• Rich
    3.2k
    In this paper, Stephen Robbins examines the hard problem of consciousness, the nature of qualia, and concludes, as I also have concluded that qualia and memory are irreducible. Quality cannot be explain by some miraculous emergence from a brain. If indeed, qualia is movement (vibrations) of a matter-field then the brain's function is to create a reconstructive wave that reveals this matter field and create memory of it. Bergson frequently used the metaphor of photography to explain the flow of duration (time).

    https://philpapers.org/rec/ROBFQA-2 (free download to the paper).

    "In my view, the hard problem is, in fact, the problem of the origin of
    the perceived image of the external world. This straightforward statement
    is neither grasped nor accepted in the debate, though it has been the
    formulation of the problem for 2000 years, since at least the Greeks began
    thinking about it (cf. Lombardo 1987). Some readers might feel that the
    words “image” and “qualia” are interchangeable – and they should be
    (nearly), but to my knowledge there are virtually no discussions about
    qualia in terms of “explaining the origin of the image” in consciousness
    studies."

    "Again, unless the matter-field is already qualitative, the generation by
    the brain of colored representations remains as miraculous as the genera-
    tion of form. Color and form must then be assumed in some space outside
    of the abstract, homogeneous continuum of the classic metaphysics. But,
    in truth, the very concept that the process of perception begins with a
    matter-field without quality is the misconception of the classic, spatial
    metaphysics.'
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I found this series of YouTube videos in which Stephen Robbins explains his views on Bergson's theory of perception and the nature of qualia and how qualia cannot be explained by current theories of mind and the brain.

    This is the first in the series.

    https://youtu.be/RtuxTXEhj3A

    This is the playlist.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkj-ob9OuaMhRIDqfvnBxoQ
  • Victoribus Spolia
    32
    Why do we have to have a theory of memory at all? The assumption of qualia reducing to memory presupposes certain assumptions about human consciousness and the origination of one's mental content that seem to beg some very big questions.

    A memory is merely the attribution of time to a percept or mental state such as, but not limited to, qualia.

    It seems excessively bold to assert a reductionist relationship between qualia and memory when memory itself is arguably illusory or based on an arbitrary attribution as I mentioned above.


    Of course, I am a Phenomenal Idealist and Immaterialist, so I find any attempt to include the perceived brain in a theory of consciousness and conscious-content as patently absurd.
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    ? I don't get that...

    Isn't the introduction of qualia meant to show that not all forms of information can be rendered in the third person, which is what would be required to give a complete scientific explanation of something. Qualia being a form of information is stipulated in the Mary the super scientist thought experiment, as she is said to learn something new upon first person experience, the quality of the thing, that she couldn't possibly learn second hand.

    How information is produced, or emerges from the brain, or the perceptual experience or whatever, obviously cannot be rendered from the outside in, given simply that one accepts that the experience of red itself cannot be given second hand. Both that qualia is information, and that it cannot be reduced to third person information are stipulated in its introduction. Saying that one cannot conceive of how first person experience comes out of looking at a brain is no different than saying that one cannot see red by looking at anything other than a first person encounter.

    I would go further and say that not even general, second hand information is really explained, or understood deeply...
  • n0 0ne
    43
    Isn't the introduction of qualia meant to show that not all forms of information can be rendered in the third person, which is what would be required to give a complete scientific explanation of something.Wosret

    I would go further and say that not even general, second hand information is really explained, or understood deeply...Wosret

    In my mind the issue of qualia is connect to the issue of being or consciousness in general. As far as I can reason, existence as a whole is irreducible contingent. I share this with you especially because of your second quote above. My thought is that explanation is relative or between beings. That beings are here in the first place seems inexplicable in principle. Redness, for instance, would be a sensual version of this problem.
  • MikeL
    644
    It's good to see you putting it out there, Rich. I'll take a look and get back to you about my thoughts.
  • MikeL
    644
    How do they make this leap, Rich?

    "As the process velocity of B is raised further, the fly transforms to a near motionless
    fly with wings barely moving, then to a motionless fly, then to
    a vibrating, crystalline form, then to a collection of waves
    "
  • MikeL
    644
    I think I've got it. Matter appears as matter because the waves are vibrating so fast we can't see them- matter is the blur of the rotating cube?
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    Isn't the introduction of qualia meant to show that not all forms of information can be rendered in the third person, which is what would be required to give a complete scientific explanation of something. Qualia being a form of information is stipulated in the Mary the super scientist thought experiment, as she is said to learn something new upon first person experience, the quality of the thing, that she couldn't possibly learn second hand.Wosret

    It seems to me to be the complete opposite - that qualia are meant to show that all information is third-person. It is the attribution of the first-person to information that is faulty. Information is always about some thing that isn't the information itself.

    When I look at your brain, am I having a first-person view of your mental processes, or is it you that is having a first-person view of your mental processes? It would seem to me that you would be the only one having a first-person view of your mental processes because you are those mental processes, and mine would be a third-person view. If my view is third-person and yours is first-person then that would mean that by being the process is the first-person view, while everything else would be third-person. This means that to have a first-person view of a rock, you'd have to be that rock and then turn your view back on your awareness of being a rock.

    This means that whenever you turn your awareness on anything but your own mental processes, you'd be in the third-person view. It seems to me that the first-person view is only achieved by turning the mental processes back on themselves - of being aware of the process of being aware. Most other animals never achieve this first-person view and are stuck in the third-person and is why we say that they aren't self-aware. Self-awareness (awareness of being aware) and the first-person seem to go hand-in-hand, while awareness of everything else is in the third-person.
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    It seems to me to be the complete opposite - that qualia are meant to show that all information is third-person. It is the attribution of the first-person to information that is faulty. Information is always about some thing that isn't the information itself.Harry Hindu

    No. From the horse's mouth: "There are many aspects to the first-person mystery. The first-person view of the mental encompasses phenomena which seem to resist any explanation from the third person." - http://consc.net/notes/first-third.html

    You can say that he's wrong, or whatever, but not dispute what it is "meant" to convey.
  • Rich
    3.2k


    Yes, everything is a difference in vibration. Not too far from string theory. The question it's how does the mind distinguish vibrations into various senses. For now, it is necessary to consider it fundamental.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    No. From the horse's mouth: "There are many aspects to the first-person mystery. The first-person view of the mental encompasses phenomena which seem to resist any explanation from the third person." - http://consc.net/notes/first-third.html

    You can say that he's wrong, or whatever, but not dispute what it is "meant" to convey.
    Wosret

    There are many horses saying many different things - most of which aren't falsifiable and should therefore be given and equal amount of weight which means that we should be honestly, logically agnostic when it comes to theories of mind.

    What exactly is the difference between the third and first person? Again, I ask you: if you look at someone's brain are you having a first or third person view of their mental processes? If you say third, then why don't you have a third person view on everything else, as brains are just as "solid", and matter-like, as everything else. Where is the first-person view of the brain and how does that compare with the first-person view of some other thing.

    The problem seems to be that the "first-person" thinkers make some distinction between the existence of some qualia and an awareness of that qualia. What I'm saying is that there is no distinction. The appearance of qualia is the awareness of some thing.

    Awareness, and information, are about things. This presupposes realism. To say that there is an aboutness to awareness is to say that qualia refer to some thing that isn't qualia. To be aware of some thing and to be aware of qualia is to be aware of two different things - the thing and the symbol for that thing. The only time we seem to achieve first-person is when we turn our attention on the qualia itself - of turning our awareness back on itself.
  • Wosret
    3.2k


    Gots sources for the horses? Or is it more just you saying it? That's fine and all. Just asking.

    As for whether I'm having a first or third person experience of someone's phenomena states by looking at their brain, I'm having neither (that's the whole damn point). Looking at someone's brain cannot be construed in any sense that I can fathom of a third person account of what happened to them that day. A third person account of that is rendered hermeneutically, symbolically, archetypally, generically, utilizing the categories, which I then interpret, and distill down to my own first personal qualitative experiences, in order to attain the essence of what is being conveyed.
  • MikeL
    644
    Hi Rich, not quite through the paper yet.
    I like the idea of continual motion even in static environs, and of global velocity. The discreet v continuous argument for the mind and memory. Its a good tie in. I can see the point for a continuous memory, but might challenge it when the ideas settle a bit.

    I also like the reference to the growing tree and observed velocity. How does Relativity address that question - the fact that everybody agrees the tree or balloon is growing in all directions relative to itself, regardless of the reference frame? It seems like an absolute motion.

    I was doing well until the hologram. I'm getting a bit lost with the whole hologram idea the authors are so excited about though. I've missed their point. All points contain all information about the object? I've hit it before when I looked at the holograph theory. They lose me here. Can you explain the significance of invoking a hologram to read the wavefields of matter?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    How does Relativity address that questionMikeL

    Relativity is only about transformation of measurements between frames of reference. It v should not be given any ontological significance. My b recommendation is to just forget about it and solely look too Bohm's QM as a reference model.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    They lose me here. Can you explain the significance of invoking a hologram to read the wavefields of matter?MikeL

    The key points are:

    1) The field is real and is out there. There is nothing in the brain.

    2) The brain is a transmitter/receiver. It reveals elements of the holographic field by issuing a very specific reconstructive wave. One can theorize that there are different waves being constructed for personal memory fields and public, shared memory fields.

    3) The fields are persistent. They change but they do not go away.

    The brain is transmitter/receiver like a TV set (Sheldrake uses the same analogy), it is not a computer. Everything is already constructed out there, as with TV transmissions. The mind perceives the holographic field out there (not in here) and understands it. We are essentially looking at a moving picture.
  • MikeL
    644
    OK, well that makes sense. I can buy the field and understand the idea of direct realism.

    The public, shared memory fields seem a bit loose. Perhaps because I don't fully understand what that means. Does it suggest the memory is out there too and anybody can read it?

    It makes sense that the fields are persistent and change.

    I have not problem with the brain being a receiver (not sure of the context of it being a transmitter though - of ideas maybe?)

    The last little bit, the mind perceives the holographic field as out there (not in here) and understands it. I'm not too sure on the difference between out there and in here. The hologram is created inside our head, of out there.

    And how does it get around the Cartesian Theatre problem?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Does it suggest the memory is out there too and anybody can read it?MikeL

    Everything is out there and it all can be considered memory stored in the fabric of the universe. You b just have to think of memory differently, not stored in the brain. When you build something, you are creating something as memory in the universe.

    I have not problem with the brain being a receiver (not sure of the context of it being a transmitter though - of ideas maybe?)MikeL

    Yes. Now you are beginning to see it. You have to completely flip the role of the brain to begin too understand the model.

    hologram is created inside our head, of out there.MikeL

    It's all out there, embedded in the universe (consider it a Continuum). In one of Robbin's early videos he provides some images of this process.
  • MikeL
    644
    I haven't got the concept, so I can't flesh it out in my mind.

    The theory is of perception. It is all out there (direct realism) and the brain constructs a hologram of it (that's why we are aware of an image). No problem.

    The world is a wave field of which we see the qualia which includes form, which is really superfast oscillations of superstrings. No problem.

    It can transmit memories and ideas (from where?) into 'it'. 'It' being the matter field. By transmit into, there is a bifurcation here. I can build a house in the field, or I can imagine a house in the field - both are projections and both are equally real?

    Projecting memories into the public matter field. Can you read my memories if I stare at a tree and then you stare at the same tree? I don't get it.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    the brain constructs a hologram of itMikeL

    No, it is embedded in the field, not outside of it. You might even say it is it. You can may visualize it as a wave traveling through water. The brain would be a construct of the mind, embedded in the field (an energy wave) that is receiving/transmitting information.

    It can transmit memories and ideas (from where?) into 'it'.MikeL

    Yes, we are all embedded in it and receiving/transferring information by the changes in the wave forms.

    I can build a house in the field, or I can imagine a house in the field - both are projections and both are equally real?MikeL

    Yes.
    Projecting memories into the public matter field. Can you read my memories if I stare at a tree and then you stare at the same tree? I don't get it.MikeL

    The universal memory field is all equal but require different reconstructive waves to see it. The brain filters. But, there are twins (and sometimes others) who claim that they can feel the personal memory forms of their twins. This model opens up new possibilities of new types of sensory patterns.
  • MikeL
    644
    Ok, there is something faintly tangible in the mist, but I'm going to need to dwell on it (and ask questions).

    I'm blurry still on the distinction you're making between being in the brain and out there. It seems to be important, but I can't see why.

    I can understand that an experience may change how my reconstructive wave forms - hence creating a memory as it forms the image, bouncing it back out into the field, that some people with the right adjustment to their dials might be able to see.

    But how can you stand by the claim that the imagined house and built house are of equal realness? I can imagine I live in a palace, surrounded by beautiful chambermaids, but wishing so don't make it so.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    But how can you stand by the claim that the imagined house and built house are of equal realness?MikeL

    Real yes, but not the same. One is certainly more substantial than the other. This is the direction of creativity. First we imagine it (it is real), and then we might physically (greater substantiality) create it. Substantiality is imbedded in the field which we feel as more solid.
  • MikeL
    644
    Oh, like my God OP?
  • MikeL
    644
    That's why you said it could be considered the mind.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Yes, that is what I replied. It is your own mind that you are calling God. The label is not that important though each entail certain attributes, such as God being thought of as external.
  • MikeL
    644
    Yes, and it has collective attributes.... OK, the boat is right side up now, but I'm still in the middle of the ocean. Thanks for explaining your ideas Rich.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    ! Your welcome.
  • MikeL
    644
    Hi Rich,
    Did you get my comment on behaviouralism? It would seem the model of mind you have actually fits in quite well. What do you think about that?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Yes, it fits but descriptively it is much different. Viewing the body and cells as a complete holistic, cooperative mind provides a different path to changing behavior. It is more of an internal re-conditioning than an external conditioning though the external conditioning provides limited results.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.4k
    Gots sources for the horses? Or is it more just you saying it? That's fine and all. Just asking.Wosret
    In philosophy, it is always someone "just saying it". What Chalmers is "just saying" shouldn't be taken to be more than what I am saying. We're both simply interpreting sensory data. What are Chalmer's sources?

    As for whether I'm having a first or third person experience of someone's phenomena states by looking at their brain, I'm having neither (that's the whole damn point). Looking at someone's brain cannot be construed in any sense that I can fathom of a third person account of what happened to them that day.Wosret
    How is looking at a person's body as a whole, or looking at a sunset, or the Eiffel Tower different than looking at a brain? To say that you are having neither a first person or third person view when looking at a brain seems to imply that neither exists even when looking at a sunset or the Eiffel Tower.

    A third person account of that is rendered hermeneutically, symbolically, archetypally, generically, utilizing the categories, which I then interpret, and distill down to my own first personal qualitative experiences, in order to attain the essence of what is being conveyed.Wosret
    I don't get it. First you say that you are having neither a first person nor third person view, now you are saying that you are having both at once. How do you know that your qualitative experiences aren't being rendered symbolically too?
  • MikeL
    644
    I've been really wrestling with understanding the concept you are trying to explain Rich. It is extremely difficult to grasp, so I want to ask some clarifying questions of you. According to the theory Is it true to say:
    1. There is only white noise in front of us (matter fields)
    2. The matter fields are oscillating on the spot and the spot represents the present. However because it is an oscillation it also represents the immediate past and immediate future. For the world around us this matter field is directional not so much in space as in time. If we were to freeze everything and walk along the matter field we would see the continuous blur of matter as it passes through time.
    3. We control the speed of the passing of time with our mind as it is all already written in the matter field.
    4. The crux of the theory really has nothing much to do with holograms.

    How does that sound?
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