The Hard Problem of Consciousness (3'd iteration)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Yazata, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    The entangled states were quantum in nature because they were in a superposition of two opposite states, vibrating and not vibrating. This was made clear in the article:

    "But if the diamonds behaved as quantum mechanical objects, they would share one vibrational mode between them. It would be as if both diamonds were both vibrating and not vibrating at the same time. "Quantum mechanics says it's not either/or, it's both/and," Walmsley says. "It's that both/and we've been trying to prove."

    Nice try, but the article wasn' about the photons being entangled. It's about the diamonds being entangled, both of which are macroscopic objects. MACRO entanglement WAS demonstrated. It's simply amazing to watch the song and dance you do to deny the obvious.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  3. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Hydrogen bonding has an important connection to life, with hydrogen bonding associated with hydrogen protons. Life is more than electron entanglement; it also has proton entanglement. For example, although we think of water as strongly bonded H2O, the hydrogen protons don't remain with any particular water molecule for very long, yet water will still form extended fixed structures like clusters.


    Water clusters can, in turn, transition between high and low density states, due to two possible stable hydrogen bonding versions. Picture water clusters pulsing as they transition between high and low density. Now we have wave generators and interference patterns within the aqueous-organic matrix of life that assist coordination via entanglements. The hydrogen proton and electron, which is the main substance of the universe, entangles within water and life.
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  5. Mathers2013 Banned Banned

    I am wondering if your problem of hard consciousness relates to machines.
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes & No.
    Yes, because there is no evidence proving that humans are not just biological machines.*
    No, because their conscious state, if any, can never be known. - Not even possible to know for sure that any human but yourself is conscious. - All others conceptually could just be p-zombies.

    PS This is first post of yours I recall seeing - so welcome to Sciforums.

    * More complex than ants or molds, but fundamentally no different.
  8. Mathers2013 Banned Banned

    I was wondering because if your problem of consciousness relates to machines I would state that computers were originally designed as calculators. Modern computers are simply that: calculators. Early machines (8-bit) could only count to two-hundred-and-fifty-five (fifty-six if you count zero), which is why such computers use that many colours. However if you take the primary colours and use two-hundred-and-fifty-five shades for each colour you can make many more colours...
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I think so. I think that analogous arguments could be applied to any conceivable instantiation or embodiment of any possible physicalist account of mind.

    The underlying philosophical issue seems to be that the inventory of fundamental substances and qualities that are recognized by physical science don't include the subjectively experienced phenomenal qualities of color, sound and so on. Therefore (so it is argued) no physicalistic account of mind can be correct and (assuming minds are part of nature) no physicalistic account of nature can be complete.

    My own suspicion is that this is kind of a pseudo-problem that arises from our trying to conceptualize the issues in the wrong way.

    I imagine human beings (and any other functionally-equivalent system which could include machines) as information processing systems. Light reflects off of physical objects, causally stimulates our nervous systems, and we assume appropriate neurological states. Those states needn't be colored themselves, because there isn't any second eye inside our heads that's directly perceiving them. In other words, when we are trying to explain how seeing works, we don't need to reproduce the whole action of seeing a second time inside ourselves in order to explain it.

    It's instructive to think about what we can tell a totally-blind-from-birth man about the color 'red'. We can tell him that it's a visual experience, that red has a recognizable quality that we can visually recognize from instance to instance, that colors occupy geometrically describable parts of the visual field and so on. But no matter how completely we describe red in terms like these, there's still something that we are leaving out that the blind man can never know.

    Some people argue that what's missing is some (impossible to put into words) description of a phenomenal quality: the... let's call it redness... of red. These are supposedly the kind of things that are missing from any possible physicalist account of mind and nature. It's why it's argued that physicalism must be wrong.

    My suspicion is that nothing is missing from the description. We've not only said everything that it's possible to say in words, we've said everything that there is to say. What's missing from the description isn't the further description of some additional ineffable quality of 'redness itself', it's the blind man's inability to perform the necessary action, his inability to assume the requisite neurological states that the rest of us enter when we are visually stimulated by light of the proper wavelengths.

    In other words, I think that it might be more philosophically correct to say that what we call phenomenal qualities aren't qualities at all (in the sense that leptons have mass or charge). They are events, they are actions that systems like us perform.

    If there's any truth to that, then any information processing system that's able to perform formally equivalent internal information processing actions when it's physically stimulated the appropriate way, whether the system happens to be a robot or a space-alien, can't possibly be a zombie. Everything that's present in our human case would be present in that case too.
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    It might be more helpful to think of color more as a sensation inside our brains instead of a visualized qualia. But even then we are faced with a "feeling" homonculus inside our brain who "feels" the color instead of seeing it. This is an unavoidable problem imo since there will always be this gap between a physical neurological state and the experience of the qualia itself. This gap is nothing more or less than the gap between objective and subjective, between physical and mental, which no physicalist account will ever bridge imo. IOW, the qualia of color will always assume a preexistent subject who can just givenly experience the color as color.

    But if you're claiming to be able to give a entirely verbal account of how the color red is generated, you must be assuming a preaquaintance by the reader with the subjective experience of the color red. IOW, you assume the very phenomena you hope to explain, and in fact cannot but help do so since the phenomena of redness is entirely subjective and private event. This is the failing of physicalist reductionism: that it aspires to explain a phenomena in objective publically-accessible terms which in itself is NOT objective nor publically-accessible. There is not even any certainty that what I call red is the same color as what you call red. How can you hope to explain a phenomena whose very nature is only accessible mentally and not physically?

    I don't think that helps explain it though. The fact that color is more a "coloring" that the brain performs doesn't make the origin of the color any more understandable. And it certainly doesn't explain why there is something that it is like to see color. Does every action the brain performs generate its own specific qualia? Not really. Performing actions can be done just as easily in the dark, as I am sure is the case for the bulk of actions performed by our brains. Does the fact that a computer computes mean it too feels what it is like to compute? I doubt it. Being a performer of an action does not logically entail a consciousness of that action.
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    You are postulating that mental is not physical. But not all agree with your assumption, which is circular reasoning if you think you have shown mental is not physical.

    I´m not saying mental is physical - just noting that posibility is what is being considered. My POV is that it is a hard problem to understand how a physcial systeme can have experiences / qualia. Not being able, with present state of knowledge, to understand this does not mean it is impossible for a physical system to have experiences.

    Once people could not understand how one could go to the edge of the Earth and not risk falling off.
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    In the common everyday use that the term "mental"is used it is taken to be the opposite of physical. If you have some new definition of mental that makes it a synonym for physical then let's hear it.

    Antonyms of adj mental

    Sense 1:
    mental (vs. physical)

    physical (vs. mental)...
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I agree that is common usage, but the correctness of that common belief is what this thread is about.

    Common beliefs can later be shown to be wrong. For example, the "morning star" and the "evening star" were once believed to be different stars but are now understood to both be Venus. It has happened several times that things, which to even the well educated seemed to be, and were believed to be, different, turned out to be just different aspects of one system: For example, magnetism and electricity seemed to be very different.

    If mental is not an aspect of the physical mind, what is it - soul? IMO, naming the mental soul (or any other ill defined term) does not solve the hard problem but just makes more probelms to solve. (E.g. how does soul interact with the physical and yet not violate the physical laws of nature?)
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    Mental means anything existing in the mind. That is the well-understood common definition we use all the time. What is mind? Mind is mind. It exists as irreducibly as physical reality does. But you seem to have some definition of mental that makes it synonomous with physical. What IS that definition?

    Here is a dictionary definition of "mind":

    "(in a human or other conscious being) the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc."
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Same old presumption, which may be or may not be true. Temperature was once thought to be an irreducible property too. Now it has been reduced to the average kinetic energy of the atoms.
    No, I don´t. I´m only repeatedly noting that current common beliefs, presumptions, that mind is not produced by the physical brain need not be true. It may be. I gave some examples of prior presumptions, beliefs, even some held by scientists, that were revised as science progressed. To give yet another, Newton´s laws are only aproximations. People have even been burnt for being witches, when that was a very common belief.

    Again: the subject of this thread is the hard problem: how can what appears to be "mind" or "qualia" or "mental" be aspects of the physical brain? Yes, at present, it is a hard problem to see how they could be. Also again, I do not assert they are, aspects of the brain, only that our lack of understanding how they could be is not proof they are not. Likewse a very common belief that they are not is not proof they are not. Likewise many dictionary definitions that define them differently from the physical brain, do not prove they are not aspects of the physical brain.

    You seem wedded to the idea they are not aspect of the brain, based on dictionary definitions and common beliefs but have no explaination as to how they are achieved. You don´t recognized that how they could exist and not be aspects of the brain is an even harder problem, especially as you don´t seem to want to accept the common, ill defined, religious belief that they come from some non-material soul.
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    I wasn't trying to solve the hard problem. I was defending it AS a problem. You're the one saying the common definition of mental is now suddenly incorrect. That english speakers around the world have been using it for centuries in a sense that is completely wrong and that you somehow know the correct definition. So again, what is this new definition of mental? This is the third time I've asked this. I weary quickly of your tapdancing around questions..
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No your putting words in my mouth - never said that. I said in first sentence of post 90:
    "I agree that is common usage, but the correctness of that common belief is what this thread is about."
    I accept the common definitions of mental, mind, etc. -I don´t have any different one.

    I am trying to drag you away from semantics, definitions etc. to what the thread is about: How is it that brains, make qualia, minds, and other mental things? Let´s discuss the "hard problem", not definitions and people´s beliefs. - I have given seven cases where people´s beliefs, even some of well educated scholars, turned out to be wrong and definitions had to be changed.

    My first reply to you (post 88) started with:
    "You are postulating that mental is not physical. But not all agree with your assumption, which is circular reasoning if you think you have shown mental is not physical."

    Your replies have been to say they are defined differently and people believe they are different. - So what - That does not prove anything as history shows.
    Definitions and beliefs do change as more is learned.

    The moring star & the evening star are not differetly defined now that both are known to be Venus
    Temperature is no longer a irreducible characteristic of matter, but the mean kinetic energy.
    Newtons "laws" are now only good approximations to GR.
    Witches do not exist.
    Magnetism and electricity only seemed to be very different but are aspects of one equation set (Maxwell´s).
    Earth is not the center of the universe.
    You are not in danger of falling off the edge of the Earth.

    Again for third time I am not claiming that mental things can be reduced to brain processes, but whether or not that can some day be shown to be the case, that (being "brain produced") does seem to me to be more probable than that they are produced by some non-material soul or any other magical ideas you may have as to their cause.

    This exchange started becuse you believe mental and physical are entirely different. Said: "... nothing more or less than the gap between objective and subjective, between physical and mental, which no physicalist account will ever bridge imo." I noted not all believe that to be the case.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2013
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So you agree that mental is the opposite of physical and refers to phenomena totally different from physical phenomena? Then why were you complaining people actually believe this? Especially if you yourself use the word in the exact same sense. Are you saying when you speak of mental processes and events you don't actually believe they are mental as opposed to physical in nature? Then why are you using that word? You're not making any sense..
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No I agree that is what most believe and what the definitons reflect; not that it is the case although I have admitted it could be. (For examle qualia may be a chemical, not physical, phenomena. I can´t even demonstrate they are not given by a soul.)
    because the foundations of that belief are the same as that witches exist. -Not one shred of evidence showing that mental can not be an aspect of brain activity we do not yet understand as it is a hard problem to understand with our present knowledge.
    No. I am saying that we don´t yet have reason to claim mental process are, or are not, just products of brain (neural activity), but do admit I prefer that POV to the claim they occur by magic or by activities of some non-material soul.
    Not sure which word is "that word" but I do speak of temperature and not always of average kinetic energy, etc. even though I know that is what temperature is. In the mental vs physical case, I don´t know if they are have the same basis or not, so of course I speak of both. For example, it may turn out that qualia have a ionic chemical basis, not one of neural discharges.
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    You don't seem to know much about anything on this topic. Could be this, maybe one day will be that. Who knows eh? Moving on...
  21. river

    Consciousness is brought on by the environmental dynamics

    Inotherwords , consciousness , is the evolution of neuron development of its self and neuron connections
  22. Mathers2013 Banned Banned

    Does time enter the mind? I believe it does. Surely it passes through walls and therefore must flow through the brain and therefore mind. We can imagine time stopping or continuing therefore we HAVE time. What is to say the being does not GENERATE time itself, or even that the individual does so?! Should time stop (for me) there is no way of knowing that the stone will continue, just as there is no way of knowing what lies behind me unless I look. I can guess what's the other side of my front-door (a hallway) but unless I open the door to look I cannot know for sure. For all I know Neo may have reprogrammed the matrix so there is a silent party...
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Many think of time as sort of an invisible river flowing, but that is wrong.

    Time does not exist as an observable. It is just a convenient parameter to describe motions and chemical change etc. in equations. I.e. the motions in a clock and the fall of say a rock can both be expressed, one in terms of the other, without any reference to time. (Just solve their standard function of time equations both for time and set the two expressions for time equal to get a direct description of one motion in terms of the other with no reference to time.)

    Only the changes (motions and chemical processes) are real - time is not. It is just a convenient parameter that helps keep equations describing one change´s relation to another´s less complex. For example, how many cycles of quartz crystal vibrations happen when a candle burns from start to finish etc. Again: Time does not exist. Time does not "pass thru walls and into the brain," etc.

    If you think time does exist, tell me at least one characteristic of it. Its mass, density, color, shape, how and when it was made etc. - It has no characteristic as it does not exist. A clock does not "measure time" - it has some form of motion (or chemical change) that can be related to other changes occurring. For example X oscillations of the crystal or pendulum of a clock per each mm of candle burned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2013

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