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  • Universal Mind/Consciousness?
    Conatus : a natural tendency, impulse, or striving : conation. used in Spinozism — Gnomon
    and by conatists
    bongo fury
    Who or what is a "conatist"? I Googled the term, and got only irrelevant links. Literally interpreted, the word refers to someone with WillPower. Is there a cult of Conatism? :smile:
  • Universal Mind/Consciousness?
    ↪Gnomon
    One thing's for sure, either there is a God or there isn't one. It's quite embarrassing if you ask me.
    Agent Smith
    For me, that Epistemological dichotomy*1 is not so "sure". From the BothAnd perspective, it's not an Either/Or conundrum, but a statistical spectrum. Moreover, as a non-religious Agnostic, the ambiguity is not embarrassing to me. It's just another example of the uncertainty of Reality, which Stoics*2 accept as a fact of life. Philosophically, I assume that there was a First Cause of some kind, to kick-start the Big Bang. Beyond that logical axiom*3, I have no information about the presumed Programmer.

    Whereof one has no idea, one must not speak*4. But philosophers are free to make-up words to express ineffable*5 concepts : e.g. "Enformer". Besides, physicists & cosmologists are not embarrassed to assume the unproveable existence of Many Worlds and Multiverses*6, to explain how something could arise from something outside of space-time as we know it. Are you sure about Many Worlds and Multiple Agent Smiths? :smile:

    *1. Epistemology :
    Some have also attempted to offer significant revisions to our notion of belief, including eliminativists about belief who argue that there is no phenomenon in the natural world which corresponds to our folk psychological concept of belief (Paul Churchland) and formal epistemologists who aim to replace our bivalent notion of belief ("either I have a belief or I don't have a belief") with the more permissive, probabilistic notion of credence ("there is an entire spectrum of degrees of belief, not a simple dichotomy between belief and non-belief")
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology

    *2. Embrace the Uncertainty :
    Which is why [Stoic] Seneca reminds us: “The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
    https://dailystoic.com/embrace-the-uncertainty/

    *3. Axiom : In mathematics or logic, an axiom is an unprovable rule or first principle accepted as true because it is self-evident or particularly useful.

    *4. "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence". ___Wittgenstein

    *5. Ineffable : Silvia Jonas sets out to articulate 'a common ground for any account of the metaphysics of ineffability'. She defines the ineffable as a nonlinguistic item which it is in principle impossible to express in conceptual terms or to communicate to others by the use of language. She is particularly interested in the uses of the term 'ineffable' in religious, aesthetic, and philosophical contexts, where it seems to mark something of special importance or significance
    https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/ineffability-and-its-metaphysics-the-unspeakable-in-art-religion-and-philosophy/
    Note -- ideas about non-physical notions (metaphysics) are inherently "ineffable" in conventional matter-based words. For example, "matter" could refer to a physical object, or to a mental evaluation ("it doesn't matter" : has no physical manifestation, but may have emotional significance)

    *5.Like the multiverse, true infinity is a mathematical construct. Mathematician extraordinaire David Hilbert (1862–1943) said it succinctly: “… the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought…”
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/10/why-just-anything-cant-happen-given-an-infinite-sum-of-universes/
  • Universal Mind/Consciousness?
    The universe is inside Krishna (you)!
    — Agent Smith
    This thread should have a warning sign : "twisty Metaphors ahead, not to be taken literally".
    Metaphors can't be refuted with empirical evidence, you either get the oblique inference, or you don't. If you do, it's safe to proceed slowly, and you might learn something -- something meta-physical. — Gnomon
    Awesome! Krishna is a Hindu god, infact he's the supreme deity in human form; the universe is the universe ( :chin: ). Does anything follow? The universal mind - what is it from a God's eye point of view?
    Agent Smith
    I don't think of the Enformer or Programmer or First Cause as the universal Consciousness. All of those labels point to something outside the space-time universe. And I don't know how Consciousness would work without a physical world to be aware of, or without a local Self to serve as a point-of-view.

    However, if the a priori Cause (EnFormAction)*1 is also the substance of reality (Matter, Energy, Mind are all forms of Generic Information), then perhaps eternal Brahma has a zillion viewpoints*2. He/r worldview is also your perspective, and that of every conscious mind that ever existed. But that's a mind-boggling feat of imagination, so I try not to think about it too much. Philosophers who try to imagine what Eternity & Infinity are like*3, may become multi-schizophrenic. :grin:


    *1. EnFormAction :
    Metaphorically, it's the Will-power of G*D, which is the First Cause of everything in creation. Aquinas called the Omnipotence of God the "Primary Cause", so EFA is the general cause of everything in the world. Energy, Matter, Gravity, Life, Mind are secondary creative causes, each with limited application.
       All are also forms of Information, the "difference that makes a difference". It works by directing causation from negative to positive, cold to hot, ignorance to knowledge. That's the basis of mathematical ratios (Greek "Logos", Latin "Ratio" = reason). A : B :: C : D. By interpreting those ratios we get meaning and reasons.
       The concept of a river of causation running through the world in various streams has been interpreted in materialistic terms as Momentum, Impetus, Force, Energy, etc, and in spiritualistic idioms as Will, Love, Conatus*4, and so forth. EnFormAction is all of those.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page8.html

    *2. Imagine the Architect of the Matrix, sitting in a room surrounded by a zillion TV screens.

    *3. What is it like to be a bat, or a timeless non-local deity?

    *4. Conatus : a natural tendency, impulse, or striving : conation. used in Spinozism with reference to the inclination of a thing to persist in its own being.
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    David Chalmers is a genius; most philosophers are.Agent Smith
    Apparently Chalmers merely pointed-out an ironic situation -- mind/body disjunction -- that some people accepted as normal (mind physical), and others as impossible or illogical (mind metaphysical). :smile:
  • What does "irony" mean?
    You described Irony as directed inwardly. — Gnomon
    I see irony as an experience, something mental, not as an objective or physical event.
    T Clark
    Yes. I was trying to distinguish the inner feeling of Irony (private experience) from projecting that feeling toward others, as in Satire or Sarcasm (public experience). I suppose that Satire (e.g. stand-up comedy) could be considered an objective form of Irony, in that it depends on a common feeling among the audience. Those who don't share the feeling will not find it funny. Especially, if they are the butt of the joke. :joke:

    Objective : 1 · being outside of the mind and independent of it.
    Note -- Viral Memes (e.g. knock-knock jokes) begin as subjective ideas, but when they go public, the associated feeling is communicated to others. Many, if not most jokes, are funny because they point-out situations that are contrary to expectations, or to logic, or to social oughts.
  • What does "irony" mean?
    The feeling of holding two contradictory ideas in my mind at the same time. Being pulled in two different directions but not being able to choose one over the other to resolve the contradiction. That is the feeling of irony for me.T Clark
    You described Irony as directed inwardly. That internal ironic feeling could be rationalized as simply realizing that things are not as they seem, or as they ought to be ideally. But emotionally, the feeling may be somewhere between Enlightenment and Disappointment. Either a private joke, or a personal farce.

    When the logical or physical contradiction is expressed outwardly, it could be intended as a shared feeling of recognition of what's wrong with a particular situation. That's how stand-up comedians establish empathy with the audience. Satire is when we're all in on the joke.

    But, when the conflict between what is, and what seems to be -- or should be -- is directed at a particular person or group, the humor is not intended to be shared, but to hurt the target. Judgmental Sarcasm is an ad hominem attack, which varies from a pinch to a bleeding wound. Unfortunately, forum posters too often mistake Sarcasm as a philosophical argument. Isn't that ironic? :joke:

    irony :
    Reserve irony for situations where there's a gap between reality and expectations, especially when such a gap is created for dramatic or humorous effect.
    satire :
    Satire is a way of making fun of people by using silly or exaggerated language. Politicians are easy targets for satire, especially when they're acting self-righteous or hypocritical.
    sarcasm :
    Irony employed in the service of mocking or attacking someone is sarcasm. Saying "Oh, you're soooo clever!" with sarcasm means the target is really just a dunderhead.
    https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/chooseyourwords/irony-satire-sarcasm/
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Your honor, Mr. Brown's fingerprints were all over the house - on the door knob, on the knife, on the faucet, on the TV remote. However, there were two cigarette butts in the ashtray and a glass of half-finished Whiskey on the kitchen table. Neither Mr. Brown nor the deceased who was stabbed 22 times smoked or drank.Agent Smith
    Are those all the facts of the case? If so, what is your verdict? If not, what is the missing piece of evidence? :joke:
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Ex mea (humble) sententia, let the facts speak for themselves. It can't be denied that when one is (sensu amplissimo) thinking, there's electrical activity in the brain.Agent Smith
    Yes, but in this thread we differ on our humble opinion of The Facts. For example, is it a "fact" that "Correlation does not imply Causation", as Hume concluded? Or is the notion that electrical activity causes thinking an instance of the "correlation causation fallacy"*1. Obviously, physical processes (electrical) must be somehow converted into non-physical (mental) processes. But continues to chase his own tail, by repeating the fill-in-the-blank query "How does non-physical A affect physical B and yet remain discernibly non-physical?"*2 That sounds like a typical gotcha trap. It's like asking "when did you stop beating your wife?". There's no way to answer without admitting guilt -- in this case the crime of Dualism, denying the ultimate authority of materialistic Science.

    The scientific genius Descartes could not answer his own skeptical question about the relationship between Mind & Matter. So, he punted with a "non-overlapping magisteria" philosophical compromise : Mind/Body dualism. Four centuries later, the philosophical genius Daniel Dennett, claimed to explain Consciousness in terms of the interaction of physical and cognitive processes in the brain. Yet again his "explanation" assumes that Correlation is Causation. Which begs the question of "how?". Another materialistic explanation is "Consciousness as a physical process"*3. Ironically, one definition of Information is "organized energy". Which could be construed to imply that physical Information (energy ; neurons) is also meta-physical Information (ideas ; aboutness ; awareness).

    And that is close to my own gap-filler hypothesis : Mind is the result of a Phase Transition from one form of Generic Information*4*5 (power to cause change) to another (power to communicate ideas). But the notion of GI is unfamiliar, so I relate it to Plato's Logos, and Aristotle's Reason, and to the fundamental mathematical principle of Ratio (correlation). However, this kind of Correlation is not between "discernibly different" Magisteria, but between Physical Form and Metaphysical Function*6. Your cell phone is a physical object, but its function is non-physical communication. And the communication is meaningless until the sender Mind is connected to the Receiver Mind.

    The key concept here is the multiple roles of Information in the universe. Scientists have recently concluded that Mathematical (logical ; non-physical) Information*7 can transform into physical Energy*8, which in turn can transform into Matter*9. What this means is that Generic Information can transform into Causal Energy, and thence into malleable Matter. Therefore, it's all Information, all the way down (i.e. Information Monism). :smile:

    *1. correlation causation fallacy :
    The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" refers to the inability to legitimately deduce a cause-and-effect relationship between two events or variables solely on the basis of an observed association or correlation between them. ___Wikipedia

    *2. I would reply that the physical cause (organized patterns of energy ; the code) does not remain physical. Instead it transforms into the non-physical logical patterns that we consciously interpret as Meaning. Of course Mind/Meaning is correlated to Brain/Energy, but they have different functions. The physical dots & dashes of the Code (physical information) must be translated into the imagery of interpreted Meaning (metaphysical information).

    *3. Consciousness as a Physical Process :
    The aim of this paper is to outline a principle according to which consciousness could be explained as a physical process caused by the organization of energy in the brain
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02091/full

    *4. What is Information ? :
    The power to enform, to organize, to create, to cause change, the essence of awareness. . . . .
    http://bothandblog6.enformationism.info/page16.html

    *5. Information is :
    Claude Shannon quantified Information not as useful ideas, but as a mathematical ratio between meaningful order (1) and meaningless disorder (0); between knowledge (1) and ignorance (0). So, that meaningful mind-stuff exists in the limbo-land of statistics, producing effects on reality while having no sensory physical properties. We know it exists ideally, only by detecting its effects in the real world.
       For humans, Information has the semantic quality of aboutness , that we interpret as meaning. In computer science though, Information is treated as meaningless, which makes its mathematical value more certain. It becomes meaningful only when a sentient Self interprets it as such.
       When spelled with an “I”, Information is a noun, referring to data & things. When spelled with an “E”, Enformation is a verb, referring to energy and processes.

    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page11.html

    *6. Function : a relationship or expression involving one or more variables.

    *7. Mathematical Information :
    https://academic.oup.com/book/410/chapter-abstract/135212067?redirectedFrom=fulltext

    *8. Information converted to energy :
    https://physicsworld.com/a/information-converted-to-energy/

    *9. Information to Energy to Matter :
    The fundamental triad of energy/matter/information
    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-fundamental-triad-of-energy-matter-information_fig1_275017053
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    ↪180 Proof
    I too wonder how the immaterial can interact with the material. What is your response if the theist who believes in souls interacting with bodies shrugs and says "God makes the interaction possible. Somehow."? Is the immaterial interacting with material even logically possible, though?
    RogueAI
    Before attempting to give a "how" answer to such querulous Matter/Mind questions, I would first ask IF the presumed interaction actually occurs. Does the material Brain mechanically produce the phenomena we know as Consciousness. If so, the product should also be physical, and the "how" should be obvious to physicists. If not, then per Descartes' dualism, Consciousness is independent of material substrate --- and the how question is irrelevant, except for philosophers. Or perhaps Mind & Matter are simply different forms of the same shape-shifting Substance : the power to enform.

    Next, if there is a Cause & Effect relationship, is the effect or product --- Ideas, Thoughts, Meanings, Feelings --- some kind of material substance, reducible to atoms of Mind? If not, then we have established that material stuff can indeed interact with immaterial stuff, but how?. If Consciousness is instead a semi-physical phenomenon, is it empirically perceptible by senses or instruments? Remember, EEG & MRI squiggles & blobs only detect energy pulses (dots & dashes), not meanings. But immaterial Ideas are essentially logical patterns : coded Information. Is Consciousness then merely a decoded message, from some occult Sender, with a secret code-book?

    If we have decided that Consciousness (awareness ; knowing) is not a physical phenomenon, made of atoms or quarks, we must change the "how" question to allow something more (as in Holism) than merely mechanical transfers of mindless energy to material objects. Instead, we must determine at what point deterministic causation becomes an intentional act : a coded message. In this thread, I have presented a brief synopsis of my extensive Information-theoretic thesis, intended to explain how a physical process can result in meta-physical (non-physical) outputs. But to condense a long complex argument : the ultimate point of beginning of Consciousness is at the beginning --- the emergence of space-time from nowhere-nowhen. Physically at Initial Conditions, metaphysically at the First Cause.

    By that I mean, the potential for Mind has been inherent in Energy/Matter/Information from the Big Bang beginning. From a Reductive-Materialist perspective that won't make sense. But from a Holistic Information-theoretic worldview it is logical necessity. If so, then Mind is not a local product of brain mechanisms, but of ultimate Singularity coding. :smile:

    PS__No, I'm not implying that G*D put thoughts in your mind --- merely the potential for thoughts, that you purposefully orchestrate into personal meanings.


    How the Mind Emerges from the Brain’s Complex Networks :
    The new discipline of network neuroscience yields a picture of how mental activity arises from carefully orchestrated interactions among different brain areas
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-mind-emerges-from-the-brains-complex-networks/
    Note -- do the physical instruments comprise an orchestra, or does the design intent of the conductor, transform tune-up dissonance into symphonic harmony?

    To orchestrate :
    1. To orchestrate is to design or organize something, like a plan or a project. You could orchestrate an orchestra or you could just orchestrate a yard sale.
    2. arrange or direct the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, especially surreptitiously.

    Note -- Can matter be intentional : to design or produce desired effects. Can matter envision a future composition? If not, where does the Intention come from?

    Intention : noun. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. the end or object intended; purpose. intentions, purpose or attitude toward the effect of one's actions or conduct:
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Those concepts don't physically exist except as a configuration of matter generated in consort with our minds, so I agree. I don't find this particularly mysterious. Everything our minds do has some basis in matter, even if this matter is currently beyond scientific models.Enrique
    From the perspective of Enformationism, I would say that the "configuration of matter" is its Logical Structure. Most people interpret the word "structure" in terms of physical objects, such as steel beams or protein tubules. But engineers distinguish their mathematical structures from those physical objects in terms of logic diagrams (vectors of force & direction)*1. The vectors themselves are merely symbols, which are mental Qualia (representations), not actual objects with physical properties. So, in that sense, I would agree that mental concepts result from the logical configuration*2 of their material substrate, as a Holistic system. And that's why the relationship between Matter & Mind remains beyond the scope of Reductive models. :smile:

    *1. Form as a Logical Structure :
    https://www.sensesatlas.com/research/form-as-logical-structure/

    *2. Structural qualia: a solution to the hard problem of consciousness :
    The hard problem of consciousness has been often claimed to be unsolvable by the methods of traditional empirical sciences. It has been argued that all the objects of empirical sciences can be fully analyzed in structural terms but that consciousness is (or has) something over and above its structure. However, modern neuroscience has introduced a theoretical framework in which also the apparently non-structural aspects of consciousness, namely the so called qualia or qualitative properties, can be analyzed in structural terms.
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00237/full

    continues to challenge the "hard problem" by asking for reductive scientific evidence. Apparently, he wants to see a step-by-step mechanism connecting "discernibly physical" Neurons with imaginary Ideas & Thoughts -- that remain imperceptibly non-physical. It would be nice though, if Neuroscience could come-up with such a deterministic sequence. However, while we wait for empirical evidence to fill-in the gaps between physical processes and non-physical consciousness, my philosophical thesis suggests that the "gap" is similar to ordinary physical Phase Transitions*3 that connect one kind of thing with another (different physical properties). But even the "critical" steps in-between mundane water & ice remain elusive for Physicists. So, maybe the Psychologists behind the link below are on the right track : redefining the problem in terms of Qualia in the form of Logical Structure and Phase Space*4. :nerd:

    *3, The Phase Diagram of Water :
    Four lines cannot meet at a single point. A 'critical point' is where the properties of two phases become indistinguishable from each other. The phase diagram of water is complex, having a number of triple points and one or possibly two critical points.
    https://ergodic.ugr.es/termo/lecciones/water1.html

    *4. Dimensions of consciousness :
    In a previous article, we hypothesized that consciousness might be related to phase space, a mathematical construct where the geometry of dynamic systems takes place. We conjectured that complex neural function developed within a framework of mathematics just as bones developed around the demands of gravity, that objects in physical space are translated into perceptual space within phase space.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1201004/
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Since we deal with things based on a buildup of past experiences and our current beliefs are held as mental content and we study this with our minds then our minds should be included. This can be entirely materialistically based with our minds emerging as a special case of physical matter.Mark Nyquist
    Reductive Classical Science had no place for mental "beliefs", thoughts or ideas. Instead, scientists focused on the "physical foundations of consciousness", such as neurons. Which left open a question opposite to the one asked above : "how does physical B affect non-physical A ?" And that's an example of the "hard problem of consciousness, which puzzles philosophers, and merely annoys materialists. How can physical mechanisms (neurons) produce non-physical mental processes? Mind is not known by observation, but by introspection and projection.

    Any attempt to explain how Conscious Thoughts & Beliefs arise from neural foundations will founder on Hume's quandary of Causation*1 : which comes first, the physical mechanism or the mind that conceptualizes the invisible connection? Even if minuscule tubules have something to do with consciousness, how does the causal process leap from physical A to non-physical B? Yet 180 may have implicitly answered his own question : "yet remain separately non-physical". My own proposal is based on the understanding that Mind & Matter are separate only in our Reductive worldviews. From a Holistic perspective*2, the fundamental substance of both Mind & Matter is Generic Information, of which Energy is one form.

    In the Enformationism thesis, Generic Information (EnFormAction) is the essential factor of Causation : the power to cause changes in form. In the vocabulary of Plato & Aristotle, Form is the logical structure of a thing. It's what makes a thing unique (its essence). A macro-scale tubule has both physical structure (cylinder of tubulin proteins), and a meta-physical structure in the geometry (inter-relationships) of its component parts. They are presumed to have a physical structural function (support beams) in the Brain. But their meta-physical function (thoughts & beliefs) in the Mind remains hypothetical.

    Therefore, instead of looking for a physical structure of Mind, I propose that mental functions, like all coherent directional processes, arise from the Holistic interaction*3 of all parts. Consciousness is not found in any subordinate parts of the system. Like all complex functions, it emerges from coordinated operation of the components. So, as you implied, Consciousness is not separate & apart, but an emergent function, as a "special case" of general Information. :smile:


    *1. Hume Causation :
    A CAUSE is an object precedent and contiguous to another, and so united with it, that the idea, of the one determines the mind to form the idea of the other, and the impression of the one to form a more lively idea of the other.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humean_definition_of_causality

    *2. I just discovered via Google that there is an academic theory of "holistic interactionism", proposed to explain the Nature-Nurture conundrum. I'm not familiar with its tenets, but the name sounds like it could be applied to the Enformationism thesis. *3

    *3. Nature, Nurture, and the Folly of “Holistic Interactionism.” :
    Equally untenable for the author is the now-popular academic doctrine he dubs “holistic interactionism” (HI). Carrying a “veneer of moderation [and] conceptual sophistication,” says Pinker, HI is based on a few “unexceptional points,” including the facts that nature and nurture are not mutually exclusive and that genes cannot cause behavior directly. ___Kenneth Krause
    https://thedotingskeptic.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/nature-nurture-and-the-folly-of-holistic-interactionism/
    Note -- 180proof might give this article a thumbs-up, because it is skeptical of Holism and Mentalism. I would agree that Genes, as physical containers for Information, do not directly cause mental phenomena. Yet, Memes are non-physical carriers of Meaning. And, somehow the physical embodiment of information, as part of a complex system, seems to result in the meta-physical expression of the human person as a holistic Self : an Opinion.

    Meme : an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Enrique, I think my issue with you is an inability to grasp that brains
    have the ability to grasp the non-physical....
    Mark Nyquist
    The "nonphysical" is just a way of experiencing and describing matter in terms of noncorporeal concepts, an evolutionary adaptation that is in reality an illusion. Perhaps you disagree with me about this.Enrique
    This sounds like another case of differently-defined terminology. Nyquist seems to include concepts known only by Reason -- such as mathematical fields -- in the noumenal category of Non-Physical. Yet, theoretical physicists tend to treat Quantum Fields & Virtual Particles as-if (counterfactual) they are real, even though they cannot be detected by the 5 senses. As long as their abstract (un-real) equations work-out they are satisfied. But laymen could be excused for thinking those undetectable fields are no more real than imaginary ghosts.

    However, another way to look at Matter-vs-Mind or physical-vs-non-physical questions may be to think in terms of Classical vs Quantum science. Most sub-atomic-scale "mechanisms" have defied attempts to define their cause/effect sequences in traditional Classical terms. That's why QM now assumes that the fundamental element of reality is non-local intangible continuous Mathematical (metaphysical) Fields of dimensionless Points, instead of local reductive Material (physical) Particles of measurable size.

    Those cloud-like Fields of geometry are literally Non-Corporeal. And they are Non-Physical, in the sense that dimensionless Virtual (potential) Particles have no physical interactions until they become Real (actual) Particles. So, they could also be defined as Non-Physical in the sense that they are hypothetical and un-measurable until the field is "collapsed" into detectable objects. So, which is the "illusion" : the invisible fields presumably permeating the Physical (real) world, or the non-physical objects of Mind (thoughts) that pervade the Cultural (ideal) world? :smile:

    Physical : relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.

    Virtual Particles: What are they? :
    A virtual particle is not a particle at all. It refers precisely to a disturbance in a field that is not a particle. . . . A “virtual particle”, generally, is a disturbance in a field that will never be found on its own, but instead is something that is caused by the presence of other particles, often of other fields.
    https://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/virtual-particles-what-are-they/

    This Is Why Quantum Field Theory Is More Fundamental Than Quantum Mechanics :
    The idea of an objective reality went out the window, replaced with notions like:
    ***probability distributions rather than predictable outcomes,
    *** wavefunctions rather than positions and momenta,
    ***Heisenberg uncertainty relations rather than individual properties.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2019/04/25/this-is-why-quantum-field-theory-is-more-fundamental-than-quantum-mechanics/?sh=3ecb76912083

    I'm not sure if Enrique's theory is based on classical Maxwellian Electromagnetic Fields or on quantum ElectroDynamic Fields. But some Consciousness theorists have given-up on macro-scale fields, and are focused on quantum-scale functions. The link below may shine some light in that direction. :smile:

    Consciousness relies on quantum entanglement :
    Seeing entanglement in the brain may show that the brain is not classical, as previously thought, but rather a powerful quantum system. If the results can be confirmed, they could provide some indication that the brain uses quantum processes. This could begin to shed light on how our brain performs the powerful computations it does, and how it manages consciousness.
    https://bigthink.com/hard-science/brain-consciousness-quantum-entanglement/
  • Premodernism and postmodernism
    I have confessed that I have a fixation on the concept of irony. To me irony is a cheap and easy way, a fix, to exercise the part of my brain that seems to demand philosophical thought. My thoughts on irony extend to its nature as a form of argument, an antagonism, an object of confusion, an element of humor, a threat to objectivity, a method of subjectivism and more.introbert
    In the iconoclastic 1960s, coming from a non-philosophical Modernist background, Postmodern irony just seemed annoying to me. For example, postmodern architecture tended to turn formerly pretentious buildings & monuments into play-toys. In general, Postmodernism seems to be intended to knock the props (logic & science) from under arrogant Modern reasoning, with withering Skepticism : ironically a key tool of the scientific method.

    This not a completely new innovation of PM though. Since antiquity, for some philosophers, an attitude of smirking irony was used to make them seem smarter than the gullible herds. The ancient antidote to that sophistry though was the Socratic method of questioning assumptions, including those of the skeptic. So now, I just smile knowingly at expressions of PM irony, and search my own opinions for signs of hauteur. :smile:

    Postmodern Irony :
    In their view, postmodernist irony is a form of blank parody, a cannibalization of old styles that is not inspired by a genuine historicism and ultimately turns cultural tradition into a set of dusty spectacles deprived of any value and unable to add meaning to the present.
    https://sk.sagepub.com/reference/encyclopedia-of-humor-studies/i7888.xml
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    I am repeating myself, but the non-physical does not exist. So I do not disagree. What does exist are our brains that have the capacity to deal in the non- physical.

    What do you think of the idea that brains can configure physically to represent things that do not physically exist?
    Mark Nyquist
    It's true that meta-physical ideas do not exist, as far as our physical senses are concerned. But our brains are "configured" to conform with the logical (mathematical) structure of the universe. That's why I view human Reason as the sixth sense. It can "see" (imagine) invisible links (relationships) between things, as in Geometry.

    "Reason" is both a noun and a verb : a non-physical power/ability (to systematize groups of ideas) and the action of linking independent sensations into holistic concepts. Physics is concerned with "How?", but Meta-Physics seeks to answer "Why?" Reason converts physical sensations into meta-physical meaning. It's the search for invisible Causes to explain observed effects. :smile:

    Object : a material thing that can be seen and touched.

    Idea : an immaterial thing that cannot be seen by the physical senses.

    Hume argues that we cannot conceive of any other connection between cause and effect, because there simply is no other impression to which our idea may be traced. This certitude is all that remains. For Hume, the necessary connection invoked by causation is nothing more than this certainty. . . . Causation is a relation between objects that we employ in our reasoning in order to yield less than demonstrative knowledge of the world beyond our immediate impressions.
    https://iep.utm.edu/hume-causation/
    Note -- Causation is not empirical, but it is rational.
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    ↪Gnomon
    Okay, don't take me too seriously.
    Mark Nyquist
    Don't worry, I don't take myself too seriously.
    Why does the turkey say "gobbledy google"? I don't know, why don't you Google it? :joke:
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Hey you guys, Enrique and Gnomon, off the top of my head a neuron is something like 10 to the 12th power greater in scale that the atomic level so what mechanism are you talking about other than a vague reference to nanotubes. And why not just the normal functioning of neurons in the classical sense?Mark Nyquist
    Ha! You got me. I'm in over my head as a layman discussing nano & neuro stuff, that's usually reserved for professionals --- except on amateur philosophy forums. Presumably, Enrique has more depth of knowledge in such matters. FWIW, my proposed explanation involves a fundamental element that has no physical scale : Information/Energy.

    Elsewhere on this forum, I discuss my own information-based hypothesis of how consciousness could emerge from matter. It's a general philosophical thesis, not a settled scientific theory. So, in this thread, I'm just asking dumb questions, in hopes of stimulating Enrique to develop his hypothesis into a complete theory that will withstand the criticism of Consciousness researchers. For example, Roger Penrose is a certified genius, but he has not yet convinced his critics that macro-scaled microtubules have something to do with Consciousness. This exercise in looking at someone else's theorizing helps me to see my own ideas in a different light (pardon the pun). :smile:


    Woo-monger or Genius? :
    "Conventional wisdom goes something like this: The theory is almost certainly wrong, but Penrose is brilliant."
    https://nautil.us/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute-236591/
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    I do not claim any special knowledge in the ways of cosmic or itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny strings lol The concept of a coherence field is based on a fact that continues to be proven by experiment: EM radiation combines with atomic structure to produce fields of coherent energy.Enrique
    My knowledge of Coherence Fields is also superficial (Googled). But in laser light "coherence" basically means "organized or focused" instead of randomized and incoherent. The effect is to turn ordinary harmless light waves into guided missiles of energy. In the terminology of my Information thesis, the light is "enformed" : it is no longer a diffuse acausal field, but a condensed zone of causal "power to enform".

    As I understand it, in laser light (coherent EM radiation) the waves interfere with each other without canceling-out (stationary interference): producing "constructive interference" (standing waves??). So, in my information terminology, the coherent enformed light is causal and capable of creative organizing. Unfortunately, the effect of laser light on matter is usually destructive. So how does the interaction of coherent EM radiation and atomic structure produce positive (constructive) results? Specifically, a phase transition from mechanical to mental properties?

    Also, is it the material conduits (tubules) that focus random EM light waves into coherent energy? I'm just grasping at quantum straws here. Trying to understand how EM fields can be stimulated into human awareness. See image below, for my imagined analogy. But it fails to show how the coherent light becomes conscious meaning & knowledge. :smile:

    Coherent Waves :
    In physics, two wave sources are coherent if their frequency and waveform are identical. Coherence is an ideal property of waves that enables stationary interference. ___Wikipedia

    Coordination : the organization of the different elements of a complex body or activity so as to enable them to work together effectively.

    Which type of interference is taking place in laser? :
    This is because the laser light diffracts around both edges of the hair, and those two diffraction patterns interfere with each other. We see dark spots at areas of destructive interference, and bright spots at areas of constructive interference.

    RANDOM LIGHT FOCUSED INTO NON-RANDOM LIGHT by internal reflection in a tubule
    1204lfw05f1.png?auto=format,compress&fit=fill&fill=blur&w=1200&h=630
    BUT WHERE IS THE CONSCIOUS ENLIGHTENMENT?
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    There is something to work out as far as the specific mechanics of materialism producing mental content such as ideas, thought and the components of consciousness. I brought up the subject of ideas because they exist as brain state that should be identified as the physical brain and the emergent mental content. I get into trouble if I call it a contained non-physical but that is a loose discription of the problem. There might be something non-physical involved in consciousness. The work around is to call the contained non-physical...mental content.

    The point relating to consciousness is that mental content emerging from the physical brain is a component of consciousness and should be included in any model.
    Mark Nyquist
    That's exactly why I have concluded, along with some professional physicists*1, that Matter is not the fundamental element of reality. Instead, Information*2 (the power to enform) is viewed as the precursor of Energy, which is the precursor of Matter. To indicate the relationship of Information & Energy*3, I call the fundamental Substance (non-physical essence per Aristotle) of the universe : EnFormAction*4.

    Since the term "Information" originally referred to the contents of a mind, it's easy to imagine a process by which Generic Information (Potential for change) could transform (via phase transitions) into causal Energy, thence into physical Matter, and finally into metaphysical Mind. We know that the material Brain somehow generates the immaterial Functions we call "Ideas" & "Feelings". But exactly how that happens remains a mystery. A recent hypothesis focused on quantum scale micro-tubules as the locus of the magical transformation. But without including Information in the recipe, the Mind Magic remains unexplained. However, in my Mind model, Consciousness is the tip of the evolutionary pyramid*5, and Generic Information is the base. :smile:

    PS__Human Consciousness was a late emergence from eons of Evolution. So, instead of PanPsychism, I would call that funda-mental Cosmic substance "Information". Hence the worldview could be known as PanEnformationism. Enforming (causal) Power is the essence of Reality and Ideality.


    *1. Is Information Fundamental? :
    Could information be the most basic building block of reality?
    https://www.closertotruth.com/series/information-fundamental

    *2. Information Fundamental :
    Could information be the fundamental "stuff" of the universe?
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/is-information-fundamental/

    *3. Both Information and Energy are defined in terms of dueling dualities : 1/0, hot/cold

    *4. EnFormAction :
    As a supplement to the mainstream materialistic (scientific) theory of Causation, EnFormAction is intended to be an evocative label for a well-known, but somewhat mysterious, feature of physics : the Emergent process of Phase Change (or state transitions) from one kind (stable form) of matter to another. These sequential emanations take the structural pattern of a logical hierarchy : from solids, to liquids, to gases, and thence to plasma, or vice-versa. But they don't follow the usual rules of direct contact causation.
    http://bothandblog3.enformationism.info/page23.html
    Note -- the tip of the logical causal pyramid is the emergence of Mind from Matter

    *5. THE HIERARCHICAL INFORMATION PYRAMID
    220px-DIKW_Pyramid.svg.png
    BASE = GENERIC INFORMATION (potential causation) >> PHASE 2 = ENERGY (causation) >> PHASE 3 = MATTER (causal effect) >> PHASE 4 = MIND (energy as intention)
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Microscopic platinum sensors have been inserted into individual neurons, revealing a crystalline structure located just beneath the axon’s outer membrane, wrapped around a core support framework of microtubules.Enrique
    Again, I'm coming from a completely different angle -- Information Theory -- and trying to tread water in the deep end of the Neuroscience pool. But from my cursory review of your presentation of Coherence Field Theory -- maybe I missed it -- but I don't remember a specific mention of Hameroff & Penrose's theory of microtubules, to explain how the Consciousness function could emerge from hot, wet & mindless Matter. Yet it seems to be poking around in a similar neighborhood.

    I'm currently reading the 1992 book, The Matter Myth, by physicist/cosmologist Paul Davies and astrophysicist John Gribbin. Although they were discussing Cosmology -- specifically Inflation & quantum fluctuations -- the topic of Cosmic Strings came up, and reminded me of similar cylinders & loops on the quantum scale. Apparently, the hypothetical tubule bounds & encloses its own little "domain" of reality.

    After picturing those "fluctuations" as "phase transitions", they mention something like a "topological defect". Then, "One feature that would be produced by these mismatches is a series of slender tubes. Outside the tubes there would be the usual empty space . . . . but inside the tube the quantum state would remain trapped in its excited primordial phase . . . . the result is an object known as a cosmic string. . . . They are not made of matter, they are essentially tubes of field energy." That reminds me of how fiber optics work to carry information from one end to another.

    From that point on, their description of universe-spanning Cosmic Strings sounds like the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny Quantum Strings on the opposite end of the scale. The authors conclude, "cosmic strings play a key role in structuring the universe on a large scale". Apparently, Penrose thinks their quantum cousins also structure the brain to produce Consciousness. I don't follow the logic or the math, but I have to take their expert conjectures as serious extensions of current science into unproven realms.

    Anyway, do you see a connection between topological tubes of energy on the cosmic scale, and the wavy loops that are proposed to produce matter (and mind??) on the immeasurably small scale of sub-atomic reality? If so, maybe aligning your theory with that of a certified genius could offset some of the criticism that it borders on woo-woo metaphysics. Unfortunately, my own referenced geniuses are not yet certified with Nobel medals. :smile:


    Microtubules :
    Hameroff suggests that microtubules are the quantum device that Penrose had been looking for in his theory. In neurons, microtubules help control the strength of synaptic connections, and their tube-like shape might protect them from the surrounding noise of the larger neuron.
    https://nautil.us/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute-236591/

    Woo-monger or Genius? :
    "Conventional wisdom goes something like this: The theory is almost certainly wrong, but Penrose is brilliant."
    https://nautil.us/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute-236591/
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Complex numbers and complex analysis, for one thing, simplify wave equations due to Euler's formula:
    eiθ=sinθ+icosθ.
    jgill
    As I interpret the necessity for imaginary numbers in the wave function equation, it allows a metaphysical (ideal ; mental) concept to be calculated as-if physical. For example, the square root of a negative number makes no sense in physical reality, but in mathematics it is just as logical as the root of a positive number. So it seems that math is an idealization of physical logic. Since the notion of Uncertain Statistics (possible future states) is mental & mathematical instead of natural & physical, it requires some "simplification" (interpretation) from high levels of abstraction (space waves) down to analogies from mundane concrete observation (matter waves). :nerd:

    Does quantum mechanics need imaginary numbers? :
    The square root of negative one doesn’t correspond to any physical quantity, but that doesn’t mean it has no place in the physical sciences.
    https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.4955

    "The electromagnetic waves were interpreted, not as 'real' waves, but as probability waves"
    ___Werner Heisenberg
    Note -- Probability waves are statistical, hence not-yet real. So they are literally imaginary.

    "Mathematicians . . . work with an imaginary unit, the square root of -1 . . . does not figure among the natural numbers. . . .These relations are rendered more comprehensible by the introduction of the abstract concept of square root of -1, although that concept is not basically needed for our understanding. . . . mathematics introduces ever higher stages of abstraction . . ."
    ___Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy
    Note -- our mental & mathematical abstractions are not real, but realistic. They are not natural or physical, but mental & meta-physical.
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    That's true. I grew up with little BBs circling a big BB, which was easy to visualizejgill
    Back when I was first exposed to the notion of light as a wave function, I imagined it as an actual machine gun spray of bullets that only appear to come in waves. But later, I found that quantum theorists insist that the wave is real, and the particles are illusions. :cool:
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    What I mean is that energy flows from more (relative presence) to less (relative absence) in pursuit of equilibrium, but the combination of vast quantities of such motions unbalances a system to make even the most equilibrated states dynamic, a constant unsettlement.. . .but a system's structural properties make it dynamic in a particular way, introducing intrinsic constraints, hence being and becoming with all the logiclike form that seems to be embodied.Enrique
    That description sounds like quantum vacuum fluctuations boiling with "excitations". But those manifold "unsettled" states (noise) are merely Potential or Virtual (equilibrated ; offsetting?) until Actualized by some intervention (interference) that unbalances the field. Is that de-stabilizing (directional) interference from an internal or external source? Can the human brain/mind intentionally destabilize itself in order to convert unthought ideas into active concepts and causal choices? Or must the unbalancing energy have to come from outside the system?

    Being & becoming sounds like an either/or dual state, similar to on & off, or something & nothing, or one & zero. Is that the basis of all Logic, and especially of human meaning? As usual, this is way over my head (or underlying my observed reality), so I'm just trying interpret your ideas in terms of my limited knowledge of Quantum Theory and Information Theory. Have you gotten useful feedback from specialists in these arcane areas of science? :smile:

    The pursuit of abolishing absentia or equivalently a void, which can never be conclusively actualized, applies from atoms in a solution to the goal-driven behaviors of human cognition.Enrique
    How can you accomplish the abolishment of that which doesn't yet exist (void ; emptiness ; absence)? By converting its Potential into Actual? Deacon has some ideas, but they were also nebulous to me. The quote sounds like striving toward a goal (willing) might in some sense effect the achieving of the goal. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step in the direction of the destination. Does the quote imply some kind of causal power for human will-power? Again, I'm just playfully shooting in the dark here. :cool:

    EXCITATIONS OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS FIELD?
    maybe the blobs are actualized ideas
    quantum_ill-1200x573.jpg?format=jpg&width=1200


    Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals".
    ___Aristotle
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    "Legitimate physicists" tend to cling closely to Classical Newtonian Science, and studiously avoid feckless Philosophy, lest they be accused of taboo woo-woo. — Gnomon
    Would you find quantum physicists doing that? Clinging to Newtonian ideas?
    jgill
    I just finished reading Physics and Philosophy, by Werner Heisenberg, and The Philosophy of Physics by Max Planck. And they both noted that some physicists (e.g Einstein) grudgingly accepted the evidence for counterintuitive quantum behavior, yet tried to interpret those apparent paradoxes in terms of Classical Physics (e.g. deterministic causation). But that was a century ago. And the evidence to support the non-classical aspects of reality has forced physics professionals to learn to deal with Reality's unreal undergirding.

    Besides, my quoted assertion was not describing the scientific methods of modern quantum physics, but the philosophical worldviews of the scientists themselves. Classical Realism is just more intuitive & familiar, than weird Quantum Idealism. Classical Atomism remains more sensible than the abstract Quantum notion of mathematical Fields forming the foundation of Physics. Apart from brute-force atom-smashing, most modern quantum physics is done with abstract computer-driven mathematics, which is inherently abstract & idealistic.

    Nowadays, most physicists seem to be comfortable with the abstruse math (e.g. imaginary numbers) of quantum weirdness, but they still find the philosophical implications untenable & unbelievable. That's where the "shut-up and calculate" attitude came from. So yes, it is possible for pragmatic physicists to do their subatomic work without committing to a position on such non-classical notions as the Observer Effect or the Measurement Problem. Hence, Practical scientists and theoretical philosophers tend to differ on their interpretation of what's really happening down there in the realm of reality beyond human senses. The PhilPapers Survey 2020 indicates that there is still room for disagreement on Classical vs Quantum worldviews. :smile:

    Einstein's skepticism of the "new physics" :
    Einstein saw Quantum Theory as a means to describe Nature on an atomic level, but he doubted that it upheld "a useful basis for the whole of physics." He thought that describing reality required firm predictions followed by direct observations.
    https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/einstein/legacy/quantum-theory
    Note -- Bohr interpreted statistical & uncertain quantum physics in non-classical terms, but Einstein tried to retain the deterministic certainty of Newton's physics.

    Is Quantum Physics a Sort of Idealism? :
    https://realitysandwich.com/is-quantum-physics-a-sort-of-idealism/

    Observer Effect :
    The observer effect is the phenomenon in which the act of observation alters the behavior of the particles being observed.
    https://www.scienceabc.com/pure-sciences/observer-effect-quantum-mechanics.html

    There is no quantum measurement problem :
    The idea that the collapse of a quantum state is a physical process stems from a misunderstanding of probability and the role it plays in quantum mechanics.
    https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.5027
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    the absentia phenomenon . . . . The only fundamental logic of reality is the abolishment of absentia,Enrique
    I googled "absentia" and found a paper on "absential physics". But it was in a technical journal that I don't have access to. So, I'm still in the dark about the logic of absence/presence.

    However, I am familiar with Terrence Deacon's notion of "absence and constraints" in his book Incomplete Nature. Does absential physics have anything to do with Deacon's concept of "constitutive absence" (essence)? Also, do you "abolish absentia" by causing something that exists only in potential to become actual? Please describe how such abolishment is the "logic of reality" How does Nature replace Absence (unreal ; nothingness ; Potential) with Presence (realness ; somethingness ; actuality)? . :smile:

    Absence as Potential :
    Absential: The paradoxical intrinsic property of existing with respect to something missing, separate, and possibly nonexistent. Although this property is irrelevant when it comes to inanimate things, it is a defining property of life and mind; elsewhere (Deacon 2005) described as a constitutive absence
    http://absence.github.io/3-explanations/absential/absential.html

    Constitutive absence :
    A particular and precise missing something that is a critical defining attribute of 'ententional' phenomena, such as functions,
    http://absence.github.io/3-explanations/absential/absential.html
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    I see why very few legitimate physicists are on TPF, even though they might be philosophical physicists.
    Of course, they have their own forums.
    jgill
    Hey, give Enrique a break! He's not reporting on settled science, but exploring the fuzzy fringes of Epistemology. As a modern philosopher though, he's spring-boarding from the current cutting edge of Quantum Physics and Neuroscience. "Legitimate physicists" tend to cling closely to Classical Newtonian Science, and studiously avoid feckless Philosophy, lest they be accused of taboo woo-woo.

    Among the "philosophical physicists" who do explore similar uncharted territory many are "information scientists" and those who examine the spooky world of Quantum Weirdness. Pragmatic Physicists typically limit their studies to Matter & Energy. But "philosophical physicists" include immaterial Mind in their scope of work. But that allows Physics to bleed-over into Meta-Physics. They go where pragmatists fear to tread : the inner world of the human mind. :smile:

    PS__I don't know if his theory is correct, but I'm willing to engage in the expedition with him. After all, many of the wagon trains on the Oregon Trail never made it to the promised land. But some settled along the way.


    Reality, according to Heisenberg, is built not out of matter, as matter was conceived of in classical physics, but out of psycho-physical events – events with certain aspects that are described in the language of psychology and with other aspects that are described in the mathematical language of physics – and out of objective tendencies for such events to occur. ‘The probability function…represents a tendency for events and our knowledge of events’ (Heisenberg, 1958, p. 46).”
    ― Paul Davies, Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics
    Physicist, Astrophysicist, Cosmologist
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    Matter is quantized or discrete at a fundamental level, but evinces unity on emergent scales due to synchronizationEnrique
    Physicists do indeed make discrete measurements at sub-atomic levels of reality. But at the sub-quantum levels (superposition) they can't discriminate between "entangled" or "virtual particles" or "fields", which display holistic or analog behavior. This leads me to believe that reality is fundamentally continuous & inter-connected. & synchronized, but our perception requires discrete patterns. Does the collapse of unitary synchronous (block time) Superposition also break the static synchrony, allowing for the perception of discrete asynchronous moments of Time (illusion per Einstein)? Just a rhetorical question, since your statement sounds like just the opposite.

    Quantum Theory without Quantization :
    The only evidence we have for a discrete reality comes from quantum measurements; without invoking these measurements, quantum theory describes continuous entities. This seeming contradiction can be resolved via analysis that treats measurements as boundary constraints. It is well-known that boundaries can induce apparently-discrete behavior in continuous systems, and strong analogies can be drawn to the case of quantum measurement. If quantum discreteness arises in this manner, this would not only indicate an analog reality, but would also offer a solution to the so-called "measurement problem". ___Ken Wharton, Professor, Physics & Astronomy
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1106.1254

    So the substance of perceptual form is material mechanism.Enrique
    I'm trying to interpret that statement. Does human perception impose its own patterns on the incoming noise of energetic signals, or are the mechanical patterns prior to perception, or both? Is the brain programmed to expect certain logical patterns in Nature? Is Logic simply the organizing principle of nature. Perhaps Logic is the Mechanism of Nature. In that case the "substance" of meaningful Form may be abstract Essence or Qualia or Inter-Relationships.

    What is pattern recognition in perception? :
    Recognizing patterns allows us to predict and expect what is coming. The process of pattern recognition involves matching the information received with the information already stored in the brain. Making the connection between memories and information perceived is a step of pattern recognition called identification.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_recognition_(psychology)

    I think the substance of mechanism and the concept of information are closely related.Enrique
    To me, Mental Information seems to be a logical meaningful arrangement of Causal Energy. But is the logical pattern inherent in the incoming energy or overlaid as a template by the brain? As the Ken Wharton & Recognition quotes above imply : measurement (importing information into the mind) seems to impose "boundary constraints" on incoming data.

    But this does not necessarily preclude a designer who guides the process, though I of course wouldn't claim any privileged knowledge in this respect even as I do have my personal beliefs.Enrique
    My question about a Cosmic Coder or Programmer was intended to distinguish between meaningful logical patterns (signals) in Nature, and meaningless accidental impacts (noise) of random energy. If Nature had no rational Logos to impose order on Chaos, how could novel (progressive) Information (Forms) emerge from mere round & round clockwork Mechanisms?

    Information, Mechanism and Meaning :
    A collection of selected papers written by the information theorist and "brain physicist," most of which were presented to various scientific conferences in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of this collection concerns MacKay's abiding preoccupation with information as represented and utilized in the brain and exchanged between human beings, rather than as formalized in logical patterns of elementary propositions.
    https://direct.mit.edu/books/book/4240/Information-Mechanism-and-Meaning

    PS__I'm still just riffing on some of your ideas. As an amateur philosopher, I don't know the answers to my own questions. :smile:
  • Can we choose our thoughts? If not, does this rule out free will?
    ‘To choose’ implies that a set of options exists *from which one chooses*.Paul Michael
    Several posters have taken exception to the abstract notion of freely choosing from among equal options : door A, B, or C. One objection is that we don't create the options we are faced with. That's true, but an un-forced situational choice is "free", if it is made with personal needs & preferences in mind. A convict may be given the preferential choice between life in prison (more options ahead) or immediate death (no more options).

    Generally, Nature randomly shuffles the cards from which we must choose : the luck of the draw. In gambling, the blind choice is also random. But more often our choices are not quite so arbitrary. For example, if we encounter a fork in the road, presumably we chose the original road because we assumed it would lead to a willed destination. So, the choice of left or right is made on the same pragmatic basis. It's not a blind draw, but a goal-driven decision made with eyes wide open. In choosing between options, we may decide, for teleological reasons, against the path not taken. Likewise, our various thoughts & feelings may emerge instinctively or intuitively, but we still have the rational choice to act or not.

    SKEPTIC magazine editor Michael Shermer coined the term "Free Won't" to emphasize that often there is no perfect option, so we accept the most promising path, and reject the one that doesn't lead to our goal. Moreover, our goals are not necessarily limited to the destination. For example, sometimes how you get there, a learning experience, is as important as the envisioned objective. So Free Will involves both positive & negative choices from among less than perfect options, for less than clear reasons. :smile:

    Free Won't : Volition as self-control exerts veto power over impulses
    "But if we define free will as the power to do otherwise, the choice to veto one impulse over another is free won’t."
    https://michaelshermer.com/sciam-columns/free-wont/

    The-Journey.jpg
    "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
    ___Yogi Berra
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    "
    physically, but this energy flows smoothly through space (though rate transitions are nonlinear), more like a fluid, at the microscale and larger. From this perspective, the concept of an atom is somewhat arbitrary, for electromagnetism is really a bending and morphing of the aether field by the fields of nuclei.
    Heat, color, vibrational texture, etc. are an intrinsic signature of perception and energy, from both inside and outside. Awareness is simply an emergent byproduct of this energy field's organization. . . . "It is well-established that neural signaling is modulated by diffusion of ions through channels in a neuron’s membrane, but ion collisions cannot explain some features of signal transmission." . . . "Overall oscillation patterns within one of these minimum phase-locked assemblies may involve a continuum of relativities rather than simply being a steady state, on or off phenomenon, doing double duty in the formation of multiple percepts," . . .In the OP I could get a long ways with a couple basic premises: electromagnetic matter consists of density maxima/minima, "
    Enrique
    As usual all of this postulation of possibilities is over my head. But I keep seeing references to "organization", "signal", "steady-state", "modulation", and "density maxima/minima". Such terminology reminds me of the elements of coding, such as Morse Code. To transfer information from one point to another you need a steady-state background "field" upon which to superimpose a pattern of positive & negative signals (maxima/minima). And it's the flow of individual signals that add-up to a dynamic meaningful code that can be translated by reference to a pre-established "organization" : the code key.

    So, I imagine waves of information embedded in their frequency & wavelength, serving as the dots & dashes of Morse Code. Presumably, in space (Aether) only light-energy could carry the coded signals that our senses interpret as reality. But in the brain those signals could be conveyed by other physical means, but always in the form of a two-phase digital difference. Meaning is "the difference that makes a difference".

    From that digital-computer-like signaling in the outside world, the Brain would translate pulses of energy into abstract yes/no signals that could be further inferred in the Mind as specific concrete meanings or images. That would function like the random light/dark spots (background) on a TV screen upon which meaningful images (signal) are superimposed. The patterns of dots are not inherently meaningful until the "relativities" (inter-relationships) are inferred by a conscious mind.

    Pardon my intrusion. I'm just riffing off the top of my pointy head from a vague image of energy flowing smoothly through space, but in the form of waves "bending & morphing" the Aether into the light we see from stars. Then that uniform coherent light is reflected from matter, picking up new patterns (such as color & texture) to be received by physical sensors, and interpreted (decoded) by meta-physical pattern-recognition receptors. :smile:

    PS___All this ineffable effing leads to one final question : who or what organized the coding system of the universe by which conscious minds can be influenced from the outside world, and by which one mind can influence another from afar?
  • What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?
    Most his writing does not assume something like a "universal consciousness" as a starting point. He spent most his time asking why people thought they knew something about the matter.Paine
    OK. I was just trying to make his statement non-paradoxical. But another way to look at it is that Self-Consciousness is a person thinking about his own thought processes. Actually, everything we know, or think we know, comes from introspection : consciously examining one's own inner model of reality. So, maybe he was cautioning those who are not reasonably skeptical of their own beliefs. Maybe he was practicing the Socratic method.

    That said, I'll just listen to those who know more about what they are talking about. :smile:
  • Morality and empathy / pity
    mistaking empathy for morality.god must be atheist
    I suppose that innate Empathy serves for morality in animal behavior. Instinctive positive feelings toward kith & kin helps to explain why most (but not all) predators don't kill & eat their own kind. But that would not suffice for the complex behaviors & cultures of human animals. So, most societies have been forced by transgressions of Empathy (e.g. murder) to construct formal codes of morality. But the basic motivator of moral behavior, even in humans, may be the visceral feeling of Empathy, not the intellectual knowledge of moral laws. Except for psychopaths, most humans do have feelings of empathy & remorse after the motivating passion of the murderous moment has passed. :smile:

    Empathy : the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

    Psychopathy : a condition characterized by the absence of empathy and the blunting of other affective states.
  • What is meant by consciousness being aware of itself?
    Can thoughts ever be aware of themselves or can only the thinker create thoughts without fully knowing what they are? What is being asked?TiredThinker
    I'm not very familiar with Krishnamurti's philosophy, but apparently he is saying that Universal Consciousness can be conscious of the thoughts of individual thinkers. From that pan-psychic whole/part perspective, it's not a paradox.

    But then he could be making a counterintuitive assertion to make a metaphysical point about "Total Awareness". However, Paradox is often a teaching tool in Eastern philosophy. So, I guess you'll have to ask him what he is trying to say. :smile:
  • The ineffable
    You links seem to be in the main, irrelevant.
    ...using Aristotelian logic. Oddly anachronistic¹. Frankly, your posts do not make much sense.
    Banno
    That's OK. We all have our blind spots. Yet, there are plenty of other posters who are not mystified by metaphysics, or flummoxed by feelings. But you're the one that raised a question about that which cannot be expressed in prosaic words. Ironically, this thread fills four pages of effing about the ineffable. Apparently your own negative feelings about "the ineffable" can be expressed in scornful language.

    In Aristotle's day, much of what he discussed at length in The Metaphysics was ineffable to non-philosophers. Yet 2500 years later, even practical physical scientists are using his outdated-but-illustrative anachronisms to label some of the paradoxical & counter-intuitive concepts of Quantum Physics and Cosmology (e.g. Aether). :smile:


    Ineffability and its Metaphysics : The Unspeakable in Art, Religion, and Philosophy
    https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/ineffability-and-its-metaphysics-the-unspeakable-in-art-religion-and-philosophy/

    Effing the Ineffable :
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, for example, was convinced that it was nonsensical to try to speak about what lies outside the limits of language. Even so, he wrote an entire book about what cannot be said, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), concluding with the observation: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’
    https://aeon.co/essays/what-if-anything-can-be-said-about-what-is-unsayable

    EFFING IRRELEVANT NONSENSE
    negative-feelings-words.jpg
  • The ineffable
    ↪Gnomon
    Would you be content with a chemist who refused to make use of the atomic theory of matter, insisting instead on dealing only in earth wind, fire and water?
    That's how your insistence on applying only Aristotelian essentialism appears.
    Banno
    Who said anything about "earth wind, fire and water"? I'm not discussing physical Chemistry. Just meta-physical philosophy (ideas ; relationships ; categories). Do you believe that Philosophy should be about the physical world (matter) instead of the intellectual models (mind) of the world? We all look at the world through a framework, a paradigm, of some kind. The Chemistry frame is looking for the mechanics of matter, so that's what it sees. But the Philosophy frame is focused on the ineffable essential structure of those ideal constructs. That's why it's so difficult to express in conventional matter-based words. Some modern philosophers have gone so far into abstract abstruse linguistic analysis that they bury common sense under a pile of BS. Effing about the ineffable.

    Apparently you haven't noticed that almost all of my links in Meta-physical topics are to the opinions of professional scientists, not theologians, or gurus, or mystics. What I'm presenting is a 21st century development from Quantum Science & Information Theory. Both of which have undermined outdated Atomism and Materialism. Science is indeed self-superseding. What nineteenth century scientists labeled "atom" was similar in function to the ancient Greek "atom". But, in the 20th century they were forced to abandon the search for a tangible foundation of reality. In essence, Materialism now comes down to Mathematics : formal (information) relationships.

    As I mentioned before, Aristotle's physical science is obviously outdated in specific details, but not in general categories*1. For example, what he called "Fire" is what we now know as "Energy", but they are philosophically & essentially the same thing : dynamic change. Even his notion of "Aether", has been recently resurrected to explain how empty Space can act as a "Fabric" or Medium*2. Of course, fashionable philosophical paradigms, such as Atomism & Materialism evolve as new evidence comes in. But the essence of those categories remains : e.g. the smallest material element is now known as a trinitarian Quark, which is more of a mathematical philosophical notion than a tiny ball of tangible stuff*3. But what are quarks made of? The emerging physical/philosophical paradigm could be called Informationism. Please don't dismiss it (out of hand) until you try to understand (grasp) it. :smile:


    *1. Evolution of Atomic Theory :
    In the fifth century BC, Leucippus and Democritus argued that all matter was composed of small, finite particles that they called atomos, a term derived from the Greek word for “indivisible.” They thought of atoms as moving particles that differed in shape and size, and which could join together. Later, Aristotle and others came to the conclusion that matter consisted of various combinations of the four “elements”—fire, earth, air, and water—and could be infinitely divided. Interestingly, these philosophers thought about atoms and “elements” as philosophical concepts, but apparently never considered performing experiments to test their ideas.
    https://chem.libretexts.org/Courses/Oregon_Institute_of_Technology/OIT%3A_CHE_101_-_Introduction_to_General_Chemistry/02%3A_Atoms_and_the_Periodic_Table/2.01%3A_Evolution_of_Atomic_Theory

    *2. What is the Aether? :
    The aether is a critical,missing component of physics that must be considered to explain the wave nature of matter.
    https://energywavetheory.com/explanations/aether/

    *3. Mathematical Matter :
    We discuss the nature of reality in the ontological context of Penrose's math-matter-mind triangle.
    https://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0510188
  • The ineffable
    ↪Tom Storm
    Part of the impact of his development of formal modal logic was the implications for consideration of essence, especially and interestingly the necessary yet a posteriori connection between two properties, like water being necessarily H₂O.It's difficult stuff, and brings with it its own controversies. But it does allow that a dead frog is a frog, unlike ↪Gnomon's odd, self-defeating metaphysics.
    Banno
    Since I am a late-comer to Philosophy, I am not well-versed in modern abstruse & esoteric modes of philosophizing. I prefer the timeless common-sense of the old dinosaurs. So, please allow me my amateur dabbling in the shallow end of the pool : where a dead frog is a carcass, and H2O is a universal solvent, not something to drink. :smile:

    Saul Kripke :
    “A Puzzle About Belief” (1979) generated surprising and paradoxical conclusions from seemingly innocent applications of the principles employed in reporting the beliefs of others, and it derived cautionary lessons about attempts to infer facts about linguistic meaning from analyses of belief-reporting sentences.
    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saul-Kripke
    Caution : Banno errs in his biased reporting on Gnomon's beliefs. He adeptly skewers a risible straw man with his modal sword.
  • The ineffable
    Perhaps, there's your problem. There have been a few developments since then.Banno
    That may be a problem for you, but not for me. Aristotle may be outdated in Science, but in Philosophy his concise categories are still applicable. Scientific facts may have changed, but the Philosophical problem of effability remains in our time. Scientists confronted with ineffable Qualia and Essences may chose to "shut-up and calculate". But undaunted philosophers continue to eff away with metaphors & analogies. Why else do you think the topic of effability keeps coming up on this forum? :smile:


    The renowned British philosopher A.N Whitehead once commented on Plato's thought: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
    https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/content/whitehead-plato

    Answers for Aristotle :
    Pigliucci is a singular bridge-builder, one who connects science as the investigation of what is with philosophy as reflection on what should be. Pigliucci acknowledges that Aristotle constructed such bridges long ago, but he laments that many modern thinkers, irrationally suspicious of science, have now abandoned half of Aristotle’s enterprise. Bravely renewing the entire Aristotelian project, Pigliucci surveys the latest scientific research in primatology, psychology, and neurobiology, always integrating the researchers’ empirical findings into a meaningful philosophical perspective. This scientific-philosophical (or “sci-phi”) perspective
    https://www.amazon.com/Answers-Aristotle-Science-Philosophy-Meaningful/dp/0465021387

    Ideas of Plato and Aristotle in the 21st century :
    The goal of the stream is to demonstrate influence of philosophy of Plato and Aristotle on the contemporary society, science, technology, mathematics, philosophy and general culture reflecting new advances in understanding and development of their vision and ideas.
    https://www.atiner.gr/humpla

    Aristotle in the 21st Century :
    Aristotle's essentialist metaphysics can assist in clarifying contemporary issues in (ii) value theory and (iii) economics as ethics.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268505732_Aristotle_in_the_21st_Century

    The ineffable now in physics :
    While physicists know how to use quantum mechanics, there is no consensus on what
    quantum mechanics is a mechanics of. The aim of this paper is to introduce the beginning of what
    might turn out to be an interpretation of quantum mechanics—one that leaves all calculated
    probabilities intact. The basic idea is that quantum mechanics describes the objective world, but there
    must be added to it ineffable variables, one of which is the temporal 'now'. Ineffable variables are not
    'hidden variables'.

    https://philarchive.org/archive/MERTIN-4

    Aristotle on Einstein's Block Time :
    Aristotle’s argument may or may not be a good one, but even if it is unsound, many people will feel, purely on intuitive grounds, that the idea of time having a beginning (or an end) just does not make sense.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/
  • The ineffable
    ↪Gnomon
    A dead frog is not a frog? That is, not sure about your notion of essence. Nowadays a property is considered essential if and only if it belongs to the individual in question in every possible world.You seem to be using some other notion...
    Banno
    My notion of "essence" (e.g. of frogginess) is based on Aristotle's definition of "substance". Biologists may think of substance as material properties (the frog's physical body), but naturalists & philosophers tend to include such qualities as behavior, to define "frogginess" : definitive features that frogs have in common with each other. So the essence of Frog is more than physiology. It includes instincts & mental factors that differentiate a frog from a lizard. "Properties" are known via the physical senses. But "qualities" are known via rational inference. Pragmatic scientists necessarily focus on effable Properties, But theoretical Philosophers are more concerned with ineffable Qualities. :smile:

    Essence or Substance :
    In Aristotle essence was identified with substance (ousia) or sometimes substantial form. The essence is what makes the thing be what it is. The essence of a thing or substance is able to be known and so defined accordingly. It is through the definition that we come to know essences.
    https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Essence

    Qualia :
    Philosophers often use the term ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’) to refer to the introspectively accessible, phenomenal aspects of our mental lives. In this broad sense of the term, it is difficult to deny that there are qualia. Disagreement typically centers on which mental states have qualia, whether qualia are intrinsic qualities of their bearers, and how qualia relate to the physical world both inside and outside the head. The status of qualia is hotly debated in philosophy largely because it is central to a proper understanding of the nature of consciousness. Qualia are at the very heart of the mind-body problem.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia/
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey's monolith.
    There has always been a deep debate on the significance of the monolith which appears in the beginning of the movie.javi2541997
    To me, the monolith represented an artifact, which would only be apparent to rational beings. Presumably, ordinary apes would treat it a useless black rock. But a few began to realize that the monolith was not natural, so someone must have created it. Thus began the ontological quest to understand why anything exists. Which eventually led to the ever-evolving god concept.

    So the space odyssey was merely the continuation of that eons-old search for the Ultimate Source of Being. In the movie, we never see any divine beings, only symbols & metaphors of omnipotence & omniscience. That ambiguous presentation left open the nature of the Creator : advanced aliens or introverted deity? :smile:
  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    But if coherence field theory is accurate, all of this will prove amenable to empiricism, and it's simply a matter of investigating the binding and modulation that occurs among atoms and light.Enrique
    Even when you conscientiously try to stay on the empirical side of Consciousness -- "wish to avoid pseudo-science traps and quantum woo sophistry" -- you are treading on shaky ground. You may be subjected to ad hominem labeling of "quantum woo-woo speculations (e.g. pseudo-scientistic / idealst reductionism", from those who equate Holism & Idealism with New Age Mysticism.

    However, part of that hard-line Reductionist Realist stance seems to be the questionable assumption that our current understanding of Quantum physics is complete. It also presumes that there is a well-defined border between Empirical Science (observation) and Theoretical Science (conjecture). Perhaps, it ain't that simple after all. Maybe it helps to be a maverick genius, with Nobel certification, to be bold enough to speculate across that contested borderline to see what un-discovered truths might be languishing on the other side. :smile:


    Roger Penrose On Why Consciousness Does Not Compute :

    The breadth of Penrose’s interests is extraordinary, which is evident in his recent book Fashion, Faith and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe—a dense 500-page tome that challenges some of the trendiest but still unproven theories in physics, from the multiple dimensions of string theory to cosmic inflation in the first moment of the Big Bang. He considers these theories to be fanciful and implausible.

    But his theory of consciousness pushes the edges of what’s considered plausible science and has left critics wondering why he embraces a theory based on so little evidence.. . .

    Penrose’s theory promises a deeper level of explanation. He starts with the premise that consciousness is not computational, and it’s beyond anything that neuroscience, biology, or physics can now explain. . . .

    Quantum coherence occurs when a huge number of things—say, a whole system of electrons—act together in one quantum state. . . .

    In the Penrose-Hameroff theory of Orchestrated Objective Reduction, known as Orch-OR, these moments of conscious awareness are orchestrated by the microtubules in our brains, which—they believe—have the capacity to store and process information and memory. . . .

    Most scientists believe the brain is too warm and wet for quantum states to have any influence on neuronal activity because quantum coherence only seems possible in highly protected and frigid environments. . . .

    “What I’m saying—and this is my leap of imagination which people boggle at—I’m saying what’s going on in the brain must be taking advantage not just of quantum mechanics, but where it goes wrong,” he said. “It’s where quantum mechanics needs to be superseded.” So we need a new science that doesn’t yet exist? “That’s right. Exactly.” . . .

    “I’m not even sure what materialistic means, quite honestly. Quantum mechanics behaves in ways that one thinks are certainly at odds with the view we used to have.” . . .

    it’s going to be a lot deeper than even straightforward, non-computable deterministic physics. It’s a kind of delicate borderline between completely deterministic behavior and something which is completely free.” . . . .

    https://nautil.us/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute-236591/

  • A Scientific Theory of Consciousness
    When you think about the complexity that must be present in a coherence field of macroscopic emergence it is hard to imagine.Enrique
    Coherence is an essential quality of any holistic system. Yet, the mysterious integrating "force" that binds isolated parts into a functional system has always seemed ineffable. Is it a measurable physical force, or an immensurable metaphysical influence?

    Intuitive Unity is not hard to imagine, but is hard to describe in reductive scientific terms. A multiplex system is typically defined in terms of its parts, not its unique singular essence. Yet, despite its complexity, we usually know wholeness intuitively when we see it, by inferring its teleological Purpose or Function. Ironically, goal-oriented "purpose" is not a scientific concept, and future-oriented "function" is an inference, not an observation.

    So, physical causation seems to result in directional change due to consistency of effects. We then interpret the invisible arrow of the trail of effects as Purpose or Function. The observing mind connects the dots by filling-in the blanks with imagination. And for humans, the purpose (intention) precedes the causation. :smile:

    What is system? :
    A system is a collection of elements or components that are organized for a common purpose.

    What is a Force? :
    An influence ; a cause ; an attraction or repulsion

    Teleological :
    relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.
  • The ineffable
    Indeed, I've much sympathy with that. The further question might be what it is that they ought be quite about, and that, if anything, is the topic of this thread: delineating, so far as it is possible to do so, what it is that is ineffable.Banno
    Even for voluble verbose philosophers, the concept of Holism seems to be inherently ineffable, in the sense that a complex whole system cannot be understood when "delineated" in terms of its parts, without losing the integrated wholeness. An old high school biology example says that "if you dissect a frog, you lose the interrelating & binding effect of Life, which defines the essence of a frog. A dissected frog is no longer a functioning organism : it's "-ology" without the "bio-". So you learn about organs apart from the organism. Hence, you can't have your frog, and cut it too.

    Naturalists typically define general essential frogginess in terms of how it differs from other aquatic animals. A specific specie can be described in terms of what it does, and how it fits a niche, instead of what it is. The "-ness" suffix is an indicator of essential qualities, that are difficult to describe or define, apart from enumerating its parts. Green is a physical property, but It isn't easy being green. :smile:

    Ineffable :
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” ― Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

    EFFING GREENESS
    8a9f3673-3b4f-4323-a06e-5aaea2e11437._SY441_CR15,0,558,441_.png