• creativesoul
    9.2k
    Andrew M is arguing that perspective is fundamental to knowing - which I agree with.Wayfarer

    I've seen very little, if anything, that Andrew has argued here that strikes me as obviously mistaken. Andrew also seems to be skirting around, or nearly touching upon what I call existential dependency and elemental constituency. Unfortunately, he seems to be working from a dichotomy of sorts that is itself inadequate. Perhaps the physical/mental, or physical/ non-physical, or material/immaterial? I'm not sure, however, none of those is capable of taking proper account of that which consists of and is existentially dependent upon both. All conscious experience is of that sort of existential/elemental variety, for it all consists of thought and belief, and all thought and belief consists of and is existentially dependent upon physical and 'mental', material and immaterial, internal and external, physical and non-physical, etc...
  • Janus
    9.6k
    Some animals show rudimentary abilities to count and reason, but speech and reasoning is unique to humans. I'm not going to argue it further.Wayfarer

    Nor should you try when apparently you don't have any further argument.

    As for your categorisation of 'varieties of conscious experience', that may be all well and good, but I'm concentrating specifically on rational thought, as I regard that as germane to the OP.Wayfarer

    The alternative to linguistically mediated rational thought is not merely stimulus and response, though; that is way too simplistic and demeaning of animal life.
  • creativesoul
    9.2k
    The hard problem arises as a result of positing an ontological division between one set of features and the other. That is, a solution becomes impossible in principle because it has been defined that way.Andrew M

    Seems that way to me as well. Dennett also pointed it out.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    :up: Perspective is an attribute of rational thought. Do non-rational animals entertain perspectives? I think not, because they are not capable of abstraction.Wayfarer

    Yes, I think that's true for a self-reflective sense of perspective. However I'm just using it in the sense of a reference point from which things are observed. Animals can still distinguish objects and colors, even though they lack an ability to use language to represent them.

    I have to draw attention again to the equivocal meaning of ‘substance’ in this context. ‘Substance’ in normal usage means ‘a particular kind of matter with uniform properties’. ‘Substance’ in the philosophical sense means the fundamental kinds or types of beings of which attributes can be predicated.

    So I think what you are actually saying here, is not 'substantial', but 'material' - you're contrasting material particulars with abstractions.
    Wayfarer

    The types and kinds that you're referring to are what Aristotle termed secondary substance. So 'tree', 'apple', and 'human' are all secondary substances. However concrete particulars are primary substances. This tree here, that red apple on the table, and Socrates are all examples of primary substances. For Aristotle, the kind apple depends on there being individual apples. So secondary substance is not separable from primary substance.

    This is central to Aristotle's discussion of change. What is substantial to a thing is that which does not change for that thing during its lifetime. Thus Socrates might change from pale to tanned, or healthy to sick, but he is always human (and he is always Socrates).

    From SEP:

    The individual substances are the subjects of properties in the various other categories, and they can gain and lose such properties whilst themselves enduring. There is an important distinction pointed out by Aristotle between individual objects and kinds of individual objects. Thus, for some purposes, discussion of substance is a discussion about individuals, and for other purposes it is a discussion about universal concepts that designate specific kinds of such individuals. In the Categories, this distinction is marked by the terms ‘primary substance’ and ‘secondary substance’. Thus Fido the dog is a primary substance—an individual—but dog or doghood is the secondary substance or substantial kind.Substance - SEP

    They [abstractions] depend on (are not separable from) concrete particulars. They exist, to the extent that they do, because the concrete particulars that they are predicated of exist.
    — Andrew M

    But that leads to the question of what 'dependency' means. If you consider such concepts as fundamental logical laws or arithmetical principles, there are at least some that are understood to be 'true in all possible worlds'. Basic arithmetical principles, such as number, are applicable to any and all kinds of particulars; '3' can be predicated of people, apples and rocks. So I question this notion of 'dependency'.
    Wayfarer

    What I've described is Aristotle's notion of dependency. For details, see Aristotle's four-fold classification of beings in the Categories. There's a useful chart at 8:40 in this video (Substance and Subject) by Susan Sauvé Meyer. The arrows show the dependencies of universals and inherent items on concrete particulars (primary substances).

    This inverts Plato's scheme since, for Plato, concrete particulars are dependent on the Forms. As Meyer concludes (from the Video Transcript):

    The main point to keep in mind is that the term substance in our translation of Aristotle is standing in for ousia, which we can think of as the gold medal winner in the ontological olympics. With this understanding of ousia, we can see that it has the ontological status that Plato attributed to his intelligible forms. So now we can articulate the ontological dispute between Plato and Aristotle. Plato thought that the entities that deserve the title Ousia, the most fundamental entities, are suprasensible, intelligible forms. Aristotle, by contrast, thought that the most basic realities are those that serve as subjects for all the rest. And these are such ordinary entities as human beings, and other animals.Substance and Subject - Susan Sauvé Meyer - University of Pennsylvania
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Thanks! You know, I actually enrolled in the very course from which that video is taken, but withdrew because of other commitments. Might consider re-joining it. But I still maintain that there's a fundamental distinction between 'ouisia' and what we commonly understand as 'substance'. I'll mull over the other points you've made there.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    Wouldn't you say that having a perspective (or being conscious) is a bodily process or function like any other?Luke

    No. As I'm using the term, it's a logical condition.

    I think you and I might have different conceptions of a human perspective. Yours is apparently stripped of all phenomena leaving only an abstract point-of-view singularity. Whereas I see little difference between having a perspective and being conscious (in the first-person), with all that that entails.Luke

    Yes, my usage here is the former. However, your alternative usage is fine as well (i.e., the result of having observed, made distinctions, drawn conclusions, used language). In this case, like the "winning the race" example, it would be a logical condition that denotes the end of a process - something that is achieved by looking, thinking, interacting in the world, etc. Which is just what it means to be conscious. However I don't accept the "first-person" qualification if it's meant to imply a contrast with a "third-person" perspective.

    Do you consider observation to be a part of a perspective?Luke

    Observation is an activity or process. Perspective is the prior condition (my usage) or the end result (your usage) of that activity.

    I think that human aspiration or human digestion could be said to have physical existence?Luke

    OK.

    As I see it, the first-person/third-person division excludes the possibility of a physical explanation
    — Andrew M

    Why does it?
    Luke

    In effect, it posits ill-defined ghostly entities that are outside the scope of scientific investigation. See my earlier post on this here.

    If these are properties of the apple, rather than properties of your perception (or rather than some relation of the two), then it would seem to imply that the apple is objectively spherical and objectively red. Which is fine, but how do you deal with things like seeing illusions where there is a discrepancy between the properties of the object and the perception of the object?Luke

    If there's a known discrepancy, then we ordinarily express that by saying, for example, "The stick is straight but appears bent". However if someone simply said that the stick is bent (when it is straight), then they would be mistaken.

    I'd just add that the 'objective' qualifiers are misleading, since they imply that the apple has those characteristics independently of a perspective. It's both sides of the subject/object duality that need to be rejected and replaced with a perspective of the world conception.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    The hard problem arises as a result of positing an ontological division between one set of features and the other. That is, a solution becomes impossible in principle because it has been defined that way.
    — Andrew M

    Seems that way to me as well. Dennett also pointed it out.
    creativesoul

    Yes, I briefly discussed Dennett's Cartesian Theater metaphor here. And, of course, Dennett points out how qualia is defined to be beyond the scope of science (radically private, ineffable, etc.).
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Some language less creatures can learn that fire hurts when touched. That does not require language.creativesoul

    That's because it's not language. Bacteria can learn. It's basic to any living organism to be able to respond to stimuli. That's what I mean when I refer to 'stimulus and response' - it describes a huge gamut of behaviour, even human behaviour to a point. But language depends on abstraction and on reason. (I don't see why the notion of 'reason' is fraught, either, although I don't know if I want to argue the case.)

    Entertaining a perspective requires first having one and the ability to think about it as a subject matter in and of itself. Of course only humans can do such a thing, that we know of, for doing so is a process that requires complex language use.creativesoul

    Right.

    I've seen very little, if anything, that Andrew has argued here that strikes me as obviously mistaken. Andrew also seems to be skirting around, or nearly touching upon what I call existential dependency and elemental constituency.creativesoul

    I think there's a background assumption that the fundamental constituents of reality are physical or 'substantial'. Being non-materialist by inclination, that is what I'm questioning.

    Animals can still distinguish objects and colors, even though they lack an ability to use language to represent them.Andrew M
    But they can't conceptualise them. I think we have to be extremely wary about projecting 'perspective' as something that exists outside of, well, the human perspective.

    There's a useful chart at 8:40 in this video (Substance and Subject) by Susan Sauvé Meyer.Andrew M

    I note with satisfaction that Meyer says a good translation of 'ousia' would be 'being-ness'. I actually think 'being' would work equally well. After all, what kinds of entities are usually referred to as 'beings' in common parlance?

    And she also notes that the use of the word 'substance' is something of a mistranslation for 'ouisia', just as I've been saying. I think if we used a word like 'being' or 'subject' in place of 'substance' - like 'primary being' or 'primary subject' - it would convey the meaning of the term much more realistically.
  • Marchesk
    4k
    LOL @ the title change. I guess we have strayed too far from the paper, but the topic naturally leads to the wider discussion.
  • Olivier5
    1.3k
    LOL the title change.Marchesk

    Saw that too. It's only the second time they change that thread title. What's next? "Not Understanding Quining Qualia"? "How to Use Quining Qualia as a Door Stop"? :-)
  • Marchesk
    4k
    Quining the Qualia Proponents in This Thread.

    Edit - better yet:

    Quining the Qualia Lovers and their Bastard Zombies
  • Olivier5
    1.3k
    Good suggestions, but those only describe the current intent of the tread. I suppose the idea is that retitling could help relaunch the thread in new directions... In this spirit I propose:

    "Qualifying Quania" - exploring the concept of "quining", and whether it boils down to some elementary, ineffable "Quania".
  • Olivier5
    1.3k
    As with the train speed example, there is no "view from nowhere".
    — Andrew M

    But there is, because life evolved long after the universe was around, and science can detail the universe in places where there is no life and no perceivers.
    Marchesk

    Still, a view logically implies a point of view. There are of course things that nobody views, but there is no view from nowhere.
  • Kenosha Kid
    1.4k
    Correlations drawn between color and other things are not so much caused by color so much as they are made possible by color. Color is one basic elemental constituent of all conscious experience of color... that of red/redness notwithstanding.creativesoul

    I don't see these as exclusive. If we saw in high-contrast black and white, such that any light below a certain threshold frequency appeared to us black and any light above this threshold appeared the same intensity of white, we would have a single colour of sorts (white) but no differentiation: it is either present or absent. We could not distinguish between a nice purple berry and a dangerous red one, and colour as a linguistic concept certainly wouldn't exist. I'm not sure it would make sense to say we have an experience of colour in this case: we have an experience of light above that threshold. By having a different, frequency-dependent mapping between light and perceived colour, we have multiple colours to distinguish and colour itself emerges from that distinction.
  • creativesoul
    9.2k
    Some language less creatures can learn that fire hurts when touched. That does not require language.
    — creativesoul

    That's because it's not language.
    Wayfarer

    :brow:

    Some language less creatures can learn that fire hurts when touched because learning that fire hurts when touched is a process that does not always include language use.


    Bacteria can learn. It's basic to any living organism to be able to respond to stimuli. That's what I mean when I refer to 'stimulus and response' - it describes a huge gamut of behaviour, even human behaviour to a point. But language depends on abstraction and on reason. (I don't see why the notion of 'reason' is fraught, either, although I don't know if I want to argue the case.)Wayfarer

    I agree that stimulus/response describes a kind of behaviour, and there are many examples thereof, including some human behaviour. I disagree with the implication that stimulus/response alone is adequate for learning, and that learning is basic to any living organism as a result of stimulus/response. There's a gap between stimulus/response and learning that needs bridged.

    Not all stimulus/response counts as learning. Motion detectors count. Fire alarms count. Smoke detectors count. Surely, we're not saying that those are capable of having conscious experience, or learning, are we?

    Stimulus/response is autonomous. Learning begins that way as well. However, learning as a conscious experience requires more than just stimulus/response capabilities.
  • creativesoul
    9.2k
    Correlations drawn between color and other things are not so much caused by color so much as they are made possible by color. Color is one basic elemental constituent of all conscious experience of color... that of red/redness notwithstanding.
    — creativesoul

    I don't see these as exclusive.
    Kenosha Kid


    Color and conscious experience thereof? Think about the elemental constituents. Think about the existential dependency.

    Apples are not the cause of apple pies. They are an elemental part thereof. An elemental constituent. A necessary precondition. An existential pre-requisite. Color is no more the cause of conscious experience thereof, than apples are of apple pies.





    By having a different, frequency-dependent mapping between light and perceived colour, we have multiple colours to distinguish and colour itself emerges from that distinction.

    What does this add to our understanding of conscious experience of color?

    There are multiple colors to distinguish between and the biological machinery necessary for doing so, prior to distinguishing between colors. Color doesn't emerge from that distinction. Color is an elemental part thereof. Color allows it to happen in the exact same way that all of the other elements of conscious experience of color allow it to happen. They are the necessary ingredients.

    Crust, filling, topping...

    Apples allow apple pies to be made. Colors allow correlations between colors and other things to be made(drawn).




    If we saw in high-contrast black and white, such that any light below a certain threshold frequency appeared to us black and any light above this threshold appeared the same intensity of white, we would have a single colour of sorts (white) but no differentiation: it is either present or absent. We could not distinguish between a nice purple berry and a dangerous red one, and colour as a linguistic concept certainly wouldn't exist. I'm not sure it would make sense to say we have an experience of colour in this case: we have an experience of light above that threshold.Kenosha Kid

    This portion seems agreeable enough. I mean, that sounds about right, to me. If that were the case, we certainly would not be capable of having conscious experience of color. In fact, I would say that rendering eliminates sight altogether.
  • Marchesk
    4k
    @Andrew M@Banno@creativesoul@Janus

    What is it like to have synesthesia? Some people will see number symbols and letters shaded or tinged with color. The shadings are not the same across individuals, although there are some commonalities. For some reason, "A" is often seen as red. There's lots of other interesting types of synesthesia.

    The reason for bringing this up is because those people will experience some things differently than the rest of us. Seeing black "A" as red tinged or shaded is surprising, because a black symbol is not reflecting red light. So where does the red come from?

    1920px-Synesthesia.svg.png
  • Banno
    10k
    So... what? State your conclusion.
  • Marchesk
    4k
    Colors ain't coming from out there. Some brain shivering is going on.
  • Banno
    10k
    Perhaps. Colours ain't coming from in here, either, since we overwhelmingly agree on them - except that my wife says those sheets are violet, not blue.

    Something other than brain shivers is also going on.
  • frank
    5.8k


    Qualia. :heart:

  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    So where does the red come from?Marchesk

    It's an empirical question. The conceptual point is that the natural distinctions people make (and which can potentially differ depending on the person or animal involved) need not be the same as the distinctions a scientist might make in their specialized field (in this case, regarding light wavelengths). Similar words may be used, but with different uses.

    A simple example that shows this is with the yellow emojis and avatars on this forum. They are not reflecting yellow light (since computer screens emit red-green-blue light). Whereas a banana is reflecting yellow light. The relationship between those different distinctions can be investigated empirically, and without assuming an ontological subject/object division.
  • Marchesk
    4k
    Woo tech putting the sound quivers into her brain.
  • Marchesk
    4k
    Yes, but could B&W Mary know what yellow looks like before seeing it?

    (I simply can't resist) Could she shiver the yellow empirically in her room?
  • Luke
    1.2k
    Oh right - didn't notice that qualification. But I stand by my argument that only rational beings are capable of entertaining perspectives.Wayfarer

    Fair enough, although you did ask about reference frames, not perspectives.
  • Luke
    1.2k
    Wouldn't you say that having a perspective (or being conscious) is a bodily process or function like any other?
    — Luke

    No. As I'm using the term, it's a logical condition.
    Andrew M

    A logical condition of what? Or, what do you mean by a "logical condition"?

    In this case, like the "winning the race" example, it would be a logical condition that denotes the end of a process - something that is achieved by looking, thinking, interacting in the world, etc. Which is just what it means to be conscious.Andrew M

    I wouldn't say that being conscious is the end of a process. I consider it to be an ongoing process, or simply put: a process.

    However I don't accept the "first-person" qualification if it's meant to imply a contrast with a "third-person" perspective.Andrew M

    It is meant to imply such a contrast, since that's the nexus of the mind-body problem.

    Observation is an activity or process. Perspective is the prior condition (my usage) or the end result (your usage) of that activity.Andrew M

    I don't consider perspective to be the end result of observation. If anything, it might be the other way around. Either way, I would consider observation to be a part/constituent of having a perspective or of being conscious.

    In effect, it posits ill-defined ghostly entities that are outside the scope of scientific investigation.Andrew M

    I take it there is a particular way things seem to you at particular times, including the way things look, sound, smell, taste and touch. Simply because science cannot directly observe this particular way things seem to you, and/or simply because no direct intersubjective comparison is available, does not make these into "ghostly entities".

    I'd just add that the 'objective' qualifiers are misleading, since they imply that the apple has those characteristics independently of a perspective. It's both sides of the subject/object duality that need to be rejected and replaced with a perspective of the world conception.Andrew M

    It is only a subject who has a perspective of the world (object), so how can this be a rejection or replacement of the subject/object duality? It seems more like a bolstering of it.
  • Luke
    1.2k
    Colours ain't coming from in here, either, since we overwhelmingly agree on them -Banno

    How do you account for Intuition Pump #3?
  • creativesoul
    9.2k
    What is it like to have synesthesia? Some people will see number symbols and letters shaded or tinged with color.Marchesk

    :brow:

    Why ask if you already know?
  • Banno
    10k
    It's senseless to talk of inverted spectra.
  • Banno
    10k
    Why ask if you already know?creativesoul

    Exactly.
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