• Janus
    8.3k
    I suppose you could have different instantiations of precisely the same pattern, but perhaps only on the micro-physical level of existence, and even then the skeptic will say that different instantiations are not identical because they are spatio-temporally variant. Of course abstract patterns can be identical, but really there is only one of each; it's like saying that 2 is always identical with itself. So, the idea of self-identicality does not seem like it could count as being metaphysically or ontologically, but merely semantically robust.
  • Andrew M
    715
    This is muddled. WHAT is the "qualitative state" then? That is the hard question. Qualitative states exist, you are proposing. I agree.schopenhauer1

    We can be in pain or see green objects - that's just everyday, conventional experience. However there are no radically private qualitative states, or qualia. We simply interact in the world (that's our experience) and develop public language for the things we interact with.

    By saying they have a different referent, you are just restating that it appears to be a different phenomena. How is it that these two things are related, or are one in the same though? Hence the hard question. If they are not related, then you still have the question, "What are the qualitative states"? What is quale, as compared with the scientific explanation that causes or corresponds with quale?schopenhauer1

    See above regarding qualia. How some things we point to (such as green grass) relate to other things we point to (such as light), just is what science seeks to explain. And as I argue here, that provides a human view of the world, a relational view, not a "view from nowhere". As such, knowledge about the world provides insight into ourselves.

    The problem, as it is, is simply that there is not yet adequate language for what you want to explain. It's the beetle-in-a-box. Co-opting existing public language and giving it a private interpretation doesn't help, it just muddies the waters. As we've seen with modern physics, it's continued scientific investigation that exposes hidden assumptions and forces us to rethink the kinds of questions we're asking and whether they even make sense.

    It's been the human experience since at least philosophical inquiry began and the distinction between appearance and reality was a thing.Marchesk

    Yes, things aren't always as they seem. We agree on that. However the distinction doesn't imply dualism (i.e., of ontologies or worlds). Adopting dualism is a philosophical choice.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k


    But you're not addressing this: wouldn't consciousness have to be a property of something? Some sort of existent?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    But you're not addressing this: wouldn't consciousness have to be a property of something? Some sort of existent?Terrapin Station

    Yes, I am. It is existent, but how is it that this property is metaphysically the same as the physical substrate. If properties are just "something" of the ethereal realm that are "slapped" onto the physical, you don't have much of a theory outside plain old dualism.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    The problem, as it is, is simply that there is not yet adequate language for what you want to explain. It's the beetle-in-a-box. Co-opting existing public language and giving it a private interpretation doesn't help, it just muddies the waters. As we've seen with modern physics, it's continued scientific investigation that exposes hidden assumptions and forces us to rethink the kinds of questions we're asking and whether they even make sense.Andrew M

    I see your argument as not advancing anything other than what we know. People experience quale, we can converse about it. The question is not about whether your quale is different than my quale. The question is WHY or WHAT is quale as compared to the physical substrate which it is correlated with? How is it that certain physical substrates have a "what it's like" (e.g. quale) aspect to it, unlike every other thing in the universe which does not have this. By only providing causal explanations (like evolution, neuroarchitecture, etc.) you are only getting at the easy problems of how physical substrate correlate, but not how it is that physical substrate can be mental phenomena (i.e. experience).
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    Yes, I am. It is existent, but how is it that this property is metaphysically the same as the physical substrate. If properties are just "something" of the ethereal realm that are "slapped" onto the physical, you don't have much of a theory outside plain old dualism.schopenhauer1

    Wait, let's say that there are no people, just to make sure that we're taking perception, mentality, etc. out of the picture. Don't you believe that all physical existents "have" various properties? For example, wouldn't ice with a melting surface layer be much more slick than a tar pit, so that a rock (that weighs, say, a pound or a bit less) on its surface will much more easily be transported across the surface by, say, a steady 20 mph wind?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    Don't you believe that all physical existents "have" various properties? For example, wouldn't ice with a melting surface layer be much more slick than a tar pit, so that a rock on its surface will much more easily be transported across the surface by, say, a steady 20 mph wind?Terrapin Station

    Those are not properties of experience. We are investigating properties that have experientialness to them, no? Properties like melting points are not experientialness, though one can experience them happening once experientialness hits the scene. The very property of experientialness allows us to investigate other properties. The question is not whether it is simply a property or not, per se, though that can be debated, but what makes this property experiential. What is this thing we call experience and why is it related with matter?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    Those are not properties of experience.schopenhauer1

    Right. At the moment I'm just trying to clarify whether you agree that all physical things "have" various properties. Because it wasn't clear to me on the earlier comment whether you'd agree with this.

    (I'm putting "have" in quotation marks, by the way, because although that's a common way to talk about this, I think it's ontologically misleading. Physical stuff isn't something separate from properties, where substances can somehow can possess properties. Substances and properties are inseparable.)
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    Right. At the moment I'm just trying to clarify whether you agree that all physical things "have" various properties. Because it wasn't clear to me on the earlier comment whether you'd agree with this.Terrapin Station

    So where does that get us? Ice melting, and other physical processes are presumably..physical. How it is that one property- the mental, is experiential and not just physical stuff, is the question at hand really. Calling it a property that emerges, is restating what we already commonly think of when discussing consciousness. That doesn't really add much though. Neurobiological organisms, in a certain environment have consciousness is not saying much either. Restating the problem. Unless you pose that melting ice is experiential, you are missing the point of the hard question. Other processes are physical without experientialness..why does this process have experientialness? It is the experientialness that is the issue here. That's what makes it so different than other properties in the first place.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k


    Again, I was just trying to clarify something before moving on.

    Next, I'd want to clarify that you agree that consciousness would have to be properties of something, because you didn't answer that in a way that makes it clear that you don't think that consciousness might exist but not actually be properties of anything. (Which wouldn't make any sense to me, because how could we have "free floating" properties? Again, properties and substances are inseparable; that goes both ways--basically the characteristics of something need a something to be characteristics of, and there is no something that has no characteristics, all somethings are some way or another.)

    So then we'd have to figure out why you'd think that consciousness can't be properties of physical stuff, but consciousness can be properties of nonphysical stuff, whatever nonphysical stuff would be. (Where the latter question would again be a mystery to me; I can't make any sense out of the notion of nonphysical stuff.)
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    I don't know what determines consciousness and I would be fine with saying Data is conscious. It's the epistemological problem that Block explains which is we can't know either it's the hardware or the functions the hardware performs. It doesn't matter whether Data is convincing. We still have the same philosophical problem.Marchesk
    I think the problem lies more along the lines of figuring out if the hardware really exists as we perceive it. I'm sure my mind exists. Not so sure about brains. Brains could be mental models (the hardware) of others mental processes. The "hardware", ie the "physical" world, are mental models - the way minds model the world. It's not hardware (material or physical) all the way down. It's processes all the way down.

    It's been the human experience since at least philosophical inquiry began and the distinction between appearance and reality was a thing.Marchesk
    This is assuming that appearances aren't part of reality. How does that make any sense?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    So then we'd have to figure out why you'd think that consciousness can't be properties of physical stuff, but consciousness can be properties of nonphysical stuff, whatever nonphysical stuff would be.Terrapin Station

    Nonphysical stuff would be like "imagination", "color green", "sound", "the concept of happiness", etc.etc . It is also called "mental states" or "experience". Green is presumably part of a lightwave frequency. Green, the visual sensation, is presumably a lightwave frequency hitting the rods and cones of an eye, causing the auditory nerve to do X, Y, Z, causing the eye apparatus to do 123, causing the first layers of cortical neurons to do 678, etc. etc. sometimes synchronosuly, sometimes asynchronosuly, brain events are happening. But what is this "green" quale..subjective experience as opposed to the physical substrate?

    Let's take a property you mentioned, melting. Why doesn't melting have experiential qualities to it? What is it about neurons that have experientialness? Calling something a property does not make the hard question go away. If that were the case, long ago the hard question would have been discarded as not an issue. David Chalmers would not read this and go, "oh shit, what was I thinking!!" :rofl:
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    This is assuming that appearances aren't part of reality. How does that make any sense?Harry Hindu

    Of course it's all part of reality. Dreams, imagination, lies, madness, hallucinations, appearances, colors are all real in that sense. But that's not what's meant. When someone asks me if I imagined something or it was real, what they're asking is did it happen separate from my me. And when we try to understand the nature of the world, we want to know what is the same and what is different from how the world appears to us. Of course ultimately that understanding needs to include appearances. And that's where the hard problem, the problem of perception and other related matters come into play.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Yes, things aren't always as they seem. We agree on that. However the distinction doesn't imply dualism (i.e., of ontologies or worlds). Adopting dualism is a philosophical choice.Andrew M

    Right, dualism is just one possible answer to the hard problem. So let's say that you're right and there is no hard problem. So how would you decide whether a robot was conscious? What would sonar experience be like? Can Earth as a combined swarm of human activity hear its busy cities? Would a perfect recreation of your brain in software experience pain? What do X-Rays look like? What would the world look like in 5 primary colors? What does carbon monoxide smell or taste like? How many different kinds of experiences can there be?

    If there is no hard problem, we should be able to reach scientific or philosophical consensus on those types of questions.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    And when we try to understand the nature of the world, we want to know what is the same and what is different from how the world appears to us. Of course ultimately that understanding needs to include appearancesMarchesk
    Im not sure I understand the problem. Why would you expect a part of the world, ie appearances, to be the same as the entire world? What do you mean by "the same"?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    What do X-Rays look like?Marchesk

    Another strange question. X-Rays don't look like anything independent of eyes looking at them. To ask what something looks like is to ask how it appears in some mind that uses eyes to acquire information. Are you asking about appearances, or asking about x-rays?

    Right, dualism is just one possible answer to the hard problem.Marchesk
    Dualism exacerbates the problem, not answer it. How do two different things interact? It seems the answer to that question is monism.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Im not sure I understand the problem. Why would you expect a part of the world, ie appearances, to be the same as the entire world? What do you mean by "the same"?Harry Hindu

    I'm not sure I understand why people don't understand the basics of these discussions. But okay, I'll continue to play along.

    If there is a difference between appearance and reality, then that raises potential problems for explaining reality, since we have to get past the appearance. This is how ancient skepticism got going.

    For this discussion, it's about the difference between qualia and external objects.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    I'm not sure I understand why people don't understand the basics of these discussions. But okay, I'll continue to play along.Marchesk
    Theres no game here.

    Go back to what YOU said:
    And when we try to understand the nature of the world, we want to know what is the same and what is different from how the world appears to usMarchesk
    I asked:
    What do you mean by "the same"?Harry Hindu
    In other words, what do you expect or imagine to be the same between a part of the world and the whole world?

    What would you expect to be different between a part and the whole other than one being a part and the other being the whole?

    I guess I'm asking about the ontological differences and similarities between a part and the whole?
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    I guess I'm asking about the ontological differences and similarities between a part and the whole?Harry Hindu

    We want to know to what extent the world is like our experiences and to what extent it's different. So for example, we've determined that an object's shape is a property of the object, but not its color and only partially it's solidity.

    So part of it is figuring what are the relational or representational properties and what are properties of things themselves.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    Nonphysical stuff would be like "imagination",schopenhauer1

    So is imagination an example of nonphysical substance on your view?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k

    I dont know what it is. That's the phenomena to be described. One can say causally imagination is certain brain states but metaphysically, how my experience IS my brain states- well that is the question at hand!
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    So is imagination an example of nonphysical substance on your view?Terrapin Station

    This is all assuming physicalism is everything else that we have to fit consciousness into. Like Schop, I don't know anymore than anyone else does.

    But we can make it broader than that. It's fitting the subjective into the objective, on the empirical grounds that the objective is what gives rise to minds that have experiences.

    But yeah, if we're giving an account of reality that leaves out imagination, that's a problem.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    We want to know to what extent the world is like our experiences and to what extent it's different. So for example, we've determined that an object's shape is a property of the object, but not its color and only partially it's solidity.Marchesk

    Youre not answering the question and I dont know if id agree that shape is a property of objects. It certainly is a property of our perception of objects.

    You brought up dualism. What does dualism say about what is different about the part vs. the whole? In what way does dualism solve the problem without creating more problems like how different stuff interacts, or the relationship between a whole and its parts?

    Is the difference substance, properties, or what? If we can safely assert that mind and world do interact, then what is so different about them? Why wouldn't they have the same substance or properties that allow them to interact, and any differences would entail different configurations of that substance or property?

    Another way of looking at it is that your car engine is part of your car but they are both considered physical. But what does that mean - that they have the same substance or properties that allow them to form causal relationships, or come together to form larger macro processes or structures?
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    Youre not answering the question and I dont know if id agree that shape is a property of objects. It certainly is a property of our perception of objects.Harry Hindu

    If you can't tell what properties exist in perception and what exist in objects, then why be a realist?

    But anyway, science is able to do it, that's how we have physics, chemistry, biology, etc.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    If you can't tell what properties exist in perception and what exist in objects, then why be a realist?Marchesk

    Because of causation. Effects (perception) are about the cause (object), but effects are not the same as the cause.

    Do causes and effects have the same properties even though they are different? You keep avoiding the question, yet accuse me of playing games.
  • Janus
    8.3k
    But we can make it broader than that. It's fitting the subjective into the objective, on the empirical grounds that the objective is what gives rise to minds that have experiences.Marchesk

    I think we safely can say that minds are not reducible to brains. What I mean is that mind-oriented explanations of behavior (in terms of reasons) will never be reducible to brain-oriented physicalist explanations (in terms of causes).

    Assuming that experience is an emergent phenomenon or property of complex physical systems is one thing: explaining it in terms that satisfy both the phenomenological 'feel' character of experience and the physicalist causal paradigm; unifying both, so to speak, would seem to be impossible because one is a qualitative analysis and the other a quantitative analysis, and there would seem to be no way to bring these two kinds of accounts together without losing one or the other, or reducing one to the other; which would not be bringing them together at all.

    So, it seems the hard problem is not merely hard, or harder or the hardest to solve, but impossible; in which case pursuing it would be wrong-headed, and only likely to prolong confusion. Better to acknowledge that there are some things we cannot know, or that some questions are simply incoherent by their very nature.

    I think we also have no warrant to assume dualism simply because we cannot answer a question which seems on analysis to be incoherent. The assumption of monism or physicalism may be equally flawed. Our models simply have their limits, and we have no way of deciding if or how they might accord with the human mind-independent real.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    I think we also have no warrant to assume dualism simply because we cannot answer a question which seems on analysis to be incoherent. The assumption of monism or physicalism may be equally flawed. Our models simply have their limits, and we have no way of deciding if or how they might accord with the human mind-independent real.Janus

    I'm sympathetic to that, but it gets you called a "New Mysterian" and a defeatist. I always liked McGinn's arguments for cognitive closure, regardless.
  • Janus
    8.3k
    Maybe, but if we cannot even begin to imagine what such an account could look like, what to do?
  • Harry Hindu
    2.2k
    We want to know to what extent the world is like our experiences and to what extent it's different. So for example, we've determined that an object's shape is a property of the object, but not its color and only partially it's solidity.Marchesk

    Do minds have shapes? Why do minds take the shapes of brains when I look at them?

    If you can't tell what properties exist in perception and what exist in objects, then why be a realist?Marchesk
    Is there no room for indirect realism? You seem to think the only viable options are dualism or naive realism.
  • Marchesk
    2.8k
    s there no room for indirect realism?Harry Hindu

    Sure. But you've made indirect realism difficult by locating all the properties with the perceiver.

    You seem to think the only viable options are dualism or naive realism.Harry Hindu

    There's quite a bit more options.

    Do minds have shapes?Harry Hindu

    Minds do perceive shapes, but as far as we can tell, shape does not depend on the perceiver. That's what makes it an objective property.

    Why do minds take the shapes of brains when I look at them?Harry Hindu

    Probably because that's the biological center for having minds.
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.