• 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Consciousness is not in need of explanation ...bert1
    I agree. :up:

    For instance, Spinoza's double-aspect parallelism dissolves Descartes' "MBP – substance duality": mind describes (degrees of) voluntarily behaving and body describes involuntarily behaving. "Consciousness" (i.e. mind) is not an entity, but how we predicate a class of actions that we cannot account for mechanistically. Besides not explaining, or making sense of, anything, this is why I find "panpsychism" conceptually incoherent as psyche-of-the-gaps appeal to ignorance woo-woo. :sparkle:


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-aspect_theory

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychophysical_parallelism

    'How X becomes Y?' is a request for cause/s that can be answered by the inquirer herself by '(under specified conditions, we can observe that) Z causes X to become Y'. However, to ask 'why X becomes Y?' is a request by the inquirer of the motives of another who is the only one who can answer 'Z was the motive (for me) to cause X to become Y'. In clear, ordinary usage, how pertains to causes or correlations (re: bodies) and why pertains to motives, or justifications (re: minds).
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    We could say "How is it that it only rains when there are clouds" but it's unnatural.bert1
    That's because it's a rephrasing of the 'why' question. The 'how' question is more practical.
    "How are rain and clouds related?" "How do clouds affect rain?"
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    This anxiety seem to stem from some sort of mind-body dualism. "Why am I in this body and not another?". As soon as we accept that our mind is exactly the consequence of the body, and I could not have possibly been born into the body of a bee or cow because the "I" is exactly determined by the body, the anxiety vanishes.

    My post doesn't say anything that other replies here haven't said in other ways.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    Yes, 'how' is used less broadly than 'why'.
  • Patterner
    698
    "How is it that it never rains in southern California?"
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    Mind coming from matter is indeed miraculous, and also embarrassing to scientists recently.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-25-year-old-bet-about-consciousness-has-finally-been-settled/

    I predict more scientists losing more bets to philosophers. Ditch the whole "matter" thing entirely. There is no matter. It's all mental stuff.
  • Patterner
    698
    Consciousness is not in need of explanation - the mystery is already solved. We know what it is. We know its intrinsic nature, I suggest. There's nothing more to be said about that.bert1
    I don't understand what you mean. What is the mystery, and how have we solved it? What is its intrinsic nature?
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Mind coming from matter ...RogueAI
    "Mind" is not a thing; it's merely what some very rare, complex material systems do.

    There is no matter. It's all mental stuff.
    Stuff is just stuff and very rare bits of stuff happen to be aware that they are just stuff like all the other unaware stuff.
  • Patterner
    698
    Ditch the whole "matter" thing entirely. There is no matter. It's all mental stuff.RogueAI
    I don't understand why minds, being mental stuff, in a reality of nothing but mental stuff (or maybe there wasn't any mental stuff other than minds?), would ... what's the word ... fabricate a reality (an illusory reality?) that is of a nature unlike the mental, which we call "matter." And, to our knowledge, minds do not exist without, or can't function without, this fabricated reality. Why would minds do that, instead of existing and interacting in purely mental ways?
  • bert1
    1.9k
    I don't understand what you mean. What is the mystery, and how have we solved it? What is its intrinsic nature?Patterner

    Consciousness is its own explanation. It's nothing other than itself. If we assume that consciousness is a natural phenomenon like, say, a whirlpool or something, then we have a mystery to solve, we naturally seek for an explanation, just as we would for a whirlpool. I just don't think any such explanation is to be had, and it's not needed anyway. Once the definition of consciousness is grasped, there is nothing more to explain. With regard to consciousness, definition and theory are one. The question of its relationship to everything else remains though.
  • Lionino
    2.1k
    Mind coming from matter is indeed miraculous, and also embarrassing to scientists recently.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-25-year-old-bet-about-consciousness-has-finally-been-settled/

    I predict more scientists losing more bets to philosophers. Ditch the whole "matter" thing entirely. There is no matter. It's all mental stuff.
    RogueAI

    This piece, one of the worst written I've read all year, does not support your text around it. On the contrary even.
  • kindred
    35
    Once the definition of consciousness is grasped, there is nothing more to explain.bert1

    Because consciousness is embodied in matter,(our brains) which questions its own existence must be duly given not just a definition but an explanation. One such explanation is panpsychism as hinted at by the first post here.

    Yet such an explanation seems raise more questions than answers and not just from the biological perspective of why there even is life in the universe at all. Matter could have easily stayed dormant and inanimate and have not given rise to mind or consciousness, life etc at all. So it is of course a big mystery.

    Our vision and cognition although not special per se are special in comparison to this non-life which in the face of it could have persisted in the universe but it didn’t as here we are asking these types of questions.

    Your whirlpool analogy is quite relevant if such phenomena was rare and non-ubiquitous in the universe and so meriting a scientific explanation.

    So then let’s suppose one second we didn’t have consciousness or life at all in the universe but only this whirlpool phenomena.

    The whirlpools would still be special compared to the stationary matter in the universe but it would be just natural phenomena which laws of physics could account and explain.

    Asking where whirlpools and consciousness came from appears to be the same question but it is not for no whirlpool could question where it came from but only consciousness.

    But there’s more to consciousness being special than the above. It’s why didn’t the universe stay inanimate to begin with, no big bang just matter floating around doing nothing. This must merit special philosophical and scientific attention.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    That's a good question. Perhaps a dream like this allows to experience a whole lot of things we normally wouldn't be able to in our "natural state" of oneness with the cosmic mind. A dream where reality seems materialistic and we seem to be a bunch of individuals in a materialistic world (and of course we decide to forget we made the decision to dream all this up) seems like an excellent way to separate from the godhead and try out some unique experiences. What's it like to be in a concentration camp? What's it like to be a concentration camp guard? A celebrity? A nobody? A king? A peasant? And so on.

    I have no way of knowing if that's what's going on, but it doesn't seem incoherent or contradictory. Just unknowable. The materialistic explanations for consciousness, otoh, are completely bonkers, at least imo.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    Matter could have easily stayed dormant and inanimate and have not given rise to mind or consciousnesskindred

    Could it? I'm not sure matter can do anything at all without consciousness. It seems to me that consciousness might be uniquely causal.

    I think we are so used to explaining one thing in terms of something else, it is really hard to recognise that this isn't needed with consciousness. Understanding the concept is enough to fully understand what it is.
  • Patterner
    698
    Consciousness is its own explanation. It's nothing other than itself.bert1
    We can say matter is its own explanation, and is nothing other than itself. how does choosing to not try to explain something solve the mystery of it, or tell us about its intrinsic nature? In Until the End of Time, Brian Greene writes:
    I don’t know what mass is. I don’t know what electric charge is. What I do know is that mass produces and responds to a gravitational force, and electric charge produces and responds to an electromagnetic force. So while I can’t tell you what these features of particles are, I can tell you what these features do. — Greene
    I can't imagine he is ever going to stop trying to figure out what those features are. Newton could not figure out what gravity is. He only figured out what it does. Einstein kept at the mystery, and figured out its intrinsic nature.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    Could it? I'm not sure matter can do anything at all without consciousness. It seems to me that consciousness might be uniquely causal.

    I think we are so used to explaining one thing in terms of something else, it is really hard to recognise that this isn't needed with consciousness. Understanding the concept is enough to fully understand what it is.
    bert1

    There's a contradiction in my own post. I said I wasn't sure if it was uniquely causal or not, then I said understanding the concept of consciousness is enough to understand its nature. I'll go with the latter I think. The causal and the experiential are separate concepts, even if they are both equally irreducible to anything else.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    I can't imagine he is ever going to stop trying to figure out what those features are. Newton could not figure out what gravity is. He only figured out what it does. Einstein kept at the mystery, and figured out its intrinsic nature.Patterner

    That's interesting. Isn't the situation almost the converse with consciousness? We know what it is, but we don't know what it does. Consider epiphenominalism. That's exactly the view that consciousness doesn't do anything. It's not causal. By epiphenominalists agree that consciousness is that by which such-and-such has experiences.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    I don’t know what electric charge is. — Greene

    @Patterner Yes, but electric charge is something out there that we come to know about. Consciousness is not like that, it's in here, not out there. We know about consciousness because consciousness is itself knowing, we know that we know, and we know the nature of knowing by being a knower. Electric charge is not the same concept as knowing, so knowing about knowing doesn't reveal the nature of electric charge. We are a system of electric charge as well perhaps, but as electric charge is not the same thing as knowing, the electric charge does not immediately reveal its own intrinsic nature to us as knowers. Does this make any sense? I'm sure other philosophers have had this thought before and probably expressed it much better than I have. I think Goff might have done, I'll look it up.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    But if there's the assertion that physical matter exists, and minds and consciousness emerge from it, there has to be an explanation for how that happens. The Ai's are approaching human-level. Science is going to have to say something about whether they're conscious or not, isn't it?
  • bert1
    1.9k
    But if there's the assertion that physical matter exists, and minds and consciousness emerge from it, there has to be an explanation for how that happens.RogueAI

    It would be helpful, yes. To be fair, some attempts have been made, and the most plausible are all functionalist reductions. But as functionalist reductions, they are open to the objection "Why can't that function happen without consciousness?" Which is just another way to notice that consciousness is not a function.

    The Ai's are approaching human-level. Science is going to have to say something about whether they're conscious or not, isn't it?RogueAI

    It doesn't have to, but it would be philosophically satisfying if it did. And it really doesn't have to - science has got on well without the concept of consciousness doing any heavy lifting for quite a while.
  • Patterner
    698
    That's a good question. Perhaps a dream like this allows to experience a whole lot of things we normally wouldn't be able to in our "natural state" of oneness with the cosmic mind. A dream where reality seems materialistic and we seem to be a bunch of individuals in a materialistic world (and of course we decide to forget we made the decision to dream all this up) seems like an excellent way to separate from the godhead and try out some unique experiences. What's it like to be in a concentration camp? What's it like to be a concentration camp guard? A celebrity? A nobody? A king? A peasant? And so on.RogueAI
    I understand the idea of Atman being, shall we say, shards of Brahman, limiting itself in order to experience things in different ways. But that, itself, is speculation. Adding the idea that the material world that we experience, of such incredibly different nature than a reality of just minds, is entirely made up (because, if it's not entirely made up, then it's based on something else), which would be like us coming up with an different reality with entirely different properties and laws, which we can't do In anything but the most general terms, but which would have to be a reality that we could survive in... Well, I don't see the logic in believing that over believing things are generally as they seem. Things may not be exactly as they seem, since our perceptions can only give us a certain amount of what's there. However, that's far from saying nothing at all is as it seems.


    The materialistic explanations for consciousness, otoh, are completely bonkers, at least imo.RogueAI
    I agree. The materialistic explanations amount to "It just happens." Why are certain physical things and processes, which would take place without consciousness, nevertheless, accompanied by consciousness? They just are. Adding more physical processes to the mix, making the system more physically complex, doesn't suggest an answer for how physical becomes conscious.
  • Patterner
    698
    Yes, but electric charge is something out there that we come to know about. Consciousness is not like that, it's in here, not out there. We know about consciousness because consciousness is itself knowing, we know that we know, and we know the nature of knowing by being a knower.bert1
    We know what knowing is. But we don't know how it is that we are able to know. We all have our favorite theories. Yours and mine both fall under the umbrella of panpsychism. I believe @RogueAI's is idealism. (I don't know how many specific theories fall under that umbrella.) The fact that there can be different theories, but we have no way of verifying any of them, means it's a mystery. We have a general idea of what it does. Ask ten people here what the characteristics of consciousness are, and you'll probably get a dozen answers. But the bare minimum is subjective experience. But how that happens is a mystery. The Hard Problem.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    I've found an article by Goff which might be relevant. Haven't read it yet, but it seems to address the revelatory theses and mentions causation in relation to consciousness.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11245-018-9594-9

    From the abstract:

    "Revelation is roughly the thesis that we have introspective access to the essential nature of our conscious states. This thesis is appealed to in arguments against physicalism. Little attention has been given to the problem that Revelation is a source of pressure in the direction of epiphenomenalism, as introspection does not seem to reveal our conscious states as being essentially causal."
  • Wayfarer
    21.4k
    I understand the idea of Atman being, shall we say, shards of Brahman, limiting itself in order to experience things in different ways. But that, itself, is speculationPatterner

    According to the Advaita, as I understand it, it is only a matter of speculation for the ignorant (in which I include myself of course). As for whether the material world is of a ‘different nature’ to mind, that assumes you can make an object out of mind and then compare it to the world. I see the point as being, rather, that even the experience of cold, hard reality - falling on concrete for instance - is still something that occurs within experience. It’s not as if there’s the material on one side and the experience on another, the reality is the experience of falling, the sensation of hardness, the pain of impact. Within which the objective and subjective elements are poles of experience, neither of which can be experienced in the absence of the other.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    The conscious state "high" and/or "buzzed" certainly is causal for a lot of people. Myself included.
  • bert1
    1.9k
    I agree with you, but others argue, somewhat plausibly, that all the actual causal stuff happens in the brain, and your feeling of such and such just accompanies it. This is the epiphenomenal view. Could epiphenomenalism be true? If you gave a zombie the same drugs a regular human, would it behave the same way?
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    I don't find it plausible. It doesn't make any sense. Why would someone do something like heroin if not for the high? There's some hidden program in the brain telling the person to shoot up? The conscious high is only there for the ride? The simplest explanation is the best: I shoot up because I want to get high/don't want to be dope sick. P-zombies fall apart when analyzed closely over just this sort of thing. The idea of a p-zombie ODing on fentanyl is absurd. Why would it do something so dangerous if not for the feels?
  • bert1
    1.9k
    Why would it do something so dangerous if not for the feels?RogueAI

    For the same kind of reason that a ball rolls down an incline.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    For the same kind of reason that a ball rolls down an incline.bert1

    But I don't go through life like a ball rolling down an incline. None of us do. We don't behave like that. To say the p-zombie does the same things as us because it's an elaborate pachinko game is to already admit we're talking about something fundamentally different than us. That's not how we work.

    Suppose I'm acting in a play. My line is "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Then I run off stage. Now suppose in a parallel world I've taken a drug that is making me paranoid. I'm hallucinating. I think a priest is trying to kill me. I run into the backstage of some theater, wander out on stage at a pivotal moment and say "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" and run off stage. To the observers, both me and parallel world me did the same thing. But are we going to say we behaved in the same way? No. In one case I'm acting, in the other case, I'm freaking out. Wouldn't you agree?
  • bert1
    1.9k
    That's not how we work.RogueAI

    There are more sophisticated, less crudely mechanistic accounts, like those involving top-down causation by emergent characteristics of whole systems. Is that any more plausible?
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