There Is No Hard Problem

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Carleas » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:18 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Well let me know when someone is perfectly informed, otherwise I will not conflate plausibility with truth or even with 'the only model we can't falsify at this point'.

I only intend to say that "X is plausible" is a necessary condition for "X is the case", and once we show the former, it's only our lack of information that prevents us from concluding that X is the case. So, in making an argument that X is plausible, I am making a necessary part of the argument that X is the case.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Yes, physicalists who consider all contacted mediated and interpreted should have that concern.

Why only physicalists? What alternatives allow one to assume the existence of other minds?

My general response here would that, 1) we should apply consistent standards, so if we're assuming the existence of other minds in other theories, it's not a special weakness in this theory to assume the existence of other minds and reason from there, and 2) we do in fact assume the existence of other minds, and the burden is on anyone claiming that other minds don't exist to make that case (I'd go as far to say that we don't really understand our own mind are except by reference to other minds).

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Either there is an equivocation on the idea of 'inside' above or there is a lack of justification for the physical definition of inside justifying the arising of subjective experience.

By inside/outside, compare to a computer set up to observe certain aspects of its environment and its own workings. The computer might report that the temperature in the room is X, that its #3 drive is on the fritz, etc. That's inside-view reporting, it's taking 'sense data' and 'self-experiencing' and reporting on its state as it perceives it. A technician working with the computer might note that it has a digital thermometer which translates the expansion of a spring into 0s and 1s, and that it has an algorithm that tries to read and write to locations on its drives and receives an error if the drives are on the fritz. That's the outsid- view. In talking about the system, and appealing to either view, we don't need to assume consciousness.

For humans, consciousness is the inside-view of the operation of their brain.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:For some reason interconnection inside something leads to matter not just engaging in certain processes, causal chains, but there arises a noticing. I see nothing explaining why this noticing arises. That to me is the hard problem. Not cognition, but awareness.


This is what I mean when I say "the experience of experiencing", and my point is that the awareness is just the cognition about the cognition.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Another way to put it is this: sure, things within an organism affect eachother and can produce responses. But this can happen without an experiencer. In motors that have feedback for homeostasis. Would you argue that there are the beginnings of conscousness in those motors? I can see saying this is using information from one part of thing to modify processes in another. But I see nothing explaining an experiencer. Cognition, even, should not be confused with awareness.

The claim that "this can happen without an experiencer" is question-begging. If I'm right, there's a rudimentary experiencer in the motor. I'm not claiming that the motor is pondering about the nature of its existence, only that the motor's perceptions about its own operations are effectively a very limited form of qualia.

Silhouette wrote:It certainly seems like minds have no overlap: one's consciousness doesn't overlap with others', which could easily lead to Solipsism - but minds do appear to communicate with one another - the question is whether the separation borders perfectly or if there's a gap and there's some intermediary substance that allows the connection (since overlap is out of the question). The latter seems unfalsifiable, and the former seems a little convenient, but given the problems with all other suggestions about fundamental substance the suspiciously convenient seems to be the least contradictory regardless of any seeming lack of probability.

I would say that we don't need any more "intermediary substance" besides air, which allows connections in the form of spoken language. I hope that doesn't sound too flip; if we're acknowledging that we only ever have imperfect information about what's really going on 'out there' in the non-mind universe, then the mental experiences that over time we've come to describe as 'air' and 'noise' and 'language' are just approximations of a real world we don't and can't know other than through the mental experiences. But if our mental experiences of 'air' are consistent, if when we communicate about them with these ostensible other minds we find that our experiences are consistent with their experiences, then we can talk about 'air' as a useful approximation for the real, unknowable world. There's already plenty of hocus pocus in there, I don't see the justification for more hocus pocus that adds more unknowability without any commensurate consistency within and between minds.
Silhouette wrote:Can you really propose a coherent description of the world without mind? Is that what you're attempting?

I can't, but... again compare to a computer: let's say we make a system that analyses its own hardware and software and spits out a model of how it all works. We might ask, Can it really propose a coherent description of itself without software? Of course not, the whole description is software mediated, it can't escape its own software to see a non-software-mediated version of itself. Still, its model can describe the system without any specific line-item for software, e.g. "these electrical pulses go over here, where they turn on or off these gates, which pass or block other electrical charges, etc." That's likely to be a hugely inefficient way to describe what the system is doing, but that description can be complete while completely omitting software (despite that the description must be software-mediated).

So too with mind: my perception is mind, my interpretation of brain activity is mind-mediated, yet I'm arguing that a complete description of the brain can be a complete (if hugely inefficient) description of mind while omitting mind as any line-item in that description.


Mr Reasonable, I think I agree, although I'm open to the possibility that fine-enough grained behaviors are actually tightly tied to brain states. So, appealing one last time to the computer metaphor, two computers can both run Chrome, and 'behave' the same way, but when we get down into where and how the processing is taking place, the behaviors become 'clicking with the pointer on pixel (x,y) and running the code stored at location z', and can't be very well abstracted into sets, and we really do have 1-to-1 correspondence. In brains, that becomes more salient, since we might both have the idea of a brain and say "brain", and yet have a very different set of other ideas associated with it, so that I think of computers next and you think of drug companies, or whatever. But I think that's just a matter of scale from what you're saying.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:34 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Meno_ wrote:

In this case, reaction was reported by the test subject, versus in the reaction observed by the test giver, in the case of the stone, is the difference.

The test subject reported perceived changes he experienced, connecting the test with both the qualitative and quantifiable factors.

I think that does meet the criteria for a relative test to the problem.
I don't get it. How does the test demonstrate the lack of consciousness as opposed to the lack in the ability to report what one has experienced? IOW how would it demonstrate an animal, plant, rock is not conscious, rather than simply that they do not respond about their experience?



It is the interface between the two states which may determine the progression (repeatably) ,until the test repeats itself to exactly one half of the number of cycles.

This is similar in kind to qualitative change by increments, or . a fed back system in pattern re-cognition.

Of pattern recognition becomes some constant between a differentiation between variable yet not relatable parts, and by re integration of patterns where the opposite occurs, two different patterns will become recognizable enough to form an impress of likeness , where the difference will not be noticed however remaining calculable.

I think this is the closest it can get to a description


Sorry Carleas for pre-tempting Your line of thought , but I owed this to Karpel.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:55 am

Carleas wrote:I only intend to say that "X is plausible" is a necessary condition for "X is the case", and once we show the former, it's only our lack of information that prevents us from concluding that X is the case. So, in making an argument that X is plausible, I am making a necessary part of the argument that X is the case.


Karpel Tunnel wrote:Yes, physicalists who consider all contacted mediated and interpreted should have that concern.

Why only physicalists? What alternatives allow one to assume the existence of other minds?
Physicalists have tended to view all contact as mediated. This hits that which impinges on that. So minds are always separated and solipsism is always a possibility (or zombies) for a physicalist. This is likely true for other belief systems. But some belief systems do not consider things as separate first. They can have separate and intermeshed at the same time. Idealists have an easier time with this also.

My general response here would that, 1) we should apply consistent standards, so if we're assuming the existence of other minds in other theories, it's not a special weakness in this theory to assume the existence of other minds and reason from there, and 2) we do in fact assume the existence of other minds, and the burden is on anyone claiming that other minds don't exist to make that case (I'd go as far to say that we don't really understand our own mind are except by reference to other minds).
I am not arguing that there are not other minds. I was pointing out that physicalism leads to certain conclusions and doubts, given its nature.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Either there is an equivocation on the idea of 'inside' above or there is a lack of justification for the physical definition of inside justifying the arising of subjective experience.

By inside/outside, compare to a computer set up to observe certain aspects of its environment and its own workings. The computer might report that the temperature in the room is X, that its #3 drive is on the fritz, etc. That's inside-view reporting, it's taking 'sense data' and 'self-experiencing' and reporting on its state as it perceives it. A technician working with the computer might note that it has a digital thermometer which translates the expansion of a spring into 0s and 1s, and that it has an algorithm that tries to read and write to locations on its drives and receives an error if the drives are on the fritz. That's the outsid- view. In talking about the system, and appealing to either view, we don't need to assume consciousness.

For humans, consciousness is the inside-view of the operation of their brain.
But again, there is no reason for this to include experiencing. As in, there is subject feeling this or that while experiencing the phenomenon of X. Looking out, looking in, there is no reason one should have an experiencer more than the other.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:For some reason interconnection inside something leads to matter not just engaging in certain processes, causal chains, but there arises a noticing. I see nothing explaining why this noticing arises. That to me is the hard problem. Not cognition, but awareness.


This is what I mean when I say "the experience of experiencing", and my point is that the awareness is just the cognition about the cognition.
But it's not just that. Functional processes need not have awareness. You can say that when cognitive processes have themselves as the object conscousness arises, but this is just a flat assertion. I see no justification for that. Organism X looks at the gull, no consciousness. Organism X, wonders about its feeling, consciousness.

The claim that "this can happen without an experiencer" is question-begging. If I'm right, there's a rudimentary experiencer in the motor. I'm not claiming that the motor is pondering about the nature of its existence, only that the motor's perceptions about its own operations are effectively a very limited form of qualia.
OK, good. At least we have that on the table. That is a rare physicalist position. But now we need a definition of perceptions of its own operations. Would this take place in a reef, say? Why not consider panqualiaism, while we're at it. Why is the skin the limit of the orgasmism? We have causal chains coursing through matter, in all directions, why should it honor the skin as a special bounday?

I am still not seeing anything that explains why we do not have a zombie universe. You can say 'when someone focuses on itself, it becomes consciousn', but we don't know if that is the limit of consciousness. We don't know the mechanism. But we have an axiom that is very hard, if not impossible, to falsify or verify.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Silhouette » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:19 pm

Carleas wrote:I would say that we don't need any more "intermediary substance" besides air, which allows connections in the form of spoken language. I hope that doesn't sound too flip; if we're acknowledging that we only ever have imperfect information about what's really going on 'out there' in the non-mind universe, then the mental experiences that over time we've come to describe as 'air' and 'noise' and 'language' are just approximations of a real world we don't and can't know other than through the mental experiences. But if our mental experiences of 'air' are consistent, if when we communicate about them with these ostensible other minds we find that our experiences are consistent with their experiences, then we can talk about 'air' as a useful approximation for the real, unknowable world. There's already plenty of hocus pocus in there, I don't see the justification for more hocus pocus that adds more unknowability without any commensurate consistency within and between minds.

It can be said that "we have imperfect information about what's really going on 'out there' in the non-mind universe", or it could be said that we have perfect information of what's going on in the mind. Beginning with the latter, as we all would have done before any notion of the former was ever conceived (the "non-mind universe" 'out there' conceived in the mind no less), the issue with the latter is that we have less useful predictive power relative to the usefulness in predictive power of the former. The difference therefore is in utility, and the inversion of mind with "non-mind" such that "non-mind" replaced mind as more fundamental was because of utility. Reality is thus a social construct that would not exist or occur to the mind of somebody born into no social contact. You are not far off at all in your mention of spoken language as the foundation of what we now casually deem to be the reality beyond the mind: the source of all the goings in within our mind.

This is the riddle I've been exploring, and the solution I've been considering for a long time now. Not that it might quite easily be very misguided. I even seem to remember a reference to the construction of such things through language alone by my favourite philosopher, Nietzsche, somewhere in The Gay Science. I can try and seek it out if you're interested and if you've not already read it.

Consider not only air, but all that we experience either side of it. "Where" do they occur? The useful conception is to suggest they originate from reality out there in space, but even the study of "out there in space" reveals that all our experience is only of our interpretations of the data we sense from "out there in space". The spatial element of our experience is then to be reconsidered as originating in our brain - so where is all of everything then? Out there or in the brain? In the mind? What then of space at all? If you've seen Joe Rogan's interview with Elon Musk, Elon similarly raises the point of "space" and "where" any thing actually is if everything is already virtual reality. For these mind bubbles I've suddenly interested myself in, as a concept, the fact that the supposed spatial locations of things in minds overlap with what others say doesn't mean that the minds themselves are spatially overlapping, or even that minds occupy any space at all - or at least that they don't conform with Materialist notions of space. "Air" is only really a placeholder to account for the time it takes for the first things we seemingly experience "over there" to meet with things "over here", and the feeling of resistance that occurs with wind or moving fast. It's not quite so strange, then, that interactive virtual 3D representations so closely match our experience despite their 2D format. Has the mind been tricked by the 2D, or is the 3D a trick?

Carleas wrote:compare to a computer: let's say we make a system that analyses its own hardware and software and spits out a model of how it all works. We might ask, Can it really propose a coherent description of itself without software? Of course not, the whole description is software mediated, it can't escape its own software to see a non-software-mediated version of itself. Still, its model can describe the system without any specific line-item for software, e.g. "these electrical pulses go over here, where they turn on or off these gates, which pass or block other electrical charges, etc." That's likely to be a hugely inefficient way to describe what the system is doing, but that description can be complete while completely omitting software (despite that the description must be software-mediated).

So too with mind: my perception is mind, my interpretation of brain activity is mind-mediated, yet I'm arguing that a complete description of the brain can be a complete (if hugely inefficient) description of mind while omitting mind as any line-item in that description.

What is software? Software is the "intangible" information that tells the Hardware what to do, right? Well no, software is all physical too. Every key stroke and mouse click or movement is the change in electrical current through hardware. It results in very specific light shows on your monitor practically incidentally. The "rift" between hardware and software is better said to be the mind's reaction to these light shows etc., between the hardware of "reality" and the software of the mind. But just as it's all hardware "in reality" it's all mind: the computer hardware, the electrical current changing due to inputs, the display of the monitor and the associations of the brain that result in various different outputs of the mind interacting with other elements of the mind that aren't deemed "self". Of course, you're merely creating an analogy, and all the computer would be doing is condensing more complex information that can be much more easily summed up and communicated on an abstract level without details, more efficiently translating meaning (that which we respond to most) than if every detail were specified.

Note that the computer would not be communicating anything if it didn't change the type of the information that it used to communicate. If it changed nothing, it'd just be functioning as normal: the type of information used to communicate has to be different in order for it to be information. A "complete description of the brain" is no description if a brain is simply working, it has to be translated into something else so that an association can be made - such is the mechanism of the brain itself e.g. the association of one group of neurons with another through electro-chemical stimulation in order for brain activity to occur at all. I can't simply present "mind" and expect information to happen, it is required - through language - for a different type of substance to be invoked to be associated with mind such that the mind can understand it. This manifests in sensory creations such as "the brain" that works in this very convenient way to represent the mind, within the mind, so that the mind can think it has understood something new. It would never have been able to do this without the brain in this way, not because the brain is of a more fundamental substance.

How's that for hocus pocus?
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:52 pm

Carleas wrote:The so-called "Hard Problem of Consciousness", i.e. the problem of explaining why we have subjective experiences, is not a hard problem, given what we know about the structure and function of brains, and the relation of mind and brain.

We know that mental functions are isomorphic to brain functions. When photons hits our retinas, they cause the photoreceptor cells to emit chemical and electrical signals, which are carried along the optic nerve into the occipital cortex, exciting the cells to which they are connected, which emit further chemical and electrical signals.

We can compare such a reaction to the reaction that e.g. a sunflower has. Like sentient beings, sunflowers have parts that are specially effected by the incidence of light, which trigger chemical changes that result in the motion of the flower towards the light source. But, unlike sunflowers, in humans the excitement of retinal cells doesn't feed directly to the motor cells. Instead, the signal is passed into a network of other cells, which have been trained by a lifetime of similar signals to respond differently to different types of signals.

These networks are layered and looped so that there are parts of the brain that react to specific types of activity in other parts of the brain. As the retinal cells respond to light, the cells in the occipital lobe respond to the excitement of retinal cells. The frontal lobe responds to more macro-level responses, reacting to the reaction in various lobes, and exciting or suppressing reactions elsewhere in the brain as a result. What's happening here is that the brain is literally wired to react to its own activity. Just as the retina responds to light, other parts of the brain respond to the responses to the responses to the responses to light.

This is the basis of subjective experience. Our subjective experience is our brain observing itself. The qualia of "red" is inside view of a brain observing its own reaction to the incidence of light of a certain wavelength on a retinal cell, as well as other sensory inputs, network activity, and pre-trained weightings. We should expect that a network designed to react to its own activity has a subjective experience, because, by hypothesis, it has a quasi-sensory relationship to its inner workings.

This is intended to be a high level sketch, because it's a high-level question. We don't know how neural networks solve problems, but we understand why we don't know and we expect that the result will be too complicated to fully understand. When a neural network beats us in Go, we can describe the network, we can build it, but it involves too many 'cells' with too many interconnections and weightings to fully express why the network chooses the move it does. Similarly, explaining the qualia of "red" as an expression of each cell and each connection and each weighting involved will be impossible, and yet we can see that it must be so.

Conscious experience is the brain literally experiencing itself, as we know it does. Being a brain wired to experience itself just is being conscious.

The problem is that matter is assumed to be unconsious in materialism.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:45 am

bahman wrote: The problem is that matter is assumed to be unconsious in materialism.

I belief it is not an assumption at all.
It is just that there is no proof matter can be conscious as generally defined.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious

One point is this;
Being conscious is a very obvious fact [say 95/100].

But what is 'matter' is merely a scientific fact which in a way is a 80/100 matter of fact. Note scientific facts are merely polished-conjectures [Karl Popper].

The raising of a 'hard problem' of consciousness is problem of conflating and equivocating of different perspectives and a linguistic issue.

I believed it would be more wiser to forget with the Hard Problem of Consciousness since this is an impossibility. That is, it is not possible for humanity to construct a normal biological human nor repeat the 2 billion evolutionary process to enable the emergent of humans as they are today.

Rather humanity can replicate 'consciouness' in robots to as close as possible to that of human consciousness. Humanity already doing that at present and progressing steadily.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:33 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote: The problem is that matter is assumed to be unconsious in materialism.

I belief it is not an assumption at all.
It is just that there is no proof matter can be conscious as generally defined.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious

One point is this;
Being conscious is a very obvious fact [say 95/100].

But what is 'matter' is merely a scientific fact which in a way is a 80/100 matter of fact. Note scientific facts are merely polished-conjectures [Karl Popper].

The raising of a 'hard problem' of consciousness is problem of conflating and equivocating of different perspectives and a linguistic issue.

I believed it would be more wiser to forget with the Hard Problem of Consciousness since this is an impossibility. That is, it is not possible for humanity to construct a normal biological human nor repeat the 2 billion evolutionary process to enable the emergent of humans as they are today.

Rather humanity can replicate 'consciouness' in robots to as close as possible to that of human consciousness. Humanity already doing that at present and progressing steadily.

Matter is believed to blindly follow laws of nature. There was no hard problem of consciousness if matter was conscious since brain could perform all its function in absence of consciousness depending on how it is structured. Like a robot we can unconsciously perform many tasks at once. So the questions are what is the use of consciousness and how matter becomes conscious otherwise the robots we make will be unconscious.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:33 am

bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote: The problem is that matter is assumed to be unconsious in materialism.

I belief it is not an assumption at all.
It is just that there is no proof matter can be conscious as generally defined.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious

One point is this;
Being conscious is a very obvious fact [say 95/100].

But what is 'matter' is merely a scientific fact which in a way is a 80/100 matter of fact. Note scientific facts are merely polished-conjectures [Karl Popper].

The raising of a 'hard problem' of consciousness is problem of conflating and equivocating of different perspectives and a linguistic issue.

I believed it would be more wiser to forget with the Hard Problem of Consciousness since this is an impossibility. That is, it is not possible for humanity to construct a normal biological human nor repeat the 2 billion evolutionary process to enable the emergent of humans as they are today.

Rather humanity can replicate 'consciouness' in robots to as close as possible to that of human consciousness. Humanity already doing that at present and progressing steadily.

Matter is believed to blindly follow laws of nature.

Matter do not follow laws of nature blindly.

Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.

There was no hard problem of consciousness if matter was conscious since brain could perform all its function in absence of consciousness depending on how it is structured. Like a robot we can unconsciously perform many tasks at once. So the questions are what is the use of consciousness and how matter becomes conscious otherwise the robots we make will be unconscious.

It is not that matter is conscious.
The fact is consciousness co-exists with and is an emergent with matter and vice-versa, as in the dynamics of Yin-Yang.

The purpose of an evolving higher consciousness in humans is to enable the human species to deal with greater threats [catastrophe, epidemic, global, galatical] to the human species.
With a greater and higher consciousness humanity has the potential to survive the inevitable death of Earth via the possibility of living in other planets, thus our venture into space explorations which is only possible with increasing higher consciousness.
I believe this is the critical reason for why there is an evolution and progress of consciousness within humanity.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:20 am

Prismatic567 wrote:Matter do not follow laws of nature blindly.
Do you have an example of where it does not? Is there matter in your body or your body as a whole that is not utterly determined by the laws of nature?

Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
It can be justified, but so can most propositions. But that it is emergent is merely a hypothesis.

Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
In tandem with matter? So consciousness is not matter?

The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.
Kant was also a theist.

And you are missing his point completely. Since matter will do what it does, following deterministic chains of action, there is no need for consciousness. The body would react as the body reacts. There is a witness, an experiencing, but bodies could do with out it.


The purpose of an evolving higher consciousness in humans is to enable the human species to deal with greater threats [catastrophe, epidemic, global, galatical] to the human species.
So nature is teleological?

With a greater and higher consciousness humanity has the potential to survive the inevitable death of Earth via the possibility of living in other planets, thus our venture into space explorations which is only possible with increasing higher consciousness.
I believe this is the critical reason for why there is an evolution and progress of consciousness within humanity.
So you're not Darwinian.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:16 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:I belief it is not an assumption at all.
It is just that there is no proof matter can be conscious as generally defined.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious

One point is this;
Being conscious is a very obvious fact [say 95/100].

But what is 'matter' is merely a scientific fact which in a way is a 80/100 matter of fact. Note scientific facts are merely polished-conjectures [Karl Popper].

The raising of a 'hard problem' of consciousness is problem of conflating and equivocating of different perspectives and a linguistic issue.

I believed it would be more wiser to forget with the Hard Problem of Consciousness since this is an impossibility. That is, it is not possible for humanity to construct a normal biological human nor repeat the 2 billion evolutionary process to enable the emergent of humans as they are today.

Rather humanity can replicate 'consciouness' in robots to as close as possible to that of human consciousness. Humanity already doing that at present and progressing steadily.

Matter is believed to blindly follow laws of nature.

Matter do not follow laws of nature blindly.

Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.

So you mean that a falling apple is conscious. How about a tree? What if you cut a branch of tree?
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:26 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Matter do not follow laws of nature blindly.
Do you have an example of where it does not? Is there matter in your body or your body as a whole that is not utterly determined by the laws of nature?

It is ridiculous to equate to 'matter following laws of nature blindly' as if like some ignorant person following man-made laws/rules blindly.

As Kant had argued, whatever is the laws of nature are finalized by humans based on human observations and experiences of consistent events, thus man-made and driven by human consciousness.

Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
It can be justified, but so can most propositions. But that it is emergent is merely a hypothesis.
Nope, it is not a hypothesis.
Human consciousness and its range of awareness can be easily proven.

Conscious:
1: having mental faculties not dulled by sleep, faintness, or stupor : AWAKE
became conscious after the anesthesia wore off

2 : perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation
conscious of having succeeded
was conscious that someone was watching


https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious


The theory is, DNA wise there will be an emergence of a range of human consciousness over their lifetime which can be easily proven within ALL humans [with rare exceptions].

We know for sure human consciousness emerges but to trace its origin is impossible.

Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
In tandem with matter? So consciousness is not matter?

Consciousness is a mental state, it is not matter as defined via Physics.

The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.
Kant was also a theist.
Irrelevant.

And you are missing his point completely. Since matter will do what it does, following deterministic chains of action, there is no need for consciousness. The body would react as the body reacts. There is a witness, an experiencing, but bodies could do with out it.

If you are not conscious, how can you express the above?
Thus reality-as-it-is in relation to human beings is conditioned upon human consciousness, this is an undeniable fact.

There is witnessing and experiencing via an emerging consciousness.
There is a range of experiencer but there is no ultimate experiencer without human consciousness.


The purpose of an evolving higher consciousness in humans is to enable the human species to deal with greater threats [catastrophe, epidemic, global, galatical] to the human species.
So nature is teleological?
Nature is not teleological in the sense of an ultimate purpose - whatever that is.

There is no predetermined destiny that the Earth will be hit by a large rogue asteriod or meteorite that could split the Earth into billion of pieces. The increasing progressive evolution of consciousness within humans is merely to give it a chance to survive ever greater threats that are to be known in time.

With a greater and higher consciousness humanity has the potential to survive the inevitable death of Earth via the possibility of living in other planets, thus our venture into space explorations which is only possible with increasing higher consciousness.
I believe this is the critical reason for why there is an evolution and progress of consciousness within humanity.
So you're not Darwinian.

Irrelevant to the point.
I agree with Darwin's theory of evolution.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:32 am

bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.

So you mean that a falling apple is conscious. How about a tree? What if you cut a branch of tree?

You missed my point.

In the general context of 'conscious' the default is always with reference to human consciousness.
Non-human animals has their own consciousness [relative to their evolution hierarchy] which is definitely not equivalent to that of humans.
Generally, non-living things which are not animals are not associated with 'consciousness' i.e. a apple, tree, do not have consciousness [as generally defined].
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:56 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Consciousness is an emergent that can be justified and verified as a fact.
Matter is also an emergent spontaneously with the rest of reality as it is.
The laws of nature are realized by consciousness in tandem with matter.
The laws of nature do not pre-exist by itself but is conditioned with consciousness, i.e.
if no consciousness, then no laws of nature. Kant had argued for this.

So you mean that a falling apple is conscious. How about a tree? What if you cut a branch of tree?

You missed my point.

In the general context of 'conscious' the default is always with reference to human consciousness.
Non-human animals has their own consciousness [relative to their evolution hierarchy] which is definitely not equivalent to that of humans.
Generally, non-living things which are not animals are not associated with 'consciousness' i.e. a apple, tree, do not have consciousness [as generally defined].

Why human is so fundamental in your world view?
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:16 am

bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote:So you mean that a falling apple is conscious. How about a tree? What if you cut a branch of tree?

You missed my point.

In the general context of 'conscious' the default is always with reference to human consciousness.
Non-human animals has their own consciousness [relative to their evolution hierarchy] which is definitely not equivalent to that of humans.
Generally, non-living things which are not animals are not associated with 'consciousness' i.e. a apple, tree, do not have consciousness [as generally defined].

Why human is so fundamental in your world view?

The point is humans are part and parcel of reality-as-it-is such that we cannot extricate the human factor from reality and still claimed it is reality-as-it-is.

Say
    Reality-as-it-is is 100%
    Reality-as-it-is = X% [others] + Y[human factor]% = 100%.
    If you take away the human factor from reality-as-it-is, then what you have is an incomplete reality.

Though it is an incomplete reality, theists claimed such a reality is God - the ultimate being.
Whilst God will provide psychological comfort to the majority, the downside is the terrible evil and violent acts committed in the name of God, especially in Islam's case. One of the type of terrible evil among others is this evident stats;
https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/TROP.jpg
One point to note, whatever is attributable to a God - the all powerful - is beyond human control and management. If God said so, then believers must do it without question.

On the other hand, when we recognized and understand the fact that reality-as-it-is comprised the human factor as fundamental and part & parcel of reality, then we have some degree of control over reality.

Note it is not my view, but the Eastern religions, like Buddhism, and other non-theistic spirituality has been adopting such a perspective since thousands of years ago.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:14 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:You missed my point.

In the general context of 'conscious' the default is always with reference to human consciousness.
Non-human animals has their own consciousness [relative to their evolution hierarchy] which is definitely not equivalent to that of humans.
Generally, non-living things which are not animals are not associated with 'consciousness' i.e. a apple, tree, do not have consciousness [as generally defined].

Why human is so fundamental in your world view?

The point is humans are part and parcel of reality-as-it-is such that we cannot extricate the human factor from reality and still claimed it is reality-as-it-is.

Say
    Reality-as-it-is is 100%
    Reality-as-it-is = X% [others] + Y[human factor]% = 100%.
    If you take away the human factor from reality-as-it-is, then what you have is an incomplete reality.

But there was no human some millions years ago.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:41 am

bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote: Why human is so fundamental in your world view?

The point is humans are part and parcel of reality-as-it-is such that we cannot extricate the human factor from reality and still claimed it is reality-as-it-is.

Say
    Reality-as-it-is is 100%
    Reality-as-it-is = X% [others] + Y[human factor]% = 100%.
    If you take away the human factor from reality-as-it-is, then what you have is an incomplete reality.

But there was no human some millions years ago.

The above is true but only true as conditioned by us being humans. There is no other way but to face this condition.

How can you realized the above statement without being human?
Note the terms 'human' 'millions' 'years' 'ago' are only valid concepts because human exist.

There is no way you can prove anything then, i.e. 'some millions years ago'.
The only way the above statement made sense is via human concepts, cognition and realization. Kant provided the philosophical justification for this point.

It is natural and tempting to reify nothingness, but
the reality is, as Wittgenstein stated,
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.".

Whenever humans take it too seriously and attempt to speak of and reify the 'whereof one cannot speak' there is an accompaniment of a huge potential liability via theism. Note the terrible evil and violent acts arising from theism when theists reify the unspeakable nothing which is fundamental driven by an impulse from an existential psychological crisis.

Btw, what do you have to lose if you were to shut up and don't even think about "it" [impulse driven thought] at all. Like the fact that one must breath no matter how, most people cannot shut up about "it' i.e. the ultimate being aka God, Absolute, etc.

The point is, those with weaker spirituality will not be able to modulate their reificating impulse but will be compelled to end up speaking of [grasping at] some kind of God or the likes [Being, Absolute, Oneness, etc] so that their unease will be soothed.
There is a correlation between this impulse to reify nothingness with the sensitive desperate need to breath when the breath is stop for a certain period.

See:
The Desperate Need to Breath and Spirituality
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=194655
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby bahman » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:03 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:The point is humans are part and parcel of reality-as-it-is such that we cannot extricate the human factor from reality and still claimed it is reality-as-it-is.

Say
    Reality-as-it-is is 100%
    Reality-as-it-is = X% [others] + Y[human factor]% = 100%.
    If you take away the human factor from reality-as-it-is, then what you have is an incomplete reality.

But there was no human some millions years ago.

The above is true but only true as conditioned by us being humans. There is no other way but to face this condition.

How can you realized the above statement without being human?
Note the terms 'human' 'millions' 'years' 'ago' are only valid concepts because human exist.

There is no way you can prove anything then, i.e. 'some millions years ago'.
The only way the above statement made sense is via human concepts, cognition and realization. Kant provided the philosophical justification for this point.

It is natural and tempting to reify nothingness, but
the reality is, as Wittgenstein stated,
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.".

Whenever humans take it too seriously and attempt to speak of and reify the 'whereof one cannot speak' there is an accompaniment of a huge potential liability via theism. Note the terrible evil and violent acts arising from theism when theists reify the unspeakable nothing which is fundamental driven by an impulse from an existential psychological crisis.

Btw, what do you have to lose if you were to shut up and don't even think about "it" [impulse driven thought] at all. Like the fact that one must breath no matter how, most people cannot shut up about "it' i.e. the ultimate being aka God, Absolute, etc.

The point is, those with weaker spirituality will not be able to modulate their reificating impulse but will be compelled to end up speaking of [grasping at] some kind of God or the likes [Being, Absolute, Oneness, etc] so that their unease will be soothed.
There is a correlation between this impulse to reify nothingness with the sensitive desperate need to breath when the breath is stop for a certain period.

See:
The Desperate Need to Breath and Spirituality
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=194655

Things can exist objectively without a need for an intelligent agent who can conceptual them.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:14 am

bahman wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
bahman wrote: But there was no human some millions years ago.

The above is true but only true as conditioned by us being humans. There is no other way but to face this condition.

How can you realized the above statement without being human?
Note the terms 'human' 'millions' 'years' 'ago' are only valid concepts because human exist.

There is no way you can prove anything then, i.e. 'some millions years ago'.
The only way the above statement made sense is via human concepts, cognition and realization. Kant provided the philosophical justification for this point.

It is natural and tempting to reify nothingness, but
the reality is, as Wittgenstein stated,
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.".

Whenever humans take it too seriously and attempt to speak of and reify the 'whereof one cannot speak' there is an accompaniment of a huge potential liability via theism. Note the terrible evil and violent acts arising from theism when theists reify the unspeakable nothing which is fundamental driven by an impulse from an existential psychological crisis.

Btw, what do you have to lose if you were to shut up and don't even think about "it" [impulse driven thought] at all. Like the fact that one must breath no matter how, most people cannot shut up about "it' i.e. the ultimate being aka God, Absolute, etc.

The point is, those with weaker spirituality will not be able to modulate their reificating impulse but will be compelled to end up speaking of [grasping at] some kind of God or the likes [Being, Absolute, Oneness, etc] so that their unease will be soothed.
There is a correlation between this impulse to reify nothingness with the sensitive desperate need to breath when the breath is stop for a certain period.

See:
The Desperate Need to Breath and Spirituality
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=194655

Things can exist objectively without a need for an intelligent agent who can conceptual them.

The above is a mere statement which anyone can think of and make.
How can you EVER justify the above without human subjects being part and parcel in arriving at the above statement.
I have argued, how you arrive at the above proposition is due to psychological impulses within the self.

Btw, objectivity is inter-subjectivity via implicit and explicit consensus.
Thus objectivity falls back on the human subjects factor.
Note objectivity does not arise from merely conceptual abilities but rather comprised the whole evolutionary process, sense experiences, sensibility, intellect, conceptual, reasoning, etc that enable reality-as-it-is to emerge.

The most objective knowledge on hand is scientific knowledge which is based on inter-subjective consensus, i.e. within the scientific community and that the non-scientists has faith in the scientific framework and system's reliability and credibility.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Carleas » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:49 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Functional processes need not have awareness.

I meant to ask you about this, so I'm glad you brought it up. I would say here that, for the only system where I can observe both inner and outer perspectives, I must conclude that functional processes and awareness are inextricable from each other. I think it's reasonable to infer from that that other systems with substantively similar functional processes have substantively similar awareness inextricable from them as well.

This gets a bit question-begging from here, because I'm going to say that nothing that appears conscious can not be conscious (i.e. I reject philosophical zombies as a coherent concept), but then any possible counter-example can be rejected because I'll just say, yep, that's conscious too, or, No, that doesn't really look conscious. But I don't see a coherent position that describes consciousness in a way that permits us to conclude that dogs or great apes are conscious (if perhaps in a limited sense), but doesn't allow us to conclude that AlphaGo is conscious in a similar limited sense.

You say later that, "Since matter will do what it does, following deterministic chains of action, there is no need for consciousness." Let me give an analogy that will clarify my position, if not compel its acceptance: suppose we have a collection of black pixels on an otherwise white screen, at the points

(1,1),(1,2),(1,3),...,(1,10);
(2,1)(3,1),(4,1),...,(10,1);
(10,2),(10,3),(10,4),...,(10,10); and
(2,10),(3,10),(4,10),,...,(9,10).

Looking at these pixels, we would be tempted to call what we see a square. What stops us from saying that, "there is no need for [the square]"? That claim seems to miss the mark; the square isn't a separate thing that does something with the pixels, it's just a different way of describing the same thing. That's how I read claims about there not being a need for consciousness: it's not about need, it's that consciousness is a valid alternative description of the same thing as we're describing when we talk about neurons and networks etc.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:OK, good. At least we have that on the table. That is a rare physicalist position. But now we need a definition of perceptions of its own operations. Would this take place in a reef, say? Why not consider panqualiaism, while we're at it. Why is the skin the limit of the organism? We have causal chains coursing through matter, in all directions, why should it honor the skin as a special boundary?

I am still not seeing anything that explains why we do not have a zombie universe. You can say 'when someone focuses on itself, it becomes conscious', but we don't know if that is the limit of consciousness. We don't know the mechanism. But we have an axiom that is very hard, if not impossible, to falsify or verify.

I don't think just any causation suffices, nor that that's implied by my argument. There's a real difference between the causal processes at work in a reef and the causal processes at work in a brain. Put briefly, I would say that the causal connection that must exist for consciousness is for patterns in one causal system to be atomic causes in another causal system, e.g. one part of the brain reacts not to the firing of any specific neuron, but to certain patterns of neural firing within a system.

I'm open to the idea of a reef or an ant hill or an economy having some limited form of consciousness, but many of the links in these systems aren't the kind of self-observation I intend. When a person recognizes a shape or texture, one part of the brain is identifying patterns in visual stimuli, and another part of the brain is identifying the identification of patterns.

When AlphaGo recognizes and reacts to shapes formed by pieces on a go board, it's reacting to things that don't exist in the rules and aren't true elements of the game. Part of the system is taking information about the location of the pieces and spitting out a shape it identifies, and another part is taking that shape as its input and spitting out an estimated score, and another part is taking those estimated scores and spitting out the best move. These layered systems are reacting to abstractions in lower levels of the system. That's a different kind of causality than e.g. fish A population goes down, fish B population goes up. So too with why the skin is the boundary of the organism: the relevant types of causal chains happen within the organism (though, I am sympathetic to Dennett's position that there is some arbitrariness to the boundary, and also that there may be multiple experiencers within a single brain).

By this line of reasoning, asking why we don't have a zombie universe seems to me a bit like asking why causality exists at all, or why there's something as opposed to nothing. If that's the only sense in which consciousness is a hard problem, I'm satisfied. If we can explain consciousness so that we expect it to arise from certain types of causal chains, and that expectation is borne out by creating causal chains of the relevant type and getting consciousness-like behavior, then the hard problem is of existence and not of consciousness.

Silhouette wrote:It can be said that "we have imperfect information about what's really going on 'out there' in the non-mind universe", or it could be said that we have perfect information of what's going on in the mind. Beginning with the latter, as we all would have done before any notion of the former was ever conceived (the "non-mind universe" 'out there' conceived in the mind no less)

Part of my problem with this framing is it seems impervious to evidence. When I deal with other things that have brains, I can see pretty clearly that they don't always have perfect information about what's going on in their mind. People misunderstand their own motivations and provably confabulate explanations. I have pretty good reason to believe I'm just your average brain-having-thing, and so I should similarly expect that my self-information is imperfect.

If instead we start from the position that our self-information is perfect, then we either have to reject these observations, or conclude that I'm not your average brain-having-thing. But because I can act on my own brain, I can directly experience both my own failures of introspection, and the mental consequences of physically altering my brain (e.g. lobotomy if we want to be thorough, but a beer will do).

Silhouette wrote:For these mind bubbles I've suddenly interested myself in, as a concept, the fact that the supposed spatial locations of things in minds overlap with what others say doesn't mean that the minds themselves are spatially overlapping, or even that minds occupy any space at all - or at least that they don't conform with Materialist notions of space. "Air" is only really a placeholder to account for the time it takes for the first things we seemingly experience "over there" to meet with things "over here", and the feeling of resistance that occurs with wind or moving fast.

I think we have no choice but to understand 'space' from within the matrix, i.e. when I say 'space' or think about the concept of 'space', I'm thinking about the thing-for-which-'space'-is-a-placeholder. I'm over here and you're over there in a way that is meaningful and intelligible in the only way that something can be meaningful and intelligible. Furthermore, when we do things like say "'Air' is only a placeholder", we're really borrowing the same kind of meaning and intelligibility and saying "consider that 'me' and 'air' bear the same relationship as the equation y=x+2 and the variable x", all of which are things just like "air" and "space" and what have you.

Silhouette wrote:But just as it's all hardware "in reality" it's all mind: the computer hardware, the electrical current changing due to inputs, the display of the monitor and the associations of the brain that result in various different outputs of the mind interacting with other elements of the mind that aren't deemed "self".

I am not sure I follow this part of your argument, and I'm also not sure how far apart our positions are. It seems like we're both OK saying that brain and mind are the same thing, and you're just calling that thing mind and I'm just calling it brain, or something like that. Is that what's happening? Because you're right that the brain isn't a more fundamental substance than the mind, any more than the pixels are a more fundamental substance than the square. What you say in the last paragraph of your post seems similar to what I say in the paragraph above: what matters are the relationships between the concepts, the concepts by themselves don't do any work, but provided we have a set of concepts with certain relationships between them, consciousness can be 'explained' by relation to non-mind concepts.

bahman wrote:The problem is that matter is assumed to be unconsious in materialism.

I don't think that's so. Every materialist I'm aware of would say that certain matter is conscious (i.e. the human brain).

And some kinds of panpsychism are arguably materialist, at least in the sense that the fully-functioning human mind is explained in terms of its constituent atoms.

Prismatic567 wrote:The increasing progressive evolution of consciousness within humans is merely to give it a chance to survive ever greater threats that are to be known in time.

Karpel Tunnel made a point I would like to echo: conscious did not evolve to solve future problems, it evolved because conscious beings were able to solve the past problem of reproducing. It is always possible that an adaptation that was useful for previous evolutionary contexts becomes maladaptive when the context changes.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:23 am

Carleas wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:The increasing progressive evolution of consciousness within humans is merely to give it a chance to survive ever greater threats that are to be known in time.

Karpel Tunnel made a point I would like to echo: conscious did not evolve to solve future problems, it evolved because conscious beings were able to solve the past problem of reproducing. It is always possible that an adaptation that was useful for previous evolutionary contexts becomes maladaptive when the context changes.

Not quite.

If we look at living things [as with humans] in nature, there is an underlying trend of improvements in their adaption of threats, etc.
Human beings are endowed with an inherent faculty to improve, think, reason, speculate, and project into the future.

From our experiences, humans are able to predict the future and the potential threats that the human species could be exterminated from various causes.
Such ability of thinking ahead and planning drive the evolution of our consciousness.
Our drive to explore the furthest possible realm of outer space also have the secondary effects of driving technology further.
The development and advances in war in relation to preservation of the group also help to advance human consciousness.

Thus I do not believe human consciousness have evolved because humanity has been able to solve the problems of reproducing.
Human consciousness is evolving continually because humans has an inherent faculty to improve, think, reason, speculate, and project into the future. Thus the more conscious we are, we are more conscious of greater threats to the human species which in turn drive greater consciousness and so on.

In the past, humans awareness of threats were confined to whatever was happening within their neighborhood, but as human gather more experiences and knowledge, i.e. their awareness of threats extended greater till now we are worried if a large enough rogue asteroid appearing from nowhere and heading toward earth. In view of such a potential threats, the average human has to increase its consciousness to meet and deal with a such greater threats.
Besides global and galactical threats there are other serious threats to the human species which would drive humanity toward higher consciousness.
Solving the reproducing capability of humans is not a significant factor.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:11 am

Carleas wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Functional processes need not have awareness.

I meant to ask you about this, so I'm glad you brought it up. I would say here that, for the only system where I can observe both inner and outer perspectives, I must conclude that functional processes and awareness are inextricable from each other. I think it's reasonable to infer from that that other systems with substantively similar functional processes have substantively similar awareness inextricable from them as well.
I found this hard to understand. I'll work from my sense of what it means, but we may need to go back and clarify.

Humans, especially in science, have decided on a particular set of things that have consciousness. Until the 60s and 70s one could not even, professionally, grant animals consciousness. Before this transition we drew conclusions about what must be the case for something to be conscious and we were the only thing considered conscious. After the set expanded, we drew slightly broader conclusions about what must be the qualities of something to be conscious. A set of functions. We did not discover consciousness or a consciousness meter.

It seems to me any conclusions drawn about how function relates to interiority are speculative in the extreme. We can test functions, so we say those functions lead to consciousness. We can test this by hitting people over the head and the like, but this may only be testing memory and other functions, not bare consciousness.

This gets a bit question-begging from here, because I'm going to say that nothing that appears conscious can not be conscious
My robot hoover would then be conscious. This is not a destroying counterexample, but I just want to make sure you are granting what I think is entailed.

(i.e. I reject philosophical zombies as a coherent concept)
It seems like you have rejected it, but not on grounds of coherence, but via definition.

, but then any possible counter-example can be rejected because I'll just say, yep, that's conscious too, or, No, that doesn't really look conscious. But I don't see a coherent position that describes consciousness in a way that permits us to conclude that dogs or great apes are conscious (if perhaps in a limited sense), but doesn't allow us to conclude that AlphaGo is conscious in a similar limited sense.
OK. Why would not any ecosytem or complex metabolism-like thing not be considered conscious?

You say later that, "Since matter will do what it does, following deterministic chains of action, there is no need for consciousness." Let me give an analogy that will clarify my position, if not compel its acceptance: suppose we have a collection of black pixels on an otherwise white screen, at the points

(1,1),(1,2),(1,3),...,(1,10);
(2,1)(3,1),(4,1),...,(10,1);
(10,2),(10,3),(10,4),...,(10,10); and
(2,10),(3,10),(4,10),,...,(9,10).

Looking at these pixels, we would be tempted to call what we see a square. What stops us from saying that, "there is no need for [the square]"? That claim seems to miss the mark; the square isn't a separate thing that does something with the pixels, it's just a different way of describing the same thing. That's how I read claims about there not being a need for consciousness: it's not about need, it's that consciousness is a valid alternative description of the same thing as we're describing when we talk about neurons and networks etc.
It's because consciousness is an utterly different category from non-experiencing matter. I can get a panpsychism as coherent. I just see nothing that addresses why this other category arises. IOW a square and those pixels are two ways of describing visual qualities. What an outsider will experience.

Consciousness is not just that, it is about what is experienced by the thing.

It's fine to propose a Turing test as a way for us to achieve consensus on what likely experiences. But that's a practical solution to developing consensus. It's no help in determining how something occurs. It cannot be part of the scientific explanation of the 'how consciousness arises.'

IN a sense what I see you saying is 'Let's forget about the hard problem'.

Fine, that might be a good working proposal. But it is not showing that the hard problem is easy. It is not answering the hard question the hard problem proposes. It is saying it doesn't matter. Fine. Though for those who are interesting in the how of how does consciousness arise in otherwise dead matter, you haven't eliminated the hard problem.

I don't think just any causation suffices, nor that that's implied by my argument. There's a real difference between the causal processes at work in a reef and the causal processes at work in a brain. Put briefly, I would say that the causal connection that must exist for consciousness is for patterns in one causal system to be atomic causes in another causal system, e.g. one part of the brain reacts not to the firing of any specific neuron, but to certain patterns of neural firing within a system.
It's hard for me to imagine this isn't true in a reef ecosystem. Reactions to salination, presense of light, profusion of diatoms from family X. These things affect the digestive system of fish and mollusks, these in turn affecting water temp, if slightly, poop from the fish changing the underwater flora, the flora changing the lighting, causes moving in and out of organisms to the water, into neural matter and out of neural matter, creating patterns of metbolism and homeostasis over long periods of time, often in cycles.

There is no one to interview and it is hard to text a reef for consciousness.

I'm open to the idea of a reef or an ant hill or an economy having some limited form of consciousness,
Why limited? What does that mean? I think function and consciousness are being conflated again.

Perhaps dogs have vastly more consciousness than us - if we suddnely experienced life as a dog we would marvel at the tiny pinprick of consciousness we had. They just have less cognitive functions.

Consciousness to me is the experiencing.


but many of the links in these systems aren't the kind of self-observation I intend. When a person recognizes a shape or texture, one part of the brain is identifying patterns in visual stimuli, and another part of the brain is identifying the identification of patterns.
And the reef responds to all sorts of patterns.

When AlphaGo recognizes and reacts to shapes formed by pieces on a go board, it's reacting to things that don't exist in the rules and aren't true elements of the game. Part of the system is taking information about the location of the pieces and spitting out a shape it identifies, and another part is taking that shape as its input and spitting out an estimated score, and another part is taking those estimated scores and spitting out the best move. These layered systems are reacting to abstractions in lower levels of the system. That's a different kind of causality than e.g. fish A population goes down, fish B population goes up.
I think there would be analogies in the reef to different levels of causality.

So too with why the skin is the boundary of the organism: the relevant types of causal chains happen within the organism (though, I am sympathetic to Dennett's position that there is some arbitrariness to the boundary, and also that there may be multiple experiencers within a single brain).
Though we need to know why this is not just a bare assertion. Suddenly impacting molecules generate awareness.

By this line of reasoning, asking why we don't have a zombie universe seems to me a bit like asking why causality exists at all, or why there's something as opposed to nothing. If that's the only sense in which consciousness is a hard problem, I'm satisfied. If we can explain consciousness so that we expect it to arise from certain types of causal chains, and that expectation is borne out by creating causal chains of the relevant type and getting consciousness-like behavior, then the hard problem is of existence and not of consciousness.
A panpsychist can say this, but not someone who thinks 'here is consciousness, but not there.' Causation runs through the whole universe. Something runs through the whole universe with nothing nowhere to be found. You are positing that X leads to consciousness. Fine. Posit that, but unlike causation and existence, you are saying something specific about it, but not justifying it. And it needs a justification because you limit it to specific places.

If someone says, causality is not present at X, one must say why it is not.

You state that a specific kind of complexity is the cause. But that's a statement.

I think there are two problems with this.
1) it needs more justification and 2) we have a bias in science towards seeing things that first are us only, then later are like us as having consciousness. The set of what is conscious has been expanding and now many scientists are starting to think it makes sense to grant plants consciousness. In a situation where we have an expanding set and no way to measure consiousness directly - and can only infer through reports by individuals or measuring of functions - I think we are merely speculating. And when we measure functions, we bring our bias to the table.

We need to be able to demonstrate our set is THE set before when can then draw conclusions from that set.
And even when we are sure of the set, we are only saying correlation. We haven't described the mechanism.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Carleas » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:13 pm

Prismatic567 wrote:Such ability of thinking ahead and planning drive the evolution of our consciousness.

But that's just predictive modeling, it's not actually causation from the future. Our capacity to create predictive models is due to our predictive model-creating ancestors surviving and reproducing.

The only problem that evolution solves is reproduction. Everything else is spandrels and peacock feathers.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:It seems to me any conclusions drawn about how function relates to interiority are speculative in the extreme.

Part of my point is that every conscious thing has access to a system from both a functional and experiential perspective, i.e. each conscious being can see both itself as a functioning system and itself as an experiencer. No speculation is required to tie together being hit in the head and losing consciousness, we can connect them through direct observation and induction.

But I think we can go further than that. The concept of consciousness comes after the concept of other minds, i.e. we accept that other humans are conscious before we develop a concept of consciousness, so other minds are baked into that notion by default. We can try to back out some concept that's independent of other minds, but I think that's much harder than it seems. The words I'm using, the divisions in my ontology, so much of how I see the world is totally dependent on the other minds that taught me how to see it, and so much of that learning depended on seeing them as other minds.

I don't know how valuable this part of the discussion is, but maybe it helps to get us on the same page about what we're even talking about. I think we have to take as a given that you and I are both conscious beings, and that gives us a great deal to work with in terms of identifying and understanding consciousness and its relationship to the physical systems to which it is attached.

Carleas wrote: I'm going to say that nothing that appears conscious can not be conscious

Karpel Tunnel wrote:My robot hoover would then be conscious. This is not a destroying counterexample, but I just want to make sure you are granting what I think is entailed.

I'm not sure the extent to which any specific robotic vacuum can be said to be conscious (as predicted, I question how much they act like they are conscious), but in general I grant that this may be true. See below re reefs.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:It seems like you have rejected [philosophical zombies], but not on grounds of coherence, but via definition.

That seems like a distinction without a difference: there's no coherent concept of 'consciousness' that is compatible with the existence of philosophical zombies, in the same sense that the concepts of 'square' and 'circle' entail that there cannot be a square circle.

EDIT: to clarify, I should relate this to my point above, that the concept of consciousness has other minds baked in. So we define consciousness in part as by the observed behavior of other minds, and a philosophical zombie is the conceptually incoherent proposal that another mind is not actually another mind.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Why would not any ecosytem or complex metabolism-like thing not be considered conscious?
[...]
It's hard for me to imagine this isn't true in a reef ecosystem. Reactions to salination, presense of light, profusion of diatoms from family X. These things affect the digestive system of fish and mollusks, these in turn affecting water temp, if slightly, poop from the fish changing the underwater flora, the flora changing the lighting, causes moving in and out of organisms to the water, into neural matter and out of neural matter, creating patterns of metbolism and homeostasis over long periods of time, often in cycles.

Let me try an alternative articulation.

When someone speaks to me, I hear words. When I speak, I speak in words. The pitch and the timber can change but they are still words. I am writing in words, they are conveyed in pixels, but the auditory waveforms of the spoken word 'pixels' and the contrasting light and dark points on a field of tiny LEDs that shape out letters, both convey the same word, 'pixels'.

This is the kind of abstraction that is necessary for consciousness. What the neural network of my brain is matching against is independent of the physical medium. This abstraction happens to greater or lesser extent at various levels. My retina recognizes lines and contrast in a field of light receptors; my occipital lobe recognizes shapes and visual patterns in a stream of information about lines; my fusiform gyrus recognizes letters and words in a stream of information about shapes and visual patterns, etc. These layers each recognize an abstraction that is further and further independent of the physical stimulus that triggers them.

Contrast that with a reef, where this kind of abstraction doesn't happen, and salinity as a cause depends on the specific physical attributes of salinity. There may be some abstraction away from specific physical inputs, for example the ratio of fish species A to fish species B may have causal consequences (so that we could change the physical system by adding more fish while keeping the ratio constant, so that a causal chain may still be triggered), but the abstraction is very limited (e.g. it can't be conveyed in terms of populations of fish species C and D), and there are not additional levels of such abstraction as we see with lines - > shapes - > words - > meaning. In a reef, the causal chain doesn't involve abstracting away from the physical specifics, as it does in a neural network.

I think this answers many of your questions: ant hill consciousness and economy consciousness are limited to the levels of abstraction away from physical specifics in those systems; the relevant patterns are not just causal, but causal chains that operate on abstractions, i.e. that are triggered by physical-system-agnostic/independent events; the skin is the barrier because the abstraction takes place within the neural network contained within the skin.


An aside on panpsychism, because my position is panpsychism-adjacent and I still find panpsychism preposterous and mystifying:

I don't see what the panpsychism hypothesis really gets us. Suppose we assume that atoms have some kind of consciousness. If we take a conscious, living human, and put them in a blender, we're left with all the same atoms and nothing of the consciousness. What happened? How does panpsychism advance our understanding there? Don't we still have to explain how human-level consciousness is built out of atoms? So we have the additional assumption of atomic-level consciousness, and basically zero additional explanatory power. That seems like a strictly worse system. What am I missing?

EDITs: change some wording, clarified some points.
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Prismatic567 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:11 am

Carleas wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:Such ability of thinking ahead and planning drive the evolution of our consciousness.

But that's just predictive modeling, it's not actually causation from the future. Our capacity to create predictive models is due to our predictive model-creating ancestors surviving and reproducing.

The only problem that evolution solves is reproduction. Everything else is spandrels and peacock feathers.

I understand reproduction [sexual or otherwise] is a critical part of evolution and preservation of the species.
However reproduction is not a critical factor in relation to consciousness especially human consciousness and the concern for a 'hard' problem.
Note virus, germs, insects are very efficient in their reproduction results but there is no link to consciousness.

I thus maintain the evolution of human consciousness has to do with the pre-existing potential threats on a global and galactical scales where higher consciousness will generate greater awareness of these greater threats and our abilities to attempt to face these threats, thus ensuring the preservation of the human species.

Note this recent News [if not Fake],
Nasa probe to smash into asteroid and knock it out of orbit in first ever planetary defence system test
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/n ... 59751.html
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Carleas » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:40 pm

That sounds an awful lot like Lamarkian evolution, i.e. organism sees some future threat, bears children in the direction of the solution to that threat.

That isn't how evolution works. Think of it more like a filter: at every generation, some organisms pass the filter and some don't. The genetic lineage of those that don't pass ends, the genetic lineage of those that pass continues. Those organisms with traits that make them more fit for the current contex tend to pass the filter more frequently, those with fewer traits or maladaptive traits tend to be filtered out.

Potential threats aren't a part of the filter. Predictive modeling may be sexually selective (maybe talking up future planetary calamities is a good pickup line), but that isn't a given, and in any case what's being selected for isn't predictive modeling per se, it's game that sometimes happens to come in the form of predictive modeling.

The space missions are most likely peacock feathers and spandrels. Predictive modeling makes people fit by e.g. helping them hunt or cooperate, so displays of intelligence became a kind of mating dance (i.e., it's like peacock feathers). Intelligence ended up being useful for going to space, but since only 536 humans have ever gone to space, the ability to go to space can't itself have been selected for (i.e., it's a spandrel).
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Re: There Is No Hard Problem

Postby Silhouette » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:36 pm

Carleas wrote:Part of my problem with this framing is it seems impervious to evidence. When I deal with other things that have brains, I can see pretty clearly that they don't always have perfect information about what's going on in their mind. People misunderstand their own motivations and provably confabulate explanations. I have pretty good reason to believe I'm just your average brain-having-thing, and so I should similarly expect that my self-information is imperfect.

If instead we start from the position that our self-information is perfect, then we either have to reject these observations, or conclude that I'm not your average brain-having-thing. But because I can act on my own brain, I can directly experience both my own failures of introspection, and the mental consequences of physically altering my brain (e.g. lobotomy if we want to be thorough, but a beer will do).

People misunderstanding their own motivations and provably confabulating explanations isn't any reflection on the veracity of what their mind is telling them is the case. To them, they're right, but they need "theory of mind" to provide a basis for understanding that what their mind tells them is the truth is actually false. "Theory of mind" is of course theory of other people's minds: one's own mind is perfectly immediate and obvious, and in fact it is all there is to anyone. Theorising about other people's minds must take place in one's own mind, meaning any projection that there could be minds other than one's own is in itself nothing more than an affirmation of one's own mind being not entirely one's own. This is why Solipsism doesn't hold up when it is thought of as mind by itself with identity: "my" mind no longer makes sense, and with no other mind beyond it, personal ownership and "being alone" has nothing relative against which one is alone from. I don't class myself as a Solipsist for this reason. I acknowedge the "other" minds, but as "mind" in the abstract, fragmented. Matter, and bodies, projections of minds - these are the physical analogues of mind like a monitor display, or 1s and 0s might be to the rapidly fluctuating electric currents going on in your PC. Lobotomy, beers, brain alteration is like the avatar for the mind changing, posing as the cause of the mind changing rather than the other way around because the physical is the reduced framework for understanding the mental.

I don't think this is any more impervious to evidence than the mysterious realm of the noumenal causing all our phenomenal experiences, of which we have absolutely no direct access to verify or even falsify. All I've really done is invert this because it makes more logical sense when we consider things such as all our sensory input only becoming conscious when it is interpreted, and it is only consciousness as mind - none of the physical goings on in the brain result in qualia as we experience them and yet even looking for where qualia arise in the brain is something that is occurring in the mind, and the brain that we are looking at is itself experienced as qualia (and quanta). So even looking at things in the normal way of physical reality causing mental appearance, examination of the evidence and even the act of examining the evidence in itself is in the inverted form of this common mistaking of cause for consequence.

Carleas wrote:I think we have no choice but to understand 'space' from within the matrix, i.e. when I say 'space' or think about the concept of 'space', I'm thinking about the thing-for-which-'space'-is-a-placeholder. I'm over here and you're over there in a way that is meaningful and intelligible in the only way that something can be meaningful and intelligible. Furthermore, when we do things like say "'Air' is only a placeholder", we're really borrowing the same kind of meaning and intelligibility and saying "consider that 'me' and 'air' bear the same relationship as the equation y=x+2 and the variable x", all of which are things just like "air" and "space" and what have you.

Yes, the physical is the only way to understand the mental it seems. The mental by itself is just a mysterious continuous experience until we break it down and project it as something discrete where space is the analogue for the weirdness of the mental. "I'm over here and you're over there" is a successful story to interpret the mess of the mind. But if we were brains in vats, or any number of other thought experiments that raise the same problem, our "spatial location" would "actually" be in the vat rather than you over there and me over here. This uncertainty of spatial location, and the alternative bubble analogy that I threw out there doesn't put any more or less doubt of any "reality" or "cause" for the physical concept of space that at least is understandable even if it's not strictly that well founded. It's founded in utility more than anything, at the very least shown by the appearance of our successfully continued existence compared to if we can't create a physical understanding of our minds... but then time is just as nebulous when you consider that the past is all in present memory, and the future never comes - it can only be imagined in the present, and yet there is an appearance of motion and progression that is not along a spatial dimension. So even this suggestion of utility is doubtful when both time and space are thrown into question by doing nothing more than examining the evidence within the mind. An interesting appearance of this mystery even in the physical is in the quantum wave function that collapses upon observation: when we observe the mind as the physical, the superposition of eigenstates reduces to a discrete singular one.

Carleas wrote:
Silhouette wrote:But just as it's all hardware "in reality" it's all mind: the computer hardware, the electrical current changing due to inputs, the display of the monitor and the associations of the brain that result in various different outputs of the mind interacting with other elements of the mind that aren't deemed "self".

I am not sure I follow this part of your argument, and I'm also not sure how far apart our positions are. It seems like we're both OK saying that brain and mind are the same thing, and you're just calling that thing mind and I'm just calling it brain, or something like that. Is that what's happening? Because you're right that the brain isn't a more fundamental substance than the mind, any more than the pixels are a more fundamental substance than the square. What you say in the last paragraph of your post seems similar to what I say in the paragraph above: what matters are the relationships between the concepts, the concepts by themselves don't do any work, but provided we have a set of concepts with certain relationships between them, consciousness can be 'explained' by relation to non-mind concepts.

It'd be surprised if our positions weren't fairly far apart - these musings of mine are my own and I've not yet come across someone who is coming at the issue from a similar angle. They're somewhat influenced by Berkeley if you've read any of him, though I only sought him out because he appeared to be on a similar wavelength, albeit tainted by the religious agenda of an Irish Bishop in the 18th century where I am an atheist. But I accept your point of similarity, I'm not exactly saying that brain and mind are the same thing, but where you're saying the mind can be explained by relation to non-mind concepts, I agree but not because the mind is caused by the brain, because the brain is caused by the mind, which can only explain itself by relation to concepts that are observed as non-mind, but are actually mind. There is a relationship, yes, and through this relationship the mind can pretend to understand itself by imposing an image of itself as "not of itself". But this is the whole reason why it can't get back to itself because this "not of itself" is a subset of itself, not the other way around. The mind could only arise from non-mind if it were a subset of non-mind: you can't arrive at something greater from a narrowed version of it without adding something (consciousness). Consciousness is just the thing we've pretended to take away when we understand the world in terms of the physical, so you're not going to get it back by looking harder at something that doesn't have it. Consider the analogy of the gestalt, where the whole is the consciousness, but the sum of its parts has had that removed and thus cannot amount back to the whole.
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