• Joshs
    716
    The hard problem, of course, is how to reconcile subjective experience with an objective world of causal
    processes. Do we reduce the former to the latter, as Dennett attempts? Or study the richness of inner experience as a new and separate empirical category alongside natural phenomena, much like gravity and other physical forces have been effectively researched without as yet fully integrating them in a grand synthesis?

    Here's a third option. Take a look at the development of theories of affect/emotion in relation to cognition and you will find that the progress in understanding the subject-object relation is intimately tied to that of the thought-feeling binary.

    There has been in recent years a new interest in affect in the social sciences and philosophy. Areas like embodied, enactive and extended cognition reject the older cognitive psychology model, derived from Descartes, of affect as peripheral to, and offers disruptive of. cognition, to one in which affective processes are fundamental to and inextricable from the core of what it means to think, perceive and conceptualize.

    In reaching this new understanding, these approaches have had to reject the logical and epistemological formalisms, so prevalent on this forum, that undergirded first generation cognitivism ( brain in a vat) and are still to be found in Nagel. Searle and a host of analytic theorists.

    The most radical implication of the new affective turn is that what has been considered unique to conscious subjects, the feeling of what it is like to be, the qualatiatice experience e of the world, is implied in all of what we call physical processes, not as one thing added on, but intrinsic to them. This is because in creating the abstractions that are so useful in the physical sciences, we don't recognize that qualitative transformation is intrinsic to, implied by all existents.

    Affect is something not just in living beings, it is built into the movement of living and non-living process as the fundamentally self-transformative basis of objective reality.

    It's not that physics hasn't made progress in this regard.

    The billiard ball universe is long gone. replaced by one of radical interdependencies between physical 'objects'.

    But these mathematically described relations still rest on fundamentally static presuppositions, such that physicists like Lee Smolen are trying to stir up a small revolution.

    He recognizes time, evolution, transformation as fundamental to understanding physical and cosmological processes , and sees thes as having been left of out physical theories till now leading to a current stagnation on the metatheoretical level. This is the beginning of a move, if it is continued , of physics away from its dualistic origin and toward a reconciliation with evolutionary biology and cultural-psychological development via the overarching framework of self-organizing systems.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    A very sensible direction for philosophy and science.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k


    Or there's another option:

    "Mind" or "Consciousness" separate from and different from the body, that your academic philosophers are so confused about, is in their own minds, a faith-based Spiritualist belief of theirs.

    Humans are animals. The animal is unitary, no separate body and "Consciousness".

    Animals, including humans, are purposefully-responsive devices, not different in principle from mousetraps, refrigerator lightswitches or thermostats. (..but differing from then in complexity, and natural-selection origin).

    A purposefully-responsive device's "Consciousness" is is property of being a purposefully-responsive device.

    A purposefully-responsive device's experience is its observed surroundings and events, in the context of its purposes as a purposefully-responsive device.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • StreetlightX
    3.9k
    I'm mostly on board with the 4EA paradigm (Embodied, Embedded, Enacted, Extended, Affective), but I think this way oversteps what can be concluded from its insights:

    The most radical implication of the new affective turn is that what has been considered unique to conscious subjects, the feeling of what it is like to be, the qualitative experience of the world, is implied in all of what we call physical processes, not as one thing added on, but intrinsic to them.

    The central lesson of 4EA thinking is that how consciousness comes into being matters: you can't separate affective valences from the kinds of bodies that undergo them, nor from the specific environments or ecologies ('worlds') in which they take place among. To simply impute qualitative experience to all physical processes - irrespective of the particular kinds or specificities of the physical processes in question - is to vitiate this insight and fall back into the abstraction that makes of consciousness some kind of free floating ephemera that's just kind of 'everywhere' and in 'everything'.

    So while I think it's entirely correct to say that, say, most analytic approaches to consciousness are utterly vacuous, swinging the pendulum in the other direction to simply say that all all physical processes have an experience-of-what-it-is-like is to make the same mistake from the opposite side of things - it amounts to another instance of explaining away. It evacuates all the focus on specificity that marks a central pillar of the 4EA approach. It's also a warmed over panpsychism, but that's neither here nor there.
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    I think to view the hard problem as something that can be 'solved' is to misunderstand what kind of problem it is. It's a hard problem, because it is not the kind of problem that is amenable to scientific analysis and solution. And that's because of the premises of the scientific approach, one of which is that it predicated on the objective analysis of quantifiable entities and relationships.

    The most radical implication of the new affective turn is that what has been considered unique to conscious subjects, the feeling of what it is like to be, the qualitative experience e of the world, is implied in all of what we call physical processesJoshs

    Implied? Do you think there is an equation that might describe that, such that, given the equation, and the requisite starting parameters, an output could be generated that would equal 'a feeling'? Whenever anything is interpreted, then you're already outside the domain of the strictly physical. Interpretive processes always entail qualitative judgements, and they're different in kind to quantitative analysis. Or so I would have thought.
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    Humans are animals.Michael Ossipoff

    Incorrect - Missed a qualifier there.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    incorrect.Wayfarer

    Humans are angels in animal bodies ???
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    Sounds great, what would it be for?
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    Close - but no cigar
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Close - but no cigarWayfarer

    How many qualia can dance on the end of a cigar?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    Implied? Do you think there is an equation that might describe that, such that, given the equation, and the requisite starting parameters, an output could be generated that would equal 'a feeling'? Whenever anything is interpreted, then you're already outside the domain of the strictly physical. Interpretive processes always entail qualitative judgements, and they're different in kind to quantitative analysis. Or so I would have thought.Wayfarer
    It seems to me that all you need to interpret anything is information (the relationship between cause and effect) and a goal, both of which computers have and they interpret data.
  • unenlightened
    3.8k
    The hard problem, of course, is how to reconcile subjective experience with an objective world of causal
    processes.
    Joshs

    On the one hand, there is an objective world of causal processes, and on the other there is a subjective world of experience. This called indirect realism. All experience is subjective, and therefore the experiencer has no direct access to the objective world. Yet, by realist hypothesis, the experiencer is part of the objective world that he has no access to.

    Subjectivity is undeniable, and therefore objective. But we have no access to the objective. Therefore we have no access to the subjective.

    But we do have access to the subjective, and therefore we have access to the objective. Direct realism does not have this hard problem, because the world is what I partly experience and what I am part of.
  • Michael
    7.9k
    Subjectivity is undeniable, and therefore objective. But we have no access to the objective. Therefore we have no access to the subjective.unenlightened

    The claim is that we have no access to the parts of the objective world that aren't our own subjectivity, so there is no contradiction.
  • unenlightened
    3.8k
    The claim is that we have no access to the parts of the objective world that aren't our own subjectivity, so there is no contradiction.Michael

    Well if you don't see a problem with the notion that subjectivity is the only thing that is objective, then I wish you good luck with the hard problem.
  • Michael
    7.9k
    Well if you don't see a problem with the notion that subjectivity is the only thing that is objectiveunenlightened

    Where's that come from?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    we have access to the objectiveunenlightened

    The issue here is that they is no objective, because the universe is in continuous flux. We use c approximations for practical applications. However, it is real and everyone is involved in the shaping and sharing of it. I agree we (consciousness) are embedded in it.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k

    "Humans are animals". — Michael Ossipoff

    Incorrect - Missed a qualifier there.
    Wayfarer

    You mean I didn't say what kind of animals we are?

    Regardless of what kind of animals we are, we're animals.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • unenlightened
    3.8k


    As I see it the argument goes along these lines:
    We see the sun rising and setting, but this is an illusion, because really the earth is turning.

    Whereas I want to say:
    The sun really rises and sets just as we see it, because the earth is turning.

    Experience is of the world, and the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity is unsustainable.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Experience is of the world, and the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity is unsustainable.unenlightened

    This I agree with.

    I also agree there is a "sun" add some sort of waveform, which we are interpreting as some inner image. I have no idea where the image in my name mind it's the same as the one other people have, much less other life forms. But the image is relatively constant and agreement between humans (and possibly other life forms) is possible. We affect that image in various ways, such as creating pollution waveforms that interfere with that image as smog. The interaction between waveforms and images is continuous. This, no possible objectivity.

    I should add the "inner images" are also embedded in the universe as a waveform.
  • litewave
    408
    The hard problem, of course, is how to reconcile subjective experience with an objective world of causal processes.Joshs

    There is a metaphysical view called Russellian monism according to which physics and mathematics only describe relations (including causal relations) but relations cannot exist without "things" that stand in those relations. The "things" are not relations or structures of relations and therefore they are also non-mathematical and indescribable. Their indescribability is due to the fact that every description is based on relations - for example, if you want to describe a car, you can do so by referring to its properties or to its parts, that is, by presenting the car in relations to other things than the car itself (various properties or parts); but the car itself is a thing, not its relations to other things. The "essence" of the car is indescribable, just as the "essence" of (the experience of) red color is indescribable even though you can describe red by referring to tomatoes, blood, a specific range of fequencies of electromagnetic radiation and whatnot.

    This view solves the hard problem of consciousness by killing two birds with one stone: it shows why there are indescribable (ineffable) things such as qualia in addition to mathematically or verbally describable relations, and why these indescribable things are related to other things, like qualia are related to neural processes (neural correlates of consciousness).

    However, if you want to regard all indescribable things as qualia (consciousness) you should at least differentiate the level or intensity of consciousness, because some things are apparently more conscious than others (humans are more conscious than flowers or rocks).
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    You mean I didn't say what kind of animals we are?Michael Ossipoff

    There's a one-word answer, which is specifically relevant to philosophy.

    How many qualia can dance on the end of a cigar?Marchesk

    Re the 'head of a pin' myth - basically it was a debate about whether two angelic beings can occupy the same physical space. Reminds me of Everett and other aspects of fairytale physics.

    There is a metaphysical view called Russellian monism according to which physics and mathematics only describe relations (including causal relations) but relations cannot exist without "things" that stand in those relations. The "things" are not relations or structures of relations and therefore they are also non-mathematical and indescribable.litewave

    “Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.” — Bertrand Russell

    Materialism adds that it's only its measurable attributes that ought to be considered real.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k

    "You mean I didn't say what kind of animals we are?" — Michael Ossipoff


    There's a one-word answer, which is specifically relevant to philosophy.
    Wayfarer

    But you're not going to say what it is?


    "There is a metaphysical view called Russellian monism according to which physics and mathematics only describe relations (including causal relations) but relations cannot exist without "things" that stand in those relations. The "things" are not relations or structures of relations and therefore they are also non-mathematical and indescribable." — litewave

    Yes, and the words "brute-fact" and "unverifiable, unfalsifiable proposition" suggest themselves.

    Litewave, you'd been posting some of the things that I later said, before I posted them, Especially of interest was what you said about the relation between "real" and "self-consistent" I've been saying that our life-experience possibility-stories have to be consistent, because there are no mutually inconsistent or contradictory facts.

    “Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.” — Bertrand Russell

    He's expressing an unverifiable belief in indectable unknown entities in the physical world.

    Of course not all of Reality is knowable, describable, discussable, But it isn't necessary to posit the unknowability and indeterminacy at the metaphysical and physical levels.

    Of course it might be that physics will remain an open-ended endless series of explanations of explanations.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • apokrisis
    4.5k
    The most radical implication of the new affective turn is that what has been considered unique to conscious subjects, the feeling of what it is like to be, the qualatiatice experience e of the world, is implied in all of what we call physical processes, not as one thing added on, but intrinsic to them. This is because in creating the abstractions that are so useful in the physical sciences, we don't recognize that qualitative transformation is intrinsic to, implied by all existents.Joshs

    ... swinging the pendulum in the other direction to simply say that all all physical processes have an experience-of-what-it-is-like is to make the same mistake from the opposite side of things...StreetlightX

    The "affective turn" is hardly revolutionary in the history of psychology and neurology. But yes, the mainstream ontology of our culture is mechanistic, and so an organic conception of things continues to struggle to break through.

    At the heart of the embodied/affective approach is the recognition that selfhood is itself a functional construct. It is a necessary part of the business of constructing "the world". We have to see the world from a point of view. So that is why there is "something it feels like what it is to be like". The brain is not merely modelling the world, it is modelling a self in its world. It is modelling a self for which a world exists - and exists in contrast to its desires, expectations, and possibilities.

    So it is an "easy problem", and not a hard one, to see why consciousness is imbued with a subjective sense of self. That is a functional information processing necessity. The modelling must include the weaving of the "persona" for whom the world is a point of view. Talk of affect is simply talk about a functional sense of self that is buried deep in the neurobiological design of the brain's evolved archictecture.

    As SX correctly says, there is no warrant from there to turn around and treat qualia as material properties - the panpsychic tendency.

    Instead, what it should rightfully do is call into question our belief that we know either the world, or this "self", in any direct and unmediated fashion.

    We have - for good functional reasons - constructed a model of reality that speaks dualistically to a concrete and objective physical world and an immaterial and subjective world-experiencing mind. And recognising that is the basic trick going on, it should call into question our deeply held convictions about both.

    So rather than simply conflating the two - arguing that mind must pervade all matter ... as if we actually know truly what either of those two things are - we need to step back to a further level of ontology that deals with the modelling relation itself.

    Instead of pan-psychism, that would be pan-semiosis. If we want to extend the neurocognitive revolution to physics in general, it would be the very thing of the subjective vs objective dichotomy that we would want to deconstruct in terms of sign relations.

    And physics has been doing just that anyway with its own information theoretic turn. The Cosmos is self-organising not because it is perfused by vague feeling but because it is structured by a dissipative purpose coupled to informational limits.
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    You mean I didn't say what kind of animals we are?" — Michael Ossipoff


    There's a one-word answer, which is specifically relevant to philosophy.
    — Wayfarer

    But you're not going to say what it is?
    Michael Ossipoff


    I was hoping it would come to you, but it is the Greek definition of man as the rational animal. And in this case, it is a difference that really makes a difference.
  • litewave
    408
    Of course not all of Reality is knowable, describable, discussable, But it isn't necessary to posit the unknowability and indeterminacy at the metaphysical and physical levels.Michael Ossipoff

    The problem is that only relations are describable, but if there are relations then there must also be objects between which those relations are. Those objects can't be nothing because relations between nothings would be absurd.

    But even if those objects are indescribable that doesn't necessarily mean they are unknowable. It appears that we can know some of those objects directly simply by being them - they are the stuff we are made of. And others we may know at least to some extent indirectly, by interacting with them and thus mapping some of their properties via causal relations into ourselves, that is, creating representations of them in ourselves, and then knowing these representations.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    The problem is that only relations are describable, but if there are relations then there must also be objects between which those relations are. Those objects can't be nothing because relations between nothings would be absurd.litewave

    So some people say. But lots of things are said by some people somewhere.

    To re-quote:

    The problem is that only relations are describablelitewave

    True, but a problem only for Materialism.

    , but if there are relations then there must also be objects between which those relations are.

    Why? There are abstract if-then facts. Who says there has to be concrete, objectively-existent objects and "stuff" for them to be about?

    Those objects can't be nothing because relations between nothings would be absurd.
    [/quote]

    I didn't say there are objects that are nothing. i said that there needn't be the concretely objectively existent objects that are the subject of the abstract if-then facts.

    The whole thing woudln't be "real"? I didn't say it was. in fact "real" is metaphysically undefined anyway.

    I've been saying that a complex system of inter-referring abstract if-then facts about hypotheticals needn't be real, existent and meaningful in any context other than its own inter-referring context, and doesn't need any medium in which to be.


    The relations can be described as abstract if-then facts. They don't need an explanation or an origin.

    No brute facts. No assumptions.

    That suggestion was evidently first made in the West by Michael Faraday, in 1844.

    Let me repeat an example that I've been using here:

    If all Slitheytoves are (or were) brillig, and all Jaberwockeys are (or were) Slitheytoves, then all Jaberwockeys are (or would be) brillig.

    That if-then fact about hypotheticals is true, even if there aren't any Slitheyitoves or Jaberwockeys.

    It's obvious that abstract if-thens can be true without saying anythiing about the "existence" of the hypothetical subjects of the hypothetical premise and conclusion of the if-then fact.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    it is the Greek definition of man as the rational animal. And in this case, it is a difference that really makes a difference.Wayfarer

    No one denies that the various animals differ from eachother, and have their own talents, skills, niches.

    Yes, humans are very different from the other animals, who also differ greatly from eachother, in various other ways.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    I suppose the fact that you don’t recognize the salience of rationality doesn’t really come as a surprise :-)
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    I didn't deny that the kinds of animals differ from eachother in salient ways.

    I said that we're very different from the other animals (and that they, too, differ greatly from eachother)

    I suppose the fact that you don’t recognize the salience of rationality doesn’t really come as a surprise :-)Wayfarer

    Well I recognize the salience of the irrationality of chauvinism.

    Do you really think rationality characterizes our species?

    Michael Ossipoff

    .
  • Wayfarer
    8.1k
    Doyou really think rationality characterizes our species?Michael Ossipoff

    It seems simply obvious to me - rationality, language, story-telling, meaning-seeking, technology and science are the salient attributes of h. Sapiens. (For that matter, ‘sapience’ has a definition; it is different to ‘scientia’.)

    Anyway, humans are not only animals, or not simply animals, but animals who have either attained or been thrust into the ability to wonder about the meaning of existence. Actually the old philosophers believed that, were the liberation sought by wisdom not available, then man would surely be the most miserable of creatures. All of which is quite beside the point of this thread, so I will shut up.
  • Joshs
    716
    What about inorganic process? IF these are not purpose-driven processes, then I assume you are arguing that beings with purposes emerge out of processes without purposes, Is this a gradual development? Also, If purpose is an evolutionary adaptation, is it formed in the way that Dawkins and Dennett believe, by a blind watchmaker? In other words, selective processes act on dumb matter to create organisms like humans who have the illusion of purpose, a mere intentional 'stance' that at its core is nothing but good old fashioned efficient causation? Are alleged purposeful humans just meme generators?
    I'm not saying this hypothesis is wrong, but it is unsatisfying to some who think that it doesnt do justice to the richness of the structure of phenomenal experience.
    For me the larger problem with this account is that I think there is a more satisfying account available for the explanation of the origin of purpose and intention, which comes out of an alternative to Dawkins'
    idea of evolutionary adaptation Stephen Rose is a biologist who is among those who argue that adaptation is not simply gene-driven, but argue for a kind of neo-Lamarkianism. The organism alters its internal and external environment through its functioning and in this way shapes its own adaptive transfomation. Rather than viewing purpose as emergent out of non-purpose, this account views adaptation as involving purposiveness via the self-reflexive , self-organizing tendencies of all living things. Piaget was one of the first to model biological change in this way.
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