• Patterner
    555
    I think panpsychism might fall under the heading of a paradigm shift.

    But, assuming panpsychism isn't true, what other ideas being suggested do?
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    I do not see how something "computing really hard," ever necessitates the emergence of first person subjective experience.Count Timothy von Icarus

    This is the thing. The thing. It simply isn't needed, until we can assess why. At what point what a being need phenomenal consciousness? It's an accident, surely. Emergence, in whatever way, on the current 'facts' we know.

    I think panpsychism might fall under the heading of a paradigm shift.Patterner

    I think it might present one, in the Nagel sense. I don't quite think it's anything new, generally. Panpsychism the concept has been around millennia.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    But, assuming panpsychism isn't true, what other ideas being suggested do?Patterner

    Kastrup's Analytical Idealism is a contender, isn't it? The OP mentions Donald Hoffman, who's on the board of Kastrup's Essentia Foundation, although Hoffman appears to draw the opposite conclusion to the OP.

    Analytic Idealism is a theory of the nature of reality that maintains that the universe is experiential in essence. 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. Analytic Idealism is one particular formulation of Idealism, which is based on and motivated by post-enlightenment values such as conceptual parsimony, coherence, internal logical consistency, explanatory power and empirical adequacy.Essentia Foundation

    -----

    In any case, what do you think about the argument overall?Malcolm Lett

    Very poor. Relies on conjecture and tendentious arguments.
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Very poor. Relies on conjecture and tendentious arguments.Wayfarer

    Really? Kastrup's arguments, of have I missed something?
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I was referring to the argument presented in the OP.
  • Malcolm Lett
    70
    Thanks for the discussion. My apologies, but I don't have the background to be able to respond to any of the detailed points. However, I have a description of a series of mechanisms that I believe does produce everything that consciousness appears to be - from a first-person perspective.

    That description is given the other discussion I mentioned:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/15091/the-meta-management-theory-of-consciousness

    I think of this description as being reductive, but then I also think of the explanation of H2O producing the wetness of water as being reductive. So it sounds like it's just a matter of definitional differences, as is often the case. In any case, the theory I present there is grounded in materialism, but yet I am able to offer very clear explanations for a number of phenomenological descriptions of consciousness.

    Unless someone can find major holes in my argument there, it makes the case for the need for alternate explanations much weaker.

    Your own term, "Meta-Management", may be an unintentional reference to a feedback loop.Gnomon
    Far from unintentional. The theory is based around the need for a feedback loop. The theory very much creates a Strange Loop.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    I don't have the background to be able to respond to any of the detailed pointsMalcolm Lett

    But regardless

    Unless someone can find major holes in my argument there, it makes the case for the need for alternate explanations much weaker.Malcolm Lett

    So if you don’t understand the criticisms, how do you know there are no ‘major holes’?

    Let me point to a couple:

    The usual argument against such a stance is that it leaves an explanatory gap - that consciousness "feels" a certain way that cannot be explained mechanistically / representationally / reductively / and other variations on the theme.

    Point number 1:
    Our intuition is the source of that complaint.
    Malcolm Lett

    Objection: the argument appeals to an indubitable fact, not a questionable intuition. The ‘explanatory gap’ you summarily dismiss was the substance of an article published by a Joseph Levine in 1983 1, in which he points out that no amount of knowledge of the physiology and physical characteristics of pain as ‘the firing of C Fibers’ actually amounts to - is equal to, is the same as - the feeling of pain.

    The basic point is that knowledge of physical particulars is objective in nature, whereas ‘the experience of pain’ is clearly subjective and so of a different order to any objective description. This point was elaborated in Chalmer’s now-famous ‘Facing up to the Problem of Consciousness’ 2which your argument does nothing to rebut.

    We have only one source of information about conscious experience - our own. Not even of yours, or theirs, just my own. A data point of one.Malcolm Lett

    Objection: the fact of one’s own conscious experience is not a data point. It might be a data point to someone else - a demographer or a statistician - but the reality of first-person experience cannot be explained away as a ‘data point’.

    You might know that when Daniel Dennett published his book Consciousness Explained, it was parodied - not by the popular media, but by peers including John Searle and Galen Strawson - as ‘Consciousness Ignored’. I say that’s what any eliminative approach must do, regardless of what ‘mechanisms’ it proposes to ‘explain consciousness’.



    ———————————

    1. Levine, J. 1983. “Materialism and qualia: the explanatory gap”. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 64: 354–361.

    2. Chalmers, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness
  • Patterner
    555
    I think panpsychism might fall under the heading of a paradigm shift.
    — Patterner

    I think it might present one, in the Nagel sense. I don't quite think it's anything new, generally. Panpsychism the concept has been around millennia.
    AmadeusD
    True, the idea isn't new. But, if it was found to be factual (can't imagine how that could happen), the acceptance of it would be. The world would have a very different concept of reality.
  • Patterner
    555
    I think of this description as being reductive, but then I also think of the explanation of H2O producing the wetness of water as being reductive.Malcolm Lett
    And it is reductive. A macro characteristic is not reductive only if the same characteristic is present in the microscopic constituents. To be reductive, we need to be able to see how the properties of the microscopic constituents combine to make the macro property. Which we can do with liquidity, as well as solidity. We know why a substance's solid form is more dense than its liquid form. And we know why H2O is an exception to that, which is why ice floats in water. Which is why a lake does not freeze from the bottom up, allowing life to get through the winter.

    We do not know that consciousness is a physical characteristic. We do not know how it comes about. Therefore, we cannot reduce it to the properties of its constituents.
  • Malcolm Lett
    70
    Objection: the argument appeals to an indubitable fact. The ‘explanatory gap’ you summarily dismiss was the substance of an article published by a Joseph Levine in 1983, in which he points out that no amount of knowledge of the physiology and physical characteristics of pain as ‘the firing of C Fibers’ actually amounts to - is equal to, is the same as - the feeling of pain.Wayfarer

    One cannot conclude from my version of the argument that materialism is false, which makes my version a weaker attack than Kripke's. Nevertheless, it does, if correct constitute a problem for materialism, and one that 1 think better capωres the uneasiness many philosophers feel regarding that doctrine. — Levine (1983)

    Levine acknowledges that his argument is not proof. And Chalmer's view is based on his intuition about whether he can conceive of something or not.

    We do not know that consciousness is a physical characteristic. We do not know how it comes about. Therefore, we cannot reduce it to the properties of its constituents.Patterner
    Precisely. There are so many arguments claiming that materialism can never explain consciousness that anyone who proposes a materialistic explanation is summarily dismissed. And yet the fact is that we don't know what consciousness is. So we can't be certain about the correctness of those arguments.

    In relation to reductive explanations, @Count Timothy von Icarus earlier commented that there isn't proof either way. I think that's a far better stance than claiming that reductive explanations are definitely false, or that materialism is definitely false.

    I'm also not trying to prove that materialism and reductive explanations are absolutely true. But I'm trying to show that a reductive materialistic explanation can go much further in explaining conscious phenomenology than is generally accepted by those who dismiss reductive materialism. I'm certain that there are gaps in my explanation, but I think if you read the full blog article you'll find that there's a lot less remaining than you expect.

    It was my mistake to start a conversation about intuition/delusion without the background that my argument was actually based on.
  • Malcolm Lett
    70
    I do not see how something "computing really hard," ever necessitates the emergence of first person subjective experience.
    — Count Timothy von Icarus

    This is the thing. The thing. It simply isn't needed, until we can assess why. At what point what a being need phenomenal consciousness? It's an accident, surely. Emergence, in whatever way, on the current 'facts' we know.
    AmadeusD

    Totally agree. Just adding more complexity at a computational process does mysteriously make consciousness happen. In my blog post I argue that there is a very specific evolutionary need for why consciousness evolved (well, technically meta-management) and a very specific kind of structure that leads to conscious phenomenology. There is a very valid argument about whether the meta-management processes I describe truly do lead to phenomenal consciousness, but if correct, it offers an explanation of why consciousness emerges.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    But I'm trying to show that a reductive materialistic explanation can go much further in explaining conscious phenomenology than is generally accepted by those who dismiss reductive materialism.Malcolm Lett

    :up:
  • Patterner
    555
    I'm also not trying to prove that materialism and reductive explanations are absolutely true. But I'm trying to show that a reductive materialistic explanation can go much further in explaining conscious phenomenology than is generally accepted by those who dismiss reductive materialism.Malcolm Lett
    Even if reductive materialism is not the totality of the answer, it's an indispensable ingredient.
  • Wayfarer
    20.7k
    Chalmer's view is based on his intuition about whether he can conceive of something or not.Malcolm Lett

    Not so. The distinction between the feeling of pain and the objective description of pain is a factual distinction.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    And yet the fact is that we don't know what consciousness is.Malcolm Lett

    We do know what it is. It is the capacity to experience.
  • Patterner
    555
    And yet the fact is that we don't know what consciousness is.
    — Malcolm Lett

    We do know what it is. It is the capacity to experience.
    bert1
    True. We just don't know how it comes about.
  • Relativist
    2.1k
    Sounds reasonable, and it sounds very much like Illusionism. From this:

    "Illusionists deny that experiences have phenomenal properties and focus on explaining why they seem to have them. They typically allow that we are introspectively aware of our sensory states burt argue that this awareness is partial and distorted, leading us to misrepresent the states as having phenomenal properties. Of course, it is essential to this approach that the posited introspective representations are not themselves phenomenally conscious ones. It would be self-defeating to explain illusory phenomenal properties of experience in terms of real phenomenal properties of introspective states. Illusionists may hold that introspection issues directly in dispositions to make phenomenal judgements – judgements about the phenomenal character of particular experiences and about phenomenal consciouisness in general. Or they may hold that introspection generates intermediate representations of sensory states, perhaps of a quasi-perceptual knind, which ground our phenomenal judgementts. Whatever the details, they must explain the content of the relevant states in broadly function terms, and the challenge is to provide an account that explains how real and vivid phenomenal consciousness seems. This is the illusion problem. "
  • bert1
    1.8k
    True. We just don't know how it comes about.Patterner

    Indeed. And the problems with trying to explain how it comes about leads to the idea that maybe it didn't come about at all, but was always there in the first place.
  • Patterner
    555
    Indeed. And the problems with trying to explain how it comes about leads to the idea that maybe it didn't come about at all, but was always there in the first place.bert1
    One way or another, the capacity for consciousness was always there in the first place. If the capacity wasn't always there, consciousness couldn't exist.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    One way or another, the capacity for consciousness was always there in the first place. If the capacity wasn't always there, consciousness couldn't exist.Patterner

    We may have a conceptual disagreement, I'm not sure. I think you are suggesting some kind of phenomenality/proto-consciousness as a precursor to consciousness which isn't full-on consciousness, whereas I don't think such a thing is conceptually distinguishable from full-on consciousness.
  • Patterner
    555
    We may have a conceptual disagreement, I'm not sure. I think you are suggesting some kind of phenomenality/proto-consciousness as a precursor to consciousness which isn't full-on consciousness, whereas I don't think such a thing is conceptually distinguishable from full-on consciousness.Patterner
    I don't know of any reason to believe most things are full-on conscious. How do you define "full-on" that allows particles, or rocks, or the vast majority of things, to fall under the umbrella?
  • bert1
    1.8k
    Just that they have experiences. Just not of very much. Consciousness + very little content.

    There doesn't seem to be any intermediate stage between having an experience and not having one.

    Goff and Antony have written about it, and Eric Schwitzgebel I think. The non-vagueness of consciousness.
  • Patterner
    555

    Trying to understand the terminology. If full-on consciousness can be of not very much experience/very little content, is our consciousness also full-on, but with much more experience/greater content? Or is our consciousness called something other then full-on? I realize this is your term, not one found in books about panpsychism. But I want to understand your thinking.

    There doesn't seem to be any intermediate stage between having an experience and not having one.bert1
    My thought is that there isn't any not having an experience.
  • bert1
    1.8k
    Trying to understand the terminology. If full-on consciousness can be of not very much experience/very little content, is our consciousness also full-on, but with much more experience/greater content?Patterner

    Yes, that's my view. Experience is consciousness of something, whether that something is simple and uninteresting, or complex and interesting. In either case it's still experience. The content is different, but the consciousness is no different at all.

    My thought is that there isn't any not having an experience.Patterner

    Yes, I pretty much agree with you. Just because I can form the idea of an object which doesn't experience anything, doesn't entail that I think there actually are any objects which don't experience anything.
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