• Michael McMahon
    75
    “Basically, relativity said that the laws of physics couldn’t depend on how fast you were moving; all you could measure was the velocity of one object relative to another.
    But when Einstein applied this principle to his thought experiment, it produced a contradiction: Relativity dictated that anything he could see while running beside a light beam, including the stationary fields, should also be something Earthbound physicists could create in the lab. But nothing like that had ever been observed.”
    - National Geographic

    If someone travelled at light speed, I guess they’d see a series of still photographic images. The light ahead of them would be stationary relative to their own speed.

    There are obviously many different forces in physics such as the strong nuclear force. But from a philosophical stance, if consciousness isn’t a tactile material entity then for lack of an alternative it must be a bright photonic concoction. There’s simply no other substance that’s so far discovered with such unreal properties.

    We only see light that enters our own eyes; so the light that other people see is invisible to us. Instead of viewing consciousness as a material substance trapped inside of the skull, what if your consciousness was the entirety of the actual light that you perceive in your visual system? Light itself is your consciousness.

    A physical object can’t be accelerated to the speed of light. But if non-material consciousness is itself made of light, then obviously consciousness could effortlessly travel at speed c. It would be as easy as it would be for light emanating from household light bulb.

    A mundane camera can essentially freeze time with a single photograph. Unconscious dreams often take the form of a series of seemingly related photographs through which we confabulate a movie-like dream narrative. Could sleep be where subjective consciousness zaps forward through time at light speed? That for sure would explain the bizarreness of dreams.

    “In physics, a standing wave, also known as a stationary wave, is a wave which oscillates in time but whose peak amplitude profile does not move in space. The peak amplitude of the wave oscillations at any point in space is constant with time, and the oscillations at different points throughout the wave are in phase. The locations at which the absolute value of the amplitude is minimum are called nodes, and the locations where the absolute value of the amplitude is maximum are called antinodes.”
    - Wikipedia
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    https://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Worlds-Full-of-Lemons-by-Surrealist-Painter-Vitaly-Urzhumov8__880.jpg
    Fantastical surreal art on google images. There’ll be no shortage of lemonade!

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Vincent_Van_Gogh_-_Wheatfield_with_Crows.jpg
    Even familiar rural scenes can be imbued with surreal qualities.


    There’s much controversy these days about randomness, fine-tuning, quantum strangeness, etc.. What if randomness could be extended to the large-scale universe in general rather than any specific localised system? If the big bang was initiated by random means, would that process leave any residual imprint on our perception of events? So while the current motion of objects are deterministic, their original starting speed and location coordinates would be random. Someone could psychoanalyse the motion of particles to wonder how the object came to have its physical properties of speed and mass in the first place. We’ve lived in the world so long that it’d be as if we’re habituated and desensitised to the peculiar absurdness of our surroundings.

    Definition of anthropic principle: “either of two principles in cosmology:
    a : conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist
    — called also weak anthropic principle
    b : the universe must have properties that make inevitable the existence of intelligent life
    — called also strong anthropic principle”
  • magritte
    150
    a : conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist
    — called also weak anthropic principle
    b : the universe must have properties that make inevitable the existence of intelligent life
    — called also strong anthropic principle”
    Michael McMahon

    Or perhaps
    a: conditions of the universe must allow at least one universe
    b: Given this universe, such as it is, it is inevitable that bacteria exist

    An epistemic argument can be formulated that only the Earth hosts intelligent life. If there ever was any other intelligent life we will never know due to the limitations on transmission of information from the cosmological past even with whatever technology we might develop in the future short life span of humanity.

    In other words, bacterial life is just about certain, but if we can't discover extraterrestrial intelligence soon we never will.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    Can a universe be said to exist if there’s no consciousness inside it? Our visual perception of external objects would comply with the illusion of perspective. Although do non-sentient external objects themselves obey perspective? These tactile objects don’t have consciousness. So if these inert entities could perceive the world, what would it be like? If perspective is an illusion caused by our first-person view of the world, does that imply that external physical objects always remain the same size from a God-like bird’s eye view? But it’s difficult to even imagine a world where objects don’t get smaller in proportion with the increasing depth from a person.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    There’s no perspective in absolute time and space.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    “Okay, the next feature of consciousness, after this marvelous unified conscious field, is that it functions causally in our behavior. I gave you a scientific demonstration by raising my hand, but how is that possible? How can it be that this thought in my brain can move material objects? Well, I'll tell you the answer. I mean, we don't know the detailed answer, but we know the basic part of the answer, and that is, there is a sequence of neuron firings, and they terminate where the acetylcholine is secreted at the axon end-plates of the motor neurons.”
    John Searle Ted talk

    “In physiology, medicine, and anatomy, muscle tone (residual muscle tension or tonus) is the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles, or the muscle's resistance to passive stretch during resting state. It helps to maintain posture and declines during REM sleep.”
    - Wikipedia

    Is the natural tendency of the human body to do biologically nothing if we weren’t always moving it with our conscious decisions? The muscles are actually always a bit active even when we’re simply resting. They often exist in a balanced system of antagonistic pairs. So the front and back leg muscles have to actively oppose each other when we are just standing still. This is called muscle tone and we aren’t always aware of it.

    Maybe the body can indirectly exploit this complex and delicate system so as to conform with our conscious motor decisions. The brain might be able to passively weaken a muscle to reflexively achieve limb motion instead of actively moving the corresponding muscle in the antagonistic pair. This wouldn’t be too far off the idea of free won’t (a version of free will where we have the ability to veto decisions).

    Likewise it can be easy to let the mind wander. It’s sometimes difficult to try to ignore our thoughts in a mindfulness session. So without exerting mental energy is the natural tendency of the mind to creatively or haphazardly think even without conscious decisions? Our consciousness in this case would serve to guide and analytically direct our racing thoughts. I’m not 100% sure though.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    “Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental events are caused by physical events in the brain, but have no effects upon any physical events. Behavior is caused by muscles that contract upon receiving neural impulses, and neural impulses are generated by input from other neurons or from sense organs. On the epiphenomenalist view, mental events play no causal role in this process.”
    -Stanford

    Consciousness is invisible in the brain. But I don’t believe that makes free will redundant. There are examples of motionless physical systems where there’s still plenty of forces and potential energy. This happens in a state of equilibrium. Maybe whatever way consciousness operates it must always counterbalance itself. The “moments” of the sentience lever in the brain somehow neutralise themselves. That process would make it undetectable.

    “In classical mechanics, a particle is in mechanical equilibrium if the net force on that particle is zero. By extension, a physical system made up of many parts is in mechanical equilibrium if the net force on each of its individual parts is zero.”
    -Wikipedia

    “A moment is the turning effect of a force.”
    -BBC

    “An object can store energy as the result of its position. For example, the heavy ball of a demolition machine is storing energy when it is held at an elevated position. This stored energy of position is referred to as potential energy.”
    - physicsclassroom
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    I’ve already commented on illusory motion. Let’s elaborate on this virtual-reality headset comparison. Consciousness would remain in the same location while the body moves in different directions and the head rotates. In the same vein we can’t move to light speed because consciousness doesn’t even move to begin with.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    That is to say light would seem to move at a constant speed irrespective of the illusory speed of the observer in a virtual reality setting.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    https://www.thoughtco.com/thmb/i69TjbVjLXGiSRQo37rY1ILxbV4=/1005x1005/smart/filters:no_upscale()/brain_senses-56ccf48f5f9b5879cc5ba0e6.jpg
    “The stimuli from each sensing organ in the body are relayed to different parts of the brain through various pathways. Sensory information is transmitted from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system. A structure of the brain called the thalamus receives most sensory signals and passes them along to the appropriate area of the cerebral cortex to be processed.”
    https://www.thoughtco.com/five-senses-and-how-they-work-3888470

    With the mind-body problem, what would happen if we divided the mind further? Your sense of touch would then exist inside your body throughout the peripheral and central nervous systems. Could we say that the qualia of vision are actually located outside of your body? Everything we see is really within our own consciousness. Although we can’t volitionally change what we see owing to subconscious factors and neurological mechanisms in the visual cortex. We aren’t telekinetic over objects in our visual system as light isn’t wholly material or tactile. This non-real interpretation would be as if external vision is a 2D projection screen while internal touch is 3-dimensional. Altogether one could view the mind and its different senses to be existent both inside and outside your sentient perception of your own head.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    “the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s”

    Not only are we unable to physically move our body anywhere close to light speed, but light moves so fast that in a philosophical sense our speed is almost negligible in comparison. Even when we are moving in a plane we are essentially stationary relative the extreme speed of light.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4e/82/27/4e822700f45f09dd4b44857bdc572add.jpg

    Even a fighter pilot breaking the sound barrier might as well be travelling at 0m/s relative to how much faster the plane has fly to get to light speed. Might our locus of consciousness be motionless with respect to the objects in our visual surroundings?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    42


    I was referring to metaphysical antirealism which is the idea that "nothing exists outside the mind"

    Solipsism is the general term for this I believe.



    Even if I happen to be a brain in a vat at this moment—all my memories are false; all my perceptions are of a world that does not exist—the fact that I am having an experience is indisputable (to me, at least). This is all that is required for me (or any other conscious being) to fully establish the reality of consciousness. Consciousness is the one thing in this universe that cannot be an illusion."
    - Sam Harris

    I used to buy this, even though I had done a neuroscience degree for undergrad, which should have made me skeptical of this claim. What is conciousness? If you damage areas of the occipital lobe you can not only destroy vision, but the ability to imagine it, even in people who previously had sight. In someone who has had the major connections between both halves of their brain removed, you can get two distinct answers for what their ideal career is, one from each side of the brain. The sensation of volition when you decide to intentionally make any movement comes after the action has started. The sensation of volition itself can be damaged, so that the movement of leaves in a breeze around you can seem an extension of concious will. The qualia that make up conciousness seem to be fairly illusionary, distinct (not part of any comprehensive whole), and our perception of conciousness itself something retroactively fitted together.

    In the cases of ego loss under nitrous or salvia I've had, I think I could still talk about experiencing, experiencing purely in the sense of some sort of loose cascade of qualia, but not of any I observing it as a being that could declare that something exists. If you keep upping the volume of gas in the blood, you get anesthesia, medically, the lack of conciousness, but there is no hard dividing line between the states.

    The fact that we don't actually know how anesthesia works, and the reason it is so hard to determine the physical correlates of conciousness, to me, speaks to conciousness as a compound thing, and one that is likely far more illusionary and fleeting than we generally suspect.
  • Outlander
    776
    An antirealist is "a person who denies the existence of an objective reality".Michael McMahon

    It's probably been touched on somewhere in this thread no doubt but where does someone who thinks the person or person(s) even if it is the majority or whole of society is.. I dunno, just wrong lol, fit in?

    Happened before, geocentrism. Every person would have called Copernicus an "anti-realist", whereas in reality, he was surrounded by not just a society but an entire world of them. What of that?

    Bah, either way. Raising a glass right now to the original conspiracy theorist, Copernicus! Or so we're told... :grin:
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/meadow-hillside-near-forest-night-tall-grass-mountain-top-coniferous-full-moon-light-57277297.jpg

    Light is indeed necessary to discern colour. But does that mean light and colour are identical properties? A tentative analogy would be the outside light acting as more of a medium for colour qualia within the brain. We can’t see the green sensation of grass at night unless there’s a streetlight. Grass exists as an external physical object with mass. But we’re also accustomed to the colour green being an inherent property of the grass even though we can’t see it through the darkness. Is the sentient shade of green still there even when there’s no reflecting light being shone on it? In this way light would apparently reduce the opaqueness of night; the green colour would just be hidden and muffled behind the dark blackness. The colour black is still perhaps an active colour of consciousness qualia. This is despite it being caused by the lack of light and physically passive in nature.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    The imagery of dreams are still in colour without any actual light.
  • Banno
    10k
    Seems to me that much of this discussion is based on a misapprehension of what antirealism means.

    See Scientific Realism.
  • aRealidealist
    102
    Seems to me, the main premise of “anti-realism” is, as it’s been expressed in the O.P., self-contradictory.

    For if by “objective,” it’s meant (as it would quite plainly) “not-subjective,” that is, not determined by any subject, then the very premise itself is self-defeating. For if this is a fact, it must be so independently of any subject’s determination, i.e., it mustn’t be dependent on any subject’s determination; & therefore it must be an objective fact (an “objective” fact, as in a fact that’s not determined by any subject), & so is objectively real, an objective reality.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    “Your Color Red Really Could Be My Blue”

    Lets revisit that question to explore each option in the sample space.

    1: My blue and your blue are very different.
    This reminds me of people with colour blindness who perceive colours differently. If this were metaphysically true then we’d all be living in visually different unreal realities.

    2: My blue is similar to your blue.
    We have the same eye anatomy and brain physiology which might imply that we’re seeing the same approximate sensation of colour. Perhaps we might be seeing slightly different shades though. Therefore our different visions are based on the same objective physical world.

    3: My blue is literally the exact same as your blue.
    We not only agree on the names of the colours but also the identity of the in-between shades of different colours. Mixing yellow and red still produces the same secondary colour of orange for everyone. So maybe we’re in fact all seeing the very same subjective visual qualia. The only difference would be the geometrical angle from each of our perspectives. Consequently colour would somehow be part of a shared subconscious vision. Colour is seemingly part of an external world in our collective psyche even though it might not have a basis in the actual physical world. So we’d all be living in visually the same unreal reality.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-keqS7UBoFJs/T0A_jkBAZWI/AAAAAAAAAHk/4GCpseGixBI/s400/homunculus1.jpg
    It might be easier for a 2D visual system to fit inside the biological brain instead of a 3D microcosm of the world.



    https://www.av8n.com/physics/scaling.htm
    Objects get smaller due to perspective. The object itself is internally foreshortened. Our subconscious can glean the ratio between the approximate area of the front plane compared to the backward extent of the object. This represents a scaling law of surface area to volume which could be used to infer depth. Perspective affects the shape of an object unequally which can be indicator of distance. Perspective would be like a passive force within our sense of vision.

    A TV programme looks 3D without any other proprioceptive eye cues. We simply rely on familiar size, perspective and scaling laws to view an ordinary 2D television screen image as appearing 3D. Could our own perception of external reality be a visual 2D representation of 3D tactile world?



    There are lots of other depth signals:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_perception

    “Convergence: This is a binocular oculomotor cue for distance/depth perception. Because of stereopsis the two eyeballs focus on the same object. In doing so they converge.”
    -Our 2 eyes can be slightly angled inwards which helps parallax.

    “Texture: Fine details on nearby objects can be seen clearly, whereas such details are not visible on faraway objects.”
    - Another factor could be that the angle of central vision covers a larger area ratio against outer peripheral vision the more further out we look. We can focus on a skyscraper from a long distance away with it being equally blurry while only a small segment of it becomes much sharper as we approach closer to it.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    It could be that depth perception occurs subconsciously rather than consciously because we’re relying on multiple depth cues together at once. We don’t have to depend on only one in particular.
  • Michael McMahon
    75
    This would help explain why a 2D visual reality could appear vividly 3D.
123Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.