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

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

Post by Tamminen » August 20th, 2018, 12:56 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 12:19 pm
The inconsistency does not lie in the world that is imagined.
Yes it does, because it is not another world, it is the world which is supposed to exist instead of ours, and this world without subjects is not a possible world. But as I said, I cannot prove it. Just think about it, for more than a minute.
The next step is the question of its possible existence.
And this is where your argument falters. To take the step, to question its possible existence entails a subject that can take the step, a subject who asks the question of its possible existence. But this is self-reflexive. You are trapped in a closed logical loop.
This is something much more fundamental than what can be concluded by logical reasoning. You can see it a priori. Compare this with Wittgenstein's remark about dying: "the world does not change, it ceases". In our case the world has never been and will never be.

As to the cosmic evolution, I would turn the picture upside down and say that if the evolution had produced only rats, we would be those rats. This is my extreme subjectivism.

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

Post by Fooloso4 » August 20th, 2018, 3:46 pm

Tamminen:
The problem is that we try to posit a transcendent material world without subjects as the basis of subjects.
The problem is your misguided notion of a transcendent material world. If there is only the material world then it does not transcend anything. If consciousness is fundamental then either the material world is dependent on consciousness which means it is not transcendent or there is a fundamental dualism in which case as too it is not transcendent.
But why should we posit a world that has no relationship with us?
Any world we posit must have us as a necessary condition for positing it.
What is the motive to posit such an abstraction as concrete reality?
What is the motive for positing any world? It would be by definition an abstraction. It is you who are trying to determine concrete reality a priori.
Note that all the uninhabited regions and times of our universe have a relationship with us, because we live in the same universe as those regions.
And, again, this means nothing more than that our universe has us as conscious subjects. That there may have been a time where there were no conscious subjects and a time when there will no longer be conscious subjects indicates that subjects need not be a necessary condition for anything to exist.
Consciousness or more accurately self awareness (since we are not talking about just being awake) is not physical because it does not follow the natural laws of the physical world.
Our knowledge of the laws of nature is incomplete. If self-awareness is a natural phenomenon then it arises in accord with, rather than being in opposition to, the laws of nature. It is an all too common mistake to derive definitive conclusions from the current state of our ignorance.
It did not result from evolution. All life seems to have self-awareness. It is hard to believe that my cat doesn't have self-awareness, or a bird, a fish or even an insect. These living creatures have been around for billions of years and so has self-awareness.
A list of creatures that are the result of evolution does not show that if self-awareness is a feature of these animals it must be the result of something other than the evolutionary processes that gave rise to them.
Yes it does, because it is not another world, it is the world which is supposed to exist instead of ours, and this world without subjects is not a possible world. But as I said, I cannot prove it. Just think about it, for more than a minute.
It would not be "our world" because we would not be of it or in it. It might be the world as it once was and might once again be. If you are claiming that such a world is not possible then you’ve got to do more than say you can’t prove it, just think about it.
Compare this with Wittgenstein's remark about dying: "the world does not change, it ceases". In our case the world has never been and will never be.
We have been through this. Wittgenstein distinguished between the world (T 1) and my world (T 5.6) When he says the world ceases he did not mean the facts in logical space (T 1.13) cease, but that the world as it is for me, my subjective experience of the world ceases. He later abandoned this whole line of thinking.

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

Post by Tamminen » August 20th, 2018, 3:48 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 12:19 pm
Not wholly by accident but accident does play a part. First, not every embryo becomes conscious. Second, the conditions that gave right to life need not have occurred. Of course, in that case we would not be here talking about it.
What does internal tendency mean? If something exists is there an internal tendency for it to exist? If it is a tendency then it is not a necessity that it exist.

I do not know that evolution must lead to consciousness, only that in our case it has.
What is probable is not necessary.
These are problematic questions. Accident, chance, randomness, genuine probability, are very unclear concepts philosophically, and I would not be surprised if everything would be strictly determined in the end. There seems to be non-locality and so on. Perhaps everything just seems random as we look at our universe from inside.

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

Post by Tamminen » August 20th, 2018, 4:32 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 3:46 pm
If there is only the material world then it does not transcend anything.
Material monism? So that subjects are also material?
If consciousness is fundamental then either the material world is dependent on consciousness which means it is not transcendent...
Which means that we cannot consistently posit the possibility of the subjectless world.
Any world we posit must have us as a necessary condition for positing it.
But now we are trying to posit a world which has no relationship with us.
It is you who are trying to determine concrete reality a priori.
I am only trying to prove, or show, that some concrete realities are not possible.
And, again, this means nothing more than that our universe has us as conscious subjects. That there may have been a time where there were no conscious subjects and a time when there will no longer be conscious subjects indicates that subjects need not be a necessary condition for anything to exist.
No, it does not indicate this, because we live in the same universe with those uninhabited regions and have a relationship with them, as opposed to the whole world being uninhabited.

The next two quotes are not mine.
It would not be "our world" because we would not be of it or in it. It might be the world as it once was and might once again be. If you are claiming that such a world is not possible then you’ve got to do more than say you can’t prove it, just think about it.
I think I cannot say much more than what I have written in my recent posts, but you ignore all the time my seeing the world as a spatiotemporal whole, which is the key for all this reasoning.
We have been through this. Wittgenstein distinguished between the world (T 1) and my world (T 5.6) When he says the world ceases he did not mean the facts in logical space (T 1.13) cease, but that the world as it is for me, my subjective experience of the world ceases.
No, he says more, and this is my interpretation. The facts of the world do not change or end, but the world seen as a whole ceases, not only for me, but absolutely. But I think he realized, as I do, that the world goes on existing as long as there are manifestations of the metaphysical subject.

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

Post by Fooloso4 » August 20th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Tamminen:
I would not be surprised if everything would be strictly determined in the end.
I would be very surprised! In any case, that would mean that each and every thing that is or was or will be and each and everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen happens of necessity. This speck of dust being blown by this gust of wind and landing here instead of there is no more or less necessary than consciousness itself.
Material monism? So that subjects are also material?
Yes. It is the organization of matter that leads to beings who are capable of functioning in such a way that for it things matter. What the whole is capable of the parts that comprise it are not. Further, the whole of each part is capable of what the parts that comprise that whole are not capable of.
Which means that we cannot consistently posit the possibility of the subjectless world.
Yes, if consciousness is fundamental then there must be subjects. But consciousness may not be fundamental.
But now we are trying to posit a world which has no relationship with us.
More precisely, I am claiming that subjectivity is a fact of our world, but that there is nothing that precludes it from having been otherwise; nothing that demonstrates that the way things are is the way they must be, that things could not have been otherwise. And this includes the existence of conscious subjects.
I am only trying to prove, or show, that some concrete realities are not possible.
If something is a concrete reality then it is not only possible but actual.
No, it does not indicate this, because we live in the same universe with those uninhabited regions and have a relationship with them, as opposed to the whole world being uninhabited.
How does this contradict my claim that our universe has us as conscious subjects?
The next two quotes are not mine.
Sorry, I did not look closely at the name - Tamminen - tommarcus
I think I cannot say much more than what I have written in my recent posts, but you ignore all the time my seeing the world as a spatiotemporal whole, which is the key for all this reasoning.
How you see things and how they are is two different things. You cannot see things as a spatiotemporal whole from within our spatiotemporal limits.
No, he says more, and this is my interpretation.
Yes, he says a great deal more and also attempts to show what he cannot say. Claiming it is your interpretation is not sufficient. You need to be able to defend that interpretation in light of what the text actually says. If you make claims that are inconsistent with what he says then you are no longer interpreting or interpreting correctly.
The facts of the world do not change or end, but the world seen as a whole ceases, not only for me, but absolutely. But I think he realized, as I do, that the world goes on existing as long as there are manifestations of the metaphysical subject.
So then, what does it mean that the world as a whole ceases not just for you but absolutely since subjects as a whole do no cease when you cease to exist?

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

Post by Greta » August 20th, 2018, 8:50 pm

Tamminen wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 9:55 am
Greta wrote:
August 19th, 2018, 5:17 pm
I would also prefer not shift the emphasis from "existence" to "meaning".
If we want to posit the possibility of the existence of something, we must give some meaning to its existence, be able to imagine it. I am arguing that we cannot consistently give any meaning to the existence of the subjectless universe.
There is no need to add the extra parameter of "meaning" IMO.

We were wondering about whether a subjectless universe exists, not whether it has meaning. The early universe obviously did have meaning as far life forms are concerned, since the pre-life transformations of the universe made biology possible.

The early universe was reportedly a mess of molecular clouds before stellar ignition emerged. Mind would seem to have nothing to do with that phase of energy transformation, which is what the universe is - an immense pool of energy undergoing constant emergent transformation through expansion and consequent cooling. The energy is apparently not being created or destroyed but simply changing configuration at all times.

Amongst all the myriad forms of processing performed by the universe, consciousness would seem to be just one other way to process information and energy.

Tamminen wrote:It is something like trying to imagine what it is like to not-exist personally. Some have tried and seen Heavens and Paradises, some others see nothing and say there will be nothing, which means that there is non-being, which is self-contradictory. So there remains a paradox in the case of our personal lives as well as in the case of the universe. The only consistent solution to the paradoxes seems to be the absolute nature of subjectivity.
Non-being is easy to imagine. I close my eyes and I go away for a while. Why would one be more "awake", more conscious, when one is dead than when asleep?

How is non-existence self-contradictory? There is an awful lot that people cannot imagine, and nothingness is amongst those. Do you see the limits of imagination as having ontic relevance?

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

Post by BigBango » August 21st, 2018, 12:26 am

Please Greta, a world without subjects is meaningless. Period!

Why care about whether or not a world exists without any meaning. So what if it does!

Your point about Minkowski space is well said. When analytical philosophers resort to a world that is frozen in time then they have given up on the possibility of cause and effect and also have rejected any role that philosophy might play!

Let us get back to analyzing the world we are in and the world that preceded the BB. I assert that if our world has animated, biological chemistry it is because the "subject" that has always existed, even before the BB, has rooted itself in the remnants of its pre BB world that collapsed before it banged.

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

Post by Tamminen » August 21st, 2018, 4:07 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 8:39 pm
If something is a concrete reality then it is not only possible but actual.
I mean we try to posit abstractions like the world without subjects as concrete realities. Semantics, I guess.
How does this contradict my claim that our universe has us as conscious subjects?
It contradicts your claim that the being of the uninhabited regions of our universe are not dependent on the being of us, the subjects of the universe.
You cannot see things as a spatiotemporal whole from within our spatiotemporal limits.
I think in this case I can see the universe as a whole, for this philosophical reasoning.
Yes, he says a great deal more and also attempts to show what he cannot say. Claiming it is your interpretation is not sufficient. You need to be able to defend that interpretation in light of what the text actually says. If you make claims that are inconsistent with what he says then you are no longer interpreting or interpreting correctly.
I refer to the words he used: "...ceases", not "ceases for me". We need not go deeper into his text in this context.
So then, what does it mean that the world as a whole ceases not just for you but absolutely since subjects as a whole do no cease when you cease to exist?
If I were the only subject in the universe, the world would cease to exist absolutely, and if there were no subjects, the world does not exist, absolutely. Only if there is the metaphysical subject, which is the ontological precondition of the being of the world, can we say that there is the world or anything.

It seems that our discussion does not lead anywhere, and therefore I think it is time for a short summary of what I think of it.

I guess it is easy for you to imagine you are dead. You may believe that you can experience something also after death, but if not, what then? What has happened? The world has not changed much, it just does not exist. Nothing exists. Nothing has ever existed, because time has ended. But we are still here, and others, and we guarantee that the world exists. If it were possible to somehow remove all of us from the universe, the universe would not exist, and this time absolutely, for there would be no one to guarantee its existence. But the world would not change much, it would only cease to exist. So the world exists and does not exist. This is what logicians call contradiction. And the only way to avoid the contradiction is to understand that existence is always subjective, that there must always be subjects in the universe. Even all the black holes in the universe are subjective in the sense that they have a relationship with our being here and other subjects wherever they happen to be.

Now I am sure you do not see any kind of a paradox or contradiction here, and I claim this is because you have only an external perspective to things, also to yourself. It is the viewpoint of a physicist. I would say you reify yourself. My perspective is internal, subjective, and I see subjective reality as the basic reality we are in. When I die, others say some cells die, and time goes on, but in fact time ends if death is the final event.

So I was wrong when I said I trusted you would understand what I am claiming. In fact we live on different planets. I can understand your external point of view somehow, but only somehow, and I think it is not an adequate way of seeing things. So our diagreement seems to be very deep in the core of things. It all concentrates on the question of whether the hypothetical world without subjects can or cannot exist. So it is a question of the meaning of 'existence'. For me existence is subjective, for you objective, seen from the perspective of physics. So we speak different languages, and I do not think they can be translated into each other. No dialogue, but parallel monologues, as usual.

To make a short summary of my position:

The subject is the absolute.
The subject needs the world for its being and self-awareness.
Therefore the subject-world relationship is the Archimedean point or reality. Without it there is nothing, and everything that happens, happens within this relationship.

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

Post by Tamminen » August 21st, 2018, 4:32 am

Greta wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 8:50 pm
We were wondering about whether a subjectless universe exists, not whether it has meaning.
To wonder about its possible existence we must have some kind of an idea of what it means to exist.
How is non-existence self-contradictory?
'Non-being is not' is a tautology. 'Being is' is a tautology. Playing with logic, but not without relevance, in my opinion.
Do you see the limits of imagination as having ontic relevance?
Yes, if they are based on logical or otherwise reasonable grounds.

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

Post by Greta » August 21st, 2018, 5:47 am

BigBango wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 12:26 am
Please Greta, a world without subjects is meaningless. Period!

Why care about whether or not a world exists without any meaning. So what if it does!
I am interested in many impractical things. In fact, almost invariably. That does not always endear me to family.
BigBango wrote:Let us get back to analyzing the world we are in and the world that preceded the BB. I assert that if our world has animated, biological chemistry it is because the "subject" that has always existed, even before the BB, has rooted itself in the remnants of its pre BB world that collapsed before it banged.
Could be. Then again, what did it evolve from?

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

Post by Fooloso4 » August 21st, 2018, 9:53 am

Tamminen:
I guess it is easy for you to imagine you are dead. You may believe that you can experience something also after death, but if not, what then? What has happened? The world has not changed much, it just does not exist. Nothing exists. Nothing has ever existed, because time has ended.
I guess it is easy for you to imagine what I imagine if I am dead, but you are dead wrong. I do not believe that I can experience anything after death. The world has not changed much, which means it continues to exist, but I no longer exist. This changes nothing with regard to what has ever existed. Time has not ended, but my time has.
If it were possible to somehow remove all of us from the universe, the universe would not exist, and this time absolutely, for there would be no one to guarantee its existence.
The idea that existence needs a guarantee is nonsense.
But the world would not change much, it would only cease to exist.
Esse est percipi is nothing more than theological faith, only your gods are not Berkeley’s.
So the world exists and does not exist. This is what logicians call contradiction. And the only way to avoid the contradiction is to understand that existence is always subjective, that there must always be subjects in the universe.
The other way out is to reject this form of idealism.
Now I am sure you do not see any kind of a paradox or contradiction here.
I see neither paradox nor contradiction, only the work of an untethered imagination that calls what it is doing ‘ontology’ and ‘metaphysics’.
For me existence is subjective, for you objective, seen from the perspective of physics.
It is not so simple. The distinction between subjective and objective is an epistemological one, that is, a distinction that entails subjects. It distinguishes between different ways we may think about, perceive, and know things. And this is determined not only by the way they are but by the way we are. What we say about what is is dependent on our conceptual framework which is both biological and historical. Ontology is epistemology. Ontology is always a matter of how things are for us, according to our understanding. This means that without us there would be on onto-logy, not nothing, but no study or saying about what is.

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

Post by Greta » August 21st, 2018, 5:31 pm

Tamminen wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 4:32 am
Greta wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 8:50 pm
We were wondering about whether a subjectless universe exists, not whether it has meaning.
To wonder about its possible existence we must have some kind of an idea of what it means to exist.
According to the multiverse hypothesis, if the constants of nature are tweaked even slightly, universes incapable of forming the stars and planets that appear to be needed for life can form.
Tamminen wrote:
Do you see the limits of imagination as having ontic relevance?
Yes, if they are based on logical or otherwise reasonable grounds.
There are many things we can't conceive. Non existence is just one of them. I wouldn't rush into claiming ontic relevance before investigating perspective effects.

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

Post by Consul » August 22nd, 2018, 1:11 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 9:53 am
It is not so simple. The distinction between subjective and objective is an epistemological one, that is, a distinction that entails subjects. It distinguishes between different ways we may think about, perceive, and know things.
"It is not so simple", because there is a relevant distinction between epistemological objectivity/subjectivity and ontological objectivity/subjectivity:

"The famous distinction between objective and subjective is ambiguous between an epistemic sense, where “epistemic” means having to do with knowledge, and an ontological sense, where “ontological” means having to do with existence. In the epistemic sense, the distinction between the objective and the subjective is between different types of claims (statements, assertions, beliefs, etc.): epistemically objective claims can be settled as matters of objective fact, the subjective are matters of subjective opinion. For example, the claim that van Gogh died in France is epistemically objective. Its truth or falsity can be settled as a matter of objective fact. The claim that van Gogh was a better painter than Gauguin is epistemically subjective; it is a matter of subjective evaluation. Underlying this epistemic distinction is an ontological distinction between modes of existence. Some entities—mountains, molecules and tectonic plates for example—have an existence independent of any experience. They are ontologically objective. But others—pains, tickles and itches, for example—exist only insofar as they are experienced by a human or animal subject. They are ontologically subjective. I cannot tell you how much confusion has been generated by the failure to distinguish between the epistemic and the ontological senses of the distinction between subjective and objective. I will say more about this later. Pains, as I just said, are ontologically subjective. “But are they epistemically subjective as well”? It is absolutely important to see that that question makes no sense. Only claims, statements, etc. can be epistemically subjective or objective. Often statements about ontologically subjective entities such as pains can be epistemically objective. “Pains can be alleviated by analgesics” is an epistemically objective statement about an ontologically subjective class of entities."

(Searle, John R. Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. pp. 16-7)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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

Post by Consul » August 22nd, 2018, 1:12 pm

Greta wrote:
August 21st, 2018, 5:31 pm
There are many things we can't conceive. Non existence is just one of them.
We have the concept of nonexistence.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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

Post by Fooloso4 » August 22nd, 2018, 2:41 pm

Consul:
"It is not so simple", because there is a relevant distinction between epistemological objectivity/subjectivity and ontological objectivity/subjectivity
Searle’s distinctions skirt the problem. He says:
Some entities—mountains, molecules and tectonic plates for example—have an existence independent of any experience.
I agree, but what we see and what we say about the existence of mountains, molecules and tectonic plates is not independent of what we are. And again, what we see and say about what is is dependent on our conceptual framework which is both biological and historical. We do not have transparent, unmediated access to reality, only mediated and changeable constructs.

As formulated by Joseph Margolis: the natural is ontologically prior to the cultural, but we only know nature via cultural means, hence, the cultural is epistemologically prior to the natural. (Selves and Other Texts)

I am playing on the ambiguity of the 'term' ontological' - 1) what is, 2) what we know or claim or say about what is. We cannot move past the latter to the former. But this does not mean that the former, what is, being or existence, is dependent on the latter. It is, rather, the other way around; something must exist if there is to be any talk of existence.

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