The Physical v.s. Consciousness: Stating The Obvious

[i]The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty.
The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the
prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or
his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the
co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason.

To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common
objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously
rejected. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find, as
we saw in our opening chapters, that even the most everyday things lead to
problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. [/i]

-Bertrand Russell

…it still remains a scandal to philosophy and to human reason in general
that the existence of things outside us (from which we derive the whole
material of knowledge, even for our inner sense) must be accepted merely
on faith, and that if anyone thinks good to doubt their existence, we are
unable to counter his doubts by any satisfactory proof.

-Kant, in Preface to Critique of Pure Reason.

[b]For those who have read past threads by this OP, aside from my theological views my presenting “beef” is consternation between the logical and conceptual disconnect that accompanies the view that consciousness, or first-person, “camera’s point of view” subjective experience is created, or given existence, by the “physical”: that which existed before consciousness and, according to secular belief, exists independent of consciousness and will continue to exist in the future absence of all consciousness.

To the point, if the external world is not additional mind (which I claim), then it is non-mind, that is, that which the consciousness of anyone, human, animal, extraterrestrial alien, etc. is not. But a simple glance at oneself and the nature of one’s own existence reveals that one is ultimately a center of first-person perspective “camera’s eye” subjective experience. Everything, from the visual experience of a red felt-tip pen on one’s desk, or the sensation of one’s feet striking the ground on each step during a 4-mile walk, exists in the form of one’s experience of these things: everything exists and expresses itself in the form of how they are experienced by a particular person.

But there is the popular consensus that the brain gives rise to or creates subjective experience. Conscious beings visually and tactilely interact with brains (in neuroscientific/neuromedical contexts, generally), and the mind/body connection is, fundamentally, established by manipulating the brain of a patient and asking a patient after the fact about the experience or change of experience accompanying or following the manipulation. For example:[/b]

[size=120]Electrical Stimulation Of Neurons Creates Laughter[/size]

A paper published recently in the journal Nature (vol.391, page 650, 1998) called “Electric Current Stimulates Laughter” has provided a bit more information about how the brain is involved with laughter. The paper discussed the case of a 16 yr. old girl named “A.K.” who was having surgery to control seizures due to epilepsy. During surgery, the doctors electrically stimulated A.K.'s cerebral cortex to map her brain. Mapping of the brain is done to determine the function of different brain areas and to make sure that brain tissue that will be removed does not have an important function.

The doctors found that A.K. always laughed when they stimulated a small 2 cm by 2 cm area on her left superior frontal gyrus (part of the frontal lobe of the brain). This brain area is part of the supplementary motor area. Unlike laughter that happens after brain damage, the laughter that was produced by electrical stimulation in A.K. also had a sense of “merriment or mirth”. Also, A.K. did NOT have the type of epilepsy with gelastic seizures. Each time her brain was stimulated, A.K. laughed and said that something was funny. The thing that she said caused her to laugh was different each time. A.K. laughed first, then made up a story that was funny to her. Most people first know what is funny, then they laugh.

(Neuroscience for Kids: Laughter And The Brain, … laugh.html)

[b]All well and good, and seemingly indicative of the “fact” that brains create or give rise to subjective experience…but upon deeper reflection (mentally “taking a closer look”) one finds that: (i)the brain; (ii) bodily behaviors due to manipulation of the brain and; (iii)verbal reports of conscious patients of experiences or change of experience in response to manipulation of the brain are all aspects of a particular person’s subjective experience of these events.

That is, the brain, and any experience of a “mind/brain” interaction, are all part of the “simulated reality” or “Matrix” that is the consciousness of the neuroscientist or doctor witnesses these events.

Taking the mind/body relation to it’s cosmogonic extreme, one realizes that reality has two layers: (1) consciousness or subjective experience, which relies upon electrically stimulated neurons in order to exist and: (2) the external world, composed of something our consciousness is not, that existed before there were such things as brains, and the exists without necessity of neurons and would continue to exist without neurons.

If such a world exists, and is not some overlapping mind, then there are (or should be) external world-brains, cars, building, organisms, etc. These things are not (essentially) the same things as the cars, buildings, organisms we experience. Conceptual proof? The fact of unconsciousness or death: consciousness can come into and wink out of existence: external world-brains (which, according to the common mind/body model, would proceed and react to the non-existence of consciousness by non-functionality and decomposition), cars, building, etc. do not require neurons in order to exist, and would happily continue in the absence of functioning brains.

At least, this is what is commonly (inferred also by the “non-expert” or “non-intellectual” layperson) believed.

But at the end of the day, there is no logic to the connection of wholly distinct existences. Non-experience or “the physical” is something that we are not, that existed before us and does not need the action of neurons in order to exist. Consciousness is an added ingredient, an “extra” that cannot exist on it’s own but requires something pre-existent (the brain with synaptically connected neurons statistically in place and ready to fire) that somehow “causes” it to exist.

The above paragraph deserves repeating and memorization. We, within our “deprivation chamber” of subjective experience, cannot even envision what non-experience is even like, as we are nothing but experience. All our concepts, imaginations, etc. are that of the subjective perspective of a particular person, perceived from the “camera’s point of view”. We cannot conceive of that which subjective experience is not, so it is amazing that we make “powerful, unquestionable assertions” of what non-experience is and what it contains. In the end, we merely believe that there are non-experienced-brains, non-experienced-cars, -pizzas, -organisms, etc. that our occipital lobes mimic when electricity courses through it’s neurons. One can argue that there is no logical necessity or connection between external-world occipital lobes (if they exist!) and the content of visual experience.

The assertion that external world (functioning) brains generate or create consciousness, a wholly distinct existence, through the passage of electrons through external world-neural material is analogous, completely, to the assertion that one can cause Santa Claus to come into existence simply by circling one’s finger in a counter-clockwise direction. Think about it.

If, like David Chalmers, one circumvents ex nihilo magic by invoking panpsychism (the view that consciousness existed for all time, and exists even in “inanimate” objects) or Chalmer’s own panprotopsychism (the view that consciousness has existed for all time, but in the form of quantized “micro-experiences” within every particle), there remains the problem of causal convenience: the implausibility that the micro-consciousnesses responsible for every visual/auditory/gustatory/olfactory/tactile and mental/emotional experiences of every organism that existed, exists, or will exist on Earth happened to reside within just those atoms making up the Earth and it’s contents. Even if one eschews implausibility, there remains the “connection” problem between non-experience and experience: what magic causes experience to reside “within” non-experience. And further, just what is non-experience anyway, and what logical relation can it have with experience?

At any rate, this consideration, I think, is patently invincible—and impervious to strong assertion of the existence of the non-mental (non-experiential) in the sense that one is composed entirely of subjective experience, while the non-mental is proposed to be that which is essentially not experience. In light of the nature of unconsciousness (dreamless sleep, for example), supposition of objects and forces composed of non-experience, and the assertion that they somehow cause, inform, and are connected to visual experience is arguably incoherent.

So sayeth I,

Phenomenal Graffiti [/b]


That’s an awfully roundabout post for the assertion that a man is the sum of his experiences because man cannot experience non-experience. Leave it to a philosopher to think that someone wants to read what they have to write, no matter how much they convolve and over-complicate. I’m guilty of it too, no worries. In fact, I’ll do it in this very reply.

Try out being a plain-talk philosopher once in a while, though. Don’t think of it as pandering as much as opening doors. :wink:

Hey, yall might remember me as Rafajafar. I’m old school. I troll still, and this post sparked my interest. It’s a bit of a tangent, but I would like to comment on this.

If any of the old ILP’ers are still around, they may or may not remember that I spent most of my thought trying to “prove” solipsism only to eventually come to the conclusion that I would have no one to prove it to even if I did. Seems obvious now… oh well.

Well I’ve encountered another problem that is related to the nature of experience, thought, and the cogito. It’s probably been touched on by someone other than myself. If so I would like to know who.

First, I must make definitions. I feel these are very solid definitions, but feel free to argue them as well.

Thought - A process which produces experiences. This process has the feature that it takes input/stimuli and produces an output/experience. This process takes time, no matter how minuscule.
Experience - The product of a thought. The only source of a man’s perception/thinking mind will ever know. All measurements resides in experience regardless if the act of measuring is a thought.

My problem is this: Thought as a process produces experience. Experience can and often is additional input for thought. Assuming one cannot peek into a thought without disturbing it (explained below), how can we possibly know we are thinking if all we have is the resultant experience?

This question shakes my understanding of the cogito.
-I think… therefore I am. But how do I know I am thinking?
-I cannot doubt that I doubt, therefore I exist. But what is doubt? Is it a thought or an experience?

Ok, now for the boring details.

There’s a lot of assumptions that go into defining thought as a process rather than, as it is commonly used, a state of being. I will play the role of my own devil’s advocate to illustrate what I mean by this, and how it eventually leads to undermining or at the very least questioning the validity of the cogito.

Q Are you assuming that the mind and body are connected/interdependent?
A Yes. If you do not agree, then that’s another argument. You can stop reading now.

Q Why is thought a process?
A Because thought is an algorithm. Thought requires reason, and reason is not instant… it has an execution time. In addition, if the body and the mind are connected, then the mind must have physical restrictions for information travel. This causes execution time.

Q If thought is a process, can we know all of the process while we process?
A Hell no.
A thought is a closed system. Anything that interferes with the thought must become part of the system. Say you were able to observe a neuron firing. Wouldn’t your observation interfere with the neuron, its signal, or even its target? (Measurement Problem)
Furthermore, if you take this to a quantum level, you cannot know both the position and the velocity of a particle, can you? So what do you really know about the thought? (A bit weak, but invocation of the Uncertainty Principle).

Q If we cannot know the thought itself as the thought occurs, we can at least know that the the thought is occurring, right?
A No. We can guess that the thought is occurring. The act of measuring thoughts is a mental process, and therefore, a thought. Any result is an experience which does not exist concurrently with the measurement itself. In other words, by the time you finish gauging whether or not you’re thinking, you may be done thinking… rendering that experience moot.

Q What about the qualia of the state of existence?
A I’m skeptical that qualia even exist. However, entertaining the notion that they do, qualia are nothing more than an experiences that supersede explanation because one cannot share experiences of events that are internal to ones perception. If one is to make the claim that a qualia for the state of existence is real, how would they explain that to someone else if by the very definition of qualia it is personal? It is my belief that the notion of qualia is flawed. I do not experience the difference, therefore, I do not experience the state of qualia-ness. I just have my own experience… that’s all I can speak of.

(Personally, I do not subscribe to the concept of qualia. I feel that qualia is to philosophy what ether was to physics.)

Q What are memories?
A A record of past experience that can be re-experienced to a variable level of precision.

Q Are memories thoughts?
A No. The retrieval of a memory is a thought. The memory itself is not.

Q So what’s your damn point?
A Glad you asked, Self!

I think, therefore I am, but am I thinking?

It is hard to fathom that I am not thinking. However, there is uncertainty in the cogito that I did not see before.

  1. If I cannot perceive thought, how do I know I am thinking?
  2. If I can only perceive experience, how do I know I had thought?
  3. Is doubt the experience or the thought?

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to believe that one exists, but what I am saying is that the cogito is not as air-tight as I used to believe.

Any “thoughts”?


[b]Hmm. Offhand, I would say that your term: “thought”, and the semantic behind it, is a bit confusing. As I understand it, you are using the term: “thought” to imply the inscrutable process that creates subjective experience itself, something that, given that our experiences seem to “pop into existence” fully formed and is something that your “thought” is not, is beyond our minds.

However, “thought” is generally considered just another experience, the experience of a mental image, mental “verbal” words, dreams, daydreams, etc, which occur in real-time. Your inscrutable “thought”, if it exists, is beyond our minds (like the external world), so however we choose to describe or define it, it cannot be experienced or imagined (as it is something that experience itself is not) and as such is make-believe…a make-believe that, like everything else proposed to exist beyond anyone’s direct experience, requires faith that it exists.

To wit:[/b]


[b]“Qualia”, or (to my understanding) the very fact of personal experience, is the nature of empirical reality. Everything (empirically) is nothing but the personal experience of a particular person. Everything else either: (i)does not exist or; (ii) exists beyond the deprivation chamber of our personal, subjective pocket universe (this option undermines solipsism, but does not rule it out).

It’s all in the semantics, and whether or not those semantics refer to: (1) that which is personally experienced by a particular person; (2) taken on faith to be or to have been the personal experience of another person or: (3) that which must be taken on faith because it can never be experienced by anyone.

All our terms and concepts will fall under one of the above categories.

My “thoughts”, :sunglasses:

Phenomenal Graffiti [/b]

Yes, it is generally considered that. I made an argument that this general take on thought (that it an experience in real-time) is impossible. Do you have any opinions on that argument?

Correct. Thought is unknowable. That’s my whole point. As for faith, call it what you want, but you can doubt that thought exists if doubt is an experience, and you cannot speak of doubt if doubt is a thought. That’s kinda the whole point of what I wrote. The cogito assumes thought is real, and in doing so, is flawed.

Faith is not reasonable. I do not speak of it in philosophical discussions as you cannot reason faith.


[b]If the semantic behind the term “thought” (let us call this: thought1) is: “mental imagery, ‘verbal’ words within the mind, dreams, daydreams, etc. which occur in real time” as opposed to your semantic behind the term (which we will call: thought2) as “that inscrutable ‘something’ that ‘measures’ and creates each subjective experience”…how is thought1 an impossibility, given that it exists in the very fact that it is experienced? Does the ‘impossibility’ arise in some sense of or argument against what constitutes “real-time”? To my reckoning, “time” is simply the flow of experience from past, to present, to future.

Again, every concept, including “time” is derived from or describes one of the below:[/b]

(1) that which is personally experienced by a particular person; (2) that which is taken on faith to be or to have been the personal experience of another person or: (3) that which must be taken on faith because it can never be experienced by anyone.

If thought is unknowable, how can one know what it is, or does…or even if it is behind the existence of experience? Why assert such a thing if it is unknown?

“Faith” is defined by Ned Wright in his Cosmology Tutorial (Religion section) as:

“Belief in the absence of evidence or even despite contradictory evidence”.

[b]I think his definition exhausts the term. “Reason”, on the other hand, seems to be the ability to “draw conclusions and make judgments of past and future action or possible action based on evidence derived from repetitive/ past experience”.

If one accepts the definition, one discovers that reason relies upon experience (particularly past experience and experiment). Faith, however, is not incoherent or “nonsensical” as implied in the quote above: it is nothing more (unambiguously) than belief in the existence of something that has yet to be experienced or verified. We, theists, atheists, agnostics, etc. employ faith all the time. The very belief in the existence of the “physical” requires…and employs…faith. Indeed, it is the fraternal twin brother of belief in the existence of God.

Err…that’s all I have for now.[/b] 8-[


you don’t go deep enough

our very existence is because the physical exists

eliminate the physical completely …empty space

it is evident that even god needs the physical to exist

This is not philosophy.

This is madness.


NotRafa …what’s your take on this ….

Knowledge is the structure of thought. In the absence of knowledge can there be thought inasmuch as thought is the repetitious movement of knowledge? What I’m specifically getting at is the portion of thought that, when knowledge is being recalled and repeated, gives the impression of ‘person’ that is repeating the knowledge and by so doing creates a separation in thought: a subject (counter thought) that is reading the thoughts generated by the repetition of knowledge. Self, since it arises as a product of knowledge would be contained in thought. So, as we bear down on this ‘self’ it becomes clear that the constant utilization of thought maintains it, and that thought has to divide itself in order to create a ’person’ that is looking at it. And since there is no way for ’self’ to use anything else other than thought to look at anything (including itself), it cannot separate out of thought in order to look at thought. It would be thought about thought, or whatever it is in knowledge that self uses to think about thought. Then we cycle back to the realization that knowledge is the structure of thought. We become trapped in thought, so to speak, at the only recourse to get out of the trap is to try and think of a way out because thought has given results when used. But then we fall back into the trap again. … now I have to stop because I know darn well I’m going to be accused trying to think this through and screw the whole thing up … :slight_smile:


[b]With all due respect, thou may protest too much. If the “physical” is that which first-person subjective experience is not, given that we are nothing but subjective experience (empirically), then we have no rational or logical basis upon which to assert what the “physical” is .

(What exists in the absence of any and all consciousness? What is it like, since it does not require consciousness in order to exist, and is something that, in essence, has nothing at all to do with consciousness?).

In making up what one thinks non-experience is like, one must either rely upon terms whose referent cannot be imagined, terms whose referent is, ironically, expressed in experiential terms, or one attempts to semantically force experience to be something it is not (one describes experience as if it were non-experience or attempts to explain experience into non-experience).

We cannot know that the physical exists, because it is something that we, essentially, are not. We have no rational basis upon which to assert that that which is not experience somehow creates and informs the form, shape, and appearance of a completely different type of existence, which is composed of a substance that cannot be/is not derived from that of the pre-existent cause.

In common physics, all causes, save the brain’s “cause” of consciousness, involves transformative cause (Morriston, Creation ex nihilo and the Big Bang): the transformation or formation of stuff from stuff that pre-exists. Secular belief concerning the nature of death, and the inferred nature of unconsciousness in general, negatively implies that the brain, alone of every other object or causal process in the multiverse, does not employ transformative cause: in order to create subjective experiences it must pull those experiences, like the proverbial rabbit from the magician’s hat, out of the “thin air” of non-existence.

That is (Chalmer’s panprotopsychism or panpsychism itself notwithstanding), the brain, alone of any other machine, object, or process in the universe, is accidentally or unthinkingly granted the power of creation ex nihilo: the power to make things that once were as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny become as real as trees. Conscious experiences magically pop into existence in inscrutable response to the coursing of electricity through neural material. As before, this is analogous to the ability to cause Santa Claus to pop into existence by circling a finger clockwise in the air.[/b]


What is madness? The observation that the “physical” probably does not exist? How is this “mad”?



You say:

A. “Knowledge is the structure of thought.”
B. “…thought is the repetitious movement of knowledge.”

I stopped early because I cannot reconcile this circular definition.

hi PG

Is no different to being tickled stimulates laughter, no. :slight_smile:

Knowledge is information and collections thereof. Info just as the subjective mind and consciousness are not physical.

All this neuro-science stuff denotes cause and effect in much the same way as the body does [tickle it and you may feel tickled unless e.g. you do it yourself], it ignores thought, information exchange etc.

How can we rightly state that everything in the universe is causal [and hence of the physical], without involving actual information exchange? We may classify info as physical things changing and interacting, but I am sure the ancient greeks [from where the term derives] considered it as something quite apart from that.

It seams we [science] only follow things through in one direction, somewhere along the line the brain responds to information exchanges made in conscious thought, we should add that to causality as it has an effect even as you read this.

I’ve already said that neuroscience is rooted in culture and not science of materials. I’ve written a blog about it and mentioned it here as well. Did you read it and then forget who said it first?

I’ve already said that neuroscience is rooted in culture and not science of materials. I’ve written a blog about it and mentioned it here as well. Did you read it and then forget who said it first?


First of all, good to hear from you again. Second, in my view everything is composed of nothing but subjective experience, and there probably is no such thing as the physical or “non-experience”—at least non-experience in the “form” of things we experience. Thus all information is experiential, and all causality (which, except for the causality invoked in the brain, is nothing more than the action of forces—pushes and pulls) is experiential. In the end, I think that all our terms (those that can be imagined, anyway) are derived from and composed of that which composes the subjective experiences of particular persons.


[b]Neuroscience, it seems, is rooted in hypotheses, experiments, and concepts and theories derived from experiment and actual, repetitive surgical procedure (all part of the “Matrix” that is human consciousness, nonetheless)–not culture in particular. And no, I did not ready your blog (If you present a link to your blog, I’ll probably give it a read).

Even if I had, what does it matter who said what first? I’m not worried about neuroscience per se or whether or not it’s hypotheses and concepts are “cooked up” to feed or deceive a particular culture (shades of Bertrand’s “age or nation” here, see quote at start of thread above) or it involves literal, devoted, scientific method. I’m on about the metaphysics of the situation between the physical (which I claim probably does not exist) and consciousness (which I claim is the substrate of existence, such that there exists nothing but the subjective experiences of particular persons).

Yabba dabba doo,


I believe this small excerpt here reveals the essential flaw in your position. Let us examine: the “physical” is a human experience, true, in terms of the idea that all qualities of such physicality are human interpretations as experience of encounter with this “physical”. The statement “the physical is that which first person subjective experience is not” is a misleading and inaccurate formulation of this position; rather, the “physical” is merely a notion we use to describe whatever it is that exists “on its own” and does so independently of our human experiences of it. The subject is such that it can never encounter itself directly (because to be a subject is nothing more than to be that which is creative of objects, and the subject can never (fully) objectify itself (else it would cease to be subject, which really means that it is impossible), and likewise that every encounter/interaction, of any and every form, is a transfer, exchange and changing of energy… a translation. Direct representation is impossible, objects are always partial (and subjectively constructed and essentially fabricated) objects), but must do so through various mediums of exchange, such as sensory perceptions. The sense organs of the body encounter something (some sort of energetic fluid existence) “out there” (beyond these sense organs and their constitutive organic bodily forms) and this raw electrical-neural information (action potentials) travels to the brain and is converted there into perceptions, feelings, images. Where to these arise from? They are wholly created in this organic space to which these action potentials travel. Do these created perceptions/feelings/images represent what is “actually out there”? Certainly not. They are wholly human constructs. And yet they are constructs that bear (that must bear) some sufficient relation to that “actually out there” (the environment in which the organism finds itself), else they would not serve the function of providing sufficient survivability to said organism thus allowing its form to continue propagating itself (evolving). And on this basis lies the justification for at least believing in a minimal degree of accuracy in how these existing forms experience, reconstruct and relate to that which these forms experience and interact with… we may not know the manner in which this relation obtains, but we do know that such a relation, however essentially unknowable to us, does indeed obtain.

Now, you can certainly raise the objection, “well all that stuff, environment and organic body and sense organs and evolution are just human notions too, like the ideas and perceptions and images that are created by the brain!” Of course. These are our forms of understanding our understanding, how we retroactively and reflexively experience our experiences, categorize and order them. The categories of our experiences order and eventually even give rise to experience as such. And yet, given all this, is it thus plausible to grant that “all is mind/consciousness”, or rather, that the “physical” (that which exists as it is and is however inadequately captured by this label ‘physical’ or ‘that which exists’) is only of the subject? Certainly not, this conclusion does not follow at all, in fact, it demonstrates its own refutation in so far as the subject experiencing must be experiencing something. Is this subject only experiencing itself? Are we brains in vats? Then what is the brain, what is the vat? Where are the other brains in vats? Is there only one brain in a vat? Then is the vat a part of the brain’s being a brain in a vat? What gave rise to this ultimately solipsistic subjectivity of existence in which we then conclude that all other existence and experience is? Does this position seem absurd? Of course, because it is. What the human does is construct various models as ways of explaning its experiences, which is to say, of experiencing its experiences. Experience is deep and multidimensional, for us, the surface always points downward. We attempt to gather a perspective which best explains surface experience as well as that deeper realm from which we experience that our experiences originate. It goes without saying that all of these models are human constructs only, and are merely approximations or “best guesses”… there is no such thing as a car, a computer, a man, a brain, a vat, a planet, the universe, “in themselves”, these are merely human ideas and created images which are at present our best means of ideal-ly re-presenting the experiences of experiences to ourselves, as metaphors, as images through which classification, simplification and categorization occur. This human world is just that, a human world – there is no reason to belie it or bemoan it, it is all we have, and it is beautiful and wonderful, and deep beyond all knowing… and yet, because we recognize the constructed and artificial, temporal nature of this human world, does this then mean we conclude that there is no “that which is as it is” existence, a reality beyond the human? (and from which the human reality then through complex energetic processes arises)? No, that is to overstep, to grasp the nature of the human existence and subjectivity as such in only a crude and simplistic manner; this is inevitable at first, we must over-reach when we first encounter, we must simplify and over-conclude if we are to genuinely confront the idea at all – subtlety and refinement of understanding and encounter come later.

So, to conclude, is the human realm (of human experiences) “real”? Certainly yes. Is it “reality as such”, is it “all there is” in terms of “that which exists”? Certainly not. Are we to assume that this complex human model and form “just is” and was not created or constituted by some other prior process? Certainly not. Are we to conclude that what we humans experience is “that which exists as it is”, that our subjective human notions, ideas, feelings, images are representations of “what actually exists independent of this human subjective-experiential element”? Not at all. But are we then to conclude that no such “that which exists” other than the human exists? Also, not at all. We are left to conclude a) that a “reality”, some form of “that which is as it is”, energy, is, that b) we human organisms are born of this existence by virtue of a highly complex and rare combination of these various energies into higher and higher forms, expanding their “power” (their range of energetic/force influence) and refining said influence, under the rule that those energetic forms which are constituted such that they tend to reproduce their own forms in their own goings-under will tend over time to becomes more dominant than those forms which fail to sufficiently reproduce their own form into the next moment, and that c) we can never know anything about this “that which is beyond the human” other than that it exists and we human subjects are immersed within it in some manner, and our constructed and fabricated human experiences are sufficient metaphors and bear certain relations to this ‘that which is’ such that our survivability is allowed in some manner. So the proper question presents itself: in what are these relations between contrived/fictional human experiences and that to which these experiences are related constituted, and how are they so constituted? This question begins to peel back the layers, to really get down to the truth in so far as we begin to approach the moment of encounter between the human subjective experience and that which the human subject experiences.

Now, if we bring in Whitehead here and invoke his notion that every thing which exists is a “subject” (as experiencing something), or rather is an (always unique) event (a temporal-conditional configuration of the most or relatively more basic energies which “interpret” as they encounter), that “all there are are subjects” we can perhaps more properly ground your original position here… and yet, Whitehead’s claim here is a central part of my position, and its being so does not in any way refute or do away with the fact of the existence of a non-human reality (in fact it grounds this reality), nor does it cast into doubt the essentially human reality or its distinctively different quality and perhaps even uniqueness in terms of the nature of its specific conditional subjectivity. Additionally, the notion of the (generative or conditional) history of these (always unique) events of Whitehead’s is a cricual point to understand as well, here, as regards the nature of subjectivity as such, the limited instance of subjectivity which is animal neuronal-brain consciousness, and the even more limited instance of this animal consciousness that is the human self-consciousness (the sufficient consciousness of (the awareness of, comprehensive and encompassing sensitivity to, a sufficiently being-sensitive-to/influenced by) our own consciousness itself)… but that may be getting a bit off topic here.

EDIT: “ex nihilo” is not magic, it is merely a way of capturing in language the essentially emergent nature of things (of properties) like consciousness/subjectivity; these properties appear suddenly “as if by magic” by virtue of a sudden attaining of a sufficiency of underlying constitutive conditions, but they are not “magic”, of course, “ex nihilo” emergent properties are always wholly natural phenomena and are able to be understood and explained in a naturalistic/scientific manner.

Phen-graf, ya same here. :slight_smile:

Well we have been having quite some debates on that as of late, generally I think there has to be a medium of exchange [a ‘word’ of one kind or another] as opposed to pure subjective experience alone. If not then we would have nowhere to get correlating info from, ok so we could all be making up a world, but I feel we would bump into things eventually - so to say.

Recently I have been getting into the holographic theory of universe, hence my preoccupation with information [what it is etc]. with that theory everything inc our subjective experience would be begotten of the same background information, and would also exist in the same ‘image’ or projection. For me this gives us subjectivity [is due to localised perspective] and a world [spatial perspective]. …similar to your matrix theory if I remember it correctly?

As conscious beings I agree our whole self and world is experiental, the physical simply the object of the medium, that by which we are connected. I don’t think we can disagree that brains are much like computers and our senses much like anything you plug into that, hence physically we are very much connected entities.

Is there a medium by which you become conscious? Like memory? Wouldn’t past experiences contained in memory provide you the information necessary to inform you if a present occurrence is new or old? Surely memory is something acquired and stored in a physical brain. I’m just keying off your use of the word ‘conscious.’

Isn’t it the idea of a medium that implies there is a physical separation?

Brains and sense are unified. The stimulus response is unitary. If you mean it already comes plugged in and programmed (hardwired) I agree. But it would take a conscious entity to interpret the signals including telling you that one event is the stimulus and another event is the response. Your thoughts …

See also my reply to you on the qualia thread. I am more thinking that the physical occurs between consciousnesses [hence ait is their/its medium].

Hmm not if it is like orange between yellow and red I.e. phasing in and out without distinction. I think it be more profitable for us to continue by first accepting there are never such dualism, no?

Agreed they are unified, I was just making distinction for clarity ~ to further isolate the consciousness in amongst things. Indeed I agree it needs ‘something’ to interpret signals and make effect upon the brains matrix or ‘conscious’ fields [where here the term consciousness to relate to electrical fields is laughable], such that our conscious thoughts ~ information, is then sent back out again. Who can deny that this causal involvement does not occur?!

Three Times Great:

Interesting and informative response. However…

[b]In actuality, one who holds that "all qualities of such physicality are human interpretations as experience or encounter with this “physical”—only believes that we experience or encounter the “physical”. If the external world itself is not just more mentality, then the “physical” is that which subjective experience is not. One only believes, and then asserts, that experience somehow “experiences” non-experience. But non-experience, being something (if anything) ontologically distinct from experience itself, has no rational or logical relation to experience.

Indeed, the “physical” is a notion used to describe whatever exists “on its own” before the existence of human (and any type of) subjective experience. According to secular belief, the external world is “coded” in the form of neural circuits (at least in the occipital lobe, as there seems no external world counterpart of non-visual experiences, which seem indigenous only to subjective experience itself), which then somehow produce subjective counterparts of things existing “on their own” independent of human experience of them.[/b]

But the “translation” is supposedly done through the “middleman” of neural circuits, with a particular circuit (or a different type of function of an identical circuit) representing external world objects. There is no transformation of whatever exists (if anything) in the absence of experience into experience, as they are distinct existences (if the external world is something else other than just more mind). So there is a sort of creation ex nihilo necessary, it seems, to produce a different existence that did not exist before the function of a representative circuit.

The sense organs of the body, action potentials, neurons, and the organic space to which action potentials travel are all aspects of the first-person subjective “Matrix” that is human experience. Experiential sense organs cannot encounter that which is not experience, or at least we cannot reasonably assert that experience encounters or “feels” non-experience. How is non-experience converted into experience? How is experience converted or derived from non-experience? They are distinct existences, not two forms of a single “something” lying at the foundation of being.

[b]That which is “actually out there” is not necessarily relative to perceptions/feelings/images, save if that which is “out there” is nothing but more mentality. If it is something other than subjective experience itself, there is no rational relation between it and experience; there is no reason that experience should mimic or represent non-experience.

(Probably besides the point: On the concept of survivability: in the absence of a conscious mind behind the going’-on of the universe, such survivability, and any mechanistically produced functionality providing such survivability is ultimately an aspect of either a type of blind determinism or random chance: a godless world doesn’t know that it exists, thus it cannot know that it accidentally (but lawfully) created organisms nor knowingly provide for the survival of organisms against life/evolution-threatening changes in the external world) [/b]

We cannot know that such a relation obtains, as we are nothing but subjective experience. We have no rational basis upon which to assert that experience “experiences” non-experience.

Not necessarily. The experiences could, in essence, be transformations or coagulances of an underlying mind or mental stuff. Non-experience, or that which is not in any way subjective experience itself, does not necessarily exist. We can neither experience nor represent non-experience, we only imagine that non-experience mimics experience (and that experience mimics imaginary non-experience); we have no rational basis upon which to assert it’s “absolute” existence.

The brain-in-a-vat thought experiment, Hillary Putnam notwithstanding, works, as the external world, according to the secular mind/body paradigm, must “speak” through the middleman of neural schema and neural representationism of experience: independent of true external world environment (say, vats with brains hooked up to computers ready to produce the correct number, frequency, and force of electric impulses to the correct neural circuits cooresponding to this or that experience) an envatted brain on a spaceship could receive impulses from the spaceship’s computer that calculatedly impinge on just those neural circuits that create the subjective experience of sitting on a bench in Central Park in New York City on a sunny afternoon—when, in reality (in correspondence with the current configuration of the external world)—the envatted brain is actually on a spaceship speeding toward the Andromeda Galaxy. All that’s necessary is for an external force (a computer, say)to impinge upon and produce action potentials in the right neural circuits, and the envatted brain will experience Central Park on the spaceship as if it really were in a biological skull controlling a body located in the real Central Park on Earth.

And downward we can only rationally deduce still more subjective experience, not that which subjective experience is not. Experience only rationally originates from more experience, not non-experience.

We can if “that which is as it is” is that which is somthing other than subjective experience qua subjective experience.

If by subtlety and refinement of understanding we somehow, being nothing but and composed of nothing but subjective experience, come to understand how experience derives from something it is not, then such “refinement” is incoherence in disguise.

I do not state that the human realm is the only thing that exists and that it exists “by fiat”: I claim that an underlying mentality furnishes our experiences from it’s own substance; that is, more mind. I claim that there is probably not no-mind, or non-experience. And that there is no logical or rational relation between experience and non-experience.

b is a false conclusion if: “energy” is that which subjective experience is not. We cannot know that non-experience (experience qua experience, not just “human experience” or the “content of human experience”) exists, as we can know only subjective experience, being nothing but subjective experience.[/b]

b is a very thoughtful and intelligent composition of how consciousness comes into being if this a process of how fundamental mind coalesces and gives rise to human mind and experience, but it fails if one is trying to explain how non-experience miraculously becomes experience.[/b]

Sure, experience is immersed in still more experience, as it is incoherent to assert that experience relates to and is immersed in non-experience.

[b]Once again, the “basic energies” are logically only just more experience qua experience. They cannot logically be that which experience (qua experience) is not. There is no logical derivation of two distinct existences, such that there is no logical derivation of subjective experience from that which subjective experience (qua subjective experience) is not. It just can’t happen.

Also, animal-neuronal production of consciousness is false. It’s an illusion. There’s just formation of mind from fundamental mind.[/b]

[b]The "attaining of a sufficienc of underlying constitutive conditions requires mind forming from still more mind, not mind forming from non-mind (non-experience). If experience somehow emerges from that which it is not, then you have true, card-carrying ex nihilo magic. If experiences arises from something we cannot perceive but is composed of the same thing that composes subjective experience itself, then you have naturalistic emergence.

Whew. Lots to read, lots to type there.