• Apustimelogist
    355
    My take is that there isn't really evidence for indirect realism as much as indirect realism is an interpretation of what we know -- so I'm providing an alternate interpretation to weaken the justification for indirect realism. Or at least that's the strategy.Moliere

    Yeah, fair enough. I do agree you can plausibly see it different ways depending on how you frame things.


    It seems so to me, yes.Moliere

    I think our metaphysics clearly are just quite different and don't agree.

    I don't understand what a representation of my toe would be when I'm stubbing it or not.Moliere

    Minimally I have a hard time thinking of the perception of my body as a representation: I can go as far as to say it's a bundle, and there is no "I", but I don't think my body is a bundle of representations.Moliere

    Very interesting; can you elaborate? Especially the first bit.
  • Apustimelogist
    355
    That literally is the hard problem. Perhaps you have an erroneous idea of what it is? The hard problem consists in this exact question.AmadeusD

    AS above, clearly this is not right.AmadeusD

    If the only thing that exists is experiences, then how are the questions different? "Why is there experience?" would be precisely the same as "Why is there anything at all?"

    Its just ignoring one problem for another.AmadeusD

    Well from this perspective, it isn't a true metaphysical problem which is why illusionists may be more interested in the meta-problem of consciousness instead, aiming to explain what it is about human cognition and computation that leads to these limits of explanation.

    https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_vis=1&q=metaproblem+chalmers&btnG=

    It's very hard to see how this could matter. If one is having an experience, that's all that's needed. The framework in whcih is sits isn't relevant the Hard Problem. It is the experience per se that needs explaining.AmadeusD

    This is not my understanding of the hard problem. The issue is the reducibility of consciousness to physical explanations. If you remove the physical from the equation then there is no hard problem. The issue I was talking about in the quote you replied to effectively also amounts to a problem of irreducibility but between different experiences.

    An idealist rejects that there are external objects. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at here.AmadeusD

    The kind of idealism I have in mind is just that everything in the universe is mental (definition exists in the paper below), which I guess could be quite broad in terms of possible types of idealism.

    https://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:-7cyUpbkVq4J:scholar.google.com/+modern+idealism+chalmers&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_ylo=2020&as_vis=1

    Because you're misattributing what 'realism' stands for within each framework.AmadeusD

    Can you elaborate the differences in realism for science vs. perceptual representations?
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    …..a bare minimum criterion….
    — creativesoul

    I agree that for a creature to have a meaningful experience, such creature must be able to at the very least describe the conditions of that experience, even if only to himself, in order for the meaning of it to be given.
    Mww

    I don't agree with that. Weird way to use "I agree".

    At what age are we able to do that?


    I agree that that is one kind of meaningful experience. There are several. Your proposal has several layers of complexity; several layers of existential dependency. We're looking for a bare minimum form of meaningful experience. We start with us. We set that out. Then, we look to see if there are any parts that do not require language. We end up with parts and kinds of experience that require language, and parts that are not existentially dependent upon language. Perception is one necessary constituent thereof. Perception is necessary but insufficient for attributing meaning to different things. I think we agree there.

    All experience is meaningful to the creature having the experience. Perception is necessary but insufficient for attributing meaning to different things; meaningful experience.

    The experience you suggest as bare minimum is itself existentially dependent upon language use(naming and descriptive practices). The consequence is not being able to admit that any of us have meaningful experience prior to becoming able to describe the conditions of our own experience. That is metacognition. We're looking for cognition.

    You begin by denying that all sorts of humans have meaningful experience.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Very interesting; can you elaborate? Especially the first bit.Apustimelogist

    My thought is that representationalism is tempting because we often think in terms of vision, but our bodily sensations are sense-organs too: yet we'd be more apt to say we're connected to our toe -- that consciousness extends beyond the head -- than we'd be to say we're connected to the truck across the parking lot, which I admit is where things sound weird.

    With sight it's easy to interpret as if the pictures we make -- like the ones we hang on walls -- are just smaller versions of sight and so everything we see is a representation of some kind of underlying world. This is especially so because of the separation of self/world pretty much implicitly assumed in modern philosophy.

    But when I stub my toe, I can't think what the analogue to "picture" would be such that my pain is a representation of something rather than just what it is. The closest thing I can think of is phantom pains -- but that doesn't seem like a representation, either, but a memory so intense that even losing the body part doesn't separate the pains remembered.

    Rather than a bundle of representations, I'd say I'm a bundle of meat that's been socialized enough to have a thought or two to share. (these thoughts, these judgments, I can see as representations -- they are about something. But it seems funny to say my pain is about my toe rather than the pain being a part of the toe being a toe -- sensitive to environmental damage)
  • Janus
    15.7k
    I agree that for a creature to have a meaningful experience, such creature must be able to at the very least describe the conditions of that experience, even if only to himself, in order for the meaning of it to be given.Mww

    I have to say I find this questionable to say the least. Animals can recognize this as food, that as shelter or a source of warmth and so on. They can recognize their own offspring and kin. If these don't qualify for you as meaningful experiences, I'd be interested to hear why not.

    All experience is meaningful to the creature having the experience. Perception is necessary but insufficient for attributing meaning to different things; meaningful experience.creativesoul

    It depends on how you are using "perception". For me, seeing something is always seeing something as something. So I think anything perceived, in the sense I use the word, is always already something interpreted, and I think that interpretation is not dependent on language, and that in fact language could never get started without it already being in place, and I think it is the case with the other animals just as it is with us.

    So, I would say, to reverse what you have said, that attributing meaning to different things, in the sense that they stand out for an organism as meaningful, is necessary, but not sufficient for perception.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    I'm saying that direct perception of distal objects is necessary for all cases of human perception, and that there are many other creatures capable of it as well.
    — creativesoul

    I agree with that as well, with the caveat that mere direct perception is very far from meaningful experience...
    Mww

    Agreed. Necessary but insufficient.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    I think one important thing to keep in mind is that meaningful human experience happens long before we begin to take account of it.
    — creativesoul

    Oh, absolutely.
    Mww

    How do you square that with your minimum criterion presented earlier which demanded being able to describe the conditions of one's own experience in order to count as meaningful experience?

    You see the problem?
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    If the only thing that exists is experiences, then how are the questions different? "Why is there experience?" would be precisely the same as "Why is there anything at all?"Apustimelogist

    Hmm, I don;t think this is quite right. While I understand exactly why you've landed there, its seems entirely right to say in world A' there is only cognition. But that coginition arises as points of view which can still conceptualise (and indeed may phenomenally experience) seemingly external objects. Indeed this would be the case if Idealism is true in world A (ours). All you need is awareness of that fact for the two considerations to come apart adequately:

    1. Why is there anything, rather than nothing?; and
    2. Why is anything conscious, rather than everything being unconscious?

    Neither is applicable without hte other as a background consideration, but they address two specifically different problems and would require very different answers. Both are given in experience, so we need not question the existence of either, so the order in whcih we address the questions is not all that interesting. It could have been world A' and that's what's at odds here because our experiences would be the same as tehy currently are (though, based on current data this simply isn't the case so we have no real basis to claim this).

    You'll also note (though, it's a little cheeky doing this) that both conceptions are phenomenal experiences which still need explaining. Why anything gives rise to an experience is exactly the same question under any theory but Dennett's really. He just thinks its not even happening lol.

    Well from this perspective, it isn't a true metaphysical problem which is why illusionists may be more interested in the meta-problem of consciousness instead, aiming to explain what it is about human cognition and computation that leads to these limits of explanationApustimelogist

    I'm not quite sure I'm understand thsi reply. To clarify my statements there, I'm driving at what I get clear in my first response above - that the 'other' question simply ignores the one of consciousness - it has no explanatory power even if sufficiently answered (for clarity, the position is that htis is true of idealism though clearly true for other theories too). I think it is patently wrong to hand-wave away consciousness. Things like reductive functionalism are simply infantile theories in the face of the serious problem we have with why consciousness arises (or ingresses) from/in the physical at all. |

    This is not my understanding of the hard problem. The issue is the reducibility of consciousness to physical explanations. If you remove the physical from the equation then there is no hard problem. The issue I was talking about in the quote you replied to effectively also amounts to a problem of irreducibility but between different experiences.Apustimelogist

    Ah i see waht you mean. Yes, but I think you're mis-understanding the profundity of what you've written there. If consciousness does not reduce to the physical (it doesn't seem to, at this stage) we have a serious problem akin to having to explain ghosts. If consciousness fails to supervene on the physical then we have zero notion of how it arises or what causal relationship it has with the physical world. We would still need to understand experience in terms of something else in world A' because our awareness must be of something. There is also the problem noted above, in that world A' may be phenomenally exactly like A intimating that even in an idealistic universe a 'point of view\ can consider why it's mental activity results in it consciousness apprehending whatever it is menta...ting...?LOL.

    That said, you're right that it's formulated that way because we live in world A, but that doesn't change that it is a live question in world A' too. From where does consciousness come? Why is there any conscious experience. Chalmers goes over a few objections from that camp and rejects on similar grounds - that they simply ignore the core issue.

    The kind of idealism I have in mind is just that everything in the universe is mentalApustimelogist

    This was what I took it to be. This entails no external objects as nothing could be non-mind. All comments hold (whether correct is in the air lol).

    Can you elaborate the differences in realism for science vs. perceptual representations?Apustimelogist

    Sure. So, this is a little bit like (i think) the two questions about existence and consciousness I canvassed earlier.

    One question here is going to be (or more accurately "How do we produce conscious experiences of the external world?") but another, separate and probably more profound question is "How could we know that anything in the external world is actually as-it-seems? Even if we have 'direct' perception we still have the issue of Descartes Demon and all that fun stuff - whereas the question around scientific realism addresses the problem of whether our perception is of actual things. In world A' we may have direct perceptions of things which are not actually things, for instance. It is a false perception, but its a direct relation with the mental substance that it arises from. Even in world A, we might have indirect perception yet trust that our scientific instruments are relaying the actual behind our perceptions. This is definitely open to a charge of being a bit incoherent, but I'm unsure that's entirely warranted. We bypass shitty sense perception for better data (which we trust) all the time. Principle holds here.

    So in the Scientific sense, are we even metaphysically able to ascertain the world as-it-is? And for Perception its do we, humans, naturally, perceive the world in direct causal relation (regardless of whether the world actually allows for accurate measurement. You can see that one couldn't be a scientific antirealist and a DRist. That would imply our eyes were better visual organs than the trillion-frame-per-second camera in a mechanical sense.

    P.S: I've just come across this article for school and the opening lines are very much apt:

    Why does the Universe exist? There are
    here two questions: (1) Why does the Universe exist at all?
    That is, why is there anything rather than nothing? (2)
    Why is the Universe as it is?
    Derek Parfit

    You can keep question one, and simply swap question two for the more specific version: Why is anything in the Universe conscious? To essentially outline the two distinct questions that idealism would still post. Consciousness not supervening on the physical simply doesn't explain it as the majority of cognition is not accompanied by any experience.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    All experience is meaningful to the creature having the experience. Perception is necessary but insufficient for attributing meaning to different things; meaningful experience.
    — creativesoul

    It depends on how you are using "perception". For me, seeing something is always seeing something as something. So I think anything perceived, in the sense I use the word, is always already something interpreted, and I think that interpretation is not dependent on language, and that in fact language could never get started without it already being in place, and I think it is the case with the other animals just as it is with us.
    Janus

    Sometimes. Not all the time.

    Perceiving the tree in the yard does not require perceiving it "as a tree". Surely, we perceive the distal objects being named, right? See it "as a tree" presupposes naming and descriptive practices. Cats interact with trees all the time. They do not perceive the tree, "as a tree". That invokes a middleman where none is necessary, indeed where none can be. It could be that the tree in the yard is being directly perceived in direct relation to the rest of the hunters' mind, the tree is what the mouse is hiding behind. That's all it is at the time. It is and remains the tree, nonetheless.

    Perceiving a tree "as a tree" only makes sense to me when we're referring to those who know how to use the phrase.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Sometimes. Not all the time.

    Perceiving the tree in the yard does not require perceiving it "as a tree". Surely, we perceive the distal objects being named, right? See it "as a tree" presupposes naming and descriptive practices. Cats interact with trees all the time. They do not perceive the tree, "as a tree". That invokes a middleman where none is necessary, indeed where none can be. It could be that the tree in the yard is being directly perceived in direct relation to the rest of the hunters' mind, the tree is what the mouse is hiding behind. That's all it is at the time. It is and remains the tree, nonetheless.

    Perceiving a tree "as a tree" only makes sense to me when we're referring to those who know how to use the phrase.
    creativesoul

    Perceiving something-you-know-not-what that might turn out to be a tree in the yard does not require perceiving it as a tree. Perceiving the tree in the yard would require perceiving it as a tree by mere definition I would have thought.

    I have not said that cats perceive trees as trees, but they perceive trees as some kind of affordance or other (although I am not saying they could conceive of it linguistically as an affordance or as anything else).
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    Perceiving a tree "as a tree" only makes sense to me when we're referring to those who know how to use the phrase.creativesoul

    You may enjoy Chamlers treatment of intensions when speaking about logical possibilities. In his view, the intensions differ - so 'that tree' as a primary intension picks out hte tree you are currently looking at. As a secondary intension it would pick out 'that tree' where it obtained in any possible world. He extensively uses Kripke to establish why this is relevant for understanding some of these issues (consciousness, perception and what not).

    If the cat is perceiving what we perceive, it's a tree.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    I have not said that cats perceive trees as trees, but they perceive trees as some kind of affordance or other (although I am not saying they could conceive of it linguistically as an affordance or as anything else)Janus

    That's what I was thinking with the term, too -- objects with affordances make sense of a cat's or a bat's experience being different, but still about the same objects all while their experiences are probably different because human language can bring out features that I've missed upon a first listen.

    Music, in particularly, is like this with me. Upon reading about a composer often I'll be able to hear and separate out more of the orchestra because of the words I've been given to organize that experience -- language enhances listening rather than cuts off the listener from the object.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    :up: :100: I like the idea that things stand out from their surroundings for percipients as gestalts. The question is what drives gestalting? I think it could be many things for animals and many more things for humans on account of language, as you say.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    For me, seeing something is always seeing something as something. So I think anything perceived, in the sense I use the word, is always already something interpreted, and I think that interpretation is not dependent on language, and that in fact language could never get started without it already being in place, and I think it is the case with the other animals just as it is with us.Janus

    Interpretation is always of something already meaningful. The meaning is what is being interpreted. So, only previously meaningful things are perceived?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    So, only previously meaningful things are perceived?creativesoul

    I think that's right. But it might not be the only way to use the term, and this can result in confusion. Can we say that a percipient has perceived something if it does not stand out in some way? If not, then the question would follow: 'On account of what do things stand out for percipients?'. I tend to think it is because they are of some interest, concern, significance, meaning or whatever you want to call it to the perceiver.

    So, on that account perceptible things become meaningful, and are thus perceived. On this account there must be some pre-perceptual interactions already going on of course, and of course they involve the objects and the senses but are yet to reach the status of perception. I think Kant refers to this as "intuition", but @Mww may correct me on this.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    I have not said that cats perceive trees as trees, but they perceive trees as some kind of affordance or other (although I am not saying they could conceive of it linguistically as an affordance or as anything else)
    — Janus

    That's what I was thinking with the term, too -- objects with affordances make sense of a cat's or a bat's experience being different, but still about the same objects all while their experiences are probably different...
    Moliere

    What the mouse is behind? Where the bird is?

    Perception is necessary, we agree presumably. The tree is perceived as something it affords the creature? A place to sleep? Does the bear perceive the cave as a place to sleep? Bears go there to sleep, but unless they think about the cave as a subject matter in its own right, they do not perceive it as anything. They perceive the cave. The cave is part of the bear's experience. The cave is meaningful to the bear. Going back to the cave is a meaningful experience to the bear.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Does the bear perceive the cave as a place to sleep? Bears go there to sleep, but unless they think about the cave as a subject matter in its own right, they do not perceive it as anything. They perceive the cave. The cave is part of the bear's experience. The cave is meaningful to the bear. Going back to the cave is a meaningful experience to the bear. How does it become meaningful for the bear?creativesoul

    See my post above yours. We agree that the bear does not conceive of the cave as cave, It may in some pre or proto-conceptual thinking of it as a place to sleep—we don't really know.

    So when you say they perceive the cave that is a kind of "mixed metaphor" because you are just saying they perceive what we would call a cave. They perceive something and conceive (or if that word seems wrong then substitute "imagine") that something (the cave in this example) as of some use or other. I think this qualifies the claim that the cave has meaning for them

    We don't really know what bears specifically experience, but it seems reasonable to think they can imagine even if they cannot conceive, because we think of the former as involving images and the latter as requiring linguistically mediated ideas.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    So, only previously meaningful things are perceived?
    — creativesoul

    I think that's right.
    Janus

    How does anything become meaningful before it is ever perceived?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    How does anything become meaningful before it is ever perceived?creativesoul

    From my post above:

    So, on that account perceptible things become meaningful, and are thus perceived. On this account there must be some pre-perceptual interactions already going on of course, and of course they involve the objects and the senses but are yet to reach the status of perception. I think Kant refers to this as "intuition", but Mww may correct me on this.Janus

    But again, if you want to use "perception" in a different way, then your point might stand.

    However, I could ask as to how anything can be perceived if it doesn't stand out for the perceiver, and on account of what could it stand out if not on account of it being already of some significance or other.

    Here's another question: imagine your total external surroundings right now including everything that potentially could be seen, heard, smelt, touched. On your use of 'perception' would you say that you are perceiving all of that?
  • Apustimelogist
    355


    This is interesting. It reads lile you view your bodily sensations as fundamentally different from your visual experiences in some separable way?
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    Can we say that a percipient has perceived something if it does not stand out in some way?Janus

    Stand out in some way? I think that's far too broad/loose a claim for now. A creature is capable of perception if it is equipped with biological machinery capable of interacting with distal objects.

    Things that grab the creature's attention 'stand out'. Anything external to the creature may 'stand out', given the creature is capable of perceiving it. Those things that 'stand out' may already be meaningful to the creature. They may not. That's often the first step in becoming meaningful.

    We largely agree upon the requirement of/for biological machinery, so that's good!
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    I don't think in a fundamental way, no, because they are both senses-- just in terms of what using the sense of sight as a metaphor for all senses suggests: when we think about sense-organs with respect to sight, generalizing from sight to all sense-organs, then the metaphor of a picture suggests that everything we see is a representation just like the picture is a representation.

    They are both senses, and the metaphors change when we go to another sense -- but surely we should treat all the senses in the same logical manner. That's the point of bringing them up together: with senses other than sight I'm not sure what is representative. If I'm eating then I'm tasting what I'm eating, and incorporating it into me -- the world-becomes-me.

    If taste were judgmental then we could set up a code of flavors in a meal which would inform you of a mathematical problem.

    Now, I have no doubt that, given enough knowledge, we could reliably induce synesthesia such that this would be possible to read a book by eating it encoded into a complex series of flavors.

    But right now I'd say the sentences like "This tastes sour" are the representations of the sour things.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Things that grab the creature's attention 'stand out'. Anything external to the creature may 'stand out', given the creature is capable of perceiving it. Those things that 'stand out' may already be meaningful to the creature. They may not. That's often the first step in becoming meaningful.creativesoul

    Do you count anything which does not stand out as being perceived? Per the question I asked you above, everything perceptible in your external environment is currently broadcasting information in the form of light, sound, smell, and tactile sensation to your eyes, ears, nose and skin. Would you say all that counts as being perceived merely by virtue of that information affecting the body?
  • Apustimelogist
    355
    I feel like your misunderstandings here must come from a different notion of idealism.

    Idealism as I described and as entertained in the article I linked is completely consistent with external objects beyond your immediate experience so the idea of external objects is completely consistent, they just happen to be mental or experiential. In the first paragraph it even says that it is analogous to physicalism, the only difference is replacing physical with mental. I think your notion of idealism is far narrower than most people seriously entertaining idealism today.

    It then follows that when you say something like:

    If consciousness does not reduce to the physicalAmadeusD

    The idealist would agree and then they would say the physical simply does not exist so there is no problem. There is no need to reduce the mental to the physical because the physical just doesn't exist. All there is are experiences. Consciousness doesn't supervene on the physical because consciousness is all there is.

    Once you formulate an idealist universe as identical to a physicalist one except that everything is made out of mental stuff, then there is literally no hard problem of consciousness. We can ask in the physicalist universe why energy exists or forces exist or fields exist or anything else. There will always be some point where it just doesn't have an answer - we don't know why things exist or don't exist. The problem of why experience exists would reduce to exactly that problem for an idealist. There is no other thing that gives rise to experience for the idealist because all there is is experience. Existence and being is simply experience at all levels. So the hard problem doesn't exist for the idealist and this is probably one of the major advantages amy idealist will give you to their theory.

    I'm not quite sure I'm understand thsi reply.AmadeusD

    The reply is saying that a dualist reality where there is a metaphysical divide between the mental and physical is unfounded. It has no basis in science. Now I can also say that I have experiences but the fact that I say I have experiences doesn't entail that there must be some other physical substance which is profoundly metaphysically different and from which experiences arise. We have no idea about the intrinsic nature of what we scientifically observe beyond our experiences because we can only do science within our experiences. It follows that any metaphysical distinction is inaccessible and science gives no reason to suggest that there is one. At the same time given how the information processing that undergirds perception and knowledge is due to brain structure and functional capabilities, there is absolutely no reason why we should be able to have any tangible access to some fundamental metaphysical nature of how the universe is, whether from science or perception. None of this comes from a particular realist viewpoint which I think is probably key. Essentially all that we work with when it comes to knowledge is empirical structures that we happen to find in what we observe, and models we create concerning those observational structures. From that standpoint the most I can say is perhaps that the universe has some kind of structure which I cannot directly access. Loosely, I am what it is like to be some kind of structure in the universe. But then again, neither the notion of "structure" or "what it is like"(experience) have any substantive definitions that let me pick out anything metaphysically or scientifically meaningful, let alone any dichotomy between experience and the physical which would only lead to an incoherent type of epiphenomenalism.

    One question here is going to be (or more accurately "How do we produce conscious experiences of the external world?") but another, separate and probably more profound question is "How could we know that anything in the external world is actually as-it-seems? Even if we have 'direct' perception we still have the issue of Descartes Demon and all that fun stuff - whereas the question around scientific realism addresses the problem of whether our perception is of actual things. In world A' we may have direct perceptions of things which are not actually things, for instance. It is a false perception, but its a direct relation with the mental substance that it arises from. Even in world A, we might have indirect perception yet trust that our scientific instruments are relaying the actual behind our perceptions.AmadeusD

    So in the Scientific sense, are we even metaphysically able to ascertain the world as-it-is? And for Perception its do we, humans, naturally, perceive the world in direct causal relation (regardless of whether the world actually allows for accurate measurement.AmadeusD

    I don't think you have said anything here that distinguishes realism about scientific theories from that about objects of perceptual. Descartes Demon exemplifies a general skeptical problem that can be applied to anything whereas the question of whether our perception is about actual things seems to me just as much a concern for realism about perception as it is for scientific theories. We may have scientific theories that turn out to not be of actual things also. The last two lines also seem to be basically the same except you have added direct for perception which seems to be besides the issue since you can have indirect-realism.

    You can keep question one, and simply swap question two for the more specific version: Why is anything in the Universe conscious? To essentially outline the two distinct questions that idealism would still post. Consciousness not supervening on the physical simply doesn't explain it as the majority of cognition is not accompanied by any experience.AmadeusD

    The question of "why the universe is the way it is?" is the same for any kind of metaphysical position because you can imagine the universe in a vast number of different ways even for the physicalist, which are just as arbitrary as the universe being conscious or not or some other distinction. So too you can have an idealist universe where even what you are thinking of as non-experiential cognition is still experience or consciousness. Personally I don't believe in some strong distinction between "conscious" and "non-conscious" cognition in the way that I believe you are thinking about it.

    Again, the meat of the hard problem is the reducibility of experience to physical and functional explanation:

    https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cluster=2544424150595524876&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1

    Quotes from above:

    "It is undeniable that some organisms are subjects of experience. But the question of
    how it is that these systems are subjects of experience is perplexing. Why is it that when
    our cognitive systems engage in visual and auditory information-processing, we have
    visual or auditory experience:"

    "It is widely agreed that experience arises from a physical basis, but we have no good explanation of why and how it so arises. Why should physical
    processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it
    should, and yet it does."

    "What makes the hard problem hard and almost unique is that it goes beyond problems about the performance of functions."

    "Why doesn't all this information-processing go on in the darkí free of any inner feel? Why is it that
    when electromagnetic waveforms impinge on a retina and are discriminated and categorized by a visual system, this discrimination and categorization is experienced as a
    sensation of vivid red? We know that conscious experience does arise when these
    functions are performed, but the very fact that it arises is the central mystery. There is an
    explanatory gap (a term due to Levine 1983) between the functions and experience"

    The problem of consciousness is only in contrast to the metaphysics of the physical and functional.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    Things that grab the creature's attention 'stand out'. Anything external to the creature may 'stand out', given the creature is capable of perceiving it. Those things that 'stand out' may already be meaningful to the creature. They may not. That's often the first step in becoming meaningful.
    — creativesoul

    Do you count anything which does not stand out as being perceived? Per the question I asked you above, everything perceptible in your external environment is currently broadcasting information in the form of light, sound, smell, and tactile sensation to your eyes, ears, nose and skin. Would you say all that counts as being perceived merely by virtue of that information affecting the body?
    Janus

    I initially misunderstood you yesterday. My apologies. It seems our positions may be very close. I prefer "meaningful" where you may prefer "significant". They are used synonymously sometimes, so it may not matter much.

    The bit above applies to both of our positions accordingly, I think. Current knowledge shows us that not all things interacting with our bodies at a given time are being perceived at that time, or at least not in a manner we'd call "consciously perceived".

    Circling back...

    I think it's important to draw a distinction between what's important for the creature and what's important to the creature. The sun is very important for the survival of all creatures on earth, for instance. So, in that sense the sun is significant, it affords the creature the ability to live, etc. However, it is not necessarily the case that the sun is meaningful to the creature.
  • Mww
    4.6k
    …..a bare minimum criterion for experience - shared between all individual cases thereof, is that the experience itself is meaningful to the creature having it. If all experience is meaningful to the creature having the experience, then the candidate under consideration(the creature having the experience) must be capable of attributing meaning to different things.creativesoul

    I agree that for a creature to have a meaningful experience, such creature must be able to at the very least describe the conditions of that experience, even if only to himself, in order for the meaning of it to be given.
    — Mww

    I don't agree with that. Weird way to use "I agree".
    creativesoul

    Ok, so how would you attribute meaning to an experience without a description of its conditions? If meaning is a relation, wouldn’t the relations need to be describable in order to comprehend that they belong to each other, which just is the meaning of it?
    —————

    Your proposal has several layers of complexity; several layers of existential dependency. We're looking for a bare minimum form of meaningful experience. We start with us. We set that out.creativesoul

    I agree we start with us, because “us” is what we know, it is that by which all else is judged. When we examine “us”, we find that the bare minimum form of experience is the very multi-layered complexity of the human cognitive system. No experience is possible at all, without the coordinated systemic process incorporated in human intelligence. Which is why I maintain the position, that without the complexity, experience, as such, the kind we know best and by which all other kinds must be judged, is undeterminable at least, and altogether impossible at most.

    Bottom line….in examining meaningful experience the first thing to be done is to eliminate instinct, or any condition that could be attributed to mere instinct. And the best, more assured way to eliminate instinct, is to ground the necessary conditions for experience, as such, in reason alone.
    ————

    I think one important thing to keep in mind is that meaningful human experience happens long before we begin to take account of it.
    — creativesoul

    Oh, absolutely.
    — Mww

    How do you square that with your minimum criterion presented earlier which demanded being able to describe the conditions of one's own experience in order to count as meaningful experience?

    You see the problem?
    creativesoul

    There shouldn’t be one. I said describes even if only to himself. To describe conditions to oneself, is to think; to think is to synthesize conceptions contained in the conditions into a cognition.

    Perhaps you’ve subbed in accounting for the experience insofar as it must be meaningful, while I’m accounting for the conditions by which being meaningful is possible. Meaning must be cognized insofar as it is a relation; experience is not a relation hence is not a cognition, it is an end, a terminus, of cognitions.

    F’ing language games. When I hear “long before we begin to take account of it” I think long before we talk about it. To account for is to determine conditions; to take account of implies the determinations have been met. Dunno….maybe too analytical on my part.
  • Mww
    4.6k
    They can recognize their own offspring and kin. If these don't qualify for you as meaningful experiences, I'd be interested to hear why not.Janus

    Because they are all reducible to instinct. Meaningful experience implies reason, or at the very least, understanding, which is not a component of mere instinct.
    ————-

    …..but Mww may correct me on this.Janus

    Thanks for the nod, but I wouldn’t ever be so presumptuous as to say I’m right. That being said….

    So, on that account perceptible things become meaningful, and are thus perceived.Janus

    ….might be better spoken with perceptible things become meaningful and are thus understood. That which has become meaningful, at least empirically, must have already been perceived, which makes “are thus perceived” superfluous. In short, meaning is not a quality of perception itself, but may be for that object which appears to it.

    On this account there must be some pre-perceptual interactions already going on of courseJanus

    There are pre-perceptual conditions, but not as yet interactions. If pre-perceptual, then there isn’t anything to which the pre-perceptual conditions can be connected. They’re there, ready and waiting, but idle, so to speak.

    …..they involve the objects and the senses but are yet to reach the status of perception. I think Kant refers to this as "intuition"Janus

    It is not actually wrong from a Kantian point of view to say intuition involves objects and the senses. Nevertheless, to be technically correct, one should say, that which Kant refers to as intuition, re: “….the faculty of representation….” involves synthesis in imagination the object of which is a phenomenon. As you can see, this procedural episode is after, thus apart from, perception. That is to say, because they are given from perception, it is impossible that they reach the status of perception. Probably more simply understood by relegating perception to physiology, while holding intuition to mentality, each maintaining its own ground.
  • Apustimelogist
    355


    Very interesting.

    with senses other than sight I'm not sure what is representative.Moliere

    I certainly get the intuition. We know that the sensation of sweetness is associated with certain molecules but its not clear that perceptions of taste are representing anything like this to us. From my viewpoint, vision is not inherently different.

    To be honest, for some further reading around the issue, which seems more nuanced than I thought and my own preconception of what indirectness meant, I have become much more sympathetic to the direct view and the ambiguity of what constitutes directness/indirectness. For instance, I find the following passage reasonable:

    "In this light, consider the following two
    claims:

    (i) perception is indirect in the sense that it
    involves a series of causal intermediaries
    between the external object (or event) and
    the percipient;

    and

    (ii) perception is indirect in the sense of involving a prior awareness of something other
    than the external object (or event).

    Claims (i) and (ii) thus distinguished,
    Direct Realists can argue that it does not
    follow from the fact that perception is indirect in the sense of (i) that it is indirect in the sense of (ii). What the Causal Argument establishes is only the causal indirectness of perception in the sense of (i), not the cognitive indirectness in the sense
    of (ii)."

    Ofcourse, my own inclinations away from realism generally don't take a strong preference of one set of views or the other or even either, perhaps. The topic as a whole seems too complex for me to give a well-thought view without a lot of research.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    A bit funny that OP made a thread that would extend over 70 pages and then dipped after 10 posts.
  • creativesoul
    11.6k
    Dunno….maybe too analytical on my part.Mww

    No such thing! :wink:

    We're getting somewhere. I'll give the last reply it's just due upon returning. I think I'm understanding our positions better insofar as they compare/contrast with one another. I hope you are as well. Seems that way to me!

    Kudos and thanks for the engagement.

    Soon.
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