• Bob Ross
    1.4k
    I have been studying different accounts of the mind-body problem (e.g., substance dualism, property dualism, physicalism, idealism, etc.) and, although I was ontologically agnostic, am now leaning towards analytical idealism. I would like to give a brief case and elaboration on the view I find attractive and hear everyone's opinions thereon.

    As a disclaimer, I find the only contending views reductive physicalism and analytic idealism, and consequently I am going to just focus on those two for now for the sake of brevity (but please feel free to invoke others as you deem fit in your responses).

    By analytic idealism, I take it to be that reality is fundamentally (ontologically) one mind which has dissociated parts (like bernardo kastrup's view). Thusly, I do find that there really is a sun (for example): it just as a 'sun-in-itself' is not like the sun which appears on my "dashboard" of conscious experience--instead, I think the most parsimonious explanation is that it is fundamentally mentality instead of physicality (in contradistinction to an indirect realists position). Instead of trying to fit the territory (which is qualitative) in the map (which is quantitative), like I would argue reductive physicalism tries and fails to do, I think the best methodological approach is reduction to mind.

    Physicalism's conflation of the territory with the map is exposed (I would say) in the hard problem of consciousness whereof there is always an conceptual, explanatory gap between mechanical awareness and qualitative experience; and this forces either the physicalist to (1) explain the emergence of mind obscurely and wholly inadequately by appeal to other successful reductive accounts of nature, (2) try to use a different methodological approach other than reductionism, or (3) attempt to explain away qualitative experience as illusory. To me, these resolutions (to the hard problem) are epistemically costly when starting with the mind and reducing everything thereto explains everything adequately.

    Now, sometimes I do hear physicalists rightly point out that an analytical idealist is not actually providing an explanation to consciousness at all but, rather, simply positing it as fundamental without a detailed account of mind (i.e., of how it works) which, to them, is more epistemically costly than obscurely explaining mind in terms of emergence from the brain. To that, I disagree as, although certain aspects of mind may never be fully understood, there are many problems in idealistic accounts of the world that are soft problems (as opposed to hard problems) and I don't see the soft problem of how exactly the mind completely works as more epistemically costly as positing a hard problem to explain it.

    Likewise, sometimes I hear that it is expected that we would not be able to explain the mind by the reductive physicalist method because if we were emergent from a brain our minds would be the bedrock of our investigations (phenomenally); but, again, I think it is much more epistemically costly to posit this hard problem as expected over simply re-thinking our metaphysical theory and positing mind, being the bedrock phenomenally, as actually (ontologically) the bedrock.

    In terms of science, I think that science proper is the acquiring of how entities relate to each other and not what they fundamentally are; and, thusly, I think there are many metaphysical theories that are or can be made compatible with scientific knowledge: to me, it isn't that impressive for one's metaphysics to align with scientific knowledge but, rather, one should be holistically determining the best metaphysical theory based off of parsimony, explanatory power, internal coherence, external coherence, reliability, intellectual seemings, etc. Furthermore, some scientific theories, which aim to explain the scientific laws (which I would argue is science proper), do so by appeal (I would argue) to a metaphysical theory of which is typically whatever the mainstream metaphysics is at the time: thusly scientific theories which are not themselves simply an explanation by appeal to another relation of entities are entrenched in reductive physicalistic metaphysics.

    What are your guys' thoughts?
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    Good to see you Bob! I'm just going to start with some questions for clarity.

    By analytic idealism, I take it to be that reality is fundamentally (ontologically) one mind which has dissociated parts (like bernardo kastrup's view).Bob Ross

    I did a brief look into Katrup, but I want to see where you're coming from. First, what is your definition of reality? How does the statement above differ from stating that the mind is simply an interpreter of reality?

    Physicalism's conflation of the territory with the map is exposed (I would say) in the hard problem of consciousness whereof there is always an conceptual, explanatory gap between mechanical awareness and qualitative experienceBob Ross

    I'm not sure this fully expresses the hard problem. So there is no question that mechanical processes of the brain cause qualitative experiences. As our understanding of the brain grows, we will be able to map this out clearer. This is the easy problem. The hard problem is that we cannot ourselves know what it is like for another being to experience that qualitative experience.

    For example, imagine that we are able to build a biological brain and monitor every section of it exactly. We've learned that a particular string of responses equates to the brain being happy. But do we know what its like to be that brain experiencing happiness? No. Another crude way of describing the hard problem is the act of trying to objectively experience another thing's subjective experience. We can only experience our own mind, we cannot experience another's. This is a problem whether you take a physical or mental view of the world.

    So I'm not sure the three points you mention are accurate assessments of the way cognitive scientists view the brain. Of course, I'm not sure what you mean by "physicalism" either. I'm assuming we're speaking about the idea that everything is essentially reduced to matter and energy, so please correct me on this where necessary.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    According to Kastrup's Essentia website

    Analytic Idealism is a theory of the nature of reality that maintains that the universe is experiential in essence.

    If the nature of reality is essentially experiential does this mean that prior to experiential animals there was no reality or is this a teleological claim or has there always been something that is capable of experiencing?

    Given our limited experience how can we move beyond our experience to something prior to it? Kastrup claims:

    That does not mean that reality is in your or our individual minds alone, but instead in a spatially unbound, transpersonal field of subjectivity of which we are segments.

    What do we know of subjectivity beyond the personal and interpersonal?

    The claim is made that:

    ... the notion that nature is essentially mental—is the best explanatory model we currently have.

    Is it? In what way is this claim an explanation? Does it merely assert the very thing it is to explain?
  • Christoffer
    1.9k
    I think that science proper is the acquiring of how entities relate to each other and not what they fundamentally areBob Ross

    Isn't it the modern scientific paradigm that everything is relative to something else? Even the core of spacetime functions on relative terms. So can someone even claim that something is something in itself? Everything in the universe has some connection to each other, energy transfers, everything is entropic. There are no notions that something that is just what it is, separate from everything else. How we define certain things mostly comes down to language and intuitively find definitions as logical hard points. I.e a chair isn't a chair until enough sticks are put on a plate and something is attached to support our backs. But even so, we just utilize parts in a specific structure so that its holistic definition change whenever we move over a hard point in definition. How we define these definitions mostly emerge out of culture through time and our intuitions of definitions become hard coded in culture, society and language naturally through our collective requirement of easy communication. It is emerging from our natural need to make communication effective.

    For example, imagine that we are able to build a biological brain and monitor every section of it exactly. We've learned that a particular string of responses equates to the brain being happy. But do we know what its like to be that brain experiencing happiness? No. Another crude way of describing the hard problem is the act of trying to objectively experience another thing's subjective experience. We can only experience our own mind, we cannot experience another's. This is a problem whether you take a physical or mental view of the world.Philosophim

    This is essentially Mary in the black and white room.

    Now, sometimes I do hear physicalists rightly point out that an analytical idealist is not actually providing an explanation to consciousness at all but, rather, simply positing it as fundamental without a detailed account of mind (i.e., of how it works) which, to them, is more epistemically costly than obscurely explaining mind in terms of emergence from the brain. To that, I disagree as, although certain aspects of mind may never be fully understood, there are many problems in idealistic accounts of the world that are soft problems (as opposed to hard problems) and I don't see the soft problem of how exactly the mind completely works as more epistemically costly as positing a hard problem to explain it.Bob Ross

    My position is that our consciousness emerged from a simple evolutionary origin of adaptability. To be highly adaptable, you need to be able to evaluate your own strategies, so our self-awareness became an emergent effect out of this process. I'm also working on an idea that our cognition is nothing more than a predictive system, that every aspect and experience that we have is only functioning through a system of our unconsciousness trying to predict reality around in order to adapt and navigate through it. I have not fully worked through every part of this so it is nothing more than speculation, but essentially, what I'm exploring is a concept in which cognition and consciousness isn't at all that complex, only that our emerging experience of an extremely complex prediction system makes us believe or have an illusion of identity or a notion of a self. That in reality, our consciousness is only a system that acts through prediction models constantly tested against a stream of sensory input data.

    I still have some nuts and bolts to figure out with this in order to incorporate all aspects of human consciousness and cognition, but the basics of it function well with theories of how consciousness, self-awareness and cognitions evolved.

    Of course, I'm mostly reacting to parts in your text, I haven't fully gotten a grasp on a holistic understanding of your text. But in essence I think that the notion in science that everything relates to everything else is fundamental for the universe, maybe even beyond, and that specific definitions of objects core definition of being are made-up by us to be able to communicate better about reality. I then think that our mind, consciousness and cognition needs to be viewed as an emergent phenomena based on an analysis of its original evolutionary function and how our advanced form of experience and self-awareness are emergent factors out of these fundamental evolutionary functions.

    Otherwise we attribute something to our consciousness that seem more like what we like our mind to be, rather than what it is and how it relates to our formation process as a species.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Is it? In what way is this claim an explanation? Does it merely assert the very thing it is to explain?Fooloso4

    It is one method of answering the hard problem without going into granularity. One little grain of sand, or one little atom is conscious sounds odd. But plenum of experience with which things are manifestations becomes more interesting. Sounds like neo-Schopenhauerian metaphysics.

    Escher_ReptilesLR.jpg
  • Manuel
    4k


    I like Kastrup and I think he says interesting things, but he is knocking on an open door. First of all, very few people actually believe in "materialism" meaning, that very few people think that all we are bits of matter that can be reduced to tiny particles and that emotions are just chemicals.

    They can say that, but if a loved one dies, we can ask them why they are crying over chemicals, and we'll see how much they really believe in this stuff.

    Secondly, actual intelligible materialism, that is when materialism actually had a distinct meaning, was back in the time of Descartes up to Newton, that materialism postulated that the universe was a grand machine, like a master clock, made by the best imaginable artisan, God.

    But mental properties couldn't be explained by these mechanical properties, ergo dualism. But then Newton came along and showed that the world does not follow our notion of machines, and intelligible, defensible "materialism" collapsed, as Newton himself expressed, in his famous "It is inconceivable..." quote.

    Lastly, we know so little about personal identity and how it actually works, that it just makes no sense to say objects in the universe are "disassociated complexes" of a universal mind.

    If we don't have a clear notion of identity conditions for ourselves (see the gender debate, or DID personality disorder, which Kastrup frequently cites, the latter which is extremely difficult to manage, and not well understood at all), what sense does it make to say that objects in the universe are disassociated?

    It's an interesting perspective, but it's missing extremely important historical elements which render this kind of idealism incoherent.
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    Good to see you again Philosophim!

    I really appreciate your response! As a disclaimer, I am still working through my metaphysics so I am just as curious as you to see how well Analytic Idealism holds up to scrutiny!

    First, what is your definition of reality?

    By “reality” I am abstracting the entirety of existence under an abstract entity. I view it kind of like speaking of being as “substances” which are abstracted entities of kinds of existences (e.g., substance dualism is two kinds of being where monism says there is only one): similarly, I abstract the sum total of existence into “reality”. Reality is being (including all types one may believe in).

    How does the statement above differ from stating that the mind is simply an interpreter of reality?

    It just depends on what you are referring to by “interpreter”. I would say that, instead of mind being the emergent property of a mind-independent brain’s interpretation of a mind-independent world, mind is what fundamental is and perception is the representation of it (i.e., of mental events).

    For sake of clarity, take the dream analogy. When I have a vivid dream, I assume the identity of a character within that dream (which usually mirrors myself from the “non-dream world”). Even though I am not aware of it while the dream is occurring, my perception as that character is the perspective of a relation of ideas within my mind (because my mind is ultimately responsible for the whole thing). When I wake up, I realize instantly that I was not that character (but rather simply seemed to be that character when I dreaming) for I was the mind generating the dream and my character was representing it from their perspective.

    My dream character was indeed representing the world around it which was outside of its control, but the “world” was the relation of ideas within a larger mind than the character itself. In that sense, the character is “interpreting” the world; but it isn’t interpreting a mind-independent world.

    So there is no question that mechanical processes of the brain cause qualitative experiences.

    I disagree. For example, let’s say that you are holding and seeing a green pen. A neuroscience (and biologist) can absolutely account for how your brain knows that the pen is green (i.e., the reflection of wavelengths in sunlight in relation to what the object absorbs and the interpretation of it by the brain), but they cannot account for the qualitative experience of the green pen.

    In the more abstract, a neuroscience can account for mechanical awareness (i.e., how brain functions can account for how a mind-independent being can come to understand and interpret its environment) but not qualitative experience (i.e., why there is something to be like a subject).

    There is absolutely no reason why you should be having a qualitative experience of the green pen even granted the brain functions that interpret it as green.

    As far as I understand it (and correct where I am wrong), we can only (by the reductive physicalist methodology) understand better how brain functions correlate to qualitative experience, but not how it could possibly be responsible for it.

    The hard problem is that we cannot ourselves know what it is like for another being to experience that qualitative experience.

    To me, this implies that the hard problem is not how to account for one’s qualitative experience, but how other people have qualitative experience and I think this is wrong. The hard problem is that the reductive physicalist method cannot account for qualitative experience at all.

    We've learned that a particular string of responses equates to the brain being happy. But do we know what its like to be that brain experiencing happiness? No

    To me, this is no different than the green pen analogy: the fact that a certain string of responses correlates with a person qualitatively experiencing happiness does not explain nor suggest that one can reduce the latter to the former.

    Another crude way of describing the hard problem is the act of trying to objectively experience another thing's subjective experience.

    I don’t think so. It is that reductive physicalism cannot account for why there is something to be like a subject, which includes one’s own qualitative experience.

    Of course, I'm not sure what you mean by "physicalism" either

    By physicalism, I mean most generally the view that reality can be reduced to a mind-independent substance (regardless of whether one is an indirect or direct realist about it).

    I'm assuming we're speaking about the idea that everything is essentially reduced to matter and energy, so please correct me on this where necessary.

    I am honestly not sure if every physicalist would agree with that, but that is definitely a position that I would qualify as physicalism (and is very prominent).

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    Hello Fooloso4,

    I appreciate your response!

    If the nature of reality is essentially experiential does this mean that prior to experiential animals there was no reality

    Under analytical idealism, the entirety of reality is fundamentally mind and is thusly conscious: not just animals. Animals are conscious beings that are higher evolved, dissociated alters, of the universal mind (or mind-at-large). So, to answer your question, there was a reality before any animals (as science suggests).

    Given our limited experience how can we move beyond our experience to something prior to it?

    I am not sure I am completely following, but we can infer that the most reasonable explanation for the data of experience is that there was a world before we opened our own eyes. It is very epistemically costly to be a solipsist if that is what you are referring to.

    What do we know of subjectivity beyond the personal and interpersonal?

    A lot. I can reasonably infer that I was born and before that my mother and father existed (for example). It would be special pleading for me to think that everyone else is a philosophical zombie but yet I am somehow special (even though I can be categorized as just like them and I have conscious experience).

    Is it? In what way is this claim an explanation? Does it merely assert the very thing it is to explain?

    It is the best metaphysical theory I have heard (so far) for what reality fundamentally is. It isn’t supposed to explain the hard problem because there isn’t one from an idealistic perspective, it posits that we should reduce everything fundamentally to mind and claims that we can do so while adequately fitting the data of experience.

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    Hello Chistoffer,

    I appreciate your response!

    Isn't it the modern scientific paradigm that everything is relative to something else?

    I believe that is essentially the case when it comes down the micro-micro level (i.e., quantum mechanics). However, the idea that entities behave or relate to each other relatively to observation (or what have you) does not say anything about what they fundamentally are nor what substance they are of.

    Even the core of spacetime functions on relative terms.

    The idea that there is an actual space-time fabric is predicated on the physicalist metaphysical notion that there is a mind-independent world (and no wonder Einstein, being a realist, tried to explain his field equations within that metaphysical schema). Science proper in relation to spacetime is not that there actually is such but rather that space and time behave differently (in accordance with Einstein’s field equations) than we originally intuited. For a realist though, they will probably be committed (metaphysically) to there actually being a space-time fabric.

    So can someone even claim that something is something in itself?

    There has to be at least one thing-in-itself of which you-as-yourself are representing in your conscious experience, unless you would like to argue that somehow you are both the thing-in-itself and the you-as-yourself (i.e. solipsism).

    Everything in the universe has some connection to each other, energy transfers, everything is entropic

    Everthing in phenonimal experience is connected to each other: but what is your mind fundamentally representing to you (as that is the thing in itself or things in themselves)?

    There are no notions that something that is just what it is, separate from everything else.

    The idea is to question what exists sans your particular experience. If you died, how do things exist in-themselves? Do they at all? That is the question. Perhaps, for you, the thing-in-itself is a giant blur of everything, but that is still a thing-in-itself.

    My position is that our consciousness emerged from a simple evolutionary origin of adaptability.

    Very interesting. Your view, as far as I understand it, still has then the hard problem of consciousness: how does that emergence actually happen? How is it even possible to account for it under such a reductive method? I don’t think you can.

    But in essence I think that the notion in science that everything relates to everything else is fundamental for the universe, maybe even beyond, and that specific definitions of objects core definition of being are made-up by us to be able to communicate better about reality.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you may be an existence monist? Even if that is the case, then the entire universe (reality) would be the thing-in-itself. There’s always at least one thing-in-itself as something has to be posited as fundamental and eternal, even in the case of an infinite regression.

    I then think that our mind, consciousness and cognition needs to be viewed as an emergent phenomena based on an analysis of its original evolutionary function and how our advanced form of experience and self-awareness are emergent factors out of these fundamental evolutionary functions

    I don’t think it is possible to account for consciousness in this manner because no matter how well we uncover how consciousness relates to bodily functions it fundamentally does not explain consciousness itself.

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    One little grain of sand, or one little atom is conscious sounds odd.

    I would like to clarify that analytic idealism is not a form of pansychism: I do not hold that reality is fundamentally matter that has consciousness but rather that everything is in consciousness (i.e., one universal mind). Pansychism and the like still have the exact same hard problem of consciousness, as there is not possible explanation for how the little grain of sand or atom is became conscious itself.

    Sounds like neo-Schopenhauerian metaphysics.

    It absolutely is (;

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.4k


    Hello Manuel,

    I appreciate your response!

    First of all, very few people actually believe in "materialism" meaning, that very few people think that all we are bits of matter that can be reduced to tiny particles and that emotions are just chemicals.

    That is why I distinguish “physicalism” from “materialism”: the former is more generally the notion that everything is ultimately reducible to something mind-independent (i.e., a physical substance) whereas the latter is a more archaic view that everything is made up of smaller, elementary particles. Either way, both have the hard problem of consciousness.

    But mental properties couldn't be explained by these mechanical properties, ergo dualism.

    I found that substance dualism, likewise, fails to explain reality as well as analytical idealism because of the hard problem of interaction.

    Lastly, we know so little about personal identity and how it actually works, that it just makes no sense to say objects in the universe are "disassociated complexes" of a universal mind

    Firstly, objects in general, under analytical idealism, are not disassociated complexes: only other conscious beings are. The cup I am holding exists only nominally distinctly from the chair I am sitting on: they both do not have distinct boundaries like disassociated minds.

    Secondly, I agree with you that DID is still a very newly researched psychological disorder, and that is why Kastrup notes it as a working hypothesis to solve to soft problem of decomposition.

    Bob
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    I would like to clarify that analytic idealism is not a form of pansychism: I do not hold that reality is fundamentally matter that has consciousness but rather that everything is in consciousness (i.e., one universal mind). Pansychism and the like still have the exact same hard problem of consciousness, as there is not possible explanation for how the little grain of sand or atom is became conscious itself.Bob Ross

    Yes I understand that. Hence I said:
    But plenum of experience with which things are manifestations becomes more interesting. Sounds like neo-Schopenhauerian metaphysics.schopenhauer1
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    It is one method of answering the hard problem without going into granularity.schopenhauer1

    I don't see it as an answer but as a bald assertion without sufficient evidence.

    But plenum of experience with which things are manifestations becomes more interestingschopenhauer1

    Things are manifestations of experience? Experience of what? Experience? Mind? It is evident that things that have mind have experience but it is not evident that what they experience is mind or experience and not things.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    By “reality” I am abstracting the entirety of existence under an abstract entity. I view it kind of like speaking of being as “substances” which are abstracted entities of kinds of existences (e.g., substance dualism is two kinds of being where monism says there is only one): similarly, I abstract the sum total of existence into “reality”. Reality is being (including all types one may believe in).Bob Ross

    So if I understand this correctly, reality is the total abstraction of an observer. Isn't this just solipsism? Because this seems to run into the problem of multiple beings each having a separate, and often times conflicting representation of reality. An observer also often times assumes an entity apart from reality. If the observer is doing the abstracting, what is the observer? Is that also an abstraction of itself? In which case, what is it?

    The competition in your case is the idea that there is a world separate from our abstractions. This notion of reality solves many of the problems that a solipsism-like view has. For example, if I abstract that I can fly, but fall and shatter half of my body, while I am in the hospital I have to find an explanation for why my abstraction failed.

    In the case of reality as being separate, the answer is clearly that one's interpretation of what would happen in reality was incorrect. How does your world view handle this example?

    So there is no question that mechanical processes of the brain cause qualitative experiences.
    -Philosophim

    I disagree. For example, let’s say that you are holding and seeing a green pen. A neuroscience (and biologist) can absolutely account for how your brain knows that the pen is green (i.e., the reflection of wavelengths in sunlight in relation to what the object absorbs and the interpretation of it by the brain), but they cannot account for the qualitative experience of the green pen.Bob Ross

    We may be saying the same thing here in different ways. They cannot understand what it is like to experience a green pen from your point of view. But take brain surgery. Generally operations are done while the subject is awake. They'll stimulate a section of the brain and ask what the subject is feeling. The subject, us, knows what its like to have a qualitative state from a mechanical brain stimulation in that region of the brain. So for us, we have a direct experience from the electrical stimulus and suddenly hearing a dog bark.

    The reason we cannot learn from one patient and apply it to others is because we don't know what the other person is objectively feeling beyond what they tell us. We could stimulate the same brain region in another patient and they tell us they hear a cat meowing. We don't know the pitch, or if it sounds like the dog bark of the other patient. This is where we run into the hard problem. How do we objectively handle personal qualitative experience when it is impossible to know if we can replicate it on ourselves? Is what I call green your qualitative green when you see the waves that represent green? So far this seems impossible.

    There is absolutely no reason why you should be having a qualitative experience of the green pen even granted the brain functions that interpret it as green.Bob Ross

    This is an often times misinterpreted understanding of the hard problem. No, we know you're going to see green when a green wavelength hits your eyes and the proper signals go to your brain. The fact that everything you experience is from your brain is not questioned in neuroscience at this point, only philosophy.

    The question is, how do you qualitatively experience it? What is it like to be a fire for example? You know what makes a fire, but you don't know what its like to be a fire. That's the hard problem. We could say, "But do we know the full underlying quantum process that makes that particular fire?" No. Just because we don't understand all the mechanics to the exact degree in a system does not invalidate the overlaying mechanics that we do understand about that system. Do we understand exactly how your brain states create your qualitative experience? No. Do we know that the brain is the source of your qualitative experiences? Yes, through years of scientific study.

    The hard problem is that the reductive physicalist method cannot account for qualitative experience at all.Bob Ross

    To sum it up, it is not that reductive physicalist method cannot account for qualitative experiences being linked to the physical brain, it is that a physicalist method cannot account for what it is like to be the thing experiencing that qualitative experience, because it is purely in the realm of the subject having the experience. We cannot objectively know through the mechanics of stimulating the brain what it is like to have the experience of that brain, as we can never be that other brain.

    In my opinion, consciousness is being best handled by neuroscience, and is outside the pure realm of philosophy at this point. Check out brain surgeries, or the case of the color blind painter who had brain damage that removed his ability to ever see or imagine color again. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_achromatopsia
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Things are manifestations of experience?Fooloso4

    Yes
    Experience of what? Experience? Mind?Fooloso4

    Yes, other experiences look like things.

    It is evident that things that have mind have experience but it is not evident that what they experience is mind or experience and not things.Fooloso4

    It isn't evident that everything is made of a couple dozen whizzing particles, but here we are. We do know experience exists though.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    So, to answer your question, there was a reality before any animals (as science suggests).Bob Ross

    Does science suggest that there was mind experiencing itself experiencing? Or that there is something experienced that is not experience? That there is a difference between experience and what is experienced?

    Given our limited experience how can we move beyond our experience to something prior to it?

    I am not sure I am completely following ...
    Bob Ross

    There is a logical leap from our being experiential to the universe being experiential. We have no experience of the experience of the universe or of it being experiential. It seems to be a form of anthropomorphism. The ancient assumption of like to like. Microcosm and macrocosm.

    The universe is like us. We have mind, therefore the universe has mind. We have experience therefore the universe has experience.

    What do we know of subjectivity beyond the personal and interpersonal?

    A lot. I can reasonably infer that I was born and before that my mother and father existed (for example).
    Bob Ross

    This is still within the world of human experience.

    It is the best metaphysical theory I have heard (so far) for what reality fundamentally is ... it posits that we should reduce everything fundamentally to mindBob Ross

    It is the best because the best theory must be reductive? That there must be a single something that is fundamental? That we are left with either something mental or physical?

    and claims that we can do so while adequately fitting the data of experience.Bob Ross

    See my comment above regarding experience. We have no experience of something fundamental. That there must be something fundamental is merely an assumption that rests fundamentally on our desire that the universe to be intelligible to us. And so we give it limits, a starting point, a terminus, to fit our limits.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    Things are manifestations of experience?
    — Fooloso4

    Yes
    schopenhauer1

    Can you explain how that works?

    It isn't evident that everything is made of a couple dozen whizzing particles, but here we are.schopenhauer1

    We have, however, made considerable progress in explaining things physically. The claim that things are experience (esse est percipi?) does not explain anything. Where do we go from there? How do we distinguish between experiences? Is the dream of getting hit by a train as real as getting hit by a train? Will the dream train get me where I need to go?
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    There is a logical leap from our being experiential to the universe being experiential. We have no experience of the experience of the universe or of it being experiential. It seems to be a form of anthropomorphism.Fooloso4
    :100: :up:

    Yes, it seems to me that 'panpsychist' arguments (e.g. analytical idealism) consist of appeal to ignorance / incredulity, hasty generalization and compositional fallacies.

    We have no experience of something fundamental. That there must be something fundamental is merely an assumption that rests fundamentally on our desire that the universe to be intelligible to us.Fooloso4
    :fire:

    We have, however, made considerable progress in explaining things physically. The claim that things are experience (esse est percipi?) does not explain anything.Fooloso4
    :fire:

  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    "The hard problem is that we cannot ourselves know what it is like for another being to experience that qualitative experience."


    I wasn't under the impression that the hard problem was specifically about our inability to experience the experiences of another, but rather a question of how can conscious experience be explained in terms of physical interactions at all.

    Anyway, I don't see the inability to experience the experiences of another as providing any difficulty for physicalism. Supposing my experiences arise from the physical operation of my brain, it seems unsurprising to me that the only experiences available to me to have are those that arise from the physical operation of my brain, and not those of another brain.

    So could you elaborate on why you think that an inability to experience the experiences of another would pose a hard problem for physicalism?
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Can you explain how that works?Fooloso4

    We have, however, made considerable progress in explaining things physically. The claim that things are experience (esse est percipi?) does not explain anything. Where do we go from there? How do we distinguish between experiences? Is the dream of getting hit by a train as real as getting hit by a train? Will the dream train get me where I need to go?Fooloso4

    Kastrup would say that our perception is simply representing the world as if it was a certain way. The physical world is representation, not the thing itself.

    He doesn't think we are compound beings, but rather unified entity that is disassociated over different interacting timelines in parallel, or something like that.

    I'm not saying I agree with this necessarily. I just said in my initial response that it was a way around the hard problem without having the problem that every object is individually conscious but rather everything is unitary and instances are a manifestation of this. Then I recognized the Schopenhauerian aspect of this.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Then I recognized the Schopenhauerian aspect of this.schopenhauer1

    I think that's a good point. Kastrup seems to be influenced by Schopenhauer and it seems that he has taken the notion or will and the world as representation of will, changed some terms and added some speculative insights from QM and psychology. Notably, the idea that people are dissociated alters of Mind at Large (will) with metacognitive capacities which Mind at Large does not have. Mind at large being a blind and striving instinctive consciousness - sounds familiar...
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    I wasn't under the impression that the hard problem was specifically about our inability to experience the experiences of another, but rather a question of how can conscious experience be explained in terms of physical interactions at all.wonderer1

    Its not that conscious experience can't be explained in terms of physical interactions, its the qualitative experience itself. Qualitative experience is subjective. Therefore it cannot be objectively captured in a physical model. Think of it like this: We know how a computer works within all physical laws. If a computer one day becomes sentient, will we ever be able to objectively know what its like to be that subjective sentient computer? Not with physical laws. We can know its sentient. We can even map out why its sentient. But we can never know what its like to be that sentient system.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    They can say that, but if a loved one dies, we can ask them why they are crying over chemicals, and we'll see how much they really believe in this stuff.


    My answer to you asking the question* would be that it is not the chemicals, but the loss of the chemicals being arranged grandma-ishly that I am mourning, because I really liked the effect of the chemicals being arranged grandma-ishly.

    Neurons being interconnected as they are in a living brain, and the interactive processes occurring as they do between the neurons of a living brain, results in events that don't happen when those interactive processes within that network of neurons is no longer occurring.

    It isn't surprising that you don't get physicalism, if you haven't considered the subject charitably. However, I suspect you will have difficulty providing objections that would be found perplexing by people who have held a physicalist perspective for a long time, unless or until you do extend more charity on the matter.

    *Given that I am posting on a philosophy forum and not currently deeply mourning someone recently deceased. In the actual case where I was asked in the midst of crying about the loss of a loved one, my answer would undoubtedly be more like, "Jeesh, why are you being such an asshole?"
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    I think that's a good point. Kastrup seems to be influenced by Schopenhauer and it seems that he has taken the notion or will and the world as representation of will, changed some terms and added some speculative insights from QM and psychology. Notably, the idea that people are dissociated alters of Mind at Large (will) with metacognitive capacities which Mind at Large does not have. Mind at large being a blind and striving instinctive consciousness - sounds familiar...Tom Storm

    :up: Yep agreed. Both theories kind of lack the "why" to it though. Why this kind of architecture and not another kind? Why would a unitary thing be so complicated? This points to a sort of contingency to things that points away from monism or unitary being.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Yes, that's kind of my reaction too.
  • T Clark
    13.1k


    I don't have much substantive to offer here, but I wanted to compliment you on a well written and clear OP. You obviously put a lot of thought and effort into it.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    My answer to you asking the question* would be that it is not the chemicals, but the loss of the chemicals being arranged grandma-ishly that I am mourning, because I really liked the effect of the chemicals being arranged grandma-ishly.wonderer1
    :cool: :up:
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Why this kind of architecture and not another kind? Why would a unitary thing be so complicated?schopenhauer1

    Yes, that's kind of my reaction too.Tom Storm

    Schopenhauer had a quasi-Platonic idea of Forms that Will emanated and animated, but this just begs the question of whence these Forms, and why? It was a bit circular. Yes we know the world is individuated by time/space, and the Forms (which can be glimpsed through art?), are but templates the Will uses.. But then why is there an internal time/space, why is there a Platonic Form, and why how are these interacting with Will? Is Will the internal time/space, is Will outside this? Both, and then how do Forms fit in as some sort of objective thing outside mental states? The only diagram that sort of lays it out is the diagram on this old website, but still doesn't really answer my questions.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Its not that conscious experience can't be explained in terms of physical interactions, its the qualitative experience itself. Qualitative experience is subjective. Therefore it cannot be objectively captured in a physical model.


    Right. Knowing all the details of what is physically going on in a system (brain) is a different matter from having the experiences resulting from the processes which are occurring in that system.

    But why should we find that even surprising on physicalism, let alone a hard problem? We don't say to ourselves, "I have full knowledge of how that car works, so why don't I find myself running down the road at 55 MPH from time to time?"
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    But then why is there an internal time/space, why is there a Platonic Form, and why how are these interacting with Will? Is Will the internal time/space, is Will outside this?schopenhauer1

    Good questions. I suspect will must be outside it if it is the foundation of all things including forms. But it's unclear. Are you sympathetic to the Kantian notion that space and time are part of the human cognitive apparatus and allow us to make sense of our experience, but not an aspect of the noumenal world?
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    Right. Knowing all the details of what is physically going on in a system (brain) is a different matter from having the experiences resulting from the processes which are occurring in that system.

    But why should we find that even surprising on physicalism, let alone a hard problem?
    wonderer1

    Its a hard problem because we cannot currently objectively describe experiences. Pain for example. Perhaps we see a brain fluctuation that denotes pain, but we don't know the degree of that pain. What does their pain feel like versus another person's pain? Two people may be having nearly identical brain responses in our measurements, but one may be screaming in agony while the other acts pleasant. If we could objectively ascertain the subjective experience through objective means alone, we could tailor pain medication to the individual more easily.

    The hard problem has nothing to do with whether consciousness resides in the brain. Its about creating an objective measurement for subjective experience. Its extremely hard, and perhaps impossible.
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