Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Frost
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Re: Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Post by Frost » January 27th, 2018, 1:25 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 3:56 am
Okay, let's break this down. What is a primary experiential state? What is the definition which excludes simulation? Exactly what is a phenomenon which is not physical?

What exactly are the qualities of consciousness that you refer to?

Actually, I think it is a form of functionalism. Processes which have a function have a functional description that references only the functional aspects of the process. From the functional/subjective perspective such processes are multiply realizable, and a simulation would be a valid realization.

Would love to hear your solutions to the Hard Problem and Measurement Problem.

I would like to delay answering the first few questions since it would require what I claim to be a solution to the Hard Problem and Measurement problem. To briefly answer the non-algorithmic qualities, our understanding of mathematics gives one strong reason to think that our consciousness does not operate algorithmically. I think brains compute, but they do not compute in the formal sense of algorithmic effective procedures.

I will start with a coarse-grained general view of what I consider the solution. The Hard Problem cannot be answered by neuroscience because no matter what answer they attempt the ontological Hard Problem applies. There must be something in the nature of reality which permits experience to emerge. This is necessarily a question for physics. There are many interpretations of quantum theory as well as proposed modifications to it, but none fit all the experimental and theoretical data as well as the von Neumann interpretation. The othodox quantum formalism provides an explicit mathematical psycho-physical interaction, or in other words describes the structure of experience. The Copenhagen interpretation was purely epistemic, and it is interesting that the epistemic Copenhagen interpretation maps the ontological von Neumann interpretation so well. That has deep significance. The point of von Neumann is that nothing of the physical system can result in state vector reduction. The import of his logical postulate has been entirely misunderstood and turned into "consciousness causing wave function collapse," or worse, something along the lines of thinking consciousness pushes around the particles in experiments. His point is really that non-physical experience (this is primary experience) is what actualizes the quantum state of the system. In other words, a state is experienced. The mistake is to think it is consciousness which does causes in the typical neuroscientific or medical definition of consciousness. It is a question of experience itself, or the Hard Problem.

However, this means experience is emergent, so what causes this emergence? I think Integrated Information Theory, if understood in a quantum ontology, provides an explanation as to how the first single-celled organism emerged along with primary experience. Self-organizing systems far from thermal equilibrium were able to self-organize sufficiently to integrate information into an irreducible information structure which results in a subjective perspective and experience itself. This evolved over time into increasingly complex experiential states, resulting in the emergence of consciousness much later as a result of certain neurobiological mechanisms. With it came purpose, meaning, and understanding.

I suppose that will suffice for now, but I am happy to elaborate since, as I mentioned, this is a very coarse-grained overview and there is a significant amount of ontology and physics that was not explained.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 27th, 2018, 2:10 pm

Frost, I did not get your solution to the hard problem from that post. You state that experience emerges, and that non-physical experience actualizes the quantum state, and that the (quantum?) state is experienced, but you never explain what you mean by experience.

You say that Integrated Information Theory explains why a single cell has "primary experience", but you don't say what that experience is. So would you say a thermostat can have primary experience (if wired so that Phi from IIT is greater than zero)? Are you making the claim from IIT that integration of information is experience?

I'm also hoping you will get back to the original questions:
What is a primary experiential state?
What is a non-physical phenomenon?

And now I will add:
How does a primary experiential state (or just primary experience) relate to consciousness?

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Frost
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Re: Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Post by Frost » January 27th, 2018, 2:27 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 2:10 pm
Frost, I did not get your solution to the hard problem from that post. You state that experience emerges, and that non-physical experience actualizes the quantum state, and that the (quantum?) state is experienced, but you never explain what you mean by experience.

I'm also hoping you will get back to the original questions:
What is a primary experiential state?
What is a non-physical phenomenon?

And now I will add:
How does a primary experiential state (or just primary experience) relate to consciousness?
Experience is the spontaneous symmetry breaking; it spontaneously emerges as an actualized state. You could say, roughly, that it "causes" state vector reduction in the sense that it makes things happen, insofar as nothing could happen without it, but it is not a causal relation. More specifically, it actualizes quantum information transactions, which cannot occur without an experiential state, but is not itself an informational transaction. As the quantum vacuum has the potential for matter, it has the potential for experience; it is neither experiential nor wholly non-experiential. Matter and experience co-arise. Experience is subjectivity, the feeling state, the what-its-likeness. This is non-physical. The primary experiential state is that experiential aspect of the Hard Problem which underlies all states of consciousness.
JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 2:10 pm
You say that Integrated Information Theory explains why a single cell has "primary experience", but you don't say what that experience is. So would you say a thermostat can have primary experience (if wired so that Phi from IIT is greater than zero)? Are you making the claim from IIT that integration of information is experience?
While I am inclined to say the thermostat would not have experience, I would have to remain agnostic at this point. IIT is operating with a Newtonian ontology at this time, which logically excludes consciousness. A quantum ontology is necessary, and I do not think that question can be adequately answered until addressed in this way. While there is no such thing as a classical system, I think that IIT is much more fundamental and there is something regarding the quantum state of the system that is not being accounted for, but I may be wrong on that.

Tononi has been confusing on whether or not he really thinks IIT is an identity theory. He has said so explicitly in papers, yet in talks hinted that it isn't because experience is necessary. I am emphatically claiming that IIT is not an identity theory, in that integrated information as specified in the theory is a map of the experiential state but is ontologically incomplete. I do, however, think it is correct in claiming that consciousness is neither causally nor ontologically reducible.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 27th, 2018, 3:41 pm

Still having trouble.

You say experience is spontaneous symmetry breaking, which sounds like a process, and then you say experience actualizes quantum information transactions, which sounds like another (same?) process, but the latter could not happen without an experiential state. What is an experiential state? How does it differ from a non-experiential state. What's the difference between a living cell and a rock with respect to symmetry breaking and quantum information transactions?

You say experience is "subjectivity, the feeling state, the what-its-likeness", and with this I agree, but I don't see how that comes from your explanation above. I do see how it comes from any process which could be described as functional, but that includes processes in which no reference to the quantum level is necessary.

I also agree that IIT is ontologically incomplete simply because it leaves out any notion of function/meaning/value/purpose. I don't see how leaving out some quantum effect is its fatal flaw.

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Frost
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Re: Does Reality Have Any Significant Value?

Post by Frost » January 27th, 2018, 5:31 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 3:41 pm
Still having trouble.

You say experience is spontaneous symmetry breaking, which sounds like a process, and then you say experience actualizes quantum information transactions, which sounds like another (same?) process, but the latter could not happen without an experiential state. What is an experiential state? How does it differ from a non-experiential state. What's the difference between a living cell and a rock with respect to symmetry breaking and quantum information transactions?
Experience is not a process, but it is that which makes any processes possible through the actualization of quantum transactions. Causation and processes are all a matter of quantum information transactions, but this cannot occur without experience. The potentials arise and if it involves integrated information an experience occurs, which means that the experience and the actualization of transactions co-arise spontaneously, not as a process.
JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 3:41 pm
You say experience is "subjectivity, the feeling state, the what-its-likeness", and with this I agree, but I don't see how that comes from your explanation above. I do see how it comes from any process which could be described as functional, but that includes processes in which no reference to the quantum level is necessary.
It is possible because the quantum vacuum has the potential for experience as it has the potential for matter. Without that potential for experience, there could not be any experience that could arise. In other words, you cannot derive the experiential from the entirely non-experiential.
JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 3:41 pm
I also agree that IIT is ontologically incomplete simply because it leaves out any notion of function/meaning/value/purpose. I don't see how leaving out some quantum effect is its fatal flaw.
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Newtonian mechanics logically excludes conscious experience, which is quite fatal to any theory of consciousness attempting to use the Newtonian paradigm.

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