If No Consciousness Exists, By What Right Does The Universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Cyperium, May 22, 2021.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    What does it mean to say that consciousness exists? I agree with exchemist that consciousness isn't a substance, it's an activity in which an information processing system acquires information about its environment, performs recognition/classification tasks on that information and in some organisms on the information that the system is in the loop and doing the processing. (Some organisms not only think about the environment, they think about their thinking about the environment.) Other things are likely happening too, since the system is likely motivated in the kind of information it seeks, is assuming affective states (fear, desire etc.) and is making decisions about what kind of behavior to undertake.

    In your scenario, information about the surrounding environment wouldn't 'exist' in any information processing system of the sort I outlined above since ex hypothesi they wouldn't exist.

    Your thought experiment is about you or anything capable of awareness of its environment not existing. If nothing capable of awareness of its surroundings existed, then awareness of those surroundings wouldn't exist either -- not in the sense of a substance not existing but in the sense of a process not happening.

    That absence of anything capable of acquiring and processing information about its surroundings doesn't seem (to me anyway) to imply much about whether or not those surrounding exist in whatever substantial way the physical universe exists. (Another question.)

    I'd guess that the planet Mars has never been host to any beings capable of acquiring, processing and making use of information about the Martian environment. But that doesn't mean that the Martian environment didn't exist, only that nothing was aware of it. The Mars rovers have indeed discovered a fascinating landscape there, evidence of all kinds of geological processes have occurred and so on.

    All (presumably) without any sentient being being aware that any of it was happening.

    Put another way, when a space vehicle lands on some other body out there, we are discovering, not creating whatever it is that the cameras record.
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    To representationally "exist" the way it does in human or related animal perception and the conceptions and symbolic descriptions outputted by intellect, that version of the cosmos would need such organisms.

    But that does not eliminate the possibility of a noumenal brand of existence (not dependent upon rational tokens) as a source for the phenomenal representations of biological consciousness and the symbol mediators that intellect uses. (The labels of world or reality not necessarily having to be applied to it, but reserved for the experienced version.)

    There's also the old pan-phenomenalism[1] of Hume and its positivism revival via Ernst Mach and others, wherein qualitative manifestations could (when switching from an epistemological to an ontological orientation) be regarded as objective or existing prior to their recruitment and status as sensory sensations. A kind of commonsense realism where cognitive systems weren't required.

    But the operating presuppositions or background philosophical guidelines of today's science seem to entail a non-phenomenal provenance as the cause of the consensus, extrospective environment that we experience. Which is to say, the era of the positivist and Helmholtz-inspired scientists of the 19th century is over, where they agnostically allowed both pan-phenomenalism (or idealism) and materialism as metaphysical possibilities for the philosophical naturalism slot.

    So in that contemporary context, it is perhaps safe to say that a psychology-independent cause of our extrospective reality has to be noumenal WHEN it is not handed over to abstract description as a substitute (which is obviously an artificial product, albeit effective and indispensable).

    - - - footnote - - -

    [1] Edward S. Reed: [Thomas H.] Huxley, like all the other scientists in the group--and like almost all scientists in Europe or America at the that time--was not a materialist, despite his belief in the progress of mechanistic physiology. He argued in two directions: one from the external phenomena of science (say, the data of physiology) and the other from introspective phenomena (for example, our belief in free will). He was inclined to believe that most (or all) introspectively revealed phenomena would prove to be caused by externally revealed ones. But in any event he was a phenomenalist, arguing that what is real is phenomena. If the soul (or the unconscious) is not real, it is because it is not part of the phenomenal world.

    This panphenomenalism was widely labeled positivism when it was propounded by scientists. In the loosely defined meandering of the term, positivism dominated the European intellectual scene from approximately 1870 to 1890. Yet that type of positivism is inherently unstable when applied to psychology. The externalist (physiological) analysis of behavior and mind attributes all psychological states to antecedent causes. Introspective analysis reveals both intuitions of freedom and the appearance of autonomous psychological states. The two seem irreconcilable.
    --From Soul to Mind: The Emergence of Psychology, from Erasmus Darwin ... p.121 to 122 (1997)

    Matter for Huxley was just what it was for Mach or Hertz: a set of phenomenal observations made by scientists. It is thus remarkable but true that the most reviled "materialists" of the 1880s--Huxley, Tyndall, and Clifford--were all phenomenalists of sort or another and not materialists at all.

    The positivist impulse gave new life to a variety of panphenomenalism, one whose adherents were surprisingly uncritical about the analysis of those allegedly basic mental phenomena, sensations. Thus, thinkers as different in outlook and interests as Huxley and Mach, Taine and Spencer, Wundt and Lewes all agreed that the basic "data" on which all science was to built were sensations.
    --From Soul to Mind: The Emergence of Psychology, from Erasmus Darwin ... p.161 (1997)​
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  5. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    To perceive is to exist, do you mean that there are several existences where one is more important than the other? What basis do you have for that? When we seize to perceive, don't we become the same nothing that which is not existence?

    Objective reality or being is not even proven to exist. Why is that? Because we don't know what that is. Everything we know is known through our perception and we don't know the foundation of objective existence. How could we know objective reality isn't perceived? That actually the perception is the foundation of it?

    That we can detect things in the environment is not the same as consciousness. Robots can detect the environment and isn't necessarily conscious. There has been a evolutionary advantage to detect different aspects of the environment, but it's hard to point a finger to how consciousness has any evolutionary advantage.

    So if you define awareness as something that just detects the environment (the non-magical part) then imply that awareness is the same as consciousness (that which can be seen as the magical part) it then becomes a logical loop, and something which has to be assumed. As of now, we still do not know how consciousness is created. When we call the robot aware of it's surroundings we don't mean that it is actually conscious, we only mean that it is capable of measuring and reacting to its environment - like a philosophical zombie.

    When you say that objective reality has to exist, what do you mean by "reality"? What is the reality that has to be there for something to be objective and exist? What does it even mean for a universe to be objective? How does it measure itself objectively?
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


    Both are a torus shape

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  8. geordief Valued Senior Member

    That was what I meant. I just meant "seems to transform visually" (not that I have any expertise in topology)
  9. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    First of all, is consciousness a process or a substance? When we "loose" consciousness, do we actually loose it? Or do we loose our ability to remember it? I can recall having a dreamless sleep, waking up not remembering anything, then later being reminded of something, which makes me recall that I did dream something and remember it in vivid detail. I just didn't remember it when I woke up or even several hours later. I don't think that consciousness is a substance or a process, I think it is a fundamental component of reality, in a limited form as us humans and in an all-encompassing form for the universe. In my view, the brain isn't actually the cause of consciousness, but a container for it and consciousness thus becomes shaped as its container and can be formed by it, giving rise to our experiences (through brainwave frequency modulations or structural modulations, or anything in-between).

    So that's how different our views on consciousness is, and because of that we might come to some different conclusions. This thought experiment is actually only a step in the process to try to reveal a more fundamental hypothesis of the foundation for existence, where this consciousness component (which doesn't need to be like human consciousness) is the foundation for everything that exists.

    I can see how if you limit consciousness to simply being a process that it would be like turning a computer off and it doesn't have any "special" qualities to it. I however don't agree that consciousness is a process and I do believe it has "special" qualities to it, unlike anything that a process can fully describe. Maybe that quality is "reality" or maybe that quality is simply "existence" as consciousness would have us believe.

    Well a thought seem noumenal to the mind even though it arises through subconscious processes and representations, a noumenal brand of existence thus do not eliminate or exclude the possibility of an underlying consciousness. The universe does seem noumenal, but so does a thought. Like a thought seemingly arises from the void on it's own accord, so could the universe. In that sense consciousness would be both the foundation and the limit of the universe. In my view having a noumenal universe is every bit as strange as having a universe with consciousness as the foundation and who knows, if the universe is strictly noumenal that it doesn't have consciousness as a characteristic of it anyway even if it isn't through representation. In my view the main characteristic of consciousness is being which to me is the same as existence.

    Could it be that in the progress of objective science, we were so charmed by the success of it, that we simply gave more credibility to objectivity? A kind of scientific populism? In order to actually understand what is the foundation of existence, I think we need to backtrack to those "innocent" days, or we might find that the only two problems we have yet to solve turns out to be the hard problem of consciousness, and how anything can exist at all, cause I think they are related, which means that backtracking is inevitable if we are ever going to get those answers.

    I think the free will conundrum is simply solved by us not being conscious of all the parts of it, it is still free, we are just limited so that we can't use that freedom to do anything that is not deterministic. If we could be conscious of and have control over everything in the chain of cause and effect even from the primal cause of the universe where everything was set, then indeed it would be free just as we perceive. That would be absurd, but that is still a component of consciousness that we have a limited part of.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Just because we do not know how the universe came into existence does not negate the "hard fact" that the universe exists.
    Likewise, just because we don't know exactly how consciousness emerges, does not negate the "hard fact" of consciousness in all living organisms at various levels of awareness.
    That is an open mater of debate.
    Can Machines Have Consciousness?

    Ask a GPT3 if it is conscious. It will answer in the affirmative. Will you then engage in debate with the GPT3?
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    When you lose consciousness, you lose it. People can monitor your brain activity and see the change. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190212104217.htm

    As for the "hard problem of consciousness", I think that too is something of a false issue. I am with Massimo Pigliucci on that: https://philosophynow.org/issues/99/What_Hard_Problem
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  12. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Various offshoots of Rusellian Monism -- the conception that matter has both extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) properties -- are just about the only approach that physicalism can take in solving the hard problem in a way that avoids blatant dualism. It allows experience to belong to matter rather being apart from it. By providing a precursor for the complex phenomenal events of human consciousness to developmentally emerge from (eliminating the magic lamp conjuring of neural processes).[1]

    The extrinsic character of matter is the interactive relationships and measurements that science deals with and represents with abstract communication.[2] Which would be "invisible" to itself because it is empty causal structure devoid of exhibitory essence.

    Whereas the intrinsic character of matter "is what the world really is" as Smolin puts it below, minus the outward mapping. Perhaps it's not ontological stuff or substance so much as the capacity to always be manifesting, whether as bare primitive events or the complicated arrangements of qualia and feelings associated with brain sensations.

    At any rate, the end result of this particular route is that the universe would be pervaded by proto-experiences, even when no cognitive systems have evolved to yet to understand them or acknowledge that they are "showing" themselves. The universe would thereby be more than "not even nothingness" to itself (but perhaps not a lot more).

    Integrated Information Theory is arguably the only (incrementally popular) contender currently on the table that could potentially (in the future) assess and quantify the degree of proto-consciousness in a non-living organization of matter. But don't expect any understanding of itself and incoming information to be there, if it lacks memory -- only that it at least exists as some chaotic presence to itself, rather than being totally absent.

    - - - footnotes - - -

    [1] Thomas Henry Huxley: How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of Djin when Aladdin rubbed his lamp. --Lessons in Elementary Physiology

    [2] Lee Smolin: The problem of consciousness is an aspect of the question of what the world really is. We don't know what a rock really is, or an atom, or an electron. We can only observe how they interact with other things and thereby describe their relational properties. Perhaps everything has external and internal aspects. The external properties are those that science can capture and describe through interactions, in terms of relationships. The internal aspect is the intrinsic essence; it is the reality that is not expressible in the language of interactions and relations. Consciousness, whatever it is, is an aspect of the intrinsic essence of brains. --Time Reborn ... page 270

    It's better to shift from "free will" to, say, autonomy of the body (and its antecedent states), in terms of emphasizing the body generating its own behavior and decisions. (Which intruders and supposed puppeteers like "laws of nature" and "randomness" cannot specifically do.)

    The label of FW has so much philosophical baggage attached to it from the past, that no matter how one tries to fix it there will always be others dragging _X_ down into those messy frameworks -- incompatibilism and compatibilism -- in terms of how _X_ is interpreted.

    Ultimately one would want FW to be invulnerable to most metaphysical possibilities, including determinism. But with respect to the latter, even compatibilism is littered with junk that would handicap or puncture a new boat cruising along that classified itself under that umbrella. Accordingly, time to simply toss the archaic ball and chain of FW and re-conceive what's actually being sought.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I believe David Bohm touched on this in his treatise, "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", where the Implicate is the inherent potential of an object (pattern) which may or may not become expressed, from the very subtle to gross expression in reality.

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    Last edited: May 25, 2021
  14. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member


    Stuff exist whether you perceive it or not

    We might just be sleeping

    Yeah so I have heard not proven to exist blah blah blah

    Bullshit navel gazing posing as intelliegence

    Just being the operative word - I don't

    It isn't and I am not implying it is

    The Universe is NOT objective (you appear to have gone to deep down the anthropomorphic road assigning properties to the Universe it does not possess) so there is no meaning

    It doesn't. If you are contending we, as humans, are part of the Universe that is particularly true in the sense we are composed of chemicals found within the Universe

    However we differ from the chemicals laying around in that we are, in our entirety we are engaging in a PROCESS called LIFE

    This process is not really anything special. Incredible complex granted but at base level chemical and electrical processes

    This is where religious people go off the rails. Their beef appears to be, in the main part
    • how can inorganic stuff become organic?
    • Working on it
    • how can organic stuff be so diverse?
    • Evolution and physics
    • how can organic matter generate thoughts?
    • Evolution and physics
    • how can thoughts generate consciousness
    • Evolution and physics
    What? You want to know EXACTLY how?
    Evolution and physics not good enough? How about working on it? OR currently not known but working on it

    My humble idea is consciousness is an extension of being conscious + aware + memory + thinking + thinking about thinking = consciousness

    To be continued but currently breakfast

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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    This is twice in one day that I've agreed with exchemist. (Probably as unsettling for him as for me.)

    Maybe in my defense I can plead that I was really agreeing with Massimo Pigliucci (something I do repeatedly).
  16. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    I usually enjoy reading him, too -- especially when he rants about scientism, but this is another verification in a long line of them that no mortal is perfect. (Yeah, I'm probably making too much hay out of a last paragraph on that page, but I'm getting bored waiting on some paperwork to finally get here.)

    Correlation isn't an explanation (or an extremely trivial one, at best). Just as correlating the sun to an energy output is not an explanation of how it does it. That is fusion, what's transpiring at the atomic level. But unlike the effects of EM and particle radiation when they reach Earth, there's nothing radically new to outwardly detect with respect to the neural correlates of consciousness. You still just have the neural tissue and the electrochemical activity taking place, no novel category that arises except with respect to what the former is privately witnessing: Manifestations of "stuff" (including feelings) instead of nothing.

    Additionally, this borders on (terrestrial) biological idolatry and generic encephalocentrism.

    John Searle is as neuro-narcissist or covert anthropocentric as anyone get can, what with his "biological naturalism", and even he has apparently admitted it is dogmatic to go that far.

    Daniel Barbiero: "It should be noted that Searle's biological naturalism does not entail that brains and only brains can cause consciousness. Searle is careful to point out that while it appears to be the case that certain brain functions are be sufficient for producing conscious states, our current state of neurobiological knowledge prevents us from concluding that they are necessary for producing consciousness." https://sites.google.com/site/minddict/searle-john

    Mediocrity principle applied: There is nothing special about matter in the skull and its "processes" are not "non-replicable" elsewhere. Other substrates with adequate and effective organization, including the technological ones of machines and any exotic life forms elsewhere in the universe, should in theory be capable of achieving experiences, just as they're amenable to instantiating degrees of intelligence.

    Brains depend upon elements from the periodic table and interactions -- the biological stratum isn't a unique or magic domain that floats independently on its own without a care in the world for the precursor properties of chemistry and physics that it arose from.

    In fairness to Pigliucci, the "as we have been discussing it" is what he's potentially thrown in as an escape route in case someone backed him into a corner on that. But it thereby indicates he knows full well that he is not providing a universal explanation, but giving a contingent one the appearance of being such (which again, is actually bogus on top of that -- correlating _X_ to _Y_ as a satisfactory explanation).

    Again, all it takes is for a technological substrate to develop experiences to debunk that, this sacred "special-ness" of the biological level.

    BTW, Chalmers utters a common, dirt-stupid question of "why" consciousness evolved rather than "how". Evolution isn't an all powerful magician that can defy the constraints of physics and accomplish anything that aids the survival of a species. It would probably be useful for a life-form to be able to teleport from one place to another, but that's not going to happen.

    We don't need evolution turning into a church replacement for secular folk, attributing the capacity of god-like miracles to it.

    Uh, "representing a problem" or "introducing a problem" to public attention does not entail that the problem can't be remedied. His own admission that "it is still largely mysterious" contradicts that there is nothing to address. A "problem" just means that any interested party should endeavor to solve it, which starts with proposed explanations. As opposed to an onlooking, stagnant sector that sits on its suddenly lazy, non-curious fat ass and pontificates useless decrees about the holy special-ness of wetware.

    Consciousness (the experience part, not cognition) was once treated as taboo, as crazy to talk about as UFOs, as far as explaining it went. That stigma lifted back in the late 20th-century, but there still seems to no end to the atavists who want to put it back into the forbidden bottle again.

    No mystery that such an attitude is due to protecting something. Maybe the privileged status of human beings or brained organisms in general, but likely many of the confused, indolent dolts don't explicitly know themselves. It's just some feeling trickling up from the primate depths that doesn't want the seeming "conjuring" explained. Desires the situation to forever to remain at the level of "neural or process correlates of consciousness". Like some gloriously flaming rube centuries ago being satisfied with the combining the ingredients of gunpowder together in the right proportions being a satisfactory answer for it exploding.

    SIGNPOST UP AHEAD: CURIOSITY OF A PARTICULAR PHILOSOPHER OR SCIENTIST ENDS HERE, STRANGELY AND ABYSMALLY (for true reasons he or she or "they" [political correctness] would rather not disclose).
  17. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    I thought the hard problem was along the lines of
    • how can inorganic matter
    • first became organic
    • working on it
    • produce a brain
    • evolution
    • brain produce thoughts
    • evolution
    • those thoughts think about themselves
    • memory
    Finishing this post off late because it seems I was distracted and just re-found it

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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I often agree with him. but I disagree at times too. I can't think of anyone that I agree with 100% of the time. Doesn't matter if they are religious prophets or scientists. I think that Massimo's virtue is that he's interesting and thought provoking. Which I would guess is his goal for his column, he doesn't mean for it to be revealed scripture, but just to introduce issues and get his readers thinking.

    I don't recall having any big objection to it. (In what follows, Pigliucci's words are colored brown, CC's in quotes.)

    "Consciousness as we have been discussing it is a biological process, explained by neurobiological and other cognitive mechanisms."

    True. Explaining the mind is definitely a work in progress and we aren't anywhere close to producing a full and complete explanation of what's going on in those squishy balls of cells in our heads.

    But... I agree very much with Pigliucci and exchemist (sorry exchemist) that David Chalmers' "hard problem" probably isn't different in kind from the sort of problems that he thinks of as not 'hard' in this peculiar sense of his.

    That's where I think Pigliucci's word "process" is doing its work. The place to look for an explanation of mind probably isn't in fundamental physics. There isn't any hitherto unknown kind of physical particle or interaction between particles happening in nervous systems that display consciousness. What's new is a new sort of interaction between more familiar parts. It isn't about what cells are so much as it's about how in concert they are doing something new. Instantiating a new kind of process, at least new in our earthly context. It may have happened over and over throughout the universe.

    The first digital computers in the 1940's didn't require new fundamental physics or even new electronic components. They just required familiar components be organized in a new way to accomplish a new sort of task.

    I doubt very much whether Pigliucci would object to multi-realizability. Calling consciousness "as we know it" a "biological process" needn't imply that a functionally equivalent process can't be instantiated in a computer or a robot. Or perhaps in some kind of system out there in the universe the likes of which we haven't even imagined. I expect that if we put it to Pigliucci, he'd say that while all examples of conscious beings in our earthly experience have been biological organisms, that just implies sufficient conditions, not necessary conditions. So I think that you may be arguing with a straw-man there.

    Cells in general can respond to their physical/chemical environments. The explanations of how that happens are found in cellular physiology. Multicellular animals typically have cells (nerves) specialized to react to stimulation from the environment and to stimulate behavior of the organism. Understanding how very early nervous systems might have evolved requires no magic. It just applies natural selection and abilities that are already found in single celled organisms to the scale of larger multicellular heterotrophs/animals. The necessity of finding food and avoiding becoming food for something else might easily have driven it. It's easy to understand how awareness of the surrounding environment would benefit early animals.

    Violation of the constraints of physics isn't implied unless we have already built in the assumption that consciousness violates the constraints of physics. Which is what I suspect that many of these arguments in the philosophy of mind are really about.

    It would take quite a bit of imagination to read that into what Pigliucci wrote in his column.

    To be sure, it is still largely mysterious, but (contra Dennett and Churchland) it is no mere illusion (it's too metabolically expensive, and it clearly does a lot of important cognitive work), and (contra Chalmers, nagel, etc,) it does not represent a problem of principle for scientific naturalism.

    I don't want to speak for Daniel Dennett and Patricia Churchland, neither of which I have studied in sufficient depth, but I would expect that when they call consciousness an "illusion", they simply mean that they are rejecting the age-old inner theater model of consciousness. The model where when we think that we are looking at the objective world around us, we are really just looking at our experience of an external world. Which would make experience into a new kind of ontological stuff that stands between us and a reality that wouldn't seem to be knowable even in principle (as with Kantian noumena). I suspect that Dennett and Churchland would suggest that qualia such as the redness of red aren't something substantial that needs to find a place in a our ontology alongside the inventory of physics.

    That being said, mental contents may indeed not be illusory when we move away from trying to imagine them as a weird kind of extra-physical stuff being displayed to the mind's eye, and start thinking of them as particular kinds of information in information processing system of a suitable sort. (Which may or may not be biological.) Information about the surrounding world or about our own inner states. It's easy to see how this kind of information would be of benefit to an organism and how it might have figured into natural selection.

    But I'm sure that Pigliucci knows Dennett and Churchland better than I do, so maybe he's right. In which case I might agree with him that mental contents and the everyday vocabulary that we use to refer to them might just need to be reconceptualized rather than eliminated. It's too useful to just be abandoned.

    I do agree with Pigliucci, and very emphatically too, that there need be no contradiction between the philosophy of mind and scientific naturalism.
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
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  19. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    I'd like to feel that the eliminativism of both Churchlands perhaps revolved primarily around wanting to re-classify "mental states" like beliefs, desires, etc -- that are publicly and privately mediated by language narratives and not that dependent upon being experienced. That the Churchlands never got heavily into the nonsense of specifically denying experience or its content. I'd think that even robots could juggle and act on programmed beliefs due to that dependency on language or coded information, with desires simply being activated by instructions and converted to body behavior.

    Dennett's refutation of phenomenal properties goes back to Quining Qualia, though he may have grazed it elsewhere. He even wrote a paper back in 1969 suggesting that there were only visual descriptions in the brain rather than presentations of images or pictures.

    Today, the views of Dennett, Nicholas Humphrey, etc can all converge on Keith Frankish's theory of illusionism, which they praise:

    "Keith Frankish's illusionism is the view that phenomenal consciousness (in the philosophers’ sense) is an introspective illusion — that introspection misrepresents experiences as having phenomenal properties." https://www.keithfrankish.com/illusionism-as-a-theory-of-consciousness/

    "Phenomenal properties" are properties that "show" themselves, have an appearance (that's the very etymological meaning of the root form producing the noun "phenomenon" and the adjective "phenomenal").

    With respect to consciousness, phenomenal properties are used to represent a non-conscious and non-phenomenal manner of existence in general (the material world, a non-conscious world). Which thereby is normally as "invisible" to itself as the body of a dead person is to itself (except when that environment is represented by phenomenal properties associated with a brain or other cognitive system).

    So by eliminating things that manifest from experience, Frankish is essentially leaving the latter blank. Which in turn also demotes experience to a superfluous item, unless there's a philosophical zombie version being referenced.

    He also declares that phenomenal properties are not real, that they are merely summary representations of complex processes. Which is redundant, not something new. The fact that phenomenal properties ("secondary qualities") were excluded from scientific realism long ago by Galileo and Locke is what spawns the hard problem to begin with. Which is to say, if phenomenal properties are not scientifically objective, then how does one go about accounting for them and the private domain they exhibit in?

    Frankish asserts that properties which manifest are an illusion, but illusion by definition entails a manifestation or sensory presence that is merely incorrectly interpreted in terms of "what's going on" with its content, like Fata Morgana or a magician's act. An illusion itself is negated if manifestation is negated. One might contend that phenomena are an illusion of language, as Dennett seemed to do back in '69, but that's not what illusion usually means or is dependent upon. (OTOH, maybe it is a broader term than mirage, which is specifically chained to optic affairs.)

    The theory of illusionism boils down to something like the liar's paradox: "This sentence is a lie." Or more to the point: "This sentence isn't really here."
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  20. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    Consciousness (depending on how you define it) isn't a "hard fact", not even in ourselves, you have no means of proving if I am conscious or not. You can prove that I am awake, easily, even by studying the brainpatterns, but that is a correlation and not necessarily a causation. Consciousness (as in having a sense of self) is evading us.

    We have no means of affirming that a computer AI is conscious, no matter what it says it is. We can't even really tell if a human is conscious or not (conscious as in having a sense of self, not conscious as in being awake).
  21. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    The change correlates to losing consciousness, but could really just as likely be loosing the connection between memory and experiences.

    The hard problem of consciousness isn't a false issue, how could you prove that it is a false issue? Hence it is still a hard problem to solve. The fact that it is still not proven to be a false issue or not just shows how hard the problem actually is.

    Yes, that is basically what I'm getting at, that consciousness is a intrinsic property of matter, rather than a process, I do think that processes can account for different kind of experiences though, as consciousness behaves differently and manifest itself differently through those processes.

    Yes, that would be in coherence with what I was thinking.

    Yes. With the caveat that I think ultimately the universe relies on this "proto-experiences" as it is manifested through them.

    Could be, I don't make any claims of being able to have memories and other such human concepts. Even so, the universe does have structure, and just because information can't be sent faster than the speed of light within the universe, doesn't mean that the underlying reality abides by those rules. We can see glimpses of that with quantum physics where some kind of interconnectivity exists without the need of establishing that interconnectivity through communication. A kind of instant logical foundation throughout everything. I don't know what that does do the sense of existing that the universe would have, maybe it would be chaotic and weak, but could also be something else entirely.

    To a certain extent I agree, but we do perceive our actions to be freely determined by us, even though they rely on a lot of subconscious processes (which indeed have been proven again, and again). I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is an illusion though as many do, but instead freedom in the case of free will is just the feeling that there is no force hindering us from acting out any will that is possible for us. There is no sense of force compelling me to choose one ice-cream from another given I like both equally much.

    Of course, but does your sense of self exist if you don't perceive? Does anything exist to you if you don't perceive? That is the kind of existence I am talking about, not whether physical objects exist if you perceive them or not.

    First of all, I like to apologize for my butchering of the word cease. If perception ceases then indeed we might just be sleeping, or we might be dead, or we might be in a coma. Crucially we aren't aware, and thus in a state of being nothing and perceiving nothing. Wouldn't you agree that the same nothing that you are now a subject to is the same nothing that, for instance, existed before the universe?

    It does mean something that this cannot be proven. Ignoring this would be unintelligent if you ask me.

    You did say that perceived meant: "become aware or conscious of (something) come to realize or understand."

    That seems to imply that it is about measuring the environment, or becoming aware/conscious of the environment. I could be misunderstanding you, but your following paragraphs, at least to me, seems to strengthen that position.

    Again, the definition of perceived conflates the two, and your following paragraphs seem to indicate that you believe that.

    In the paragraph that you quoted:
    "All biological patterns are proof of an emergent consciousness (awareness of environment)"

    In essence, I don't believe that "all biological patterns are proof of an emergent consciousness", that senses have slowly evolved from less sophisticated to more sophisticated says nothing about consciousness, unless you mean that better detection of the environment must mean more conscious.

    But you say that to exist is to have a objective reality. What do you mean then by objective reality? Do you mean that reality is objective in itself?

    Yes, I would rather say "Working on it" than just evolution and physics, when it comes to something we really don't understand that much of. We do see correlations between brain patterns and thoughts, to the extent that we can even train a computer to display what thought we had. A lot of work has to be done though to show that it is more than a correlation, especially when it comes to consciousness, cause that is the "light" that shows the thought, no matter how it was formed in the first place.
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You have mis-parsed his statement.

    Parsing his statement correctly, one gets: "if there is perception, then the thing doing the perceiving must exist".

    Which is true. It is a rephrasing of "I think (and perceive) therefore I am".
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    That is akin to asking is a pot of water boiling if it is not boiling OR

    are you thinking about elephants if you are not thinking about elephants

    Does a elephant exist to me if I don't perceive (know) about elephants? No

    Does myself being unconscious stop myself from perceiving myself? Yes it does

    I go with the concept of consciousness as being a PROCESS and a sliding scale process

    YES, it is what it is. Do we perceive it differently? YES. As the saying goes to a hammer everything looks like a nail, to a mathematician everything looks like a formula, to Salvador Dali, who knows what the world liked like to him

    But the world maintains its objective self despite our differing views, it is what it is

    Can we? Don't think so. Perhaps I missed the announcement. Do you have a link please?

    You know why lie detectors are not allowed in courts as evidence? The are Woo Woo and it no way detect lies. Chemical and electrical signals emanating from the brain yes, LIES no

    The rest of the junk associated is there as backup for something NOT detected

    My dyslexia strikes again. Yes I agree totally with your analysis

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