Comments

  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    Which half?DingoJones

    The correct half
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    The experts have spent centuries or more and still can’t give us a reliable conclusionDingoJones

    Half of the the experts have given us a reliable conclusion, and the other half haven't.
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    Depends what we mean by 'conclusive' I guess. I don't think it entails agreement. I can find something to conclusively be the case. But someone else might think I'm completely mistaken.
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    How do you know they have been correctly solved?DingoJones

    Because the solution in question is the most reasonable of the options.
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    How can you call academic philosophy rigorous when the results of that “rigor” are inconclusive on so many major philosophical issues?DingoJones

    The results are conclusive. Many philosophical problems have been correctly solved. It's just we can't agree on which ones and in what way, because there we don't have a clear enough objective thing that we all have equal access to that we can consult.
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    On the contrary, this is just to say that philosophy isn't science, and isn't supposed to be. However there can be rigor in the conceptual analysis, examination of inferences, clarifying concepts, mapping the theoretical possibilities (or interpretations of them). Philosophers can and should fix the sloppy thinking when they find it in other disciplines.
  • Does solidness exist?
    It's these senses of 'solid' that Watchmaker is thinking of, I suspect:

    "a. Not hollowed out: a solid block of wood.
    b. Being the same substance or color throughout: solid gold.
    c. Having no gaps or breaks; continuous: a solid line of people; worked for a solid week.
    d. Acting together; unanimous: a solid voting bloc."

    thefreedictionary.com

    So this idea seems to be of an an adulterated continuum, that isn't made up of smaller bits and is everywhere the same stuff. Something along those lines. Is that what you meant Watchmaker?

    Possible candidates: space, consciousness

    Space at least seems to be compressible in some sense. Does that rule it out?
  • The 2020 PhilPapers Survey
    Hilarious how many major philosophical inquiries are pretty close to an even split despite being discussed and debated for centuries.

    So academic philosophy is a complete joke. Roger that.
    DingoJones

    But I have some sympathy with your complaint.Cuthbert

    My take on this is that philosophical questions may well have been correctly answered already. But we don't have a way of settling the dispute easily. In science, the scientific method eventually compels dissenters, at least amongst scientists (not flat earthers). In philosophy, it's easier to maintain a dissenting position, as consulting the physical world rarely settles the dispute.
  • Consciousness question
    Yes, so it is a clear case of a category error. Consciousness is a state of something , not a 'function'.Bartricks

    I don't know about a category error, but maybe. I think of it as a redefinition usually, a hijacking of the dictionary. When pressed, functionalists have sometimes said to me (on these forums) that "That's just what consciousness means." To which the answer must be "No, it doesn't." Then they say "Your definition is a folk definition, and mine is a scientific one." Then I say, "Then your theory doesn't explain what I mean by 'consciousness'". Then they say "What you mean doesn't exist or is incoherent. You should give that concept up and grow up." To which I say "But my concept has a perfectly clear referent, get off my dictionary." And it goes on.
  • Consciousness question
    Neither addresses the person who is concerned to know how material things can be conscious.

    It just denies that they have any legitimate concern, yes?
    Bartricks

    Sort of, yes. It's like asking "Well, why do subatomic particles have spin?" The answer is, "Well, they just do. We've gone a low as we can go in terms of explanation." I don't know if I've actually got that right or not, there may be more basic concepts now, I don't know. I'm suggesting that consciousness does not admit of explanation in terms of more basic non-conscious things. It's not emergent. It's there right at the start.
  • Consciousness question
    So, solution one to the 'problem of consciousness' = some things are conscious.

    Solution two - everything is conscious.
    Bartricks

    Correct!
  • Consciousness question
    My cup has a function. So, a function is a purpose something serves. It is not consciousness. It's like suggesting apples are numbers or sounds.Bartricks

    A function is something that a system does. In computing terms (I'm winging it here), you put an input in, the system does something to the input, and you get an output. What the system does is perform a function.

    EDIT: And yes functions can be seen as purposive. In computers, functions serve the purposes of the programmer. In bodies, functions, such as digestion, serve a purpose for the organism. Functions tend to be useful, I guess, or they wouldn't be identified as functions.
  • Consciousness question
    That, true, would be a theory about consciousness. But it is incoherent, isn't it?Bartricks

    Yes, I think so.
  • Consciousness question
    No it isn't. Like I said, it's a theory about what consciousness tracks. it's the idea that is supervenes on function.Bartricks

    No, you're wrong. Functionalists, wrongly, identify consciousness with a function. It's not a correlation, it's an identity. If it were a correlation, they would be some kind of dualist, not a functionalist.
  • Consciousness question
    Why not restrict that to ham rather than to molecules?Bartricks

    That is an option. It's one Chalmers considers in terms of strong emergentism. I think panpsychism is far more plausible.
  • Consciousness question
    Functionalism is not a theory about how conscious states can arise from matter.Bartricks

    Yes it is. For example: before matter models its environment and makes a prediction, it isn't conscious. After it does, it is. That's a putative expanation for when matter goes from being non-conscious to conscious.

    It's an explanation because that function just is consciousness. It's a reductive theory.
  • Consciousness question
    That doesn't explain how consciousness can arise from material substances.Bartricks

    Indeed. That's the whole point. Consciousness doesn't arise from anything. It's there already.

    Furthermore, at extraordinary cost: for if anything is clear, it is that molecules are not conscious.Bartricks

    That's not at all clear to me. What do you take to be evidence of consciousness?
  • Consciousness question
    It's not, then, that 'too much' is made of the relationship. It is that the entire case - the whole of it - for the materiality of the mind is based on the fallacious inference from 'A causes B' to 'therefore A is B'.Bartricks

    Sure. But I do think there is a strong intuitive appeal for functionalism of some kind or another, and that should be taken seriously by any theoretician, even if it is rejected upon consideration. It is a fact that changes in brain function change, in consistent lawlike ways, what a subject experiences. This cries out for an explanation. The simplest and most obvious explanation is that consciousness just is a kind of brain function. That's the wrong conclusion (and on that I agree with you), but it's intuitively powerful. And it puts a lot of pressure on the non-functionalist to explain this correlation between brain function and what we experience. If it's not an identity, what the hell is going on?

    You queried what functionalism was. It's something the brain does, that constitutes consciousness. There are a number of versions. Computationalism is the view that consciousness is brain computations. Another is that consciousness is the brain making models of the world that allow for useful predictions. Another view is that consciousness is the brain integrating information.

    My difficulty with all of these is that they are not theories of consciousness. They are re-definitions, by fiat (or by wishful thinking), of what the word 'consciousness' means.
  • Consciousness question
    But you think atoms are conscious, yes?Bartricks

    Yes
    How do you 'solve' the problem of consciousness by simply supposing tiny things rae conscious and there are lots of them. How does that solve a thing?Bartricks

    It avoids the problem of explaining how consciousness is generated from non-conscious things. It introduces other problems, of course.

    If you're happy enough with atoms being conscious, why not be happy with lumps of meat being conscious? That is, why do you think there is a problem with lumps of meat being conscious until or unless you can show that the little atoms composing it are?Bartricks

    Because then we have the problem of explaining how consciousness arises from non-conscious things. Which is the hard problem.
    Only that's nor reality. In reality the question would be "and why the F are they wet!!! Why is the entire house sopping wet?"Bartricks

    It just is. That's the answer wrt consciousness. It's a brute fact.

    The problem, note, is that extended things do not appear to have conscious states and anything that has a conscious state does not appear to be extended.Bartricks

    OK, that's interesting and well worth considering.

    So, the problem is how any extended thing can be conscious, not how is it that some are and some aren't.Bartricks

    I don't think there is a how. It's just a brute fact that stuff is conscious.

    Note, if you think the problem is 'why are some material things bearing conscious states and not others, then you've already solved the problem of how any material thing can be conscious.Bartricks

    Well, that's not the problem for panpsychists, That's the problem for emergentists, and it hasn't been solved.
  • Consciousness question
    It goes like this "dur...doing things to brain does things in mind....hit head, causes ow, ow is in mind. Therefore mind is brain. Neurscience. Sam Harris. Mind is brain. Dennett. Mind is brain. Take away bit of brain, person go dumb dumb. Therefore mind is brain."Bartricks

    While I wouldn't put this is quite such an annoying and dismissive way, I do agree with the substantive point, namely that too much is made of the relationship with brain function and what we experience. Not as much follows from this as people often immediately think. The close relationship between brain function in humans and what we experience is compatible with any theory of consciousness, even extreme forms of dualism.
  • Consciousness question
    I'm not saying they re not conscious but a primitive immature consciousness and so his experience is... very simplistic and immature.Raul

    Oh sure. I don't disagree with that. However I do think it entails that consciousness does not admit of degree. 'Primitive immature consciousness' is still consciousness. Complicated mature consciousness is still consciousness. The consciousness of an adult is the same kind of consciousness that a baby has, namely the kind of consciousness that permits experiences to happen at all. It is that very simple basic capacity to experience that is the subject of discussions in philosophy. It is in that sense that I don't think the concept of consciousness admits of degree.

    EDIT: To put it another way, the adult is no more or less able to have experiences than the child. They do differ in the kind of experiences they can have. But that's a difference of content, not a difference of consciousness.

    EDIT: To put it a third way, the hard problem is located at the difference between no experience happening at all, and some experience, no matter how 'primitive' it is.
  • Consciousness question
    Of course they have experiencesRaul

    Then I think we may be talking at cross-purposes. I think to understand one another we would need to examine the concept of consciousness and set the limits of the application of the word 'consciousness'. Conceptually, for example, if a baby has experiences it is, by definition, also conscious. That's just how I (and many philosophers of mind) use the word.

    EDIT: I think you might mean 'conscious' in the sense of 'not asleep' or 'not knocked out', which is a perfectly good usage in medical and scientific contexts. But it's not quite the sense in use in discussions of consciousness that philosophers of mind typically engage in. Deviant perverts that we are.
  • Consciousness question
    You weren't born conscious as you re today.Raul

    Do you think babies have experiences?
  • Consciousness question
    Nice easy quiz from Bartricks!

    So, to be clear, you think your consciousness is the state of what - an atom?Bartricks

    No, not my consciousness, because I'm not an atom.

    You think you're an atom, do you?Bartricks

    I don't. No sir! Not me.

    And presumably you think that your body contains billions upon billions of other persons?Bartricks

    Possibly, depending on definitions.

    And that everything around you is teeming with billions of persons..?Bartricks

    Maybe, again depending on what a person is.

    And to be clear some more: you think the way to solve the problem of how consciousness - which is clearly not a property of matter - could be a property of matter, is to make all matter have it?Bartricks

    It makes it easier, yes.

    How does that work?Bartricks

    You stop thinking that only some things are conscious, and you start thinking everything is.

    How does that explain anything?Bartricks

    It avoids the problem of explaining why only some things are conscious and not others. If you say there are two types of thing, conscious and non-conscious, it raises the question of why (or perhaps 'how' is a better question) some things are conscious and others are not. This is really really hard. So hard it's called the 'hard problem'. So panpsychism is one theoretical way to avoid the hard problem. The other way is eliminativism, which is to say that nothing is conscious. All three options: panpsychism, emergentism and eliminativism are problematic. Dualism is a bit like emergentism in the problems that it faces, it seems to me.

    You think if you multiply the problem enough times, it goes away?Bartricks

    In a way, yes. If we have so much trouble figuring out how matter-structures and how they behave somehow constitute consciousness, then suggesting that consciousness may just be a basic brute property of substance becomes more of a viable theoretical option. I know we should limit the number of fundamental properties as far as we can, after all it is cheating just to suggest that anything we don't understand is just a basic unexplainable fact of the universe, but sometimes such a move is justified. Charge, for example, seems to be one of these, perhaps, I don't know. Maybe spatiality. I don't know enough science to be able to say. I really think we are in that position now with the concept of consciousness.
  • Consciousness question
    Consciousness is, let's say, analogical, it grows as you grow and it fades in a gradual way as we get old.Raul

    I think I know what you mean, and if so, I think it is based on a confusion between consciousness and the content of consciousness. The content of consciousness changes all the time (what we are experiencing) whereas the fact that we are experiencing something-or-other changes not at all.

    But the most important thing why you should not use word "state" for consciousness is that consciousness is not an "ON/OFF" thing while the word "state" suggest it.Raul

    I agree with you that characterising consciousness as a 'state' is wrong, but not for the reason you give. The difference between experiencing something and experiencing nothing can only be a binary difference, no? There's no intermediate state between something and nothing, don't you think?
  • Consciousness question
    this thing that grows in my brain as we grow and stops as we die, tis thing that Tononi measures using his PHI methodology.Raul

    Tononi measures the quantity of integrated information. And then he goes on to suggest that consciousness just is integrated information. At best he has a correlation, although I believe that has been challenged (need to look that up). My question for Tononi, and other kinds of functionalists, is "Why can't a system integrate information (or whatever function you want to specify) without being conscious?" To put it another way, what is it about what a system does that demonstrably necessitates it's capacity to experience?
  • Consciousness question
    It is simple Bert1, I experience my consciousness waking up every morning and fading out every night.Raul

    If you're saying that your consciousness depends on you, or that the consciousness of a brain depends on that brain, then I agree. But what justifies the generalisation that only you, or only brains, are conscious?

    The thing that wakes up and goes to sleep, is you, I suggest, not consciousness. That is consistent with the view that consciousness, in the sense of the capacity to experience, does not fade in and out.
  • Consciousness question
    It’s funny how panpsychists always want proof for a materialist view of consciousness when there’s zero for panpsychismGLEN willows

    There's no proof for any theory of consciousness afaik. It's more a process of figuring out the least problematic one.
  • Consciousness question
    So far consciousness requires a brain, full stop.Raul

    These kind of strong statements interest me. What is it that makes you so confident of this? Is it that alterations in brain function alter what we experience? And too much disruption of brain function leads to loss of consciousness? Is that what convinces you so strongly?
  • Consciousness question
    I think you're talking the self.Raul

    Maybe I should use that word instead if it's clearer.
  • Consciousness question
    For that I suppose we'd need an identical body to be recreated, or at least functionally identical perhaps.
  • Consciousness question
    We think alike bert1. A good explanation of the nuances between panspychism and personal conscious awareness.Benj96

    Yes, it's an important distinction to make I think. In a lot of conversations about consciousness, 'losing consciousness' when brain function is disrupted is taken as overwhelming evidence that consciousness is a brain function. Understandably so, if we don't make this distinction between consciousness and identity. It's also understandable that identity is seen to persist when someone 'loses consciousness', because from everybody else's point of view, the living body remains. There still is a sleeping bert1, with legal rights and spatio-temoral location etc, from Benj96's point of view. bert1 seems to still exist. But there is no bert1 from bert1's point of view. The deeply sleeping body has no point of view of its own, temporarily, and it is in that sense that identity is lost.
  • Consciousness question
    I understand panpsychism. So do you believe that when you die, you’re consciousness, as in your perceptions abd experiences, will carry on?GLEN willows

    Not mine. On my view, identity is lost, not consciousness. So I no longer exist. But the functional unities that persist are conscious still, just as they still have mass. I'm a functionalist about identity, but not about consciousness. When I die I lose the functional unity that is bert1 forever. I might also lose it when I am in a deep sleep perhaps, or get knocked out. But it gets rebooted again.
  • Consciousness question
    Brains are made of matter, suitably organized. So, experience a product of matter (or physical stuff if you prefer), as is gravity and everything else.Manuel

    The 'so' suggests an inference, but I can't see a valid one without adding something in. Is it that experience is a product of the brain?
  • Consciousness question
    They are not the only two options. Some panpsychists (like myself) might say that consciousness is a basic property of matter, like charge, spin or mass. That way it's inside your brain without being a function.
  • Greatest Power: The State, The Church, or The Corporation?
    Yes, that's my general impression too. We need some kind of electoral reform to do away with fist past the post voting systems that always result in a two-party system.
  • Greatest Power: The State, The Church, or The Corporation?
    Not sure, but I'm way more scared by corporations than by democratic governments, even shit barely democratic ones in which the democratic recourse is to throw the Wanker Party (left wing) out and elect the Cunt Party (right wing) instead once every five years (and vice versa). The people can't get rid of corporations at all. The only defence we have against corporations is regulation.

    I'm just an idiot, correct what's wrong with that. I'm not a political scientist.
  • Philosophy of Science
    The non-materialist's impossible burden is to explain ... the difference betwixt the immaterial and nothing. Mayhaps that is what non-materialism is all about - a study of nothing!Agent Smith

    What's the difference between a materialist and a monist then?
  • Divine Hiddenness and Nonresistant Nonbelievers
    The argument form the OP is using is modus tollens and it's valid. Your counterexample is not a counterexample. If p1 and p2 are true, c follows. c (The round Earth does not exist) just happens to be false, independent of the premises and that probably threw you off.Agent Smith

    Yeah. The argument in the OP is likely unsound (P1 is doubtful), but valid. I'm baffled by this simple mistake of 180's.