Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by JamesOfSeattle » June 21st, 2018, 12:28 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:58 am
It seems to me [consciousness] is not simply matter in motion. [ ... ] Unless stones get conscious when they are thrown.
Most people, including myself, agree. (Panpsychists may not). But what we call call consciousness is almost certainly “matter in motion”, if not simply. The question is, what particular kind of matter-in-motion is it, i.e., what extra qualifiers do we need?

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RJG
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by RJG » June 21st, 2018, 1:11 pm

Consciousness is just an experience. It is the experience of 'recognition' made possible by memory.

Those with eyes can experience seeing. Those with ears can experience hearing. And those with memory can experience consciousness (aka recognition).

Tamminen
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Tamminen » June 21st, 2018, 4:23 pm

Asking what consciousness is, is asking an empty question. We all know what consciousness is. It is so self-evident that we would never recognize it if there were no others. Only in others do we meet consciousness, and through the others also in ourselves, by seeing that they are like us. Otherness can in fact be seen as a synonym for consciousness. Others are beings we can imagine to exist as. We cannot imagine being a stone, but we can imagine being an ant. So consciousness is simpler than we think. No scientific problem, no philosophical problem, if only we succeed not to get trapped in the fly bottle, a thing often seen on a philosopher's table.

Scientific and philosophical problems are about phenomena we are conscious of.

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Present awareness
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Present awareness » June 21st, 2018, 11:50 pm

Consciousness could be thought of as a form of light. Light has energy and motion, but no mass as the following definition states: “Light is composed of photons, so we could ask if the photon has mass. The answer is then definitely "no": the photon is a massless particle. According to theory it has energy and momentum but no mass, and this is confirmed by experiment to within strict limits.” So the question is, could we consider something without mass as being physical?
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

Tamminen
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Tamminen » June 22nd, 2018, 5:08 am

RJG wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 1:11 pm
Consciousness is just an experience. It is the experience of 'recognition' made possible by memory.

Those with eyes can experience seeing. Those with ears can experience hearing. And those with memory can experience consciousness (aka recognition).
The experience of seeing consists of the appearing of a content of consciousness we call perception. Reflecting on this content is memory, and it produces another kind of content. So consciousness is a succession of experiential contents, and this succession is called subjective time.

Tamminen
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Tamminen » June 22nd, 2018, 5:16 am

Present awareness wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:50 pm
So the question is, could we consider something without mass as being physical?
Why not? Mass is just one of the many properties of matter, like electric charge, spin etc.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 22nd, 2018, 5:38 am

Present awareness wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:50 pm
So the question is, could we consider something without mass as being physical?
It's an empty question. A bit silly.
"Mass" is a property of matter just like consciousness is a property of matter.
You might as well ask "could you have mass without consciousness."
You really need to marshal your thoughts.

Gertie
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Gertie » June 22nd, 2018, 6:45 am

karpel
There's also a risk that the act of categorising certain ways sends our thinking down the wrong track. For example, if we decide to call experiential states 'physical', then it might sway us in the direction of inferring that they must be reducible to material stuff. And this temptation is strengthened, I think, because we have a reliable scientific toolkit for understanding material stuff, but not for experiential states. Which might be akin to trying to fit a shapeless peg into a comfortably familiar round hole.
I see no reason to call something physical when we don't know what it is. Even if, if, it is utterly dependent on matter, but we don't know what it is, we are getting ahead of ourselves to say it is matter.
Agreed.
Anyway, to my mind there is a significant ontological difference between material stuff and the experiencing of said stuff, analogous in language to the difference between a noun (object) and verb (action). And they warrant different categories which reflect this. If we later discover that experiencing is reducible to material stuff in motion, then that will be an explanation relevant to the categories but I don't see how it would change their significant differences. But if we discover that material stuff and experiencing are the very same thing, then we'll need to re-think our categorisations. And probably our ideas about the fundamental nature of the universe.
It seems to me it is not simply matter in motion. We have all sorts of ways to analyze that. Unless stones get conscious when they are thrown.
Well our biggest clue is neural correlation, so clearly there is some mind-matter relationship in functioning brains, but yes it's leap from observing that correlation to explaining it, and extrapolating to make assumptions about different material systems.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Karpel Tunnel » June 22nd, 2018, 7:05 am

Gertie wrote:
June 22nd, 2018, 6:45 am
Well our biggest clue is neural correlation, so clearly there is some mind-matter relationship in functioning brains, but yes it's leap from observing that correlation to explaining it, and extrapolating to make assumptions about different material systems.
Wherever we find fish there is water, but fish are not (just) water. Take away water, the fish dies. Might not be the best analogy but I hope my point is clear. The fact that there is even a total correlation - when A is present B is also always present - does not mean that A and B are the same.

Truth is I am not particularly a dualist. I black box that. It is not clear to me that everything now considered physical is the same substance. Or what is real is perhaps a wide range of things, so wide it is like a Wittgensteinien set, where members may even not share any qualities with each other - like he described in relation to words, his example being play, I think.

If medieval theologians had had neutrinos described to them and fields, perhaps they were have felt like the dualism vs. monism issue was moot, a matter of preference in description.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Karpel Tunnel » June 22nd, 2018, 7:08 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
June 22nd, 2018, 5:38 am
Present awareness wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 11:50 pm
So the question is, could we consider something without mass as being physical?
It's an empty question. A bit silly.
"Mass" is a property of matter just like consciousness is a property of matter.
Mass is a property of some matter, but not all matter. It is not a silly question, but in the scientific community the question is considered resolved in the affirmative. There are praticles considered real, like photons and gluons, that have no mass.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Karpel Tunnel » June 22nd, 2018, 7:15 am

In the wider context where matter or the physical are supposed to be limiting/describing something, the fact that there is massless matter means that we have increased the set of things considered physical to things that are completely unlike what the set of the physical used to include. This means that saying
all things are physical
cannot possibly be falsified, since we expand the potential qualities or lack of that anything determined to be real can have or lack.

Physical now means consider real, or perhaps, has effects we can now detect. It is no longer a word defining substance. In the battle with religious metaphysics it is clung to as if it is adding information, but it adds none.

Gertie
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Gertie » June 22nd, 2018, 7:19 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 12:14 pm
Gertie wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 10:35 am
I don't see how that works, because experience is real, not an 'abstraction'.

Consciousness is an abstraction in the same sense motion or digestion is an abstraction. It’s a way (a pattern) of describing what we see matter doing.
It might be that certain patterns of physical interactions result in, or are, experience.
This is exactly right. So the question is, what qualifies a particular process so that we call it an experience-type process and not a digestion-type process or a thrown-into-the-air-type process.

*
You can say Digestion is a 'big picture' shorthand description of the myriad processes involved, and Digestion is therefore reducible to those processes, not some additional property-thing.

But to claim experiencing is reducible to/identical to material processes is claiming something extra. Because this aadditional experience-state arises. If it's on the right track, the most note-worthy feature of the brain we've discovered is the unimaginable level of connectivity, so that looks like a clue. Consciousnesness as a novel emergent property of complex processes is def a contender. And maybe eg stomach processes or flying stones don't manifest consciousness, because the patterns of interactions don't meet those necessary and sufficient conditions.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Gertie » June 22nd, 2018, 7:59 am

Gertie wrote: ↑
39 minutes ago
Well our biggest clue is neural correlation, so clearly there is some mind-matter relationship in functioning brains, but yes it's leap from observing that correlation to explaining it, and extrapolating to make assumptions about different material systems.
Wherever we find fish there is water, but fish are not (just) water. Take away water, the fish dies. Might not be the best analogy but I hope my point is clear. The fact that there is even a total correlation - when A is present B is also always present - does not mean that A and B are the same.
Right. But we have to work with what we've got, and it's a reasonable approach to trying to explain the correlation. And we do have material examples of the same material stuff having different properties, like water can be solid, liquid or gas, and ocean waves can be described differently to individual H2O molecules. So you can see why people hypothesise something conceptually similar could be going on with experiential states. It's people's confidence in such speculative hypotheses which gets me!
Truth is I am not particularly a dualist. I black box that. It is not clear to me that everything now considered physical is the same substance. Or what is real is perhaps a wide range of things, so wide it is like a Wittgensteinien set, where members may even not share any qualities with each other - like he described in relation to words, his example being play, I think.

If medieval theologians had had neutrinos described to them and fields, perhaps they were have felt like the dualism vs. monism issue was moot, a matter of preference in description.
I'm with the medieval theologians. We construct categories and sub-sub-sub categories based on what seems reasonable or useful. But often there could be other ways of categorising, and often edges are blurry (not so much crisp tidy boxes as radial structures with a central archetypal example and fuzzy edges). So a cod is a fish but a whale isn't (to every child's surprise - well mine!), because somebody once decided what counts as a fish and what doesn't.

So for me the terminology isn't a big deal, as long as we know what eachother are talking about.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by SimpleGuy » June 22nd, 2018, 10:19 am

Consul wrote:
May 29th, 2018, 1:23 pm

Organic chemistry is defined as "the branch of chemistry concerned with compounds of carbon" (Oxford Dictionary of Chemistry), and chemists cannot rule out the possibility of non-carbon-based forms of life. So there is a distinction between inorganic but biological IPSs and inorganic and non-biological IPSs; and the question as to whether some of the former can generate consciousness is different from the question as to whether some of the latter can. That is, whether there can be conscious non-organic (non-carbonic) life is one question, and whether there can be conscious non-organic non-life is another.
Not only that the chemistry of silicon organic other semiconductor organic materials as well as complex metal organic compounds ( hemoglobine is just one of them) could lead to a totally different ansatz of live on a different basis as our organic chemistry . So this is not only valid for computers but too for life based on other semi-organic chemical sections with some kind of dna as well.

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SimpleGuy
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by SimpleGuy » June 22nd, 2018, 10:24 am

I do not only refer to computer materials, but the chemistry of silicates is quite various as well. As well as the chemistry of metal organic compounds could be , in connection to each other these could be the basics for some kind of non bio-organic based real life.

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