective sensory Quanta into subjective sentient Qualia.
    Quale : a quality or property as perceived or experienced by a person.

    C. Psychonic energy may explain the physical signals, but not the subjective meaning of sensations.

    D. Self consciousness = self ownership

    E. Qualitative sensations are evaluations
  • Gnomon
    3.6k
    The "hard problem" is not a real problem. It is like the difficulty of cutting apart concepts using scissors. If you think that all dividing is done using knives and scissors, it is a very hard to know how we can divide the ideas of red and green. The problem is not in the dividing, but in demanding that it be done using unsuitable methods.Dfpolis
    Yes. The Hard Problem is not a "real" problem, it's an "ideal" problem. It's not a Scientific problem, but a Philosophical dilemma. It's not a problem of isolated material things, but of integrated mental concepts.

    The "unsuitable methods" are those of Philosophy, as contrasted with Physics. "Cutting apart concepts using scissors" is a reductive method, which converts a whole concept into disconnected bits. The Properties of the analyzed bits may not be the same as the Qualia of the whole concept. :nerd:

    Except for the reference to non-human animals, this is very Aristotelian. He characterizes the mind/intellect (nous) as nothing until it thinks something. He would say that we have the potential to know and objects have the potential to be known, but neither is actually anything until knowing occurs.Dfpolis
    In Physics there is no such thing as Potential, since it is nothing until actualized. But it is a useful Philosophical notion, allowing us to think about how Nothing can become Something. For example, an isolated AAA battery has Zero voltage, but the potential for 1.5 volts, when actualized by plugging into a complete circuit : a whole recursive system.

    Like the concept of Time (a process of becoming), the concept of Mind is not a particular Thing, but a continuum of Knowing. So, when we analyze Consciousness --- the process of transforming incoming objective sensory data into subjective meaning --- we gain bits of digital Data but lose the continuous personal Meaning of a complete concept. Nous is nothing (potential) until it thinks about something, then it becomes an Idea, an immaterial representation of something.

    Sorry, I'm just riffing on a theme, for my own amusement, using unsuitable methods. :smile:
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