• schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    Claim: Emergence only works from physical to physical events. Emergence is incoherent from physical to mental events. Thoughts?

    Implication 1: Objects need a subject or there is no object.

    Implication 2: Subjects need objects, yet how does the experiential perspective (aka experience) come from non-experience?

    I am not a solipsist per se nor do I necessarily think the world has to exist without a subject, but that conclusion or topic may be separate from the main claim here which is about emergence, so I'd like to keep the debate about emergence and how experience can emerge de novo from non-experience.

    Folks like @apokrisis seem to say there is an illusion created by social learning. I always rebut this with the idea that the illusion is its own phenomena regardless of cause which takes "place". It is a process happening that is not an object, which is completely different than all other phenomena which are treated as object qua object and this is clearly not object but subject. The difference may be on how radical this departure is, and the nature of subject itself which is the inner space "experience" itself, not what causes it.
  • Frank Barroso
    38
    I had an example of heat transfer but really all it says is that mental events are just a series of physical events inside you. Your attributing a disconnect there that really isn't. Or you made A=B when its still A under all the assumptions.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    I had an example of heat transfer but really all it says is that mental events are just a series of physical events inside you. Your attributing a disconnect there that really isn't. Or you made A=B when its still A under all the assumptions.Frank Barroso

    Yeah, I don't really think the whole "mental events are just physical events inside you" is saying very much except redescribing what mental events are in a non-standard way.
  • Frank Barroso
    38
    how experience can emerge de novo from non-experience.schopenhauer1

    Your experience is simply equivalent to God's experience. The table is there for you because it is there too for God. This relies upon a world entirely made of spirits and that nothing is material.
    I believe I'm borrowing from Leibniz here.

    In my head your question only goes two ways.
    Either all experience is physical
    or
    Everything is 'experience' and our reality is simply God's experience.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    The more I study philosophy of mind and phenomenology the more I'm amazed materialism is as popular as it is. It's pretty obvious my mind, my experiences, my intentional, propositional, qualitative states, are not identical nor reducible to a neurological tissue state as it exists as a neurological tissue state. It is far more likely, given what we know from the self-evident and obvious, that the mind and the body are separate, or, as I see it, that the mind has definitive priority over the body in the sense that the world is intrinsically "minded" rather than intrinsically an unconscious lump of "material".

    Materialism requires that we jump across an epistemic chasm, unwarranted. If we have no reason to trust our first-hand experiences of consciousness then we have absolutely no reason to trust materialism as a theory of mind.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    In my head your question only goes two ways.
    Either all experience is physical
    or
    Everything is 'experience' and our reality is simply God's experience.
    Frank Barroso

    Hmm, I'm not sure why God has to be in the picture here. Are you equating mental events with God? How about rephrase it "Everything is 'experience' and our reality is simply experience."?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Materialism requires that we jump across an epistemic chasm, unwarranted.darthbarracuda

    Yes. The materialist explanation is: "Don't ask how, it just happen(s)". That's it. The contortions in language that are used in the other similar thread to hide this simple statement are mind-boggling.

    It is our minds that are exploring and creating as we live. Why deny this continuous experience of life?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    The more I study philosophy of mind and phenomenology the more I'm amazed materialism is as popular as it is. It's pretty obvious my mind, my experiences, my intentional, propositional, qualitative states, are not identical nor reducible to a neurological tissue state as it exists as a neurological tissue state.darthbarracuda

    Yes, I agree. I am not sure if it is a lack of understanding of the problem, evasion, or what, but this essential basic problem seems to be either missed, ignored, or denied it seems.

    It is far more likely, given what we know from the self-evident and obvious, that the mind and the body are separate, or, as I see it, that the mind has definitive priority over the body in the sense that the world is intrinsically "minded" rather than intrinsically an unconscious lump of "material".darthbarracuda

    That seems to be the uncomfortable conclusion- a sort of panpsychism. I don't even like the conclusion. It's not like I rather have it that way. To me, a more elegant theory would be purely materialistic, but it doesn't seem like the two categories are ever really merged without some very sophisticated panpscyhist theory of sorts. Also, panpsychism does not have to be brute mental events, it can be as sophisticated in its dynamics and process, but the experiential point of view is at least in the mix and accounted for. Thihs is related to the idea that it is incoherent for mental states to"arise" (or be related to) physical states as what is arising and what is arising in, is not accounted for, but simply comes on the scene through magical fiat (i.e. and so it just "is" when these such and such events are correlated).
  • Frank Barroso
    38
    Hmm, I'm not sure why God has to be in the picture here. Are you equating mental events with God? How about rephrase it "Everything is 'experience' and our reality is simply experience."?schopenhauer1

    "our reality is simply experience"
    Ah, but now Whose experience is it? For there to have been an experience we understood someone or something experience it. So you have to define a base level of 'experience' and I used God, only because I was referencing Leibniz.

    I personally do believe it be materialism. We didn't know quarks were a thing a few years ago. And a few years from now we might discover more about the reasoning behind mental events such as they are actually constituted in reality through physical events. The way we know have quarks that explain certain nuclear forces. Forces that a few years ago were seen as the end, that's it, no deeper we go. Just like how we still think the mind's experience is undefinable.

    Materialism requires that we jump across an epistemic chasm, unwarranted.darthbarracuda

    Indeed, but it only asks you to do so temporarily until science has caught up to how to explain it.
  • SophistiCat
    465
    Claim: Emergence only works from physical to physical events. Emergence is incoherent from physical to mental events. Thoughts?schopenhauer1

    Depends on what one means by mental events, I guess. Such canned statements are pretty meaningless without showing what philosophical scaffolding underlies them.

    If you think of mental and physical as belonging to the same ontological category, then there is nothing strange about the idea of the relationship of emergence holding between them. If you frame these two concepts as belonging to radically different categories, then of course the idea of emergence will be incoherent.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    I personally do believe it be materialism. We didn't know quarks were a thing a few years ago. And a few years from now we might discover more about the reasoning behind mental events such as they are actually constituted in reality through physical events.Frank Barroso

    This is the huge unwarranted "chasm" @darthbarracuda was talking about. It is incoherent for mental events to simply "be" in relation to physical events- they are two radically different things. EVERYTHING else is an object until we get to mental events.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    If you think of mental and physical as belonging to the same ontological category, then there is nothing strange about the idea of the relationship of emergence holding between them. If you frame these two concepts as belonging to radically different categories, then of course the idea of emergence will be incoherent.SophistiCat

    Correct, so I guess the claim is they are two radically different categories then, and that the former theory of ontological sameness is itself incorrect based on its radical difference that cannot be explained by heaping on yet more physical theories.
  • JupiterJess
    108
    I think we need to discuss what is meant by emergence. Does emergence mean new pheonomena being manifested at the top level, like a materialist soul shuffling around the matter?
    Or does it only mean epistemic emergence and all the true causes are at the bottom level and the top level vocab is only useful/indispensibly for us à la: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_stance.

    I think both are problematic, but since Apokrisis is not really a materialist his philosophy can get around the first issue. The phenomenal identity would be identical to the semiotic relation (with its physically real sociological augmentation= I am) which is similar to the classic: Water = H20. You really only have to accept abstract functional states can also have phenomenal identity.
    I doubt classical materialism can/should have that.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Interesting thread!

    Emergenceschopenhauer1
    First let's establish what emergence is from a metaphysical point of view. It's not as simple as saying that a phenomenon suddenly starts happening that never happened before. That still entails something coming from nothing and seems quite incoherent. So how do you conceptualize emergence?

    But I would probably agree with you that I cannot see the mental emerging from the physical (whatever that is supposed to mean).
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Indeed, but it only asks you to do so temporarily until science has caught up to how to explain it.Frank Barroso

    Read the rest of my claim. If we have no reason to trust our first-hand experiences of consciousness then we have absolutely no reason to trust materialism as a theory of mind. Science is given an epistemic free-bee as an unexplained explainer. My experiences are of higher epistemic certainty than a more distant scientific theory. If a scientific theory threatens something of higher epistemic certainty then the wise choice is to reject the scientific theory.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    You really only have to accept abstract functional states can also have phenomenal identity.JupiterJess

    You would have to explain this in order for me to talk more definitively on this.

    I'll just accept the almighty Wikipedia's stance on emergence for now:

    In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit.

    Emergence is central in theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. For instance, the phenomenon of life as studied in biology is an emergent property of chemistry, and psychological phenomena emerge from the neurobiological phenomena of living things.

    In philosophy, theories that emphasize emergent properties have been called emergentism. Almost all accounts of emergentism include a form of epistemic or ontological irreducibility to the lower levels.[1]
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    Interesting thread!Agustino

    Thanks.

    First let's establish what emergence is from a metaphysical point of view. It's not as simple as saying that a phenomenon suddenly starts happening that never happened before. That still entails something coming from nothing and seems quite incoherent. So how do you conceptualize emergence?

    But I would probably agree with you that I cannot see the mental emerging from the physical (whatever that is supposed to mean).
    Agustino

    See response to JupiterJess for emergentism.
  • Frank Barroso
    38


    I read a book once by a really mathy person. Its called a Strange Loop.
    He uses the analogy of a pool table. He posits very small particles that bounce indefinitely around the pool table. Some of these thousands of particles over time eventually clump together resulting in slightly larger particles that bounce indefinetely. By zooming out enough the static made by the thousands of particles become unrecognizable by how small they are; and we get to see the billiard-sized balls bouncing around the table. Now no longer do we have the microscopic view of thousands of particles lets call this reality A. Now we have the over the top view of a normal number of balls bouncing, and you do NOT see the static of particles, lets call this reality B.
    Our whole lives we walk around in reality B. It's the level that we see it, the level that our brains can reliably create experience out from.
    Is it wrong to say that reality A isn't real? Yes. Even though the human without a microscope had NO CHOICE but to say that reality A isn't real.
    To equate the analogy to our discussion:
    We see a table irl. The idea of a table pops into our heads. This is reality B. All we have ever known.
    Isn't it then a fairly small jump to consider that a larger phenomena (matter, thoughts, planets) is simply comprised of smaller physical events that we cannot measure YET?
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit.schopenhauer1

    The problem I immediately see with this, when applied to philosophy of mind, is that we see emergentism in physical-to-physical systems. It's quite a different thing to say there is emergentism in physical-to-mental systems due to them being two different kinds of things. Which is why the materialist has to hold that the mental, just kidding!, isn't actually really mental but simply a physical state.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    The problem I immediately see with this, when applied to philosophy of mind, is that we see emergentism in physical-to-physical systems. It's quite a different thing to say there is emergentism in physical-to-mental systems due to them being two different kinds of things. Which is why the materialist has to hold that the mental, just kidding!, isn't actually really mental but simply a physical state.darthbarracuda

    I am very much in agreement here. The radical difference has to be minimized (read ignored, denied, or miscategorized) in order for the chasm to appear to be bridged, when in fact nothing was bridged. The key here is the difference between a physical-to-physical system, and a physical-to-mental system.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    NOT see the static of particles, lets call this reality B.
    Our whole lives we walk around in reality B. It's the level that we see it, the level that our brains can reliably create experience out from.
    Is it wrong to say that reality A isn't real?
    Frank Barroso

    So how is this relating to the problem of emergence of mental events? Your thought experiment there just keeps proving my point that physical-to-physical events can be described in emergentist models, but physical-to-mental events cannot be. The very act of "seeing" A or B needs mental to presume any claim to begin with.
  • JupiterJess
    108
    You would have to explain this in order for me to talk more definitively on this.schopenhauer1

    Sure, I have a longer post typed out, but I think this can be understood in fewer words.
    How would your namesake express the identity of consciousness? It it identical to a particular manifestation of the Will?
  • Frank Barroso
    38
    If you think of mental and physical as belonging to the same ontological category, then there is nothing strange about the idea of the relationship of emergence holding between them. If you frame these two concepts as belonging to radically different categories, then of course the idea of emergence will be incoherent.SophistiCat

    You in starting this discussion have already agreed to framing "these two concepts as belonging to radically different categories" Just like I have with framing them similarly.

    So how is this relating to the problem of emergence of mental events?schopenhauer1

    The analogy simply expresses that big things may come from smaller things. If you don't see even the possibility of a larger event such as a thought coming from smaller events, It's fair to assume you don't believe in atoms, or evolution, or stars.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    The analogy simply expresses that big things may come from smaller things. If you don't see even the possibility of a larger event such as a thought coming from smaller events, It's fair to assume you don't believe in atoms, or evolution, or stars.Frank Barroso

    No man, that is not the claim. I already expressed my agreement on emergence of physical-to-physical events. It is physical-to-mental that becomes the issue, being that they are so radically different. Mental is experiential- a subject, where all other phenomena are not mental, are object, or so it seems.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    Sure, I have a longer post typed out, but I think this can be understood in fewer words.
    How would your namesake express the identity of consciousness? It it identical to a particular manifestation of the Will?
    JupiterJess

    More-or-less yes. According to Schopenhauer, Will is an undifferentiated (striving-like) principle. The flipside of this is the world of representation which is mediated by time/space and the fourfold root of the principle of sufficient reason which has the condition of causality of events. Platonic Ideas are in his theory too, free from the PSR, mediating Will into objects (a bit vague how that really enters the picture), and then the world of appearances is the world of time/space and essentially the tragic playground where the principle of Will fights against itself. So, short answer, yes.
  • SophistiCat
    465
    Correct, so I guess the claim is they are two radically different categories then, and that the former theory of ontological sameness is itself incorrect based on its radical difference that cannot be explained by heaping on yet more physical theories.schopenhauer1

    And like I said, just stating the claim is not informative or productive. "Mental," "physical" - these are just words that don't stand in relation to anything in particular, until you unpack them and show how you use them in ways to which we all could relate. It's quite possible that, given your meaning, the claim is true, and even banal and self-evident. And then there would be no argument, because those who think that mental could emerge from physical obviously mean something else.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    See response to JupiterJess for emergentism.schopenhauer1

    In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit.

    Emergence is central in theories of integrative levels and of complex systems.
    schopenhauer1
    The problem with this is that it's not at all clear what emergence is. Apparently, you say that non-existent properties will arise from existent ones. I can see how this would happen in certain cases. For example, I can see how the uniform distribution of molecules in a closed container will occur over time out of their initially random motion. So I can see how uniform distribution emerges out of the conditions of random motion in a closed container. But I cannot see how something entirely new - like imagine a physical force - emerges from absolutely nothing. For example, we know that gravity is very weak in quantum mechanics so it's not even detectable. But it still exists - if it didn't exist, I couldn't see how it was possible for it to emerge - and become noticeable - on the macro scale.

    In other words, nothing really emerges unless it is simply constructed out of pre-existent things. The notion of emergence in any other sense implies that something comes out of nothing, which is impossible.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    And like I said, just stating the claim is not informative or productive. "Mental," "physical" - these are just words that don't stand in relation to anything in particular, until you unpack them and show how you use them in ways to which we all could relate. It's quite possible that, given your meaning, the claim is true, and even banal and self-evident. And then there would be no argument, because those who think that mental could emerge from physical obviously mean something else.SophistiCat

    From "What Is it Like to Be a Bat?" article about Thomas Nagel's theory: Nagel begins by arguing that the conscious experience is widespread, present in many animals (particularly mammals), and that for an organism to have a conscious experience it must be special, in the sense that its qualia or "subjective character of experience" are unique. Nagel stated, “An organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism - something that it is like for the organism to be itself.”[1]

    Mental is thoughts, qualia, perception, concepts, first person (subjective) point of view. Physical is matter/energy, force, and their interactions. Neural firing patterns is physical. The thought of neural firing patterns is mental.
  • apokrisis
    4.2k
    ↪schopenhauer1 So does emergence work from the mental to the mental I wonder. Perhaps you can say how, or why not? Tell me more about the nature of this "mental".
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Tell me more about the nature of this "mental".apokrisis

    It is what created that post you wrote. Or do you think a group of chemicals got together over tea and decided to write it? Incredible what academia can do to minds.

    Does anyone seriously, I mean seriously, doubt they have a mind or do they think it is a matter of Cosmic Thermodynamic Destiny to enjoy hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k
    In other words, nothing really emerges unless it is simply constructed out of pre-existent things. The notion of emergence in any other sense implies that something comes out of nothing, which is impossible.Agustino

    I tend to agree. The horse seems to be put before the cart. Saying that downward causation is true, does not mean emergentism, it is a consequence of a more complex event affecting its constituent less complex parts, but the more complex event does not have to be discrete from its cause.
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